Tuesday, April 19, 2016


You can't provide support without empathy.

So, it's not only important, but necessary to understand the difference between empathy and sympathy.  Your clients and customers don't want your sympathy.

Three of the most powerful words in the English language are: I HEAR YOU.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Well, it's been a while since I've had the time, energy, willpower, what-have-you to sit down and update y'all about the kids.  We got some potentially amazing news about this guy, Guy, today:

This brave little soldier may be coming to the end of his chemo road.  We are scheduled for on last treatment in two weeks.  We will follow his chemo with some chest x-rays to make sure that there is no visible mass.  Depending on the results of the chest x-rays, and really the most likely outcome, we will then follow with a thymidine kinase-1 test, which, as I understand it, is a DNA blood test to check on lymphoma levels.  This test almost never gives a false negative, but it can give a false positive.  Depending on the results of this test and the chest x-rays, we may need to also do a full CT scan, which is nerve wracking not only because of the cost (ALL of this is killing us financially, but kids, man.  We love our kids more than all the money in the world), but more importantly because Guy would have to go under anesthesia and, obviously, we want to avoid doing this whenever possible.  Please keep us in your prayers, thoughts, wish on a shooting star, what-have-you.  Now, no matter where we end up in 2 weeks, it is 98% likely that our little hero will not be in full molecular remission, especially since his lymphoma is T-cell, but it will give him enough remission to get back to life as usual until he relapses, at which point we will be looking at a whole new slew of possible treatments.  Thank God this little bug is a fighter and a champion because he is enjoying a normal and wonderful quality of life.  We want to keep it that way.  For as long as possible.  Forever if I had my way.  So there's that.

And then there's this little shit (I write with love):

Poor Coopsies is still a mess, but, true to form, he is also a brave little soldier.  We have not yet been able to get him off of all his pain medication (he takes 50mg of tramadol/ultram every 8 hours and 300mg of gabapentin every night).  He is doing fantastic with his acupuncture though and we have gotten him well enough to have started physical therapy.  His physical therapy consists of half an hour of obstacle courses that focus on strengthening his rear legs and forcing him to lift up his paws when he walks... like REALLY lift them up.  And he LOVES it.  I mean, this dog is so naughty (sometimes it's a blessing he's not too mobile) that I can barely get him to walk half a block and I usually end up carrying him part way home.  60lbs of bulldog is at LEAST 180lbs of regular weight!  I will set up an obstacle course in the backyard of our new house to keep him active.

"New house?!", you say.  Yes.  Unfortunately in the middle of all of this we are being forced to move.  We will have been in this house 2 weeks shy of a year.  Our landlords want to sell the place and we do not want to buy it.  Our new house, which I found in 3 days of learning of the move, is truly a thorn in my side at the moment due to a few issues with the landlord (we are going from overly, inappropriately attentive to "tough shit" landlords) and just quirks with the house in general.  I am confident we will be very happy there after much elbow grease, cussing, and champagne.  We were also lucky to find a house fairly close to where we are now, which keeps us close to our oncologist and critical care vets as well as our regular vet.  It also keeps us close to my parents (read: free babysitters).  Speaking of the move, I need to get back to it.

xoxox and puppy kisses in spades

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Gong Hei Fat Choy?

"Well, guess whose soft lil' arse didn't make it to yoga last week?", she proclaimed rhetorically.  I really cannot remember why Tuesday night didn't happen, but I think it may have had something to do with the Intro to Stats class that my husband teaches at the local liberal arts college.  But, really, we may never know.  So, we decided to be resolved, dammit!  Come hell or high water, we were going to yoga on Thursday!  But we didn't because it's been a brutal week.  On said Thursday I took my poor, broken-ankled dad and my handicapped brother to lunch.  Afterwards we decided to pick up the kids and go see my mother at the bookstore where she shops works.  Our driveway is incredibly icy because my husband somebody never shoveled it this winter.  I knew I had to be careful getting Cooper into the car (I always lift him in and out).  I found a dry patch and waited for him to get to me, but he took his little leap too soon and I had to step my left foot onto the ice to catch him and we both went down.  Hard.  I tried to brace all of the fall myself, but my poor, sweet, darling took some of it.  So, yoga was out and tempers were high.  Then things started to fall into place.  We had Coopsies' first acupuncture and rehab appointment all set up for Monday.  Magically, my property manager FINALLY came through with a renter.  I am not a litigious person, but we were out a few thousand due to her negligence, so she was JUST in time.

But, alas!  I forgot to wash my sheets on Thursday BEFORE the Chinese New Year and did them on Friday.  "Oh, hello good luck, I'd like to wash you away first thing because I'm doing so well on my own."  But I thought I was safe because it's the year of the horse and I'm a horse.  I assumed automatic luck.

Not so.  My girlfriend was home in Hong Kong for the New Year and she warned me that this is a bad year for me.  I need to haul ass and get some sheep figurines to keep me safe.  I don't take chances with this stuff.  Are all horses highly superstitious?

So, Monday rolls around and the lease has just been signed and we are headed to borrow my dad's car for our trip to Park City for acupuncture.  My car is having issues that we can't afford to fix right now with the oxygen sensor, so I felt this was safest.  Maybe not.  Since I had recently taken up a habit of falling hard while carrying my 60lb child, why not keep it up?  I did.  And how.  I missed the last step of my parents' back porch and went down.  REALLY hard.  I took it all in my right knee this time, but at least I managed to hold Coops up and he remained unscathed.  It's not like I need good knees considering all the lifting and carrying of the babe that I do.  Next thing to go will be the back.  Don't need that either.  So, two major falls in less than a week.  Go me!

But we made it to acupuncture, which turned into a circus because the vet, unfamiliar with my children, gave them treats at the START of the appointment.  This turned into an hour and a half of food hysteria.  But we got 'er did and hopefully we'll be seeing results soon.  We have another appointment tomorrow and yet another on Monday.  And this gentleman of leisure...

... championed his way through one of his more difficult chemo treatments today.  So, it's been the most expensive week ever.  And, don't you fret your pretty little head, I'm just as soft as ever and my thighs are expanding by the minute.

If you want to help with our expenses, please consider buying some of my clothes.  I have posted 6 pieces on Poshmark.com under the moniker lilarkin and I have hoards more to come.  The posts were somehow directed to my Twitter (which I have never figured out because... long-winded, anyone?).  You can find them there under the moniker @pariswithoutyou.  Buy some clothes, save a life.  It's NBD to you because you're a hero like that.  And that's why I love you.  Now get shopping.


Monday, January 27, 2014

It was a comedy of errors...

... until it stopped being funny.  Man, oh man, life is kind of a shit storm right now, but we are trying to weather it the best we can.  But most importantly:


My little, snot-faced bundle of joy is 7 today!    He picked out a pretty fantastic snake toy at PetSmart today.  He's a picky little bug too.  We walked the aisle and I showed him everything until he found the one he wanted to chomp.  Then he promptly decided he was finished walking, so I got to carry him, treats and said snake, and (be) drag(ged by) Guy on his leash out to the car.  Thanks for being my greatest form of exercise these last few months, you stubborn little pill.

In Coopsies' defense, he is in a lot of pain right now.  We had x-rays done on Thursday and his arthritis is pretty bad on his hind legs, coupled with sciatica.  We've got him on a pretty heavy drug regimen right now and we'll be adding acupuncture and physical therapy to our routine.   *headdesk* I am still selling a ton of beautiful clothes and I even added 12 new pieces.  I'm going to be trying out a site called Poshmark to do it, so I'll get you more info once I figure it all out.

Speaking of exercise, I haven't.  Not since the beginning of October when Guy got sick.  If you know me, you know I am addicted to staying fit and as active as possible, but sometimes life throws you a serious monkey wrench and you know the rest.  So, my husband and I are taking a yoga class tomorrow.  I am totally nervous, y'all.  I mean, I have good muscle memory and I've put on a little bulk, but mostly I've become SOFT.  Ewwww.  And I am totally embarrassed to be putting on yoga clothes.  OBVIOUSLY, I'll go totally baggy, but people are bound to see the softness.  And, oh God forbid!, if my shirt rides up in downward dog or something.  The horror!  The poor, witless fools who will be walking into that class unprepared for such softness.  It is their yuppy cross to bear and mine as well I suppose.  But I REALLY need this.  When I am not at all active, my pain sensors become excessively active and with the state of my CFIDD, that's a lot of pain and it's all the time.  I'll take sore muscles over deep, full-body pain any day.

I've also applied for a project manager position with my husband's work, which is part-time and very work-from-home friendly to help out with this storm we can't navigate out of (stupid cars, stupid, cancer, stupid sciatica).  Please send us all things positive.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bless this Mess

They couldn't keep us away.  They tried to make Guy's chemo an every other week deal.  Well, Coopsies was not having it.  Any of it.  He promptly got a terrible infection from the pollution and when we figured that out, he messed up his poor back leg.  So, now the little bug is taking 50mg of tramadol every 8 hours for the next 5 days.  That's the dose I take for my CFIDD when I get agonizing pain in my bones and tendons.  And it kicks my ass.  And, surprisingly, I do weigh more than my little fatty.  He's totally on a diet too. We're praying that by taking it easy and subduing the pain, he will heal on his own, but I definitely foresee physical therapy in his future, which is why you should buy my husband's ridiculously fancy BMW 5 series sports class in midnight blue.  It's your colour.  Seriously.  You look so damn good in midnight blue.  It totally goes with your eyes or whatever.

You should also rent my condo.

I love that little condo.  What it lacks in floor plan, it magically makes up for in closet space.  If you know me, you know that lack of closet space is a major deal breaker.  And that kitchen!  Oh, how I love that beautiful kitchen.  Bonus: SUPER dog friendly... like there is an onsite dog park and it's nice.  I could go on and list the amenities for days, or you could just go see it yourself and sign a lease.  Because, seriously, my condo goes with your eyes or whatever.   In all honesty, I lived there for 3 years and it is legit, as my 13-year-old niece would assure you.

And while you're at it, buy my clothes, why don't ya?

There are some pretty sweet Betsey Johnson stilettos in there as well.  Certainly ONE of my dapper duds really does go with your eyes.  Chemo ain't cheap, y'all, but the prices on my clothes are!

How can you say no to that face?  You can't.  You just can't.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Liberty and Justice for All, Y'all

I hope you all had a great Christmas, etc. (seriously, I am WAY too lazy to write out all the many things you may have celebrated, so I give you an etc. with all my love).  Speaking of differences and awesomeness, gay marriage (read: marriage) is now legal in Utah.  Several appeals have been denied.  Of course, our Governor is appealing to the Supreme Court, but that will take time, which means that there is time to get married.  This is a HUGE breakthrough.  Y'all this is UTAH.  UTAH.  This is HUGE.  So, congratulations to all my friends and to every couple in love.  It was definitely a Marry Christmas (pun!) in this ol' red state.  I was especially thrilled to see that the reverend who married my husband and me out performing marriages like crazy.  You go, Rev. Curtis Price!  

So, let's get to the updates on sweet Guy.  He is doing really well.  I am going crazy right now.  We had vincristine yesterday, which we have not had a problem with in past rotations.  However, as a precaution advised by our oncologist, Guy is now getting half a can of pumpkin puree in his meals after this medication.  This is one giant hell of a mess.  Especially since I started letting Coops lick the bowl at the end (this is the ONLY way to keep him calm while I feed Guy).  Little pumpkin face.  

Speaking of Coopsies, he had a terrible infection from the pollution here.  Congrats, LA.  Your air is better than ours.  At any rate, he seems to be pretty much cleared up after a course of antibiotics.  Guy had the same thing last year.  Geeze... I thought I could never handle seeing him as sick as he was then.  Thanks, cancer.  My husband also got us a HEPA filter for the bedroom, which has been great for all of us since I am allergic to the puppies.

Chemo has now been changed to every other week rather than weekly.  While this is good news as far as Guy getting closer to remission, I have been struggling with it.  I mean, our critical care vet and his technician have become a big part of my support system and it will be hard not to have that as frequently.  But, you go, Guy!  You brave little soldier!  I still don't know how long we will be in chemo.  I think it will be at least a couple more months.  I really don't know how all this works, nor did I ever hope to. 

We are wishing you all a very happy new year!  Please send your prayers, positive thoughts, wishes on stars or eyelashes, what-have-you to our sweet boy.  I am also selling some gorgeous clothing to help pay for chemo, so leave me a reply if you're interested.  I'm a size xs/0/25 and I have a knock-out pair Betsey Johnson stilettos that I have never worn in size 6 (fits like 6.5).

All our love from my family to you and yours.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Guy Update

So, I know I haven't been present on this blog for a long time and I am basically using this URL- for the time being- to update those concerned about Guy.  If you are not a Facebook "friend", or a personal friend then here's the short of it: Guy was given a death sentence called lymphoma.  We are trying to defy that sentence as long as we can (we are fighting 0-2% chance of actually being cancer-free), which means that currently we are immersed in chemo.  That is my life right now.  Cancer is my life.  Don't get me wrong... life is still wonderful, but it's shit as well.  A whole new brand of turd.  Cancer is cancerous.

Some of you may know that in late October Guy received his first dose of doxorubicin, which is one of the medications he was supposed to receive with his chemo.  He had a severe and life threatening reaction to the drug that left our babe in the ICU for ~30 hours and mama still hasn't fully recovered.  But he's a tough little bug and he bounced back like magic.  Within a few days of the reaction his white blood cell count was back to 100% and, a week after that, so were his platelets.

This past Wednesday we were scheduled for another dose of doxorubicin, but we consulted with our oncologist about giving a lower dose, or using an alternate drug.  After I posed the question whether we would be lowering his chance of actually kicking the cancer (as opposed to temporary remission) with the alternate drug, we decided on a third medicine and he has been handling it gorgeously.

We have had to keep him on a "bland" diet to avoid serious nausea.  My attempts at re-introducing his dry food in small doses was not going over well.  I alternate brown rice with boiled chicken and half a can of "bland" wet food (the latter is necessary to get his veggies, calcium, etc... the former two are mainly for fiber and weight gain) with plain oatmeal, boiled chicken and the other half of the wet food.  He has to be fed by hand to control the pace and thereby controlling his nausea.  I strongly recommend this diet to anyone who is, or who will go through this hell.  It has kept our babe stable and comfortable.  He is almost always happy as evidenced below.

Guy gave mama his dreamiest smile during a visit to the ICU

The kids in their Christmas sweaters in front of the tree.  Guy tolerates his and Cooper LOVES his.

Happy Holidays, y'all.