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Monday, December 3, 2012

Finding Smiles

Life is feeling a little out of control these days - kind of like this photo of Shyla streaking past me during her brief running time.
My spine has decided that it's time to remind me who is boss. It's not me. Rather, it's those fused sections of my spine and the other degenerating parts. My hands are constantly falling asleep, so intensely that they wake me up during the night. And, during the day, my right hand hurts almost all the time. It's not a problem with my hands themselves but rather a problem with the parts of my spine that carry the nerves to my hands.

I had a change in health insurance in the past year, and my new carrier doesn't believe in preventative care. Since my situation is not going to be cured by physical therapy, they won't pay for it. I've finally decided that I'll have to foot the bill. Therapy is better than surgery.

As always, when life feels like it's spiraling out of control, I have a few things that I focus on that make me smile. First, my dogs... and, right now, it's mainly Shyla. I found myself pining for K today, wanting my steady friend next to me again - wanting to recapture the life that we had before K was diagnosed with cancer last Christmas Eve. But then I was reminded of how much Shyla needs me to teach her about the world right now, and it brought me back to the present. I have to remember that she's really still a puppy! We don't have the depth of bond that I had with K but we have tons of potential for one.
In these unsteady times, I also focus on riding my bike. It's still dry and warm here at home but nature has gone to sleep for the winter so the world looks drab - brown grass, no leaves, and almost no snow. Today, I looked back at some of my bike riding photos from Utah. Ah...
Finally, to find my spark of enthusiasm, I never stop searching for new places where our animals like to travel, visit, and mark. I was rewarded with a photo of what I believe is the mother mountain lion who we've been following via trail camera photos. I think that she's moved her "core" area a few miles, and I'm capturing her photo regularly in a new area.
She's an amazing specimen - a big and very strong animal. When I first started this hobby, I'd get a huge surge of adrenaline whenever I saw a lion photo on my trail camera. Now, I look around me to make sure that no one is watching me but I don't feel worried or wired. Instead, I feel honored that I managed to catch glimpse of these elusive animals' lives.
Without our passions in life, how would we get by? We're each unique in what makes us happy but I feel lucky that I've found some things that keep me smiling even when the going gets a little rough.


  1. The bond will develop - and it will grow - and since Angel K is helping Shyla, it will be an incredible one -

    I just know it!

    Sorry the body is adding to your already overflowing plate of life khrap -

    Time to pet Shyla!

  2. I am so sorry that you are not feeling well with the spine. And that bond will grow and grow. I see it deepening every time I read your post, it shines through. Keep following your passions, I am sure they will bring you comfort in more ways than one.
    Prayers for you.

  3. I have always admired your courage and determination in the face of all the pain you live with daily. Now after about three weeks of dealing with a nasty sciatica issue, I just don't know how you do it. I hope you can find some relief soon.

    I just love that first pic of Shyla:)

  4. Hi KB. It is indeed our passions that make life LIFE! I am sorry to hear about vertebral degeneration affecting you hands so badly. What sort of therapy, other than surgery [which is last choice] are you considering. I ask only because I have some cervical vertebrae that are in the same state.

  5. Woof! Woof! My mom can relate to your health issue ... its hard to live with pain. Sending you Lots of Golden LOVE. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  6. I'm so sorry you're not feeling to well with your spine.

    The bond with Shyla will grow. She might even end up being another heart dog (I had two, Nola being my second)!
    Nola's Mom

  7. I have been having some hurting lately too. Not as intense as yours, more like Fibro and joints that have been hurt, but I always blame it on weather issues. Maybe we aren't seeing much winter but we know its cooking around out there and will be here soon!

    Cheers and hugs,


  8. I'm sorry to hear your having so much trouble with the fused parts of your spine. I can't even begin to imagine how it must feel especially to have your hands going numb. You must get so down and frustrated which I'm sure leaves you longing for your best friend K. You are very strong to be able to shift your focus and look on the bright side. The deep bond will no doubt be formed with Shyla over time and she will be there for you just as K was. Look at the love you two already share. That sucks about your insurance, but if physio can help, I think I would be going that route too. That mountain lion you have been capturing is just beautiful! :)

  9. I'm glad you have so many positive things to focus on as a distraction. I think the bond you will have with Shyla will be just as deep as, or maybe deeper than the one you had with K. You just have a few more years to go first! ;)

  10. I hope you're feeling better soon. Hug your girl and keep smiling! I appreciate your enthusiasm and happy outlook.

  11. Dogs, a good book, a beautiful sunset, a beautiful photograph..and laughter with close friends.

  12. You are still the most courageous and amazing person I know

    Berts My Vickie

  13. Sorry to hear of the problems with your back cropping up. I know how hard it is to focus and enjoy life when you're in so much pain. Thank God for the dogs. :) I wouldn't make through a day without them. They are more than just dogs, they are my best friends and greatest secret keepers. I'm so glad you have Shyla and R to take care of you.

    Love the warm desert picture.

  14. We ask the Universe to grant you relief of pain and answers to ease your worries. We ask that the ache of the anniversary of horror be balmed by opportunities for joy for all of your family.

  15. Shyla and you will bond in time, she is still so young, and at times when pain is bad and life is hard, you will then miss K so much more.She is looking down,and will send comfort through the universe.Take care, do whatever is the best option, and I send much love. from Jean

  16. You have the most beautiful spirit, KB! We hope your pain eases for you.

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  17. I do hope your therapy helps significantly. I know his issues weren't anything near as serious as yours, but my ex-husband suffered from chronic neck pain due to the degeneration of cartilage from his late 20's forward. A friend in Houston who also has some chronic issues swore that a good chiropractor changed her life, and for years I tried to get him to try it - why not?? He had tried regular physical therapy with no real results. Finally, at age 53, he started going to a really large, very advanced chiropractic clinic in San Antonio, and for the first time in 25 years, he is functioning almost pain-free. I hope your therapy can at least help you find some relief...

  18. I am so sorry your back is giving you issues KB :(:( I really hate it when our bodies betray us like this, no matter how kind we are to them. My husband is recovering slowly from his back surgery on Nov 1 - it is a slow process that will hopefully result in less pain for him. Glad you have your sweet pups beside you on days like this - and K is there with you - always! She knows what you are going thru and will help you in some way, I just know it.


    Diane and Indy Bones

  19. Sorry to hear you have such horrible back pain. I have only intermittent "age-related" spine/back pain and that's enough to know how much it effects quality of life. Have you tried acupuncture? It does wonders for my long-backed dogs.

  20. Very sorry to hear about your continuing spinal problems. Sometimes insurance companies are useless. I have the same problem with my leg. The insurance won't cover physical therapy, so I hobble along the best that I can.

    It's good to see Shyla running like that. At least she doesn't seem to be in any pain. Still sending prayers to both of you.

  21. You will have your bond with Shyla too.
    Amazing picture of the hill...awsome.
    Love the trial camera ...
    Now its snowing heavily and our hunting/training with the dogs is in will be too much for them to run in the woods...

  22. The bond will come - it will. It's a process - the two of you creating memories, sharing experiences, learning and teaching each other. I know the deep pain of losing a dog that you have bonded with so deeply. That was how it was with Shadow. While I love Blueberry dearly - she and I have not quite made that deep connection.

    I am sorry to hear about your spine issues. Glad that you will be able to do therapy to help, but that does stink that you will have to foot the bill.

    Hugs. :)

  23. You continue to inspire me with your courage and tenacity. So many others would give in to the pain rather than working through it. And still you find things to make your smile!

  24. Sorry to hear your insurance won't cover your physical therapy. It makes no sense that they'd foot the bill for an expensive, invasive surgery, but not for a gentler approach that could help you avoid that surgery. You are so strong--I admire the way you carry on no matter what.

    Did you ever receive the radiology report on Shyla? Someday she'll be your steady friend too. She really is still just a baby.

    I hope your physical therapy helps!

    Susan and Wrigs

  25. I'm so sorry about your pain. I hope that you find a physical therapist who will work with you to make treatment more affordable for you. I'm not sure what insurance is for in the first place if they seem to cover very little. :/ I hope your pain eases soon.

  26. I've been thinking of you. I have been on a computer-break. Take care of yourself. Prevention is as important as medical interventions. I must pay for prevention too, but believe my body tells me it feels better after such sessions. Hugs to you.

  27. Der KB, Life is always so much better with dogs! Sorry about your back; have you tried accupuncture? Since therapy isn't covered, I'm sure this wouldn't be but maybe it is worth trying. Sending love and prayers to you today.
    Hugs, Noreen

  28. That last line is such truth. Life hasn't been easy lately and I sure haven't had a load of free time, but my passion is fostering and I can't wait to get another foster pup in our house. I know, while it's not easy, it will most definitely get me feeling back to my normal self and hopefully help with the process of moving forward with life.
    -Corbin's momma, Jenn

  29. My heart goes out to you for the pain you are feeling, both due to your back and to K's absence. You are so right that we must try to find things to keep us happy when the pain (or darkness) takes over. I'm glad you have Shyla to zoom around every chance she gets and keep your photographically on your toes!

  30. I've been wondering how your back has been doing this past year. Strength to you as you figure out this next obstacle on the trail (and I have nothing kind to say about prevention, profits, and "health care." okay, I'll say it kindly. . .boo!!)

    Hang in there. I hope the bike still brings some relief.

  31. So often we have wondered how "you" were feeling. You always put yourself on the back burner....
    as your minds jumps from one fire to another.
    We want you to know we always send healing love and health to you also.
    And we are hoping something will help you.
    I know Shyla will help you mentally until something physical can help your body.


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