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Monday, March 4, 2013

The Real Deal

Life is feeling a bit out of control, making the playful moments with the dogs even more precious.
Some of you might remember that, about a year ago, my doctor found a bunch of nodules in my lungs ("nodules" refer to odd spots of unknown origin). After many tests to make sure that the nodules weren't cancerous, a team of doctors concluded that I had an autoimmune disease called sarcoidosis. It's a rare disease. In most people who get it, they have one or two bad phases and then they can forget about the disease for the rest of their lives. I really wanted to be one of those people.

There are signs that things may not be so simple for me. First, my problems with my hands may partly be due to this disease damaging the nerves to my hands, exacerbating the hand pain and clumsiness that I already had due to my neck issues. That suggests that the disease may have become "neurosarcoid", which is one of the more sinister forms. Second, something is messing with my thyroid gland. I'll spare you the details - but I have many "nodules" in my thyroid gland, several of which are big. Because the damage done by sarcoidosis can look a lot like cancer, I have to have my thyroid biopsied, on top of other tests.
My guess is that we are going to discover that I don't have cancer in my thyroid gland but that my sarcoidosis is on the move again. I can attest to the fact that I've been incredibly tired and my eyes hurt, both of which are hallmark signs of an "active phase" of sarcoidosis.

In any case, it's been the perfect time for Shyla to make me smile every day with her current confidence and happiness. She went to a physical therapy appointment with me again today, and she shined. She's really well-behaved in a setting like a medical office, and when her fear is at bay, her loving nature can shine through as she greets other patients. When I see her acting like she is now, I start dreaming of the things that she might be able to do someday... I won't even say them out loud but I will say that my hope for her is soaring.
Whether it's good for me or not, I make sure that I get out in the forest to romp with Shyla every morning and with the Duo every evening. I'm sure that some people would say that I should rest but it's not my way of coping with things.

In the middle of life, each day can seem less precious than it really is. I know that a day will come when I'll wish for just one more day when I felt strong enough to do the things that I love. So, with that knowledge, I try to treat each day like the gift that it is.

All of the photos here were from within a half hour this morning, when our world went from sunny to so foggy that I could just barely make out forms in the forest. Shyla galloped out of the fog...
After that, the sun briefly shined again, before we were hit with a blinding snow squall. The fog and snow left frost on everything in the forest, including the Douglas Fir pine cones.
I have to admit that the weather this morning felt like it represented the turmoil of life. However, I am so thankful for all the good things in my life. I know that I'm lucky in many ways.

I debated whether to write this post, especially because the medical issues are not yet completely resolved. Yet, I feel strongly that I want my blog be genuine - I don't want to march forward, writing happy posts as if I don't have a worry in the world. We all know that life isn't always easy... and the stories of how we all cope with the tougher times are perhaps the most important.


  1. I've heard it said that we don't get the dog we want, we get the dog we need at a particular time in our life. Shyla's joy and interest in learning about her world certainly help you get outside of your own thoughts each day. Oh, and beautiful pine cone photo :-)

  2. Shyla is such a blessing for you

  3. Your posts are so beautifully written. Your lovely strong spirit just comes shining through. How important for me to remember to TREASURE every day of good health. Praying for you.

  4. KB,

    Just know that you are in my thoughts and prayers...I know Shyla and R will keep you smiling and active.
    Take care,

  5. You are such an inspiration! My prayers are with you. As someone who suffers from a number of autoimmune diseases, I can relate. I applaud your ability to remain so optimistic! I do believe Shyla and you are good for each other!

  6. You're so honest and strong with your dogs. It's ok to be honest about yourself.

    All our good wishes go to YOU too, not just to your lovely dogs...

  7. Once again, your honesty and adversity is inspirational

    Although we can't be 'there' for you, we are here with support and gratitude

  8. I'm sorry you're facing such tough health challenges again. Hopefully, you'll have answers soon! I love having dogs around during tough times, they are great stress relievers!

  9. I am feeling sure you will win this round, KB, your personal strength won't let you do anything else!

    In the meantime, my thoughts and prayers are with you.


  10. I'm so glad Shyla is with you. You're in my thoughts and prayers -- feel better soon, and take care. Hugs from SoCal --


  11. KB I hope you know that you are a regular part of me and MOM's prayers. We hope and pray for the very best for you. My MOM has a very good friend who has the same thing as you, so my MOM knows what you are talking about.
    And oh how my heart soared to see Shyla with those sticks. Wooo Hooo.

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing. I appreciate your honesty and letting us know a little bit more about you. I am sorry to hear of the possibilities about your health. I wish I could be more like you, seizing the moment, taking the day, it has been a slow battle for me with my depression and PTSD.

    I love that you are genuine, it makes me feel like I'm not alone.

    Thank you.

  14. Our dad had sarcoidosis, which was one of the factors that led to his heart transplant. Sarcoid also attacks the heart muscle. We are saying prayers for you, KB.
    Dad enjoys each and every day to the fullest.

    Love ya lots,
    Mitch and Molly

  15. are one very strong and brave woman. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. You have an amazing attitude and take full advantage of every day with your beautiful pups.

  16. Have you tried to go on a gluten-free diet to see if there is any alleviation of symptoms? Or any other dietary form of treatment?

    I hope your health improves from this latest episode.... must be tough...


  17. Hang on to that spirit and optimism! None of us have the right answers but I believe that a positive outlook on life goes a long way. No, it's not always easy but it sure sounds like you've got the right attitude. We're thinking of you and hoping for the best.

  18. I think that living each day the way you want is the way to go. If you are able to go out, why stay in. You are very right, that we often get so caught up in life, we forget to live it. Wishing you quick results and good health.

  19. I can truly understand what you're going through as my daughter also has a very rare autoimmune disease called "Job's Syndrome". Sometimes the flare ups are so bad that she's in and out of the hospital many times in a very short timeframe. She has 5-year-old twins making it even harder for her and her family to cope as the twins will grow up remembering their mother was sick in bed most of the time.

    Our prayers go out to you in the hope that someday soon a treatment plan will be discovered to help those affected by this type of disease. I know Shyla will help you a lot by just being with you.

  20. You're such a strong & insightful person - thank you for sharing your life. I use your words as inspiration whenever I feel things aren't going well in my life - there's always someone who has more difficulties. I'm sending prayers your way as you battle your illness.

    Thank God Shyla is part of your life - she truly brings a smile to my face when I read your posts.

    Take care & extra woofs from my crew.

    Nadine & goldens Neeli & Elle

  21. I am so sorry your life is filled with so many health issues. I am in awe of the positive attitude you keep throughout it all.

  22. thanks for sharing...sending positive vibes your way, and always...

  23. Beautiful, strong attitude and precious pups. You are in my prayers.

  24. I'm so glad that Shyla is there to comfort and encourage you during such a tough time! I hope you get good results back on everything and feel better real soon.

  25. We think Rottover was spot on with her comment. We would add that we never cease to be amazed by your courage in the face of such adversity. We pray and hope your doctors can help bring this disease under control for you. Thinking all good thoughts for you.

  26. Lovely pictures - especially the fog! How cool is that? I say get out there with Shyla every day you are able! It is obviously a bright spot for you to be able to do that.

    I am praying that you will get through whatever comes from the results of your biopsy. You have such a great attitude and that shows through in your posts. Despite the pain, you still manage to smile and to love. Thank you for sharing with us and please continue to do so that we can continue to pray for you. Hang in there - we're rooting for you! :)

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  28. I'm glad you wrote about what you're going through, but it makes me ache for you. One of the most wonderful things I've learned this winter after going through PT is that pain was a bigger factor in my wintertime blues than I ever knew before, and it was much easier to fight it this year without as much pain.

    I wish with all my heart your doctors can get to the bottom of what's going on inside your body and find some resolution so you may continue to romp year-round.

    Excellent photos of Shyla, and so good to hear of her progress just when you need it most!

  29. KB, I'm so sorry to hear about your continuing health challenges. I've been wondering what happened with the lung nodules. You continue to amaze and inspire with your refusal to let any of it stop you from doing the things you love. Glad you have Shyla to make you smile each day.

    Susan and Wrigs

  30. Hi KB, you are right. Life certainly isn't all roses. We're glad you are so honest in your posts. I think K showed you and us, exactly how to live and that is one day at a time and to enjoy that day as much as you can. You are in our thoughts with your medical issues mate. Take care. No worries, and love, Carol (and Stella and Rory)

  31. Sending positive thoughts to you. And you are absolutely right. No need pretending things are all ducky when they are in fact quite scary. Take care of yourself.

  32. Ann from Outer Banks ..I am so proud of you KB..hang in there enjoy every day....(.HE) will see you through all this ...a happy heart is good medicine.. ...and we all support you 100 percent

  33. Thank you for your honesty KB, and for sharing with us- how you deal with your health issues every day.
    Our wish for you is that the doctors find a way to make you feel better and get all well. You are in our thoughts every day.

  34. So sorry to hear about what you are going through. Just know we are all here for you, along with Shy.

    Positive vibes and love xx

  35. We have all our feets crossed for you lady. We know for sure Shyla came into your life for a reason
    Benny & Lily

  36. It makes me so sad to hear of all the pain you are going through when you should be enjoying life with Shyla and R.

    Yet, I hear so much courage and up-beat and hopefulness in your voice about life! I am very proud of you.

    Have you tried acupuncture? I don't know if that would do anything to ease your pain or not, but I believe if you are able to find a good acupuncturist, it may ease your pain like it did for my coworker when she injured her back. That was her last resort.

  37. We hope, pray and send good vibes about your medical issues. In the midst of such gorgeous territory, resting probably isn't an option...and perhaps shouldn't be.

    Our best to you, Shyla and "R"

  38. Hi Y'all!

    What an amazing picture of the pine cone.

    Hope you're feeling much better when you read this comment.

    Y'all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  39. Came to check on you. I hope you've learned more by now and can get through this to remission. Thinking of you - I'm in Denver for my own treatments.

  40. I believe your honesty is why so many people keep coming back. It's a delicate balancing act between honesty, being true and real, and yet not wanting to be too vulnerable. Or at least that's how it feels sometimes to me. You manage it beautifully.


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