Take Care of Your Own Self First: My Personal Journey

Breathe. Believe. Receive.  “Everyone has limits, and there will be days when you feel that you just can’t do it anymore…Sometimes you need to stop achieving and start receiving. Know that real strength comes from knowing your limits and asking for help.”  Leeza Gibbons


With the help of your prayers I am sure, I survived last week’s efforts to open a pyloric stenosis with some success and no complications other than a lingering stabbing pain in my front and back which will go away after about five weeks. Fixing the duodenal bulb defect may or may not be necessary in the future, and if so, it will need to be laparoscopic or even open abdominal surgery “to cut the whole thing out,” said the doctor as I cringed.   Here’s to hoping that it can be avoided.

I have been on a liquid/baby food diet for months now to faithfully aid in the healing process and with the hope that my complete cooperation will help avoid further surgery. I have two more weeks before I go back to get the results of everything but the doctor seemed very happy even though I was on consciousness-altering IV meds.

A few of you have told me that all the medical stuff is too complicated to understand–so far–so let me try to explain it all for you.

Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area in August, 2017.  While we did not flood, thanks be to God, I had to take care of Someone at home with a terminal neurologic disease, lots of special needs rescue dogs AND help rescuers all over the area who had been flooded out and their animals needed to be placed and moved ASAP.  There was tons of pressure to do things fast to save lives. People were calling, just desperate for help, but the added stress on top of my own level of severe stress was extraordinary.

I had had a vague pain in my right side for awhile–it was deep inside my body just above my waist–but during Harvey the pain became unrelenting.  I remember collapsing once and telling Someone that I felt like I was dying but I didn’t know why. Eventually, I picked myself up and kept going.  Lives were on the line.

I did call my PCP and he called in a few different medicines to try to help but I found that keeping two ice packs pressed hard on that spot–even laying on top of the ice for more pressure or binding it to my abdomen–was the only real relief I could get. Yes, the PCP recommended going to see an internist but there was no time and it was very difficult to get around.  Saving lives was all that mattered to me. I thought my own “life” could wait and by thinking that way, I almost lost it!

LESSON LEARNED: There is a reason airlines tell you to put your oxygen mask on first–before you help anyone else.  You have to take care of yourself to be able to help others.

Things got worse after the storm passed.  Solid food wouldn’t stay down and I found myself getting weaker and the pain was getting worse.  I still didn’t give myself time to find out what was wrong.  Then, last May, a little more than eight months after Harvey, I almost died.  I felt a volcano erupting from deep inside myself one Sunday afternoon.  Within hours, I had lost more than half of my blood volume and my sight, which returned once I was laying down and stabilized. Every half hour or so, the blood was coming up and down which really confused me as I tried to figure out what could be going on.

I remember asking to be put in the tub at home just to contain the mess–while I was figuring out what was happening–before I went to the ER.  (Silly me took photos of it all and texted them to my friend, a nurse, to ask if she thought I had a problem that I could not handle.  She just about became unglued that I hadn’t called 911 yet!) From the ER, I was put right into the ICU.

At first I refused surgery and transfusions.  From Sunday to Tuesday, I was kept alive by three IV’s in my arms and the Grace of God.  Then a person who worked in the ICU whispered in my ear, “You don’t want to ‘do’ your family like this, ” he said.  He continued to tell me of a young husband who recently refused help like I was doing, whose heart then gave out and his wife had to bury him.  I was heading down that road and in fact, I would wind up having an NDE the next morning.  I came back to see about a dozen people in gowns and masks surrounding me.

I finally agreed to exploratory tests and procedures and ultimately OK’d fixing whatever was wrong. It would turn out to be an unknown ulcer in my small intestines that ate through the duodenal (small intestines) wall all the way to a blood vessel.  The doctor said when he got into my small intestine, the blood vessel was continuing to rhythmically spurt blood and I would have died had he not fixed it.

After surgery, the nurses tried two different times to get me on my feet and I slipped through their arms right to the floor like a wet noodle.  I could not stand up.  I had no blood pressure or strength.  I had written, “No Transfusions,” on my forearm before I got to the ER with a Sharpie but the nurses explained that I was still at high risk for heart failure never mind not being able to recover if I didn’t take blood transfusions. I prayed about this and just bit my bottom lip and decided to accept packed red blood cells as a gift from God.  As the blood was running into me for hours and hours, I just kept repeating, “Jesus, I trust in You” to quell any anxiety I was having. I want to thank anyone who has donated blood–ever. You saved my life.

Fast forward.  

After a week in the ICU and step-down floors (lessening levels of care), I kept having a pain in my back especially on the right side.  I think this problem existed the entire last year but the PCP thought the pain was a kidney infection–the duodenal bulb and kidney pain are about in the same area.  Since tests showed that I had an HAI or hospital-acquired infection from a hospital mess-up, I spent from August to January, 2019 going through a bunch of tests and scans and being treated in the hospital outpatient transfusion center to get rid of that infection that was resistant to oral antibiotics.  The pain in my back would lessen for awhile–I wasn’t eating much during that treatment–but then it would get worse again.

When the pain would not fully go away and yet the HAI tests were negative finally, light dawned on my marble head this summer and I went back to the surgeon who “fixed” me in the hospital.  Maybe, just maybe, something was wrong from the surgery?

At first, the doctor said, “What happened last year is old news.  It is all healed.  The pain in your back is just orthopedic. I’ll get you a referral.”  Nope, I thought, not so fast.  I asked for, really insisted, for more (ugh) tests. I knew that “deep inside” pain from last year and it wasn’t orthopedic.


To his surprise, when the doctor did a colonoscopy and endoscopy* in June, 2019 (*sending a lighted scope down your throat), he found that he could not go through my stomach to the small intestine–or the opening that allows food to go from your stomach to your intestines, the pylorus–to see how the repair of the ulcer was doing.

The end of the small intestine that meets the stomach–the duodenal bulb–was deformed from scar tissue from the ulcer repair–and the hole to allow anything to leave my stomach was almost closed. Every time, post surgery, I would try to eat, my stomach became like concrete and I couldn’t keep a lot down.  (Ice cream, applesauce, McD’s egg patties and Boost Breeze–a clear juice-like nutritional drink with protein that I was first given at the hospital–have been my dietary staples for over a year.)

After five to six weeks of being on a quadruple dose of anti-acid meds and a few other meds, the doc went in to open the pylorus–the hole that allows food to go into your intestines.  They have a bag of different tools to try from balloons to stretch it open to botox to keep it open and other methods before resorting to cutting out the section of your stomach and intestines–ouch.  I did not know what I would wake up to but even without my glasses, I could see that the doctor was happy. The pylorus is open about 60% now, even though I have to stick to my same boring diet of no solid foods–hoping that it continues to open even more with time.

One More Issue to Deal With

In the meantime, two of of three medical issues I’ve had are hopefully falling behind me. I still am facing a decision of what to do about the mass in my belly that they found doing all of the tests for my intestines.

It is hopefully still encapsulated–surrounded by a wall of tissue–but on a May, 2019 PET scan, it reacted to the dye which means it could contain cancer.  (They cannot biopsy it, as they can can with some masses, or if it is cancer, it would spread. It has to be taken out whole or left in and then I have to deal with the consequences of either decision.)

The hospital is currently having another radiologist read the PET scan then I have to go to another surgeon (hopefully with another approach than the major cancer giant in the Houston area which was gruesome) in a few weeks to discuss the results and risks of both leaving it–or having it taken out.  The cancer giant said that his surgery would require four teams of doctors, huge incisions and a long recovery time.  I just don’t think I want to go through all of that but with lots of prayers and God’s Grace maybe I won’t have to.

I’ll write more about the Rescue Ranch dogs soon.  They are on their best behavior and so many days in the past weeks, I have relied on those Whoppers and burgers, tubs and bones that you have sent–and I have been and continue to be soooo grateful for your compassion and caring. I just didn’t want you to worry about me since some of you knew that I was going in to the hospital.

Sending lots of love and always Hugs from the Herd!



Bitty Bits tried out the diaper and suspenders sent to us by handicappedpets.com


Incontinent after being maimed by a mentally-challenged teenager, he also lost his tail in a prior accident, so the diapers didn’t stay up/on.  Instead, we opt for expressing him (pressing on his bladder) and using lots of pee pads.

Bits is not feeling well right now.  He is still eating but he is having to be syringed water and milk.  He has lost most of his vision from a eye disease that affects Chihuahuas and little dogs but he is still lovable.  Until God calls, we will love and cherish every minute with him.


Even dogs in wheelchairs, or carts, can have fun!  Bunny and a little dog we saved and since adopted out–Penny–loved to play tug!  Penny was dumped at a shelter on her first birthday after her owner found out at her vet that she had mange.  The medicine that was dropped off at the shelter with her worked in just two weeks and we then had a proper birthday party for her before she went to her new home.

The Rescue Ranch is about trying to do the right thing morally for animals who experienced so much wrong at the hands of people.  We want the dogs to know love–and that they have a home and a good life–before God calls them.


We sang “Happy Birthday” to Penny and the whole gang was ready to have a taste of Penny’s first birthday cake!  Bunny is next to her on the junior bed, my beloved Poppy’s apricot tail is in the middle and Girl, the Texas Pearl and Someone are on the right.  So many others’ photos I’ll save for another time.


Penny was such a great dog!  I considered calling her owner to tell her that the mange had cleared up so Penny could go “home,” but after mulling over how her owner literally dumped her at a shelter and on her first birthday, I decided that Penny should have a new home with unconditional love.




To Help the Rescue Ranch Dogs…Please.

*If you would like to send something on the Rescue Ranch 2019 Wish List, please go to our amazon quick link: http://a.co/5Gay7Cf

*If you would like to help with via the Go Fund Me link (for medicine, food), please go to: https://www.gofundme.com/f/rescue-ranch-holiday-blessings-2018

*E-Gift cards and amazon credits should go to: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

*And if you would rather use the postal system or send something, our Mailing Address is:

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Unit 500-130  (make sure this is on anything you mail please)

Spring, TX   77386

Be sure to include an email address if you can with anything you mail or send.  If you can’t, if you want to know that it arrived, please send a separate email to: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

Please remember that…Any and ALL gift cards to any restaurants, stores, fast food, etc. are ALL WELCOME!  We will make sure that they benefit the many dogs at the RR!!

Thank you for caring.  Especially for caring!









"Do Good" Opportunities, Human Interest News, Lewy Body Dementia, Spiritual, Uncategorized

God Grant Serenity…


“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I have had a very difficult time sitting down to write.  Not because I don’t have so many things to write about or to say but because I have too many things to write about and to say!  Where do I begin…??

Several angels have written to me asking how I am doing and why they haven’t heard from me lately so I thought that I would post to this blog to let you know that I am still standing and that being overwhelmed is the understatement of the century.

As you know, I am not only trying to help Someone with a bizarre, progressive and terminal neurologic disease, Lewy Body Dementia, all while having been sick for more than a year with a hole in my small intestine–most likely caused by the acid released from holding in lots and lots–did I say lots–of stress!  (Yes, I am now acutely aware that stress can kill you so exercise and relax as often as you can so it doesn’t get to this level!)

In addition, while not the stressful part, I have lots of special needs dogs who call the Rescue Ranch their home–and require lots of resources and time and attention.  The stressful part is trying every month to figure out how their needs are going to be met since Someone can’t work anymore and is on disability, we are now living on 30% of what our income was when we started the RR–and angel help has dropped dramatically due to lack of exposure, I think.  I just can’t do it all, including writing regularly, and as a very responsible person, it bothers me that I can’t juggle all of these things right now.

I was supposed to have the first surgery this past Wednesday, endoscopic–(the docs are trying to do it by going down my throat into my intestines first trying to avoid open surgery from the outside/in which is a big deal) to repair the damage with lots of tools where my stomach and small intestine link up but after the stunning unexpected loss of a significantly close family member on Monday morning (not Someone), my guts were too swollen inside from crying for them to operate so it has been rescheduled to this coming week.  In the meantime, I am limited to a liquid diet of Boost Breeze (a nutritional drink with protein that is thin like juice), applesauce and ice cream.  After more than a year of being sick, I am still hopeful that getting better is just around the corner!  (I keep putting off the surgeon who wants to operate on my abdominal mass until after I can at least eat again!)

Meanwhile, Someone is getting worse.  Staying up all night, he has full-on feasts at 4 AM (the docs are finding me locks for the frig and cabinets) and then he wants to go wander the neighborhood for exercise afterward–and have me go with him–and then takes the dogs out for playtime before dawn…well it all has me exhausted.  No matter what, my alarm goes off at 6:50 AM every day,  which is hours before Someone is even ready to settle down so I can start my day.

Now, by noon, he is able to lay down but in his wake, he leaves the kitchen as if there were a New Year’s Eve party (minus the alcohol), hoards every bit of cardboard possible and candy and sweet things (they are hidden in the den, in the office, in the laundry room, etc.) and he fights to keep it all from being recycled or thrown out, all while calling professionals and writing checks/getting them in the mail on those 4-5 AM outings or while I am napping–which are being returned NSF–gulp–and causing just plain havoc that I have to spend hours daily trying to straighten things out just about every other day.  He sounds credible on the phone but he doesn’t understand what he is doing. I feel like all I am doing is fixing problems and cleaning up after Someone.  The messes and screw-ups, though, are getting bigger.  It is time to lock up the phones and the computer.

The problem is that every major incident causes that acid to run through my body (yes, when it is this bad, you can actually feel a stress hormone being released, triggering the acid and eating through your guts) making me more and more sick. (In fact, for over a year, I kept two ice packs on the spot that blew open last year, trying to quell the pain and postpone whatever was happening. I didn’t have time to get it fixed, whatever it was–and now look what has happened!)

The doctors (his and mine) have been encouraging me to consider permanent placement of Someone or at least temporary placement for a few months while I get better. No stress=no acid release=my guts being able to heal. But, it is not covered by insurance and so unless we have the assets to do that (we don’t), or I surrender the RR and his disability which would leave me and the dogs virtually homeless, I have to either take care of Someone or find a relative who can/will (there are no volunteers to help in any way despite his extended family.  Since he’s gotten sick, other than one visit from his half-sister, I just hear “crickets” when I even ask for a show of caring like an email or a card).

Realizing that I am no longer the super human that I tried to be, I have to nap when he rests and force myself to get up to do both dog, house and property maintainance and I have a list a foot long of my own Honey Do’s.  I am not a plumber nor a lot of things so they are going to require professionals although I sure am doing my best to try to learn.

The RR angel fund has one regular gift of $15 each month. Then…one angel sends a box of Rattle Ball treats monthly; another sends big cans of food and peanut butter bones; another sends gift cards for Someone (and special surprises for him) and the RR Herd as she is able; another collects things with her mother and drops off different size food tubs that I’ve been freezing for treats in the 110 degree plus heat, blankets, toys, and odds ‘n ends that we need as she can monthly-ish; one gives amazon credits when she can; one sends the much needed little dog food tubs and includes special treats for Someone (all who do this just touches my heart), and occasionally, a gift card or prayer card or special religious very special something or an extra surprise for the dogs finds its way to me.  I am so grateful for all of this help, I truly am.

That said, it costs $800 month to feed the dogs and $600 for their medicines and medical supplies and $300 for bones (I try to make them myself as I can) and and and.  I refuse to give up on these animals when they have less than a year to five years left most likely (special needs animals have shorter live spans) but having more–and more regular– angel help, sure would take some of this stress away. The overall debt is crushing and the constant hoping that help will come is a source of unconscious stress. Hopefully by next May–give or take a month or two–I can make some permanent changes or get well enough to figure out a way to pick up a work-from-home income or be strong enough to move.  I know that right now, I can concentrate for five or ten minutes at a time–imagining eight hours of concentration time seems like a dream from way back when and now impossible!

I had to laugh last night when I took a good look at what I personally own.  I have been trying to organize to be ready to pack and get the RR ready in case I need to put it on the market next spring.  I have been making bags of donated personal stuff to give to a shelter and a section of stuff (like furniture and some wedding presents, etc.) that I may have to sell on consignment or give away to angels and realized that I haven’t bought any shoes for myself in over 15 years and that aside from some pajamas, I haven’t bought anything new to wear either in all that time!  I have always made the needs of the dogs and now those of Someone a priority and myself last.  I don’t feel bad about it, I just thought it was kind of interesting!  I don’t even have any vices that I waste money on!  Sustaining and preserving life has always been more important to me my entire life than money or possessions and when I really took inventory last night, it was clear that I am living/have lived what I believe.

Well, enough for now.  We are alive and as fine as can be.  All prayers are welcome and very much appreciated. In turn, every time I am at the hospital, we light candles for you–and that is a very special place in which, I am sure, God hears prayers.  I try to look above the immediate circumstances and just firmly believe that God has brought us here and so He will bring us through it!  He can move the heart of one, some or many to help or to pray or to find ways to make a difference in any of our lives.  Remember, every act of caring and compassion counts, no matter the size.  It is all about intention.  He can also send a miracle, a benefactor, heal us, any one of a thousand things to change a situation.  It is my/our job to remain optimistic and faithful.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Labor Day!  If you happen to be in Florida, please be safe and if you find yourself in trouble, please let me know if there is any way that we can help.  Keep your pets with you and be emphatic (and unwavering) about your pet’s safety.  They depend on you to safeguard their lives which is an awesome responsibility and one that you morally must honor and if you can’t, you must find someone who can.

Sending lots of love and always Hugs from the Herd!



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Cubby when it was his turn to eat some of the RR 2019 (12 year!) Anniversary Cake…

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Sweet Cubby AFTER having his turn at the cake!  He was happy–and even had to have a run with his favorite toy before sitting down for this pic!

Cubby and his brothers were abandoned by a rescue group at the RR–and we were never able to get them adopted so they found their forever home.

All (any) e-credits or cards please send to: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

Mailing address:

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Ste. 500-130

Spring, TX  77386


Immediate needs:

Stuffed Twist Peanut Butter bones  (as many as possible)

Wish List Wet Foods (three sizes needed: 10 oz, 3.5 oz and 2.5 oz)

Visa/MC Gift Cards (can use for medicine, food, etc.)

Amazon gc’s or e-cards

Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s gift cards or e-cards

Any gift cards to HEB, Kroger’s, etc.

…and IF you are not using a gift card of any sort, please let us put it to good use!


Thank you for caring. Especially for caring!!











Overwhelmed: Be Your Own Advocate and Listen to Your Self

Please be sure to read the RR Dogs: Please Help Fill Our ‘Tank’ post at the end of this story.  Thank you!

I recently went to a major cancer center in the Houston area for a second time/consultation in light of new test results.  While even more tests are pending, as well as a re-read of the PET scan results, I thought that I would share with you what happened at the visit.  I have been traumatized for days and have decided that I will never go back to this place. Ever.

I was originally given Figure F (figures referred to are all in the main drawing above) as the only alternative to getting a large mass out of my abdomen.  It entailed totally opening my tummy up from sternum (breast bone) to pelvis and from hip to hip.  A lot of organs are taken out of your body and examined, the docs dissect and remove things and then put what’s left back in.  You are exposed to the possibility of major infection and complications including your organs being too swollen to close you back up on the first surgery.  I was not and am still not willing to do this.

Between visits one and two, I had done a ton of research and had seen four other doctors before this visit.  I also brought a list of questions to try to discern if I could trust this organization and doctor with my life.

While I could tell by the size of the mass that I would not be eligible for laparoscopic surgery, I began to see that I may be eligible for robotic surgery which, I thought, would present with less exposure to infection.  I asked.

“I am willing to try that…” the doctor said.  “But, if I run into any problems or if I can’t get the mass out in one piece, I will need to proceed with the original option (F)–in addition to all of the robotic incisions.”  I wasn’t comfortable with the word “try” or the lack of confidence.  I just knew I’d wake up after surgery regretting having been there.

The way things would proceed, if I started with robotic surgery, would be that I could choose Drawing A or B first–there would be five incisions going up and down just below my sternum–the middle one would be longer–PLUS one incision that went all the way from side to side.  I could choose if I wanted to start with the huge one to be above my belly button or down by my pelvis.  The doc would try to get the mass out of one of those incisions–or if need be, make both huge “across” incisions.

The alternative is that if it wouldn’t come out of my tummy, they would then split open my bottom end somehow (I couldn’t ask for any more details without fainting) and bring it out that way.  I would be cut apart all over on top and on the bottom.  I couldn’t even imagine what that recovery would be like!

If I didn’t want to do those options,  they could start with A or B but extend the middle incision of the robotic surgery from my sternum to my pelvis–whether I chose the above the belly button or across the pelvis incision.  And, if that didn’t work, after all of those incisions, they would resort to a complete open surgery–that was the first option–in addition to.  I kind of felt that they were looking at that as the only way so I’d wind up looking like a puzzle on my tummy.

I was getting clammy and faint so I moved over near a cool block wall and sat down. The docs don’t want to get into more detail lest the patients don’t proceed with surgery (yep) — losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in their fees and for the hospital and staff–but I had to know a few other things before I walked (or ran) out of there.

What do they do for pain management given what I knew I would feel like after all of that?  “Can you take Motrin?” the doctor asked. I almost got up and left right there.

I expressed that after all of the above, I am afraid of winding up on the show, “Botched,” especially after seeing all of the pieces of myself that would need to be put back together.  “Well, I’ll try my best but you can opt to have a plastic surgeon there to sew everything back together but I doubt that insurance would pay for that.”  The doc shrugged her shoulders.  I held back my bile.

I also have a serious HAI, (still–after nearly one year being hospitalized in the ICU for an emergency bleed and repair in my small intestine–and my recent blood work shows things are STILL getting worse by the week!).  “What do we do about the HAI?” I asked. “Well, I feel comfortable operating first and then when you can recover you can deal with finding an infectious disease specialist or whoever to help you.”  Last wrong answer I could tolerate–and I had more questions.  I–emphasis on I–am not comfortable with that approach unless this was a life or death decision–but no one asked what I was comfortable with. You must be your own best advocate!

Before I gathered my things, as I was being asked continuously to schedule surgery, dates being thrown at me as I was trying to leave, I asked if I was eligible for alternatives like cryotherapy (freezing the mass) or several other things that did not involve a “mess.”  Yes, I got the impression and some discussion, that I could take the chance if I wanted to–but of course, they didn’t do them there so they weren’t offered as options.  That was all I needed to hear.  That “yes” and the discussion that the mass is stable right now, gave me a sigh of relief and the freedom to explore more options and their willingness to schedule surgery in the late summer meant that I had time to figure things out.  They handed me a lab slip since I didn’t want to go to their lab–I just had to leave their premises before I had a nervous breakdown (whatever that is) and I left.

Moving Dog Food…Ouch!

I think because I still have the HAI infection from last year’s hospital emergency and the night before this visit to the hospital I had caused sciatica/hurt my back by moving a bunch of 50 pound bags of dog food (I do major projects like that when I have anxiety to keep busy), I was in a weakened state to deal with the cancer giant monsters.  My brain was operating at full capacity but my body was weak.

(Boy, do I need those little dog food bags for awhile again!  Anyone feeling inspired to help with this, Walmart.com has the best prices right now for 4-11 lb bags–I can send you links or an e-credit will help a lot.)

It was late in the afternoon, I was dehydrated, hungry and frazzled by the time I got to the next doctor for help with my back.  I apologized for babbling but I was just beside myself.  He was so kind and used obvious communication techniques that he must have learned in school or therapy to communicate with me, to calm down and to help me clearly tell him what had happened.  I am normally very steady and optimistic but that day, I had been rattled and I was upset.  He ordered medicine to help with the pain of my back (not Motrin!) and told me that I was lucky that the nerve issue didn’t go past the back of my knee which would have been a more serious back issue–and also told me lovingly to stop moving hundreds of pounds of dog food!! (He tells everyone about our animal rescue efforts like a proud uncle.)

When I left his office it was close to 5 PM. I took the lab slip over to the hospital with the chapel. I needed to take a little time to sit down and pray and to light candles for our angels and loved ones and all of our (yours and ours, on earth and in heaven) animals.  I regrouped and felt much better. The energy of the chapel is very soothing.

I got up and went to the chapel hospital’s lab and turned in my paperwork.  They were a little confused by the cancer hospital’s paperwork but eventually figured it out.  A few people had to get involved to input everything into the computer, then I gave my blood and my urine and left to go get a Pepsi in the cafeteria and made another stop in at the chapel.  Thank God for that chapel. I hope God doesn’t mind that I sat and prayed and drank my soda, too.  Someone was walking around trying to figure out how the stained glass windows were made…

It didn’t get better…

The next day, I had a message from the cancer hospital machine. It was from someone I did not know but I returned the call thinking that they just wanted to pressure me into scheduling surgery again or ask me an insurance question.  Boy was I wrong…

“Our paperwork has been defaced!” the woman began.  Huh?  “It is unlawful for a doctor’s orders to be defaced!”  I was tired and the call baffled me but I began to understand that this caller was hostile.

Are you accusing me of doing something illegal,” I asked. “I didn’t say illegal.  I said unlawful,” the woman said.  “Well, it means the same thing!  And if you are accusing someone of a crime (I could not grasp what in the world she was talking about), I should think a lawyer should be present!”

(FYI, after the call, I looked it up. Illegal is against the law and unlawful means not authorized. Still it felt like a call from an investigator on the new show called, “CSI Cancer Hospital Monsters”!)

“The doctor gave you a lab slip for tests yesterday…and they were written on!  Then, the (chapel) hospital faxed the slip over to the doctor (to confirm the order) who turned it over to me when they saw the writing on their order.  NOBODY writes on doctors’ orders especially if they are from XYZ Cancer Center!” she snorted out.

What?? or WTF (sorry) I was really thinking. but refrained from saying.  “Did they have a pink flower drawn on them? Were they crumpled up? What exactly is the problem?” I asked.  “All I did was turn in the slip, sit down, get up when I was called, gave my blood and left a urine sample and left. Whatever happened or was done to the orders, I am innocent!”

“Well,” she huffed.  “Someone wrote instructions under one of the tests and it is unlawful to write on a doctor’s order. IF it was you, you will have jeopardized your relationship with this hospital.  IF it wasn’t you or to find out who it was, I am going to request that the (chapel) hospital open an investigation!!”

Well, I had had enough of them and in a loud and firm, trying-to-be-polite voice, I told her first to compare the handwriting in my chart to the handwriting added on to the order and she would find it was not my writing.  It wasn’t.  I then proceeded to tell her to stop everyone/anyone from their organization from calling me and that I wanted to end the relationship with that hospital immediately. I don’t care if I have to go the moon for help. I don’t need people treating me like that.  No one does. I felt so sad in that moment for the people who are sick and are at their mercy and can’t advocate for themselves–or don’t have someone to help them–and go there expecting to save their lives or extend their time and are stuck in the machine.

In order to heal, you need to be at peace.  I initially liked the doctor–I could tell that she was very smart and I still think she is–that is why I went back twice.  But I did not like the control that the machine or monster that is “THE” cancer center, according to their ‘CSI’ representative, had over the doctors and the process.  There was no way on God’s green earth that I would willingly lay down there, probably wake up with incisions all over my body like a messy road map only to find out what organs they decided to remove, need a plastic surgeon later to put me back together, all while being sick with a serious infection that wasn’t resolved ahead of time, making recovery longer–only to be given Motrin as I could see me crying in pain–while I am sure I would be suffering terribly–and in need of a second surgery to put my body back together again. Nope. It is not going to happen.

I was so traumatized by those two days last week that I could not even write or talk about it all to anyone.  The very good news that came out of all of that is that I do know now is that I can take my time to find both a doctor I can trust who works for a hospital I respect and even explore some alternative treatments. I will pace myself and get the HAI infection resolved first.  I might even feel a bunch better after that and will be better able to figure out the bigger problem the back doctor pointed out, and I agree.

In the end, listen to your heart, your soul and or your gut.  If you start to feel intimidated and overwhelmed, pressured and uncomfortable and the answers you are being given don’t line up with what you know to be the truth or feel that the things you need done to be comfortable are being ignored or belittled, do not stop there and just accept the solution before you.  You will find another solution. Leave it all in God’s hands.  I will and I did.

Sending much love and many hugs,


PS:  I have written a post on the treats that we really need for the dogs’ treat bucket. I ordered $300 of treats and food a month ago (so grateful to our angels) but they will run out by the time the new treats hopefully come in.  The dogs need something to do every day–especially when some cannot even walk to run and play or have other disabilities.  It is their exercise and play time really–it gives them something to look forward to.

Story Links:

RR Herd: Please Help Fill Our ‘Tank’

The Two Uh-Oh’s





"Do Good" Opportunities, Uncategorized

RR Herd: Please Help Fill Our ‘Tank’

Hi Angels!

Preparing for a long, difficult summer, these are some specific things we really need at the Rescue Ranch.  Of course, “Everything Dog” is always welcome but these things are favorites or special requests or things that the dogs just can’t “live” without! (Dingo Ringos, too! from petmountain.com)


Amazon, Chewy.com, petmountain.com have the best prices–highlighted boxes are best deals/prices on amazon. (Be careful on amazon when choosing an option–some of the vendors offer bundles that cost considerably more if you don’t do the math ahead of time.)  The prices below are the best options.

1. Treats (some beloved examples)

Healthy Hide Good ‘n’ Fun Triple Flavor Wings 


Good ‘n’ Fun Triple Flavor Kabobs


Smart Bones Stuffed Twistz (Pork/Beef and Peanut Butter)


Peanut Butter filled Sticks


Knot Bones

(Good ‘n’ Fun or flavored knot bones (Petco or Petsmart) or Rawhide large rolls (Sam’s Club) at least Four inches to 8 inches/12 “big dog” bones needed each time.)



2.  Gift Cards/e-credits: Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, generic Visa (helps with medications and vet bills), amazon.com e-credits, HEB, Petsmart and Petco–and any gift cards that you are not using–we’ll find a way to use them to benefit the RR dogs! (Note: Even if you have used part of one, just write the balance on the back or tape a piece of paper on it with the remaining balance.)

There is also a GoFundMe associated with this page on which gifts can be used on medication or whatever the dogs need.


Please care and help as you can.  Your life will be better for it.

Blessing others is actually an opportunity to bless our own lives.


Not matter how hard life has become, we made a promise that the dogs at the RR will always have a home until God calls.  While we can’t take in any other dogs right now except for a temporary hold or if found to find their owners, we still have our hands full.

Maybe sometime in the future,  I’ll be able to take in mama dogs again needing to birth their pups (as long as the vet or rescue signs a contract to take them back when they are weaned!) or some animals that need hospice or help transitioning but I right now I need to take a break from taking in new dogs while I take care of Someone. I still help other dogs and their people by consulting on cases all over the country–gratis.  Helping animals to me is a profound honor.

Thanks for caring. Especially for caring.



1. Anything e-  including amazon credit and online gift card credits should go to: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com


2. Mail and packages go to:

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Suite 500-130

Spring, TX  77386

Note: Chewy and other vendors do not include any notice of who sent the RR a surprise.  Please send a separate email–and don’t be embarrassed please–to let us know that you are the angel who is blessing the dogs.  Please email: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com



For more on Father Leo Clifford OFM’s (1922-2012) series “Reflections,” you can see his ten minute very simple but profound spiritual insights on YouTube or you can buy one or more of his books or DVD’s on amazon.

“An Angel came to visit a petulant child of God. ‘When must I stop giving?’ he asked. The Angel said, ‘Living is Giving and Giving is Living. You must keep giving as long as God is giving to you.” *

Fr. Leo Clifford, OFM

(*Parapharased due to a slow transcriptionist–me!)

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Happy, beautiful, James, brother of Gracie, is showing off his beautiful reflective collar that his Angel sponsored.  Both he and Gracie are difficult to see at night and so both were graced with them–but in different colors!

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Half the size of Jamesie, Someone calls Miss Gracie a perpetual motion machine!  It is almost impossible to get a pic of her standing still and as dusk approaches, it is getting harder to even get even a clear-ish pic of her in motion!

This week, in an effect to put ointment on her ear (it looked like she may have a little cut), she rolled over and to my dismay, she has a large hard mammary swelling.  She is on antibiotics to see if it is an infection and if it doesn’t respond, it will need to be biopsied  Please put her on your prayer list.  I will write more about Gracie’s story separately once I have more information.



Angel Cloud Photo Credit: Danny Ferraro, Montgomery, TX



Recent Stories (refresh the link if your links haven’t been activated yet)

The Two Uh-Ohs

RR Herd Talk: Quick, Frozen Dog Treats

Temporarily Traumatized: You Must Be Your Own Advocate





RR Herd Talk: Quick Frozen Dog Treats

Hi Angels-

Just a quick post…

Before Someone got sick (with Lewy Body) and I just run out of time and energy these days, I used to make fresh this, that and the other thing for us and for alllllll of our rescue dogs in our care.  But, realizing that something had to give, I thought about how I could make the dogs happy and keep them cool in this near 100 degree heat all summer.

I tried different things. Then one day, I was looking at a box of what we call “little dog food” that an devoted angel and her mother had assembled.  “Hmmm,” I wondered. “Could those freeze in their containers?”  The next thought I had was, “Would I have to take them out of the containers and put them in each dog’s bowl (a lot of work) or would the dogs eat the treat and leave the container?”

For the little to medium dogs, the 3.5 oz-5.5 oz side containers are per-fect.  (They must be in plastic–just no metal cans (the dogs want to chew on them–which is dangerous! and the lids don’t like freezing).  For the big dogs, I tried freezing the 8-10 oz tubs because the bigger dogs (especially one)–just one time–got the little iced food lose and swallowed the whole 3.5 oz frozen treat! No problems but I wouldn’t let that happen again.  FYI, the bigger tubs take two days instead of 12 hours to freeze.

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All brands froze nicely–the pate’ and the foods with gravies froze better than those without gravy (lower left).

One of our angels sent a package of four fruit doggie ices–which I tested.  I offered dogs food vs. the fruit.  Brindy eats everything and really enjoyed the fruit–but they are half the size of the small meat containers so I gave her one of those, too, afterward to keep her busy and happy.  (I wonder if individual serving applesauce containers could be frozen–and would the dogs eat them??)

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The Smoothies for Dogs are made of pureed apples, pureed bananas and water–the carrot cake flavor has pureed carrot and the pina colada has “flavoring.” I wish I knew what that was to be able to recreate it.

I have been thinking of other easy alternatives–of course, you can puree blueberries or float them whole in milk-water, broth, or just water–and lots of other things would work (click here to go to my link listing safe foods for dogs–not accounting for any allergies your loved doggie may have) and I thought of this…

Those butter containers, Chinese food gravy or plastic containers, etc. with a lid–can all be filled half way or full with dog food–or dog food mixed with water if you want to make it go farther–and then frozen.  Overnight, they will freeze. After taking them out of the freezer, briefly touch the bottom of the container to a bowl of warm/hot-ish water and they will release–allowing you to put the iced food into your dog’s bowl. This will take a little bit of effort–on a difficulty scale of 1 to 10, it is probably a 2-3.  If we run out of the little containers or we don’t have amazon credits or our “Crayola Angel” flies away, I will probably need to do this.  The dogs love them and since the only way they can keep cool is through their mouths or paw pads (and tummies), even though they are all kept indoors especially during the heat (or cold) except for a potty/run break every few hours, they need something to do and a way to keep nice and cool.

…and if you cannot afford wet dog food, you can use plain water with just a touch of milk, soup, broth, whipped cream…something your dog loves–even peanut butter mixed into water!  Their noses are about 10,000 times more sensitive than humans so they will figure it out.  You can also make just a container of ice and freeze it half way, place a treat or piece of meat or something edible in the middle and cover it with water.  They will lick the ice try to get to the treat–and continue to lick the ice after they reach the treat because it will taste good!

I hope this helps someone.  I know it makes a difference at the/our Rescue Ranch–and we live and breathe everything dog–and lots of them–so I really know what I am talking about!

Sending Hugs from the Herd–


PS  To send e-credits or e-gift cards, please use: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com


Mailing address (ALL gift cards you are not using we can use, too!):

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Ste. 500-130

Spring, TX  77386


Please help if you can.  Imagine trying to take care of a small “farm” of rescued, special needs (mostly) dogs on Someone’s now-disability income that only covers the mortgage and utilities!  Eek! Four years ago, things were much different but now, we depend on God to watch over us and to provide and to reach our/more angels’ hearts to help us to help the dogs regularly.

PPS Did you know??  There is a Go Fund Me  associated with this blog if you would rather just give on it–those funds go toward the dogs medicines, vet, anything that is needed that is not on amazon–the needs are endless!  Click Here.



Like the cereal commercial that says, “Give it to Mikey. He will eat anything!”–Someone says the same about Brindy!  She was a distemper survivor with Project Hope serum, (immense thanks to Dr. Alson Sears, DVM, retired) had a life-threatening case of mange, is allergic to Ivermectin but has heartworms, more (she was spayed way too young by the shelter at eight weeks–with active distemper (so it was like a double-whammy), so she has little or no immune system)–and yet she is always sweet and sun-shiny, making me so very thankful daily that angels (especially one guardian angel) blessed her with the help that she needed to keep living.

Every animal deserves life.  There are no breeds or sizes or animals that are cuter or better than another.  Their spirit shines through once you get to know them and see beyond their injury or disability or depression/mourning even.  They are just pure love and just want to be loved.

Please adopt/foster/volunteer/rescue/help the animals.  You can go to petfinder.com to find an organization in your area or an animal who needs you–now!  They only have days to live if they are left at a shelter or have been ‘captured’–so don’t waste time.

Grateful. Always.

To God goes the Glory!

I wonder if other animals would eat frozen treats like this!  Yoghurt is a good thing to mix with water–add a little honey! Frozen tuna for cats? Frozen peppermints for horses?  Just thinking out loud!


The Two Uh-Ohs

Hi Angels–

After I searched through more than 2,000 images to try to get you one that would sum up the PET scan results in a nutshell, I don’t feel so good.  I get kinda queasy when it comes to something being wrong with me personally which is funny because I am practically a medic in the animal rescue world!

In the image above, the purple “balls” in the center are masses that don’t belong there. When Someone saw these pictures, the first thing he said was, “There isn’t any room for any of your organs!”  Yep, it feels that way, too.  Now I know why when I went for an annual check-up, my doctor’s face looked really worried–and I was sent to five oncologists within two weeks!

The orange striations throughout, which show up better on the original (I had to take a camera shot of the screen since this was on Someone’s old computer–they don’t open on Mac) are things whose metabolic activity is “uncommon” according to the accompanying report.  The white light is on my left side (even though my back is down at the bottom of the screen and the white hip bones show on either side–and is not something I wanted to find.  There is more white light on that side as the picture wraps around the masses.  It is the most serious “color” of all but may or may not be cancer yet–there is no way to know without taking it out to biopsy.

The good news is that it is all still in a covering or encapsulated and has not broken out or spread to anything. It cannot be biopsied while inside me to design targeted therapies, for instance, or it would spread all over.  It all has to come out as one piece–and then they take it apart to figure out what to do next.  I don’t know if I have the strength to go through all of that. I am praying for insight and alternatives right now.

In addition to this, they found out that my spleen is greatly enlarged and the HAI, or hospital-acquired infection I had gotten from a nurse’s neglect and subsequent injury, last year when I was in the ICU from an unknown small intestine ulcer that let go, are all “hot” or sick on the PET.  This week, I am going to get testing to see IF there are any antibiotics that this HAI will respond to-or not. There may be one or two but they will more than likely be IV antibiotics and this will be more than I want to hear right about now since that will be a big deal for me as well. That testing takes ten days or more to even come back with an answer.

The super great news is that the tests for lung cancer and bone marrow or lymphoma are negative. I only had to have blood marker tests and the PET and didn’t have to face having–or not–biopsies or treatment. The problems that showed up on the MRIs on my lungs were from pneumonia scarring and the bone issues are a degenerative condition that I just will deal with–most likely started from eleven steel pipes falling on my head at a very orange home improvement store (no, I didn’t sue).  That type of injury starts a process all the way down the spine that can only be dealt with symptomatically.

I will write more as we go along.  I feel like I want to lay down now so I don’t pass out.  I don’t want to deal with these things but if I don’t–in some way or another–they will cause problems down the line that cannot be resolved.

The entire time (months) I went through all of the tests the insurance company requires to get to the one the doctors really want, I prayed for Jesus to intervene so the biopsies would not be necessary.  He did.  The rest of the time, I just kept saying to myself, “Jesus, I trust in You” and I do.  The name of Jesus is something supernaturally powerful–never forget to use it, to ask for Him, to just say his name in cases of trouble, anxiety, danger even.  And so, now, I will keep saying the same and have confidence that all things will work out as they were meant to.  As Someone always used to always tell me with complete reassurance, “It will be alright.” It always was.  I miss hearing those words–but they are tucked away deeply in my heart. I pull them ‘out’ whenever I need them..

Sending love and hugs to all–


(I blurred out some personal information to prevent identity or insurance fraud.)

Lesson Learned:  Vitamin D3 combined with K2 are very important to general health–and women, start young, combine them with calcium. Please research this and check with your doctor to make sure you can take them.  They are life-sustaining and disease-limiting.  Ironically, we give all of our rescue dogs vitamin D3 drops (be careful so you don’t overdose it) and it is on Someone’s every day list of things to take but I didn’t take the time to bother with my own “invincible” self. You just must make time for self-care.

PS All input welcome: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com

Look for a separate post for the Rescue Ranch much needed items in the next few days.   Burger King and McDonald’s e-cards or gift cards (any actually) and amazon credits are always need! e-anything should be sent to: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com Grateful always and in all ways!

Let your tests become your testimony.


More Good News and a Few Oh-Ohs

Hi Angels–

I just got back from the hospital.  It has been a long couple of weeks–in and out, out and in.  I didn’t want to worry you. Finally, the tests are all back and I know what direction things are headed–two very big “Thank God’s” and two big “Oh-Oh’s.”

I can’t keep my eyes open one more second right now to write more.  Leaving the hospital tonight, I got sick in the hallway and had to be put in a wheelchair to just get to the car.  I think I was just overwhelmed with relief and decisions yet to come as well as being still sick, tired and hungry.  Things will get better eventually but for now, check back on this link by Monday, Tuesday afternoon at the latest.  I have a few stories to write.

Thank you to our Angels who sent their precious prayers and love and to those who send other types of help, we are grateful.  Your Burger King gift cards (and other gift cards) are saving my life–especially on nights like tonight–but they are getting depleted–and amazon credits are needed now more than ever. The RR daily treat box is almost empty (EEK!). For dogs who can only move or eat or drink with human aid, having a daily chew–not cookies but something longer term as their daily “look forward to” even if a human still has to hold it for them because their front legs or mouth doesn’t work “normally,” we need to focus on replenishing our stock! (I will put together a list of the top five chews needed on the next post if anyone wants to help or keep a look out for sales.)

I lit a candle in the hospital chapel for everyone tonight before I went home and then I knelt down and prayed for you. I asked God to bless you all with whatever you need. I don’t think we need to list it all out–I believe God knows what we need even before we know!  I stand in awe of His Magnificence, Love and Mercy and amazing Power.  He never ceases to amaze me every day.

God also called Maggie’s name during this time. I thank God that it was early in the morning and so I was able to be with her to comfort her and to care for her during her last hours. I will write more about her life next week.  She was a goofy, gentle, sweet soul (a gorgeous German Shepherd) who is running and playing now in heaven, I am sure, and no longer has all of her health issues.  She was with us for nine full years. Maggie Mags is very much loved and deeply missed.  She made me smile every single day and still does every time I think of her. She would be very happy if the thought of her made you smile, too! (She slept with her personal pink rubber kick-ball and her blankie every single night!)


Sending much love and always…

Hugs from the Herd


e-anything goes to: a.rescue.volunteer@gmail.com


Mailing address:

Rescue Ranch

4057 Riley Fuzzel Road

Ste. 500-130

Spring, TX  77386


PS  Thank you to the angel who sent a bulk box of Dingo Ringos from petmountain.com–there is no “from” name in the box!  …And to the angel who sent the box of shampoo, conditioner and everything pretty and scented, thank you for reminding me that my own self needs some TLC sometimes. I will work on these and my other thank you notes this coming week. Please forgive my lateness!