Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Peace of After Christmas

I have trouble with the Christmas season... So much striving and pressure and getting things done. I love the peace that comes after the presents are opened and dinner is served. That's when I really can focus on Christ, and what His coming means. Its finally quiet, the chores are all done, the messes cleaned up and everyone is content. This is he peace of Christmas I long for all the holiday shopping season. Finally! SIGH!!!!!!!!!!!

This evening as I look down the line of relaxing family members in the living room, I feel especially blessed. Things are healing. I'm healing, and that is bringing healing to our family. My husband is smiling more now. He's not as tense. My disability caused a lot of frustrated anger, fear and resentment. With the improvements to my condition, a lot of those are melting away. All of the necessary accommodations aren't as burdensome, when the spirit is lifted. So everything is easier. I know he still loved me, even when he was angry; it's hard for a man of action to stand by and do nothing. Very hard. There were times when I thought this illness was going to tear us apart. But we hung on. So as the year draws to a close, I can take a few minutes to look back and see how far I've come. I can look forward and see that through God's grace and power, I shall make it further back on the road to recovery. I can also see that every single step I traveled I was never walking it alone. The Lord my God never left me or forsook me. Every painful step was a blessing, and every tear a prayer. I think the psalmist says it better... "I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a solid rock and gave me a firm pace to stand. He put a new song in my mouth; a song of praise to our God." 40:1-3 & "Unless the Lord had given me help,I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I,said, 'My foot is slipping,' your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." 103:17-19

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tok'sha T'shunka Washte

Dan died. He was my gelding. " My horse-boy." He was about 30. He did not suffer, he just got old.  Yesterday he told us it was time. His once powerful body had become that of a little old man-horse. 

He refused to get up for Ron, who wanted to bring him down to the paddock and spoil him until he was gone. So I went out. His gentle eyes said, "momma, it's time." I said, "I know old man get up."  and I tugged on his halter. "momma, I can't" his look said. And I said, "Hoka he! Mita kola!" his ears pricked up, his eyes brightened. I was speaking his native language, and it seemed to bring joy to his heart.  I tugged his halter again,  "Hoka  he!" he surged to his feet. "T'shunka witka" I murmured, and I swear I saw him smile. He liked being called "Crazy Horse."  "T'shunka washte" I crooned as we shambled unsteadily to the paddock. I continued crooning Lakota to him, my big old wild mustang. I stroked his fuzzy ears and talked about our wild rides and how he would once again run across the field in the land of his ancestors, his great big hooves pounding the ground like thunder. He settled down in his favorite wallow, like an old man settles in his favorite chair. I gave him grain, and hay and water within easy reach.  I soothed and stroked his face and neck until he seemed to want to sleep.  Off and on, he slept the rest of the day. He got up and down several times, things were going in and out. There were no issues. He was just old, it was time to go. We spent several more visits together. He savored an apple core. We said goodbye. This morning, he was gone. I shall miss him.
Tok'sha, mita kola washte,  (Until Later, my great friend)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Oh, What A Night!

I haven't had one in quite a while. I wasn't missing it! But apparently it missed me... The specter of my wretched illness raised it freaking head, crawled out from under the bed and impaled me like a pig on a bar-b-que spit.

O.k. Maybe that's a little over dramatic, but, allow me my mellow drama; I've been up since 1:30, in unbearable pain. It's just before 5:30 (a.m) as I begin to write this. I've beat the pain back enough that I can settle... To be more honest, it didn't start exactly like being lanced with a pike staff, it felt more like a giant can opener. Not the kind you twist the knob, with the circular blade, but the older kind, with the point and hook that you lever up and down.

I was just sleeping away, deeply, after a difficult day, when suddenly that wrenching, burning pain tore through my stomach. Groggy and unwilling, I knew I had to get up. I stumbled from the bed, staggering around the room in the dark, collecting slippers and robe. Good Lord! It was burning a hole in my chest! I breached the refrigerated and swilled a couple of ounces of cream. No relief. I slammed down a couple more... Pain begins to spread to my lymphatic tissue and lymph snot begins to form in my stomach and throat, and forcefully spew. I mix and down 10 ounces of homeopathic herbals for lymphs and vomiting. I pace and massage lymphs as the pain continues to rise. I go to the rebounder. No help. I return to the kitchen and take a coupe of toxin absorbing caps with another 10 oz of water and C powder. The pain has reached the level of ice pick, front and back... Oh shit! I make a cup of coffee. Perhaps the heat and drawing will alieviate the pain? Thank God! A moments respite. The pain recedes enough to bear. I take my cup, and nurturing it, I withdraw to my chair. Rosie looks at me dubiously in the subdued light. She snuggles up and starts licking my hand. We get about 5 minutes of respite before the demon launches its next attack and I'm forced out of the chair, seeking relief. I scrounge the fridge and surface with Glute and Methyl B12. I leave them on the table to warm up. I pace and hit the rebounder. No relief! NO RELIEF! I stumble back to the kitchen and inject the B12. Better, that's better. It ebbs a bit. Back to the chair. I try to settle. I try to rest, but it has me firmly now and it's not letting go. I fight my way back out of the chair and gather the injection supplies. I'd left my glasses on the dresser by the bed. I don't want to wake Ron so I decide to try injecting without them. I collect my ipad so I can check my calander. I need to see which arm I last used. I discover that calander pages don't expand. I think it says I did the Right arm last time. Close enough. I hear me crying out softly with every breath. I'm breathing, ow! Ow! Ow! A lament. Tears are forming, I can barely stand it. I begin to shake deep inside. A kind of cellular vibration. O' damn! This takes so long. I have to be careful. Breathe! I tell my wheeny-assed self. There's no point in telling her to stop crying, she doesn't listen... Steady! The strong part has to do it now. I open packages and prepare the injection. Steady, I draw air, jab the stopper through, push in the air and draw the glute. I tear the tape, and stick it to my arm. Steady! She's crying, still crying. Ignore her! Prep the infusion kit. Now, carefully, make the stick. There! the blood runs up. Draw out the air, slowly, slowly push in the glute. Its cold, too cold! My arm aches with the chilling cold. No relief! No relief! I rock and cry. My lament broken now and then by a rising moan, and agonized whimper. I force myself to pace, to jump, to massage. The ripping, tearing screaming pain galvanizes me to make a run for the sauna.

Hah! That sounds like I'm moving quickly but the pain is so bad I can barely force each leg to take the next step as I laboriously pull my unresponsive body up the stairs. We make it to the bedroom and I will myself to the control panel. I'm aware I'm staggering like a drunk. "Focus!" I command my errant thoughts. I punch "start", and then the "light off" button. I'm breathing hard and moaning under my breath. I don't want to wake Ron, I'm trying to be quiet. The air in our room is chilly. I make my way to the recumbent bike. I need to bike while I wait for the sauna to warm up. It will keep me warm; it will move lymph. The lymph pain is spreading from my chest and back now and engulfing my legs and arms in swelling, glowing pain and weakness. I can't give in! I can't. There's no one to call, there's no one who can help. Ron wakes up and asks, "Something you ate?" my response interjected into my song of pain,
"No, lymphoma. I can't find anything. I can't smell anything. will you check? Make sure the kids haven't left anything out?" He gets up, grabs anything in the room that's suspect and dissappears. I get up and pace madley, massaging lymphs, Rosie at my heels... When he returns he informs me that there was nothing. He returns to bed. I keep pacing. Finally the sauna's ready and I crawl in writhing and pressing my back as close to the heat as it will allow. I'll wear stripes tomorrow, but am willing to exchange one pain for the lessor if it will help.

I hurt so bad I can not sit still; the heat is too much. I tap the off button and break for the shower. Scalding hot- beating against my spine where it feels like I'm being torn apart: relief. Enough. I can breathe. I stand there, easing up the dial as I drain the hot water tank. The pain is still there, but I can bear it now. I climb out, dry off and continue pacing, massaging: keep moving lymph. It ebbs further and joy swells against the pain. I roll my weary eyes and risk a gritty grin, I've beat it back again. 'Jamas and robe back on, I leave the bedroom and Ron to sleep in piece and head down stairs to let it ease a bit more before I will be able to crawl back into bed to sleep.

Back to the chair both a blessing and a curse. Yet, as a settle, I feel the rising pressure that signals a return of pain. Cursing, cursing, I make my way, again to the kitchen. Damn, and damn again! What the hell is going on? Why can't I shake it? Back to my cupboard, I mix more C. Chugged and still no relief! I'm desperate now. It's not porphyria, but I have no cards left. I draw together ingredients for porphyria cure. I'm stirring, cooking, thinking, "I've hurt worse. When did I become such a wheeny? Suck it up!!!" by the time I've got it done, the pain has risen to stabbing ice picks again. "What the hell?" I drink my 'cure.' an ineffectual blow against my invisible enemy. "What!?" My eyes cast about, searching for a likely suspect. They light upon the trash compactor. "Hell, why not!" I pull open the bin and draw out the liner. And while I'm at, why not the rest of the garbage, just in case. The pain it nearing unbearable, again. Cursing as I push from garbage can to garbage can, I pause beside the shredder. That's when I smelled it. Benzene, toluene. I remove the top; it billows out. I found it. My chest and spine are screaming in fury. My legs and arms flame and burn! I dump the bin, seal my bag and immediately the pain begins to melt. I drug the cursed thing to the back door, opened it and flung it out.

I turned on exhaust fans and cracked a window open. I lit organic beeswax candles? Faster and faster the pain melts away. I wash my face 3 times. Peace. Soreness. Exhaustion. To the chair. I pull my iPad to me and begin to type. Part way through I pass out of consciousness and into blissful sleep...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Beef Tongue

I cooked the beef tongue tonight. It's been a long time since I've done one. I can't even remember the last time. It must be lost to the brain damage. I remember the time when I first made it for my husband. I remember how easy it was to peel the skin. But darn if I could remember how I did it. That memory is completely gone.

So I read up on it. I read my "Joy of Cooking." Mostly she boils 'em. My mom blanched, peeled and roasted 'em. I did too. I wanted to do that, not boiled. So I looked on the net. Most of those recipes were for boiled as well. I went back to "Joy." there was one brief notation on baking it, with a creole sauce... Let's do that!

Well, obviously the directions in Joy were not the ones I used to use. The skin did not come off. It could have been because I didn't let it cool enough. But, it wasn't getting any easier, as I worked at it, so I'm guessing, "NOT," I decided it was a good time to practice my skinning skills, anyway. They've gotten rusty as I haven't been hunting since before I got pesticided. I sharpened up my knife real good, and set to work. Maybe I should have not sharpened it... Anyway, two nasty slices and 4 band-aides later I had the job done. The dogs were excited. They got skin & trimmings. I included the really fatty parts under the tongue. The rest I thinly sliced, put in a casserole and poured a jar of home canned lime and garlic salsa over the top. Modified "creole sauce." I dashed in a few tasty herbs and a dribble of molasses and tucked it in the oven. It smelled heavenly and tasted delicious. Though, next time I'll cook it slower and on lower heat... Not as tender as I like. Alex said it was fine. I must have got all the chewy pieces!

Two nights ago I made oxtail soup. It is the best tasting meat, with a rich and nourishing broth, thick with cabbage, carrots and onions. Justin has never had ox tail or tongue. Alex didn't remember having tongue. I still can't remember when I lat made it. Of course, if she was at school, she wouldn't have known. Though, I can't imagine me not telling them what it was! GFETE

That takes care of all the fresh meat, from our recent butchering. Tonight, as soon as Ron finishes eating, we'll grind and wrap the belly scrap that Justin brought in, then we'll be done until its hung long enough. Looks like we'll be cutting the first quarter, Christmas weekend. I think we'll leave a T-bone steak out for Santa this year. GFETE

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Liver

Yesterday was a butchering day. Ron (my husband) and Justin (my son-in-law) went out into the cold foggy pasture, sugar coated with ice crystals, and killed a steer. The pool of scarlet blood melted the silvery frost. Steaming crimson on a patch of green, vibrant against the grey and white landscape.

How many people even know what it means to kill their own meat? How many know the heat of the blood and the smell of the gut? Or the work involved? The sweat, the effort, the time... Do they know the sense of sorrow, gratitude and humility, or the sense of connection to the universe that you feel, when you kill your own meat? Hunters and farmers do. They still retain their connection to the land, the life force, the cost... Something that urbanization has taken away... Humility and sacrifice.

Gordon, a poster on DFA, talks about raw meaty bones, for dogs, and feeding them on the ground. I wonder what he would think if he saw a steer butchered on the pasture, grass bits clinging to heart, liver tail, tongue, and scrap, when it's brought to the house? What would they think if they saw the blood up to the elbows, the cutting, the cleaning. Would primitive feelings awaken in their souls? Is there some deeper stirring that arises, like that same call of men around a bar-b-que: flames and meat. And here is meat, raw and steaming. The guys gut it, quarter it, and bring it down to the house to clean. Then wrap it in clean sheets and take it to the butchering plant, to hang in the big cooler. The hanging weight is 644 lbs.

I've been presented with the choice parts. They are still warm and very bloody. Not at all like meat from a store. Each piece is washed, rinsed, drained and dried. The liver weighed about 15 lbs. As I wash it, I inspect it for flukes, a parasite. I did not find any, though there was a bit of damage. I wonder what my own liver must look like. Last year, my liver was so damaged that my abdomin was distended above my waist like a 6 months pregnancy. It's almost flat again. That's a lot of healing. I wonder how my liver tissue looks as I cut out and discard the two tiny damaged spots on this steer's liver.

I cut off the lobes, thinly sliced them and set them in a bowl of saltwater. Then went back to dividing the rest of the liver into freezer portions: human and dog. Rosie and Sonia are riveted to my every move. Sonia, being, 13 knows how the game is played. She takes herself off to the living room, out of sight. We play a game in this house. The dog farthest from the food gets the prize. She has positioned herself at the far end of the living room, perky pom ears straining to follow my movements. Rosie is only a year old. Her nappy black body stretched out at the kitchen door, inching forward, testing - learning. When she figures it out and retreats she gets a prize. No dogs in the kitchen.

I move on to cutting and grading the heart meat, while the scrubbed tongue soaks in brine, to remove the slime. Even doing this, I still have to cook dinner, so I break long enough to scrub up a few potatoes and sweet potatoes and start them cooking. Justin and Ron had come in and cleaned up earlier. Cleaning and caring for the organ meat takes nearly as many hours as the slaughtering. Ron started the slaughtering at 7:30 and finished at 3:00. I started my part at 1:00 and finished at 6:30. While I cut up the heart, I ask Justin to slice a couple of onions for dinner. Yep, liver and onions and spicey plank fried potatoes.

When dinner was nearly ready, I called the kids to set the table. I told them to put every condiment on the table we owned. It's been a long time since I've eaten liver and with my heightened sense of smell, I wasn't sure I would be able to choke it down. Justin was thinking along the same lines after spending all those hours working over the gut pile. We hadn't been eating the organ meats the last several years. Too any toxins from the neighbor's spraying. Toxins are processed in the liver. If the animal has been exposed to toxic substances, they'll be accumulated there. So we had been discarding it. This is the first year I felt it would be safe enough. I was a little worried that it wouldn't be clean enough and I thought about it as I sautéed the liver and onions, and turned the oven fried planks.

Spicey mustard works better than ketchup as a liver condiment. How could I have not known that all these years. I ate 4 pieces. Liver is chock full of glutathione. That's why it's so healthy for you. Justin amazed himself and ate 10 pieces, my daughter, Alex ate 8, and Ron, amazed us all by eating 10. Ron is not known for a large appetite. Justin finally owned up that he'd expected that having participated in the process, that he'd have lost his appetite. He surprised himself, and was even looking forward to liver sandwich for lunch.

So, the liver was clean enough, of toxins. It did initiate a cleansing crisis. I was awakened at 4:00 a.m. With acute lymphatic pain. I had to get up to treat it. I'm waiting it out and typing this to keep my mind off the symptoms. Sooo itchy!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Electrocuted Sheep

I had this sheep once, that got stuck between the single strand of hot wire and the woven field fence. It had a full fleece so it normally would have been protected from being shocked. But on that particular occasion it had rained, and the soggy wool conducted the pulsing electricity. So, when I got up, early that morning, I found that one forlorn ewe standing there soggy, twitching and trapped. Twice a second she received a shot that clenched her whole body. Having been zapped by that particular charger myself, I empathized with every jolt.

Of course I turned off the fencer and removed her from her predicament. But it was something about her sad, resigned face, and her quiet expectation of the next arcing pain, that came to mind this morning as I prepared to write this blog. You see, I realized that like her, I expect the next hurt.

Not only have I become chemically hypersensitive, I've become emotionally hyper-sensitive. I discovered, I'm defensive. Too quick to think the worst. Oh, I could make all kinds of justifications, give my reasons, but bottom line... I was wrong.

The person that I thought was saying that he didn't want to hear what I had to say, yesterday, was trying to "help" me. He wanted me to fit in a little better. To be a little more "normal." His motivation was good hearted.

In all my life, I have never received such a gracious apology. It was very beautiful. It made me cry. I was devastated and hurt, when I thought he was criticizing me, and now greatful and humbled by his apology. I'm kind of at a loss for words. I wish I could describe it better. I think if people actually knew how incredibly redeeming and healing a sincere apology is, they'd practice it more. I'd had no idea! I'd never received one before now. Somehow, the art, or skill, or graciousness of truly apologizing has gotten lost. I've read in the Word of God, that we're supposed to, and that it is truly healing. I've longed for apologies from people who've hurt me. I've done my due diligence preparing my heart to forgive... But never in all my life has anyone come and apologized! I never knew what it felt like, to be asked to be forgiven... Wow!

Don't get me wrong, I've had people say the words, but not mean them. That kind of apology is usually followed by justification or rationalization. It never felt like they were sorry... This time, this person really meant it. It was so apparent. The whole thing was so incredibly different. I think I will treasure it for the rest of my life. I shall measure every time I wrong another, and I need to apologize by this standard. I have learned an incredible lesson, in a place I never expected to learn it.

I was that sheep, stuck and soggy, between the hot wire and the fence, stoggedly enduring shock after shock, until some one came and set me free.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Most People Don't Want To Hear It.

It is true, so many of the people that I blog to, on other sites, and even those in my life, don't want to hear it. That just blows me away! I mean really?! How can you protect yourself against the unknown. You can't. If you are ignoring or running away from your enemies or problems, you are vulnerable. You can't defend yourself. If you face them, you can fight them.

They tell me they are "overwhelmed" by ALL the things I tell them are toxic. Don't they get it? Their bodies are being overwhelmed by all those toxic things! I don't know how to proceed. I make them uncomfortable and they, in so many ways, want to shush me. They want to stop the flow of bad news. But, that's not going to stop the bad news from coming, or from destroying their lives.

So many people hear my story and because I'm sick from big exposures, assume that the toxins won't harm them. They don't get that I, among the TI, am in the minority. The majority of TIs can't tell you what injured them! They became TI by multiple small daily exposures to what are considered everyday products...!!! They were sickened so gradually that they didn't recognize that there was even anything wrong, until one day they realized just how very bad it was. Some struggled along, obliviously suffering, for decades!

Unfortunately for those who's injuries occur like this, there is less help or validation of their condition. They are the ones that suffer the most with the "it's all in your head" accusations.

How many of you, out there, don't think you're TI? How many of you have acid reflux? That is due to toxic injury. How about arthritis?- also recognized as a TI. Muscle aches and pains? ED? Fertility problems? Ulcers? Gout? Headaches? Asthma, allergies, dry flakey skin, diabetes? ALL toxic injuries. Slowly and insidiously they pile up. Until one day you begin to notice that certain perfumes are bothering you. You find yourself selecting fragrance free laundry products because "the fragrances conflict." Keep deceiving yourself... Then you find yourself avoiding the fragranced aisles in stores or cringing when nearing and passing Bath salt stores or Candle stores at the mall... You are chemically hyper-sensitive!!!! But, you'll tell yourself all kinds of things that you'll try hard to believe, in order to convince yourself it's not happening to you... I know you will. I did. So has every other TI I've ever talked to. Eventually, you'll reach the tipping point. You'll be so fricking sick that you can no longer deny it...

That makes me sad! It breaks my heart! That's why I share ALL the crap I know. That's why I try so hard to warn people! I don't want one more person to succumb... But, They. Don't. Want. To. Hear. It.

I'm thinking I should just stop blogging on that other blog. I don't believe in forcing anybody... I've heard from several posters, that they don't want to hear it. I even heard from someone that I thought was a supporter, who in the nicest way, told me he didn't want to hear it. Must be time for me to move on. I'm hoping that I've given some help to people who would have otherwise never have known. I'm hoping that in some way, I've prevented some Toxic injuries. I'm very sad for the lives that will be lost due to obstinacy.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A New Venture

My son moved to Texas. His girlfriend is from there. They are talking of getting married...

I realized she will want to have the wedding near her family and friends. That's right. That's the way it should be. When I realized it a terrible pang shot through my heart like a ragged splinter through the heel of your hand. Housebound. How can I go? I can't survive restaurants, public restrooms, or hotels. I can't fly. Too much fragrance, cleaning chemicals and pesticide. To not be able to attend my son's wedding would kill me... That's what started this new venture.

I knew that if I was going to get to go, I'd have to take my safe zone with me. I needed a motorhome. If I could find a clean, used motor home, and modify it for my needs, I could go. I have at least until May. My son won't have vacation until then. Originally, they were planning for next October, but I don't think they want to wait that long. So, I'm beginning my search now!

I started looking this weekend and found one locally. The wife was TI so she no longer uses fragrance. It was just very weathered on the outside, but fairly nice on the inside. It could be made to work. There were several things I think it needs, that this one didn't have. I'm going to keep looking.

My criteria have morphed a bit since I started. I began looking a B class. Small, handlable. It would have everything I needed, almost. It wouldn't have a full shower, or washer/dryer. If I'm going to use it past this event, it needed to be bigger. So I looked at Jayco C class. Jayco has made a lot of non-toxic components and works at keeping VOC levels down. Their C class don't come with washer dryer hook ups, either. So I started looking at A class. Wow, are they big. I don't think I'll be comfortable driving one. I want to be independent, and that looks like it could be intimidating on bad days... But I looked at them anyway; they are so luxurious!

Today I found out that if something goes wrong with the engine, on a class A, they open up the hatch between the front seats and work on it inside the motorhome space. That won't work. I would be unable to access it for 2-3 months. So I am back to C class. C class are constructed on a truck cab and the engine is "under the hood." that will work better for me. I decided that if I looked at 90s vintage they should be outgassed.

The other things I need, convection/microwave. I can't do propane or gas, cooking or heat. A solar charger and inverter. The onan generators aren't going to be an option for me either. Then there's that washer/dryer... I won't be able to access laundromats; too much residual fragranced laundry products. I couldn't wear my clothes if I used a laundromat. I also need it to have been non-smoking, non-pesticided pets and non-fragranced. That may seem like an impossible wish list, but I'm encouraged...

I surfed Craig's list and found 3 different dealers that were either TI, themselves, had a family member who was or their detailer was TI. They use only non-toxics, to clean the vehicles. They are all in different parts of the region, so they will all be keeping a look out for me. :-) This could work!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving

It's time to forget about the pie I spent all of yesterday putting together (limited energy) and then spilled half of it (myoclonic jerk) on to the bottom of the oven, the oven door and the floor; to stop worrying about the logistics of turkey and stuffings and 'sides' and focus on what I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for my family: for Ron, my husband who supports me and provides for me despite the fact that I am no longer, even remotely like the girl he married. That he's taken on all the incumbent (extremely inconvenient and sometimes incomprehensible) difficulties and barriers that accompany this disability, and hasn't bailed... A real treasure in this day and age. Who's been there beside me countless times as I've fought through heart attacks, strokes, seizures and fits and respected my wishes not to call 911 or take me to the hospital, despite his fear that I was dying(as their toxins would kill me). That takes a lot of selfless courage; for my daughter and son-in-law who came to live with us, so we can spend some time together and make some memories before I die, and to relieve a part of the burden on my husband; for my son who knows and understands every bit of my condition, from heart to science and who supports me, no matter what; and for his intended, who brings him joy; For my sister Lib, and my Fearless Leader/'mom', Peggy, who are ALWAYS there for me and let me vent, rant or cry as often as I need to. Who always agree with me, no matter how naughty I'm being }:-0 but after the storm, talk some sense into me; for close internet friends I've made, like Victoria and Shawna, as well as all my other internet friends and acquaintances who make up my social life, and voices out of the dark who needed my help and gave me a reason to keep on living. 

I'm grateful for a day , or a moment where the pain ebbs, or for fresh air so I can spend a few minutes outside, in the sun, with out getting hurt. For the smell of sheep and horses, for the kiss of llamas... For the simple joy of walking on grass and smelling the earth.

I'm thankful for the most amazing dog I've ever known. Rosie, my service dog. Who helps me in so many incredible ways, besides the unending love and constant companionship... And Jessie, my son's dog for giving me the idea.

And most of all, for God, who has never left me or forsaken me through all of my life, and who is my light and my hope.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Amazing Rosie!

I wanted to share a story I posted to my FB page on Nov. 13th about my incredible service dog Rosie.

"Yesterday was a hard day. I started having exposure reactions to something in the house, at about 4:30 a.m. It went on all day. I hung on through endless waves of chest pain, back pain, arm pit pain, neck & jaw pain as well as arhythmia's. My stomach was bloated and inflamed, I was throwing up my stomach lining and it felt like it was trying to turn itself inside out and crawl backup my esophagus. I had a pituitary head ache, weakness and further blindness in my right eye. It finally subsided by about 6:30 p.m.

At that time, I drug my sorry, exhausted ass upstairs. It was then I remembered I was going to change the cool summer sheets for the cozy flannel ones... I didn't have the strength. BUT Rosie did! I have taught Rosie to pull off sox, leg warmers and pants. This is a tremendous help when I get so bloated and swollen that I can't bend or pull.

When I was trying to pull the sheet out of the drawer, she came over to help. Together, we got it out of the drawer. Then she drug it over to the bed. She put it up on the bed on command and I was able to spread it out and put it on. We went back for the flat sheet and she pulled that one out as well. She brought it over and put it up on the bed. This was so amazing! I mean, yes I was asking her to do it, I just didn't expect her to.

I was getting even more exhausted so I asked her to help me pull the sheet into place and straighten it out. I'd point to a corner and give her the commands and she would pull it until I told her to stop. Then she helped me do the same with the blankets and bedspread. Its hard to believe but, Rosie makes beds!"

I Feel a Little Naked

I checked my stats today. I had no idea how many of you were reading my blog! First, I'd like to say, "Thank you!" Many times I'm writing along, thinking I'm mostly talking to myself, and pretending that there are actually people out there who are reading it. I feel very humbled that you are there. I also feel a little naked. GFETE (Grinning from Ear to Ear) It's the pouring out my life, with all the gruesome details of my condition. It makes me feel vulnerable. When I first started writing, it was because I was inspired by my youngest sister who rode acrossed America on horseback. She put everything on the line. She made herself vulnerable. And she grew tremendously because of it. I had decided that I was going to do that too. It's just a little easier when you think you are all alone... Kinda like when you think your alone with the baby and your making all kinds of googley faces and you look up to catch 3 people standing in a doorway watching you, grinning from ear to ear. Kind of like that, heh, heh.

I know that many of you probably know first hand what it feels like to be me, you are TI yourselves. You probably know all about feeling vulnerable. We are. I figure many of you know someone who's TI, you probably 'get it' too, though the magnitude is different. Some of you are just learning about it, and I pray you never experience being TI, or a loved one in your lives being TI and that as you read my posts perhaps you'll begin to understand us and be able to help someone in the future.

Part of why I'm writing this is to provide answers or insights to others. Part is so that what I've learned and experienced doesn't die with me. Part is just crying out in the darkness, alone, afraid and feeling forgotten. Thanks for being there, it helps me to feel less alone.
:-}

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Cause

One of my lovely sister's lost her job and is devastated. She is experiencing the same isolation and despair TIs go through when they get jettisoned from society. Suddenly abandoned, feeling worthless and spiraling into depression. You know the worst thing about it is that she didn't do anything wrong. She is honest, ethical and genuinely concerned about both her staff and those in their care. Her work ethics didn't fit with the new management company, so they used her to make the transition, then fired her without cause. A casualty of 'profit margins.'

She was pretty shaken. She doubted herself and was becoming depressed. So, I shared what I've learned in the past 7.5 years of confinement and predominantly isolation. You need a cause. When you have a cause that you believe in, it takes the focus off yourself and allows healing to come in.

I'm sharing this with you today, my readers, in case you find yourself in living conditions that compel you into depression. If you can help one other person a day, your life can become a blessing. When your life is a blessing, you yourself are blessed. It's amazing. :-) Its wonderful to feel valued, even when the rest of your life is in the toilette.

I have several causes, that I actively work to support. Of course I have a lot of time on my hands... And I figured with my injury, I most likely don't have much time left. It is a good practice to "live every day like it's your last." I never could take that seriously until I got this disease. Now It is my reality. Talk about "lighting a stick of dynamite under 'neath me' to get me motivated!

My sister was searching for a cause and tried many different ideas. She found that it was necessary for the cause to be inspiring enough to outshine the depression. She says "keep searching until you find the right one!"

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Weekend That's Actually a Weekend

This morning, I actually have a weekend that's like a normal weekend. I get to relax!

O.k. That didn't last. I just got a call from my daughter, her flight was cancelled. LOL

WEll, I was going to write that "Though I love my family, they all happen to be gone this weekend, and I was luxuriating in the thought of a much needed rest." Since my daughter is coming back home and flying out tomorrow, and the guys are returning tomorrow, looks like there will be no languishing for me!!

Ever noticed that in your lives? It seems that our lives, these days are filled up with more and more nitpicky paperwork, that we must do. Errands that we must run. Stuff that demands our attention and never lets us settle for even a few minutes. It's a bit more amplified for TIs, as we get so freaking exhausted we don't even want to get up and pee, but I see it's the same for so many normals. Just yesterday I was posting on Mercola and a dear friend there went from 16 points to 0, for her comment. She was non-plussed. I was too, so I re-read it to see what could possibly be so offensive. She was advocating home cooked meals and how little time it takes...

I actually think it may have been people that were so overhwhelmed already, rushing back and forth, that knew home cooked, organic, unprocessed food would be better for them and their families, but bought premade anyway, and that made them feel guilty, when they saw it in print. I felt saddened. They must feel trapped.

I hear from a lot of TIs that know doing things from scratch would be healthier, but don't feel they have the energy to spare, in order to start the from scratch cooking. I have as one of my "nudge along projects" a thirty minute cookbook. So I thought I'd put a recipe here for all of you to put into your weekly meal rotation. Steve Brown wrote, "Understanding the Ancestral Diet...(for dogs)" and in it he advocates (at least) one day feeding balanced raw. He talks about how much it will benefit your dog. So I figure, if you serve an easy homemade, organic meal at least one night a week, it will benefit you! So here's a recipe...

This stew is named for a line in the musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brother's" starring Howard Keel and Jane Powell, Jane's character responds to Howard's when he asks her to pass the ketchup for her stew, "My stew can stand on its own two feet!" This one can't. My husband loves ketchup, and puts it on everything. So I gave up and just put it there to begin with. It's one of his favorites and makes this soooo easy to fix!

CAN'T STAND STEW
pre-heat oven to 350* F. Feeds 4 big eaters

1-1.5 lbs. Organic, grass fed lamb burger or stew meat
2 C. Chopped organic sweet onion
5-7 lrg. Diced organic garlic cloves
3 chopped stalks organic celery
5 peeled, sliced organic carrots
1/2 - 1 lrg. Chunked organic red cabbage (depends on how much room in your casserole you have! Mine's 2.5 quarts)
1/2. C. Annie's Naturals Organic Ketchup, twice.(always check the label to make sure it stays organic, and additive free.)
Salt & pepper

In a large ceramic covered casserole place the first 6 ingredients in order of appearance. Cover with 1/2 cup ketchup and season with salt & pepper, from your shaker. Don't over do it!
Cover and place in the pre-heated oven. Bake for 30 min. Remove from oven, stir, cover with remaining ketchup. Replace lid and bake for another 30 min. Remove, stir, you're ready to serve.

Dinner smells delicious and you've spent less than thirty minutes in the kitchen. :-) I really hope that makes at least one day in your life healthier and better.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Providing Balance

While most TIs dream of spending just a few precious minutes, in a row, without pain or freaky symptoms, I have purposely tried to downplay that aspect, here on my blog. Which, I woke up with the realization this morning, gives non TI readers an incomplete, and perhaps inaccurate impression of these conditions. (Toxic Injuries encompass a large variety of conditions and causal factors.) As one of the reasons for writing this is to help others understand TIs, I suppose I should occassionally include a "Reality Check."

Part of what reminded me was the amount of times I found myself apologizing for my bad spelling errors, typos, and apparent failure to proof read on other blogs I participate in. Normals might see those things as "sloppy, lazy, ignorant, careless." For me, and I know for many other TIs, we have to let those go, and be happy to just get our thoughts down on the page.

Like me, many suffer myoclonic jerks, tremors and shaking. The toxic damage includes muscle coordination and control. So typing becomes a physical struggle. Then, there are the visual disturbances. I'm currently going through a period where my vision has degraded, it gets intermittently worse and parts of the field are obscured or occluded. It changes so rapidly, I can't keep up with it. The brain tries to fill in the blank spots by projecting what 'should be there,' Everybodies brain does it. In the spot where the optic nerve enters the back of your eyeball, there are no receptors. So your brain fills in the picture. That's where we got the term "a blind spot." Right now, it seems as though I have a lot of them. Like many TIs I've talked to, we can read something over 15 times and not "see" the errors that are actually before our eyes. I get real tired of this kind of freaky crap!

When I write official papers, I literally proof read them almost a hundred times. I also send them out to editors, who I do the same service for. We hope to catch each others mistakes. Since we're all TIs, it's still a little hit and miss. At this point, some of you are asking, "Why don't you send them to normals?" All our papers revolve around toxic injury... Normals get sick of reading our stuff. Its not part of their lives, they have their own struggles, and they don't have the same urgent motivation that we do.

The other factor that adds to our poor typing skills is the neural impairment that we get from exposures. Forming sentences, choosing words, on toxed days this is one of my most frustrating struggles. As a child I was speaking in complete sentences before I was a year old. I had always scored in the 99th percentile for communication and vocabulary. Now, some days, I even struggle to form a short 4 word sentence. (I keep pushing though, that's how you regrow neural pathways...) Then, there's the 'soap bubble' aspect. When we get a complete thought, it's there for such a short time, and then, pop! It's gone. So we have to type fast, before we forget it. O.k., as fast as we can. Sigh, not the best scenario. Then, add to that the new iOS 5 update, that has made my touch screen crazy. It toes (originally typed 'types)letters I don't even touch, just get near and doesn't type ones I do touch. I'm still trying to determine if I'm hitting the wrong keys or it's actually typing the key adjacent to the one I'm touching. I don't look at my fingers when I type, so after all rose (originally typed 'those) years of typing 80 WPM and not looking, it's hard to make myself look. But I can blame the 'upgrade' for the wild word substitutions. One time I typed 'comparable' and it substituted 'oar.' (when I proof read this, I noticed those two other strange substitutions), huh? I'm also noticing that if you type something in wrong so many times, it accepts it as a desired spelling. With all my legitamate typos, my spell checking feature is gone! Then, the other part of my brain damage is that I can look right at words I used to know how to spell and won't even know if they're misspelled or not! FRUSTRATION THROUGH THE ROOOOOOOF!!!! Pant, pant, Anyway, that's probably enough of my reality for the day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Side trip for Raw Dog Food Recipes

I've been Participating in the discussions at this really excellent site called dogfoodadvisor.com. It is created and maintained by the very dedicated Mike Sagman. The community is blessed with some really great and knowledgable members on various things "dog." A poster today asked for raw dog food recipes. Well, I didn't have the web addresses anymore; I deleted them when I was so sick because, looking at all that stuff hurt my eyes and I had to cut down on the clutter. Boy have I regretted that since! But as TIs we do what we have to, to get by.

So, while anyone could do what I did and run an internet search, I thought I'd just post them here, to get 'cha started. You-all can also go to an ebook seller and get various books by some great, knowledgable authors, for very little money. Bear in mind, I changed these recipes, adjusting them for toxicity. To get the real ones, you'll have to hunt them down. A few pioneers in ths diet are mentioned from the original websites recipes, search those names, and another mentor that I like is Leerburg.com he'll let you download hs recipes for free. Hope this helps. GFETE

Raw dog food recipes

Recipe 1

Ingredients
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 cup of raw carrots, broccoli, red peppers and squash, mixed
2 cups of plain yogurt
1 tbsp. 500 IU fish oil
1 tbsp. 500 IU Alfalfa 
1 tbsp. 500 IU Vitamin E
1 orange

Prepare your dog's meal
Chop the vegetables into small, bite-size pieces. Mix all ingredients into a large bowl and add a 1/2 cup of water. Serve raw. Switch things up and use ground beef or ground or chopped chicken. 

This recipe makes about 9 cups of food, more than enough for one day's rations for a small dog. Daily ration: 1 to 2 cups per day for a toy breed; 4 cups per day for a small breed; 6 or 7 cups for a medium breed; about 8 cups for a large breed; and about 9 cups for a giant breed.

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Recipe 2

Raw Food And Supplements
Many types of raw food can be beneficial for your dog. Some of the choices include meaty raw bones that are half bone and half meat. Chicken necks, wings and back, lamb and pork neck bones and turkey necks are good choices. Pulped fruits and vegetables, garlic and raw eggs can be included. Omega 3 fatty acids can be added as supplements; olive oil. Other good supplements are vitamins C and E, kelp powder, alfalfa powder, brewer's yeast, and apple cider vinegar.

Raw Food Recipes
Many creative and nutritional recipes are available.A good raw food recipe should provide nutrients, protein, fiber, carbohydrates, riboflavin, potassium, beta carotene, fat, iron, and vitamins A and C. Here is a good recipe:

Ingredients: 1 ounce liver, 2½ ounces chicken, 3/8 ounce sterilized food grade bone meal (grass fed source), ½ cup Brussels sprouts, ½ teaspoon olive, cold pressed, extra virgin, oil, ½ cup sliced carrots, pinch of cooked garlic. 
All the ingredients should be washed. Peel the carrot and cut up, along with cutting the Brussels sprouts. Cut off the skin off the chicken and then cut into small pieces. Cut the liver. Mix the vegetables and meat together and then add the oil, garlic and bone meal

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Recipe 3

BARF diet
A raw food diet, coined the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) diet by Dr. Ian Billinghurst, DVM, consists of 50 percent raw meaty bones and 50 percent raw meat, which needs to include organ meat such as liver, heart and kidneys. Because dogs are omnivores, pureed vegetables must be added; the vegetables must be pureed because dogs don't chew much and can't digest whole vegetables. Eggs, yogurt and omega-3 fatty acids round off a complete homeopathic diet.

When feeding raw meat, vary the protein source for your dog. Good protein sources include turkey, beef, chicken, lamb, rabbit and venison. If your dog is allergic to a certain protein source, avoid that type. Find organic meat that isn't polluted with chemicals used on many factory farms.

Vegetables can be raw or cooked, but include as wide a variety as possible with each meal. Vegetable sources include asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, celery, green beans, okra, pumpkin and squash. 

To add more homeopathic nutrition to your dog's meal, Dr. Richard Pitcairn recommends adding this healthy powder to all homemade recipes: 2 cups brewer's yeast, 1 egg, 1/4 cup kelp powder, 4 tbsp. bone meal powder and 1,000mg vitamin C.

Build your dog's diet by combining any of the above proteins with any of the combined vegetables in a 3 to 1, meat to vegetable ratio. Add a raw egg and omega-3 fatty acid tablet from any local grocery store for complete nutrition. A 50-pound dog can eat about 1 pound of meat mixture per day; adjust accordingly to your dog's weight.

For a simple dinner, mix 6 oz. chopped meat, which includes organ meat, with 2 oz. ground vegetables listed above. Add 1 egg, 1 omega-3 capsule and a handful of fruit, such as apples, bananas or berries. Mix thoroughly and add 1 spoonful of grapefruit seed extract to kill bacteria. Top with 1 spoonful of organic oil, which provides twice the energy of other food sources. This makes one serving.

Though grains are considered unnecessary for dogs, raw Gluten Free oats can help your dog digest raw meat. If his stools seem a little hard, add a couple spoonfuls of GF oats or oatmeal.

A raw recipe with grains recommended by Dr. Pitcairn includes 5 cups raw oats, 3 pounds raw turkey, ¼ cup vegetable oil, 1 cup cooked vegetables, 6 tbsp. healthy powder mentioned above and 4 tsp. bone meal. Cook the oats and combine with the rest of the ingredients. This makes about five servings for a small dog, three servings for a medium dog and a little less for a large dog.


Difficulty: Moderately EasyInstructions
Things You'll Need:
Whole raw chicken, beef, pork or other meat
Raw bones
Starchy vegetables like carrots or sweet potatoes
Fruits like whole apples or pears
Eggs with shell
Yogurt, cheese or other dairy product
1
Choose a whole meat to serve as the basis of your dog's meal, such as chicken, beef or pork. Leave any bones intact and place it in your dog's bowl. If meat cost is an issue for you, ask your butcher about "throwaway" cuts of meat like chicken feet and organ meat. You can often buy these undesirable cuts cheaply.
2
Cut up raw, starchy vegetables and fruits. Mix these vegetables and fruits with a dairy product like yogurt. Put the mixture on top of the meat in your dog's bowl.
3
Crack eggs on top the raw food in your dog's bowl, and leave the egg shell in the bowl as well. Serve the raw food mixture to your dog at mealtime.

———----------

Recipe 4

1 lb. raw ground meat

2 cups ground or pureed vegetables

2-4 oz. raw organ meat (liver, gizzards, etc.)

half cup apple cider vinegar

2-3 cloves garlic

1 T ground kelp

half cup plain yogurt

3 eggs with shells

palmful of parsley

Mix all ingredients (chop, puree, or leave in large chunks, depending on your dog's preference) and store in the refrigerator or freezer. This mixture should account for 20-40% of your dog's daily diet.

The remaining 60-80% of your raw-food-eating dog's daily requirement should consist of raw meat and bones (backs, necks, carcasses). These items should range from $0.00 - $2.00 per pound, depending on how friendly you are with your butcher.

In raw conclusion...

Of course, percentages of meat to vegetables is approximate. But most raw food experts agree - the most important part of a raw dog food diet is the meat. Our furry friends are carnivores, and eat little or no vegetables in the wild.

Benefits of a raw dog food diet include fewer, and more compact stools; muscle development in the jaw, neck, and shoulders (resulting from the chewing required by the meat and bone diet); better digestion due to slower, labored chewing; and an extended lifespan - thanks to an adherence to a natural, unprocessed, diet.

Have an aversion to feeding raw meat? Is your dog a scarfer, not skilled at chewing bones? Then debone it! Cook it! Read on for recipes that cater to the more evolved canine.

Organic, Homemade Dog Food - Good Food in the Nude
---------------------

Recipe 5


half cup organic cottage cheese

half cup organic grated carrots

4-5 organic skin-on raw chicken wings (or cooked organic chicken, with bones removed)

Pile up your dog's bowl (using our weight calculator) with these yummy ingredients and watch 'em fly.
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Recipe 6

Buffaloaf
3 cups ground buffalo (lean)

2 eggs

three quarter's of a cup grated mixed vegetables, including zucchini, broccoli, carrots, and sweet potato (I don't use sweet potato as dogs don't need carbs...)

half cup cottage cheese

Substitute ground turkey, chicken, or beef, if desired. Mixing meats is not recommended.


More Main Dish Recipes - Good Food with Attitude

Now that you have learned about the basics of home cooking for your dog, you can stir up these and many other recipes of your own creation. Here are just a few to spark your imagination. Remember, all foods should be served at room temperature, and left-overs may be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 4 days. Or, individual servings may be frozen for future defrosting and feeding.
Canine Casserole Recipe
------------------

Recipe 7
 15 minutes
1 cup cooked chicken or turkey

half cup steamed vegetables (carrots, broccoli, squash, spinach, sweet potato)


Combine all ingredients.
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Recipe 8
 40 minutes
2/3 cup meat of choice, cubed

three quarters of a cup carrot and sweet potato, cubed

quarter tsp. garlic powder

Add all ingredients, except rice, to large pot and boil. When vegetables are tender, add rice and cook until done. Add more water as needed during cooking.
-------------------------


Recipe 9

Pupper Fish

$4.50, 30 minutes
1 can salmon, deboned ( lots of people feed the bone, but I can't bring myself to it. I also have one dog that prefers it just ever so slightly cooked.)

1 beaten egg

1 Zune

1 carrot

Cottage cheese or plain yogurt

Combine salmon, egg, and cornmeal. Form into patties and press into more cornmeal. Sautee in a canola sprayed pan until cooked through. Chop and steam the vegetables. Cut salmon patties into small bites and combine with the vegetables. If the mixture seems too dry, add a bit of cottage cheese or yourt.
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Recipe 10

Basic Raw Dog Food Recipe 
For A 20-25# Dog

1/2 cup raw meat (ground poultry, beef, lamb, organ meats)
1/2 cup raw pureed vegetables (variety!)
1 teaspoon bonemeal powder (double for puppies and pregnancy)
1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid powder with bioflavinoids (vitamin C)
1/4 teaspoon kelp powder
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic (not powder)
1 teaspoon oil mixture (2 teaspoons with poutlry)


-----------------------------

My basic recipe

2 lbs. Ground meat
1/2 - 1 C. Minced, lightly cooked veggies, (cruciferous, or carrots, occassionally a little cooked spinach) 
2 eggs, with crushed shell
1/2 - 1 cup farmer, pot or cottage cheese or sour cream (something dairy with live acidophilus etc. Or use capsules, opened.)
1 Tbl bone meal powder 
3 kelp capsules, emptied
1 Tbl. Parsley or oregano
1 teas. Garlic powder 
optional, vitamin C powder and brewers yeast

Mix well, being careful not to cause the bonemeal to fly up, press into patties and freeze. Aprx. weight of patty, 4 oz. Store in ziplock bags in freezer. 50 lb. Dog gets 4/day. 6 lb. Dog gets 1 smaller one or 2/3 per day (2 - 3 oz. Per day)

Vary this with raw meaty bones and cooked veggies as available.A
----------------------------

Foods to be Avoided

Certain foods should be avoided completely, including:

Grapes and raisins, Onions, Mushrooms, Avocado, Hulled foods (corn, beans, peas), Tomatoes, Fruit, fruit pits and seeds, Macadamia nuts, Walnuts, Chocolate, Cooked bones, Coffee and tea, Yeast, Nutmeg, Salt, White foods (white bread, white rice), Foods included in the nightshade category may cause problems for some dogs (eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, white potatoes, iceberg lettuce, and raw spinach), and for some dogs, dairy can be pretty scary.


 Kicking Portion Distortion

Not sure about your dog's appropriate feeding portion? 2-3% of total body weight is appropriate for most dogs. Very young dogs may need a bit more, while older or inactive dogs require less.
To calculate, multiply his weight, in pounds, by 16 to get his total body weight in ounces. Feed him 2-3% of that weight, daily. For example, if your dog weighs 50 pounds...

50 lb. x 16 oz. = 800 oz. (total body weight in ounces)

800 oz. x .02 = 16 oz. (total daily minimum food weight)

OR

800 oz. x .03 = 24 oz. (total daily maximum food weight)

You may choose to divide your dog's daily food into two feedings, or you may want to stick with one daily meal. Whatever your dog is accustomed to is fine.

Or, you may choose to count calories...

Dogs that weigh-in at less than 20 pounds generally require 40 calories per pound per day. For instance, your 12 pound Yorkie will require approximately 480 calories per day (12 lb. x 40 cal. = 480 cal. per day).

Dogs that tip the scales at over 100 pounds usually need about 15 calories per pound of body weight, per day. For example, a 120 pound Great Dane will need roughly 1800 calories per day (120 lb. x 15 cal. = 1800 cal. per day).

On average, dogs require about 25 calories per pound of body weight, per day. If in any doubt, less is always more. Moderate canine body weight has proven to extend the lives of our best friends. And who doesn't want even just one more day?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rosie, Service Dog Update

So Rosie is now almost a year old. While she is ready for her Canine Good Citizen certification, AKC doesn't do Fragrance Free events... Not quite up to ADA standards. I have spoken to them about it, but I've given them some time to mull it over and haven't recontacted them yet. Its on my list.

I finally was able to get an e-version of Teamwork II, by Stewart Nordenson, for training your own service dog. Stewart was disabled himself and the book is excellent! You can get an e copy of Teamwork and Teamwork II directly from TopDog.com or Amazon. Well worth the price!!

Rosie now puts away clean laundry: she's working on putting away dirty laundry. She can remove sox, retrieve items, like phone, pens, remotes. She's working on "find Help." She can find Ron, Justin and Alex if they are nearby. We will be working on this more in the "Find Help" catagory. For that she will bring them back to me. She alerts to fragrance, and if I'm crashing. She backs, holds, takes, gives, waits, stays, heals, gets, comes front, sits, downs and finds. She of course stays out of the kitchen unless asked in, and lays down next to me quietly when eating. We will be working on Under so she can go under tables at restuarants, not that we'll use it, but she'll need to do that to pass any test we take.  She differentiates between sox, ball, squirrel (a toy), and phone. She also braces and pulls. We are working on closing doors and drawers, as well as putting things in various places by command, like hand, lap, drawer. We will also be working on pick up clothes to hand to me on days I'm so swollen I can't retrieve anything I drop on the floor, or so she can pull up pants.  we will also work on removing pants. All these things sure make painful, swollen days a lot easier!

Top Dog does certify service dogs. Its Not required, but my one concern about them is that they require spayed or neutered. No exceptions. I'm not sure I want to spay. I don't want puppies, its just that dogs are healthier if they keep the organs that God designed them with. Surgeries are toxic.  I want to keep her as healthy as possible. Since I don't go anywhere. Its not so much an issue. I understand why dogs that go into public need to be spayed, but I can't go into public. I'm going to mull that one over for a while... If I do spay, it will be around 2 years of age when she's fully developed, and only a partial. I haven't got the Rabies vac yet. Still looking for one with out adjuvants. They are hugely toxic, and she had that bad reaction to Parvo/distemper.

oh, yeah, she's started on pheasant retrieval, and sheep herding... Here's a couple more pics. ;^) One with her buddy, Jessie.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Summer Summery

Sorry I left you for so long. For awhile I had both my children home and my son-in-law. We were juggling farm work, surveying, water rights and moving Ryan out of his college house, as well as prepping it for the next renters and property repairs. Ryan was looking for work while living with us, and in case you don't remember, my daughter and son-in-law moved back in, while she works a temporary research position nearby. I, as the mother, farm/office manager orchestrate the whole thing. I feel very much like a conductor. Or perhaps the ringleader at a circus.

For a while there, I was doing all the cooking, cleaning and dishes. It had to stop. It was too much. So I commanded a rotating schedule. That worked well but there are so many changes, that it keeps getting upset. It's still in effect, however, I'm doing a lot more cooking because everyone comes and goes except me. I'm also,doing more of the dishes. The only person that rivals me for "sink front time" is my son-in-law, Justin. It's been pretty darnhectic. Alex and Ron leave for work early and get back late. Ryan and Justin did farming and surveying in the mornings. Justin works for a shipping company, so he works swing, and Ryan would do engineering and water rights, as well as submit resemés, during all other hours.

I certainly got a close up view of the difficulty of finding a job in this economy! I watched my highly qualified son apply for hundreds of jobs. Not having a real job, as opposed to working for his parents, was tearing him up. Not having a job bugs me too. So I understand how the unemployed feel. I'd love a job, but the injustices and limitations of this disability forced me out of the job market. I still keep looking for something that could accommodate my disability.

Even with all the extra work that having more bodies in the house brings, I still thought I'd be better now. After all, I do get lots of help. You remember that I was giving myself IVs, so I dn't have to get exposed at the Dr.s? That works great. The kids- [3 adults :^)   ]  have been a tremendous help. They've taken over all the grocery shopping and much of the household shopping. They run all the errands for both Ron and I. The boys have cleaned up huge amounts of the Farm, and Alex collects my organic produce from a nearby organic producer. That's been great!

So what's the problem? It's me! The better I feel, the more I want to do and the harder I push. Of course, that leads to exposures and wearing myself out. I told you that Alex was picking up produce, right? I canned 10 canner loads of salsa, and the same of stewed tomatoes. Justin was my chopper. He's better than a dice-o-matic. He'd do the jalapeños and onions before going to work. Yep, more energy, because I have more help, equals more that I try to get done. And since Alex was here and loves cherry pie as much as her father, the two of them built scarecrows and netted the cherry trees (something that I used to do, but can't because the orchard is by the Evils property line.) They did it so the magpies couldn't get them all. She and I processed cherries for days! Justin helped.

Justin hadn't learned to cook before he married my daughter, and she didn't have time to teach him while writing her thesis, so now that there's a rotation, I'm teaching him to cook. We're calling him "the man of a thousand fish dishes." He loves salmon and we have tons, as Ron loves to hunt and fish. Because he works evenings, he normally cooks one day a weekend. Justin is turning out some really tasty and creative dishes. His hollandaise sauce is incredible!

At one point I was feeling so much better that I started up a weaving project I'd begun and had to put down a year ago. I was doing it in those little time bites that we break everything into. The important part was that I had the brains back to do it again. That's one of the ways I measure my progress- how much and what I can create. It doesn't take a whole lot of mental health to get the laundry run. It takes a great deal more to figure out a pattern and warp up a loom. Yeah! I was doing pretty good. *read that with a smug smile on my face.*

Part of my recovery has been the fact that I haven't had hardly any trouble with Mr. Evil. You see, both my boys are big. They both have powerful chests and shoulders. Mr. Evil is a bully and a coward. (I posted this pic, so you can see how big they are. Sheep shearing was another activity that I love and got to do again with their help! Such a wonderful summer!) Anyway, Mr. Evil has hardly bothered me at all. Only when no one else was around, and that's not very often. Of course, I still had Jessie (Ryan's German Shepard x husky) and Rose is almost a year. They've helped deter Mr. Evil from his malicious behavior.

But, all that activity takes its toll. September was a whirl wind! Ryan secured a job in Texas, and he started making arrangements to move down there. His girlfriend flew up to PDX at the end of the month, and after they visited the coast, they came over here so that we could meet her. She's the one. Poor child... Jumping head first into a toxin free family? cold turkey! well the girl has chutzpah!

So that was a huge deal, and we only had a week to prepare, once they decided she was coming. It was also the weekend before her birthday, so we wanted to honor her with a birthday celebration. My daughter, Alex made up a desert some time lat year and her husband named it. It's called, "Chocolate Cheesecake Squares of Fatness." It is so good. We made that in honor of Michele's birthday. They arrived, were here for a day, and then were gone. Michele, Ryan and Jessie, drove off into the rising darkness. Both Ron and I cried. Ron had moved Alex, when she left for Indiana. So he was able to feel like she was "safe," because he'd installed her. This time, his son wanted to be independent. Ron had to remain behind. Both things, Ryan leaving, and Ron out there roofing a porch through his tears, nearly broke my heart, again. It was a toxically hard weekend as well. Though Michele and Ryan tried very hard to help her be fragrance free, it wasn't doable in one week. I received some pretty big exposures.

Mid week after they left, someone had a chemical/petroleum spill up wind of me. It hit me at the back door when I was returning from potting Rosie and Sonya. Whatever it was started me hemoraghing. About that time we found out that the professors were coming for opening of pheasant season. Ah, our beloved professors. Only two came this year. It was a wonderful social event for me but I still got more exposures. The accumulation had my glutathione so used up, despite the shots, that I nosedived this last weekend, over an additional exposure. The crash was pretty bad. I ran through every trick I knew, even an extra shot, and it barely knocked it down. I am back to being grounded to my chair for a while.

I've noticed I either live life, or I write about it. I haven't seemed to be able to balance it yet. It has been a busy, glorious summer. I'm glad I found a few minutes to write you about it. Hopefully, I'll write you all about Rosie's progress and get on my desk top computer to add some pictures real soon. Bye for now!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How I Got This Way - Part 6d, Livestock Problems

Part 6d

In 2010 we discovered the neighbor to our SW and and a neighbor directly across the road from us were both contracting with Pioneer to do test plots for GMO corn. They use chemicals with organophosphates, 2,4-D, dicamba and round-up. Test plots use a lot of pesticide. But there are fewer applications, and most follow lambing seaon. Here's the animal results...

On 03-15-10 I discover that Lily has a stuck lamb. He's been stuck for a week. She didn't have any signs of labor. I just happened to see a little bit of bloody discharge, so I checked her. (Remember, I've become much more "invasive" after the weird things that have been going on.) I pulled it, it was septic, and a little spotty ewe lamb.

Checked the other ewes and found Cheryl's Ewe-nice had a stuck lamb as well. Pulled it, black ram, and a second lamb (a white ewe).

03-16-10 the ewe, 10 of 07, has a large ram lamb on the field. I give Lily B complex and note after birth is still not delivered. I manipulate the afterbirth, to encourage it to release, put in a second uterine bolus and give her penicillin for the sepsis.

03-18-10 Lily is declining. She's off her feed. I give feed supplements and more penicillin. She's bleeding, clotting and shaking. One of our neighbors puts down fertilizer on both his place, to the south, and the Evils, (which he's renting). Fertilizer contains a number of toxic "inert ingredients." Lily dies. 1 of 09 has a broken leg. Ron casts it. No apparent reason.

03-23-10 I take Jessie, my son's German shepherd, out to potty and smell insecticide. It smells like Raid.
03-25-10 the ewe, 2 of 08, has a blk ewe lamb, and a second ram lamb, an hour later.

03-26-10, 4 of 08 has a ram and a ewe an hour & fifteen minutes apart. Ron's out working on the fence between us and the Evils, during this time, and Mr. Evil runs over to the fence, brandishing a hammer and threats to "come over the fence and beat (Ron) to death with it." Mr. Evil flies his remote control plane over our farm.

03-27-10 Mel delivers two ram's and a ewe by herself.

03-30-10 Ron notes Mr. Evil sprayed right of way.

03-31-10 take Beege (our German Shorthair) out to potty, and smell heavy chemical smell.
04-11-10 I'm out shearing llama's. Mr. Evil flies his remote control plane over our property, over me, dive bombing me.

04-16-10 shearing Phillip, Cheryl's ram and discover he has massive hard cysts.

04-19-10 working outside, smell petroleum/spray.

05-1-10 Ron works cattle, treats 2 for mange. Mange is due to parasitic mites. Remember parasites infest animals that are Immuno supressed. I should note, we feed premium alfalfa all winter, until the pasture is back up in the spring. They aren't stressed due to lack of good feed... Treats all cattle with "pink eye vac" the vet recommended (Ron uses a different vet than I do and tends to treat "allepathically" they are assuming the pink eye is a virus.)

05-29-10 Ryan notices Rambini (Rambo's son that I saved as a replacement ram) has labored breathing. We decide it must be more paracite problems and reluctantly give Ivamec. Ivamec all ram's.

07-3-10 Rambini having trouble again, Ron gives B shot.

07-08-10, Cheryl comes and we lance and drain Phillips cysts again.

07-11-10 Cheryl's lamb, from Ewe-nice laying down and not eating or drinking. Give B and Ivamec drench. Gets better by next day.

07-13-10 I'm outside doing animals and a yellow spray plane flies over at less than 200' - remember the minimum, unless they are spraying, is 500'. Treating Cheryl's lamb still, looks like it was nose bots and heat stress. Yellow and black plane comes back and sprays Cleaver's field, 1/2 mile down the road. I note that he begins his discharge over Carpenters. Spray engulfs their house and yard. The wind speed is over 10 M.P.H. It's against the law to apply in conditions were it will drift, wind speeds over 10 M.P.H. Are drift conditions.

07-24-10 treat all sheep with Ivamec drench for parasites and note problem's connection to excessive pesticide use from previous 3 weeks. One lamb drops dead following treatment. One a few hours later. (those spray application notes are on my calendars, not necessarily noted in my farm journals).

09-01-10, Shmookie's calf, 2 of 9 has very small, weak calf premature. Dies next day. We also find a dead rat in the field.... Very odd.

09-05-10 Ron treats youngest heifer's for pink eye. (despite "vaccination")

09-06-10 Ron treats Sproingy, (cow) w/eyeball shot for pinkeye.

09-13-10 Ron retreats all cattle for pink eye.

I decide that animals are to run down because of spraying, and have too many health problems. I chose not to breed this year to give all ewes a rest.

11-18-10 Ryan discovers ewe lamb, 3 of 10 dead on pasture.

11-20-10 we move sheep to smaller pasture closer to house. All have signs of mineral deficiency and not thriving. Boost minerals and start grain.

11-22-10 Blizzard

11-23-10 Ewe lamb, 1 of 10 down on pasture. We give her B, probiotics and bring her into shop. We give her extra hay & combo.

11-24-10 she dies.

11-26-10 more sheep come down with diarrhea. We treat all with kaopectate & probiotics. Sheep recover.

12-15-10 our cow, 02 is feeling poorly. Standing hunched and not eating. We bring her in give her anti biotics, probiotics, extra feed, grain w/ brewers yeast & C.

12-23-10, 02 appears recovered. We turn her out.


12-30-10, 02 relapses, we bring her back in and put her back on the treatment. All lambs have diarrhea.

2011

01-08-11 Cheryl's lamb not moving, we bring it in. Begin treatment include "Cellfood" and lamb starter.

01-13-11 lamb keeps improving then relapsing, take in fecal sample. Vet prescribes worm drench. Ron give antibiotic, too. Ron also gives 02 worm Meds.

01-15-11 on vets recommendation worm whole herd. Lamb gets worse. I begin regular probiotics and lamb recovers. Starts eating again. Ron gives selenium to lamb and cow. Cheryl's other lamb starts to fail. Ron gives more penicillin to first lamb.

01-16-11 Cheryl's first lamb dies. Too weak for treatment. 02 dies a week later, I forgot to write it in my journal.

This year, the neighbor on our SW contracts again with Pioneer. It's a different field, further away: GMO corn.

06-03-11 Rambini dead this morning. He was fine the day before. I found him. He had blood running from his eyes & nose. They'd sprayed the evening before.

06-21-11, 09 has bull calf. He has one incomplete eye.

That is the completion of all the relevant farm journal entries to date. My next task will be to review my spray notification calendars and edit them in to the livestock journal entries. I think you'll begin to see an even more obvious pattern emerging...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How I Got This Way, Part 6c, Livestock Problems

Part 6c

This year, no adjacent melon farming. The melon farmer and his crews left every field he'd rented wasted, full of black plastic, garbage, weeds and human excrement. Every neighbor is pissed, except the Evils, but Mr. Smart is down wind of the 'Evils' and doesn't want the stuff blowing in on him. The Evils want to keep on Mr. Smarts good side.

01-25-08
Smokey Rose goes off her feed. She's straining and hunching. I call the vet. He determines a bacterial infection. We treat w/enema, molasses, nutrients and he says 2oz of PPG as a laxative. This year I have retired the remaining 3 ewes that I started ths program with. They will just be fiber producers from here on out.

3-5-08 Lily begins labor, first lamb breech. 1 ram, 2 ewes. All lively and well. On the 6th, Mel has 2 ewe lambs on the field by herself.

Sunny died On the 7th. There had been two toxic episodes last week & one on Thursday that made me sick. I must assume that Sunny's death was due to those, as he sickened and died following those events. Also, Smokey Rose seems to have reabsorbed her lambs, and is no longer pregnant.

The Evils had begun a program of unannounced 2,4D spraying that I will address more when I review my journals. I'm including this note here because it resulted in an animal death, that was heart breaking. They sprayed when my husband was out of town, knowing that it would imprison me in my home for 8 days. On May 10th, during the imprisonment, I look out the back widow and discover Lyra, one of my female llamas, down on the pasture. I watch her for some time with binoculars. Not even an ear twitch. I can't get out. It's so toxic, it's life threatening. I assume she's dead. I cry in helpless rage and sorrow. When Ron returns he finds she's still alive. She's paralyzed. As I'd experienced paralysis from these chemicals I should have thought of that and kicked myself. She dies that day.

We were having another summer with pink eye problems. This time the 2,4-D is being applied weekly by the e
'Evils,' not for agricultural purposes, but in retaliation. One of the twin calves, who we named Zoid, as she had a trapezoid shaped patch on her face, got it so bad, she has to have the eye shot treatment. Her twin ends up needing the treatment too. Another cow had twins and one her calves needed the treatment, as does 119's calf.

Ron helps me with feet trimming on Oct., 9. Mr. Evil runs out of his house, fires up his diesel tractor and parks it idling as close to us as the fence allows. On the 12th when we are finishing up sheep Mr. Evil runs out and lights a fire burning railroad ties. When I go inside he puts it out. When I come back out, he dumps accelerant on it and gets it going again. (these notes were in my farm journal, I'll forget them later when reading my other journals, so I included them.) I had to quit, go in and Ron had to finish my chores.

On 10/24/08 Shana my loving, quiet pom died. She'd been showing all the classic signs of stomach cancer for the past couple of months. The research shows a higher incidence of cancer in dogs that are exposed to 2,4-D. 2,4-D is heavy and travels along the ground. Smaller dogs are more prone to contracting cancer as they are breathing in the pesticide zone. I have research on 2,4-D applications that shows adverse effets within an average of 500' from the application site. Children and small dogs are most at risk.

11-2-08 Smokey Rose died with the return of the same hunched posture that the vet couldn't really identify and suggested was a bacterial infection. I think it was just pesticide poisoning, plain and simple.

1-4-09 Mel is standing hunched up. This time I treat the ewe as though she has a toxic injury. I had learned that selenium is a major part of the glutathione cycle. I give her 2cc Bo-Se and 5 cc of B Complex, and brewer's yeast. She recovers.

4-5-09 Mel has 3 lambs. 1st one, extra lrg, and dead. Next 2 healthy. (2,4-D is also an endocrine system disruptor. So I'm not surprised we continue to have problems.) On the 8th Lily has 2 lambs by herself.

On 4-12-09 PGG Agronomy, a spray company, sprays Husky on the Evils back field, adjacent to the field where Lottie the mule and Bullwinkle are. The next day Lottie colics. On the 28th PGG sprays McColley's and Sproingy, a hereford/angus cow has her calf. It's weak and stressed, though delivery is uneventful.

My filly, Mariah, got injured badly and I'd been sneaking out to doctor her when The Evils were gone at work. On 5-31-09 Mrs. Evil and her kids returned with a truck full of sheep and saw me. The next day when I went out to tend Mariah, after they went to work, I started having symptoms of 2,4-D poisoning. Spinal swelling, skin itching and burning, porphyria, severe headache, eye balls burning and swollen, etc....

10/14 was out sorting ewes and ram's for breeding, one of the Evils ran out and started spraying with their 4 wheeler. I got sick.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How I Got This Way Part 6b, Livestock Problems

Part 6b

In '06 problems started early. I was beginning to suspect the melon farmers but had no proof. Just suspicion. Prep work began early in February and I had ask the 'Evils' to make sure the melon farmer was only using fertilizer. Mrs. Evil had expressed an interest in going organic and requested information the previous summer, so I thought I was going to be protected. It was mid February when Rosie got sick. The 19th. At the time she showed signs of "over eaters disease" or pregnancy toxemia. Both have the same symptoms as pesticide poisoning, but I didn't have any factual evidence and was just beginning to note the connection. Remember, the melon farmer insisted it was "only fertilizer." I'd called and reminded him I needed notification if he put down any chemicals, the first day I saw him working in the field. That day they were "just discing..."

I treated Rosie for bloat, toxemia and mineral dificiencies. I should note that all our livestock have free access to mineral supplement. I was reasoning that it was the multiple births sucking the minerals out of her system, so she would need extra. Rosie was 'down on the field.' There is only so long that a ewes can be down before she can't ever get up. It's the lack of circulation that will kill them, so at least three times a day I was rolling her over and pedaling her legs by pairs, like one does for a baby. then I'd right her but make sure she was laying on her other side, so more blood could get to her legs. They lay on their legs you know. I notice that Clarise is also having trouble getting up, and Jane knocked her down at the trough. I treated all the ewes with cal/mag and started supplemeningt with combo and extra alfalfa.

Rosie continued to have problems and showed some vulvular swelling. She wasn't due yet, so I called the vet. He came out and administered dexamethasone, an anti hystemine to improve the lamb's lung development and advised polypropylene glycol. This is a synthetic sugar made from petroleum. I questioned my vet, but he insisted it was safe. I went ahead and followed my vets orders. Elanore was looking stressed as also, so I treated her w/PPG as well.

On the 24th, Elanore went down, too. I began a daily treatment of mineral gel and B12 drench as well as C with their rations. I wasn't thrilled with the polypropylene glycol, so drenched with warm water and molasses and gave B Complex injections. I was also doing physical therapy on every down ewe. Then Clarise began to show signs of problems and I included her. This is the day the vet said he would do a C section if Rosie was still alive.. We did it on the field; he came fragrance free. There were 3 lambs. One very large. They were very vigorous, at first. They didn't have enough lung development and suffocated. It was so very sad. After the surgery, Rosie expelled an unbroken sack of water with a placenta. A unformed 4th... She was able to get up 3 times by the end of that day, with help. Elanore also got up with help, and Clarise got up with just promoting. The vitamins were helping.

Elanore continued to improve and got up by herself when I came out to feed. Clarise was eating well again. And I discontinued the B Compex injections. I helped Rosie get up and encouraged her to make two laps around the pen. She fell down as her one hind leg was still weak, but she was making progress.

On March 1st Clarise had 1 large ram lamb, by herself, then a long wait and she had a 3 more, two dead. On the 4th Jane showed the sighs of a distressed labor, blatting, lying down for a tiny bit of strain, then hopping up like it was too painful. She was yawning a lot and her gums were pale. The next time she went to lie down to push, I jumped on her, held her down by laying on her and check out what is going on. I'm learning to get involved faster. I find an unbroken bag of water. When she next strains, I rupture it, then do another exploratory. One leg is protruding, only. I feel back along the leg and find it is up over the lambs head, which is causing it to protrude into the rectal wall and keeping it from moving out. It's also very painful for the ewe. I massage and stretch the vulva until I can bring the leg down into the proper position. I collect the other leg and nose and guide them into the proper position as well. Then I get out of the way. She delivers a good sized ram lamb, lively but stressed. Lots of meconium in the fluid. She is up and cleaning him, then goes down for the next lamb. Again, lots of screaming, her not me, and indications of pain. I check this next one and find a breech presentation. Again the bag hasn't broken. The membranes are very tough. I break the bag and very dark fluid rushes out. I reach in, grab both hind feet and quickly remove the lamb, swinging her like a pendulum. Breech lambs have a tendency to drow. They inhale as soon as the chord is pinched or broken. Since their heads are still inside, in the fluid, you have to pull them fast and clear their lungs. She's stressed and takes a while to get going. This is 4 of '06, who I later name Mel. Short for Melanin. She is a black face. Jane goes down again and strains quietly. It looks like she's expelling her uterus. It's called 'prolapse' in the sheep world. It pretty much spells the end for a ewe. Turns out it was a tiny lamb and a massive placenta. The lamb, when stretched out measured only 9" from toe tip to toe tip. It, of course, was dead.

While I was lying on the field pulling lambs I saw the melon farmer drilling something into the soil of the back field of the 'Evils.' As soon as I was done I went in and called him. I backed him into a corner by saying, "You don't drill fertilizer! What is it that you're applying? He 'fessed up that he was using Bravo. He said it was just once and promised to notify me every time he used a chemical. He didn't. I looked up the MSDS and the label at that time. They were very vague, saying that that it was mildly toxic. But that wan't what I was seeing, or experiencing first hand. I found a site that had thorough research concerning chlorothalonil (aka Bravo, Daconil). It said it was extremely volatile, and extremely nasty. Caroline Cox was the researcher. She's on my 'wall of heros.' I found other research papers on it. One was an independent study in the Grande Ronde Valley that detected chlorothalonil 4 miles from the application sight at toxic levels. The researcher noted that it was drifting beyond that range, but they just didn't continue to gather data past that. It was found in fish, frogs, birds and mammals above the valley in the supposedly pristine wilderness areas. It listed genetic damage, fetal mutations, endocrine system disruptions and gestational problems all found in all these specie, as well as being the cause of death, for many samples taken. In summation, chlorothalonil kills all living cells, from fungus to mammals, by up taking cellular glutathione. My livestock were manifesting the symptoms of the chlorothalonil poisoning listed in this research paper. Add to that, I'd been diagnosed as severely glutathione deficient since I first saw Dr. Smith back in '04... Bingo!

But most people still thought I was crazy. After all, if it was really that bad, they wouldn't sell it, right? Wrong! So much more to learn...

3-4-06, Elanore is off her feed again. She's dragging herself about and flopping end to end. I catch her up and do a cavity check. Nothing in the vaginal canal, but the cervix is soft. I reasoned she just didn't have it in her to get the job done, so I massage the vulva and go in and retrieve 3 live and 1 dead lambs. The first one yellow with meconium, the second white, not stressed, the third, was small and dead, the 4th was a stressed ewe and brown with heavy meconium staining, but she had a vigorous sucking reflex, so I knew she'd be alright.

On 4-17-06 Brax suffered another severe "asthma attack." I gave 5cc of dex. I should probably mention that he wheezed and had labored breathing all the time. He was also off his feed and would only eat if I supplemented him with B complex, C and L- lysine. Rambo is also showing disturbing symptoms. His feet have been giving him all kinds of problems. I was running him through a zinc oxide bath the previous summer because I thought it was viral foot rot. Only it wasn't like normal foot rot. He was also getting tumors on his scrotum and showed symptoms of arthritis. It was in May of this year that I happened across a photo of a cow with laminitis. It looked the same! I researched laminitis in sheep and came up with a Boise research station paper on pesticide induced laminitis in sheep. Bingo! I also heard from another chemically sensitive group in the Alsea National Forest they people were finding dead deer and elk with malformed hooves and antlers and were documenting them and the cause was chlorothalanil spraying by logging companies for the express purpose of reducing the deer and elk populations so they'd quit eating their replanted seedlings. More greed, more poisoning. These deer and elk had the same hoof malformations as Rambo. The note in my journal references the first incidences following when they were pastures in the back, last year. And my suspicions, then, that these problems were related to the melon growers and the chlorothalonil.

In June, Jane Baaaand died suddenly and on 07-21-06 another ewe lamb dies without warning. By the end of the month we have several cases of pink eye in our cattle. (by the way, the melon farmer is still insisting that he's only applying fertilizer.) One of our calves has a severe case. The blister on the eye ball is so bad she may be permanently blinded. Ron has to give her a course of shots in the eye. I helped. This is the one I can't do...needles in the eye. Eugh! Then our brand new prize bull, Bullwinkle, gets pink eye and has to get the shots. This is not something they stand still for. Not only was this harming and killing our animals, it was physically putting us at risk. Sticking a 2000 lb. + bull in the eye with a needle, even with a squeeze shute is still a dangerous job.

O8-10-06 I treat all my sheep for diarrhea with Kaopectalin and probiotics. They have no other sign of parasites, so we don't worm them. They improve. I add a new 70% wendsleydale ram (Wendell) to my herd as Rambo, my Mont ram is failing. My sister-in-law brings in a leiscter ram (Phillip) and a wendsleydale ewe (Ewe-nice).

On 12-18-06 Rambo dies from his toxic injuries. There is a notation that he was recovering until the second adjacent melon farming on the 'Evils' property this year. It was too much for him. He was a dolly. Obedient and friendly. I still muss him.

In December of '06, I learned that the melon farmer was going to rent the property directly up wind of me, in '07. I immediately requested a letter of reasonable accommodation from my doctor, who complied and we got the letter out in two weeks. The letter stated that any ground spray w/in a mile or arial spray w/in 2 could be life threatening to me. It also stated that petroleum exhaust was life threatening and there should be no air traffic over my house and property. (that was to address my strafing ag pilot). I sent it out to all my neighbors, requesting that they just cooperatively notify me when they needed to spray, so that I could 'shelter in place' and they could still get their business done. I sent it to all the spray companies and to the emergency services. And that my doctor recognized me as disabled and meeting the criteria of the ADA and entitled to accommodations. The day the Evils got the letter, her father, who was also a pilot, flew his acrobatic plane over my house, in tight little circles, 10 feet off the roof and strafed my pregnant sheep. The minimum ceiling for acrobatic planes is 1500'. That was in January '07. They claimed it was accidental. Yeah, right! I actually got a picture, but the cops didn't report it to the FAA and nothing was done. I called EPA to find out more about chlorothalonil and learn that the practice for melon growing is to drill the chlorothalonil into the soil at the beginning of the season, right before planting, and to spray or fog it with fertilizer every week for the entire growing season. That rat had been lying to me all along!

Now Mr. McColley, the owner of the field behind me is no wimp. The melon farmer is a bully, but Mr. McColley can take him. He orders him to keep me informed as part of the contract and to apply in the least volatile manner. I finally start getting notices. It makes it a lot more manageable for me. I get help to watch ewes when there's been a spraying. Yep, he applied every week!

Brax died from respiratory distress on 1-27-07. What more can I say. He was a grand champion FFA show llama, he visited kids at school and participated in petting zoos and was all around, a charming and loving llama. I cried. It was so senseless and so wrong. Both my stud boys were gone!

Then it was lambing time. 3-3-07 Elanore delivered 4 lambs, by herself on the field starting at 6:00 a.m. Mel begins a difficult labor at 9:00, with all the attendant crying and delivery problems. I caught her up, checked, misdirected front feet again, and pulled it. I let her work on her 1st lamb, until she showed trouble with delivering the second lamb and pulled it as well. Both were fine. Smokey Rose, a grey ewe out of Rosie and Wendell, was up next. She started her difficult and problem labor on the 4th. On her initial check, I encountered a a spine against the 'door.' This one took a lot of turning and when I finally got it turned round right and grasped the legs and nose, I felt the hair slough off in my hand. It was dead, I pulled it and went after the next one. I found it's head and legs but as I passed my hand over it to identify it, I felt my finger slip into the empty eye socket. It was either missing an eyeball or,... I pulled it and the reek confirmed it was dead and decaying. I reached in past the nasty material and found one more lamb. I drew it out, alive, vigorous, a black ewe. I flushed Smokey Rose thoroughly with beta dine solution and bolussed her. (something I do after every assisted pregnancy, but I forgot to say before.)

On 3-5-07 I bring in Clarise, who begins lambing behavior. She has 1 lamb. Elanore's '3 of 07' is found dead on the field and 5 days later '4 of '07' dies. I have to say again, before the melon farming, I never had these kinds of problems or lamb losses.

Cheryl's Ewe-nice is next and it's her first lamb. She gets it part way out, but it's head is large (breed thing) and is stuck with it's feet and nose out. When Ewe-nice seems ready, I pull it, while she pushes. The lamb was slow to respond, but came around. Lily, a Clarise daughter had one lamb on her first season, as well. This is not uncommon.

In April we got the first cases of bottle jaw we've ever had on our ranch. It's a parasite infection and parasites attack animals with weakened immune systems. On the 24th one of our Hereord cows had twins. Cows don't have twins. I find out that another neighbor that is adjacent to melon farming's suffolks ewes are having quads and triplets and a cattle farmer is experiencing sequencing problems and had multiple sets of twins. These are all symptoms of endocrine system disruption.

That winds up the animal issues for the year and about all I can do today. I will continue in '08 next time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How I Got This Way - Part 6a, Livestock Problems

Part 6a

I'm starting with the livestock's story, like I promised. I'll have to back up a bit - hindsight, and journals, reveal more than one realizes at the time...

I started reading my farm journal in '02. At that time it was just a brief log. I'd log in birthing data and required vet care. I'd note who did what to whom. Not a lot of detail or dialog, just facts. In '02 my sheep births were pretty normal. This was before the melon growers began renting adjacent properties. I had two Montadale ewes, two suffolks ewes and a Montadale ram. Elanore, one of my Mont ewes, bore triplets that year, everybody else had twins. This was expected and in line with their breed and genetic line. There were normal lambing issues, but nothing unusual.

In '03 things started to change. Elanore began the lambing season by presenting 4 lambs. That's remarkable for a Mont ewe. Jane Baaand, a suffolks ewe, who should only have 1 or 2 lambs produced 3. Rosie my other suffolks ewe went into labor on 3-13-03. It was an extremely difficult and unusual labor for a sheep. Normal labor and delivery is about 20 min. It's a very quiet, secretive event. Not this time. Rosie, the ewe, began complaining loudly at 4:30 p.m. At 5:00, she finally layer down and strained. She worked at it until 6:00 when an amniotic sack finally appeared. She continued restless, occasionally laying down and straining, and standing with her head down and straining. Ryan and I maneuver her into a small pen. We jump on her, and bear her to the ground where I do an exploratory. There is a massive, giant lamb in there. He's stuck tight. Ryan and I pull it. He's huge. Rosie is exhausted. She doesn't get up for 20 min. And the lamb doesn't get up for 40. This is a very bad sign in sheep farming. Rosie was yawning, a sign of pain. We gave her fresh water, she drank a gallon, and sweetened grain. The lamb was not vigorous, he was lethargic. I rub him ruffly, with towels, trying to get his heart working. When Rosie starts feeling better, she paws him. Before he got up she started back into labor. We made sure he nursed and left them alone. In 10 min. she delivered a small ewe lamb. 10 min. later, she delivered a second small black ewe lamb. She should only have produced a single or a twin. At the time, I thought it was 'good fortune.'

Clarise, my other Mont ewe delivered next. Like Rosie, the delivery was very atypical. She began by letting out a huge squall and carried on as if to say, "what the he'll is going on back there?!" She showed mucus and dripping bloody water all day. She'd begun at 7:30 a.m. and by 11:00 we penned her up. She hadn't gotten down and done any work yet, nor was she eating. I kept thinking She'd get to it any minute. She just kept wandering back and forth. At 8:00 p.m. I looked at her back side. Nothing was showing. I checked on her hourly, but she never got down and pushed. If she tried, she'd quit abruptly and jump up quickly. By 5:00 a.m. She was getting more consistant in her attempts, but was fatigued. When your ewe shows fatigue, that's supposed to be the sign to intervene. At this time she just laid down flat and looked at me with her head flat out on the ground as I approached and did a vaginal check. I discovered a large lamb, twisted and wedged in the canal, just inside. The feet and nose were jutting up into the rectal area. There was no perforation, but it was locked in tight above the vaginal opening. I twisted and pulled until I got the feet out. I stretched Clarise out in order to give the lamb more room. I couldn't budge it. I went back to the house and woke up Ron. It took all of Ron's strength to pull her out while I guided her twisted body to keep her from hooking up behind the rectal opening again. We spilled her out on the frigid ground in front of Clarise, who gallantly licked at her while Ron rubbed her down and I drenched my arm in betadine and went in after any other lambs. Surprisingly Clarise tried to push them out as I pulled. The second lamb that I pulled out was dead. It's cord was around it's neck and had apparently been severed the previous day. It was already beginning to decay. The next out was a small ewe and a then a tiny ram lamb. Both were very stressed, but alive. We placed them at Clarise's head. She licked them too. There was so much blood from the second lamb's ruptured cord that we had to move them all. Clarise couldn't stand on her own but we got her up and she staggered along with us. We tried to get all the lambs to nurse. The little ram lamb couldn't straighten his legs, he'd been so cramped in the uterus. He also kept shivering. I made some sweaters out of sleeves from old long under wear tops and put them on the lambs. I ran into town and bought a baby bottle. The little ram lamb had no suck. So I milked Clarise's colosterum into the bottle and forced in a little bit at a time. He finally stood up at 10:30 a.m. At 11:30 Claris finally got up on her own.

This was the first year I'd ever experienced these kinds of lambing problems. They were unprecedented. Later in July that second ewes lamb died, for no apparent reason. This was '03, the year they were spraying on Baccus's place. Back then, I didn't know about the spraying. I didn't know about any preparation that they may have done in the fall. I hadn't connected the dots. My neighbor who owned a field to the south of us liked to use a herbicide that contained Paraquat. I didn't connect that either. But the ram is put in with the ewes in October. This is the time of year that farmers prep, and spray their fields with herbicides. Mostly 2,4-D and the chemical that My other neighbor used.

'04 played out pretty much the way '03 did. Very difficult labors and deliveries, abnormally large lambs and too many per ewe. Jane had 4, two of which were dead. Rosie had 4 lambs, two were huge, one of which was dead. Clarise had 3, the first was huge, and dead, follows by two small ewes. Clarise showed signs of post delivery toxemia and possible calcium deficiency. I called the vet and he did an emergency calcium push. She was up and going again in a few minutes. Rosie produced 3 lambs. In mid July, same as last year, another lamb dies. No apparent reason. A week later, another one. Both were Jane's.

In '04, the melon farmer was farming Voile's center field, to the north of me and Mr. Smart's place beyond that. I was laying on the field pulling lambs as they sprayed 'fertilizer.' What I came to know later was that the fungicide that they applied with the fertilizer contained EDTA, a chelating agent. The first thing it grabs from the body is calcium. Not only was Clarise calcium deficient (hence the emergency push) but I was showing signs of calcium deficiency, and started taking cal/mag/zinc supplements. I didn't connect the dots. This is so typical of most of us. We just address the presenting incident and keep going forward without asking why.

'05 - was the year the melon farmers farmed the place behind me, on my northwest corner. It is at the back of my property and furthest from my sheep pastures. I did however put all the boys in that back pasture...much to my later regret.

Jane began by delivering 3 lambs, by herself, two were dead. Elanore had 1 ram lamb, a partially developed fetus and grossly enlarged placenta that looked like something out of a horror movie - which I discovered in the middle of a still, dark night, and 1 more ram lamb, 2.5 lambs. Clarise has 2, both difficult deliveries and weak stressed lambs, then much later a very sick lamb, that I just had to let die. Hours later she delivers another dead ram. Total of 4. (It's at this point that I begin the practice of uterine sweeping after any difficult birth.) Clarise is again sick and not responding well, I give 85 ml calcium borogluconate, sub Q, to her and oral cal/mag/zinc to all the other ewes. Definitely a calcium deficiency. At the time I think it's because they're having so many lambs. Clarise's lamb, 5 of '03, who later was named Lily, had a bad right hind leg. I gave her 6 ml of calcium, as well as 74 more to her mother the followingnday. Her leg improved. Rosie began her difficult labor with all the drama seen the previous year. She had a twisted lamb stuck. I'd gotten to the point where I intervened a lot sooner by this time. This lamb was so huge it coudn't get out of the uterus. It's toes were just sticking out, and it's head was still in. I had to reach in (wearing a breeders sleeve for those of you who are grossing out now) and massage the cervix working it back over it's head, using one finger hooked behind it's grinding plates to draw it's head forward. Bear in mind, this is happening in the dark, on the field. I finally got it's head out of the vagina enough that I could safely pull it. A ewe, she was lively and vigorous and sprang up immediately. Rosie had a second lamb that was also large and stuck. I gave her cal/mag/zinc gel. Then, I got Ron up and we sat behind her, with our feet planted on her hams, grasped his front legs and pulled with all our might. We drug that lamby out of his mother and up the full length of my body. He was actually almost as long, extended, as I was tall. I called him Monstro. He was nearly as tall as his mother. He was stressed.

Brax, the stud llama and Rambo, my Montadale ram, along with Sunny, our other show llama, not intact, were in that back pasture (3), next to were the melon farmer was "just putting down fertilizer." Remember, this happens is February and continues weekly through out the growing season. And trust me, I called and checked what he was applying, only to be assured that it was "just fertilizer."

One day Ron and I decided to put the ewes and lambs out on pasture 1, and move the boys up to the lambing pasture. It had less feed and they were needing less groceries. We went back to get them with halters. As we crossed pasture 2, high with blooming grass, Brax had a fit. It was horrible. He was chocking and foaming at the mouth. He collapsed on the field and was slamming his head repeatedly on the ground. He was crying out in distress. We managed to get him up and move him to the sheep pasture, where I immediately hosed him off. It seemed to help. It was a horrible event, on Brax, and on me. It left both of us shaking. On May 24, I witness a third event, worse than before. I called the vet. He came at once. We consulted and he admitted he didn't have a clue. He asked for my best guess. I said it looked like asthma, the kind I get, where your lungs fill up with fluid. ( which I now know is chemically induced.)So he gave him steroids, a dexamathoraphan (antihystimine) injection, which helped, and ivomec incase it was parasite induced and left me with the dex bottle and dosing instructions.

By August, we started seeing pink eye problems in our cattle. This is another thing we had never had a problem with before. The 'old farmers tale' is that it's due to grass pollen. What I've subsequently discovered... 2,4-D causes conjunctivitis, commonly known as 'Pink Eye.' Remember, melon growers use a lot of 2,4-D to treat the weeds between the rows and on the parimeter.

That's about all I can do for today, next time well get into '06, when the melon farmers moved back onto the property to the North, now owned by the 'Evils.'