Wednesday, February 10, 2016

2/10/16: All I Needed Was a Puppy This Whole Time!

I don't actually have anything of importance to say today, but I'm sitting here in the Taylor Building with a random hour in between classes and by some miracle I've already done my homework for my next class.  I wish I could just check out and waste time, but for some reason I've been feeling anxious all week, so my body won't slow down long enough to relax, so I figured I could write instead.  Active leisure, right?

I went back and read the post from a month ago and realized that my health was in a pretty bad place, so I figured I'd briefly update you all.  I finally weaned off of my Gabapentin completely and I feel like I have about 3x more energy than I've had in the last two years.  That stuff just DRAINS you!  They give it to people to help them sleep, so it makes sense, but I had no idea how badly it was affecting me!  So my fatigue is significantly better, and my night sleep has leveled out so I'm doing really well in terms of daily energy now which helps make everything easier, doesn't it?  My pelvic pain is still gone for the most part except when I ovulate or if I eat a large amount of something sugary or full of dairy.  This is just the most amazing thing.  I went to a conference that was 8-5 for 5 days straight last week and I had NO pelvic pain on any of the days.  5 Full days of sitting with no pain?!  I can't remember how long it's been since that has happened.  So I'm still incredibly grateful for the relief and I'll take the random bad pain days because it's so much more manageable than the constant chronic ache I'm used to :)  My arms and joints still get stiff and ache and burn once in a while, but they're not terrible.  I haven't used ice packs in a few weeks, and I barely even take Tylenol or Ibuprofen to manage it.  The exception is if I've been particularly active with Remus or picked him up a lot--then my arms are usually killing me.  But generally speaking, I'm doing way better than I have in a long time.

I think Remus is playing a serious role in my improved health because I noticed a huge anti-anxiety effect when we brought him home, and that just downregulates all the tension in your body, which helps with inflammation, which helps with pain.  So even though I may be more active right now than normal, the times when he's able to cuddle a little bit with me provide a huge pain and stress relief which I think balances out the increased activity.  Of course, his cuddling abilities are still in the very early stages of development because he's teething like crazy (poor guy!) and he loves to run, chase, play, and train.  He gets bored just sitting on our laps chewing something.  He always wants to be working for food or treats, haha.  But he's getting the hang of the whole "calm" thing and hopefully he'll start to even enjoy it as he gets a little older.  He's still the best puppy ever and he's growing!  He was 6 lbs when we brought him home and he's already 10.5 lbs now!!  We still take about 50 pictures a day and have to exercise some serious restraint to not post them all on social media, but we know we have to calm down eventually, so we're trying to hold back :)  He really likes Pepper and always seems to want to play with her.  She's a little more scared of him now that he isn't as shy around her, but they're getting along alright so far as long as one of us is there managing the interaction.  I don't know that he'll ever be totally trustworthy around her since he likes to chase, and she just moves really fast every time she flies, but I'm happy to see the budding friendship develop :)

Dave and I are still both going strong in school and work.  We can't wait for the three-day weekend coming up to spend some time rejuvenating and resting up for the rest of the semester.  Time seems to be flying already this year and we've been blissfully happy with Remus to come home to every day <3.  Also...we're kind of obsessed with the show Madam Secretary right now (First season's on Netflix)--SO good.

Here's some pics of my trip to Seattle, WA for my conference.  Thanks to Stella from my master's cohort for hosting me for the week!!
Medina Park in Bellevue, WA!

This was taken while driving, so forgive the horrible quality,
but the Seattle skyline!

Not the best picture, but I seriously felt like I was camping
the whole time I was in Washington, it was so
green and gorgeous everywhere!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

2/5/16: Remus!

If any of you follow me on Instagram you are well aware of our newest family member--Remus, the most adorable little mini-Australian Shepherd you've ever seen :) I'm not a dog person, I've never been a dog person, not even slightly. And I'm allergic. So it's a little surprising that we ended up with a puppy...but here's how and why it happened:

A few weeks ago my brother and sister rescued a beautiful dog named Maeby in New York and the day they sent us a picture of her I was surprised at how strong my longing to have my own dog was! I think I even texted my sister, "I'm jealous you're having all the new dog-mom feelings!". I've been slowly converting to dogs ever since one of our favorite couples from my program, Austin and Bri, introduced us to their beautiful mini-Australian Shepherd, Nova, last summer right before they left us for Kansas. She was the sweetest, smartest little puppy I'd ever seen and was the first time I'd ever really understood the allure of a dog. Ever since they moved, Dave and I have kept loose tabs on the breeders around here who breed the mini-Aussies and then we rented a puppy early in January because I was feeling dog-hungry (is that a thing?).

I'd never seen Dave so happy as the night we rented the puppy, haha. It seemed like every anxiety, stress, and worry disappeared when he was playing with the pup. It almost broke my heart when we had to say goodnight and give her back and I was pretty sad that I had a headache from being with her all night because we'd rented her partially to see how bad my physical response was from my allergy.

We woke up the next morning (Saturday) and Dave casually said, "I was thinking we could maybe go see one of the breeders around here to just ask some questions and see if you have a bad allergy response to the Australian Shepherds too."  I pretty immediately dismissed him with a laugh and said, "That's just going to make you depressed because it's going to remind you what you can't have..."  But then he showed me a picture of this little guy who was already 11 weeks old and I couldn't resist.

We hurried and called the breeder to ask if we could just come up and meet him and ask some questions and she let us come within the hour.  I had absolutely no intention of actually going home with him because I knew it was a terrible life decision to get a puppy we'd need to housetrain while we were both in school and working, as well as with my health being subpar--I didn't need another potential allergen in the house.

But....then I held him.

And you was love at first sight. I seriously felt like I was high after holding him. Dave described it as watching me "melt". I instantly loved him and didn't want to let him go.  But Dave knew that I wasn't totally ready to commit to getting a puppy and didn't want me to make a decision "under the influence" (haha), so he told her we'd go home and talk it over and get back to her with our answer.

I was still pretty torn after we went and saw him for the above reasons, but I felt like I was on cloud nine and my resolve was getting weaker and weaker. Dave was really good about not pushing me because he wanted to make sure I was 100% on board by myself, but I could tell he wanted to bring him home obviously, and I eventually decided to go with my gut feeling--which was that a puppy would be the perfect for us right now.  So we called her back and went to pick him up later that day!

It's no secret that life has been difficult for us lately with all of my pain, and even though I've found some relief from my pelvic pain recently (MIRACLE!), I've still got a lot of muscle and joint pain that affects me emotionally when I can't do everything I need to for school and life. Remus has been a little ray of sunshine in our life right now.  I don't know if it's just because I'm too busy being worried about him peeing on the carpet or if it's major the oxytocin release, but I definitely don't notice my pain as much when I'm with him.  I am tired and it's a little exhausting being so engaged in training him and attaching to him, but the joy we're feeling FAR outweighs the work we're putting in to the relationship :)

I'll stop writing now because I really should pay attention to this conference I'm at and because pictures are just so much better, right?!  Enjoy our first few weeks with Remus!!

He's not a huge licker, which is great because if we're being honest,
I think it's gross, but this one was a very little and sweet kiss :)
He loves sleeping in his crate at the foot of our bed,
and I love his calm morning personality.

Can't help but squeeze him!

I'm fooling myself if I think I can focus with him on my
 lap...even with this many toys to distract him.

I love his little baseball!

One of the first days we had him I literally sat in the garage for 15 minutes
 and took pictures of him sleeping in the car
because I didn't want to wake him up

We go for walks and he's getting so good at
walking on a loose leash!

I've been grateful for getting out by the beautiful
river behind our neighborhood with him so much.

Relaxed in the car!

Basically, we love him...a lot, and we feel blessed to have him in our family <3