Last night I had a nightmare. I dreamed that the Nazi’s had decided that I was to be executed. I kept talking to my family (Not my actual family, I have no idea who those people were), telling them that I was getting concerned about this. The problem was that everyone was busy with other things. They just kept telling me, “don’t worry, it’s gonna work out!”

I guess it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what that’s about. These types of dreams are happening with greater frequency. Oddly, last night’s dream didn’t really bother me all that much. The ones that really disturb me are when I dream that someone is taking my dog from me. How funny is that? I can live with the idea of Nazis executing me, just don’t take my Lola!!

Last year, when I first received my cancer diagnosis I was given a prescription of Valium. I’ll bet in the first 12 months that I had that prescription I only took a very small handful. I think we did have to get the prescription refilled once. Today I am steadily up to 2 a day. I’m allowed one every 12 hours, and I can tell when I don’t have them.

It’s been 6 weeks since I last received Chemo. Physically, I feel better than I have since before my diagnosis. I feel strong. I’ve lost 100 lbs. Emotionally, I’m a wreck. I’ve felt like crap for a year and a half. I mean there were days that I didn’t have the strength to even pull myself out of a chair. All the while though, I knew we were fighting this thing that’s inside me. No matter how bad I felt. No matter how much I really wanted to just curl up in a ball and stay in bed, I was always able to get dressed, put a smile on my face and do whatever had to be done.

Today feels totally different. Physically, I can do anything. I even mowed the lawn a couple of weeks ago for the first time in well over a year! Yet it gets harder and harder every day to even get out of bed.

It’s been 6 weeks since I last received Chemo. It’s been 12 weeks since I found out that the Gemzar didn’t kill off my cancer. That’s when we decided to bring out the big guns and try Foflorinox. I don’t mind telling you, that treatment kicked my ass! I was grateful for it though. I knew that if I felt that bad, it was working in my body. What’s more, we were taking regular PET Scans so that we could track our progress.

In the 6 weeks that I was on Foflorinox, it did absolutely nothing to slow down the progression of my disease. Now, here we are, 6 weeks since my last treatment. There’s no telling at this moment how much it’s progressed without any chemo.

Dr. Mahmood, my local oncologist, told me that we have exhausted all conventional treatments. There is nothing else approved by the FDA for the treatment of Pancreatic Cancer. My only option now is to find a clinical trial that may be able to help. In the absence of a clinical trial, my life expectancy is less than one year.

It’s been 6 weeks since I last received Chemo. Did you know that nobody wants to pay for clinical trials? The VA, who has, up until now, provided all of my healthcare, will not pay for any treatment that is not approved by the FDA. Lisa’s insurance says that because of my pre-existing condition they will not extend coverage to me for 1 year. Once that year is up, they will cover me, although they do not pay for clinical trial either.

Now wouldn’t you think that the drug companies would pay for these trials? You’d be partially right. They will pay for parts of the treatments. Clearly they pay for the experimental portion of the treatment. What they don’t pay for are the labs, doctor visits, scans, ect… What’s more, because there is an experimental component to the treatment, neither will insurance.

OK, so what does that leave? I wish I knew. Obviously people get enrolled into clinical trials every day. Without them, there would be no new drugs. When it comes time to talk about money, everyone points the finger at everyone else and tells me that I may be responsible myself.

My anxiety isn’t from the fact that I have cancer. It isn’t even that I may not survive to see next summer. It’s purely from the frustration of inaction!!! Much like my dream last night, everyone is busy. I know they’re busy with very important things too. But, I’m dying and I need help.

I’ve had a lot of time recently to think about dying. Honestly, I’m not afraid of it. It’s just that I really love my life! I have a family that I love, a couple of jobs that I love as well. Oh, and don’t forget about my dog! I don’t want to leave them. I don’t feel like I’m done. I have so much more to do.

I’m 45 years old. Husband and father of 2. I’m a 10 year Navy Veteran and a successful businessman. Yet, I can’t call anymore to talk to the money people at the hospitals or the VA without breaking down into tears. Thank God for Valium, it really does help.

Don’t get me wrong. We are not giving up. Not by a long shot. Every day we call MD Anderson, the VA and any other lead we get. We will never give up. That’s a promise I made to my family and I intend to keep it. Just the same, the frustration and the strain of this takes it toll. I would so give up feeling well for them to start pumping drugs into me again. I can totally live with the nausea, the needing my cane, the carrying a chemo pump with me everywhere I go. I would go there in a heartbeat! It’s the waiting I can’t stand. That’s the part of this that is killing me.Image


Japanese Dog Refuses To Leave Friend

LolaBelle’s Daddy found this AMAZING video of a loyal dog in Japan. Obviously  filmed after the devastating tsunami, it shows a dog faithfully standing by his injured friend.

Dog and Cat Day!

It looks like Girl Scout, Jordan Lucero, is determined to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award. And has enlisted the support of the Humane Society of Utah by having a “Dogs and Cats Day”:

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious award in the Girl Scout program. It is earned by only 5-6% of Girl Scouts nationally. Jordan’s plan for earning this esteemed award is to have a “Dogs and Cats Day” which stands for Day Of Giving Supplies and Caring About Their Survival on March 12, 2011. This is a day when people can bring much-needed supplies to their local animal shelter, so that even if someone cannot adopt an animal they can still help homeless pets by donating supplies. Although everyone is encouraged to bring donations to the animal shelters on March 12, Jordan is especially encouraging current and former Girl Scouts to take part in the donation drive. Her motto for the day is, “Together we can be part of the solution, with your help we can do this.”
So if you are in the Utah area, celebrate Dog and Cat Day by donating supplies to your local animal shelter!
Continue reading on Pet News 101: Dog and Cat Days – Salt Lake City pet products |


Zuckerberg Dog Joins Facebook

So Mark Zuckerberg and his girlfriend bought a dog. Apparently this is big news……

There is some stink about the dog having his own page……there is a famous Chinese blogger who used to write under a pseudo-name and Facebook made him stop…..requiring all page owners to use their real name….so he is challenging the fact that this dog has a page and he cannot…..truth be told, the dog doesn’t have its own page….it is a “sub-page” of Mark Zuckerbergs….just like my LolaBelle’s page is a sub-page of my main Facebook page…..the blogger could do the same thing….make a sub-page strictly for his blogging activities…..but of course, in China, there are repercussions for speaking out against the government….so this is a lot more complicated than just a dog and a Facebook page…..

And now the Animal Rescue Corp is congratulating Mr. Zuckerberg but also pointing out many news media outlets are reporting that Zuckerberg “adopted” this Puli…..when they feel “adopting” should be reserved for animals coming from shelters or rescue groups. His dog came from a breeder and I agree that the term “adopted” implies the dog is a rescue.

Now I know a lot of people will want to slam Mr. Zuckerberg for buying from a breeder…..but I looked on and only found 2 available Puli’s. I can understand buying from a breeder……especially when considering a rare breed like a Puli…..LolaBelle came from a GREAT breeder!

And there ARE great and reputable breeders out there who are breeding for the RIGHT reasons! They breed for the love and preservation of the breed…not for the $$. These aren’t puppy mills. These are people who only breed a few litters a year and they typically breed only one breed of dog…..not puppy mills who usually have Pomeranians, Poodles, Beagles, Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Maltese, Labs and Rotties…..all on the same property….they are kept in cages……and that is NOT what we are talking about here. That is NOT how a reputable breeder operates.

So Mark, enjoy your new puppy and keep on posting about him! LolaBelle’s understands!

Best Friends!

Thanks to the Corpus Christi Dog Group for posting this video on FaceBook! Remember, you can LIKE LolaBelle’s FaceBook Page!

Retired Military Dog Gets Stem Cells

I really like hearing about our military dogs receiving the best and most advanced medical care available. This story is courtesy of The World and tells of Basco, an 80 lb German Shepherd in Medford, Oregon. Basco did 2 tours in Iraq as a bomb sniffing dog and  is to receive stem cell therapy to treat osteoarthritis in his hips.

Hip problems such as arthritis can lead to early death for larger dogs, and surgery options such as hip replacement have a limited chance of success for an older dog like Basco, who is 7.

A Word About Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day…..seems like you either love it or hate it…….I embrace it. Sadly, many are swept up in the media hype of “you must be a couple for Valentine’s Day” and choose to feel inadequate or particularly “un-lovable” on this day.

I choose to make it a day about L O V E and all its beautiful forms!

I am blessed enough to have over a DOZEN Valentine’s this year! I hope this doesn’t give me a bad reputation! But considering 8 and in the “under 8” crowd I think I am in the clear! You see, 8 of my Valentine’s are my table of children I eat with every Wednesday at my churches LOGOS Program. It’s an after school youth ministry at the First United Methodist Church in Portland. I asked each and every one of my “LOGOS kids” to be my Valentine and they all said YES! THAT my friends, is what Valentine’s Day is about!

Of course, extra kisses and hugs will be shared with my hubby and my kids will both receive a little treat…..but Valentine’s come from all sorts of places… your local animal shelter!

If you are looking for one of the purest forms of love… don’t have to look far. It isn’t easy of course. Partnerships never are. But provide your dog a warm home, love and attention and a good meal and they will reward you with hugs and kisses and a loyalty you can hardly imagine. If you are willing to open your heart….I mean REALLY open your heart to a dog….the rewards are indescribable in my opinion.

That picture is of me and one of my Valentines, my precious Abigail. I saw her online last year and knew deep in my heart that she was “my dog”. I proceeded to leave work, after all, I had to go get “my dog”! I drove 3 HOURS to save her from a high kill shelter in Lockhart Texas. She had been found wandering the streets by a family who’s children she played with. I brought this sweet thing home and she and I have been inseparable ever since.

I know what many of you are thinking…..what is going to happen when this dog dies? And I have thought of that too of course….and my heart will be broken…..but the blessings and rewards I have far outweigh the pain of losing her. My faith comforts me. For I know our separation will only be temporary. I have complete faith I have a menagerie of pets waiting faithfully by the pearly gates.

So I choose to love her and accept her love in return! She is my best buddy….my foot warmer on cold nights…..the one to throw herself in my arms when I return….from the bathroom (!!)…..and she is ever alert to dangers that might harm her beloved family. She is my clown….she is my comforter…..she is my angel sent from God……

Is it just a coincidence Dog is GOD spelled backwards? …..I think not……

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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