Thursday, July 28, 2016

RIP Oreo

If you follow me on social media at all, you'll notice that I've gotten hella sad and depressed.

Oreo, our oldest guinea pig, passed away Monday night after needing emergency surgery. 

He died in my arms. I tried to bring him back. He was just too far gone.

It's so sad.

In January of 2015, T found a photo of Oreo and wanted to go see him even though we already had our Jaq and Gus Gus. The shelter he was located in was not really used to guinea pigs and didn't have the right things to take care of him, from food to the cage setup. They also had him right outside of the dog area and Oreo was very scared.

I don't often talk about things, but I have some emotional... sensitivities or gifts. Empathy with animals is the big one - I think because I had to tone down the human empathy due to my upbringing. I still sense things with many people but have blocked a lot.

Anyway, feeling his fear and worry, I couldn't stand to see Oreo like that. So I fought to bring him home.

Here's the Facebook post from January 26, 2015, the day after we saw him:

So I may have just been hella assertive.

This little guy's name is Oreo and he has been at the Jefferson County Humane Society since the end of September :( He's close to the dogs, and gets very scared when they all start barking. He's also in a chilly area that could potentially cause more URIs. We went and saw him Saturday, and fell in love.

I found out today that our apartment complex has a two pet restriction after getting a sad call from JCHS that we couldn't take Oreo due to that. I think honestly it is because they allow cats. I can understand how too many cats in an apartment would cause a lot of extra clean up once the owners move out... but a caged animal like a guinea pig?

I brought up fish, which are also caged animals, and was like do you allow only two fish?

I felt pretty good about it.

Needless to say, I won the battle and Oreo gets to come to his furr-ever home tomorrow night

Within a week, he had settled in with T and I - though he was very nervous.

We quickly found that he did NOT get along with Gus Gus, but fell in love with Jaq.

Oreo's owners prior to being at the shelter had allergies. He was always by himself and wasn't handled much. As a result, he didn't know how to act like a true guinea pig. That changed as he and Jaq got to be best friends.

He quickly also learned how funny it was to pee on me.

He even followed in T's footsteps and started learning about baseball.

He would help me try to wake T up from weekend naps...

And then give up.

And then enjoy snuggles with the biggest smile.

He and Jaq and Gus tried to get along, but Gus doesn't play well. Still, it made for some cute pictures.

Jaq and Oreo would groom each other...

And snuggle together...

And explore together.

Oreo was the first piggie to brave the kitchen, too!

He always took it upon himself to protect Jaq.

They were inseparable.

Oreo was incredibly photogenic.

T got me the sweetest Christmas present - a drawing of me and all three of our babies.

On his home-a-versary, we fed Oreo a ton of his favorite - red peppers.

He was involved in politics...

And patriotic...

And always promoted healthy body image...

He was grateful...

And he was an amazing snuggler.

When Oreo had his first bladder stone surgery in April, it was hard on Jaq. He visited often until Oreo was well enough to go back home.

He and I watched Ghost Adventures and more together.

We had to feed him baby food.

He also enjoyed eating piggie wipes.

He was so happy when his incision had healed enough to have big snuggles.

And enjoyed sleeping in the sun.

He started behaving in a way that showed the pain relief from this bladder stone, running between T and I looking for scritches and snacks.

He would even skip us and wait by the fridge or in the kitchen for noms.

On Saturday, he was still full of loves and snuggles and popcorns.

On Monday, we took him to the vet because he thought he was impacted with the poos. It turned out that he was trying to pass huge bladder stones lodged in parts of his body.

I will always hate that our last real picture with him was at the vet.

When we brought him home, he had a really hard time coming out from the drug-induced sleep. Around 10 pm he started to breathe funny. I started to pet him and talk to him.

Then he just stretched out and stopped.

I tried to wake him up, to bring him back. I did CPR and mouth-to-mouth. I woke T up and we both tried while crying.

Neither of us really slept. We held each other and cried all night. And in the morning, we did it again.

I somehow knew this was coming. I had pain in places he hurt. I kept having nightmares. I kept thinking what would happen if one of them passed and it was always Oreo in my thoughts.

The nightmares are gone, but I'd keep them if it would bring him back.

On Wednesday, we brought him home for the last time.

I love you so much, sweet Oreo. You brought so much love and laughter into this home. You grew from a scared and worried boy into one of the most trusting and approachable pets I've seen. You were so amazingly sweet and kind. Even while you were in pain, you were focused on your buddy, on being happy-go-lucky, and on love. 

I will miss you every single day until you welcome me over the rainbow bridge.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Love Your Body

As an act of kindness to your body, write below one thing you appreciate about each part you usually criticize. (If you feel inclined, you can take it one step further and say these things to your body while looking in a mirror.) 
You might not love your legs, but they get you from point A to B; you might wish you had thinner arms, but they allow you to hug the people you love and hold your baby. 
Do you feel better able to treat your body with kindness after doing this?
I love my shoulders and neck - their ability to handle pain but still function is impressive and admirable.

I love my legs that work so hard to support me, even when they feel like death.

I love my arms and the freckles they display.

I love my swollen and painful hands because they allow me to cook, write, design, snuggle, and interact with the world around me.

I love my big butt because it's cute.

It wasn't super easy to start this but, once I did, I started to think about more and more things than I had anticipated. I've never really hated my arms, but never really embraced them either. 

The irony!

Have you done this exercise? What did you discover about yourself?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Nuts and Health

When I've talked about nuts lately, they're not the kind I'm focusing on today (Intrigued? Head over to Chronic Sex to learn more!). Today, we're talking healthy eating habits.

One of the best things we can do for ourselves - body and mind - is to try to get enough nutrients. This is especially important for those of us dealing with illnesses where our bodies aren't absorbing things correctly. Below are some of the tips the fun people over at had to share during a recent conversation.

Courtesy of

Nuts make a great snack, helping us to balance some health issues and obtain enough protein to function. If you've dealt with losing protein through various bodily functions as I have, you may try to get protein often as I do, too. Some of my favorite snacks are almonds and cashews, though the latter are a little fattier for everyday consumption.

Studies have shown that those of us who snack tend to eat more vegetables and fruits and wind up having a more balanced diet overall than our non-snacking peers. If you're looking for some healthy snack options, check out this post on the subject. Some of my favorites, like olives, made the list.

It's often really difficult for those of us already suffering from health issues to get exercise or to eat healthy - sometimes neither of those are a focus we can have simply due to our health. It may sound funny at first. Honestly, though, if you're failing medications and barely able to function, you may be focused on getting calories into your body period. Exercising and burning those won't be high on your priority list - and that's okay.

I'm currently in a spot right now where I am eating very little, a mix of post-traveling sickness and being mindfully honest about my intake of food. Between my cold and other issues right now, nuts aren't on my to-do list... almond milk ice cream from Ben & Jerry's is, though! Is that as healthy as snacking on some nuts? No... but it's definitely healthier than I've eaten while feeling unwell in the past. It serves an additional role of helping me to cool down in this summer heat with temperature regulation issues.

Whatever you can or cannot eat, just make sure you're taking care of you in the best way possible for the moment - whether that means you grab ice cream or a protein bar.