Friday, July 21, 2017

When Someone You Love Has Cancer

   Let me start off by letting you know that this is not my regular fun blog post. I have thought about what I wanted to say today for over half a year. There really aren’t words to express the combination of love, pride, and sadness that I want to convey but I am going to try.
   How do you express your feelings when someone that you love is faced with cancer? My first reaction was disbelief but that was quickly replaced with anger and extreme sadness. I’m sure that most people experience those same feelings. I don’t know if I would react differently if the person affected were older or lead an unhealthy lifestyle but that is not the case. 
   My beautiful, sweet, funny 28-year-old niece Kelsey was diagnosed with colon cancer in January. How could someone who is just starting their adult life have to face such a cruel diagnosis? It is simple. Cancer has no age limit. Cancer sucks. Cancer is not fair. Cancer is stupid.
   If God only gives his toughest battles to those strong enough to handle them, then he thinks Kelsey has incredible strength. He is right. I’d like to tell you a little about her so you can understand what she has been going through over the last year. I think you’ll agree that she is one tough lady.
Sisters are forever friends 
   Kelsey is the younger of my brother’s two daughters. She and her sister Holley are like two peas in a pod. They have always shared everything including their love for cross country running. Holley and Kelsey both excelled at long distance running and participated at the high school and college level. I don’t have a sister for comparison, but these girls are the best examples of sisterly love that I know. 
Cousins are friends that will always love you.
   They are very close in age to my kids so they always had fun whenever we were together. The four of them would laugh until their tummies hurt and did all the silly things that kids do. It was wonderful watching them grow up and stay so close in spite of living in different states. Both girls were bridesmaids in our son’s wedding.
Photo Credit: A & M Cunningham Photography Knoxville, TN.
   In the spring of 2016, our family traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee to share in the joy of Kelsey’s wedding. Oh my gosh, she was a gorgeous bride! They chose the Knoxville Zoo as the wedding location and it was a spectacular event. We enjoyed a mini family reunion and made some wonderful memories. It looked like the beginning of a perfect happily ever after her and her new husband.
   That happiness came to an abrupt stop when Kelsey was attacked in broad daylight as she returned to work from her lunch hour. A low-life thug jumped out of his Mercedes and tried to grab her phone and purse. She screamed and fought back with all of her might but was not much of a match for a large muscular member of a well-known gang. He punched her in the face but she continued to put up a struggle. Her screams finally attracted the attention of others who came to help her. The criminal ran but not before his license plate was recorded. Kelsey was left with a fractured nose, a swollen eye and a busted lip along with a case of PTSD. He was arrested a couple of days later for robbing a woman at gunpoint. My niece identified him in a line-up and he is currently being held on a 1.16 million dollar bond.
   For many young women, such a traumatic experience would leave them petrified. Kelsey sought out help for her PTSD, enrolled in a self-defense class and went public with the fact that she was distracted by her cell phone at the time of the attack. She has used her assault to warn others about the dangers of paying attention to your phone instead of your surroundings.
   When I heard of her attack and injuries, I was enraged. Things like this aren’t supposed to happen to the people that we love. The sad fact is they do and we are helpless to make it better or take away the pain. Her recovery and positive outlook were nothing short of inspirational but she was about to show all of us what incredible strength and character she truly has.
   A few months after the robbery, Kelsey began to feel tired and nauseous. She thought it was just a stomach bug. When it didn’t pass, she made an appointment with the doctor. They scheduled her for a colonoscopy and that is when they discovered cancer. I don’t know how many of you have received that phone call to tell you someone you love has cancer but there is nothing to prepare you for hearing those words. My heart felt as if it shattered into a thousand pieces.
First Chemo Treatment
   Kelsey faced the diagnosis of Stage 3 colon cancer and the subsequent surgery with the same positive outlook that she has handled everything in her life. It is that attitude that lets me know she is going to defeat this latest obstacle that life had thrown her in her way. At this point, she is halfway through her chemotherapy and fighting a great fight. There are weeks when she doesn’t feel good but she keeps a smile on her face and never sounds down in the dumps. I don’t know how she does it but she does.
   She and her sister were both diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome. It is hereditary and makes those affected prone to a variety of cancers. They are following the recommendations of their doctors and will have cancer screenings annually for the rest of their lives. Through it all they have remained best friends and lean on each other for strength.
   Holley has returned to the thing they both love and that is long distance running. She is practicing to take part in this year’s New York City marathon in honor of Kelsey. To help fund her trip she has a fundraiser page called “Kelsey Has Stupid Cancer” and is hoping to raise $5,000. They are both participating in the 2017 Nashville Undy Run on August 5th. Kelsey is the team captain and came up with the team‘s name “Strollin’ for Kelsey’s Colon.”
   I could not be prouder of my nieces and want them to know that I love them to the moon and back. I asked their permission before sharing this story and they gave me their blessings along with permission to use their photos. I wanted to let my friends know what amazing young women they are and try to bring awareness to their fight. 
   If you would like to contribute to Holley’s NYC Marathon Run, visit her fundraising page. She also posts updates on Kelsey’s chemo progress. If you are in the Nashville area and would like to run/walk for their team, please visit their team page. Any amount would be appreciated. 
   Kelsey has a bright future and her happily ever after will happen in true fairytale fashion after she destroys the evil beast called cancer.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Blue Lightning Strikes the Bayou

Barking from the Bayou, LLC received Lucy Pet Products Blue Lightning Shampoo and Leave-In Conditioning Spray free in exchange for an honest review. We only share products that we love and feel will benefit our readers.
Lucy Pet is not responsible for the contents of this article.
   I first met the awesome people from Lucy Pet Products at the 2014 BlogPaws™ conference. Lucy Pet is family-owned and the founder, Joey Herrick started The Lucy Pet Foundation. They are so nice and when I learned about all of the amazing work they do for pets, I knew that I’d be a lifelong fan. You might have seen their free spay/neuter and adoption mobile clinics as they travel across the country. They were also one of the stars of this year’s Rose Bowl parade with the longest float which featured surfing dogs! It is easy to fall in love with Lucy Pet for all of the great things they do but the fact that they make incredible pet products makes it even easier.
Pierre: “Excuse me, Mom. If you don’t mind I would like to take it from here. After all, it is me that has had the most experience with Lucy Pet Blue Lightning™ Blueberry Brightening Shampoo and Leave-In Grooming/Conditioning Spray.
   First of all, being a White West Highland Terrier is not all glitz and glamour. There are times when I have to chase squirrels through the mud.  I also have to patrol the yard and on occasion dig up a mole or at least dig a big giant hole. These jobs require me to get dirty. For some reason, Mom doesn’t appreciate me being less than fresh so she gives me lots of baths. The trouble with most dog shampoos is they lack the ability to restore my shiny white coat. That is what makes Lucy Pet Blueberry Brightening Shampoo different. I look as if I just stepped out of the groomer when Mom finishes giving me my bath.
   This shampoo is made with natural ingredients and doesn’t have parabens, sulfates or harsh chemicals. It is also made in California and since it is one of their “Products with a Cause”, proceeds from the sale of Blue Lightning help fund the Lucy Pet Foundation. Besides healthy blueberries, I love the natural coconut oil and sunflower seed oil. It helps make my coat shiny, supple, and smell fabulous.  That leads to more hugs and snuggles. A dog can’t get too many snuggles, am I right?
   After my bath, we used the Blue Lightning Grooming/Conditioning Spray and it worked so well on my tangles. Mom just spritzed me from the neck down to my tail and the brush just slid through my fur. It was so nice not to have those painful snags that can happen during a brush and blow dry. 
   The ingredients are similar to the shampoo but the Leave In Conditioning Spray contains oatmeal, Chamomile Flower Extract, and Papaya Fruit Extract as shine enhancers. The Hydrolyzed Whole Oats not only moisturize but they are also soothing to my skin. It helps reduce static which as you can tell is a struggle for me. You can count on Lucy Pet Products to be 100% cruelty-free.
   Lucy Pet Products are available online (affiliate link) or at one of these fine pet stores. You can keep up with all of the wonderful things Lucy Pet is doing for dogs and cats by following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.” 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

America Is Beautiful

Yesterday I posted 7 States, 5 Motels, 2 Cars and 1 U-Haul as we moved our son and his family from Washington to Texas. Here are a few thoughts that I took away from the trip.
1.  I would have never survived the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon. As I looked out the car window I couldn’t help but think about what the pioneers must have endured as they trudged across the mountains and valleys. They were so brave and determined.
2.  The words to America the Beautiful are some of the most accurate of any song.
3.  The political landscape of our country might be a mess, but the actual landscape is breathtaking.
Here are a few more photos from our trip.
I hope that you enjoy them.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

7 States, 5 Motels, 2 Cars, and 1 U-Haul

   Our Weather Lab/Granddog Paisley has been patiently waiting to tell you about her big moving adventure. As you may know, she is our son (Dustin) and daughter-in-law’s (Jackie) Labrador Retriever as well as our grandbaby’s (Emery) best friend. Last year they left Louisiana for Washington State. Dustin wrote a guest post about it titled The Long Winding Road or How to Move Across the Country with Your Dog for me after that experience. A new job offer brought them back down south so my husband (Skipper) and I flew up there to help them move. It was another long and winding road but a lot of fun. I am going to interview Paisley so we can share our experience.
This is basically the way we traveled

Monday, July 17, 2017

BFTB NETWoof News July 17, 2017

Bentley Basset Hound: “Greetings and thank you for joining us this week. We have rounded up some great reports so let’s get right to it. My co-anchor Pierre has our top story.”
BFTB NETWoof News Top Story of an eel spill in Oregon
Pierre Westie: “The BFTB NETWoof News top story will have us all feeling a little eel. That’s because a truck in Portland that was carrying 7,500 pounds of slime eels had to make a sudden stop which caused the freight to overturn. What happened next will give me the ‘willies’ for a month! The surrounding cars were covered in slime and eels! A total of 13 shipping containers destined for Korea ended up causing a four car pile-up. The highway was closed for several hours as crews cleaned up the mess.”