Saturday, February 28, 2009

Amazing day

Well, I can honestly say that i am overwhelmed and awed at the outpouring of love, support, prayers we are experiencing. It started off this morning with a dear friend offering to buy Alyssa a laptop so we can stay in touch and update our blog with out having to wait until we are at home or whatever. We've had several visitors bring us food , cards, books, and just shower us with their support. We really felt like today was incredibly blessed and of course we all - especially Aly are glad we are home. She really doesn't want to go back to the hospital but we know it's necessary. Thank you all for your emails. We will email you all as we find the time and energy!!!! I promise. Offers of food, hay, to take care of our kids and animals just pour in and we appreciate it. We will let everyone know what and when we need something - we promise not to be so prideful and not let folks know our needs - we will! I can be brave for Alyssa and let others take care of us at the same time!
Love you all!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Y is for Y THIS?

Well, we spent the last 2 days in the hospital post the diagnosis given Thursday morning for Hodgekins Lymphoma. For those of you following along - yes, this post will also have to do with goats as well as the medical update for Alyssa.

We went in Thursday morning for our follow up appt. with Dr. Martin. The biopsy came back positive for Lymphoma and they sent us strait to the pediatric Oncology/Hematology dept.
We met with Dr. Butros who gave us the low down on what to expect - first thing was admission to the hospital for further tests (you'd think after the first two times I'd stop thinking our appts are going to be short and quick and that we'd be home soon - doesn't seem to be happening!)
Anyway.....after getting the lowdown on tests and stuff we were admitted to the Pediatric Special Care Unit and UNMH. WOW what a nice place - each kid has their own room and there are 4 kids to each nurse. They take super good care of their kiddos there. They began taking tests right away and I needed to run home and get some stuff for the possible 4 day stay. They did an EKG and an EchoCardioGram on her last night and then this morning she had to have a PET/CT scan. The Dr. who would put in her port (the "outlet" where they give her the chemo treatments) was out of town so they went ahead and released us for the weekend (Thank you LORD!!!!) so she will have to go back in on Monday for a pulmonary appt and then will be re-admitted in the evening to prepare for the Port implant and a Bone Marrow Biopsy.

The PET/CT scan showed that her Lymphoma is fairly localized - in her neck and upper chest which is good - we are only dealing with stage 2. The Bone Marrow Biopsy will tell if it is in her bone marrow as well or if we are only dealing with affected lymph nodes.

The Pediatric Cancer ward is full of the nicest folks. They really take incredible care of their kids - only the best. So far - we believe it. She has gotten the royal treatment. So have we. They have social workers that work on behalf of the families in ALL areas, they give support in any and all areas you need, The Dr.s and Nurses have a great teamwork process going and are very responsive and Wonderful. When Dr. Mathew released Aly tonight her said - give her a hug for me and go home!!!!!
Grandma, Dad, Grandma cipie and Auntie Geri have been awesome playing tag team care for the other kids and us. Couldn't even do it without them!!!!

NOW - a lot of you all ask us HOW can you help. Well, I know that my dear friends Tara and Linda are starting a fund for us to take care of our financial needs - medical bills etc. so if you want to talk to them - please let me know by emailing me and I'll put you in touch. I would love to have donations of SOFT cotton yarn or gift certificates to Village Wools for me to buy yarn to make some hats for the kiddos on the ward who are getting treatments. but they have to be of the softest yarn there is as these squirts have bald little heads. Our nearest roommate was a baby - probably 8-10 mo. Alyssa may have been the oldest kiddo on the ward . There are tons in between.
I MAY be putting several of my goats up for sale AFTER kidding/weaning. I cannot milk 5 goats right now so I will go down to the bare minimum. I am not out for good - we'll be back but until then I have to make sure my precious goaties are well taken care of. Right now I have a situation for a couple if I need it and then I will possibly be selling af few more as we wean and sell babies - ALL babies who aren't already spoken for will be for sale - no bucks - wethers only and of course any does above and beyond the 2 already reserved. IF you are interested please email me and I can give details - only serious inquiries please. I have asked myself Y this? Y us? Y Y Y????? But you know - the LORD is sovereign and HE never gives us more than we can handle. I am not going to sell my goats for cheap just to get them gone. I want to ensure they will be loved and well cared for if we have to sell some and my husband said we can work out the details to keep as many as possible as he thinks Alyssa and I may need the goats in the midst of this insanity. I also will be posting other items for sale too to raise some money for some different things to make our cancer treatment time bearable for all of us. IF you want to email us please do so - we love hearing from everyone and are blessed beyond imagination with all of the prayers and support!!!!! Please be patient with us as the hospital stays are making our computer time limited!!!!!! Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!
Trust me when I say you all are also in our thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tomorrow is the Day

Alyssa has been recovering nicely from her biopsy. She hasn't slept real well as rolling over on the right side hurts and wakes her up but she said she doesn't want to take the Tylenol or anything to help her sleep so she's gonna just deal with it. She said the incision itches like crazy - I told her that means it's healing. She said it's driving her NUTS! She has thoroughly enjoyed her "forced vacation" from school and chores (ha - her week is up and she's back to school)
Mom, Dad, Suzy and Nik are filling in on the chores - much to some of the players' chagrin!
Tomorrow is the big day - we find out exactly what we are dealing with. I think both Alyssa and I are a tad nervous. As she said yesterday "preparing for the worst - hoping for the best, praying for the best!!!!" If any of you are wondering what i'm doing BESIDES chores to fill up my time please check out the FiberPhanatic blog - link to the right. That will give you a good idea of what I'm doing!!!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

X is for X-CITED!

Today I got a call from a friend who just had her first doeling. she bought goats a few years ago, bred them and was preparing for her first kidding season and milk and was struck with tragedy - her precious goaties were killed by dogs. My heart was so broken for her and this tragedy. She wasn't sure she'd ever get goats again. Well, she called me not too long ago that she was ready to try again - Thankfully I knew someone who was selling a beautiful pregnant doe.
And this little beauty is the results. Lila kidded today around 2pm with a HUGE single doeling - blue eyed beauty named Sapphire Storm. WELCOME back Kim and Congrats on your XCITING little blessing!
Yep - I'm not the only one XCITED for this day - we are so happy for her and we think this beautiful little pair will do well for her!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Nizhoni's Joie de Vivre

Yep, Joie is holding a grudge. She doesn't like to be caught anyway so this was shear torture for her. How dare I hold her against her will and subject her to such mean things as shots and worming, trimming and photos!!!!! Poor little Joie could barely hoist her hugely preggers self up on this milk stand!!!!
AH HA - another udder beginning to develop - I couldn't get a good backside shot as she would not hold still - Dancing girl!

Funny how not big she actually looks in this picture but if I'd gotten a backside shot - WHOA nellie she's HUGE. I think we have triplets again. (Think Girls Joie!!!!!)

CBF Ent's Whistling Dixie

Dixie got the mommie treatment today too - she wasn't as mad at me as Twinkle was but we found treasures today = Another nice little udder is in the making!!!!
Look at how pretty this little doe stands. OH that reminds me - I measured the girls today too and I got 18 inches for Dixie, 20 inches for Twinkle and a little over 19 inches for Joie - DON"T grow any more Twinkle!!!!!!

OH, Nice little udder bump. I cannot wait to start milking these girlie girls and see how they produce and how milkable their udders are. I forgot to get a pregnancy bump picture of Dixie but she's growing WIDER - But no one in my herd is as wide as JOIE - She's HUGE!!!!

CBF Ent's Twinkle Lil Star

Today was the day we WORM, VACCINATE for CDT and BoSE, TRIM HOOVES, and TRIM UDDERS and backsides on all the girls. Poor girls didn't like all the attention they were getting today and plus - they look terrible. We are in the midst of a warm spell and by golly the girls are SHEDDING!!!! But I had work to do so I did it. LOOK the baby bump is growing on Malina (go back to P is for Pregnant Goaties post and compare!!!! )
Twinkle wasn't too happy with this day - can you tell?

OOOH, look what I found when I trimmed - a little udder!!!!! SO CUTE. I think this little missy has some nice teats though you can't really see them very well here.

AH there they are!!! I can't wait to see what this little FF udder looks like when she's all full of milk. YIPPEE!!!!


Well, there are lots of things that start with W that pertain to goats. first are wethers. For those of you who don't know - it's a male goat who has been castrated - these little critters make the best pets because you don't have to milk them and you don't have to hear them holler when they are in heat and they aren't NASTY like the bucks.
I am of the opinion that MOST bucks should be wethered unless they are so incredibly outstanding - but i am one of few who believes this!!! The reason is you really don't need that many bucks to service your does. I do not sell bucks unless I keep them and use them first and I won't keep a buck who carries my name unless he's AWESOME and his mom, and granddams are too!. So far, I don't have that kind of track record so - no bucks.
Okay - so I bet you are wondering why I put W is for Waiting and Weather. WELL - it's because we are in the final waiting stages of our first kids of the year - Our first due date is this Sunday - March 1 - I cannot wait. I am even more eager for our first Nigie kids but I have to wait a whole month for them to be born. UGH!!!! WEATHER is because goats have the uncanny knack of WAITING to give birth until there is the most obnoxious WEATHER.... WOULD they dare to kid on their due date if it is beautiful? NAH - why bother when they can WAIT until the middle of a storm or windy or some other such obnoxious WEATHER? I remember that Joie, waited to kid her first year until we were in the midst of a heat WAVE to have her doeling UGH. So, even if the WEATHER is supposed to be nice this weekend - I'm sure that Narnia will WAIT to have those kids when the WEATHER is NASTY!!!!! Yep that is a goat for ya! Next up is some bonus posts of the goats who got shaved, wormed, vaccinated, hooves trimmed and photographed in anticipation of kidding one month from now -WOOHOO!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

1 day post OP.

Well, we've made it one day post Op. Alyssa is doing fantastic. She has taken VERY little pain meds. She has been in really good spirits all day - no complaining or anything. We went into the hospital yesterday at 11am and she went right in and had to change and have all her vitals taken.
Then we sat there and talked to the nurses, Anesthesiologists and the Dr.s. I think we have a guardian angel - his name is Dr. Ingle. I don't know why but when i saw him I felt totally at peace and knew she was in good hands. Not that I doubt the skill of Dr. Martin - I don't, she's terrific too but there is just something about Dr. Ingle. Everyone was sooooo nice and very kind to Alyssa. She was in for about 1 1/2 hours and then we met her in recovery. She was pretty quick to bounce back. She was off oxygen right away and was ready to have out the IV within 15 minutes (they didn't take it out until she proved she could hold down liquids. She drank about 7 oz of water and then they began to discharge her. We left for home around 5:30pm. We were blessed with food from two wonderful friends (Thank you both!!!!!!) and we didn't have to cook all day today either. We feel so wrapped in God's arms right now.
Thank you all for all of your prayers - we feel the peace and love being poured out on behalf of our family. The Biopsy results will be given to us at our follow up appt. on Feb 26, 2009.
HOpefully I'll be able to post on the Alphabet tomorrow!!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


V is for Valentine's Day. I'm sure some of you are asking - what the heck does Valentine's day have to do with Goats???? Well, last year we had triplets born on Valentine's day.....That's what!!!!! I wish we could have done it again this year but because the weather has been so nuts I'm glad we didn't.
These are the two little boys Crash and Racer aka: Mud Pie and Moon Pie of Laughing Orca Ranch.

Here is my bratty little doe - Twinkle who didn't want to stand for the picture.

New borns - right on Valentines Day!

Here is the doe again. Getting cleaned off by mom. I tell you, I cannot think of a more fun way to celebrate Valentine's day than to have new baby goats!!!!!
So yesterday, the triplets turned 1 year old. I spent the day out in the goat pen cleaning and getting ready for our first set of Babies of the year due in two weeks.
Yep, this last year sped by.......Happy Valentine's Day everyone - I hope you all got lots of Chocolate and had a beautiful day with your loved ones!!!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Biopsy Expectations

Yesterday was Aly's Biopsy consultation. They gave us the lowdown on her tests and
told us what they are proposing to do so here it is. On Tuesday afternoon they will put
her under general anesthesia and make an incision in her neck to take part of or all of the mass in her neck. While she's under they are also proposing to do the Bone Marrow Biopsy and another one (sorry, I forgot the name) so she didn't have to go thru those AGAIN at a later date IF it was Lymphoma because they will only do them under local anesthesia and they might be a bit painful. SOOOOOO....looks like we are in for another day at the hospital on Tuesday.
I have to be honest. My stomach is in KNOTS right now and I feel like throwing up. They Scheduled the F/U appt for the following Thursday because the only other day they had an appt was Monday and they didn't think they'd have all the results in.
My precious daughter is living for the moment - Last night her and her brother, sister and dad all tested for their yellow belts in Kenpo Karate and earned the new belt rank - Yellow.
I am so proud of them. They are all running around beaming from EAR to EAR!!!!! It is definitley a bright spot for us all.

Thank you Linda S. for kidnapping my precious daughter for a day on the town - she loved it
Thank you S.Nagy and family for the precious gift of pampering you gave Aly - she is feeling so wrapped in love right now.
I also have a situation worked ot for 2 of my goats should the need arise so I am feeling a little less stressed right now - I also have stepped down as my club's assistant leader and as Sect. of one of the Saturday Shows at the Quad show to keep my stress levels to a minimum.
Hugs to all of you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Update on Aly

Well, yesterday I got out of the shower after a long day homeschooling and got a message that made my heart sink. They wanted to move Alyssa's appt to tomorrow(Thursday) instead of next Thursday. I guess they think that because the cells from the FNA came back abnormal they are ready to pursue the Giant behind door number 3 - Lymphoma. The appt. tomorrow is to discuss them doing a open biopsy where they remove part of the tissue of the swollen Lymph node to do further testing to determine if it is in fact Lymphoma. Needless to say - mom is a basketcase. Dad is a flurry of pursuing all natural options and doing research and Alyssa is moving on like nothing is happening. I so wish I could do that. I cry at the drop of a hat - i spent from 4:11am to 5:45am tossing and turning. Preparing myself for what might come and praying HARD. I am trying to be as realistic as possible. Trying to prepare for the events to come and realize what is really important and what is not. I am staring selling my herd in the face because I do not know if I can do this right now and care for my daughter IF it is Lymphoma. I think I am glad I sold down this past year to those i thought were really outstanding and was willing to cull ruthlessly this year and next. It makes it a little easier to part with them if the need should arise. I stepped down as the assistant leader of our 4H club last night. I am getting ready to step down as Show Secretary for the Quad show this May as well. I just don't need anything extra on my plate right now. I need to be here and not scattered all over stretching myself thin for the duration. I just have to get thru it. Thank GOD that I have the support system and family I have or I do not know how I'd get through this at all. I know I am blessed beyond measure even in the trials and tribulations of life. I am very concerned for my daughter - she is so quiet about all that is happening to her - opening up isn't really her strong suit so I just want to be there for her.....whatever she needs of me. And watching Suzy and Nik be so loving and caring toward their sister is beautiful.....I just love my kids so much and this is really bringing to me the reality of what REALLY is important in life. Hug you loved ones this Valentine's Day and tell them how much they mean to you......don't wait until something scary happens. I know that God is in control and I am not and I'm really learning what it means to cling to HIM. Believe me, I'm clinging. And thank those folks in your life who are there for you - you never really realize what a blessing they are until something like this happens and you get so many calls, emails, etc
that tell you they are there for you - and by all means - if someone is going thru something rough - be there for them! It means a lot - I love you all and am so thankful and grateful for each one of you who have called or written to offer your support, prayers and care for us and our kids. You all mean the world to us right now even if it seems like I'm not available - I'm thanking HIM for each of you!!!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

U is for UDDER

U is For UDDER - one of the most important aspects of a dairy goat. the plan is to make this a sort of a do and don't of udders. Obviously we all want the perfect udder - I have yet to achieve such a thing - and really there are sooooo many aspects to a good udder. Let's start with attachment - this doe - Joie isn't completely full but you can see the not so great side attachment. Though her attachment is GREAT - she has other factors that make her udder desireable - These teats aren't huge but they are milkable with her butter soft udder texture and huge orifices (the place where the milk squirts out). Joie has gotten bigger with her udder but I still think her attachement is lacking and am breeding in hopes to improve that attachment but keep that buttersoft texture, easy milking teats/orifices. Also, it is fairly easy to see the MSL (medial suspensory ligament) the indent that divides the udder in half.
Shalom (now residing at PrairieWood Ranch) had a small FF udder but her attachment - especially in the front was good. She is the dam of last year's herdsire CBF Entei who gave us CBF Ent's Twinkle lil Star and CBF Ent's Whistling Dixie - we hope he passed his mother's nice attachement - Udders are beginning on the young does so it won't be long to see the improvement or lack of.

Ah, isn't this a nice big beautiful Udder - this belongs to Patience who is Nizhoni's DW Tirzah's dam. Her udder was great on attachment and this udder is big and fairly easy to milk (udder was - she was a pill!!!!) if you could get past her bucking, head butting and biting. I wish I had a side shot so you could see how big this udder was as a FF doe. AMAZING. WE hope Tirzah has her mom's big capacious udder with easy to milk teats etc. but her older half sister's butter soft udder texture (Joie de Vivre). You can even see her teats here - much nicer teat placement than the Oberhasli below - and her MSL was fairly decent as well. THIS is an udder worth keeping......

This is what NOT to do - the is the worst udder attachment in the world. This is the Oberhasli - who has no good attachment ANYWHERE!!!! Oh yes, she milks fine and a lot but whoa - baaaaaaaad udder attachment - I don't even breed her to sell show does because yeah - not happening. I want to breed her for meat babies because I don't see the point of passing this on!!!!!I would love to sell her to someone who just wants a backyard milker but she doesn't seem to want to leave us - last time she left for 4 days she wouldn't eat or drink. If I sell a doe I hope that the doe inherits Dad's dam's udder attachment and tell folks that well, she just isn't perfect but if you want milk and lots of it - this small goat does the job!

See how Narrow this escutcheon (the space where the udder fits) is? NOT good. Also - for milking hygiene - this and the above shot of the hairy udder is another what not to do. Shave those udders and bellies to keep hair and debris out of your milk!!!! it is worth the effort. Also notice how on this back shot you can't see the teats? Yeah because they really point forward and out a bit which makes her a bit hard to milk. Trust me when I say this is a definite NO NO!!!!
When you get your first doe where much of the good falls into place - wow it is a joy to milk. I remember milking a few Nubians for a gal when she went out of town and one of her does had the most delightful to milk udder - I'm striving for that with my Nigerians and trying to improve those attachments on the top milkers in my herd. HERE - we taking milking seriously and therefor good Udders are a must but I'm not willing to pass on a doe who is a terrific milker but may lack a little here or there unless I have something really outstanding to taker her place.
Hope you have some lovely udders on your girls and lots of good milk.

Negative Test.

Our first good news is in - the TB test is negative (on my daughter - not my goats LOL!)
Praise God for this news!!! Now we need to wait for the 6 other tests etc. to come in.
Thanks for all the prayers and support and outpouring of love from everyone!!!!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Blog in the Mud

AS most of you who follow my blog have noticed, this blog has come to a screeching halt.
The bloggy Alphabet Challenge was derailed by the medical train this week. On tuesday we went into the Urgent Care center to check on a swollen neck my 14yo was complaining about.
No biggie - we thought rather naively. Well, we get in the office and the peds Doc says - "Hmm, I don't know what it is but the Peds ENT specialist is here today so can we have them check it out (Dr. Martin and a resident Dr. Ingle's who is AWESOME). So an hour later we get seen by Dr.s Ingles and Martin. They asked a bunch of Q.'s and of coursed listened to vitals, checked the swelling and said they thought it might be a Brachial Cleft Cyst - very benign - no biggie, just a nuisence......but we want you to get a CT Scan with Contrast so we can get a closer look. Now, at this point we had been at UNMH for around 2 1/2 hours with 3 kids who aren't really happy being there. They weren't sure how long we'd be there so I called the posse in - DADDY to the rescue who thankfully was let out of class early and took the kids (minus the 14 yo) home and fed the animals for us....whew! Alyssa braved the IV and got the CT Scan and they scheduled a F/U on Thursday at 9am. Well, we had no reason to believe that Thurs was going to be a crazy, scary, emotional, up and down day for us but we again NAIVELY went into the appt (with all 3 kids in tow and a few homeschool books to pass the time in the waiting room) thinking we'd be out of there in an hour or so and could hit Costco and the used book store. NOPE - wrong.
They hit us with "well, the swelling is a more solid mass than we suspected and she has a few other swollen Lymphnodes in her upper chest region - we want her to do a bunch more tests and here's what we are looking for : Door 1 - no big deal - still could be the BCC, Door 2 - TB, Door 3 - Lymphoma - the big scary C word, or Door 4 - other things we haven't thought of yet.......) Yep, I cried. And Aly the brave was great for a while. Momma called the posse again. Dad came to hold hands and offer strength (mom is a HUGE BLUBBERING BASKETCASE) and Grandma came to get the kids. And we proceed to go from test to test. First was the lab for blood tests and FNA (Biopsy). The Pathologist whose name I can't even pronounce was awesome. She talked to Aly at length - encouraging her to a career in the medical field - especially Pathology and Medical Examiner. She even let Aly look at one of the slides with her cells on it so she could identify both the Lymph cells and the red blood cells (who says a day at the hospital is a waste of a good homeschooling day!!!) after she braved 3 passes of the needle without a local. Yep - she didn't even flinch!!!!

Well, that was out first stop - FNA and blood tests, next it is off to the XRay dept for a full chest Xray. Again, the tech was incredible - really sweet lady and she let us see both Xrays on the computer screen afterwards - do you have any idea how incredible the human body is? Aly wants her Xray to put on the front of a shirt and the tech was so encouraging Aly to learn all she could about the Human Body before she even got near college as it will put her ahead in the knowlege dept - whether she goes into ME or Forensic Anthropology.
By this point we were both tired and emotionally drained but we had to do a TB test still which they said was a quick poke and we could leave - it was about Noon. We had now been at UNMH since 8:45am. We go to peds and they triage her and then say - we are closed until 1 - see you in an hour. UGH - I ask if she can eat anything so off we go to Subway for some sustenance. Back up to Peds an hour later. Well, we were visit by the same Dr. twice giving us the lowdown on TB tests - what to expect, look for etc. and then we waited and waited and waited and waited. FINALLY, a very bored mom goes to find what the hold up is. - I think they forgot about us.
They come in, stick her and send us on our merry way at 3:00 or so.
I can't say that the day was a waste - we got the most AWESOME science day at a real lab but I cannot even begin to tell you the emotional drain we were all under this week. I did not have time to even think about or take pics for U is for Udder. HMPH. I'll get to it when I get to it. For now, I'm catching up on life, trying to field phone calls from all my AWESOME family and friends who love my family and I - couldn't live without you all, catch up on laundry, house cleaning and yes, blogging and emails - trying to ignore what is behind Door #3 (or 4 for that matter) as I don't care for big scare monsters who lurk trying to eat your kids......(okay - DRamatic but that is how I feel) and fight off the fear, anger, frustration, disbelief, grief and the dysfunction of the brain I'm experiencing.....But as a dear friend reminded me this am - Fear is not of the LORD....I will trust in HIM and leave my precious daughter who is being so brave and incredible thru this trial - going thru being used as a human pincusion and subjected to more tests in 2 days than she's had in school in 9 years in HIS capable hands. I do have to say - the Educational aspects I think made it easier on her - being able to see what they were looking at makes things a little less scary. It's not out there in the realm of the unknown zone....but she really is brave and I've gotten tons of hugs from her - (she isn't my snuggle bug ya know). I know she is going to make it through all this insanity no matter what door is open to us. So for those of you waiting on pins and needles for U is for Udder - sorry - I'll get to it. But not right now......

Monday, February 2, 2009

Taking a Break From our Regularly Scheduled Program

I decided to take a small break in the Goatie Alphabet challenge for pictures of babies.....this was my last chance before they went home to Darlene's AKA Nizhoni's Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Here is little Girl - what a sweet face she has!!!
Here is little boy - He is very content right now - not his usual MO -he's usually one bouncy happy playful boy who hates to be held (but he LOVES to be scratched!)

Here is little girl again with a full view of her lovely little body - I think she's so nicely built!!!! I am not at all proud of Shihara and our little buck Storm.

Little boy - I tried to get a full body shot but he moved! Stinker.
He's got long legs and is extremely long and level on the top line. They both have some good width between the hocks and nice long necks. Congrats Darlene on your first kids of 2009!