Friday, June 28, 2013

New Life In The Neighborhood and A Health Update

Just outside my window as I type this post, I am watching a mama robin sit on her nest.  It is hot out there, and I watch her open her beak as if to take in a big breath of fresh air.  I've watched her for several weeks now.  She is my little friend.  I admire her patience as she sits on her eggs.  I say a little prayer of protection for her and her babies.  It is a rough world out there. I think the crook of the tree where she chose to build her nest is rather safe from snakes, but I worry about about one of those magpies that live around here robbing her nest.  I've also read that deer will eat the robins eggs.  Thankfully, the deer can reach her and babies high in the tree.  I guess she knows the dangers of the world out there, but I just hope for her safety while she living right outside my window.  

I've always been partial to robins.  I usually note the first sighting of their return in early spring,  I love listening to their songs outside my window in the morning.  For some reason robins never annoy me when they awaken me from sleep before I am ready to see the dawn of day.  Perhaps this fondness for robins began when I was a very young child and our neighbor taught me to sing and play a few notes on the piano of the song, When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob-Bobbin' Along.  Do you remember that song? If not, enjoy Doris Day singing this wonderful old song by clicking on the video below.  

I digress...
I've gone from writing about the robin nesting outside my window to Doris Day singing an old favorite.  Let me try to tie all of this together: I expect to find my sweet Mama Robin sitting on her eggs outside my window, or I see her around my bird bath, or at times, she is on the roof of the house next door.  The other evening, she landed on a flower pot on the railing of the deck, then she spotted Boston at my feet, and she quickly turned tail and flew off.  She is the one new mother I am most familiar with in the neighborhood.

A few days ago, I finally spotted one of the new mama doe in neighborhood. While drowsily opening the blinds one morning this week, I was surprised to see this mama and her two fawns grazing in my backyard.  I knew there was no time to run for my camera, so I grabbed my iPhone and opened the back door to take a photo.  Immediately, Mama Doe and her fawns scampered off.  I did catch a quick photo before they disappeared.  I knew that we had two new doe moms in the neighborhood, but this was my first sighting of the babies.  The moms had given birth a few weeks ago in the forested area behind our neighbor's house across the street.  I have to say that I was quite excited when I saw the fawns in my yard.  They are so cute.  Sometimes I get frustrated with the deer because they eat everything in sight, but they can be a joy to watch also.  My nephew visited from Texas this past week.  He had been touring Colorado and had not seen deer until he drove into my neighborhood.Today, one bold mom was right up on my front porch, right next to the front door, eating my pansies.  I guess she was deadheading for me.

Day before yesterday, a mama bear and her two cubs were in the neighborhood.  I wasn't home at the time, but my husband was.  A passerby told him they were up the street in the forested area behind the houses after walking through the village itself.  Jim drove up the road and was able to catch a photo with his iPhone.  (What would we do without these?)  I promise you that there is a bear in this photo.  She is behind the tree that is just right of the center of the photo.  

I reminded Jim about how disappointed he was as we left Yellowstone Park a number of years ago because we had not seen bear.  Then, just as we were leaving we saw one.  I don't know when I've seen my husband so excited about seeing some sight in nature.  He said he was just as excited when he saw this mama bear and two babies just up the street from our house.

The final sighting that we have had in the last week and a half will not include a photo.  We have a photo, but I will spare you as some folks just don't like to see snakes.  We were working in the garage when I happened to look down at my husband's feet and saw what I soon realized was a rattlesnake, a baby rattlesnake.  I yelled out, "There's a snake."  My husband just looked at me with a strange look on his face.  Again, the warning came from my mouth, "Snake, there's a snake.  Get a shovel and kill it."  After nearly stepping on the snake, my husband saw what I was talking about and grabbed a shovel to kill it.  I was pretty certain it was a rattler but didn't want to look too closely until the thing was dead.  I asked him to take a picture with his phone so I could compare it to photos of rattlesnakes.  I asked if he got the head, and he said he did.  Unfortunately, again, my husband must have misunderstood.  He did get the head severed when he killed it, but did not get a photo of it.  I am 98% sure it was a rattlesnake even though there were not rattles.  I saw what appeared to be a button for future rattles.  The head and the markings convinced me that it was a rattler.  

Now, as you can imagine, I don't want to go out and work in the yard in the new area that I wish to do some plantings.  The area is along a rock ledge and I keep thinking a nest of rattlesnakes must be nearby.  They like rocky outcroppings and have been known to frequent the natural rock formations just across the road, but no one has ever seen a rattler in the village where we live since the homes were built in the late '90's.  Let's just say that I am keeping my ears and eyes open and alert when I am out watering or planting.  

We lived in the arid dessert of Pueblo for years and I never saw a rattlesnake when I know they were seen in some neighborhoods in our old stomping grounds.  It took moving to the foothills of the mountains to be this in touch with nature.  We all may be retired in this little neighborhood, but no one can say that there isn't a whole lot of wildlife going on here.  

Health Update
First of all, let me thank all of you who sent such kind words to me as I spoke of my health news in my last post.  Secondly, let me apologize for not posting an update sooner.  Many have asked how I am doing.  That means so much to me.  Thank you again.

A week ago today, I had an EUS, or endoscopic ultrasound, at the University of Colorado Hospital.  After meeting with the specialist the day before, it was determined by the doctor and by me that the risks of doing the procedure to determine if I had sphincter of Oddi disfunction were great enough to rule out doing the procedure.  He did not believe that the medical record, lab results, and symptoms warranted this extreme procedure.  I had to agree.  At my age there is a 20 - 30 percent risk of causing any or all of the following by having the procedure done: a severed case of pancreatitis, diabetes, multiple organ failure and/or death.  I didn't like the risks,  Neither did he.  Instead, an EUS was done.

I guess I am becoming an old pro at having an endoscopy as this procedure was the tenth time I have had this done.  This time, last Friday, was the first time that an endoscopy included having an ultrasound.  The procedure takes about an hour.  During this time a fluid is injected and then samples of fluids are taken to be analyzed.

 It is not a pleasant procedure.  As you can expect, I had a very sore throat and tender throat for quite a few days afterwards.  I also have had some pain that has kept me uncomfortable.  Thankfully, I did recover without any real side effects, and it appears that the findings bring good news.  There was scarring in the pancreas.  There is a pancreatic cyst in the pancreas.  I was diagnosed with chronic mild pancreatitis.  I will be followed by having an MRI of the pancreas and surrounding organs yearly.

It is a mystery to me why I developed this problem.  I am not and never have been a drinker of alcohol. I am not a smoker.  There is not a family history of such problems.  I blame the heart medications I have been on.  For now, I watch my diet carefully and avoid fats and other things that might trigger an attack.  I will baby my pancreas and avoid unnecessary medications.  I have never liked a pill being thrown at me to fix a problem in the body, and I guess I will be even more adamant about insisting that any medication I take is absolutely necessary.  When I do have pain, I will definitely take a medication I have for that called hyoscyamine.  I will also get blood work done to check on my lipase levels.

I realize that I have a condition that must be monitored, but I don't have cancer so for that I am extremely thankful.  I am also very thankful to have a wonderful team of doctors and nurses at National Jewish Hospital, University of Colorado Hospital, and here in Colorado Springs at the Gastroenterology of Colorado Springs who have spent so much time with me in person and by checking with me by phone. I cannot tell you how wonderful it has been to have their support and concern.  They have answered every question I have asked with great wisdom and have patient in listening to me when I talk.  At times, I would just as soon dismiss the symptoms, but I know that they won't allow this and have instructed me to get blood work done or go to the ER when they felt I really did need to be checked out.  Hopefully, things completely settle down soon in my digestive track and I can get on with the business of living.  


Friko said...

Well, if you are reasonably happy about health news that’s good. I am glad that the worst prognosis hasn’t proved correct.
Do take care and look after yourself. I find nowadays I am quite glad to take the pills prescribed; I am tired of struggling on and if medication can help make life easier, I am all for it.

You live in an interesting area wildlife-wise, I never heard of animals like the ones with whom you share your neighbourhood living anywhere but in the wild.

Linda Myers said...

I have a friend who's had pancreatitis for years. She says the attacks are miserable, not just for the pain but for the depression that comes for her as a symptom.

However, it's been in remission for several years.

Very glad you have a diagnosis.

Jackie said...

It is sooo good to see you again, my friend.
First of all, I want to say how happy I am to read about your health update. I've been thinking of you, praying for you, and I am so glad to know that you didn't have to to through more difficult procedures. Having the endoscopy again and again is amazing to me. I don't know how you have done it. I can't imagine...but I know that you endured, and you will continue to get better. I just feel that...
Regarding your sweet birds and those babies...I have mockingbirds here that I feel the same way about. I love the fact that the parent birds are so loving and take the best care of their young. Nature is incredible...and I learn so much from watching God's creatures. The doe and fawn are precious....and YES...I see the bear in the photo!! Amazing!!
Continue to take care of you.
Know that I care...and I am fortunate to call you my friend.
Hugs and love,

#1Nana said...

I enjoyed seeing the wildlife in your new community. I looked at the enlarged picture so I could find the bear. I was almost ready to move next door, but then you brought up the snakes! We see an occasional king snake, but I have yet to see a rattle snake. I'd like to keep it that way.

Glad you are feeling better.

Olga said...

Wear and tear on the body is inevitable I guess, but stay as healthy as you can. I think a positive attitude can only help. I have always been fond of robins. I love to watch any baby birds when they are learning to fly from the nest.

rosaria williams said...

The fact that you are posting is a good sign. Hope your problems clear up soon, as you have a "lot of living to do!"

Betsy Adams said...

Hi Sally, Great to hear from you. We have been on vacation these past couple of weeks (a couple of short trips) ---but are home now for awhile. I'll start blogging again next week...

Glad your health situation is not as serious as you thought it might have been. Guess that is good news. I do agree that medication can cause all kinds of side effects. We all need to be careful! Hope you continue to feel better and better.

Sorry about the snake. That would scare me to death also... Yipes..... The fawns are adorable. I love deer --as long as they stay away from my flowers... ha...

We have a bear that has been spotted in our area too... Haven't seen it around here though.


Jeanie said...

Sally, I am so very grateful that while your illness is certainly not fun, it isn't cancer and that you will be able to manage it, watch the cysts and work with it, however that may be. Bizarre, isn't it, how we get things. I blame the environment in part -- and I think you may well be right about the medications in the past. You are indeed fortunate to have a good health team and great support. That makes all the difference.

Your neighbors, for the most part, are quite charming or interesting -- I'm glad you had the wisdom and experience, though, to say "Kill it!" about the snake. I'm not sure I would know one from another!

Do take care and congratulations on at least some good news in this whole equation. As you said, it could be so much worse. (You might enjoy a book I just finished called "The Last Best Cure" -- lots of interesting stuff there I may implement in addition to my regular protocol -- whenever they give it to me!)

Barb said...

The call of the wild is right outside your door! I've heard baby rattlers can be more dangerous than grown snakes because they release all their venom on attack. Be careful and mindful when you're gardening. Maybe you should wear a bear bell, too! I was thinking of you today when I was cooking - we're expecting family tomorrow. So glad you updated us on your health. It sounds as though your DRs have your condition diagnosed. I hope you can avoid a fore-up! Have a great 4th, Sally!

Jeanie said...

The wildlife in your neighborhood is the best kind, except for maybe the snakes.
I am so glad your tests revealed nothing worse and that you feel like you can manage things well.

Linda Reeder said...

Thanks for the update on your health issues. It must feel good to know what you are dealing with, and that you can handle it and keep it under control.
As to the animal babies, I'll take the robins, and even the bears, but not pansy eating deer and definitely NOT rattlesnakes!

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi thank you for sharing the up date on your health issues. I am so glad the news was not as bad as it could have been and you are able handle it now with a minimum of medication. I loved the young Robin and the young dear was wonderful to see. Have a great weekend. Margaret

DJan said...

Your wildlife is amazing, Sally. And I am so glad to hear that your condition is not life threatening and can be managed. I spent some time yesterday looking at the pictures of our time on Vashon Island and it took me right back to that wonderful retreat. Hope we can see each other again one day. ♡

dkzody said...

Glad to hear you are being entertained by the wildlife. They are such fun creatures to watch, and it sounds like you have a bonanza in your own yard.

Also glad to know there is a diagnosis for your illness and that you can mend and continue with your life, although with precautions. Thanks for the check-in.

Chatty Crone said...

If you had to have something Sally - I am glad it was that. Good news.
And you house has such lovely guests. sandie

Dee said...

Dear Sally, it's wonderful that you now have a diagnosis and that you are pleased, in general, with your health. I resist some medications, but others I take because of Meniere's and asthma. Right now I'm trying to find a substitute for the statin for high cholesterol.

Thanks for sharing with us the animal news in your neighborhood--from robin to doe and fawns to mother bear and cubs. So much wonder in your world. And in everyone's I guess, if we (I) only look. Peace.

Arkansas Patti said...

So glad your worst fears were eliminated. You now know what you have, what to do and will keep monitoring it. Not an all clear but not all that bad.
I love the wild life you have right in your neighborhood. You go all the way to Yellowstone, no bears. Down the block, up close and personal.

Lynilu said...

I'm glad the health outcome is reasonably good. It sounds like it might be a nuisance with watching your diet, but that's small potatoes!

What fun, the animal watching! I love those times, too, when the wildlife comes around. The Eastern Peewee that build a nest outside my office at work is sitting the nest a second time. I so enjoyed watching the babies of the first sitting.

The snake incident .... shudder. I worry some about that, but I've never [knock on wood] seen one here. Well, I had a garter snake in the walk-in under the house, but that's it.

Kathleen McCoy said...

Thank goodness you don't have cancer, Sally! I know that procedure is so uncomfortable and hope you get some definitive results so that the condition can be treated successfully.

In the meantime, I love your descriptions-- and pictures -- of wildlife happening all around you! Isn't it wonderful to have the time now to watch the robin and the deer so close by?

BLissed-Out Grandma said...

Sally, I'm glad to hear that you have a diagnosis and a management-treatment plan you can live with. Meanwhile, I'm amazed by all the wildlife in your neighborhood, and right on your own lawn! (Thanks for not sharing the snake pix.) Hope your health just gets better and better.

Tom Sightings said...

Like the others, I'm sorry to hear of your health problem, but glad to hear it's manageable -- I guess a good news, bad news kind of thing. Meanwhile, I'm jealous of all your wildlife ... but be careful out there!

Kay said...

I'm so glad you're feeling better and getting good health care. That is so important. It's scary though.

You have so much wildlife there. What fun! We loved seeing the bears and other animals at Yellowstone.

Your wildfires are really scary. We've been hearing about it. I hope it's far, far away from you.

Grandmother said...

Glad to hear that your medical status is stable and can be monitored rather than some of the other ore dire possibilities. The photos are dear!

troutbirder said...

All the wildlife in an urban backyard. Amazing! And glad to read the health issues are diagnosed and manageable. My best friend is in the final stage of pancreatic cancer. The odds were long from the beginning...

Maggie May said...

You are very brave facing so many endoscopies. I absolutely loathe & detest them.
However it is good news that cancer has been ruled out, though pain is pain and that doesn't mean you are without discomfort.
Hope it gets relieved somehow.

As for all the wild life in your back yard....... I am overawed because we have nothing more than occasional manky, urban foxes and nothing more dangerous than the passing traffic!
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Dee said...

Dear Sally, I read this posting last Saturday and I thought I'd left a comment on it, but apparently I left one on the previous posting and not here. I always find your postings so interesting because you deal with all that's happening in your daily life and that intrigues me. It's much different from mine and your doings expand my life! Thank you. Peace.

PS: thanks for the health update. I'm glad things are looking up.

Rose said...

I'm glad to hear that your health problems weren't as bad as first thought; even though you still must deal with pancreatitis, it must be reassuring to at least know what you are dealing with rather than worry about the unknown.

I chuckled at the idea of the deer "deadheading" your flowers:) Deer can be so pesky in the garden, but they're such beautiful animals, I love watching them, especially the adorable little fawns. You certainly have an abundance of wildlife in your neighborhood. I was thinking I wouldn't be thrilled to spot bear near my home, but I definitely would be freaked out by a rattlesnake!

Hope you had a great Fourth, Sally!

Vagabonde said...

I am happy about your health news and that you have good doctors to help you get better. It must be so thrilling to see wildlife so close to your home- you live in a beautiful area.