Spike’s lab results lead to a diagnosis

Sunday, August 10

The curtains over our bed are dirty on the bottom, mostly from the crew brushing against them.

(Be patient.  I’ll get to Spike’s lab results in a minute!)

I take the curtains down to the beach and beat them on the rocks.

1-DSC06243No, not really.

I swish them around in the lake water and scrub the dirty areas together.  Rinse and repeat.

Bridge watches while Spike naps underneath the Best LittleTrailer.

1-DSC06241The dirt rinses out easily.  I tote the curtains back to our camp and hang them on this makeshift clothesline.

1-DSC06246The absence of trees requires ingenuity. 

I tie the line to the side mirror of the Perfect Tow Vehicle, thread the cafe curtains onto the line using the grommets, and tie the other end to the handle next to the BLT’s door.

What a difference fresh, bright, clean curtains make!

1-DSC06245Note the condition of the PTV.  That’s mud on her lower parts.  Also note the cute hiney sticking out from under the BLT.

Monday, August 11

I lift the cover off the two propane tanks, remove the empty one, and place it in the back of the PTV.  The crew and I leave camp.

Our first stop is the Boulder Store in Boulder.

I buy a cup of coffee and ask if I can fill two jugs with water.  That task completed, I drive us twelve miles to Pinedale.

First stop is the post office where I pick up my mail and the package from Mick in Tennessee which holds the “tooter,” the air horn system for scaring away bears and any other unwanted visitors.  (More about that in an upcoming post.)

Next I go to the hardware store and buy 4.5 gallons of propane @ $3.86 a gallon for a total cost of $18.06.  Welcome to Pinedale.

The Pinedale Animal Clinic is right up the street.

I’m happy to see the clinic isn’t busy.  Soon I’m sitting with the veterinarian as she goes over Spike’s lab results.

“There are several things going on with Spike,” she begins.


Here’s the gist of the report:

Spike’s test revealed increased liver enzymes, including an extremely high alkaline phosphatase level (think liver) at 2,001 when the “normal” range is 5-131.  Also high, along with other indicators, is creatinine (think kidney) at 68 when “normal” is 4-27.

These numbers, plus the visible symptoms, indicate Cushing’s disease.

Put plainly . . . . Spike is having problems both with his liver and kidneys.  He shows evidence of hyperthyroidism.  Since the hormone system is interrelated — thyroid, adrenal, pituitary — the hyperthryroidism is most likely tied to an overarching condition of Cushing’s disease, more precisely known as hypoadrenocorticism.

Additional tests are necessary to confirm a diagnosis of Cushing’s. 

Rather than go through all that, the vet recommends treating Spike for Cushing’s alone, rather than treating the hyperthyroidism alone or simultaneously.  This way we will confirm or eliminate Cushing’s.

If both conditions are treated and Spike improves, we won’t know which was the problem.  A successful treatment for Cushing’s could deal with the hyperthyroidism anyway.

Cushing’s disease is most common in older dogs and is often mistaken for the aging process. 

1-DSC06267Spike underneath the BLT

Here are symptoms of Cushing’s, all of which Spike exhibits in varying degrees:

• increased/excessive water consumption (polydipsia)
• increased/excessive urination (polyuria)
• urinary accidents
• increased/excessive appetite (polyphagia)
• pot-bellied appearance
• weight gain or its appearance, due to fat redistribution
• exercise intolerance, lethargy, general or hind-leg weakness
• new reluctance to jump on furniture or people
• excess panting, seeking cool surfaces to rest on
• symmetrically thinning hair or baldness (alopecia) on torso
• other coat changes like dullness, dryness
• slow regrowth of hair after clipping
• thin, wrinkled, fragile, and/or darkly pigmented skin
• easily damaged/bruised skin that heals slowly

The treatment?

Spike takes two 5 mg. Selegiline capsules daily.  He has a month’s supply ($69.50).

There are other courses of treatment, but they have serious side effects and require frequent blood monitoring.

Selegiline is described  as follows:  “Selegiline helps aging dogs fight debilitating cognitive dysfunctions, reverse the effects of senility, and is also used to treat Cushing’s disease.”

1-DSC06047As for Spike’s arthritis, Rimadyl and low-dose aspirin are not to be used due to his stressed liver.  Instead I have a supply of Tramadol, a narcotic-like painkiller, to administer as needed.  Spike has taken Tramadol before and experienced no visible side effects.

I take Spike to a vet for another blood work-up in about a month.


NOTE:  When my camera was left out in the rain, many helpful readers came forward with the suggestion that I pack it in rice.  After about 20 comments recommending I pack it in rice, it became somewhat humorous.  Even so, I appreciated the desire of my kind readers to help me revive my camera.

I’m betting that my readers care more about Spike than my camera.  With the recent camera-in-the-rice experience fresh in my mind, I anticipate many suggestions how Spike should or should not be treated for Cushing’s disease.

Please don’t flood me with a lot of information.  I’m learning about Cushing’s.  I realize I can obtain Selegiline elsewhere for a much better price.  I’m also aware of alternative therapies.  As for the Tramadol, it will be given sparingly.

Spike and I are set on this course of treatment and we will follow through with it.   Numerous comments suggesting other treatments or explaining why I made a wrong decision will be difficult for me to bear.  I hope you understand and will keep this in mind when commenting.  Thanks.



I appreciate every purchase you make.

1-DSCN1064Spike 2012

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283 Responses to Spike’s lab results lead to a diagnosis

  1. Ilse Werdermann says:


  2. rhodium says:

    Do what the vet says, I say. Clinical experience beats the internet every time. In a month more data will suggest what to change,if anything. I think you are doing just the right thing. Whatever you do, don’t pack Spike in rice.

  3. Ilse Werdermann says:

    Hang in there Spike!

  4. Hotel California says:

    I ain’t got no suggestions for you.

  5. Jolene/Iowa says:

    Hi Sue,

    I love seeing the curtains out freshly washed and flapping in the breeze. They will make the BLT smell nice and fresh too!

    I am really glad you got some answers about Spike. It gives you a direction to go and I know how much you care about the little guy and have no doubt you will do everything you think is best with the help of the vet/vets you will be working with. Spikey is in great hands!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jolene,

      Say what you will about polyester, it’s the polyester in these curtains that makes them easy to clean. The dirt rinses out with a few scrubs and swishes.

      Visible results for Spike aren’t to be expected for a couple months, but I’m hopeful.

      • Jolene/Iowa says:

        Polyester for sure has it’s place. I used to sew clothes and now I am just a quilter so I don’t use polyester anymore really.

        I meant to ask, was anymore said about Spike’s hearing? I wouldn’t think these conditions would be connected but I am still going to ask.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          No, we didn’t talk about his hearing. There was a lot to discuss related to the lab results and Cushing’s disease. I’ll be taking him to a vet again … not the same one, of course… and I’ll try to remember to ask at that time.

  6. Kitt, NW WA says:


    So glad you have a diagnosis and a course of treatment. Just knowing what the issues are and being able to deal with them can be a huge weight off your mind. I would think in the next few days or weeks you should notice a remarkable difference.. My bet is on Spike’s toughness to move though this and into better health. Best wishes to you and your crew!


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Kitt,

      Even though it may take a few months, I’m anxious to see results earlier than that. Do you remember when Spike wet the bed? Poor guy… It wasn’t his fault.

      Thanks for the best wishes.

  7. Toni says:

    I had been looking at the pictures of Spike and I didn’t notice the obvious outward signs of Cushings. I’ve had two dogs with the disease and I didn’t put them through the testing, I just treated the symptoms as well. I’ve also seen a lot of dogs with the condition during my years working in a veterinary hospital.

    Poor little guy. I hope the meds ease the symptoms and he feels better.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Well, Toni, I have a confession to make. I have tried very hard to hide some of Spike’s symptoms in the photographs I post. His fur is very dry, dull, and thin. His skin has darkened on his torso. He’s developing the pot belly that is typical of dogs with Cushings. And boy, does he drink water and he urinates many times each day.

      If all of the above goes away, I’ll be ecstatic. Most of all, I hope he gets some energy and strength back.

      • Toni says:

        The pot belly is the most obvious symptom along with the drinking and peeing. I’m sure the meds will help him and get his values back to normal or close to. I’m sending good thoughts always for all of you.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Thanks, Toni.

        • Connie & Mugsy (MN/AZ) says:

          OMG… pot belly and lots of peeing??? I have cushings!! LOL (not really) My symptoms are from other causes. As soon as you mentioned the liver numbers I thought… oops… no NSAIDs for Spike.

  8. Toni says:

    Has everyone heard the tragic news that Robin Williams has died at aged 63. It’s reported that he committed suicide. Such a tragic loss.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      No, I hadn’t heard that. What a shame.

      • weather says:

        One of my favorite films of all time “August Rush” that Robin was great in,was airing last night.I just thought,”What a great night I’m having!” as I watched it again.Now I’m especially glad, that-so fresh in my mind-is what I’ll remember about him.I’m not going to watch the news.

        • weather says:

          to be clear-I’m glad about watching the film last night,certainly not glad about Robin being gone

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            You were clear . . . better to remember his life and all he gave to us through his talent.

  9. weather says:

    You were hoping to hear that the results showed something involving the thyroid and medicine would help,and that’s true,Yippee!!Of course I expect he’ll always love soaks,even when everything gets so much better,like it WILL,cuz-after all Soaks and Spike go together-period!

    Hope those clean curtains(cleverly done) brighten up the BLT as much as finding out the good news brightened your day.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, weather,

      It has taken a few hours to process the news re: Spike. I am relieved to have a vet tell me, in short… “Here, give him this.”

      The curtains look like new! Love that look!

      • weather says:

        With all the prayers ,kindness and encouragement you’re receiving,I trust you’ll feel the comfort of that around you when you tuck in to your happily crowded bed soon.This long day will soon be remembered as the one that started so many improvements for you and the crew.May you feel the love of a lullaby being sung over you from here,goodnight sweet friend.

  10. R. (Western Colorado) says:

    I don’t know anything about Cushings but I have one suggestion. Do whatever you feel you should do. After all Spike counts on you and I know he knows that you know what is the best approach. Furthermore, what works for one pet doesn’t mean is going to work for another. You just follow the vet’s directions and your own ways. Wishing you the best and I trust many healthy days awaiting you and your Crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, R. (Western Colorado),

      I appreciate your message. I hope my note at the end didn’t sound snotty. Spike’s health is a sensitive topic for me. I’m not knowledgeable about anything medical which makes me unsure of myself in this area. I have to follow what the vet advises and go from there. Thanks, R.

      • Donna in CT says:

        Your note did not sound snotty at all. Actually, I’m very glad that you posted that. The times in the past when you received so MANY suggestions on something, even I was aggravated. This is your blog and you can write whatever you want!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Even YOU were aggravated… I don’t know why, but that strikes me funny. Ha!

          • Crystal says:

            Oh, goodness. I’m behind in my reading. I’m at a Little Guy “Tearstock” rally, but want to take time to insert an apology, for I’m one that made a rice suggestion. So sorry. It worked for my son and others I know, so I happily suggested it.

            I do read comments and if someone had suggested it before me, I missed it. Working and other home responsibilities mean I don’t have the luxury of going back to check comments much. I need to learn to zip it. Lol. Or in this case, get away from the keyboard!

            So happy to learn that Spike will receive some relief soon. We sure love our fur babies.

            We’ve been having great weather here in the Midwest. I actually ran the heat pump yesterday…in August! What in the world!

  11. Tammy says:

    But did you try the rice and did it work??? wahhhhaahhahhahhahh..

    I too have a rat terrier, he just turned 10 my thoughts are with you and I wish Spike and you the best, you make the best decisions you can with the info you have, no one else is there and no one else can make the choice – I wouldn’t want “advise” or suggestions either, but you do have my prayers.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Tammy.

      I appreciate the prayers and the sweet message. I learned today that I did what a lot of owners of older dogs do — Accept declining health as the inevitable process of aging. Cushing’s sometimes goes undiagnosed because of that assumption.

      I hope your rattie is in fine health and good spirits. Rat terriers are wonderful dogs.

      • Donna in CT says:

        Me again. The same thing can happen with people.

        Symptoms I’ve had for quite awhile got much worse in the past year. I put down to getting older. Plus I haven’t had any medical insurance for the past couple of years. Now, that I have insurance again, I’ve been catching up on doctor and dentist appointments. It turns out I have hypothyroid issues. I’m so relieved that I’m not going senile and old before my time and I’m now on medication. The lesson for me is “Don’t Assume” when it comes to my health!

  12. Bill from NC says:

    Howdy Sue n Spike plus Bridg…. Back in my Vet. school days Cushings had a high correlation with Diabetes and or developement of Diabetes as Cushings progresses. Also Cushings is very rare in horses and more so dogs. I would not let him have any carbs and would give him lots of fiber to include phsylium. Get his blood sugar baseline and spot check it. Also if high blood sugar then get pills or they can be put them on insulin. Generic insulin is very cheap nowadays. I have faith in your ability to manage the little fellows health! Sadie n Bill

  13. Susan in Dallas says:

    New shopping list to include cheese to put Spike’s pills in! (And some for Bridgett ’cause she likes it too?) Good news, something that is treatable. Actually, cooked rice would also make a nice coating for a pill as well. Heh-heh!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Okay, here come the rice jokes! Haha!

      Well, guess what? Ol’ RVSue is on the ball. She bought cheese today specifically for that purpose!

  14. Cari in Plano Texas says:

    I know it must be a relief to have a name for what’s going on with our Spikester – I know it’s always that way for me when I don’t feel well. No suggestions or comments here. I know you will go with your gut instinct and what the vet tells you, and that to me is the best way to go.

    Prayers and good thoughts being sent out to both of you. Love the pics of our little guy in this post!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cari,

      It is a relief, although when I first heard the diagnosis I was scared for Spike. I can feel good knowing I’m doing something for his condition. Thanks for the uplifting message and prayers.

  15. Heck Sue I got bout all those same things Spike’s got so tell Spike he ain’t alone. Like that picture of him under the BLT. That one’s a keeper. He has a fine look about him in that one………….

  16. Pat in Rochester says:

    Hi Sue,
    My 10 year old (that’s a guess since she came from a rescue) kitty has just started pills for hyperthyroidism. Fortunately she takes only 1/2 of a tiny pill twice a day so they’re easy to toss down her gullet. She finds them in any treat I’ve tried, even daintily licking off the yogurt and leaving the pill behind. So I just pry open her jaws and toss the pill as far back as I can, then close her mouth and stroke her neck til she swallows. And with all that the silly beast sits and waits for me expectantly whenever she thinks it’s pill time. I think she likes the extra attention even if she hates the meds. But I’ll do whatever it takes because she’s been the nicest little cat all these years. My Gracie dog is so much easier – except for maybe disguising it in banana or a pickle she’ll inhale anything else. I’m sending good thoughts to you and your furballs.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pat,

      That “pry open the mouth” method works with Bridget, but not Spike. He brings the pill back up. I have to give him two pieces of cheese, real fast, one right after the other, and then the third piece has the pill in it.

      “1/2 of a tiny pill twice a days” sounds a lot better than the two capsules I have to get down Spike… although he does have a bigger mouth than your kitty. 🙂

      Thanks for the good thoughts, Pat.

      • Jolene/Iowa says:

        I have to put Harley’s heartworm pill and the benadryl we give him to help with storms in peanut butter. It is not to easy for him to spit that out and it slides right down.

  17. Cindy says:


    Looking at the 2 pics of Spike; 2012, and now, breaks my heart…..he’s aged so much. I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing.

    I know this is hard for you. I had a beloved Scotty diagnosed with Cushings back in 96’…..she didn’t improve after 18 months (and they charged me much more for the monthly meds than you are paying now!) It turned out she had a fast growing tumor on her adrenals. I had to euthanize her. She was only 12. I still miss her so very.much.

    It’s so difficult when our babies get sick. I wish Spike the best in his recovery!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cindy,

      Yes, a tumor is a real possibility. I’d rather not think about that right now and focus on the chance this medicine will put him back together again. I like that it also can improve his thinking and mood. He’s seemed a little slow lately.

      I’m sorry you had to go through that with your pup.

      • Sondra-SC says:

        My sister’s dog Spanky had the same thing Cushings with a tumor on the adrenal gland. It was difficult. His cognitive processes were affected. You seem to have gotten an early diagnosis, that is always a plus!

  18. Sandy says:

    Hang in there Spike. Momma’s gonna take good care of you!

  19. TexasTom says:

    Spike, I’m also an old dog with arthritis and take the Tramadol too. It works for me and I hope it works for you as well.

    You listen the Sue even when you don’t want to because she loves you and wants whats best for you. I have a woman that bosses me around too but wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Sleep easy all of you….Tom

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Tom. It’s good to hear Tramadol helps with your arthritis. With a dog, it’s hard to tell.

  20. Edie says:

    You are an awesome doggy mommy. Spike is a lucky man.
    Hope he feels better very soon!
    I’m sure you are relieved that it is something treatable and that he should get better after treatment.
    Your note wasn’t snotty at all. Most people know better, but there are always a few. 🙂

    Hope all 3 of you have a wonderful evening.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Edie,

      I am relieved and optimistic that we’ll see improvement. I’m so emotional about Spike these days that a few words of criticism about the care I’m giving would knock me down. Thanks for the sweet message and for the understanding.

  21. Diann in MT says:

    Oh, Sue, I am so glad for you that you have the answers. Man, does he fit most all those symptoms.
    Ok, for the rest of us, we will not second guess the professional vet nor you Dear Sue! Good travels ahead, e-friend!

  22. Cherie from OH says:

    I’m hoping and will keep praying this treatment works. It sure would be rice…I mean nice….if Spike gets a new lease on life. He’s got you, Sue, so he’s definitely one lucky dog.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cherie,

      What a rice/nice message. 🙂 Thanks for the prayers. You know I’ll be looking for any signs of improvement to report here!

  23. Mick'nTN says:

    Here is to a long and happy life for my favorite virtual dog friend, Spike!

  24. Willow (AZ) says:

    You have a lot of people praying for you and your good health. You are in good hands with Sue and Bridget. Keep on enjoying life.

  25. judith brumbaugh says:

    You have a plan for Spike’s health. And the best part isn’t really a plan but the love and attention that you give to your best friends.

    Polyester. Yes it is a wonderful fabric. Back in the 60’s and 70’s we were allowed to wear pants to work, as long as they were part of a pant suit. I would make my pant suits out of that wonderful polyester. They never wore out. I’ll bet if you dig in the land fills you will find thousands of polyester pant suits still ready to wear.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I made polyester pants suits, too! Those things refuse to die! I had to laugh at your landfill remark, judith. Oh my… so true. 🙂

      • Deborah says:

        I’ve a good friend who works as a consultant to various cemeteries across the country. He told me a story about people interred in New Orleans whose bodies had to be moved. He was struck by the fact that while the bodies had decomposed, the polyester clothing looked just like the day they were buried. Long live polyester!

  26. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Hi, Sue,

    Glad that you got some answers and good direction for Spike’s treatment.

    Wow! Those curtains washed up good as new! Wonder if you beat the PTV “against the rocks” that it, too, would look shiny and new! 🙂 Hope that mud is not as sticky as it looks!

    Hope you and the Crew have a peaceful, restful night. Hugs to all!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Denise,

      The curtains do look very nice and clean. It’s a good thing the dirt comes out easily because they are going to need washing often. They are just long enough for Bridget to drag her back along the bottom edge. Spike goes straight up to his little spot at the foot of the bed, but Bridget fusses back and forth, rubbing against the curtains. Sheesh.

      I hope you have a peaceful, restful night, too!

  27. Val R. Lakefield On. says:

    Yay spike…At least you have something treatable……Sue I love your clothesdrying set up, it looks so homey 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Val R.,

      There’s something about laundry on a line that says “Somebody lives here and they like being clean!”

      Thanks for the cheer for Spike.

  28. Bob's gotta bus! says:

    I’m a slow thinker, so this idea did not come to the surface earlier. About the mud on the Best Tow Vehicle. Get one of those extra jumbo large size zip lock bags, drive the BTV into it, throw in five pounds of rice and seal for 24 hours. The mud should fall off on its own. The American Rice Growers Association has a full explanation on its web site.

    Do not, under any circumstances, drive the BTV into the lake and wash it like you did the curtains. That would be WRONG.

    • Timber n' Me says:

      Hey Bob’s got a bus, do you realy think Sue would do that? I don’t think so. LOL ,,,,,,,,,,,8>D

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Bob,

      Or I could dig a big hole, fill it with rice, and drive the PTV into it. Cover with a tarp, wait 24 hours, and presto… dirty rice!

      • Gayle says:

        “Dirty rice” is a Creole, New Orleans side dish, honest, got some Creole friends! (Remove camera and cellphone before eating.) Just trying to cheer you up!

  29. Teresa from NC says:

    Well, as we have all come to understand…you will yank a negative post down in a heartbeat, and if you miss it, Ed has your back:-) Seriously, I’m glad you at least have a starting point to getting SpikeMan back to soaking! I can never get enough of those pictures, and I know I’m not the only one. You three are constantly in my thoughts.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Teresa,

      Yes, I’m very protective of my blogorinos! I want this to be a place where everyone is safe from criticism and negativity and therefore can share freely… me included.

      Thank you for thinking of us. It’s time for us to move to a new camp and I’ll try to find one where Spike can soak.

  30. Sidewinder Pen says:

    Great news about Spike. Now where are my pills to reverse the aging process? 😉

    Seriously, how nice to “find a thing” that has a definite course of action to remedy it. Obviously you’ve yet to see how well it works, but it seems like a clear, logical course of action, and Spike sure does fit the symptoms.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yeah… A pill to reverse senility? Sign me up!

      This does seem to be the best thing to do, given the results of the lab tests. It will be wonderful to see improvement, especially in his energy level and muscle strength. I hope, I hope, I hope .. . . .

      It’s nice to share my “great news” with you, Pen.

  31. AZ Jim says:

    That pic of Spike under the BLT is a beauty. What a sweet little patient face. I’m glad you have a direction to go now. Hang in there Sue and Spike. *Hug* from this ole guy.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jim,

      Spikey does have a sweet face. I feel all the more tender toward him since he lost his hearing and his vitality. It will be a joy to see him improve. Thanks for the virtual hug.

  32. Betty-Shea says:

    A big big hug to you and the fuzzy butts!

  33. Janis Harrison says:

    I am so glad spike had something that is treatable .Hope he feels better soon

  34. Eileen in Phoenix says:

    Hugs to your boy, Spike.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Eileen. Don’t mind if I do! 🙂

      • Eileen in Phoenix says:

        BTW, I thought that your notes at the end of your post hit just the right note. You put your life out there for your blogerinos day after day, and it’s perfectly appropriate, IMHO, to set boundaries on what part of your life is open to commentary. Unless thoughts and opinions are solicited, your pups are your family, and family is generally, and understandably, off limits.

  35. ja says:

    Hi Sue and doggies!
    I’ve always thought it funny when pets get prescribed what I’ve always heard of as “people” medicine. Couple years ago we had both a dog and a teenager on Risperdal! Another dog was taken valium. Got all their medicines at the same pharmacy. So weird to go to Walgreens and open up a doggie account!
    Glad you have answers and hope you can all rest a bit better now.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That is funny, ja. I was researching Tramadol and I was reading something that seemed weird about a dog. Then I realized they were talking about people taking Tramadol.

      Thanks for stopping by with good hope for us.

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      That is funny, isn’t it? I just had to laugh when I went to the pharmacy to pick up some meds for my dog, and lo and behold he “had a last name” (mine) on the label. I don’t know quite why it struck me so funny, but it did. Just seeing his last name (that I had not even thought about him HAVING) on a label. I had to start calling him Mr. [mylastname] for awhile 😉

  36. Timber n' Me says:

    Hi Sue, I’m glad that Spike is doing better and now you know what to do for him. FLASH, just Now, Robin Williams, ” Good Morning Viet Nammm” has passed a way to day at his home in Northern California, He was 63. I’ll Miss his acting and his jokes. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    • Timber n' Me says:

      Oh , if it’s clear where you at Sue, to night you mite see a light show in the night sky if the supper moon doesn’t get in the way and you might even hear the north American wolves howl at that big moon ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,hang in there Spike Buddy,,,,,,,,,,Timber

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yes, Robin Williams was a special person, very gifted. He gave laughter and entertainment to millions of people.

  37. Sue,
    I’m so glad you have a diagnosis and a treatment to try. I’m sure Spike will respond and you’ll see an improvement in just a few weeks. I think it is always better to know what you’re dealing with. Take care of that little boy.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Juley,

      I love your positive outlook! It would be great to see progress within a few weeks. Yes, I feel better with the information I have and the medicine, too.

  38. It must feel good to have some idea what ails Spike. Hoping for good results with his new treatment. Keep us posted:)

  39. Ron Sears says:

    Well that is great news on Spike…When I started reading that I though oh no not what I just went through with Darcy. I am so glad it was good news as far as being treatable. You guys…be safe..

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Ron. Yes, thank God, I have a treatment for him. I would have been devastated if the vet sent me home empty-handed.

  40. Idaho Gurl says:

    Well, bless Spike’s sweet little heart… I am not going to give any advice, seems like you’ve been a bit overwhelmed lately… Maybe you can “pack him in rice.” It would probably feel good but wouldn’t make him better… lol… Time will tell… I sure hope he responds to treatment… Did they give “Mom” a little happy pill too? Sometimes I think we need a little something too when we are nursing our critters… May the creator keep you all safe… ♥Blessings♥

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Idaho Gurl,

      This blog and the caring people who write here are my “happy pill.” The emotional support helps me more than anyone could know. Look at all the kind messages. It’s quite beautiful.

      Thanks for calling blessings upon us!

  41. Elizabeth in WA says:

    Well, now you know…poor Spikey, aging along with the rest of us. Our goal in our lives is to live as well as we can, without any extra meds when possible (tho’ we are on some) for as long as we can!! I hope Spike will perk up some and feel better. Tis no fun to feel poorly!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Elizabeth,

      I hope the medicine will help Spike to live well, to wake up with energy to enjoy each day. Thanks for the wish.

  42. Linda says:

    Sure, there’s always second-guessing, but I think, it’s best to trust the vet. I hope Spike feels peppier soon. Sweet photo of him under the vehicle.

    At least if I ever leave my camera out in the rain, I’ll know to pack it in rice…and so will your 167-some commenter/followers.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda,

      I don’t know how many followers my blog has, but it regularly receives 1,400-1,500 unique visitors every day. I like how WordPress uses the phrase “unique visitors.” That’s the blogorinos, all right!!

      Thanks for the hopeful message.

  43. cluelesscampers and canine (Eastern Missouri) says:

    Sue– Just trust your gut instinct! (and the advice of you vet) It sounds like you are taking great care of the Spikester! We’ve had great success medicating our plott hound by putting a dab of peanut butter on the pills— they go down easy. Now that you’ve diagnosed the problem, you can rest easy for the next two months, and let the treatment ( and prayers from your fans) do their job.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, darn! I forgot to get peanut butter! I went to the store after the vet visit and forgot all about it. Oh well, I have cheese for the pills.

      Yes, :let the treatment and prayers . . . do their job.” I like that! Thanks.

      • Toni says:

        If you have ground beef or turkey you can put the pill in a tiny meatball. That’s how I give my dog her pills. She doesn’t fall for anything else.

  44. Wheeling it says:

    It’s always tough to get news of illness, but at least now you have a diagnosis and course of treatment. Sounds like the vet was caring and competent which is a really positive thing. We’ll be crossing our paws for Spike and hoping he responds well. He’s such a sweet doggie.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Nina,

      Wow! You’ve been having an interesting summer… Sounds like a lot of fun on Orcas Island. I was thinking about you and Paul . . “Gee, those two are perfect for that kind of assignment!”

      Thanks for the crossed paws for Spike and the nice message.

      • wheelingit says:

        It HAS been an interesting summer, but I tell you…we’re already dreaming of being back in the desert for winter. I’m looking forward to some wide, open space and long lounging days.

        Thinking of the wiggly butts…and you, of course 🙂


  45. My girl Sophie had a thyroid condition and giving her meds It was amazing. when Spike starts his you will see his ol self come back!!! Its treatable!!! Yeah!!!!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sheila,

      How wonderful for your Sophie and for you. I’d love it if Spike could regain some of his former strength and energy. Thanks for stopping by with optimistic words.

  46. Caroline near Seattle says:

    Sounds like you found a good and thorough vet!
    Rather than dwell on the negative of the illness, I’ll remind you of the positive of this situation; Spike got a diagnosis and he has medication.
    Heck, we’re all getting old and our parts are failing … we and our pets just need to take our meds and get on with life!
    Enjoy the lake! Looks like you found another peaceful spot. And enjoy your lovely clean curtains !

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Caroline,

      Tomorrow we reach the 16-day limit for camping here. We have enjoyed the lake and the peacefulness of this camp. But I’m ready for a change. In the morning we’ll head out looking for another boondock!

  47. Penny says:

    Whew! I’m the Penny that asked about how to view pics in the older blogs, so I could catch up from the beginning, and I just finished! Like a good novel, I just couldn’t put my iPad down until I got caught up! You have a way of writing that makes the reader feel like they’re right there with you! Your photos are so beautiful and I am envious of your lifestyle. I kept wondering if you ever got scared or had any scary incidences, or what happened if you got ill…..but after all this time your story shows that if you had let fears govern your life, you would have missed out on three years of glorious experiences! And all in all, you’ve dealt with everything. Best to you, Spike & Bridget! Now I’ve got to go get some work done

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Penny,

      You write the nicest comments. I’m pleased that you found my old posts engaging. I assume you did get the slideshows to work for you.

      I’ve often though the same thing about fear, usually when asked if I’m ever afraid (which I’m not). I think, gee, what if I let fear keep me from trying this. Look at all we would’ve missed! Maybe we will have rough times, maybe we’ll find ourselves in a predicament…. That could happen if we didn’t live this way.

      Thanks for the compliments on my writing and photos. The greatest compliment is that you read all my posts!

  48. Barb George says:

    Dear Spike, and yes you too Bridget!

    With a human in your heart like Sue, I just bet you are feeling better fast! May the road be smooth, wind flow freely and the puddles be as muddy as you need them to be…

    Your friend
    Woof From Hoquiam,
    Racy, who has a human named Barb

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hey, bro! Thanks for the get well message . .. Racy from Hoquiam . . . Cool name. Spike

  49. Teri in SoCal says:

    Dearest Spike,

    Kick some Cushing’s Disease ass. That is all.

    Hugs and best wishes that you’ll be feeling much better soon!

  50. Lee J in Northern California says:

    I just got back home and the first thing I had to check the iPad to see how Spike was doing. I am so glad he has a treatment plan and will no doubt be back to feeling much better soon.
    OK, I gotta tell you. An old Quarter horse gelding I had named…get this…Samiama Ruddydun. How’s that for a mouthful? We called his Sam. Anyway he was peeing lakes, drinking his water trough dry, ravenous hunger, long hair coat, ran out of gas when I rode him, he would stand in the corner with his poor head hanging after being ridden…
    So..my vet Tom suggested I haul him up to UC Davis to the vet school..many tests later his diagnosis was Cushings disease. Upshot is he was treated, lived another ten years, useful years too.
    So it looks really good for Spike! Give him a big sloppy kiss from me and a hug to you, sorry, no kisses..lol.
    Glad you can get past this worrisome episode, have fun camp hunting tomorrow! Sleep well.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That’s quite a happy story, Lee J. Poor ol’ Sam had the same symptoms Spike has. Your comment is very encouraging! I gave Spike a snuggle… He’s sleeping right beside me.

      Yes, I’m excited about moving to a new camp! I hope I find a good one!

  51. Kay says:

    I Love the last part of the post! But, now I have to say… a few years ago, a doc to 12 tubes of blood from me, He ran every test possible and prior to sending off before the tests were done, he told me he really has 3 hunches…. 1) gallbladder, in addition 2) Cushing’s and 3) one of two auto immune disorders.

    Results – Liver and all of them were higher than most of those Colorado pot smokers can get…. gallbladder came out EMERGENCY style at the Mayo….. and HALF my liver went too. Boy that was one sore, long, year.

    I am so glad you have answers to Spikey, I fully anticipate he will be ready and feeling just fine by opening day of the SPAW ribbon ceremony.

    In fact, I really anticipate that Spikey will be back on campsite patrol in no time. My concern is Bridget. I think she might missing her buddy and his tricks.

    Thank you Sue, for the Spikey update. Keep your chin up, that Crew will have you hopping shortly!

    Have a good night.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good morning, Kay.

      We had a relatively good night. The full moon had Bridget up again. I took the crew out around 1 a.m. for the usual potty run. Twice after that she insisted she had to go out. I could easily watch her in the moonlight. She didn’t go potty. She wandered a bit and sat looking around. I wanted to slap her fat fanny!

      Gee, Kay, you did have a sore year. It must have been discouraging at times and look at your now! Running hither and yon, full of ideas . . .

      I don’t know why you said Bridget might be missing her buddy. The two of them are together 24/7.

      I’ll keep you updated on Spike’s progress, as well as our travels, of course. I’m assuming you want us there in late September?

      • Kay says:

        Missing his “get up and go” action. He’s been somewhat calmed and I suspect its because the little fellow hasn’t been feeling well. I can’t wait for him to get back into his routines. He made me laugh many times. I so miss his little mischiefs. I can’t wait for him to feel better. Two photos stick in my mind of the Crew. The one of Spikey patrolling the camps down in Ajo area, and the other of Bridget, in the stroller. She sat so good, and to be pushed without jumping out was incredible. Dogs normally jump out, or at least all of ours did when my daughter used to try to push them in strollers.

        The crew has some great personalities, and the photos of them you take, brings those personalities out. So Cute!

        They are awesome companions for you, keep you busy, you have a great crew… they are loved by everyone. They are “little people” as my daughter used to tell me… dogs are people, just littler, mom.

        I am happy that Spikey will be feeling better shortly.

        YES, you and the crew are welcome ANYTIME!

        Running into snags trying to get this place done… Grrrrrr Waiting on Electricians to arrive to start laying wires…. still no telephone or cable companies…. and the gas company has to get back and give us gas line. Concrete people, called 4, one showed we are still waiting on his bid, other 3, no shows yet. People want work, but don’t show. Then the other excuse is “everyone is so busy” yet, I don’t see any buildings going up. Again, I don’t get it.

        I might just go with a Drive Through Snack Shack to get that started and then build a bigger one across the road (still in the park) though.

        We’re trying… hoping to beat Old Man Winter!

  52. Joe says:

    Hi Sue. Guilty!!! lol I suggested the rice also…But anyway sorry to hear about Spikes diagnosis. Know you will take very good care of him. Hope the comeing days are better ones for both you and Spike……HoboJoe

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Joe,

      Oh, the many rice comments were funny. When there are over 300 comments, I don’t expect people to read them all before adding their own. It was nice of you to care enough to make a suggestion.

      Thanks for the sending us good hope.

  53. Cathy p says:

    We lost our 17 year old Aussie female Christmas 2013. As a pup, she was friends with my 16 year old Shepard cross. Two dogs over 33 years. We used Adequan IM (prescription only) for osteoarthritis and most recently combined Previcox. May be helpful in addition to Cushing’s meds. Also vitamin E.
    Learn about vestibular disease (You Tube) so it won’t frighten you if it occurs.
    So sorry. Try not to worry. Spike may sense it.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cathy,

      I was going to ask about Previcox and forgot about it in my anticipation to find out what the lab results were. I’ll ask at the next vet visit. Thank you.

  54. Cinandjules (NY) says:

    Am I first? Heh heh

    Fast forward reading….had to get to the Spike part.

    I have no doubt you will find the root of the problem. OMG what an adorable picture of him under the BLT. What a sweetie!

    Speaking of the BLT…..what the heck is on the side of it? Have the cows rubbed by lately? At first I thought it was a shadow. NOT!!!! Perhaps you should have whacked the curtains on it before you whacked them on the rocks! Good grief woman!

    Hmmm…Spike says those pills would go down much easier wrapped in rotisserie chicken parts!

    Hugs to you all!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi CinandJules,

      I scanned the photo of the BLT for what you are talking about…. You must mean the PTV? What’s on the side of it? That’s mud splatter. For about a week we had a rain shower every afternoon. It created large puddles across this dirt road and mud. That meant about five miles of muddy road before we reach blacktop.

      I didn’t clean the mud off because I knew it would get dirty again. I think the afternoon rain showers have stopped. That mud is dried on there as hard as concrete! I did wipe some of it off. The back doors are perfectly clean which looks very weird with the sides muddy.

      So much going on yesterday, I didn’t feel like the car wash. I have to do it by hand because of the solar panel. I don’t mind that, but I have to be in the mood.

      I did pick up a rotisserie chicken! We ate some as soon as we arrived home… one of the best so far!

      Hugs to you, too..

  55. Diane, Blue Ridge Mts., VA says:

    Sue, shots of your culins lokkie velly velly a good to me!
    Sounds to me like you lucked into a great vet, I am so glad you found them. I have faith in your decisions for little Spikie, and so does he. All is love…
    Been watching for this post tonight… been thinking of you all day. After all, Spike has captured our hearts. My faithful companion “Baer” was a “soaker” also.
    My Baer was a big long haired Black dog. I know this may sound weired to say …but I like to think …that after Cain killed his brother Able and was expelled from Eden, God sent a protector, a “Mark” and that Mark was a dog. This is reflected in Renaissance Paintings.
    Take Care, Sue and Crew

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Diane,

      Interesting about the paintings!

      Sweet of you to have us on your mind. It’s amazing how many people care about Spike and want to know how he is doing.

      I’m sure it was hard for you to let go of your mighty protector, Baer. Thanks for writing . . .

  56. Linda Rose says:

    Sue, at least you know and can do your best to help Spike. BTW, did the rice idea revive your camera? Yay, I’m finally heading out tomorrow in my little Roadtrek (named Shrek the Trek because occasionally it’s been a bit of an ogre). Heading up to Oregon. Watching the weather and hoping to avoid fires and thunder/lightning storms. Wish me luck!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda Rose,

      I didn’t do the rice trick because I didn’t have any on hand and I had clicked the shutter several times, which I learned is a bad thing to do with a damp camera.

      Have a safe, enjoyable drive today in Shrek the Trek .

  57. DesertGinger says:

    Well I have two things to say, my daisy, the best dog ever, stmglrfandtripped across 4 states, but we enjoyed ourselves so much,

    I had my test to show no blog clots, and the electrical shock to shift from my irregular rhythm back to sinus rhythm………….it all went well. I have been doing well since. Now I will be on a program of special drugs and special monitoring to make sure I do not become irregular. No irregularity for me!

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      Thank goodness for no blog clots 😉 Okay, I jest, but I bet you are typing in a hurry on a tiny screen and trying to conserve battery power – makes it tough! Glad you were able to check in here, and happy to hear that you are getting information. That in and of itself must be such a relief. Thinking of you,
      A fellow blogorino

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You are in the prayers of many blogorinos, Ginger. Good to hear no blood clots and the electrical shock went well. Thanks for the update!

    • Marilu in Northern California says:

      Yeah! It’s so good to hear your ticker is under control and you’re feeling better. Have a restful day.

    • Cinandjules (NY) says:

      Great news!

    • Elizabeth in WA says:

      Thanks for letting us know you are doing better, Ginger!! Glad the shock worked!! Hang in there…hope you are home again soon!!

    • weather says:

      Ginger ,dancing (with no stumbling or tripping 🙂 ) I bet we’ll have fun sooner than you think!And honestly,I hope we’re never “regular” people,you know they’re boring!

  58. Deborah says:

    Hi, Sue!
    So glad you now have answers and a path to follow with Spike. For me the waiting is the worst. When I’m finally moving forward I feel a whole lot better.

    I deeply admire your vulnerability in sharing your life stories with your blogarinos (did I spell that right?). I also really appreciate what you share including how you washed your camera!

    Now I have an announcement to make – I’m purchasing an RV! I really wasn’t sure it would happen but this and that fell into place and I’ll be closing on it in about a month. I won’t be full-timing until the end of February when my lease expires. Picasso, my four legged copilot, loved the RV! I’m excited, scared, apprehensive, clueless as to how to get divested of stuff in time, excited and excited! So glad you have already blazed the path and I can follow in your footsteps.

    Thank you so much!

    • Sidewinder Pen says:

      Go, you! I hear you on wondering how on earth you will make it all work out, but… I bet you will 😀 Maybe we will hear about it as you go here in the comments.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome and . . . Congratulations, Deborah! This is an exciting time for you!

      Having that month-long — or perhaps I should say that month-short — deadline to meet will help you persevere in getting rid of your stuff. It’s reassuring to know that Picasso is ready to hit the road with no fear. Sounds like a natural co-pilot!

      As you wrote regarding Spike’s situation, it feels better to be “moving forward.” And that’s what you’re doing, girl!

    • Gayle says:

      footsteps and paw prints …

  59. Debbie's Journey says:

    I bet you feel better now that the waiting for Spikes results is over. He will do great with the right meds and diet. I had a shnottie mix and at 8 yrs old he came down with Pancretitis and he also had a stroke like bells palsy in his mouth and he couldn’t chew or swallow and thank God I found the right Vet and he helped me to learn to save his life and from then on he ate only special ID canned food for his digestive problem and only milkbones. No more people food and guess what he lived 8 more years and passed to the other side at 16. So it’s a good thing to have a new plan on helping Spike live way longer. Rest well Sue.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Debbie,

      I’m sure that was a very distressing time for you, but with the right vet and treatment, you gave your loved one 8 more years.

      Thank you for the positive words about Spike. I’m looking forward to seeing some improvement for my best boy.

  60. Lauriey says:

    So glad you found out what is ailing Spike and there is treatment. Looking forward to reading about him feeling better. As always, thanks so much for sharing your lives and thoughts with us. Take care, Spike!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Lauriey! He’s having a good morning, as is Bridget. Soon I’ll start packing up and hitching up so we can find our next camp. That always makes for an exciting day for the three of us.

      Thanks for the kind words.

  61. Tawanda says:

    Well seems it’s all been pretty well said, still wanted to add how glad I am for you to have a diagnosis and plan for Spike, onward and upward!!!
    Enjoy the search for your next home and beautiful yard…
    WTG Mick getting the horn deterrent to Sue!!..
    Congrats D Ginger on getting your ticker back to beating like it is suppose to….
    Cyber Hugs!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Cyber hugs all around and to you, too, Tawanda. Thanks for letting me know you’re rooting for Spike.

      I have a general idea where we are going today. I hope to find another beautiful home for us!

  62. Glenda in OZ! says:

    Rooting for Spike…………that’s all from me today!

  63. Jenny says:

    Hopefully Spike will be like a new boy, feeling younger than ever. It’s great that you know how to help him. I love seeing the pics of the dogs and am wishing for a full recovery. Please give him a little pat from me, and one for Bridget so she won’t be jealous. 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jenny,

      I have Bridget on one side of me and Spike on the other… The pats from you have been applied!

      Spike isn’t looking his best these days, what with a big section of his back shaved, a wound in the middle of it, and his coat dull and drab. All of that should improve with time.

      In the meantime I’ll post photos of him with a bit of photo-editing to make him look his best. 🙂 Hey, the stars do it, why not Spike, right?

      • Marilu in Northern California says:

        Spike is a star! Look how many fans he has. It sounds like your vet did a thorough work-up. I’m glad you have a diagnosis and a treatment plan.
        Have a great day, Sue!

      • Gayle says:

        Did you ever figure out how Spike injured his back?

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          He probably jabbed himself in the brush or under the BLT. One of the symptoms of Cushing’s is “fragile skin.” He bruises and cuts easily.

  64. Celeste says:

    Vet in Dubois Wy
    Sue I have been following you for years. Have retraced some of your journeys myself.
    Last year after spending time around Jackson, we decided to try Pinnacles after reading about your journey. Lovely breathtaking but not why I write.
    My dog of 13 years starting getting really sick, anxious, panting etc. in night. Panicked as I could not come down the 5 miles in dark. You know that road. Anyway next morning bright early stopped at coffee shop in Dubois for help…good vet pls
    They sent me up street to Carolyn near lumber yard. She was wonderful, knowledgable competent.
    Reading about Spike thinking you might need a Vet in pinch or just for routine please know she is compassionate, reasonable and trustworthy.
    Hope Spike feels relief from medication and good luck in travels

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Celeste,

      Pinnacles gives a splendid view of Brooks Lakes and beyond. I’m happy you had the opportunity to camp there. Not so good about the emergency with your dog! I agree… I wouldn’t want to drive the road down the mountain in the dark.

      I think I remember Carolyn’s place. What a relief to find a good vet, good in many ways. Thanks for the tip as I may go through Dubois this year. Love that area . . .

      Thank you for your thoughtfulness and the good luck wish!

  65. Jool says:

    Sue, my Boston Terrier, Princess Gracie, is in the last throes of Cushing’s right now. I did not catch it early, thinking, as many do, that it was regular old age. I considered suggesting to you to check Spike for Cushings for some things I read or saw in photos, but then again, my mind is skewed toward worrying every senior dog has it. Very fortunately you have caught it, taken action, and this will prolong his life! He and Bridget will continue to be nutcakes together with you for a good long time!
    Hugs to all,
    Jool in N. Texas

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jool,

      I’m so sorry your Princess Gracie is not doing well. It must be extremely difficult for both of you. I’m glad you have each other.

      It is so easy to mistake Cushing’s for normal aging… Lots of people do it, including me! I hope the posts about Spike’s decline and recovery will educate blogorinos with dogs — especially the smaller breeds which are more likely to develop Cushing;s — to be on the look-out for it. That’s one of the reasons why I listed the symptoms in this post, even though it doesn’t make for fun reading!

      Blessings on both you and the princess. Thanks for sharing, Jool. Keep your chin up!

  66. Laurie Jo says:

    Fresh in my mind are my own vet visits this weekend on Saturday and Monday. Your statement, “Numerous comments suggesting other treatments or explaining why I made a wrong decision will be difficult for me to bear.”, resonates with me more than I can say. Yesterday my boy Squirt was diagnosed with 3 different masses in different places in his body as well as bladder stones. It’s funny how even now I’m resisting the urge to describe the problems and justify my decisions to perfect strangers who will read this. But I guess it’s as natural for me to try to explain myself as it is for others to try to help. Feeling help-less is not something any of us wants to face. The end is near for my boy and I hope my friends don’t give me more help than I can bear.
    As always, Sue, thanks for sharing your life and your feelings with us.
    Laurie Jo and Squirt

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, dear Laurie Jo… I’m so sad for you and Squirt. Your heart must be breaking and yet you take the time and muster up the fortitude to share here.

      I wish you strength for the days ahead. You will continue to love your boy Squirt and he will know. It’s the love that dogs care about the most. I hope I haven’t said too much as I know how tender and raw one’s feelings are in times like these.

      Thanks for writing. I’m sorry if my recent posts have brought on more tears.

  67. Heda says:

    As long as you don’t pack Spike in a bag of rice but keep giving him morning belly rubs it will all be good. He and Bridget are two lucky little dogs.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      That’s one of his favorite things, Heda — “morning belly rubs!”

      You’re darn tootin’ they are two lucky little dogs. They are petted and pampered and given a tour of the West, taken on walks and adventures, soaks and a comfy bed, and good food — rotisserie chicken, for heaven’s sake! 🙂

      Nice to hear from you, Heda. Enjoy the day!

  68. Good morning Sue,
    What a relief having a course of treatment for Spikey. Here’s to health & healing for him! Very innovative clothesline–Necessity once again being the Mom of Invention! Polyester is a great thing to have in curtains–they look good as new! Take good care–thinking of you & the Nutcakes!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Dawn,

      Yeah, I’m pleased with the curtains. They have just enough polyester to clean easily, yet not so much that they have that awful polyester look. It’s always a thrill for me to realize I made a good decision regarding home decor. It’s a rare thing!

      Thanks for the get well wish for Spike. I appreciate you thinking of us.

  69. weather says:

    Good morning Sue,
    A steady cleansing rain has been falling here for hours.It’s weight has pushed grass stems so low color seems to have disappeared out there.I can drive to find sunlight or watch the color return this afternoon.I choose both.

    Some people see a fence and stay within it forever,not believing they can open the gate.Years ago you walked Spike out the gate of a facility and choose to give him a life.When the fence of your yard and life there was too small you opened the gate to a world of adventures for you three.

    Now again hoping for more you found the gate to it and gained the prize of extra time in a wonderful life together through rejuvenating Spike’s health for him.

    Your walk of faith and love is a magnificent testimony of what reaching for dreams can accomplish.As you travel the hours of whatever this day has,may you feel peace hold you steady deep within.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Absolutely beautiful, weather . . . “opened the gate to a world of adventure” . . . . . Your writing is exquisite!

      You brought back the precious memory of when I first laid eyes on Spike. The county pound had his photo among many others posted on their website. The facility was a long drive from my house. I looked at Spike and thought, “what a nice dog” but didn’t drive to claim him for my own as I figured a good dog would appear at the local shelter.

      Weeks later I looked at the same website and his photo was still there! “Gosh, they oughta’ update their site more often” I said to myself, thinking that cute dog had surely been adopted.

      Eventually I did make the drive and found my wonderful Spike being housed with the puppies. No wonder he wasn’t adopted. His time was nearly up. He was practically catatonic when I took him to the car and on the drive home. All those weeks in a cage among yapping, crying puppies! I could relate!

      Thank you for bringing that memory to mind, weather. I will read your comment again and savor it. Go find the sunshine and “may you feel peace hold you steady deep within in.” Wow!

      Oh, and good morning to you, too!

      • Sidewinder Pen says:

        Puppy Clingers! Oh man, Spike must have been thrilled when you two made your escape. “Finally, I can hear myself think!” 😀

        (Of course with puppies you can excuse them; if only humans were that cute and fluffy it might be easier 😉

      • Gayle says:

        “in a cage among yapping, crying puppies.” Remember, it’s called middle school homeroom!

    • riley in nc says:

      Very nice Weather. I need to find the courage to open the gate.

      • weather says:

        thanks,riley.sometimes I know my courage was just my passion being larger than fear.When I defended my son by fighting all with the potential or intent to harm him-some might have seen courage-but what was true was raw passion- I wanted his life great more than I wanted my own unwounded body or reputation.

        Treating our own chance for happiness deserves the same reckless abandon at times.If all I’m protecting by risking nothing is a life disappointed by watching dreams fade with time ,we all lose.

        Those who care about me lose the chance to ever know me at my best.Those with hopes around me lose the proof that anything can be done.I lose seeing what I was created to be and to give the world by sharing it.

        Put love over fear-the mirror will hold eyes you finally recognize as your own-thanking you.May God help you see what you dream is yours for the reaching,I’ll pray for the gate to be left swinging open behind you.Hope this helps,weather

  70. Sondra-SC says:

    Howdy,,,YEAH Im last haha……but its sometimes good to get the last word in…ha!! I hope Spike responds well to the treatment path you chose and he bounces back. I’m sure he is going to have good and bad days!! Cushing’s seems to be on the rise in dogs, sometimes I wish I was a scientist so I could research and find causes and cures! Give him a snuggle from me and my girlz.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Sondra,

      I suspect that Cushing’s is being recognized more frequently — maybe because of the internet? — rather than assumed to be the process of aging.

      Yes, Spike’s progress may be “two steps forward, one step back” as we continue with his treatment.

      Silly you, thinking you’d be last! 😉 Thanks for the snuggle and good wish for Spike. Best wishes to you and your crew.

  71. Bob McQuade says:

    Hi Sue,

    Thanks for your post on Cushings. A lot of Spike’s symptoms are evident in my 14 year old Jenny, excessive drinking, weakened hind legs, constant moving from one spot to another, like she can’t get comfortable ( heat related? ), excessive appetite, etc. I now will have her checked for this condition at her upcoming vet’s appointment.

    Good luck with Spike’s treatment, I will be following your progress.



    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh my gosh, Bob! I had a feeling this post might ring some bells out in cyberspace. You’ve probably had some of the same emotions I’ve experienced over the past months.

      I hope your vet can recommend a treatment for Jenny to improve her life. Knowledge is power!

      Thanks for the good luck wish for Spike. I send the same to Jenny. I hope we will hear from you again and that you will give us an update.

  72. JodeeinSoCal says:

    I can see how those symptoms would be confused with age – do they have that drug in human strength?? You’re so connected with Spike that I’m not surprised you were right about the thyroid. Good to have a course of action – that it isn’t rice is just a bonus :-))).
    Nothing says “adventurer” like mud on the side of the vehicle – go you!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jodee,

      Yes, the PTV wears that mud with pride! Or so I’d like to think . . .

      I was thinking the same thing… reverses senility? Are you kidding me? Make it in super-strength, put it on the market, and make a fortune! I’ll buy it by the gross!

      Always good to hear from you, Jodee. Have a great day! Time for me to get us on the road . . . .

  73. Illinois Jane says:

    Sounds good!
    What a beautiful face Spike has. Both photos.
    Positive thoughts coming your way! Catch ’em!

  74. rhodium says:

    Looking at the structure of Selegiline, it seems like the sort of stuff that would be more likely than most medicines to go bad over time, like oils get rancid with air exposure. So I would take that information into account when sourcing it (and I don’t mean to imply you would cheap out where Spike is concerned, just if someone gives you advice). Part of the art of making brand name drugs is formulating them to give a reproducible shelf life (one of my students is now a VP at a big drug firm in charge of formulation and he has lots of stories to tell).

  75. Shirlene says:

    Hi Sue,

    So this Friday the Vet is coming to my house to do a blood test to diagnose Cushings in my 10 year old poodle. Good news, treatment is coming and the symptoms usually get better. So we will be going through treatment at the same time…good for us..we can support one another. At least our babies will have some relief from the symptoms after treatment, which I suppose they will have for the rest of their little lives. Both will be fine and can live out the rest of their lives feeling better. Give Spike a hug from my Kola Bear and kiss Bridget.

  76. Cindy says:

    Hi Sue: I’m so happy for you and Spike that you got a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan for him. A friend of mine had a Maltese who lived well and happily for many years after her diagnosis with Cushing’s. As for “helpful advice,” you are his dog mama and I’m sure you know best and will do the best for him. (Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for all pet owners.)

  77. Shirlene says:

    One more comment….I am the one that just ordered an amber flea collar from Amazon…I am not sure if it is going to work but I thought that since it is nothing that has to go in or on my dog (that is allergic to most topical ointments), it is worth a try and will make her look really pretty in the mean time. So stay tuned for results on Amber flea collars and fleas an tick irradication. Amber is supposed to be good for other issues as well, so here’s hoping.

  78. Chas anderson says:

    Juice’s (the dog with the jaw tumor) sister Callie the Cat has the same problem as Spike.Four years ago they told us she only had a month.Four years later and three cross country trips she is still travelling at age 17.They are tougher than us.

  79. This is one of the reasons I can’t go through dog ownership again. Aging, bodies falling apart, sickness… It makes me too sad. Best wishes for Spike.

  80. Pat in KS says:

    I was drinking my morning coffee and taking my pills while reading about the results of Spike’s bloodwork. What exciting news! I was doing a silent dance in my computer chair! As I took my Tramadol I thought how nice it was that Spike and I could take our meds at the same time. It sure would be nice if my dry hair and skin could be ameliorated. That’s probably too much to hope for.

    With all the recent conversation about rice I’ve been thinking about my Mom’s rice balls. They have mozzarella cheese inside a ball of rice with eggs or something to moisten it. Then it’s fried. They were wonderful and one could hide all kinds of meds in the interior and the dog would never notice.

    I’m happy for all of you and am looking forward to the next boondock. Travel safely.

  81. rvsueandcrew says:


    Forgive me for not replying to the last few comments that have been posted since the crew and I hit the road this morning. We’re almost at our next camp and I’m anxious to find it!

    I’m writing because the further we go, the higher the mountains and the narrower the canyon. If you don’t see anything from me for a few days, don’t worry. I’m hoping for internet connection, but it may not be found. Gollee, these mountains are BIG and BEAUTIFUL.

    Love to y’all . . .

    • weather says:

      May you hear the love echoing back to you along each canyon wall and high mountain’s beauty you pass.

      You’ll find the place where gifts are being held for you,with or without internet these connections are being timed to perfection.

  82. Janet says:

    Dear Sue
    I am glad you have suggested to readers that the course for Spike has been chosen and it won’t be helpful to have alternatives proposed. We often have to make a decision that we are comfortable with and there is no right or wrong choice. Spike is loved and has returned in kind to you over the years. I honor you and know fully that you are doing the best for both of you. We all really need to live in this moment with as much integrity and joy that we can find. J

  83. Sharon in SoCal says:

    Sue, you are my hero. I just about cheered out loud when I read your “don’t flood me with information” comment. As the human care giver and personal slave to a dog with epilepsy I have heard it all and then some, including my all time favorite “why don’t you just put her down”. Wish I had directed the flow of comments better in the beginning. By the way she has been seizure free for 3 1/2 years so I guess I am doing something right, and we have gotten her dosage level down and her liver is doing fine even with the long term drugs.
    Follow your gut and you will do fine by Spike. I see the love you have for those two furry friends in every post.
    My dogs can’t wait for my retirement (2 1/2 years) so we can follow in your footsteps and also become furry travelers with their human.
    And your description of Spikes symptoms has gotten me to looking again at my old guy Max. Just had a full blood panel done two months ago, going to go take another look at the values that were “just a little up or down but passed off as age”. The new young vet was in that day, I think I will call the seasoned vet and re-discuss a couple of those levels.
    And Spike, Max doesn’t like his pills either but we have an agreement, he doesn’t bite me and I get to put them way way back in his mouth were he can’t spit them back out. Then they are followed by his favorite treat, Salmon Yummy Chummies. Shall we see if we can figure out how to get you some yummy chummies? And some to share with Bridget, can’t forget Bridget.
    Hang in there Sue, Katie (the epi dog) is sending some of her positive outcome karma Spikes way. And the whole crew send happy howls (I have Siberians and Malamutes) that you can probably hear and we are at least two states away … LOL
    Sharon posting for Max, Aleska, Katie, Mikki and George

  84. Annie says:

    Hi Sue! I’m so glad that Spike got a diagnosis that is treatable! And that he has more years to enjoy his life on the road!

  85. Terri From Texas says:

    Hi Sue,
    Such great sentiments about Spike! I, too, want to voice my support of you and both of your crew! I am sure Spike will get a new lease, now that you have a diagnosis. We have been struggling to get our dog, Napoleon, back on track with his thyroid. He is almost 4 years old and started dragging around and gaining weight like crazy. I finally had to ask our vet if it wasn’t strange that he was gaining so much weight since we only feed him a cup of food a day! We are working on his numbers, now. Each time requires a blood test that costs 45.00. Tomorrow is test number 4. But, it will be worth it if we can put things right with him. He has already gained much more energy than he had taking two thyroid pills a day. Well, that is my dog story-just saying, I relate! and wish you and Spike many more happy travels together!

  86. Dawn in MI says:

    Best wishes for Spike, hoping he feels happier soon. I think a lot of dogs have a similar diagnosis and live happy lives. Spike is a tough dude, he’ll do his best, as will you. That’s all you can ask. Happy camping in your canyon!

  87. MarciainPA says:

    Hi Sue,
    Have been dealing with Cushing’s in my baby girl Bella for about 1 1/2 yrs. now. We research and plan as best as we can, and would do anything in our power for them. I just hope to be able to give my Bella and Pino half of the adventures that your nutcakes have experienced. What a party…..

  88. Mel from TX (formerly NV) says:

    I am so sorry to hear abt Spike and cushings, my 10yr old cavalier King Charles boy also had cushings..I apologize if already mentioned & not sure if your vet tested his blood suagar. My KC contracted diabetes and Cushing , not sure which came 1st but the frequent urination and excessive water consumption were the initial symptoms..be forewarned Spike may develop unending hunger…KC never felt “full” towards the end, and it was hard…ate tons and dropped weight every week…this was also a result of the disease. I pray Spike is with you for a long time, however, value every day with him, KC only survived 7mo after initial diagnosis….I made every day count with video and photos. And everything you do is the right thing, stay strong…

  89. DesertGinger says:

    Well, my news is that I am home again. I feel a kinship with Spike; I’m having trouble adjusting to what I perceive as an age-related disease. I had this vision of getting my knee fixed and dancing off into a glorious golden retirement party. But, as you guys know, I am hitting one bump after another. Now I have AF..,atrial fibrillation…which is no small thing and requires lots of care and maintenance. And while I have treatments, and assurances I can have a long, full life, my spirits are flagging and I am grieving. It isn’t the stomach injection every twelve hours, or the constant monitoring of heart rate and blood pressure..it is the sense of limitation. I can never boondock…I must be hooked up to my CPAP machine every night. This is apparently a primary cause of AF. I probably need to wear one of those medic alert bracelets and I need to keep copious records so I can report to doctors. It just all feels like such a burden. I’m hoping I will get past this emotional slump and learn to take this all in stride, but right now I feel blindsided. I didn’t see this coming at all. And there may be more. It is still an open question whether I will need surgery on my valve. I feel weary just thinking about it. It feels so unlike me…I have always been more footloose, more free form. Suddenly I must be someone I have never been. I feel like an invalid. I’m sorry to bring my blue mood here, but you are my friends. Can someone please send me a giant bag of rice that will fix this? Or tell me how to unscrew my head from that place it has gotten stuck? It’s dark up here.

    • Reine says:

      Oh Ginger, never say never. As part of your “bag of rice” know that we are loving you and praying for you. I believe there may even be battery powered CPAP machines that I’ve heard folks discuss on the Casita Forum that would let you do some boondocking. And if you need your valve replaced, you WILL recover. If my 92 year old mom can have a valve replaced and come out swinging on the other side, YOU can. FYI, that was over 18 months ago and she’s as feisty as ever. You have some new routines and new skills to learn but you can do it. It will be rocky at first but once you get the hang of it, it will become second nature and you will be able to incorporate things you love back into your life. Maybe not everything but many things. It’s bleak now but it’s gonna get better. Sending you an imaginary hug.

    • Mick'nTN says:

      Hi Ginger, First a big vHUG. It is good your communicating your feelings and I know from your past posts that you are strong and tackle your problems. You will overcome and there will be much support here for you. Kiss the blues goodbye and have positive thoughts of all your new Blogorino friends.
      Now some more HUG, HUG, HUGS!!!

    • weather says:

      Dear Ginger,thank you for bringing your moods here,whatever color they are.I hope now that you’re home you can read and respond to the comments to you again,because we ARE your friends.

      Now about that dark place -let’s try to brighten it up.You are and will always be the same Ginger you and we know,love and enjoy!

      Every day on schedule you’ve given Chloe her meals,now you’ll just add your injection to your schedule.

      Every night you’ve used a pillow,now you’ll just add the CPAP machine.A bracelet’s like a ring or watch.after a while we forget we even have it on.

      Being footloose is a personality thing,from who we are inside.That’s never changed though we’ve been responsible.

      We ‘ve taken our routines in stride and laughed and dreamed anyway-it’s what we’re like-what we do!!

      You are Ginger!Period!!That’s the good news,the headline.The rest is just switching details in a maintenance routine.Even wild things need maintenance.Our creator gives love,food,water and freedom to wild creatures-young and old -on time-always has.So do we!

    • weather says:

      Ginger, after you read my message above the lying voice in your head will sneak back in when it gets the chance. We both are ready for it!!!

      We don’t need to see things coming to overcome them.What happens in the rooms of recovery when a problem’s brought up?Voices,one after the next fight back offering solutions!!You can police your mind against negative ideas-you’ve been ready all along!

      Driving to Tucson you don’t take every exit.You stay on the highway and only choose the road that’ll take you home.

      Refuse dark ideas!The signs will be there.Saying “This is to Hard”.”I can’t do this”.Don’t go there,Ginger.Take the wheel back!!!

      • Marilu in Northern California says:

        Hi Ginger,
        It is hard to add anything after Weather’s eloquent suggestions but I did have a “cardiac event” last year. I know that it is very common to feel depression afterwards. There are so many new things coming at you at once that you feel compleyely overwhelmed. Please share your feelings with your doctor or a social worker at the hospital. There may be a support group or a class offered for people adjusting to heart problems. Call the hospital and tell them you are a recent patient and you want to talk with the social worker.
        Please keep talking to us here. We care about you!

        • Marilu in Northern California says:

          I wanted to add that as you adjust to these new procedures, tests and contraptions they won’t seem so big. You will figure out a way to live your dreams. On this blog there is at least one person experienced with every condition or contraption. We are with you, Hang in there!
          Give Chloe a hug for us.

    • Marcia GB in MA says:

      Just want to say, DG, you are not alone. Hundreds of folks are wishing you well and are here to help you over this hurdle. You will adjust to a new normal and go on with your life, perhaps slightly altered. You’ll still find ways to pursue your dreams. Gentle hugs and good thoughts – we’re rooting for you!

    • Elizabeth in WA says:

      Dear Ginger,
      It is good to know that you are doing as well as you are…but we so identify with how you are feeling…life throws us some curves so often!! Hubby and I have had one thing after another since March…and have both aged a lot through all this. But trying to adjust to what life is for now and hoping for better tomorrows!! We had also hoped to be able to RV fulltime ere long…but it is not looking possible right now. The good part is that at least nearly all the pain is gone now after hubby’s back surgery though his hand is still mostly numb…but at least the tingling is gone!! So we count our steps forward in small increments and I suspect you too may have to count the steps forward in small increments for awhile at least.

      My dear mom was diagnosed with a similar thing…and the doc basically told her and my dad that she would go quickly and he would come in and just find her dead one day…but that is NOT what happened. She lived well over a decade and did many things and by no means did her life end quickly. Docs are human and they do not know the future!! So no matter what discouraging things you have been told. GOD still has the final say!! We can keep praying you will have a full recovery!! Never hurts to ask and often our prayers are answered as we ask…or maybe even with some benefits and blessings we never knew to ask for even. Even difficult times can have blessings standing on the sidelines…will pray that for you dear!! Give your body some time to heal and eat well, and nutritiously, rest while listening to some good music ….do all you can to help the body heal.
      Hugs, Elizabeth in WA

    • Kay says:

      Dearest Ginger, I’ll share some info with you. First, you didn’t mention which heart valve. Most common in us women, is the Mitral Valve. I also am not sure of your location. However, that aside for a moment. I have had 36 years experience dealing with heart problems, valve issues and the who nine yards that come with it.

      Today, heart surgeries, are much more advanced then they were 29 years ago. A valve replacement has choices. Mechanical, Tissue, Pigs Valves. There is a BIG difference between all 3, and sometimes medical staff do not share which might be the patients best option. Keeping in mind, quality of life is important, and doctors really don’t know each of our quality of life that we want, like or need to feel good, be happy, so to speak. When I had to make this very difficult choice for my son a couple of years ago, the first thing I did is ask questions of the heart surgeon. I actually scheduled 4 personal appointments for my son and I, with the surgeon before I made the decisions I needed to make.
      #1 – Mechanical Valve – it is the most common one used and last about 30 years. This is the good side of it. HOWEVER, the down side is the upkeep. Mechanical Valves require patients to be on blood thinners, which result in diet changes, and the patient will hear a tick constantly, sometimes people around the patient will hear the tick as well.
      #2 – Pigs Value – Used in many surgeries, however the downside is patient has to take anti-rejection medications for life, and those anti-rejection meds are cancer causing drugs. Last anywhere from 5 to 15 years.
      #3- Tissue Value – Used often in surgeries. The downside, metabolism in the patient wears these values out in 7 to 15 years. If patient has a high rate, it can be worn out in as little as 3 to 7 years.

      I chose #3 for my son. The reason, he’s rough on his body, he likes to do things his way. Tissue valve does not require the nasty rat poison blood thinner. Barely hear a tick, normally only heard on echo’s and stethoscopes. Without the need for daily blood thinners, he has a great quality of life and can do MORE today, than prior to surgery. He has a very high metabolism. This was discussed often and at length with the heart surgeon. My researched netted me knowledge that a new procedure was approved and being widely used in Europe for valve replacement of tissue valves. Upon questioning the doctor, he opened up and shared with me the procedure is being done in the US in cases where the patient likely would not survive the chest invasion operation. The procedure is less invasive as well. It’s a matter of doing a heart cath like procedure and replacing the valve through the same area.

      Also, I need to ENCOURAGE you strongly to be sure and seek a SECOND opinion when it comes to the heart. I say this because I have two of my own children, now adults, and a step son with heart problems. All three, as children grew into adulthood with heart problems. Two have required heart valve replacement. I was a strong advocate for my son, he is in great health today following his heart surgery. I chose the valve, and I chose the facility, and I consulted 3 doctors. The first one, told me he would not need surgery for 3 to 5 years. Thank goodness I believed in that “second” opinion. It saved my son’s life, and had given him a better quality of life. The step son, he did not fair too well. He has many issues as a result to his valve replacement, which was the mechanical. I was not involved at the time, but came into the picture later. He’s alive today, because I opted to take him to the same facility I took my son to when he was in grim condition. He still has daily struggles, and his breakfast really is a bowl of pills rather than cereal. Very sad.

      Blood pressures can be regulated by diet. Sodium does play a role in HBP, however, Sea Salt should be considered over table salt. It has the minerals which are stripped from the table salt processing. Manufactured food is not good for us. Natural or Whole foods are better. Then there are the supplements, which of course you have to do a lot of homework on and discuss with your doctor.

      Prior to my horrible gallbladder removal, I was rushed into the cardiology department. My BP was in the 200’s/100’s range. Sitting in an exam room for two hours, and every 6 minutes my BP was checked. My average came in normal, except during the gall bladder attacks, it skyrocketed. The cardiology doctor told me in no uncertain terms, NEVER permit a doctor to put me on blood pressure meds without first, making a concrete determination of the cause for the HBP first. he also told me BP meds are for folks in their 80’s, but yet, doctors out in the world toss them into their patients without proper diagnoses. Even heart doctors do this!!!! So, the cardiology told me “Patients MUST be their own advocates and NOT take what their doctor tells them as gospel”. They had to QUESTION their doctors and settle for straight answers, not “well, or hum or because” ask what makes the doctor sure of his findings.

      I have followed this cardiologist recommendations for myself, and I am happy with the results. As for my son, all of his heart team docs told me many times, he’s a text book heart case. The reason being, I chose to question, not to give answers until I have ALL information and was able to process it my way first.

      AF (Afib) can be caused by several things. The most common blame is Sleep disorder, putting patients on the CPAP may help, but may not be the cause of the AFIB. Again, diet plays major roles in our bodies. Stress can and does raise BP and other things can trigger an AFIB result as well. Caffeine for one can be a culprit.

      On the bright side, Ginger…. research and educate yourself, take what your doctor told you, and investigate it all. Find the underlying reason for your BP, its very likely when you solve that issue, you could also solve the AFIB.

      I had AFIB during the year and half of poisonous gallbladder in me. It disappeared when that nasty gallbladder was removed. Anxiety can cause what appears to be AFIB, same with stress, same with our bodies being off balance of proper minerals and vitamins. There are several reason for AFIB and HBP…. have to find the root of the problem to solve it correctly.

      Advocate for yourself to your doctors. It will restore you, and doing so will give you your quality of life back.

      Stand up, open the blues blinds and start researching and studying your lab results. Blood in our bodies tell us EVERYTHING that is out of whack with us. You need to learn what each test is for, what it does and so on….

      Good Luck my friend, will pray for you as well.

      • Elizabeth in WA says:

        WOW, Kay, you have had a ton of experience…thanks for sharing all this…the rest of us may need some of that info at some time.

      • Kay says:

        Let me add one more thing, this is for everyone. Doctors are so QUICK to give blood thinners.. There is a blood test called “D-Dimer” and this blood test will tell you the thickness of your blood.

        I cringe the second a doctor tells someone they need Blood Thinners without checking the patients d-dimer. On the opposite side of things…

        I took my mother to the ER one night. She swore she had pleurisy (infection between lining of lung) and I was not so sure. I was suspecting she had blood clots in her lungs and her legs. I didn’t say a word.

        We’re in the ER for 5 hours, I am being very patient with the nice doctor. He treats her for an URI by giving her a breathing treatment. I permitted that simply because she had COPD (never a smoker) and that did not improve her color, only her breathing for a short time. They did a Xray, CT, all the standard blood tests.

        Results all come in. It’s 4AM, Doctor tells us he cannot find a thing wrong with my mother. He goes into to deal with all the results. I asked to look at the lab report on all the labs. I don’t see a d-dimer result.

        When he tells my mother he’s going to release her so she can go home and get some sleep, I stood up and said “Not so fast, doc”. Look at this woman, her color is grey, her breathing is somewhat labored, her lips are blue doc, she’s 78 years old doc, how bout we check a d-dimer on her? If her CT and Chest X-Rays are normal, lets check the d-dimer doc. He LOOKS at me, tells me “Don’t you go anywhere” I’ll be right back.

        He runs out calls the lab for them to run a d-dimer, dashes back into the room, rubs his head and asked the question “Are you a Doctor? I say NO, next question, A Nurse? I say NO. He asked “WHAT” I said Lab Tech with years of patient care.

        2 hours goes by, results come in. Doc runs into room. First thing out of his mouth… directed towards me “You sure nailed the problem” he turns toward mother, informs her he will not be sending her home but rather to ICU immediately.

        The d-dimer result “7500” clots in both lungs, both legs. Had I took her home without questions, she would not have woke up. She lived to tell others her experience.

        Now what made me think about that d-dimer besides her age and the test results all within normal range? A few months before that we were RVing, a few days before that she complained her lower leg seemed to hurt as in was tender, AND… she took ASPIRIN for her arthritis and a few years before this, she stopped as she got out of the damp cold climate. All factors to suspect blood clots.

        Based on experience, I ask for a d-dimer test about every 3 to 5 years to keep it monitored. If I am doing a lot of sitting around or laying around, and have not taken aspirin, I will have it checked. All for my own safety because doctors will miss this.

        My mother’s was so high, people in her range never live to know about it.

      • DesertGinger says:

        Yes, I have mitral valve stenosis, apparently from rheumatic fever as a child. Thank you for all this info and, you are correct; they have me on blood thinners. I must say that I am very pleased with my cardiology team and feel they really care and are doing their best. I have a whole group. And University of Arizona is apparently well known for their cardiology service. I will ask about the test you mentioned, the d-diner, but I think they are already doing it. They seem to be very aware of the relative thinness of my blood. And Kay, you tell a great story!

        • Kay says:

          I figured it was the MV. Yes, AZ is good. I worked at the heart hospital, took my training in the Valley AFTER I dealt with the kid’s heart issues for years.

          Once you’re on Blood Thinners, the d-dimer normally is not done simply because it won’t give the needed info. D-Dimers are best to be done when a person is in good health to establish that “base” line and then if they monitor it and keep records it will benefit them. Once on Blood thinners, it’s normally an INR that is done.

          I tell my step-son, GREENS as in veggies thicken the blood so eat them in moderation and be consistent weekly.

  90. Kat says:

    Hugs for Desert Ginger

  91. Patricia from Florida says:

    t too have a CPAP machine. Have had it for 9 years now. It is no big deal. It takes a little adjustment in the beginning but very easy to use and wear now. I use it while camping in the state parks that I love. My goal is to get solar in the near future and boondock. Yes, I have been told it can be done. Ask Mick, he can probably work a solution for you. Don’t let the CPAP machine overwhelm you. If I can do it, you can too. Hugs to you…

  92. Patricia from Florida says:

    My fingers must have tripped over the keys. That was meant to read, I too have a CPAP machine.

  93. Diann in MT says:

    Hi, fellow Blogorinos,
    Does Sue get credit for items I place in my shopping cart one day then buy them a few days later?

  94. Diann in MT says:

    Gads. Apologies to DG. I had not read your posting and the responses before posting the question up there. I did not mean to be ignorant of your troubles.
    Please accept my prayers for you, dear lady. I perhaps can empathize with your frustration of being sick amid a life full of activity and freedom. I am a really active 60-something who twisted her right knee out into a pretzel and needs to see the doc this afternoon. I am a hiker, a floor scrubber, a gardener, and definitely not a sitter. I am so frustrated by this impairment–right in the middle of the hiking season–I could spit. It’s been a lesson in acceptance, patience, forgiveness of self. “I am not to blame”, I keep telling myself.
    Please take it a minute at a time, fellow blogorino. You’re going to get past this.
    Hugs to you!

  95. rvsueandcrew says:


    Last night the crew and I camped where there isn’t internet. Right now we’re parked alongside the road near Jackson. I’ve read all your comments, but I’m unable to respond right now.

    Thank you for your encouragement regarding Spike. Also a few words to Desert Ginger — Praying for you, girl!

    And for our dear weather . . .


    Sue, Spike and Bridget

    • weather says:

      Yippee!!!You found a signal,I like that road already.Thank you for the happy wish for my day,seeing that from you really has made it even happier!Miss ya,hope you’re all doing great 🙂

      • AZ Jim says:

        Happy 39th? Weather!!! 🙂

      • Elizabeth in WA says:

        Hope your birthday is wonderful…or was, if this is a day later….hard to know which day sometimes on here!! Enjoy your comments too, by the way….

        • Elizabeth in WA says:

          It IS the same day…I see that in the teeny print now…heh….hard to read small print these days…another adjustment….(result of having been hit by a mack truck in 2008)!! Always reasons to be grateful nonetheless…well, at the least today have some fine food, whatever you consider fine!!

          • weather says:

            friends invited me out for lobster-a favorite-I took a rain check-had a soda pop and shared a meat and green olive sandwich with the pups-was mighty fine and fun!

        • weather says:

          Thank you,it is wonderful,and thanks, also,for mentioning that you enjoy my comments,that makes me feel good

    • Jolene/Iowa says:

      Hi Sue, I hope you and the crew are having a nice, relaxing time. I look forward to when you can do your next post but in the meantime, enjoy yourself!

      DGinger, Please know that I am keeping you in my prayers. Take each day as it comes and you will figure out how to get things back to some semblance of your normal. Things will all come together.

      Weather… A big Happy Birthday to you!! Enjoy your day!!

  96. Mick'nTN says:

    Happy Birthday Weather

  97. Diann in MT says:

    HB! ax :>)

  98. Diann in MT says:

    Sorry weather Wanted to text “wx”

  99. Marcia GB in MA says:

    I’m relieved to hear that you have a diagnosis for Spike and that it’s treatable. With your tender loving care and his meds, the Spikester should be feeling much better soon. Sending good thoughts to you and the Crew!

  100. Kay says:

    Dear Spike, Just a quick note to say “I hired a Concrete Crew This Afternoon”. Things are beginning to move along, again. We are not certain we will have everything open this year, but for sure next September 2015, for your Ribbon Soaking Ceremony, it all shall be open.

    Bridget, dear little one… I am not leaving you out of the fun little missy. I am planning to put a doggy washer and dryer in the doggy bath house for that bed of yours! Also, I will certainly put up a curtain between the tub(s) for your privacy.

    RVSue… I will have a VIP spot for the PTV and BLT that will have full hook ups. It will give you privacy as well.

    I am beginning to create the list of items we will consider stocking in the Park Store. So, if anyone has any suggestions, or ideas to stock, feel free to offer them up. We do plan to carry hoses, fittings and such. We’re looking to stock items most in need to us full-timers.

    Now, here’s another thought…. We need a name for the “store” side of this operation. Keeping in mind, there will be a ******* in front of it. For Example: the Snack Shack will be called ****** Snack Shack, so the Store could be called ******** (your selected name) and then we will have the ******* SPAW in honor of our wonderful Spikey Boy. Submit your Store name idea…. I will choose 5 of them, then I will placed them on Sue’s Blog and the one with the most votes will be selected. Who ever recommended the name FIRST, wins a FREE FU SITE FOR A NIGHT.

    Have fun…. you all enjoy your day.

    • Jolene/Iowa says:

      Hi Kay,

      Love hearing the progress of your RV Park. One thing I can think of right now for the store might be some fuses. Both automotive and RV. It seems like when those things go there is never anyplace around handy that has them. Another thing you might want to think about is that if your parks are going to have a similar name, maybe sweatshirts and Tshirts to sell.

      I don’t know if you saw a comment I put on another days comments but I lived in an RV Park for 6 years and also worked there. We had a building there that was the office but it was also a clubhouse. There was a locked door between the office but then there was an outside door that had a separate key. That key fit the back door AND the locked bathrooms and showers for the park guest. In the clubhouse area they had long tables in case people were visiting family it gave them a bigger area that they could all share a meal together. There was a refrid, microwave, and there was a bathroom and sink.

      There was also a book and puzzle area that campers would take some and leave some. There was a nice physicians style scale so people could weigh themselves. We had permanent campers, like we were, as well as those who passed through. We played cards in the evenings in that clubhouse. I used those long tables to lay out quilts and pin them and then could sew them in my RV.

      Just some thoughts, if I think of more I will chime in.

      • Kay says:

        Yep I sure did see those comments, and I wrote them down and plan to use some of them. Thank you!

        We will have some clothing, mugs, stuff like that as well. We will also have the “Crafters Corner” too. Items made by RVers.

        I’ll have some basic items as well, like laundry soaps and softeners and such. I am hoping to have room for a clothes line for those who want to take advantage of the clean fresh air on sheets.

    • Alan Rabe says:

      Hi Kay, Sounds great, I will be coming into your area about the 2nd week of Nov. from Box Elder. I hope to be able to hit ToadStool Geological Monument on the way. Depends on the roads but it looks like an amazing place, balancing rock formations everywhere. And six widely separated sites in the campground and virtually no one ever goes there. Just has about 15 miles of gravel road in and out, so no rain for several days before. May stay 2 nights, won’t know till I get there.
      But, I am looking forward to seeing your park and meeting you all. I hope you are open then.

      • Alan Rabe says:

        Kay, I am looking at Kimball and I am trying to find where your park could be located. Do you have cross streets. The google maps earth image is a bit old. But I do see what looks like a park at the east end of 6th street.

        • Kay says:

          No that’s what’s suppose to be a trailer park. Not many homes left, maybe 3 to 4, possibly 5 and several RVs from the harvest crews.

          We are on the south side of town on highway 71.

          I am not sure we will be “officially” open by then, however we already do have a couple FUP sites set up as we are camped in our RV on the property. You are more than welcome to cruise on it. Just send me a little advanced notice if we are not officially open, I ask this simply because dear hubby tends to PARK wherever and whenever at the moment, and by then, I suspect he will have several items hauled in preparing them for sale.

          Now, before anyone asks the daunting questions regarding the word “Sale” I will admit that dear hubby, being the “retired” mechanic has the desire to look, see, buy, set items for later use. Miss Kay has somewhat shifted him into high gear and placed a deadline on SELLING THOSE UTILITIY TRAILERS AND RV’s.

          On serious note, I have him lined up for working for the next 6 months to get rid of all that stuff that he pays storage and license and insurance on. Otherwise, the nice big shop – will be MINE, ALL MINE.

          He’s working hard….

    • DesertGinger says:

      Well the first thing that popped up in my head was Living the Dream, a full-timers haven. With Living the Dream Crew Quarters (rv parking sites), Living the Dream Supplies (store), Living the Dream Snack Shop, and Living the Doggy Dream Spaw.

  101. Pat in KS says:

    This is a birthday hug for weather and a good health prayer for Desert Ginger. You are never alone, DG. Your friends have your back. I go to pick up my new CPAP thing tomorrow. I know the both of us will adapt. Weather has said just about everything appropriate for your moods and other suggestions have been perfect too. You mention shots in the belly. I think that is temporary due to your recent hospitalization and and resulting lack of movement. They do that to protect your new knee from getting a clot. They gave me the same thing during my two recent trips to the hospital for dehydration. You will soon be back doing the things you love and the scared feelings will pass. I am glad that you are home with the love of your furry friend.

    • weather says:

      Hug back to you Pat 🙂

    • DesertGinger says:

      I know the shots you mean Pat, but these re other shots I’m doing at home. lovenox I think? But they are temporary till I get to an adequate blood thinness rate…I’ve also started on Coumadin but I guess it takes time to ramp up? I think they may be doing the test Kay mentioned earlier to track the relative thinness of my blood. Which reminds me I’m running late for my shot. Back soon.

  102. Sue(Alabama) says:

    Sue, how wonderful that you have a diagnosis for Spike and ways to treat it. What a great big relief that is to all of us!

    Have fun looking and hunting for that perfect camping spot!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you Weather. I love reading everything that you write, it is always so beautiful and so insightful.

    DGinger, I send my love and prayers to you for a speedy recovery. I know it all seems hard right now and confusing but hang in there. We are all here as your moral support. My husband has had 7 heart surgeries (21 surgeries in all) and lives now with a pacemaker/defibrillator as well as a night monitor machine that is connected to his doctors office, keeping watch over his heart. He also wears a cpac machine and I also give him shots (in his hinny) We thought this all would change our lives and keep us tethered to the house but as time goes by you do adjust and it does get easier. He now is back to traveling the country and Sth America.

  103. CheryLyn(Oregon) says:

    Happy Birthday Weather!!
    DesertGinger-So sorry for the challenges, as others have said there are work-a-rounds. Take it a day at a time and watch as you improve–keep the dream alive.

    Sue: took me awhile to respond- I was thinking about Spike and about your sadness. Funny how a pup I haven’t even met could feel like part of the family. Having had sweet pets with cushings I know that you are doing all that is important. Lots of love is the best.

  104. Denise - Richmond VA says:

    Happy Happy Birthday, Weather!! Hope you have fun celebrating your Birthday week!!
    Sending you Birthday hugs! 🙂

    Hi, DesertGinger,
    I am glad that you are home with your little Chloe. Please take one day at a time and know that you are not alone. You are in our thoughts and prayers. You will still be your fancy free self, just with some minor adjustments to your routine. Hang in there….tough cookies are hard to crack!! Sending you warm thoughts and healing hugs! 🙂

    Hi, Sue,
    Enjoy your time off grid….decompress….regroup….and plan your next adventure! Hugs to you and the Crew! 🙂

  105. Alan Rabe says:

    It is a shame Spike is having issues but it is great they have a diagnosis and solution. Lets hope they are right and Spike gets back to his full self. He deserves to be as healthy as possible and Bridget needs her companion. Even if she may not show it all the time, you know she loves him.
    Wishing you all the best.

    Best wishes and get well soon to Desert Ginger.

    And a great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Weather, truly a breath of fresh air.

  106. BadgerRickInWis says:

    With so much coming at you I know it can be hard to see the light in life but it’s there. You just have to try to turn towards it. Give yourself time to digest all of you new situation and please be gentle with yourself.

    While I am sure it seems daunting now I have to believe that all of your dreams are still possible. As others have said I know that there are folks that boondock with a CPAP machine. There is lots of talk about doing just that on the fiberglassrv.com site.

    At least you are home with Chole I am sure that she missed you just as much as you missed her. Never forget that you are not alone and that there are many praying with you.

  107. DesertGinger says:

    Hello all and thanks to everyone for your many kind thoughts, I so appreciate it. I should have mentioned that I have been using a CPAP for years, although not since my heart attack as I have been on oxygen instead. However, I saw the pulmonologist today and they will schedule me for a new sleep study as I may need some more complicated equipment with my recent heart issues. One thing I neglected to mention is that I feel very comfortable with my cardiology team. They have all been so kind, helpful, supportive. I think what I need to do is look into some counseling or support group type of thing, as has been recommended. I just feel so blindsided right now; I never expected all these issues! I tend to be an optimist and just expect things to go well.

    Weather…Happy Birthday! I know you will have had a lovely day because that is what you do, but please know my good wishes go with you on your adventures.

    Spikester…well bud, here’s the thing about aging..sometimes it’s tough. But it’s the only game in town so I guess we look at it as an opportunity to show our mettle and rely on our friends and loved ones. You got lucky buddy…you got the best mom on the planet! How many guys get to travel the country, dine on raw meat, have an adoring entourage and their own blog? Huh? You are like a rock star! Soak it up and enjoy.

    Sue…I went through this (Cushings) with my dearly loved Jack Russell Terrier, Daisy. You get to make the best decisions you can and do the best you can and know that is all you can do. And it’s enough. You give Spike the best life you can, and you always have. He’s a happy little guy. Like I told him, aging is not always an easy path but it’s the only path so we do our best. And hold each other near.

    • weather says:

      Thank you ,Ginger,it has been a lovely day!and thank you for your good wishes,we hold them for each other 🙂

  108. Lana in Phoenix says:

    weather – Happy Birthday! Hope your day was extra special! If you’re like me, you are enjoying 39 years old xxx times!

    DesertGinger – Hang in there! I firmly believe that we are not given more than we can handle, and judging from your past comments, you are a very strong lady, and could take on an even heavier load if required. (Hope that every health issue has been revealed!)

    Spike – My mother (rest her precious soul) used to say: Aging is definitely not for sissies (quoted from (I think) George Burns) , but it is definitely better than the alternative!

    Sue – There are the more mature people than myself who say to take your time to return to blogging, but I’m afraid I’m not one of them. HURRY BACK! We miss you when you’re gone!!!

  109. BadgerRickInWis says:

    I didn’t realize you were familiar with the CPAP so maybe you have already factored all this into your boondocking dreams. But as coincidence would have it there is a discussion of running CPAP on solar power in a Casita going on right now on that other board I mentioned. . I am going to include the link with the thought that maybe you could use something to take your mind off of other stuff right now.

    It gets kind of techy but when your time comes I think I know an angel named Mick that will help with any questions you might have. In the mean time keep dreaming. We all believe in you and love you.

  110. First… Wow lots of comments! Good new about Spikey, please give him an extra tummy rub from us! Second, D.Ginger, whew you have been through a lot, but you seem to be one tough cookie so I don’t think that you will crumble over this! Bette Davis said it best “old age ain’t for sissies” and everyday I find new reasons to agree with that statement! 🙂 Third, Happy birthday weather! I also love reading your comments.
    Sue, I apologise for not responding as often, my computer is still on the fritz, my blog is on hold and I am dependant on this tablet which will let me read your blog posts but seldom let’s me respond.
    Love the photos of Spike here today and Bridge overseeing the washing of curtains was a chuckle! Prayers for Spikey and D.Ginger for quick healing and clearing of dark spaces. I love all you blogerinos! Happy Trails to all of you !

  111. weather says:

    At rare times-as it moves air,sound,waves and wind- I feel the atmosphere transform this place into it’s own amphitheater.It happened this morning.I heard summer struggling to hold it’s ground -as autumn tugged at it’s edges -…then retreated.

    This season of strong light on the story God’s writing-using love to form the scenes and their music-holds me in continual awe .

    Sue,thank you for being so much of why I hold precious all within that.
    Having you to share this world with adds to my life-to me-a facet of joy I’m very grateful for.

    Hope what you want is with you right now.Writing at coffee time this morning just didn’t work out right ,hopefully there’s a reason it’s better to now, anyway.


  112. Judie says:

    Prayers for you, Spike and the Bridge. We all have to make decisions and you will make the best ones for you and Spike. Getting old is hard on all of us, animals and humans alike. The only advice I have is keep the hugs going which I’m sure you already do. Love, hugs and prayers to you all.

  113. Donna in W. Texas says:

    Haven’t commented lately because of vision problems but happy to know that Spike and I share an as needed prescription for Tramadol, I have found it helpful.

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