Welcome to my blog

If you enjoy finding a lot of different outlets for your creativity, then we may just be kindred spirits.
This blog is an outlet for my interest in miniatures, crochet, plastic canvas, and many other various arts and crafts.

I also love walking, taking digital photos, and most recently, have rediscovered an old love...bike riding! I purchased an amazing new bike, a comfy Townie by Electra this summer, and have been having a grand time exploring the area as though for the first time. It's like being a kid again!

If you enjoy any of these things too, pour a cup of coffee and tea, sit down, and join me.

Take care!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Crocheted Chickens, lots of chickens, lol.

Hi Guys,
I totally forgot to post photos of my cute crocheted chickens!  I made them to give away at Easter.  They're Easter Egg cozies, and so cute!  I made so many of them and still didn't have enough as my cousin requested one more, lol.
 I started making them in real chicken colors, but then added some pinks and lilacs for fun.
 I glued on little eyes (fishing lure eyes, for the most part), and embroidered one chicken's eyes (didn't like that look).
 I colored eggs for the first time in ages and had so much fun!  I'm going to do it every year from now on.  I had colorful breakfasts with the left overs for 3 days, lol.

 I put the chickens and eggs in a tray and a family friend held them up for this photo.  Then I just passed the tray around and let everyone pick their own color. 

 I was very surprised that my Uncle Buck chose the hot pink chicken!  His daughter Jane ended up with it so I had to give him another one.
My best friend Laurie liked her chicken.

I really enjoyed making them!  You can find the pattern for free on Ravelry.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

12 Weeks Post Op RNY, already lost 45% of my Excess Weight!

Hi Guys,

I am 12 weeks, or 3 months, post op now!  So hard to believe that 3 months has gone by since my RNY gastric bypass surgery!

I went from 304 Lbs to 230.2 Lbs, since starting Optifast on January 11th, in preparation for surgery.  That's a total of 73.8 Lbs gone!  Woohoo!  I'm so happy about that.

I met with the dietician for an hour via telehealth today, for my 3 month post op visit, and it went really well. She said I am doing great, and that I've already lost 45% of my excess weight.  She said most patients don't lose 45% of their excess weight until 6 months post op, so I'm ahead of the game!
I'm so pleased as I've really been working hard; following all of the rules for eating and drinking, and getting plenty of exercise.

I joined the local pool and started swimming laps, an hour each time, in addition to bike riding and walking. 

I've gone from a size 4 or 5X to a size 1X top, and also a 1X bottom. Soon I'll be out of the X sizes and into regular sizes, and I cannot wait!  I'll be able to save so much money because the X sizes cost so much more.
Me, Christmas 2017, and last week, April 2017

 The above photo shows me, before RNY surgery, and now.  The first photo was taken this past Christmas, and the second photo was taken last week (April, 2017). 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Crocheted Baby Dory

Hi Guys,

It's been awhile since I posted something I made.  Here's a sweet little Baby Dory, after the movie, "Finding Dory". 
Crocheted Baby Dory
 I made her for a friend on Youtube, a member of the Weight Loss Community there.  She always says, "Just keep swimming" when she's stressed or tempted, and taught me that saying when I started out on Youtube. I hadn't seen the movie and watched it on Netflix and fell in love with Dory, and especially baby Dory.
Crocheted Baby Dory
 I love that the bedspread above looks like waves on water, lol.

Crocheted Baby Dory
 I found the pattern for free on Ravelry.  Here's a link if you want to make your own Baby Dory:
 The gal I made her for lives in Florida, and I was told at the post office it will take up to 10 days for Dory to arrive at her new home.  I guess they meant 10 business days, as she hasn't arrived yet.  I hope she'll get there safely.
 Luckily, Dory is used to taking long journeys, lol.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

9 Weeks Post Op, down 62.4 Lbs!

Hi Guys,
Wow, can't believe it's been so long since I last posted.  I was down with pneumonia for 2 weeks and that got me way off track, blog wise.

My new eating/drinking/exercise routines have taken up a lot of my time.  I'm down 62.4 Lbs since I started Optifast, 3 weeks before surgery, and I'm thrilled about that!

Here are my stats:

                      My Weight       Weekly Lbs Lost      Total Weight Loss    Monthly       Since Surgery

Jan. 11th, 2017:        304 
after Week 1 Opti:    298                    6                        6
after Week 2 Opti:    284.8               13.2                   19.2
after Week 3 Opti:    281                    3.8                   23                     Pre-op: 23
(same day as surgery day)         
Total 23 Lbs lost on 3 weeks of Opti Opti

Surgery Day
Feb. 1st, 2017         281                          23/0
1 weeks post op:     271.2                         9.8              32.8                                                   9.8
2 weeks post op:     265.2                          6                38.8                                                 15.8 
3 weeks post op:     262.4                          2.8             41.6                                                 18.6
4 weeks post op:     257.4                          5                46.6              Month 1: 23.6             23.6

5 weeks post op:     252.6                         4.8              51.4                                                  28.4
6 weeks post op:     248.4                         4.2              55.6                                                  32.6
7 weeks post op:     246                            2.4              58                                                     35
8 weeks post op:     244.8                         1.2              59.2              Month 2: 13.2             36.2

9 weeks post op:     241.6                         3.2              62.4                                                  39.4


So, I'm doing great, and couldn't be happier about the weight loss! 

I also starting bike riding this week.  My first ride, on April 2nd, was 5 km.  It was nice and sunny and warm for this time of year, but it was weird riding past snowbanks, lol.

My second bike ride on April 3rd wasn't as nice. It was only 3 Celcius (37.4 Farenheit) and windy.  I was only able to do 20 minutes (2.6 km) that day, as it started to rain so I had to get home. It rained all the rest of that day and all day yesterday. Today it is not raining so I hope to go out again, if the puddles aren't too bad.

My clothes are almost all too big, and the sleeves of all of my tops, sweaters, and jackets dangle way below my fingertips, lol.  I was shocked by that, lol.  I still have a few tops that were way too tight for me to get into before surgery, that I can wear now, but even those are getting baggy.

The new leggings I bought last month still look OK, but I can pull them up to my bra now, lol.  All the rest of my pants are huge. It is such a great feeling to grow out of clothes because they are too big instead of too small! 

I'm on soft foods now, and can eat things like fake crab meat, tuna,omelets,  roasted chicken, as long as I leave the skin on while it cooks so it stays moist.  I take the skin and fat off before I eat the meat.  I can have up to 3 ounces of food at one time now, or 3/4 cups of soft foods, like yogurt. I still sometimes need a protein shake to get my protein in.  I've started using 2 tbsps of my vanilla and caramel protein shakes as tea whitener, so my tea now has 6 grams of protein, lol.  I normally drink 3 cups of herbal tea per day, so that's an easy way to sneak an extra 18 grams of protein in.  I'm supposed to get 60-80 grams of protein in, and can sometimes get 70 grams in, but usually it's a struggle just to reach 60.  I also need to drink 8 cups (about 2000 ml) of water per day, and the tea helps with that, too.

My asthma is much better, and I can walk for an hour without needing ventolin at all.  I used to need ventolin every single day and I only needed it once this week, on my windy bike ride.  I didn't need it at all on my other, longer bike ride, so I think the wind just made it so much harder to pedal that I needed it.

Another great thing is that my back doesn't ache all the time, and I'm not getting migraines every day.  I still get headaches sometimes, but they aren't debilitating.

Even though I had a rough time with lots of pain for so long, and then pneumonia, I don't regret doing this, not one bit. It's the best thing I ever did for myself.  I'm so happy now.  I'm not depressed or anxious or feeling full of shame all the time, like I was before.  I'm even slowly becoming more social and not isolating myself like I used to. 

I went to a big family gathering over the weekend, and that's something I normally would have tried to skip, as I always felt so judged about my weight.  I hated eating in front of people.  I went though, and everyone was so kind, and gave me so many compliments about how much I'd lost.  Everyone stared at the small amount of food on my plate, and some joked about it, but it took me longer to eat my 4 tablespoons of food than it took everyone else to eat their plates, plus second and third helpings, and desert!  I felt completely fine and satisfied and not like I was missing out at all. I was able to catch up with some of my younger cousins, which was really nice.

Sorry this was so long; thanks for reading!  Big hugs!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

5 Weeks Post Op RNY Gastric Bypass Surgery, with Pneumonia

So I have good news and bad news.  The good news is that I lost another 4.8 Lbs this week, bringing my grand total to 51.4 Lbs lost altogether since starting Optifast on January 18th.

The bad news is I have pneumonia.  I think I caught it in the mall...not pneumonia, but the virus that led to it.  I have to walk every day and we still have loads of snow and ice here, so I've been walking in the mall.  I normally avoid crowded places as I get sick easily, but it was important to walk so I went anyway.  I caught a cold or virus last Thursday, and it wasn't bad at first; just sneezing, runny nose, a bit of a dry cough.  By the weekend my asthma had kicked in and on Monday, when I couldn't get ahold of my doctor, I decided I'd better go to the hospital for an asthma treatment.

Thank goodness I went, or I'd have no idea I had pneumonia and think it was my asthma.  They both feel the same; wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, back pain from all of the coughing.

I'm on antibiotics now.  The pharmacist said it will take 3 days for the antibiotics to start working, and this evening's dose will be the third day so hopefully he's right. I already feel better than I did on Monday; Monday was the worst.

I only have 7 days total of antibiotics and usually need more than that.  I have a follow up appointment with my family doctor on Friday morning, so hopefully he'll top me off if I need more. 

The doctor in emergency scared the hell out of me.  He sent me for blood work, an EKG, and Xrays (I requested the Xray to see if my atelectasis had gotten worse).  He said he was worried I had complications from surgery and was looking for a blood clot, and that I may need to go back in for a CAT scan.  He said he'd call me with the results of my blood work and then never did.  I think it's wrong to scare someone like that and then not call to alleviate or confirm the fears.
I called the hospital but they wouldn't tell me anything, except to say that if I hadn't heard from the doctor then it probably means he found nothing wrong on the blood tests. Hopefully my family doctor can access that information and let me know on Friday.

I need to call my nurse in Sudbury tomorrow to let her know about the pneumonia.

This is all a pain in the butt, but I don't think the pneumonia is due to the surgery.  I used to get pneumonia all the time back when I was teaching.  If I would have gone in to emerg a day earlier it may have just progressed to bronchitis like normal, and not pneumonia. I usually get sick at this time of year because the snow starts to melt, then freezes, melts, then freezes, and it releases snow molds in the air, which I am allergic to. I think that, coupled with picking up an infection from someone at the mall, is what made me so sick this time.

I am happy to have lost over 50 Lbs; it was my first mini goal.  I'm also happy to weigh 252.6 Lbs. I was 304 when I started this and hadn't seen the 250's in ages.  It will be amazing to drop below 250 and get into the 240's, then 230's.  My weight stalled in the 230's for years, then stalled in the 250's for years, then 260-280 for years.  When it went up to 300 it scared me into surgery.

People are already commenting on how much I've lost, which is nice.  I was feeling so ashamed about my weight I barely left the house, and hated being looked at because I felt judged every where I went.  Eating in public was agony and I preferred to eat alone, hiding at home.  I just felt so full of shame, and that's all gone.  I haven't felt shame since I started Optifast on Jan. 18th and that alone makes this whole ordeal worth it to me.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

1 Month Post-Op RNY Gastric Bypass Surgery, the Good and the Bad so Far

Hi guys,

Today is my one month post-op anniversary.  I can't believe I had surgery exactly one month ago today!

I lost 5 Ibs during week 4 post op, so my total weight loss is now 46.6 Ibs, since I started this journey on January 18th of this year (2017), with 3 weeks of Optifast protein shakes.  I lost 23 Ibs in those 3 weeks, and 23.6 Ibs since surgery last month, for the total of 46.6.  I think that is fantastic.

I've also lost clothing sizes; 2 pant sizes.  The other day I put on my sweat pants, let go of the waist to tie the draw string, and before I could grab them, they fell right to the floor, lol.  I had to go down to a smaller bra size as well, and can fit into tops that haven' t fit in ages.  That feels really good.

Since starting this on Jan. 18th, I've lost a lot of inches as well.
My bust was 54" when this started, and now it is 51", for a total of 3 inches gone off my bust.
My waist was 52" and is now 45.5 inches, for a total of 6 inches gone off my waist.
My hips were 59 inches and are now 52.5 inches, for a total of 6.5 inches gone off my hips.
My belly button circumference was 58 inches, and is now 53 inches, for a total of 5 inches gone around my belly!
I also lost an inch or two from each of the other areas I measured, but am losing the fasted off my core areas.
I've lost 20.5 inches off my core areas...that's crazy!

I have increased energy, my mood is happier and more stable, and I am thrilled with my weight loss.
That's the good news.

The bad news is that I've had some serious pain issues.  I was one of the few people who had crazy, searing pain after surgery, and it took over a week to get it down to bearable levels.  I was unable to take my full dose of pain killers so it was never properly managed, but slowly, I got better to where it only hurt to stand up or sit down, or bend.

I was unable to start my full liquid diet the day after surgery , like most people, and had to stay on the clear liquid diet for a week before I could tolerate full liquids, other than my protein shakes.  Full liquids include yogurt, cottage cheese, apple sauce, runny cream of wheat, cream soups, and other things like that.  When I was finally able to tolerate those foods, I started feeling stronger, because i was getting in more calories.

By two weeks post op I was supposed to start my pureed diet, and I was so looking forward to it, but looking back, I should have waited an extra week because I'd only been on full liquids for one week instead of two.

The purees tasted divine, and went down easily.  I ate very small portions and was sure to take my time, sometimes taking 2 hours to eat 1 or 2 ounces of pureed food.  I had no nausea, no stomach upset, and was happy...until about 4 hours after eating, when I'd get hit with sharp pain in my lower left abdomen. It felt like I could feel the food moving through my system, and the pain was awful.
I stayed on purees for 3 days and couldn't stand it any more so called my doctor who sent me for an ultrasound and X-Rays.  I had no obstruction, thank God, but the tests showed that my lower left lung had not reinflated after surgery, so I was told to do deep breathing exercises, and to go to the ER if I become short of breath, or develop a fever.  I've been fine.  I started singing, to try to expand my lungs.

The report also showed surgical clips in my stomach, which freaked me out as I wasn't told they would be left there and i wasn't sure if they were there on purpose or left behind by accident.  I called the surgeon but his secretary didn't know.  So I was anxious about that, although I hoped they were supposed to be there.  I didn't find out until yesterday that yes, they are supposed to be there, and are not a problem.

The tests also showed problems with my lumber and thoractic discs, but I already knew about that. It does explain all of the back pain though.

Yesterday I had my one month post op appointment in Sudbury.  My Dad drove me, as it's a 4 hour drive and he didn't want me to go alone.  We left on Feb. 27th and spent one night at the Clarion Hotel in Sudbury. It was nice spending time with my Dad. We went for a walk downtown, to the old mall, and then back again, and after dinner at the Hardrock Cafe (liver and onions for dad, roasted red pepper soup for me), we relaxed in the room. Then Dad decided to go swimming.  I went with him to keep him company but couldn't swim yet.  He had a lot of fun.
Dad at the pool

Dad swimming

Dad enjoying the pool at the Clarion in Sudbury
I had my appointments yesterday, starting at 8 AM.  First I was in a classroom with other bariatric patients, learning about the vitamins, and supplements we need to take.  It was not something that required driving to Sudbury as the information could easily have been given to us in the form of written notes or even an online class.

The second part of the appointments were better, as I was able to meet with my nurse one on one. She faxed a copy of my ultrasound and xray reports to the surgeon, and sent him a message asking what I should do about the pain after eating.  She said that wasn't normal and shouldn't be happening.  Earlier last week, she had put me back on full liquids for 3 days, and I did that, and felt fine on full liquids, but the pain came back when I started back on purees again.
She said she'd phone me when she heard back from my surgeon, and that was it; I was done.

Dad wanted a free coffee from MacDonald's (they're giving away free coffee all week long) so we drove to a huge Walmart in Sudbury tht has a built in MacDonalds.  Dad got his coffee and also a Big Mac.  I couldn't watch him eat it, as I love Big Macs and they contributed to my weight in the first place, lol.  I am fine watching people eat just about any other food but couldn't cope with the Big Mac.  So I walked around the Walmart and found a kitchen gadget that I've been wanting on sale.
It's a zoodle maker...a device that makes noodles out of zuchinni and other veggies.
Zoodle maker
I was supposed to start the Soft Solid food stage today, and was looking forward to some zuchinni pasta.

After we left the Walmart, I bought a cup of chicken oup at Subway.  I asked the girl to try to give me mostly broth and no noodles, and she did. It took me 150 km to eat half of the cup of soup.  My Dad finished the other half in around 2 seconds, lol.

We were almost home when my phone rang and the nurse told me she'd spoken to the surgeon and he wants me to go back on the Full Fluid diet for 2 whole weeks!  I was shocked, as the Full Fluid diet is what people are supposed to start 1 day after surgery, and I am one month post op.  She said the surgeon thinks I have inflammation inside and that is why the purees hurt.  He said the full fluids will give my insides a chance to heal.  If I don't get better, or if I get worse, even on full fluids, I need to call him to let him know.  Thankfully I am pain free on full fluids.  It feels really good to be pain free.

So, I will be on Full Fluids for 2 more weeks, then I'll have to try pureed food again, and if it goes down well, I'll be on that for 2 weeks.  So one month from now, if all goes well, I'll be on Soft Solids and I'll get to try my zoodle maker, lol. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

RNY Gastric Bypass Surgery, Pureed Food Stage

I started the puree stage of my diet a few days ago and my  little blender wasn't doing the trick, so I bought this mini chopper at the Walmart.  It was only $24.00 Canadian dollars and I LOVE it!  It has been indispensable for chopping/pureeing meats, eggs, and just about anything else I've tried.

New Chopper

Salton Mug Warmer
I also purchased the Salton Mug Warmer for only $12.99 at Canadian Tire.  I have to sip everything, and it takes ages to eat or drink anything.  The microwave is fine for drinks, but my foods were drying out, and this will work perfectly to keep my meals warm for the hour or more it takes me to eat now.
Various sauces, etc.
 Pureed foods have to be very moist, so I bought a lot of sauces, dressings, etc., to add to my food.  All are no or low sugar, and low calorie.  The no sugar added jams by Live Smart are great.  I add one tbsp to my unsweetened greek yogurt and they make it yummy; a perfect breakfast.

I also bought several tiny containers, that hold about 4 ounces.  That's about the size of my meals,so they're perfect.

Food Chopper
The chopper is a great little tool and takes up hardly any counter space.  The no stick pad on the bottom doubles as a lid, so food can be stored right in the container but I'm allowed such small portions that I usually just spoon it out into my tiny containers, keep one out to eat, label and freeze the rest.
Pureed egg salad
 One of my favorite breakfast or lunch meals is pureed egg salad. Just boil 2 eggs (for two servings), peel, toss in the chopper, add 1 tbsp low fat or fat free miracle whip, 1 tbsp Greek yogurt, a very small dash of salt, pepper, and smoked paprika, and chop on high until it turns into a creamy (and yummy) puree.  When done, I divide it into 2 portions;1 to eat immediately,  lol, and one to save for the next day.  My new pouch (which is what my tiny stomach is called) loves this and it goes down easily.

Pureed egg salad and espresso cup of V8 juice

Items with my hand to show scale
 When you see my hand in the photo, you can see what tiny portions I am eating.  It takes me about an hour to eat the egg salad, and about half an hour or more to drink the juice.  I am full after.

Chili, ready to be pureed
My Dad made chili a few days ago, and was kind enough to make me a small batch without any hot sauce.  The amount you see in the pot above made 6 servings! I ate 2 and froze the rest.  It was very good; I added Greek yogurt and salsa to my serving cups.

On Sunday my Mom made Ribs, and they smelled wonderful.  She left two baby ribs free of sauce for me, and I cut off all of the fat and chopped the meat.  I made my own BBQ sauce using 2 tbsp low sugar ketchup, 2 tbsp Splenda Brown Sugar, 2 tbsp salsa, and 1 tsp of mustard, for kick .  There was enough for two servings and it was my absolute favorite meal so far.

BBQ Ribs

BBQ Ribs

BBQ ribs
They were soooo moist and tasty! 

Today was the first day that I was able to get almost all of my protein in (I need a minimum of 60 grams and was able to get in 55 grams), without resorting to a protein shake

For breakfast I had greek yogurt with 1 tbsp of no sugar added strawberry jam. 
For lunch I had a container of BBQ ribs (to die for).
For supper I had pureed cheeseburger with all the fixings.  One small home made patti, made from lean ground beef, was enough for two servings. I added low sugar ketchup, mustard, relish, low fat miracle whip, and salsa, and pureed it  Then I heated it in the microwave so I could melt a low fat cheese slice over it. Yum.  Sorry, no photo; I was too hungry to look for my camera.

So that is what I am eating on the puree stage.  I've also tried refried beans with yogurt, and cottage cheese.  Both good. I will be on the puree stage until March 2nd, and then can progress to the soft food stage.

Week 2 Post Op

I am posting this a bit late, but I was down 6 Ibs in my second week Post Op RNY Surgery.  Week 1 I lost 9.8 Ibs, so I lost 15.8 Ibs since surgery, plus 23 Ibs in the 3 weeks prior to surgery, for a total of 38.8 Ibs!!

My tops are all baggy, and the other day I pulled up my track pants, let go and they fell to the floor again, lol.  I had to undo the knot on the drawstring so I could make them tight enough to not fall off. That was cool.

I have had a LOT of pain since surgery though, so it has not been easy sailing for me. The pain was awful for the first week and then slowly got better the second week.  It went away, and it was wonderful to be pain free for 3 days. Then I dropped a pill and stupidly bent over at the waist to pick it up and OMG, the pain was bad. I think I may have pulled a muscle in my abdomen, or else maybe just pulled on the stitches on the main incision too much.

Then, (and don't keep reading if you have a weak stomach), I discovered I was seriously constipated because the pharmacist gave me the wrong Senokot.  My surgeon wrote that i needed the one with stool softener, and for 2 weeks I was taking one without a stool softener because the pharmacist screwed up and I didn't notice, and it hurt soooo badly. I saw my family doctor last Thursday, and he prescribed Restorolax.  Today, Monday,  is the first day that I'm not in major pain a few hours after eating, so it's finally working.  Thank God.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Goodbye Benji, Mummy Loves You and Will Never Forget You

My sweet little toy poodle, Benji passed away peacefully in his sleep while I was in Toronto last week, on Feb. 4th, 2017. He would have been 17 years old this spring, on May 31st.

I haven't wanted to write about it because I was too sad, but Benji deserves to be remembered so I am forcing myself to do this.

I adopted Benji when he was 8 years old.  His original owner died from a heart attack, and Ben had major separation anxiety when I first got him. I literally had to carry him everywhere.  I used to joke that I was wearing him, because he liked to drape himself over my shoulder and nuzzle into my neck.  He was such a sweet, fluffy little guy.

If I couldn't hold him he was more than happy to snuggle with one of my dolls. I used to make reborn dolls (dolls that look like real babies) and sell them on ebay, and they all got a Benji seal of approval, as you can see in the photo above.  That's Benji, shortly after I adopted him, with one of my very early dolls.
Benji age 8
His second owner only had Benji for 2 weeks before she gave him to me.  She said she developed allergies to him, but I suspect it was because he was stealth peeing in the house, which I found out much later.

It was easily fixed by making him a weenie wrap, lol, then covering that with a baby onesie so he couldn't take it off.  He was trained within a week...and adorable to boot.
Benji in his weenie wrap and onesie, playing with his toy
Benji playing

Benji wasn't sure if he liked having a Mom who made him clothes the first time I tried sewing the dogs a rain coat.  To be fair, none of the dogs liked the raincoats because I didn't add a liner and the vinyl made too much noise to be comfy for dogs.   I made sure the second raincoats had nice warm liners, to cut down on the noise, and they were much happier.
Dogs not liking their raincoats, lol
In the photo above, Mac (black), Ben (white) and Annie (Apricot) look miserable, but don't worry, they were happy again in minutes.   Wet poodles do not smell nice, so raincoats are a must, lol.  These are the lined ones (you can see a bit of the liner in Annie's hood).  I followed the pattern for Mac and Annie but just drew my own for Benji and his fit the best.
Ben's crocheted sweater and hat set
 Benji hated the snow so I always made sure he was dressed for the weather.  Didn't he look absolutely adorable in his sweater set?

Benji and Mac
Mac and Ben did NOT get along at first but were soon best friends/brothers.  They loved each other and are together again, at the rainbow bridge. 

Poor Mac had wobblers and 5 years ago I had to take him to Guelph for an MRI and he had major surgery on a ruptured disc in his neck.  He needed 8 weeks of crate rest afterward, and Benji was so upset that Mac was in the crate alone that I had to put a box next to the crate for Benji to lie in, right next to his brother.
Mac and Ben
It was a sad time but Mac got well again and had 4, almost 5 good years after his surgery, before the problem with his discs returned last spring.   At first, he just had problems walking more than a block, so I bought this nice stroller, big enough for both dogs last spring, and my boys had many walks together.  Ben turned 16 in the spring, and walking was just too hard for him, too, so it worked out nicely.

Mac and Benji in stroller
Benji's 16th Birthday
 The photos above and below were taken last May 31st, 2016, on Benji's 16th birthday.  You can see how frail he had gotten.  He was almost blind, his fur was thinning, he had lots of brown age spots on his back, and he wouldn't let me groom him properly any more (and the groomers refused to try), but he still loved opening his gifts, and still had a zest for life (and treats).
Benji's 16th birthday
Benji eating a bit of cream pie

 Mac, Benji, and I had a nice spring and summer, but by late summer, Mac could no longer walk.  He was in pain, and the pain meds weren't working any more.
 Sadly, there was nothing that could be done for him, so I had to have him put to sleep, just before or after his 12th birthday on August 30th (it's a blur).

 I think Benji really missed his brother, and they must be happy to be reunited now.

I didn't think Benji would even know it was Christmas this past December, but he surprised me by waking me up all through the night on Christmas Eve, eager to open gifts.
Benji in middle of night, Christmas Eve

Benji opening one of his gifts Christmas Morning
 He always loved opening his gifts, and Christmas was no different, despite his age and frailties. He dove right in, and even got the smaller gift bag stuck on his head.  He loved his gifts...especially the food ones, lol.
Benji and Dad, Christmas morning 2017
 He loved my parents and I'm glad he was with them at the end. He wasn't alone.
Benji and Mom, Christmas 2017
You can almost see the little stairs he used to get into his favorite chair on the right hand side of the above photo.  He passed peacefully in his chair.

Benji had almost 9 good years with me.  It would have been 9 years in the spring. He went from being a terrified little guy who shook and trembled to being a self confident, content old guy.

Toward the end, Benji was very sad looking because he wouldn't allow me to groom him. The vet kept him for 8 hours and could only clean up his face and butt. He told me not to try to do it myself because it was too stressful for Benji.  He also did blood work and said Ben was doing great for an old guy.  That was about 2 months ago.  

Benji  needed 3 eye drops a day for glaucoma, and pain meds for arthritis.  He had to have his food pureed so he could eat it.  He loved pureed chicken and rice, pureed beef stew ,home made chicken soup, liverwurst, cheese slices, and pureed hot dogs. (I had weight loss surgery on Feb. 1st and have to start pureed foods myself on Feb. 16th.  I'll think of Benji every time I use the blender to puree.) 

 He still liked his dog food but it had to be heated up and mashed with a fork, and sometimes I had to add soup broth to it so he could lick it up. He loved the tiny Cesar treats and even had some on his last day, shortly before he passed.

Benji  still loved his walks, and I took him out often last summer and fall.  I'm so glad I did.  He walked when he could, and when he couldn't, I pushed him in the stroller, so he could rest.  

He loved chasing the ducks and geese at Belleview Park.  He could hear them quacking and honking and it made him so lively and alert.  

I wish he would have made it to spring so we could have gone back.  I wish he would have waited until I came home so I could have said goodbye.  It was his time though, and he went peacefully of old age, in his sleep.  It's a good way to go.

Benji at the park

Benji at the beach

Benji at Mark's Bay


Benji at the beach

Benji going for a walk last fall
Rest in peace, my beautiful baby boy.  You're with your first Dad, and your brother Mac and sister Annie now.  I'll see you again one day, and I'll never forget you.
Love, Mom.