Thursday, July 30, 2009

When Did Oprah Jump the Shark?

For those of you not familiar with the term "jump the shark" it refers to when TV show has gone past its prime. It came from the episode of Happy Days when the Fonze jumped over a shark. It was definitely a sign that it was time for them to call it quits. There used to be a really great website that had a running dialogue on every show you could think of and why it jumped the shark and when but TV Guide has purchased it and now the website has jumped the shark.

I used to watch The Oprah Winfrey Show religiously as a kid. My mom taped her soap operas and Oprah every day and then sat down on the weekends and caught up on the past five days. I could never wait to watch it with her so I would rewind the tape every day when I got home from school so I could watch Oprah before she got home. I got in trouble a couple of times for messing up the tape but I never stopped doing it.

I think the Oprah show started in 1986 when I was 10 years old. Initially, I watched Oprah because my mom watched but it wasn't long before I was hooked too. I remember her talking about subjects that no one else talked about. It was the only place on TV where you could find real stories about real people. It seemed like all of the other talk shows were manipulating the stories to make them more "TV friendly" but they just came across as fake and hollow. You couldn't go a week on Oprah without laughing your head off or crying your eyes out. And she let the audience talk. She let them ask the guests questions and truly be a part of the show so even if part of the show was rehearsed, much of it couldn't be. She was truly a pioneer in her heyday. But she lost it and I wish that she would quit now before it gets any worse.

My Personal Jump the Shark Moments

1. She rarely does anything to focus on beauty tips for women of color. I remember that during one of her "answer the viewer's letters" shows someone asked her about her hair. Her hair stylist noted that most black women with thick, coarse hair, like Oprah's washed their hair on average once a week (and many go much longer). It was a comment that he made in passing before answering the viewer question. Before the hairstylist could complete his thought, Oprah jumped in and said "My hair gets washed every other day!!! I don't want you to think I have week old hair". Washing your hair every other day is horrible for your hair if you have hair like Oprah's. This is definitely something that she started doing as an adult, after she got famous and at her request because no hair stylist or person who has that type of hair would ever recommend it. I don't know what would be worse: Oprah washing her hair excessively to try to fit in with the mostly white crowd she is surrounded by or Oprah implying that there is something wrong or dirty about black women who don't wash their hair as frequently as she does. I looked at the TV and thought, she has truly forgotten where she came from and has become a completely different person.

2. When she started promoting other TV shows on her show. It started with many of the Discovery Channel Health doctors frequently showing up on her show but then it branched out to whatever was new on ABC or featured in Time Magazine. She was no longer original or relevant; she had truly sold out. She was just another TV drone reporting the same story that 7 other talk shows were talking about and getting paid handsomely for it.

3. When she stopped caring about her guests and her audience. You used to feel like you knew a lot of the Oprah guests personally. An entire show would be dedicated to one topic, if not one person, and there would be several follow up shows to keep you updated on that person's progress. We, the viewer, were personally invested in these people because we had gone through the struggles with them as their stories unfolded on her show. And someone in the audience would have a similar story or be inspired to change their lives because of the story.

Now she will cram multiple topics and guests into the same show and give very little time to each story. She hasn't let the audience talk in years. She doesn't cry, she doesn't react to what the people are saying, she doesn't even appear to be listening. She has her little blue card with questions and she just runs through them. She is so apathetic and cold that it is difficult to watch.

The worst was when the young girl was rescued from her kidnappers and Oprah had her and her family on the show the day after the rescue. It was sensationalism at its worst and a sign that Oprah had sunken to the depths of other empty talk shows vying for ratings. This was really obvious to me when I watched the 20th anniversary DVDs in 2006. It was so obvious how great the show used to be and how bad it had become over the years. If I were her and I watched those tapes, I would have been ashamed what the show is like now compared to how it used to be.

4. When she stopped having an opinion. I remember that she had Tiger Woods on several times because she was a fan of his. I remember every Will Smith movie getting an entire Oprah show dedicated to it. There were movies, music and people that I had never heard of that Oprah promoted because they appealed to her personally, not because they were the most popular thing of the moment. Now every time a TV show is successful or a movie has a crazy amount of buzz she will feature it on her show. It's a sad desperate attempt to grab ratings but why would anyone watch when you're promoting the same thing that 10 other media outlets are getting paid to promote at the same time.

5. When her target audience became 2% of the population. So many shows dedicated to stay at home moms finding themselves, or putting the spark back in your marriage and any number of topics that seem focused on a very tight demographic. I'm okay with that every once in a while but the upper class woman is not the average woman. The worst is that the makeovers on a budget shows that don't feature clothes from JcPenney or Old Navy or some other store that most of the population can afford to shop at. No, it's all of these high end stores where a sweater costs $150 and Oprah says "Oh wow, that's so cheap" and the cameraman zooms in on all of these audience members that appear to agree that its a great deal. It's like she's been rich for so long that she's just out of touch with what is normal. And she isn't married and doesn't have any kids so why do 70% of her shows seem to focus on people who do?

Oprah is well past her prime and should quit now before her show becomes so bad that its cancelled. Her shameless behavior during the past presidential election would have been a great opportunity for her to leave the TV show behind and move into another career. But of course this didn't happen and it doesn't appear to be on the horizon. It's a shame because we could use some good TV these days.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My body is telling me something

When I started Nutrisystem 10 weeks ago I mainly did it to lose the weight that I have gained over the past few years and get my metabolism back in order. I wasn't really expecting to make huge diet or lifestyle changes long term. I figured that I had eaten crap for years when I was thinner and that once I got back to a healthy weight, as long as I stayed active, I would be able to go back to eating what I wanted. Boy was I wrong.

During the past week and a half I have fallen off my diet a little. Between having a friend in town visiting and my birthday I have been eating a lot of crap and not working out as much. The good news is that I have only put on half a pound of the 13.5 that I had lost. The bad news is that I have felt so noxious after eating the crappy food that I can't imagine I will want to eat it
in the future.

Chinese Buffet, Red Lobster, Pizza Hut and my favorite local Mexican restaurant have all left me feeling pretty nasty after eating there recently. I didn't eat as much as I would have eaten in the past but it was obviously quite a shock to my system compared to the 1800 calorie days with balanced meals that my body is becoming accustomed to. I am definitely one of those people who lives to eat and not the other way around. I celebrate with food, I wallow in self pity with food, etc. No matter how I'm feeling, there is generally a meal that I can choose that will meet my mood.

So if I feel better after eating a salad and half a plate of seafood pasta at Red Lobster instead of the Admiral's Feast that I used to get then maybe that's what I start ordering. Maybe I need to go for a run when I've had a bad day instead of eating a pint of Ben and Jerry's. Maybe I should buy a new pair of shows to celebrate rather than a heavy dinner at my favorite greasy spoon.

Is it strange that I am sad to lose this part of my persona? It's almost like I've become known as the girl who eats a lot. All of my friends and family socialize with food. Granted, a lot of them are seriously overweight and suffering from diabetes and other weight-related issues but I feel like there is some sort of stigma associated with being the "healthy one". Some where in my brain I think that not being able to eat Buffalo wings is going to affect how much I enjoy going out with my friends. I know that's ridiculous. I'm 33 years old, somehow I've got to get past these childish insecurities that are holding me back. Who cares what other people think. If someone makes fun of me for ordering a lighter dish then I'm just going to have be confident enough not to react.

Sigh, this weekend is another test. A girls weekend of partying while we help my friend find a wedding dress and try on bridesmaid's dresses. I'll just have to keep telling myself that I don't want to buy a size 16 bridesmaid's dress and I want to be healthy when that plate of cheese fries starts going around....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Can I Get a Life Coach?

I am your typical type A personality. I have been an overachiever all my life. Good grades, lots of extracurricular activities, etc. So why do I find myself slipping into the lazy house wife role when it doesn't suit me?

I attended private school until seventh grade and then entered a very competitive public school system. I was taught from a very early age to have several "balls in the air" at a time. It wasn't enough to be a straight A student. You also had to be on a sports team, play an instrument and be an active member of some sort of social group (Girl Scouts, Youth to Youth, Future Business Leaders of America to name a few). Even through college I was very active in various clubs and sports teams in addition to working on my engineering degree and two minors.

Like most engineers, my first job out of school was tedious. Long, unforgiving hours with other people taking credit for everything you do. The only comfort came in the happy hours and beer softball leagues where we would all bitch about how much we hated our jobs and then try to drink it all away so we could go back to work the next day. After 5 years at this job I had a great resume and was able to move into an ideal engineering position with another company.

No more time sheets. I set my own schedule. I can go to the office or work from home. Days can go by without me having to see another person to get my job done. Sometimes I am not even working 1/4 of the hours that I worked at my previous job but I am making significantly more money. So why aren't I putting this new found time and my additional resources to good use? Why am I overweight with a dog that could use some training and a million house and craft projects that are no where near done? How come when I didn't have any time to do anything I tried to do 100 different things but now that I have all the time in the world I sit on my butt and watch TV all day?

It's almost like I can only function under pressure. If there is no pressure, no structure, no deadline for me to meet, no one depending on me then I am completely lazy. Why workout this morning when I have all day to fit it in? How is it 11 pm and I haven't worked out today?

The only thing I miss about my old job is the social relationships that I formed while I worked there. Because so much of my time was spent working, the people I worked with also became the people I partied with. Now with no buzzing office of people around me I find myself very lonely for human interaction. I am a very social person by nature but I don't know how to seek people out. I have had the privilege of meeting all of my friends through different social and professional groups that I was a member of. I am still close with a lot of the people from my past but we all live in different states now and only see each other a few times a year. It is almost embarrassing for me when people come to visit me and I don't have a comprehensive list of things to do and people for them to meet. I was always the social butterfly/party planner in my group of friends and now I feel like a frumpy hermit.

My husband is very comfortable with the hermit life style because he works in a place much like my old job. He has constant interaction with people all day and his company schedules regular events for the employees to get together outside of work. Once he gets home he just wants to sit on the couch and watch TV or play video games. Usually when he walks in the door I am so starved for human interaction that immediately jump on him talking a mile a minute and encouraging him to do all sorts of activities with me. I don't know when I lost my independence but I definitely lost it.

This is my second home. I bought both houses on my own and was 100% responsible for any maintenance and upgrades that were required. I acquired a garage full of power tools during my single homeowner days that now sit and collect dust. I have gotten very comfortable with letting my husband do everything and not stepping out of my comfort zone for even a second. Not so long ago I was the girl who didn't know what a Saws All was but I still bought one and figured out how to install a doggie door and build a bookshelf. Now I don't even put the blade on myself.

So what is the answer? Do I fill my days with tons of activities so I feel rushed again? Do I make a schedule that I have to follow? I don't want to be the neurotic person that I was before but there has to be some healthy middle ground between where I was and where I am now. Is there a 12-step program for people like me? Overachievers turned lazy homebodies. I sure hope so because as my 33rd birthday creeps up on me I don't want to spend another year reminiscing about the person the I used to be and making excuses for why I can't be her any more.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oscar Best Picture Nominees

The Academy Awards just decided to start nominating 10 movies per year for best picture starting with the 2010 ceremony. A lot of people are really upset about think because they think it will make it easier for movies that aren't as deserving to get an award. There were 573 movies released in 2008. Nominating 10 of these movies for Oscars represents 0.87% of the total movies released. I think that still makes it a pretty elite group.

Personally, I think having more movies nominated will give the Academy room to nominate all the movies that they love that no one else in America really liked without bumping out popular movies. Who's to say that comedy, action, cartoon, fantasy are all categories that don't deserve to win Oscar's? The movies are supposed to be all about enjoyment and I enjoy a good laugh as much as I enjoy a good cry.

My husband and I saw 42 of the movies released last year. Of those movies we came up with our top six of the year (in no particular order): Wall-E, Gran Torino, Slumdog Millionaire, Bolt, The Dark Knight and American Teen. The five movies nominated for best picture were: Milk, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. We did not see 3/5 movies nominated for best picture but from what we have heard, all three are movies that we will love. Our friends tell us The Wrestler and Doubt, movies which we haven't yet seen, would have been deserving of an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was a good movie. But it was too long and lost itself and the audience towards the end of the movie. It was not one of the best movies of the year but it had a very popular actor and some very good make up and camera tricks that made it an expensive movie to make. There always seems to be one movie nominated every year because of its big studio prestige or star power. The fact that this movie was nominated and Gran Torino wasn't is a shame. Clint Eastwood should have also been nominated for Best Actor and Director but Benjamin Button took up unnecessary space in both of these categories as well.

What if the Academy chooses the top 10 movies of the year and then the general public has the time between when the Oscar nominees are announced until a week or so before the ceremony to vote on which movie they think should win. These results are kept secret until the night of the Oscars. At the beginning of the show, the top 5 vote getters from the general public are announced. These movies are the the ones that are up for consideration by the Academy for best picture. This still gives the Academy the chance to choose which movie they think is best but it allows the general public to weed out movies that maybe shouldn't have been nominated in the first place. All 10 movies still get the prestige of being in the top 1% of movies that year and every one's happy.

But of course this will never happen because a bunch of power hungry, snotty movie executives have decided that they know better than the people who pay their salaries by attending all of these movies. Ideally, one day the public will get a say in this but I'm not holding my breath.

Clean the House Before Company Arrives

A very good friend of mine, who I have known for 18 years, is coming to visit us for the weekend. She has seen every place I have lived in from the house I grew up in to my dorm room. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and, I suspect, I will be a bridesmaid in hers one day. I am confident that she will be part of my life forever. So why did I spend the last day and a half making my house spotless!?!

This happens every time someone comes to visit. I clean parts of the house that guests probably won't even see!! My husband and I are very neat people- one of the benefits of both of us having pack rat mothers is that we are completely the opposite of them. Even when we haven't cleaned it for a while, the house is still pretty clean by most people's standards. There is the occasional build up of pet hair that comes from having 130 lbs of dog and cat in the house but between Glade Plug-ins and Febreeze you probably wouldn't know we had pets unless you went in their room (yes, my pets have a room that they share with the exercise equipment).

I can't remember ever going into someones house and critiquing how neat it was and I don't think any of my friends would do that either so I'm not sure where this obsession came from. I know that one of two things are going to pop into their head when they walk into my house: "Where's the bathroom?" or "What's for dinner?".

I am not Martha Stewart by any stretch of the imagination but suddenly pictures that have been waiting to be framed and closets that need to be cleaned are done immediately before a house guest arrives. We had our rehearsal dinner here the night before the wedding and I spent the better part of the week hanging pictures and accessorizing the house in addition to all the cleaning. The day of the wedding was the most relaxing day of all because I knew no one was coming back to the house!!!

I even clean the house before we go out of town because I don't want the petsitter to think we're messy people. From what we can tell we pay her to sit on the couch and watch TV while spoiling the pets and eating (the trash can is always full of empty treat and fast food bags when we get back). I clean parts of the house that she definitely won't be in just in case she gets curious and decides to explore. I know, I'm neurotic.

So tomorrow morning I will rake the lawn and clean the inside of my car before picking my friend up from the airport because the last thing I need her thinking is that my car smells like dog and my lawn is a mess!! Five minutes after she arrives I will be so excited that she is here that I will completely forget about what the house looks like and focus on having a good time. I think my brother in law is coming next month. I better stock up on cleaning supplies....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Prednisone is the Enemy

A couple weeks ago we started Chale on prednisone and antibiotics after his blood work showed the possibility of cancer or another immune system disease. They discovered this problem at is annual physical. There weren't any changes in his behavior or health leading up to this appointment that would have lead us to believe that he was sick.

After a week on the high dose of prednisone Chale's platelet count was on the high end of normal (yeah!!). The vet still wanted to keep him on this dose for another week to make sure that his system had fully recovered. During the first week and half he was peeing multiple times a day, sometimes very urgently, and drinking twice as much water as normal. I wasn't getting more than 2 hours of sleep at a time because he had to go out so much. Then his bladder just gave up and he started to leak. I don't even think he was aware of it. He could have gone out seconds earlier and while sitting on the floor a puddle would form underneath him.

I didn't have an incontinent dog before the meds started. Hell, I didn't even have a sick dog. He didn't have any symptoms but his blood results indicated that he needed to go on meds immediately. Since we started the meds, he has not been himself. He is miserable most of the time because of the excessive thirst the prednisone causes. When he's not going through the peeing and drinking cycle, he's panting excessively and not getting a whole lot of sleep. He has no energy and doesn't want to play or walk as much as he normally does.

If the prednisone is supposed to increase the length of his life, it certainly has decreased the quality of it. We went down to half the dose today, after two weeks at the high dose, and hopefully we will ween him completely off the drug over the next few weeks. If this is a one time thing to boost his immune system then we can handle that. But if this is something that is recommended to us in the future I'm going to look for a second opinion. I'm not putting my dog or my family through this again.

The vet mentioned that Chale would need blood tests every two months to confirm that his platelet count was still good. I would assume that if his levels decrease again then they will want to put him back on prednisone. They are going to have to come up with an alternative treatment. If the past two weeks of hell gave me two extra months with Chale then its worth it but we have no way of knowing that. I could understand if he was sick and the medicine suddenly made him better but we had the exact opposite situation. We would never intentionally do anything to reduce the quality of his life and I feel like we have done that for the past two weeks.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Serena Williams is Not Fat

So this sexist sports columnist, Jason Whitlock, has a column on Fox where we referred to Serena Williams as overweight and an underachiever (Jason Whitlock is a fat sports columnist for the record). He said she could reach Tiger Woods-esque fame if she would only focus more on tennis and stick to a healthy diet regiment. He said that mainstream media will not accept her as a sex symbol because she's heavy. He admits that she's been very successful in tennis but thinks she would completely dominate the sport if she lost 30 lbs.

This jerk was on the Dan Patrick Radio Show this afternoon justifying his column and he only dug himself a deeper hole. The worst part of the show was all the callers who were agreeing with him that she was fat. When was the last time a male athlete's weight was brought up in this way? Since when is wining multiple tournaments underachieving?

So according to the WTA website Serena is 5'9" and weighs 143 lbs. This information was entered into their database when she first started playing at 14. Obviously, she is no longer that height or weight but she has chosen not to update that information. Most estimates have her current weight somewhere between 170-185 lbs. According to healthy weight charts a woman that is 5'9" who has a large frame should weigh 149-170 lbs. So technically, yes Serena is probably at the far end of her healthy weight range or just over it. But what is her body fat percentage and body mass index? Does she have high blood pressure or any other medical problems that an overweight person has? When she runs there isn't a lot of jiggling going on outside of her chest and butt and that makes her curvy, not fat. I suspect that she is the picture of health based on how much she works out and how much muscle mass she has.

The problem is that the women who get a lot of attention from the media are skinny. Not thin but below average skinny. Two of Serena's opponents this past week were listed at 5'11" and had weights of 130 and 150 lbs. The healthy weight range for someone that height is any where from 135-176 depending on the size of their body frame. When Serena shakes hands with these girls at the end of a match she looks much bigger than them because of how muscular she is and how scrawny they are, not because she's fat. It pisses me off that the media's immediate response is that Serena must be too fat and not that her competitors might be too thin. If Serena is fat then sign me up for that!!

Let's be realistic, a black female sex symbol is just not going to happen in this country. Every year People, FHM and other magazines have their lists of the most beautiful people and there are predominantly thin white women. I remember Janet Jackson coming in at 90-something on the list one year and Scarlett Johansson being listed as first. Scarlett Johansson is very skinny. I don't know how tall she is but she is definitely underweight. When she wears a backless dress to the Oscars and you can see her ribs and her spine why isn't there mass media concern over that? When Ebony, Essence, Latina and other ethnic magazines create the same lists they have plenty of woman of normal size on their lists. Sure you have Halle Barre and Tyra Banks which get coverage in the mainstream media but they are definitely the exception. There are so many beautiful women out of there of all colors and sizes. It would be nice to see pop culture start to mirror the real world.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My best friend

It seems that Chale is destined to spend a lot of time at the vet. When I first adopted him in 2001 we went all of two months before our first emergency trip to the vet. He had scratched himself raw and caused a skin infection. Chale was picked up as a stray when he was about 9 months old. Who knows how often he was able to eat, what he ate or if he had to fight for his food when he was living on the streets. I hope he wasn't living that way for very long and try not to think of what cruelty he might have been exposed to at the hands of humans and other animals. The vet said that it is common for dogs that have had a poor diet as puppies to develop food sensitivities once they are on a regular diet.

I have tried several different diets on Chale over the years to try and determine his food allergies. I even made his food for several months but didn't see enough of a difference to make the change for good. It was around this time that I discovered The Whole Dog Journal which has been a great resource for all things dog over the years. It is a great resource for natural and traditional pet health care along with tips on training, toys and other important dog issues.

When the food didn't prove to the be the cause of Chale's allergies, we went to see a canine allergist. As if the 90 minute drive each way wasn't stressful enough, having Chale's side shaved and comforting him while they tested several different common allergens with the standard pin prick test just sucked. Of course Chale was allergic to just about everything (including my cat Tiger). So they mixed up a serum for us and I started to give Chale shots twice a week. This actually worked. After about 6 months his skin allergies were in control and we were able to go through a year with only 1-2 bad hot spots. We still have occasional flare ups but nothing serious.

It was pretty clear when I first took Chale home that he had hip displaysia. This was confirmed by x-rays when he was 2 years old. In addition to the hip displaysia, Chale has a deformity in his front legs where he walks on his wrists instead of on the tips of his toes. This can be the result of being in a cage and standing in the same position for a long time, leading to the deterioration of those muscles, having those bones broken as a puppy and never allowing them to fully heal (unlikely for both legs to be like this unless he was thrown from a car or other situation where he would have broken both wrists at the same time) or it can just be a genetic defect.

Initially I thought that Chale couldn't jump into my truck or climb up the stairs because of how malnourished he had been (a 45 pound German Shepherd is a sad thing) but it was clear that wasn't the reason. I started him on glucosamine and other joint care supplements and saw a dramatic change almost immediately. It only took a month for his weight and strength to improve and for him to act like a normal goofy dog with a little hitch in his step.

In 2004 Chale started having seizures. We immediately started him on anti-seizure prescription medicines and tried several diet changes (including me making his food again). Once again, the changes in his diet didn't appear to have an effect on his medical issues. We did settle on a single protein, single carb diet and have stuck with that since it has improved his coat. I'm happy to say that after years of trying different prescription and natural drugs we finally managed to find the right balance and have been seizure free since March 2008.

We started acupuncture and chiropractic care at the end of 2004 to help with his seizures and orthopedic problems. We dropped the chiropractic after 6 months because Chale didn't like it but have continued the acupuncture every 2-6 weeks (depending on how he's feeling) since then. I don't know if acupuncture would work on all dogs but it gives Chale a burst of energy after every treatment and improves his lameness in his bad hip.

Our holistic vet added underwater treadmill therapy to their practice at the end of 2007 and we signed up for it immediately. For those that are not familiar, the underwater treadmill is a great rehab tool for dogs who have had surgery or who, like Chale, have orthopaedic problems. A lot of dog owners also use it to strengthen their dog athletes between agility and other joint intensive activities. By adjusting the depth of the water, the therapist can take weight off the dog and make it easier for him to walk or add resistance to build muscle. We have seen dogs with degenerative myelopathy and other permanent disabilities walk on the underwater treadmill after not being able to walk for years. It's a pretty cool thing. We get 200 inches of snow most winters in Syracuse so we aren't able to be as active as we'd like in the winter months. We do the underwater treadmill every couple weeks during the winter to keep his strength up. I love it when they measure Chale's hips and we see that he has gained or maintained his muscle mass as he has gotten older.

We went through Lyme disease last year (no symptoms just a detection and a month on antibiotics) and a urinary tract infection earlier this year (no symptoms after three days on medicine) but, despite his medical issues, Chale has led a relatively normal, full and happy life during the 7.5 years that he has been in my life. So we were shocked to find his platelet count extremely low at his vet visit a couple of weeks ago. We eliminated most diseases through testing and are left with the likelihood of Cancer or some other serious immune disease.

We immediately started Chale on steroids to stall the growth of any tumors that might be there and to build up his immune system and antibiotics to fight off any infection. The steroids make Chale extremely thirsty which leads to him having to go to bathroom much more frequently. Luckily I'm already an insomniac and can take him out at 3 in the morning after he's emptied his water bowl for the 4th time. We go in today for the third set of blood tests in less than two weeks to see if his platelet count is improving. Ideally, we will be able to start weening him off the steroids once his platelet count gets back to a healthier level. We will also start him on a couple of natural products that have proven to be successful in other immune compromised dogs.

Once I started doing research, I realized that about 50% of elderly dogs and cats will be diagnosed with Cancer. I would hope that such statistics would make this a national health priority, much like Cancer is in the human population, but I rarely hear anything about it. I have had a couple other friends who have lost their dogs to Cancer recently but I didn't realize it had become such an epidemic.

Realistically, Chale is 8.5 years old and we aren't going to put him through anything that will reduce the quality of his life like chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. The statistics give an average life expectancy of 19 days to a year with or without treatment. It makes me sad when I read the stories about dogs who have gone through aggressive treatments only to die immediately after. Chale has no symptoms at this point so his life hasn't changed except for the additional bathroom visits and the frequent blood tests which should level off soon. Most big dogs live to be 10-12 years old so I would consider my boy to have had a full life no matter how much time he has left.