Friday, September 21, 2018

Disney Store #308 - The Heigh-Ho's

One of my favorite teams to have worked with was back in the days of the Disney Store. The Oak Court Mall location was the 8th store in the company, had his own Egyptian theme based around Memphis, Egypt, and was also the first in the city to go away when they started shutting down locations. A lot of us help train new cast members and management through our store, and also helped with training and Merchandising for the stores at the Hickory Ridge Mall and Wolfchase Galleria Mall.

There's been a lot of fun over the years, and we've mostly all kept in contact.

Below are some photos from recent trivia night competitions. Enjoy!







Saturday, August 11, 2018

My Pup, Bebe. Help save her?

My dog has cancer and has to go through some expensive treatments.  But, first, a story about her:

Please donate via PayPal (friends and family), or GoFundMe.com.

UPDATES can be found by clicking here.

In November 2011, my cat, Casper, noticed something moving under the (then) abandoned house next door.  His teeth were chattering and he was 'talking' about what he was seeing (to himself).  I looked expecting a squirrel or another cat, or even a bird; but, instead I was surprised to see 9 little puppies at the door squeaking and looking for their mom (which is the neighborhood 'that' dog).

Nov. 2011 - That's Bebe before she was Bebe by the wood plank.
We used the wood plank to hide the puppies under the house so
they wouldn't get taken by folks who might use them for bait dogs.
My room mate, DaMarco, and I tried a few times to get them, but they'd all run away to the back of the house and into the darkness and we couldn't see them.  Then, one Sunday morning, my bedroom door flung open and DaMarco shouted, "I got 'em!  I got 'em all!"  Stunned, and surprised, I sat up, "You got 'em, what??"  He announced he saved the puppies from under the house.

He washed them, and we took them to a farm for fostering until they could be adopted out; but, there were only 8 pups in the truck.  Rushing home to find one last little girl who didn't get washed but hid behind the toilet.

Bebe.

I watched as all the other puppies were being adopted out, and she was the last one.  When the e-mail came that she was wanted, I looked down at the floor and she looked back, tail wagging crazily, and I wrote back, "I apologize, someone just claimed her."  I just got a puppy.

And her name was given: Princess Bebe Williams!
Got her checked-over by the veterinarian with the full name: Princess Bebe Williams.  And suddenly, I finally found some unconditional love, something I'd never had before in my life.  As the song says, 'For once in my life I have someone who needs me.'  Hiding behind the toilet?  Last to be adopted?  She chose ME!
Well, I lay claim - but, my pal DaMarco is also one of her parents since he DID pull her from under the abandoned house (the hero he is).  And as two best friends can be, we are what I consider the best parents a pup can have.  Love, and be loved.  All three pets are treated with respect and love, and we get that in return.

2012

2013
Let's jump ahead 6 years to present days.

2017

On Tuesday, August 7, 2018, I'm playing with Bebe when I notice something I hadn't noticed before.  There was a swollen bump on her foot.  I posted this photo on Facebook asking questions and was suggested to take her to the vet.

Beside Marco's pinky-finger is the big bump.  :(
On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, she gets her full check-up and shots, and a test on the bump.  It's showing as a Mast Cell Tumor.  We're instructed that the two toes can be removed and that might help; but, to fully get rid of it the leg has to be removed.

3 Best Pals!
On Thursday, August 9, 2018, we go to a different vet office where there is an oncologist that's actually helped other pets of friends, and more tests are run, but a restless night on Thursday leads me to...

Friday, August 10, 2018, at about 6:30pm I get a call from her doctor telling me that the news is not good.  The cancer has spread into the lymph node.  Rather than amputation, the doctor says we can remove the skin between the toes to remove the tumor and remove the lymph node (roughly around $3500).  This will be followed by 8 treatments over 12 weeks of chemotherapy (roughly around $2500).  This will hopefully help, but (as always) no guarantees because everyone's health is different.

(Speaking to chemotherapy for pets - it's a much lighter dosage which means that she won't get the effects of being sick the way they dose humans with it.)

So, here I sit next to by Bebe who, like Mary Poppins, is practically perfect in every way.  Never had to potty train her, she only had accidents if we didn't pay attention to her.  Never had anger issues.  Doesn't bark unless playing or excited (or thinks someone across the street might chance walking in the yard).  And loves to play, loves to be loved, and loves to love.  Yet, I sit here next to her realizing that cancer is eating at her even as I type this.

Next, I'd like to tell the world:  If you get a puppy or kitten, immediately get pet insurance while they're young and healthy.  This will seem like an additional expense that doesn't make sense until you need it at a time like this.

Finally, I plead to my friends and others: help me?  I often donate to so many causes out there, and to a bunch of gofundme and kickstarters, and even post my preferred charities when my birthday rolls around.  Then, as I post about my upcoming birthday and my list of preferred charities, I learn about my dog's condition and got the suggestion:  Let Bebe be your charity for your birthday this year.

There will be a gofundme account set up for donations which I'll post a link to HERE.

August 11, 2018
We're not trying to get something-for-nothing, so DaMarco and I are also trying to fund this surgery by offering the following payable through PayPal (Click Here) and send your donation to "Friends and Family" with a note explaining which item(s) you wish to get for your support, including your phone number and e-mail address:



DaMarco will do pet portraits to help raise funds needed.  You can see his work if you CLICK HERE (scroll down to the pet portraits).
He's doing this at exceptionally reasonable prices (huge mark-down to raise this money needed)!
11x14" $150
16x20" $250
24x30" $350
8x10" Pencil sketch $80
Prices don't include shipping, can be picked up or dropped off in Memphis, and he will just need a good, clear image of your pet to do the work.
$25 - Prints of some of his most famous paintings (Jareth the Goblin King, Little Monsters, etc., under his Oil Painting section of the link above).

DaMarco Arts Painting Party - canvas and paint supplied, $35 per person (within a 50 mile radius of Memphis) (subject to scheduling).


I will bring the "Muley and Friends Show - Live!" to you within a 50 mile radius of Memphis, TN, with a full 23-minute production for you and up to 19 of your friends and family (adults and children) for $600.  This will be similar to the shows we do at conventions and festivals.  (Subject to scheduling.) (Over 20 people, add $10 each.)

$125 - Personalized video greeting from Muley the Mule or one of his pals.

$50 - Original, personalized drawing of Muley the Mule and a personalized letter and autograph from Muley himself!  For the drawing, if you like sports or a particular movie - let me know and Muley will do that in his drawing for you!

$80 - Commission drawing from either of us (he can offer nearly anything, my specialties include my fandoms: Muppets, Peanuts, Wizard of Oz {books}...).






GIFT CERTIFICATE: www.Angelic-Comfort.com
Our good friend Renee has offered two $50 gift certificates good for half-hour tarot readings.
CERTIFICATE # 158 has SOLD as of 9/5/2018
CERTIFICATE # 159 is still available!

Artist Elizabeth McGeorge is offering her hand-crafted magic wands to help Bebe, made under her title Whimsical Wands!
 


GIFT CERTIFICATE from The Broom Closet Memphis
Our friends at The Broom Closet (Rev. Omma) have offered these readings for $50 each. 


Bebe says, "Thanks in advance for your help!"

August 11, 2018


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

My Pup, Bebe - Updates

Update 8/15/2018 ###


So, I like to keep updates coming because if you're going to donate to the cause, you should be kept aware of what's going on!  Be prepared, the latest update is at the bottom of this particular post - and there are a LOT of updates...

NIGHT BebeFORE SURGERY – 8/14/2018

Through all this, my best pal and roommate, DaMarco, has been a huge help!  After all, he is the hero who saved the pups from under the abandoned house next door, and he’s been through thick and thin, but also along every step of this walk of dog-ownership.  So, we thought about what Bebe would like to do before surgery.
DaMarco operating as the doggy seat belt.
Bebe likes a ride, and so we took her one to see her (and my) extended family, The Wades, and made our way around Mud Island and through Downtown Memphis where there’s a lot to see and bark at!  We went home and played, and laid on the couch together, and played some more.  She got a treat at 10:30 and an ice cube at 11:30 – no food or drink after midnight due to surgery in the morning.


Bebe reacts to some downtown bidness while we're at stop light.
When it was time for bed, she came to my room.  Initially, we started out on opposite ends of the bed; but, eventually ended up with her cuddled-up beside me, using my arm as a pillow and my other arm as a comforter.  I barely slept, thanks to worry, but didn’t wake her as she slept.  I did listen to her – no whimpering or anything, just calm breathing.  There is nothing more special than the trust and unconditional love of the little ones in our lives.

Yes, she makes me do the splits when she sleeps with me.
UPDATE – 8/15/2018 - Surgery Day

Again, I’d love to thank every single person who has helped with Bebe’s surgery.  After diving into the last of my own and into DaMarco's savings accounts (as we should) and coupled with the generous donations ($1,951.24), we were able to provide for her $2,000 surgery deposit, with a few hundred dollars to pay toward her final surgery bill and next week's bandage replacement.  I want to share the receipts with you so you can see where the money is going.

Sharing the document showing estimated costs for the surgery.

Sharing the receipt so you can see where the money is being used.


Prepament for her bandage exchange on 8/23/2018.

August 15, 2018, we took her to the hospital at 7 a.m. where she was checked-in.  By 8 a.m. she was already being taken into surgery.  At 10:30 a.m., her surgeon called and said that after the operation he saw no more disease in her foot and surgery was successful.  Blessed to have NO AMPUTATION!  They did have to fuse the two left toes on her front, left paw, and took out the lymph node of her left front shoulder.  He also said there was some drainage that they are sending, along with the tumor and lymph node, to histopathology.  Her oncologist will be back in town the same time as the histopathology report and will further inform about the chemotherapy treatments. 
Roughly 6 a.m., before the trip to the hospital.
I may or may not have been weeping before this photo.
The histopath report will tell us the grade of the cancer, if it’s all gone, and that the disease is out of her body.

The important thing is: the lymph node needs to be normal.

At 10:30 a.m. the doctor told me that she would need to rest there so they could keep an eye on her to ensure she doesn’t get sick; but, that she could come home today!

We went to get Bebe and DaMarco had stuffed pillows from all over the house in the truck!  The floorboard was lined with pillows so she didn't fall down there, and there were pillows across the middle of the seat so she would be level if she laid on our laps - which she did.  That had to be the most comfortable ride home!


We got her home about 4 p.m. and DaMarco had her bed in the living room which were quickly lined with pillows from the truck.  We got her in and she laid down on her bed, and I laid beside her and we both went to sleep - that was the best 30 minutes of sleep I've had since this news all started over a week ago!  Having my Bebe helped.
Soon after this photo, I laid down on her bed beside her and got
the best 30 minutes of sleep I've had in a long time.
A good question came in about this photo, so I need to update the update!  The shaved area on her tummy is from her 8/9/18 visit to the oncologist and they did an ultrasound on her.  Then, on her neck is the incision to remove the lymph node.  Her foot: the leftmost two toes are now fused together after removing the tumor.  Not seen is her back leg which was shaved for her IV to be inserted.  Poor thing has been through it; but, she's strong as ever.  As my friend Traci said, "Fight it like a girl!"  No fear in this pup!

Also, she is doing well enough that, although hobbling a little, she's walking on her foot which had the surgery.  As I said, other than this cancer she's a strong, healthy doggy which I think will be what helps her heal all the way!

WHAT’S NEXT?

To maintain the "Bebe Money," I'm trying to keep a list of donation amounts and expenditures (I'm a horrible book keeper) just to be sure that she's taken care of, especially with future medical needs.  I feel certain that medication is going to be in her diet for a while.  There is still some promised money to come in which will be a HUGE help. 

We're keeping cautiously optimistic as we await the results of the histopath.  This might lend itself toward chemotherapy which, if it does, we’ll still be begging for help. 

I’m going to become a bit of a recluse while my baby girl heals.  As needed, she may go to work with me. I’ll be patient while she heals until she feels like playing again – for which, I can’t wait!  I’m looking forward to seeing my Bebe jumping like a kangaroo, running like a cheetah, and just being her wonderful, fun little self.  This story isn’t over yet…

WHY I DONATE

So, you’ll recall my list of preferred charities to which I donate.  Some of them are pretty regular, like the orphanage in Uganda and my church, and then I split donations between church food ministries and children’s hospitals, etc.  

The reason I love GoFundMe and KickStarter campaigns is because, while I am unable to donate thousands of dollars to a cause, I can donate my part (however small) to help someone.  After all, $10 donated several times can go a long way if we all work together!

And I’ve seen in Bebe's recent story that I’m not the only one.  So many people with huge hearts – you included, reader! – who have been a part of this scary ride with my Bebe are making big steps for the healing of this pup.  I've mentioned to her the special notes that everyone has written, and I'm sure she can't understand a thing I'm saying - but, I know she feels what I feel reading them, and that helps.

My gratitude is more than words can say, and my heart swells with joy at knowing that you guys helped me help Bebe.  THANK YOU!

Taken a week ago, but Bebe says, "Woof woof arf bark," which
means "thank you very much" in doggish.

8/17/2018.  ###

DaMarco couldn't get off today to stay with Bebe, so she came to work with me.

It's definitely been work getting her TO work! When I carried her in and set her on the floor, I knelt down and split the seam of my pants! I set her up in my office and then rushed home to change.



She's taking it easy now, and I'm certain would rather: 1) be home, 2) be allowed to run around and explore.

6 days until bandage change. 14 until she's free to in around like normal!




Look at those beautiful doe eyes!


Backing up in time a little bit, the lymph node removal incision is healing well!  Depending on lighting and how you look at it, it can look better or worse or about the same.
8/16/2018 - Day after surgery.  She's not enjoying this.  :(

8/16/2018

8/17/2018

8/17/2018 ###

Well, she's begun trying to chew her bandage, but scratching at her incision, too.  What do we do?  I called the doctors and they suggested a t-shirt to block the incision, a sock on the rear paw, cover the front paw with a sock, and leave the cone-of-shame on.

You can definitely tell that her daddy dressed her!  She has the fashion of The Bride of Frankenstein!

When I tried to put on the T-shirt, she didn't like it until I said, "Let's put on this pretty dress!"  And she let me put that on her.  Tom-boy though she may be, she liked the idea of a pretty dress.

She did not like posing for the photo.
Her "provocative portrait" (ignore the old-man toe).

Casper walked by and said, "What the heck!?"
Then, Casper made fun of her "provocative portrait."

8/19/2018 ###

Jan Alderman from First Congo sent Bebe a gift and a card.  I promised her we would read the card to her, so I let DaMarco read to Bebe.


Casper doing  HIS provocative portait...

A hedgehog toy sent to her as a gift.

8/20/2018 ###

Today is my birthday, and at 11:09 a.m. I turned 46 years old.  Yay!  I love birthdays!  But, my only wish today is that people give to Bebe's health fund, or to any of the other charities I support.  Giving is important to me, and I feel bad because lately I have to funnel all my money to ensure that my sweet puppy is healed and doing well.

To keep it simple, save money, and be quick I went around the corner for a burger and ice cream, then to my best friends' house.  We returned and found that Bebe had broken out of her cone and chewed away the socks, the bandage, and pulled the suture from her foot.  (Just know, the photo below is NOT food friendly, so don't eat when you see it.)

Panicked, we got her to the animal hospital right away and she now has a new cone, staples, and new bandage.  Thursday, 8/23/18, we take her in for a review by her surgeon who might be surprised to find new stitches.  Her fund was able to pay the $380 bill that was due after subtracting from the total the prepaid $65 (for the bandage exchange).

Thankfully, no amputation still!

8/21/2018 ###

The evening has been spent taking care of Bebe after my friend Shannon loaned me a large kennel in which Bebe can rest.  She's now been told to NOT run or jump or anything, and climbing on furniture, etc., is now a no-no.

8/22/2018  ####

While working today, about 3 p.m., my cell phone was ringing and it was Memphis Veterinary Specialists.  This was the call I've been both dreading and anticipating because I knew the pathology reports were due soon.

Her surgeon called because, after looking at the pathology reports, saw a note about Monday night's re-stitching and he wanted to call and check on her (even though we go in tomorrow).  I told him all was taken care of and she's doing well.

He said that the pathology report DID come back and he looked at it, but after tomorrow will want us to speak with Bebe's oncologist, Dr. Hillman.  He said that the report shows a successful surgery, but with cancer being level 1, 2, or 3, we are level 2 mass cell tumor and that some of the cancer did get into the lymph node that they removed and studied.  He did say that even though the surgery shows good results, we are likely going to head into chemo next to treat it.

After the visits to the doctors tomorrow and after a conversation with her oncologist, I'll post the next update here.

8/23/2018  ###

Last evening was nice, yet ended with noticing another bump on her other foot.

Went to the doctor's office today, but on the way and since we were little early we rode through Shelby Farms. She got a chance to sniff out the window, bark at some dogs, and see some butterflies.
Today's visit found them checking her incisions, the work done Monday night/Tuesday morning, and I asked about a new little bump on her other foot. 😨


All previous work is considered well done, she's healing properly now, and we have to meet with her oncologist to discuss chemotherapy next. They do want to be certain that she does not chew on any more bandages. Also, the bump on her other foot appears to just be a wart, but I'm now hypersensitive to anything going on so they calmed my nerves about that. 


Next Thursday (8/30/18) we return for stitch removal (if she leaves it alone!) and no more cone!

I am so thankful to have my little buddy, DaMarco, around to help with all of this!




Last night, we just laid on the couch (sans cone!) and cuddled some.  I woke to find us laid-up like this:




8/24/2018  ###

We meet with the surgeon to remove the bandage, cone, and stitches from the successful tumor removal; but, because there was some signs of cancer in the lymph node, they are taking her right after that meeting to keep Bebe for the rest of the day to start Chemo treatments. 

This is good because her age and overall health means that this is treatable and she can be saved. I do not know this new cost yet, but agreed to move forward. 


She will still be on her 6 pills (I guess one pill per year of life?), which she readily takes - I assume she understood when I explained that it would help her. She hasn't yet spit any medicine back out yet!


I've let her out of her cone under STRICT supervision - she'll eat that bandage right off otherwise!


So, Thursday begins the next big step! Prayers, good vibes, and I'll soon be asking for help, I'm sure - please be patient, and I thank you all for your generosity. Everyone has been so loving for my little girl, and I'm so thankful!!



Chilling out on the cool tile floor.

2 Benadryl, 1 Pepcid, 1/2-Rimadyl, 1 Clavamox, and 1 Trazodone,
Morning and Night.

8/25/2018 ###

Bebe and I watched The Looney Tunes Show together, and cuddled some later.



8/29/2018 ###


Bebe Update! The appointment has been verified for tomorrow, although now I'm not sure if the stitches come OUT tomorrow or she just gets a new bandage?
The second appointment to begin her chemotherapy begins right after we meet with her surgeon about her paw's surgery, which means I have to leave her there for the day.
Today, I'm at work and really want to get home to my dog, which isn't that far away from now.
When you get home tonight, be sure you hug your pet or show the affection they need in whatever way suits their species.


8/30/18 ###
Today, we took Bebe in for suture removals and new bandage to be followed by chemo treatment.
The first appointment was with her surgeon who looked and said the top of the surgery has healed, but (because she has too much energy and cannot slow down at all so she tries to play, run, and jump like she’s used to doing) the bottom of her paw has not healed.  We are instead waiting another week and then checking her paw.  If healed, they will begin chemo.  If not – another week.

This certainly keeps me anxious, as you might imagine.



I had a $15 credit from before, so today’s visit was only $15.

It will still cost more for the chemo, so we’re still asking for donations.  I will be listing some items on this website or eBay very soon as well.


Still offering artwork and more.  Renee of www.angelic-comfort.com has donated two $50 gift certificates good for 30 minute phone readings to help – you can order from the PayPal link below (just send to ‘friends and family’ and e-mail me separately what you’d like to order.


9/9/2018 ###

One of my best friends' birthday is today, and her request was no gifts but to donate to Bebe's cause!  (Thanks, Janet!)  On her birthday card, little Grayson drew a picture of me, Bebe, and 'my little girl' which we're not sure who that is, haha.  But, I loved this so much that I had to share it!



9/11/2018 ###

This Thursday we visit the doctor office again.  We HOPE that her paw is healed.  In other words, that the surgery she had (4 weeks ago?) will now be closed.  If it is, we can start chemotherapy treatments for the cancer.

She still doesn't act as if there is any health issues: great appetite, bathroom on the regular, plenty of fluids, and HUGE frustrations because she wants to play and run and jump, but we tell her no.

She does find herself laying up in comfortable (to her) spots, though.  I don't mind - I'm so glad to have my lovely pup with me and as healthy as she can be for now.


Another note about her funds:  We did spend some of it on supplies for the Pet Portrait Orders from DaMarcoArts.com and he is working diligently on these pieces.

Said Sara and Lisa, to whom these pups belong, "We are so pleased with the painting, completed by the talented artist Damarco Randle, of our beautiful boys! I cannot believe the details and how well each of their personalities have been captured in this painting. Highly recommend Damarco!!!!"

Painting by DaMarco Randle

Order by CLICKING HERE.
11x14" $150
16x20" $250
24x30" $350
8x10" Pencil sketch $80
Prices don't include shipping, can be picked up or dropped off in Memphis, and he will just need a good, clear image of your pet to do the work.

9/12/2018 ###

Tomorrow is Bebe's appointment.  If the surgery is healed, she gets the bandage off and chemo begins.  But!  Tonight, we noticed a new bump on the other foot.  We'll bring that to the doctor's attention tomorrow.

In the meantime, she was gifted with a HUGE kennel just for her, so no more borrowing a bedroom for her.  This one is so big she can stand and sit-up all the way in it.  SO MUCH BETTER!  (Thanks to Bob and Barbara from our paranormal investigation team!)


9/13/2018 ###

Today found Bebe spending the whole day in the hospital having tests run on her for the new bump on her foot.  Chemo did not begin because they weren't sure about the new bump.  The samples were mailed off tonight and we should hear something on Monday 9/17/2018.



In the meantime, something made the poor pup gassy and she chose to ride in the truck like this all the way home.  Yup - I got to smell it all.


I let her sleep with me Thursday night, and I didn't get any rest.  Poor thing had nightmares, whimpering and kicking.  I softly patted her until she woke up and saw that I was there with her, and she backed into me tightly, comforted knowing she was at home - but, it only lasted until she fell asleep again.


9/17/2018 ###

Received a call from Dr. Hillman:  The new bump is a histiocytoma tumor and is not aggressive (sometimes, they go away on their own).  She said no concern about it unless it gets bigger, but chemo begins in the morning! 

###