Quick Update

Thursday, August 31st, 2017 05:02 pm
leopardwolf: (Default)
We are safe. There has been a ton of rain in New Orleans and TX in areas where our family is, but so far we have been very fortunate and escaped severe storm damage and flooding. Memories of Katrina all over again. Praying all my friends and their families nearby are safe, My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone effected by Hurricane Harvey. Looking into helping with donations and rescue efforts in every little way we can. In other news, had my Disability Hearing today. It went well, I think. Now I just have to wait for the judge to issue the decision. Praying it will turn out okay.
leopardwolf: (Default)
Still alive. Been really sick on and off multiple times with flairups, including falls and passing out. Started as soon as the temperatures began to get warmer outside. Been borderline heat stroke every day since. Can't get anything done because I overheat too easy, even inside with the AC running full blast. The little energy I have has been totally devoted to preparing for my Disability Hearing at the end of August. I haven't really been online on FB or anywhere else at all since April or May, so if I missed anything major, I apologize. Thank you all for the birthday wishes back in May, they helped cheer me up while I was sick. Hoping it cools off outside soon. I hope all is well for all of you. If I missed anything you want me to know about, please share. I will catch up as I am able to, but probably won't be real active till after my Disability Hearing on August 31st. Positive thoughts and prayers for a positive outcome are appreciated. Wish me luck!

Meet Tesla

Sunday, February 12th, 2017 08:00 pm
leopardwolf: (Default)
This is Tesla. His registered name is Tesla Leuchtet Den Weg vom LhunThyla ( Tesla Lights The Way - from LhunThyla ; my owner/kennel tag ). Tesla is an AKC registered German Shepherd ( Alsatian ). He is 13 weeks old. I have had him for about a week, but didn't want to post anything publicly till I knew for sure I was keeping him. He is a Galliard, born Waxing Gibbous ( a day shy of Ahroun! ) . Very vocal and likes to tell you about all the things. He has a great personality and is already more like Journey was in his confidence levels, which is a good thing. Certain personality traits about Tesla remind me of Journey and Chakotay both. Tesla's namesake is in honor of Nikola Tesla, famous Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist who is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity system, wireless communications, experiments in wireless power transmission, and much more. Tesla coils, anyone? :D The symbology behind "lighting the way" is both toward that namesake, and the hope he will light the way for me as my new service dog. So far he is doing well with basic training and everything he is exposed to in public. His hips and body structure look great; he does the "Superman sprawl" which is an early sign hips should be okay. When I went to meet him and was doing the initial evaluation, he was quite the character. While talking to the breeder, I set my treat pouch down off to the side. Next thing we knew, puppy had picked the whole thing up and was happily trotting back toward the garage carrying it! A metal trash lid dropping right behind him when he wasn't expecting it and umbrella/object testing did not phase him, he had quick recovery. He happily greets strangers and other dogs. As long as the OFA xrays come back good, he will be clear medically. As long as he can overcome any adolescent fear periods he might have, he should be okay behaviorally. Fingers crossed he will be the one. Third GSD is a charm? Lets hope so. I will be setting up a fundraiser to help cover his medical and xray expenses, and so we can get into some training classes for socialization as soon as possible. Anyone interested in donating can send donations to leopardwolf@gmail.com via PayPal. I am offering artwork or creative things in return, based on donation amounts for anyone interested. Thank you for your help and support! Follow along here: http://www.facebook.com/JourneyWithServiceDogs
leopardwolf: (Default)
Still alive. Trying medication adjustments per doc. Still very out of it at points when meds kick in, so may be a bit scarce at times since I make little sense or write weird things when totally medicated. By time I finish, it will have taken me hours just to write and proof read this, like anything I write these days. I think I am just destined to have bad luck with my service dogs in training and any service dog prospects. I was feeding animals this evening. Put my hand in puppy bowl ( as I gave to her ) to encourage her to eat from hand and hands are okay by bowl, something I have always done and normally met with wiggly waggy tails because they get extra good treats in the process. Well tonight she got a wild hair up her ass and decided to growl at me....a freeze/tense, growl warning, go to eat food again sort of way. This is after demand bark/yowl/howling for almost an hour because I was in the other room ( eating my own dinner and getting meds ) and she was in here in her kennel ( Ember was laying to her side quietly). So presumably she was hungry, but still. Not like she was starving for food or ever missed a meal or had to compete with anyone or anything here for her food. She has been doing the demand bark/yowl/shriek since I got her. She has gotten somewhat better ( worse - before extinction? ). I think she learned it from watching the misbehaving pit bull belonging to the ladies I got her from. Then all she had to do was throw a tantrum of her own and I am pretty sure they must have somehow reinforced it, even if unintentional. That was at 5wks/going on 6 wks old I got her She is 7wks now. Not a good sign as far as the growly resource guarding behavior is concerned. For a normal pet dog, I could work around and through it. But it is a very undesirable trait for a potential service dog prospect to have - one older dogs would immediately be washed from training for, because it is too much of a risk and liability. So is she treated same as they would be? Do I just cut the loss and let her go too? There are other concerns, and again while I think I could train past them given time, time is against me and I lack resources, so I find myself falling back to what my gut instinct says, since it was right before. But then I second guess myself and everything about everything. I didn't want to say anything before I was more certain, but Ember has been having weird quirks and also not always alerting the older she has gotten, too. Since I was put on this new medication, it has totally screwed up her alerting. I almost faceplanted the other day getting out of bed because she didn't alert ( she has jumped into bed and woken me for similar situation alerts in the past for reference ). She is more and more unsure on her own legs/feet. I tried trimming nails and foot fur down as much as I can. Maybe will try boots with good grip and just have her always wear those when working from now on. But otherwise it becomes dangerous because she loses her balance and drags me down with her. I am out of time and have no options to turn to. The idea that years of freedom she has brought me will end and I will be alone is... well, frightening. Laugh if you want, but not being able to know if your body is going to decide to have a random heart rate/blood pressure spazz out that causes you to randomly get very sick and pass out, and the only sure thing that has kept that from happening by warning you in advance being your dog....yeah. That's not even counting the multitude of other issues like random joint dislocations and tissue injury I can get just by walking or standing. That's why I need a service dog. Otherwise it is tote around a cane, blood pressure cuff meter, and heart rate monitor, extra meds and smelling salt and the like, and hope that I won't actually need them. But if I do, I will have little if any warning at all, before symptoms hit. Few realize how humiliating it is to stagger suddenly and run into random objects or people ( and the glares you get ) , or how helpless you feel sinking down to the floor in a pre-syncope attack where you basically white out/black out ( no vision or hearing), lose consciousness and sense of anything going on around you, how vulnerable that leaves you if you are all by yourself. That is my life. Ember ( even Journey and Chakotay ) has made it a million times better over the years she has helped me, kept me safe. But now what? I will go back to barely leaving the house, especially since Mike isn't even here. He'd go out with me places and get me out at least. I can't ask or expect my aunt or anyone else to do that. Even when Mike and I are living together again. It is such a huge pressure and burden on our loved ones, that is why a service dog is not just a relief to us as handlers, but to our loved ones who worry so much about us and otherwise have to do so much for us without them to help us. Losing that freedom and security is crushing... especially when you tried so hard to have your backup plan all ready, and you knew just what to do and did it; only life had other ideas. It always does. Never works out the way we hoped it would.
leopardwolf: (Default)
A friend offered to watch Chakotay so I could "test drive" some foster dogs from the local shelters or rescues and such. I have been looking for months, much how I did when I went looking for and found Journey. Nothing in the local area young enough, big enough or heartworm negative. I came across a listing for a dog claiming he was a Lab X Mastiff mix, which I thought was perfect for size and possible good characteristics. Went to see him... the dog was smaller than Ember, and more of a Pitty mix. He was beautiful and beautiful personality, but too small. So I asked to see what else they had. Only one really fitting big enough was an American Bulldog. Had good personality and some basic obedience, we tried cat testing in the cat room and he didn't seem interested in them and even went up to sniff one cage and got nailed and didn't even react, just turned away. Perfect I thought. Went back to test him with Ember and they liked each other. Okay, willing to give him a chance. He doesn't weigh 70lbs like we thought by the size of him, but 103lbs! Mega perfect! Find out he's heartworm positive. Nrgh. Okay. Shelter is willing to work with me, so I agree to try him on foster. Always cautious when introducing strange dogs to my cats, especially one as big and strong as him....he gets excited when he realizes they are there, and it is prey drive excitement. I tried a few different approaches to get him to calm and ignore them, which he actually caught on to amazingly well when realizing he got yummy things for ignoring the cats. But he kept doing the eerie freeze/silence/stare predatory stalking behavior thing. He also tried to nip at Wasabi through the kennel when Wa came over to politely say hello ( if the bars had not been there between them the dog would have made contact, which is very dangerous ). I can't risk that with my cats. I can't risk he go after some other random animal in public and risk dragging me down or worse. I am totally fine working with large, powerful dogs. I have all my life. But at the same time I can't risk injury to myself to fight against trying to reshape that kind of prey drive on a dog that big. I hate to say it, but I don't have the time or energy or finances to do so. So I will be bringing him back tomorrow. Back to square one. It is getting harder and harder for Ember to do what I need her to do for me, and I am afraid she'd work herself to death if I didn't stop her. I am afraid of facing being in public without a service dog after all the freedom and peace of mind I have had with my partners, but I am running out of time and options. Fundraisers don't work ( I can't even help save a cat with a broken leg fast enough). The waiting list for CPL or any program is going to be longer than I can wait, and I don't have $5k-$7k just to travel for team training. I don't even have $2k to get a well bred pup with health guarantee (if something is wrong breeder will take it back and replace it and their parents are screened for HD/ED and temperament tested CGC and above). I feel like just totally giving up. I can't do it anymore.

Am I back yet?

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 10:10 pm
leopardwolf: (My Mind Escapes Me)
Just when I thought I'd be back and be able to catch up with online interactions, something else comes up. Dealing with things as best as I can. Most of it doesn't warrant expending the energy to mention. Some of it meh. Some of it sad. Most recent being the loss of one of my aunts to medical complications. It was sudden and unexpected, and still hard to accept. The circumstances around it have made me reflect on my own health issues. I have been in some bad mindspace, so I chose not to burden others with it. Not any different than any negativity I have shared in the past, so why sound like a broken record.

In better news, the Medicaid expansion finally hit. I got everything with it straightened out, I think. I went and saw my eye specialist and my rheumatologist. It was finally decided since we'd tried everything else with limited results, it was time to try adding immunosuppressants. I have been taking Plaquenil and Restasis since then. I wasn't able to until now without insurance, because the Restasis alone would have been over $500 per monthly supply out of pocket, similar to the problems I had with getting my Cymbalta before it went generic.

There is no generic for Restasis, so I am having to fight for a prior authorization for it. The insurance allowed the first month purchase to go through so I would have it, so kudos to them for thinking of the patient in these situations. Now I just hope they are reasonable to approve the prior auth since it is literally the only medication of its class and kind so there are no alternative treatments available to substitute. I also saw my new primary and she seems pretty awesome. A lot like my awesome Mayo doctor was the first time we met. Getting referrals for lab work and to see an orthopedic specialist, neurologist, and endocrinologist finally, after waiting an eternity. Here is to hoping I can get approvals for a bone density scan and MRI real soon.


Finished gathering, compiling, and submitting all the information for my Disability appeal. My rheumatologist and I sat down and compiled a whole slew of things to throw at them, based on their own listing criteria, and directly quoted those criteria and offered detailed information for a functionality report based on models they use, which should be more than enough medical evidence to support my claim and get approval. Now it is just a matter of waiting again. It could take a year or more before the case is even issued to a judge. Unless someone in the processing department reviews it and sees how blatantly it is that I meet listing level criteria and should have been approved the first time around. Jump. Through. Hoops. Makes my fur bristle the more I have to conform to their inadequate process.

The benefit of waiting is that it gives me that much more time to research and be thoroughly prepared for the hearing when the time comes. I did speak with a helpful woman in their support department who sent me some information for legal assistance for low/no income individuals. I plan to utilize it if I am able to. It's not the same as retaining a private attorney, but I'm sure I can learn something either way if I qualify to use it.

Back to catching up on things I missed.
leopardwolf: (My Mind Escapes Me)
The Social Security Administration denied my Disability claim.

Despite the overwhelming evidence I submitted. Probably because they didn't bother reading any of it. Not surprising. Their job is to deny everyone.

Time to appeal and fight back. It'll go to hearing before a judge. I knew it would happen this way, I was expecting it. My current plan is to represent myself. I have already been formulating a best method of approach. I will probably be contacting people to request testimonies and witness statements as evidence for the court case.

I will need help and support through this difficult process. My life depends on this having a positive outcome. That may sound dramatic, but it is the truth. Without aid, I have nothing. I am out of options.

Disability Update

Thursday, April 14th, 2016 06:48 pm
leopardwolf: (Default)
Stage one of Disability determinations completed. I called SSA today and apparently I have a new worker, which explains part of the run around. She confirmed everything with me and told me she'd be submitting my case to their doctors for review tomorrow.

Now waiting to hear back on the medical determination stage. This is the big one, where the longest wait normally is. Cross your fingers, and send tons of positive thoughts and prayers for a positive outcome. Hoping for the best, expecting the worst.
leopardwolf: (Default)
Quick update. Ankle is still tender but as long as I am not on it too long I can tolerate the pain enough to walk on it for short amounts of time and for short distances. Puppy is doing good, will write more about that in a puppy update I am working on.


Getting increasingly aggravated with the SSA and this disability determination process. They sent me ANOTHER letter requesting info I already gave them. This is the third time they have done so.

I filled out the application online and it specifically asked for this info and I filled in the blanks. Then I also submitted it with the info I gave them to copy in person. All of that info was carefully organized and selected because they had already asked for it, or I knew they would ask for it, so I included it thinking it would help them and make the process more efficient.

So how can you not have it and still be requesting it unless clearly you haven't bothered to actually look through my entire file?

Or you are just wasting time, resources and paper.

The fact that one of my conditions is actually listed on the SSA "auto determination list" should make this entire process totally irrelevant. But noooope.

Because, government.
leopardwolf: (Default)
Back from New Jersey. The trip was short but went really well. We went to a trade show to see equipment and other things. After that we drove out to Pennsylvania and stayed the night at the hotel near CPL, then attended the support class the next day. It was nice to see how they run things and meet others who were already paired with CPL dogs. My friend Carolyn and her CPL mobility dog Cherry came and we finally got a chance to meet in person and after the class go and have amazing nom nom sushi, yay! Ember was waiting out in the car with Mike during class so I could work with one of the CPL dogs. I got to work with a beautiful male yellow labrador named Diesel. Great dog, great personality. He was already paired with someone though.







During the class he got a little restless at points and I'd reposition him and give him a down-stay command, but he'd eventually move again and come toward me. I wasn't sure if it was alerting behavior or not, since there was a younger female black labrador with another lady near us who also kept turning toward us a little restless. She also kept staring at me and whining, but I thought it was because I had my treat bag and was rewarding Diesel for good behaviors, which is why I also thought he was restless, wanting more treats! Turns out Diesel was alerting to my neurocardio symptoms, and when I glanced at the clock I realized I was due for my medicine. He alerted within the same time frame Ember normally alerts when I am due for it. It was really awesome having a dog I don't even know alert to me. I mentioned the behavior from the black lab that kept focusing on me, and they told me she was from one of their lines known to alert so they were glad to know she was displaying the behavior and they'd follow up on it.

I asked them some questions about the whole process since I am on the waiting list, and was curious to know how many other medical alert dogs were in the making since Diesel was already paired. They told me unfortunately all the dogs that do medical alert are currently paired with their new partners, and none of the dogs in the kennel rotations right now are displaying the right behaviors frequently enough if at all to make a solid medical alert dog. Which basically means since there are other people already ahead of me on the waiting list, I probably wouldn't be getting paired with a dog this year. Then there is also the problem of finding someone to attend the entire month of team training with me.

Which leads to my next post, which will discuss that, and a little something else that happened as a result.
leopardwolf: (Default)
Disability Stuff

This month is flying by. Have had so much going on with finalizing my filing with the SSA. A few aggravations along the way, but those were made up for by going in to drop off paperwork for SSDI and unexpectedly getting to apply for SSI without needing an appointment as I originally thought I would. Everything sort of fell into place just right. It is all done, and now the waiting game. Hoping for the best, but expecting the worst. I did a lot of reading and research into the process, and spoke with others who went through it. I spent the last year compiling *everything* from my medical records and digging up old documents for FMLA and similar, and writing thoroughly (30+ pages worth) explaining everything in depth and fine detail. With everything else I have done to prepare, I think I have a strong case. Burden of proof is all on me, and I think I have done everything I possibly can. I probably presented the materials much more thoroughly than most people do.


CPL / Service Dog Stuff

Speaking of flying. I fly out this coming week to New Jersey. Going to drive out to Pennsylvania for a CPL support class, where I will have a chance to meet service dog teams from CPL's program. Looking forward to meeting the people and their canine partners who I already know, in person rather than just online. Looking forward to meeting new people and dogs too. Hoping I'll get to interact more with the staff and ask everyone there all sorts of questions. We also have plans to go to a trade show while I am there. Hoping to find some resources and business connections for future investments. Lots of excitement planned, just have to find a way to make it all a reality. One step at a time.


Back And Dental Stuff

My back is feeling a bit better, and almost "normal" again. Hoping it stays that way. I ordered an ortho brace online and have been wearing it as needed to avoid further stress or injury. I found out I have Osteopenia in my lumbar spine. I came across an old radiology report while gathering files for SSA that I hadn't seen before, from just before we moved from Minnesota. Supposedly my old doctor in Minnesota didn't bother to tell me because she didn't feel the overall average of everything added up on the test was out of the ordinary enough. But the radiologist clearly marked it as Osteopenia. Seriously, *any* kind of bone density loss can be a bad thing, *especially* if it is in your SPINE. You have a duty to tell someone that, especially when they are taking medications that are known to *leech calcium* which puts them at increased risk. *Especially* *especially* after you told them to *stop taking their calcium supplement* because their blood serum calcium level was higher than normal. Even not taking it anymore it is still abnormally high. Not to mention the medical diagnoses I have gotten since then and how they'd relate to something like low bone density in the spine. I have to get another bone density scan as soon as I can somehow afford it ( add that to the list with the MRI I really need ) and pray 3+ years not knowing and being off calcium supplements hasn't caused more damage and I can start taking more direct preventative measures to improve or at least prevent further loss. Had some horrid snarky issues with my teeth ongoing and once again looking at needing oral surgery. Trying to find somewhere to get it done under full sedation. It's insane how difficult it is to find something like that, and worse when you don't have any coverage for it.


Otherwise things are okay as they can be. Taking it one day at a time and focusing on the good stuff. Hope everyone is doing well.

Back Gone Out

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 08:50 pm
leopardwolf: (Default)
So. Much. Pain. I somehow managed to hurt my back over a week ago and could hardly move when it first happened. After a few days of TENSing, pain creams, Gaba, and resting and hobbling in crazy ways to stay comfortable, it finally felt a little better yesterday. Then today I had to go to the dentist. And it hurt, a lot. The numbing agent they use doesn't work on me, and even taking two Gaba before I still felt it ( though probably less than if I had not taken Gaba ). Ember was worried sick as she lay over in the corner watching and I had to reinforce her stay a few times because she was concerned if I was okay and sensed I was in pain and having pre-syncope symptoms. My hip was bothering me earlier from subluxing, but I finally popped it back into place and felt okay for about 30mins after. I don't know if it was tension from the dental appt or having to drive that did it, but now I can hardly move or bend or twist/turn again without horrible pain. Doesn't matter if I sit or stand or lay, still hurts. I have already fallen behind in my schedule for getting stuff done because of it and because of the insane bad weather that passed through this area last week. I am waiting for an ortho back brace to come tomorrow, and hoping it offers some kind of relief or at least support so this damned thing heals. I can't stand not being able to do anything without feeling this kind of pain, on top of the nerve pain I already feel from my stupid teeth. Don't mind me, just need to vent and write about it so I have a record and reminder of it I can look back at later. There is other news medical and back related that may not be good, that I ironically came across while getting everything ready for the disability case. I haven't wanted to say until it's a pretty sure thing, and only a handful of people know about it. I really need to get XRays and an MRI, but this shitty excuse for GNO citycare doesn't cover that kind of thing. Having to wait till June/July or after and pray the Medicaid expansion really does FINALLY go through thanks to the new governor overruling the old asshole's block on it.....it can't come soon enough. I'm not sure if I can wait if this doesn't let up, but I don't really want to have to go through the horrid local ER system like I did before with my wrist and get absolutely no help and waste time and energy I don't have doing so. So in the meantime I will flail ineffectively and smell of menthol as I electrocute myself. Hope everyone else is doing well.
leopardwolf: (Default)
I have been a little scarce recently. Taking care of medical related stuff. I am finalizing my Disability/Medicaid application process next week. I will be going in person with faithful Ember at my side to present my 3inch+ thick folder of medical records and documents, letters of support ( thanks again to those who wrote them ), and fully detailed write-up of my conditions and their effects on activities of daily living and how they adversely effect my ability to work for gainful employment ( lack thereof ) or enjoy activities the way I could before my body decided to try and self destruct. I am going in fully expecting I will be denied the first time and will have to appeal. They normally almost always deny you the first time, even if you have a metric ton of supporting evidence like I do. If by some miracle I get approved on the first try, it will be so totally unexpected I will implode from sheer relief and happiness. I won't hold my breath though. Thoughts, prayers, luck, and well wishes are greatly appreciated!
leopardwolf: (Default)
Apologies for the lapse in presence on and off recently. I have been busy for a little while working on putting together all of this information for my disability application process. Digging through old paperwork to find things to use ( thank goodness I kept it ), collecting and sorting documents from providers. Just waiting on responses from two doctors and that should do it. I wrote a ton of things with medical jargon and ICD-10 codes to throw at them. 10+ pages to tell them how all this affects my daily life and ability to function. Hoping "doing the work for them" will strengthen my case some, but not holding my breathe. I expect I will be denied the first go-round, as that seems like the popular thing for them to do. Will probably be submitting everything before the end of the month. Anyone interested in reading any of it and giving their input? Also on that note, would anyone like to write anything on my behalf for me to submit to them? On why you feel I should be able to finally get this help I needed ( and probably should have asked for ) years ago and why it is more important I have it going forward? I mean, lets face it. My body is self destructing itself one collagen molecule at a time. That isn't going to change anytime soon!

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LeopardWolf - Lhunpaurwen - Lhunie

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