Major spring catch up
Well I started writing this post weeks ago. Actually, a month ago. These pictures are all from March and early April but I still wanted to share them before I move on to hopefully more recent events!
The whole month of April has really been a blur to me, at least the past 3 weeks. I became terribly ill again with this ongoing illness I've been battling since my surgeries - it's not endometriosis or related to the surgeries but it's an underlying condition we've not been able to pin down even though we have been trying. I go through flare ups, periods when things are just beyond terrible, and then times when everything feels like it's going to be just fine, so it's been confusing and obviously, frustrating.
But finally this time I became so ill, I ended up in the hospital for 6 days. It was not fun, and it was not a good experience. No one ever wants to stay in the hospital but I was not offered treatment quickly, I did not eat for 7 days, and it just wasn't a good experience. I had tests run and I was let out with a probable diagnosis and given no treatment, so I continued to be just as violently ill and in terrible pain. I was told it would take 1-2 weeks to get the biopsy results back and that we'd just have to wait. But because I was given nothing, the inflammation I had was just getting worse. We were thankfully finally able to find something and know it's likely Ulcerative colitis, but I'm still waiting to see the specialists and discuss this further in the coming weeks.
Thankfully a week after getting out of the hospital, I was able to see my nurse in New York State whom I've been seeing since November and while they were speaking with a GI Doctor to get me a referral, the Doctor told them to start me on prednisone to give me some relief as I wait for test results and appointments. So thankfully I started that almost a week ago, and have had some relief from it - not total, but for sure it's helping. Plus it just feels good to be moving forward instead of just being sick and waiting for someone to do something while I get worse. Since I have been out of the hospital, I have almost ended up back there 3 times so far.
It's still very touchy and I've got a way to go, but I'm much stronger and able to eat some things (sometimes) so that has helped a lot. I lost almost 10 pounds in the hospital just from not eating.
I'm very used to pain, but personally I've never been this sick on top of the pain, so it was a new experience for me. I thought I had faced a lot with my 7 surgeries and they were a handful but certainly this was much more trying and scary.
Also it was very difficult being in a mixed ward of people, some recovering from surgery, some dying. No privacy. I realized how spoiled I had been after my past two surgeries, I had nurses who came as soon as I called, I had my own room, it was quiet. People here were constantly screaming in agony or fear, crying, yelling. My senses were overloaded in the worst possible ways. And almost every night I had less than 1 hour of sleep, so I was a little crazy from the exhaustion. I felt terrible for everyone there, especially the people who would not be getting a chance to leave. It was heartbreaking.
So of course just being home has helped, in my own bed, with my animals, it's quiet, and I can manage my symptoms better than they were even being managed in the hospital. They were unable to control my migraine so I suffered for days with it, it was blinding and part of why I got so ill. It was caused by the initial pain meds they gave me but also from not eating anything, and being dehydrated, so at least at home I'm eating some but I'm also able to stop the migraine before it gets out of control, which didn't happen there.
So back to this post, I haven't been able to share all my pictures of my now healthy happy fat lambie, Emerald who was born unable to properly walk and with a smushed (slack) face... she almost died on me, but after I got her through that she has done nothing but flourish and she is happy and healthy! As are the other kids born in March.
In early April the sap ran and we were able to get a good store of maple syrup put up too, Kevin boiled for 5 days straight and we got a few really good batches of syrup.
The weather was slow changing but we've enjoyed the past few days some really warm temperatures with some periods of sunshine, lots of afternoon wind which is typical. But things are greening now, and the forest is waking up quickly.
It was a tough transition on both of us, but she did fine and once she started spending the days with the goat kids, she started to learn about eating hay and grain... and that maybe she wasn't a person after all... at least not totally :)
My heart could not have been happier that we were able to get through the first couple of weeks of her life. This was a tough one and I'm still not totally sure how I managed it sometimes.
But it was worth it. I have a beautiful healthy little girl.
Who is sweet as pie. And of course once she moved up to the barn, Max took over and watched her for me when I wasn't there, as he does with all the bottle babies.
He loves all the kids, but the bottle babies bond closely with him right away, they are used to dogs and someone just know he'll take care of them. The other kids when they first meet him are kind of surprised this wolf is supposed to be their protector! This years Pygmy buckling wasn't so sure about it when he first saw Max.
There was a lot of excitement when the sap finally begun to run after so many weeks of nothing. We were getting kind of worried the run would either be super short, or the sap would be no good by the time it did run. Without the right conditions the sap will not be clear and the taste won't be good either, and that makes for bad tasting syrup.
But we got good sap, and the guys worked hard. We also had some decent weather so it was extra nice working at the sugar shack.
Syrup, almost ready!
Our new sap tank worked really great in the mule for collecting the sap this year, much easier to transport with a lot less waste than the barrels we used to use.
I wasn't able to help with the work, but I visited a few times and brought homemade cookies and food for the guys, and also did my part sitting by the fire, keeping "watch."
The goats sure were glad when the sun finally came back. This year we've had so little sun it's been tough on everyone.
The big dogs however LOVE the snow, so they were sad to see it go and would sleep on it even when there were only small spots of it left. They are happiest in the winter as they are made for it.
Horace turned EIGHT years old!
The little dogs were excited as the snow started to go away because finally they could smell stuff again, and Rollie could start chasing chipmunks, which is his favorite pass time.
I enjoy the early spring nights, cool, but with that hint of warmness, that promise that things will start changing.
We had our usual early April snows too. We finally got rid of the snow and then this would happen.
But we knew it wouldn't stay and it was pretty wet snow that stuck to everything.
In early April a few of our deer friends came back after being gone for weeks again. Not many returned but a few did, and they stayed for a week or so and then went off for the spring.
When I went into the hospital it still looked like this.
Douglas wasn't thrilled about it either, especially since it had finally just went away.
While I was in the hospital it rained a lot and when I got home the grass was turning green and the first wild flowers were just starting to blossom.
I was able to get out in the forest for a bit with Kevin a few days ago for the first time in months and it felt so good to be in the forest, to see her waking up, coming back to life. And today I went up to the barn for a bit, I had not been to the barn in three weeks at all, so you can imagine how good it felt just to see the animals and spend some time with them.
Now I'm back to resting, but I have plenty of new pictures and hopefully will be able to work on a new post now that I've caught up a bit.
This is an ongoing journey, but I'm just counting my blessings and hoping this leads to me finally being able to find a way to manage this, and get better, or live a much more functional life. If I get to the right Doctors and right treatments I feel confident I can finally have some relief and not just go around in circles, at least that's my hope, so I'm hopeful about this spring, and hopeful for the months ahead.