Thursday, November 17, 2011

Catch Up

Just a quick post to say I'm still here, not posting a lot, but still thinking. The hip inflammation has settled down dramatically, but now I'm actually capable of finding out what causes the pain.

When you sit down and relax, the hip moves -- that causes pain. Then, when you go to stand up, the hip re-engages -- that causes pain. PAIN.

Pain all day. So, if I sit it hurts. If I stand, it hurts. I have to lie on my left side with a pillow under my right butt cheek and roll onto my back to get comfy.

Not a lot of fun.

My GP is back and I see him Monday.

Matt will be in Canada for more than 2 weeks, so, I'm not looking forward to it all. It's going to be hellishly hard.

I'm writing 2 posts at the moment, one on my most commonly asked search result: What causes miscarriage and one about PCOS and it's ties to autoimmune diseases.

The local community garden was denied it's application and I'm trying to lobby for the reserve next to us. The guys were just here to tidy it up, so hopefully others will like the looks of it.

The little grey cat taught us all a lesson in gluttony. Apparently he's been hunting the local lizards (skinks) and eating quite a few. He was very sick for a wee while, which the vet related to eating a box or two of chocolates. We caught him trying to bring one into the house the other day. Hopefully we gave him enough of a scare that he won't try to bring them home. That at least gives them a fighting chance to get away.

My eyes have been horribly sore and I don't know if it's the bright NZ sun or some sort of eye inflammation. They don't look red or dry, just very sore.

Hopefully I'll know more about my hip on Monday and have some time to finish those big posts.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What does TRAPs looks like?

It's a google search I get a lot. What does TRAPs look like? Good question.

This is what it looks like:

The TNFRSF1A gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 12 at position 13.2.
More precisely, the TNFRSF1A gene is located from base pair 6,437,922 to base pair 6,451,282 on chromosome 12.

Yup, that little blip is where all the mutations can occur to cause all this trouble.

More than 60 mutations in the TNFRSF1A gene have been found to cause tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated periodic syndrome (commonly known as TRAPS).

I was tested either for 2 or 3, and because they did not come back positive for a mutation, I am deemed not 'diagnosed' for TRAPs, therefore, I am not able to be funded for enbrel.

With some patients with some various autoimmune or autoinflammatory diseases, there is a nice salmon rash that appears in various parts. Lupus has the 'butterfly' mark, some with Still's Disease get a patchy salmon rash just before their elbow on the inside of the arm.

FMF'ers and TRAPpers really don't have a distinguishing feature except maybe a stereotypical racial identity.

For those with FMF, you're looking at a melting pot of Greek, Turkish, Iranian, Italian people who's forefathers have intermingled. It sometimes appears in Jews of the area but not the entire Jewish population.

For Traps, you're looking at the Scottish and Irish folk who have not interbred with the English. When you have mixed with the general English people, you are more likely to have another autoimmune or autoinflammatory disease, but because of the variations of mutations, you might be affected.

My link back to Ireland is my maternal grandfather who was Irish, however my mother had quite olive skin.

Given that my last name is now Scottish, I sort of fit the TRAPs picture.

The single most identifying feature between FMF and TRAPs and against the 'normal' picture of a person is the fever.

This is in F, of course. For those of us who use Celsius, it's as follows.

Normal Body Temp: 37C
Oral Fever Temp: Over 37.7/37.8C
Rectal Fever Temp: Over 38.05C

I've taken various photos of the 'mask' like redness I get when I have a fever, but all I was told was: "It looks like you have a fever."

There ya go.

What is the difference between an Autoimmune Disease and an Autoinflammatory Disease?

Autoinflammatory diseases (AID) and autoimmune disorders both result from the immune system attacking the body’s own tissues. Both of these disorders also cause inflammation. However, in autoinflammatory diseases the innate or primitive immune system causes inflammation for unknown reasons, whereas in autoimmune diseases the immune system mistakenly reacts with the body’s own cellular components as if they were foreign antigens. Autoinflammatory diseases also have a hereditary component usually associated with a gene mutation.

The article does state: "Attacks of TRAPS can be prevented with colchicines, whereas glucocorticoid steroids are used to reduce symptoms." Which is sooo not the way I want to see doctors treat patients with TRAPS. Seriously, Colchicine makes you poop all day long, you become dehydrated and sore. It doesn't do much at all to stop or shorten flares.

So, while I can't show you what TRAPs looks like, as I don't get an itchy rash on my legs, and I am more affected by fever, inflammation and arthritis, which are all invisible, I can show you what maintaining TRAPs looks like.

This is my morning ritual:

That is Prednisone, Citalopram, Prilosec, Magnesium, Spirulina, and my pain killers, Ibpuprofen, Codalgin and Diclofenac. I take the Seroquel at night. During times of pleurisy, I take the Vick's Formula 44.


I often get tummy upsets, either in the form of reflux or just a general upset stomach. I take both Aloe (this is Lifestream Aloe) and Slippery Elm Powder. Slippery Elm Powder is amazing and you should all add it into your diets.

When feeling overwhelmed or tired, I take the Elevit Multi for Women with Children, and when I start to get a bit achy in the kidney, I take Red Seal Cranberry capsules. I often get cystitis and the cranberry works really well to help prevent it.

For stressful times, I take L-Theanine and for coughs that won't settle, I take Wild Oregano Oil. Both are from Solgar and were finds from my friend Anna. (Hi Anna!)

Because I've been on the steroid a long time, I have to take calcium. I often forget as I'm supposed to take it away from cups of tea and as I drink tea all day, I don't remember to take it.

You can see they even upped my dose from 500mg to 600mg twice a day.

And my favourites, my health promoters.

I love to take an apple or two, cover it in squeezed orange juice and have the two together.

Tomatoes, when in season, are also divine. I like the truss kind and find the smell of the tomato vine heavenly.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Tried And True Eco Tips from an Aspie Mum

As most of you know, I'm Mama to a kid with Asperger's, sensory issues, anxiety and sleep disorders. It's a full basket and comes with things like constipation, reflux and panic attacks. They're pretty sensitive on the inside.

But, most sensitive kids are also sensitive on the outside. It develops into things like Eczema, warts and sores that don't heal.

Soph had quite bad Eczema and she had both the dry and the weepy kind.

Like most Americans, I grew up with Johnson & Johnson's No Tears (there ARE tears!!) and so, I bought that for my baby when I was expecting. It's quite expensive here in NZ, so it's really a consumer move to purchase J&J stuff.

However, by about 6 weeks, my baby was starting to feel like rhino. Rough, prickly skin. I would feel other babies and people would feel my baby and ask what was going on.

A lot of people told me reflux babies tend to have dry skin, but no one mentioned sensitive skin.

This isn't Soph, but this is quite similar to her eczema patterns.

When she developed both the oozy and dry kind of Eczema at about 14 weeks, we started on the Pinetarsol bath (the green liquid you add to the bath), and the horrible cream that feels like old fashioned cooking lard. Ugh. That just made her sticky, smelly and itchy, especially in the NZ heat.

As we are closer to the Ozone hole, there isn't as much block from the sun's rays, so people tend to burn quicker and deeper than you might in the US.

So, in addition to all the bath stuff, we were loading her up on Super Baby 70+ sunblock which is loaded with chemicals. The poor poppet was like a lobster with all the irritation and redness.

Finally, a homeopath told me to get rid of the chemicals. I hadn't even considered the chemicals in all the crap we were putting on her and around her.

First, we ditched the washing/laundry detergent. At the time, we were using Persil and we went to a liquid amolin laundry wash. At times you can find it quite affordable at your supermarket and I know quite a few front loading machines recommend it, which is a great step for your family. However, it looks as though Bayer has decided to stop producing it. I hope they are replacing it with a similar product because there is a real need for parents to move to less chemicals with their new babies.

So, Amolin, we tried it for months. Did nothing. So, we went even further and began using Soap Nuts.

The brand I purchased during my 12 months with soap nuts was Global Soaps. I found it at my local organic shop and was very pleased with the brand.

Soap nuts can take a few washes to get the soap residue out of your machine and off the clothes. The clothes feel different when washed with soap nuts because there is no agent to soften the fabric.

Using Soap Nut is incredibly easy. The 'nuts' are really the reproductive berries for the plant and are little round black nuts. They come in a soft, sticky, sour cherry smelling 'shell' and this is where the cleansing agent comes in. You break a few of these nuts from the bunch and put them in your little draw string linen bag. Toss it into the area when it will receive the most agitation and toss your clothes in.

I used cold water and therefore needed more nuts because less of the surfectant is released. However, if you use warm water washes, you need fewer nuts but they do not last as long because the surfectant is released more thoroughly.

You know it's time to chuck them when they are no longer stiff or sticky. You then toss them into your flower garden or veggie patch and they rot and compost.

If you're lucky, occasionally you will get the little black nut and can keep them to start your own plantation. They require quite a lot of destruction to the nut to get it to sprout and it takes about 7 years of maturation before it will fruit.

I loved my time with soap nuts. I adored the smell, how absolutely CLEAN my clothes were, but there is an issue in that your whites are no longer Clorox white and stains don't come out.

But, there are adjuncts created to help.

This is the stain remover bar. I never found it effective on things like mud, blood, paint or felts, but it smells divine.

For a fresher smelling laundry, you can add the Essential Oil blend.

I used this for everything. I put some in the cistern of the toilet, in my dishwasher, in my laundry, in my dryer balls. It is heavenly. I found it so calming but without that sort of sleepy effect.

Finally, there is the whitening powder.

This was my lifeline trying to keep my clothes stain free. It was fantastic. And Soph's skin didn't react to it.

So, that took care of our laundry, which I think was contributing a LOT to her eczema. I would do sheets, towels, pillows, clothes, blankets, etc. There is no point in reducing chemicals if you're just going to wrap your child in chemical residue.

One of the WORST offenders in chemical induced eczema is fabric softener either in a liquid form or in dryer sheets. Being an American, I was horribly addicted to dryer sheets. It took me about 5 years to find a dedicated retailer, and I bought in bulk. Time and time again, fabric softener is indicated as being a skin offender.

However, there is hope for you commercial cleaning addicts!

Currently, tried and tested in my own home, is MY advice. Take it or leave it, but this is my tried and true laundry plan.

For stains, I soak in warm water with baking soda or I spot clean the area with a bit of palmolive soap, warm water and finger scrubbing. Soaking is great for socks and cloth pads. I do not use a commercial stain remover.

We began using laundry powder again after 12 full months on soapnuts. That meant that the soap nuts traveled with us and when we were sharing a washing machine, yes, the soap residue from other's clothes did affect ours. If I was washing soph's clothes, I'd do a rinse before adding the soap nuts, then do a wash with the soap nuts. The commercial soaps do strip the nuts, so prepare to use more.

Currently, I use 2 brands. I prefer Next Generation Lavender Laundry Powder more, but supply is often an issue and I've found Earthwise Orange & Eucalyptus Plant & Mineral Based Super Concentrate Laundry Powder is more readily available. However, you can buy Next Generation products direct from their website.

Now, you will notice that a lot of 'eco' brands write that they use a concentrated system and this is something to note. If you are doing a load of laundry for someone with sensitive skin, please adhere to the limits they have provided for you and use as little as you need with plenty of water.

For a while, I foolishly was adding an 'extra' bit for more cleaning power and using an eco wash with limited water and finding the clothes were coming out caked in powder. I'd just dust it off and dry them. Bad move! That soap will cause contact dermatitis for EVERYONE, not just your eczema kid.

I bravely made the move to try Earthwise's Papaya & Aloe Vera Fabric Softener. Like I said before, I'm an addict! Thus far, we've had no major reactions, but I have been very limited in my use, mainly just for towels as we really love soft towels here.

If you want a non-chemical solution to fabric softeners, Dryer Balls would be the way to go. I made my own using a real wool knitting wool. I basically tied a knot and wound the ball until it was a huge ball, washed it a few times and presto, had my own dryer balls.

Now, mine was a non-instruction based attempt, as I wanted non-plastic dryer balls but did not know where to find them. In the end, I had a washer full of loose wool that smelt like sheep. Not bright. So, I unwound my machine, rewound the balls and stitched the ball together. That worked for a while until the balls started to fall apart.

I will say, they did absorb a lot of water in the dryer and my towels felt nice. I was, however, put off by the mess, so threw them away. It was a sad day.

Enter the Solution: Tumblemonkey Handmade

Unless you are well experienced in the art of felting, you need professional help. For all my Kiwi and Australian readers, Tumblemonkey Handmade is the way to go. And, if you are using cloth diapers, want to use cloth diapers, or have a friend using cloth diapers, these dryer balls ARE the best gift. I'm asking for a set of 3 for my stocking this year.

(She also has the most creative and gorgeous felt creations on Etsy.)

A lot of eco families do not use dryers and I really respect that. We were without a dryer for 6 months, thankfully over the Summer. My clothes line is up a hill and it is terribly hard to go up and down while the bricks are wet or I am sore. And living in Wellington, that's almost daily.

So, cutting dryer time is a major ECO move for families. I believe dryer balls that absorb the water or humidity in the air is the best move. I can't put into words how excited I am to get them in my stocking.

Cleaning the Home

Then came the other cleaning chemicals in the house. I was one of those people who tried to use an 'all-in-one' product so I wasn't having to use 3 different products for cleaning. I'd buy the Baking Soda or Essential Orange but, chemicals are still chemicals.

For that, we moved to baking soda, and old tooth brush and vinegar. Yes, it takes elbow grease and that is often hard with arthritis or fibro. Like you, I don't want to punish myself in trying to do better for our family.

So, if you need something to degrease a product, palmolive is just as effective and you can make you own spray by adding palmolive and water. Shake to activate, spritz, leave for 5 minutes then scrub. I hate the feel of microfibre cloths, but Matt finds them very useful.

For floor care, vinegar can work well to brighten, refresh and clean linoleum. We have a mock wood floor and I sometimes sprinkle baking soda on and brush it around before mopping with vinegar and water.

Some people use Apple Cider Vinegar but it can be quite expensive here, so I just use plain white vinegar bought in bulk.

Cleaning with vinegar is a great way to avoid exposure to many hazardous commercial household cleaners and it's cheaper, safer and easier on the environment.

The cheaper distilled white vinegar, available at your local supermarket, is the best type to use for cleaning. The acetic acid in vinegar is an effective disinfectant, deodorizer, and cleaner which will cut grease and soap scum, dissolve mineral buildup, and inhibit mold and bacteria growth.

For the household, a number of time-honored vinegar cleaning recipes are included some of which require, for best results, the addition of other readily available non-toxic ingredients such as:
Salt - to help dissolve tarnish.
Baking soda - to absorb odors and act as a mild abrasive.
Hydrogen Peroxide - to help disinfect.

Caution: Do not add vinegar directly to materials containing ammonia since this could produce harmful vapors.

Now, onto the Toilet and Bathroom.

When I gave up my toilet blocks, I cried a few tears. To be honest, my toilet gets mucky very quickly. There is no magic blue wash that cleans for me. I have a husband who doesn't flush to save water. I have a child who freaks out about said pee being in the toilet, so there is always toilet drama in my house.

I found to get the stains out with baking soda and vinegar, it was hard work. I was lamenting to my homeopath at the time about having to scrub the toilet with vigor and being sore from it and very exasperatedly she choked out: "Use shampoo!!"

I was stunned. Shampoo? In the Loo?

But it works well. There is a of surfectant in shampoos and the very cheap kind can be liberally squirted, and it works well. I just squirt it in, brush it down and flush. Of course it doesn't have chemicals to inhibit growth of icky things, but it's a quick, effective wash.

I wash my tub with my daughter's eco shampoo and I use my husband's shampoo to clean the shower. Then they both have the same product touching them that they are already used to. We have a frosted glass shower door and to be honest, I don't try to get the soap scum off it, I just leave it as it is after a clean.

The sink gets a scrub with eco shampoo and it comes away brilliantly.

We have quite a damp home and mould on the windows over winter is an ongoing issue. Vinegar sprayed onto the aluminium joinery helps to delay the mould, but nothing short of hard scrubbing removes it.

Carpet Care for us is the downfall. Between muddy cat prints and dropped food, our carpets are a mess. I really would like to find a good chemically light treatment for my carpet.

My last tip is for pet odour. As I mentioned in the past, we've had a cat pee war involving a couch that can't really be taken apart. We tried sprays from the store, but the smells that came with those things made me sick.

One was called a 'clean' scent with vanilla and lavender. I felt so sick from the smell we had to leave the doors and windows open.

ElimO Veterinarian spray is a recent find. It's made in Knoxville, TN, but you can get it here in NZ by ringing 0800 700 100.

Now, it IS harmful if consumed, so keep it locked away.

You add 4 fl oz to 28 fl oz and can spritz it on curtains, fabrics, in the litter tray, in the air. It has a lightly floral scent.

You CAN use it full strength, but I'd really only put it straight onto pee.

So there you go, tried and true eco tips from an Aspie Mum. Keeping things safe for their sensitive insides and outsides is key. The insides take a lot of work, but it really is simple to reduce chemicals in your home.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Jen Answers Your Questions I

So, I've been getting a lot of hits from random google searches, so I thought it would be fun to list the questions and write answers to them. Fun for me, hopefully informative for you.

1) is it possible for the gestational sac to continue growing after missed miscarriage?

Not technically. Technically for a pregnancy to be classified as a 'missed miscarriage', the pregnancy will have already ended, but without the process of miscarriage beginning.

A Missed Miscarriage by definition is a fetal demise/death that has occurred without the process of miscarriage starting. For the gestational sac to continue to grow, there would need to be a continuing pregnancy of some sort.

I would think this question is for an early pregnancy that hasn't quite gone past the embryonic stage to a fetus in which one can really only identify a sac, a fetal pole and/or a heartbeat. And, if you don't see a heartbeat, it doesn't always mean fetal demise.

"The gestational sac can be visualized as early as four and a half weeks of gestation and the yolk sac at about five weeks. The embryo can be observed and measured by about five and a half weeks. Ultrasound can also very importantly confirm the site of the pregnancy is within the cavity of the uterus.

Blighted ovum will usually give typical pictures of a deformed gestational sac and absence of fetal poles or heart beat." source

If you, however, don't see a heartbeat after several attempts, I'd say the pregnancy has ended.

If the sac is still growing, and there is no heartbeat, I'd be far more curious about what is going on.

"A blighted ovum is a type of miscarriage in which the baby either never develops or stops growing at a very early stage in pregnancy and then disintegrates -- but a gestational sac does develop and the body does not recognize that the baby is missing.

Doctors believe that blighted ovums are the result of chromosomal abnormalities in the fertilized egg." source

Blood tests that measure the hcg hormone in units is your best bet. Because, a pregnancy will not continue if the hcg is not rising. End of story. The pregnancy naturally begins a hcg decline once the placenta is fully established and the baby is almost in the later stages of the 2nd trimester.

"In a blighted ovum, it is true that the baby did not develop enough to be visible on ultrasound, but a conception did occur and the pregnancy did exist -- and it is OK to grieve the loss of the baby." source

Examples of Blighted Ovum

2)is it possible for hcg level to increase with missed miscarriage?

Not technically. Technically for a pregnancy to be classified as a 'missed miscarriage', the pregnancy will have already ended, but without the process of miscarriage beginning.

Until fetal demise, there is always a chance of the hcg to increase, albeit not at a normal level. Some inevitable miscarriages will feature hcg growth of 1 to 10 units between draws signally the pregnancy is continuing but not at a healthy or ongoing rate. Once the hcg begins to fall, the body has recognised a fetal death or demise.

Often, a slow growth rate of below normal will occur, prolonging the pregnancy although it will not eventuate into a successful birth. Generally, the pregnancy will begin to arrest before the 2nd trimester, making this a traumatic and slow, devastating time for the couple.

3) miscarriage ultrasound pictures

Click on to my Miscarriage page to see some great ultrasound pics.

4)sac like tissue miscarriage

I imagine this question is for the woman who is passing tissue. I have no idea what the sac looks like as all I have ever passed looked like a quarter sized, light purple, shiny bit of raw chicken thighs, which I imagine was the 'product of conception'. Everything else I assume is endometrial lining.

You have to remember that these things are so incredibly tiny they may be passed with the blood loss. I believe we're looking for something the size of a rice grain, possibly to the size of a raisin, and it's likely to pass without ever being seen.

You are far more likely to see clotting and endometrial tissue.

4) blighted ovum ultrasound

Examples of Blighted Ovum

5)is heavy travel during 1 week of pregnancy cause chromosomal abnormality?

No. Travelling cannot change the genetic outcome of your pregnancy. It can change the physical hormone profile of the pregnant mother, but once sperm and egg meet, nothing can any abnormality that exists.

The only time a mother can influence her pregnancy's outcome is by what she puts into her body during preconception and post conception. Things like FOLIC ACID can help to prevent neural tube defects, but once an embryo has formed, you cannot change that embryo's genetic make up for the better or the worse.

This is why PRENATAL care is the BEST thing you can EVER do for your children.

6) right side tubal pregnancy ultrasound

The fallopian tube is the most common site (95%) for ectopic pregnancy.

The OV stands for ovary and the pregnancy is located in the tube.

7)inside a womans body diagram

8) empty sac ultrasound

This is an empty gestational sac (which can be visualized on an ultrasound.

9) diagram of pregnant woman

10) stages of an egg traveling to the uterus

This is truly one of the best you will find as it features both the stages of egg maturation and the process of conception to implantation.

11) causes of hidden fallopian tubes

Often, when a woman goes for an ultrasound, especially if it's an abdominal ultrasound and not a transvaginal one, various parts of your anatomy may not appear. It's not that you don't *have* these bits, it's just that the machine cannot visualise them.

We tend to forget that our bodies are living. They move. They sway. They are not as flat and static as textbooks represent. The best way to visualise this is to think of an aquarium.

The movement of the water makes plants sway back and forth and from side to side. The movement of fish in the water also affects the sway of the fish. It's the same if you're snorkling or scuba diving and see kelp growing upwards. Lots affect the movement, but it is never, ever static.

The same is true of your internal organs. They are always moving. Gurgling of the bowels, spasms of the uterus, etc cause your organs to move 'out' of the picture they're trying to take via the scan.

Another cause is your bladder. It's infamous for hiding ovaries.

I once had an abdominal scan for cysts and the tech was sure I didn't have a left ovary, which would suck because my right ovary is the 'bad' one. I told her that I had a laparoscopy in 2003 which did indeed show I have a left ovary. But she was convinced. Finally, I got up, shook myself all over and laid back down. Voila! There is was.

So, if you had a hidden tube, more than likely it's there. You might just need a better machine or go transvag.

12) hidden embryo appears in ultrasound

Big hugs to anyone who has gone through the process of trying to find an early pregnancy on ultrasound, especially if it's not blatantly there.

I've experienced two situations. 1) Look, there's your baby or 2) I'm sorry, there's no baby.

I've never been in the situation of trying to find something that may or may not be there, but many people have, lots of my friends included.

My best advice would be to have several hcg draws and schedule another scan for 7 days later. As the embryo develops into a fetus, you will be more likely to see it, especially if you're relying on an abdominal ultrasound or a poor quality machine.

If it's still not visible 7 days later, I'd go for a transvag ultrasound and look to your hcg numbers.

Lots of twins (or even the occasional tripley) 'appear' a couple weeks after the initial pregnancy ultrasound. That's not because they didn't exist then, the machine just didn't catch them.

13) diagrams of miscarriages

I'm not sure what you were looking for, but I hope this helps.

The Pee War of '11

So, I've been engaged in the great Pee War of 2011.

A Pee War, for those who've never had the pleasure, is usually a cat affair but can occur with any alpha-esque relationship with animals.

Basically, for me, one cat has an accident. The other, not wanting to allow the other's scent to be in the house, go and marks over it.

Then, the first detests the scent of his rival and marks over that.

On and On it goes. And cat pee is hard to get out of anything, most of all fabric that can't be soaked or washed or hung in the sun. Like a couch.

My Andy

We had Halloween on Monday, and in NZ, it's a sort of affair that is growing in popularity due to more shops and expats finally having the guts to be proud of the holiday. But, it's still considered in 'bad' taste to participate and most call it 'organised begging'. It makes me sad.

We dressed to the nines, as usual.

Soph was Dorothy, Matt was the Tin Man and I was the Wicked Witch of the West. Green and all. I'm still slightly green tinged, even after vigorous scrubbing.

It was a fab night. I was very tired Tuesday though, especially as I hadn't taken my crutch.

I did my first shop at the supermarket with my crutch yesterday. It went ok.

Soph is tall enough and strong enough to guide a little cart but still gets distracted and crashes.

The issue came when trying to unload the cart at the checkout and having my helper disappear to get herself a chocolate bar.

But! Light at the end of the tunnel! The cashier was an absolute angel and she unloaded my trolley onto the checkout belt. Wow!!

I was so grateful and felt like buying her a bottle of wine. Even with a newborn and a c-section, no one has put my groceries on the belt for me. So, an upside to the more visible sign of illness.

The real excitement came last night, however, when we finally caught the Jack Russell terrier (terror) who's been chasing the cats for a year. He/She usually comes with his/her poodle companion, but the poodle is far too smart and runs away.

They come onto the property and chase the cats around the back to the cat door and then, worst of all, they COME inside.

The Poodle has fully come in, the terror has only put his/her head in as he/she is far too fat to fit (thankfully!!).

The terrier is my real worry as they love to hunt and a cat is just like a stoat or a rat to them and Ben, my tabby, has already had his neck bitten, requiring vet stitches, antibiotics and boosters against communicable disease. It's expensive.

By law, in NZ, your dog must be registered, fenced and microchipped. This owner has been repeatedly reported (by me) and paid fines 4 times this year but refuses to build a fence.

The Law States: a dog owner must ensure at all times that, when their dog is on their property, it is either (a) under the direct control of a person, or (b) confined in such a manner that it cannot freely leave the property. If this requirement is not met the dog may be seized. source

Soph is 6 and the little girl next door is 2.5 who is dog and cat mad. She basically runs at them and pats them. That is what 2.5 year olds do. The problem is the terrier is also a biter. So this is a HUGE risk. Not just to my cats, but to the kids too.

I believe the owner came by last night looking for the dog. He was holding the poodle and asked a lot of questions but denied it was his dog.

I did get into his face a bit about the poodle, as it was the poodle who bit Ben, but he claimed his poodle 'would never do that' before he ran off. Yeah buddy, it was in my HOUSE!!!

It took about 2 hours of persistence, but we did manage to capture the terrier thanks to Matt's bravery and thick blanket. I had tried twice to restrain her myself, and she nipped me twice (totally not her fault, she was stressed).

When animal control showed up, the girl was brilliant. They have an 11 month old file on us and she knew all the details. In the back of her van she had a black Scotty dog named OPRAH who had got out and run amok. It was gorgeous!! Hopefully her owners will make sure she doesn't get out again. That's the type of dog people steal for the reward.

It did involve quite a bit of running, leaping, etc and I'm not as sore as I imagined I would be, but I didn't sleep at all, worried about what's going to happen to the dog. Did we stress it too much? Will the owner punish it? He doesn't seem to be a great sort of guy.

Gah. I was up all night feeling horrible for detaining it. If they can't pay to claim her, they'll put her to sleep.

But, at the same time, I can't have a nipping dog coming onto the property and biting my cats or child. My older cat is far too old and arthritic for the dog and I'm worried what will happen if the dog gets Andy.

Benny is still a young thing and very fit. But he won't always be.

Aaaaaaah. The guilt is horrible.