benjamin button.

She has a lot of nick names:

Love Bug
Daphnie Doodle
Stink Pot
Booger Butt
Fuzz Bucket
Fluffy Pants
Hug Monkey
Cuddle Bear
Snuggle Butt

None of them really made much sense until we started calling her Benjamin Button. Have you ever seen that movie? It's terrible, to be quite honest. But just in case you missed out it's about a baby who is born looking and feeling like an old man (wrinkles, arthritis, etc.) and as he ages gets younger and younger. My dog exactly. She's my hero.

I get a lot of questions about Daphnie ever since she was diagnosed with cancer back in September. It's no secret she's a huge (if not the most important) part of my life. I've had people who have never met her tell me they feel like they know her because she's so often the star of my blog. Those of you with dogs can probably understand why. I'm 24 and this year she'll turn 12. She's been with me for half of my life. And honestly sometimes I don't know how I ever lived the first half without her. My boyfriend says he's met a lot of dogs and never met one with as much personality as her. So, I decided a public update was long over due.

The type of cancer is mast cell skin cancer. She apparently has had it for a very long time because the first skin growth appeared years ago when I lived in Oklahoma. The vet reassured me it was nothing to be concerned about. Looking back on that moment now is hard because if they would have just done further testing a lot of where we are today could be different. The second growth showed up not long before I moved to Colorado. It was smaller but I started to get concerned. She had also struggled for a couple years with being overweight (something again the vet told us was my fault.) I had done everything I could, changing/monitoring her food and making sure she got daily exercise. Nothing seemed to work until we moved to Colorado. Having access to so many trails was wonderful. I was able to take her off the leash and let her run and play. In addition we started going to a new vet clinic that has been nothing but wonderful. They tested her skin lumps and did a full senior screening. The lumps were cancer and her weight issue was a severely high thyroid.

Ever since then she's been on medication for the thyroid and a pain reliever for her arthritic pain. I had a lot of options for the cancer, none of which I did. The financial, emotional, and physical expense it was going to put Daphnie and I both under wasn't worth it to me. The new medications alone were already improving her overall mood, health, and appearance. I just wanted her to continue living her natural, healthy life. I knew the road ahead wouldn't be easy, but that we'd take it one day at a time.

The last 8 months have been amazing to watch. She actually lost so much weight that I had to change her food to help her gain a couple pounds back. When we take our daily walk at least one person asks:

"How old is your puppy!!?"
"Eleven months??"
"No, eleven years."

She walks with a bounce in her step, her fur started growing in fluffy (thanks to her regulated thyroid), and she could now do amazing stunts like jump onto the bed or couch all on her own. (Something she hadn't been able to do in years.) I even went running with her. Running. When we first moved here she could barely go uphill without getting out of breath. Like I said, she's my hero.

And then two weeks ago we had a scare.

Long story short, the cancer has started affecting her digestive system. After 5 new medications and half my paycheck later I had her home on a strict new diet and pill schedule. Chad and I gave her reiki and I cried a lot. My nerves were so shot that even I got sick. We've slowly weened her off of half the medication and as she felt more and more normal, so did I. I've never been more excited to see her poop! A good, old fashioned, normal poop. Of course the cancer isn't gone, and underneath neither are the problems I'm sure will arise in the future. But for now, things are good. I'll say it again, she truly is my hero.


 Happy Easter 


It's very tempting to just post one image today:

I've nearly finished off two (yes, I said two) of these little ice cream pints on my own this week. Two. And they were both chocolate. I used to think this was only maybe allowed after a bad break up. Or perhaps after running a marathon. But no, Chad and I didn't break up. And I've barely ran a enough in the last three weeks to even begin burning off the calories I gained from eating the ice cream. It's just been one of those weeks. Or even months for that matter. You know? The kind where you try putting your bra on over your shirt (yes, I did this.) The kind where you have no time to answer any emails and you cry a couple times at the most inappropriate times. The kind where you are so stressed and emotionally tired that your body feels ill. Luckily, my boyfriend bought a hammock recently and established a rule to go with it that I really like: 

"There are no problems allowed in the hammock. Problems don't exist in the hammock."

So, yesterday I laid there and did nothing. Then I laid there again later and read my book. I have to say it was exactly what I needed. And because you have all been amazingly patient with me lately with my lack of picture sharing and all, I'll be nice and share with you more pictures than just a half-eaten carton of ice cream. :)

Here are a few moments from my lately...

Thanks to everyone who left a comment or sent a beautifully sweet email after my last blog post. You are each so dear to my heart and such a vital part to my creativity and motivation.




On several occasions lately I have laid down with my eyes closed and very deliberately tried to clear my mind. It sounds simple right? I start breathing with the back of my throat like I do in yoga. It's like trying to fog up a window with your mouth closed. I tell myself, "Hailey, just listen to your breath. Just think of nothing but the inhalation and exhalation. Pay attention to nothing but the rise and fall of your chest and the way each muscle begins to relax and melt into a puddle of stillness." But of course upon the first exhale my thoughts wander....

"I should probably get Daphnie to the vet soon to check that bump on her face. She also needs a bath. Yeah but that's so much work and it makes my back hurt every time. And it's raining this week and she'll just get dirty again anyway. What's up with this weather lately? I miss Oklahoma thunderstorms this time of year. But Durango summers are so much cooler. I can't wait to float the river soon. We only floated once last year and the tubes were so uncomfortable. We'll probably use them again though because they were cheap. .........Oh yeah. Breath..... ........inhaaaaaaale........exhaaaale........it's so hard to keep this breathing up while I'm in yoga. I'm gonna miss my yoga teacher while she's away this month. It's a good excuse for me to start doing it at home again. That was, after all, on my new years resolution list. Holy cow it's already April!? I need to pull out that list and see how good I'm doing. But when am I going to have time to do those things? I just started a part time job and I need desperately to work on SEO for my web presence. I feel like my photography has become like a neglected child. Gosh this makes me sad. Angry. I'm exhausted. Oh yeah.....I'm forgetting to breath...."

Welcome to my mind.

I once spent almost an entire yoga class thinking about how to make a slipcover for my ugly couch. Pathetic and highly unimportant. And this is truly only a tiny example of what it's really like. I haven't blogged in over two weeks. Part of that is because I was out of town on a camping trip and I started a new side job. The other part of that is because I haven't been using my camera. And worst of all?? I don't feel anything when I do. I don't feel inspired. I feel unbalanced and overwhelmed. I feel pressure to be great, to create, and to inspire.

So why am I telling you this? Because I feel like being honest and real with my fans and my clients. People have been emailing me, friends and strangers alike, asking me if I'm ok. They haven't seen my usual Sunday blog and really miss it. They "look forward to it" every week. I wanted to thank each of you. Each and every one of you who I often forget are silently watching and supporting what I do. I often feel like my life on "Everyday Sunday" comes across as so perfect and charming. And yes, it's charming, but far from perfect. Just like any other writer or artist I too can let my life get out of control and get creative block. And one of the many things that helps is for me to literally not turn on my computer, not pick up my camera, and do something entirely non-photography related. 

So bare with me as I make lists, bake a cake for no reason, spring clean, and take my dog for long walks in silence. Bare with me as I try very hard to clear my tangled mind. Bare with me as I throw myself onto the floor in tiny pieces and slowly pick them up and put myself back together. Bare with me as I collect myself. I promise I'll start creating and blogging soon. And it will be awesome. :)