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Final Post

4 min read

My name is Susan and I am one of Joyce's daughters. Being that I am not familiar with navigating in this site, I can only hope that this message reaches those it is intended for. Mom fought courageously, but lost her short battle with cancer on Dec. 11, 2011 after completing her treatment in Vancouver and returning home to the Peace Country she so loved.

While still undergoing treatment in Vancouver, Mom asked me to post a final message, should she be unable to do so, to all her DA friends, a farewell so to speak, and let everyone know she would not be returning.

The deep affection she felt towards many of her DA online friends was apparent during our long conversations while in Vancouver. I would like all of you to know the great pleasure she took working with her photography and corresponding with her friends on this site. After viewing your comments, I would like to thank all of you for your words of encouragement and your very kind thoughts, I know she would have been deeply touched.

Mom was a very private person but I would like to give you a little glimpse into the life of this most extraordinary and much loved woman. Mom loved the Peace River area and often referred to it as 'God's Country'. She would rise to the occasion if anyone tried to convince her there was a better place to live. Mom was an accomplished horsewoman, owning and working with horses all her life. She was her daughter's and grandchildren's trainer and coach at horse shows and could often be seen encouraging them on the sidelines at local shows. She was also a dog lover and for the past five years was seldom seen without her faithful Zeus at her side. Mom was an avid historian and could be found sitting at her computer into the wee hours of the morning researching and compiling family history. She was an artisan, painting with oils and in earlier years, sketching in charcoal or pencil. She loved to decorate elaborate cakes for family occasions. For the past ten years Mom's passion has been photography. Her great love of nature and family can clearly be seen when one views her extraordinary work. She was often seen dipping and diving with her camera slung around her neck amongst the wild flowers, scouring the hills, and hiking mountains for the perfect photo. Her Grandchildren were often her subjects and she always managed to capture those timeless moments. Her artistic talents were limitless.

Mom was fiercely loyal to her family and was not only a beloved and inspiring mother to her six chilren, but a mother to many, many more, including her foster children for many years. Her love and inspiration will be greatly missed.

Being that I don't know exactly where this message is going to post to, I will try to post it to another area in Mom's site. My hope is to reach as many of her cherished friends as possible.

Again, thank you to all for your very caring, thoughtful comments posted on this site.


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4 min read
This is a rather difficult post to write since I don't know how to begin, nor proceed, so I guess the best is to just out and out say GOODBYE for now.  :(

I have received a terminal diagnosis of brain cancer and lung cancer that gives me approximately 3 months here, but in truth I'm a fighter and plan to extend my stay.  <smile>:)

This came as a complete surprise with no warning what-so-ever, one moment I am happily picking up my hiking shoes after a few wonderful days in the mountainss, the next moment I'm on a flight to Vancouver where I am now.  Much I don't remember but I have been here since early October...and I am grateful for one of the finest research teams to help me fight. just does not know when our time is close or up, therefore enjoy each day to it's fullest.

I want to tell you that when this illness struck me down, my FRIEND AND COMPANION...ZEUS, came to my side and slide his body beneath me to support and help me up the stairs into the house.  Such a friend!!!!

I hope to be able to be able to use a lap top to drop into dA and look at your beautiful work...such joy it gives me...keep it up!!!!  I won't have the use of this lap top after today...but who knows what tomorrow brings.

Thank you for ALL the wonderful birthday wishes!!


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I guess autumn is here whether I like it or not.  Spring was nonexistent except in name, but I held out hopes for our normal wonderful Peace Country summer that usually blesses us; that didn't happen either.  Ah well, I will count my blessings; after all, what is a 'little rain' least it wasn't snow.  :lol:

A picture is a work of art, not because it is "modern," nor because it is "ancient," but because it is a sincere expression of human feeling. John Carlson

The following works are sure to inspire..........

:iconsynaptica: Bull Elk with Velvety Rack by Synaptica   Camas Prairie Wildflowers by Synaptica   Weathered Ranch House by Synaptica
:iconhlaurah:   abandoned by hlaurah   Paddle Boarding by hlaurah   . by hlaurah
:iconnikons210:   North East Steps by nikonS210   We'll walk in fields of gold by nikonS210   Goodnight by nikonS210
:icondarklabyrinthe:    Worlds End Dawn by darklabyrinthe    siesta by darklabyrinthe Surrender by darklabyrinthe
:iconjocelyner:   Autumn Scenery by JocelyneR   Welcome Back... by JocelyneR   Orange Nasturtium - for Flori by JocelyneR
:iconradishstick:   Afternoon Glow by RadishStick Sydney Harbor by RadishStick   Sunrise by RadishStick
:icongrimleyfiendish:   Baconsthorpe Castle III by grimleyfiendish   Baconsthorpe Castle by grimleyfiendish   Pemetic Mountain by grimleyfiendish
:icongeotripper:   Cathedral Rocks in Yosemite by Geotripper   A Friendly Owl by Geotripper   Smith Rock State Park III by Geotripper
:iconravansshadow:   Bath time by RavansShadow American Kestrel by RavansShadow Lincoln by RavansShadow
:iconpeter49ers:  :thumb253655686:  :thumb245775747:  :thumb243844967:
:iconhoneysunshinetw:   Tour Eiffel 1 by honeysunshinetw So lonely... by honeysunshinetw   Spread flowers all over by honeysunshinetw
:iconpassion4photos:   Manhattan I by Passion4Photos Yesteryear by Passion4Photos Cascading by Passion4Photos
:iconwolfiedeviant: :thumb184665599: :thumb210783268: :thumb211846827:

Looking is a gift, but seeing is a power. Jeff Berner

Here is some truly amazing macro images...

:iconthe-dude-l-bug: Swallowing some spider by The-Dude-L-Bug Do ya mind - I'm eating by The-Dude-L-Bug Using a web napkin after meal by The-Dude-L-Bug
:icongooiool: Orb weaver by Gooiool   Jumping Spider 2011 by Gooiool dragonfly 8 by Gooiool
:icondrumlanrig: Fang by Drumlanrig   Wolf 2 by Drumlanrig   Eyeful by Drumlanrig
There are so many more talented artists that I would like to feature- and will, some old friends and some new friends, but all so talented.

Before I sign off, I would like to leave you with some 'Victorian Trivia'...good for laughter and food for thought.:icongivemesmilesplz:

Upon arising, take a complete bath.  A simple washing out of the eyes is not sufficient.  The complete bathing of body once each day is of the utmost importance.  Not more than a quart of water is necessary, preferably rainwater. :)

A Scottish Blessing to you...
May your day be filled with blessings
Like the sun that lights the sky,
And may you always have the courage
To spread your wings and fly!
:wave:Joyce :iconbigheartplz:  :iconbouncyplz:

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How do people react when they are informed that their pet requires surgery to sustain life, or prolong the life of an aged pet?

Rescuing a pet from illness or simply the cost of spaying or neutering is a major deterrent for some families and they often chose euthanasia or abandon their pets to the streets or some lonely country road.  The results we see too often are pets who are neglected or are simply handed over to the SPCA.  That is the sad reality many furry friends face, and how traumatizing for them.

Fortunately there are also many happy stories regarding our four-legged friends, for instance, today in Fort St. John, B.C. I heard on the news that a woman had offered a $5000 reward for the return of her cat.  The cat was her companion, not of any special breed, just a valued member of her family.  I am sure with a reward such as hers, there will be many out hunting for her cat and it will be returned safely home.

Coming back to how people react to the news that surgery is required to save a pet, I was faced with this very question one month ago.
I had taken Zeus in for his wellness check-up and to update his rabies shot, but on examination the doctor discovered a mass in his stomach and things didn't look good.  I was informed that the prognosis looked very grim since he also suspected cancer in Zeus's prostate gland.  I was initially shocked beyond words and of course devastated.  The doctor advised me that he would make an appointment for Zeus to see one of the other veterinarians who specialized in difficult cases, and was a skilled surgeon as well, but not to get my hopes up.  

In an attempt to shrink the massive fluid filled cyst he was put on a regime of medication for the month of July, however it didn't help and the cyst continued to grow, as well, Zeus began to feel discomfort and pain and was put on pain medication.  Now a decision had to be made, surgery or Zeus would die.  The downside of surgery was there was no guarantee with the outcome of the surgery since the cyst and major blood vessels ran through Zeus's prostrate and that made the operation dangerous and perhaps the entire mass couldn't be removed.  The skin surrounding the cyst was now paper thin, and there was a danger that it could burst at any time, so there was no time to wait.

While Zeus laid at my feet, still drowsy from the sedative, Dr. Udenberg informed me that Zeus would die without this operation and there was no time to lose.  A skilled surgeon himself who specializes in difficult cases, had taken the initiative, I guess anticipating my response, and was able to book Zeus into the Guardian Veterinary Centre, a hospital with some of the finest surgeons in Canada and 'state of the art' facilities in Edmonton, Alberta, 600 miles from here.

An interesting thing happened when Dr. Udenberg stated that Zeus would die without the operation, Zeus sat up and looked deep into my eyes as if to say, "I want to live."  There was no question in my mind as to the operation, but I was an emotional mess with the thought of Zeus dying before we could get him to the hospital, and then there was a chance that he 'might' not make it through the operation.

My daughter Melody, was driving, and while we loaded the luggage in the trunk of the car, Zeus calmly stepped onto the backseat of her car and to our surprise there he sat waiting as if to say, "Let's get this show on the road." Zeus doesn't particularly enjoy traveling in vehicles, and he 'never' enters vehicles other than mine, so this was unusual, to say the least.

From the time we arrived in Edmonton Zeus took great interest in his surroundings and constantly entertained not only us, but strangers who were completely under his spell upon meeting him.
We stayed at the Radisson Hotel - Edmonton South and upon arrival Zeus began to present himself in his very best form by marching at my side right through the sliding glass doors and straight to the reception desk.  Now you have to remember that this dog is a country boy...never has he been in the city, much less large buildings with people coming to and fro...he did his breed proud.  We received the friendliest welcome imaginable by all staff, and when I say 'we', I mean Zeus as well as Melody and I.  He remained sitting calmly at my side while I checked in, even greeted admirers who increased in numbers and were actually surrounding a celebrity, he shook hands with those who offered.  I anticipated some difficulty with him on the elevator but again to my surprise he entered just like he had been doing this all his life and calmly sat down facing the door. :lol:  He was truly enjoying himself!  

The Radisson Hotel in Edmonton South really has gone all out for travelers with pets, and our room was large and with full amenities, even a balcony that allowed Zeus to lounge outside.  He found that a rather different view since we were on the 5th floor. :)

Zeus has lost twenty pounds this past month, therefore his collar was almost falling off.  I decided a new collar was in order so Melody, Zeus and I went shopping at a large pet store to buy a new one.  Well you can just imagine Zeus as he strolled through this store, eyes nearly popping out of his head upon seeing all the kittens, puppies and rabbits, but it was the kittens that fascinated him and he sat happily watching them with his tongue lolling out while he smiled.

The next day was scheduled for Zeus's operation and I walked with him to the surgery and then left to wait.  That was so hard and I'm afraid that I wasn't very good company that day.  Zeus seemed to know that 'this was it' and walked into the surgery with the technician calmly.  I feared that this was the last time I would  see him alive.  My heart was breaking.  Melody though, was very positive and her energy did help me through, that and the fact that he was in the care of one of the finest surgeons, Dr. Sereda, and his team.  So if Zeus were to live it would be through the efforts and skill of this doctor.  The operation lasted 3 hours.  Dr. Sereda called me when he came out of surgery, he was able to remove the entire mass and Zeus had come through with flying colours.  He would remain at the hospital for two days longer for observation and medications in preparation for his return home.

He and I had a joyful reunion to say the very least...and emotional!  So he is now home with staples stem to stern, holding him together, but they will come out next week.  In the meantime he has to remain on leash constantly to avoid running, jumping or tearing through the brush.  I do take him for short walks and it is rather uncanny how he seems to understand.  

So, for you Canadians, if you find yourself in the same situation that Zeus and I were, remember there is hope - The Guardian Veterinary Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, and this is a 'state of the art' hospital with outstanding specialized surgeons.
We were lucky, but there are some "if's" involved.  IF Dr. Udenberg hadn't arrived in Fort St. John when he did; IF I couldn't afford the expenses involved; well it would have been tragic.  What is equally tragic is that many loving and caring pet owners can't afford the care necessary for their companions.  So what is the answer?  
The Longest Walk by FreeMeadows
This journal is a tribute to all four legged friends and companions.

Pets aren't everything in our lives, but they make our lives a whole lot better.  I can't remember who made this quote, but it is true.

SCHOOL IS IN - IF I MUST by Kittihawk11 ZEUS

Sleepy afternoon. by Katie-chatterbox    :thumb178356792:      :thumb129172962:         
border in wonderland by HalfDemonZahara     Samson by Guggi04        Just Smile by CrazyPersikGirl
The Bulldog by torachirila      Jack by traine-sabatte      Look Far by Mitsukai-katana
:thumb217808827:      Heads Up by MiDulceLocura     :thumb199968701:
He back by Sadovod-Ogorod      always by my side by kingstonrey      Montana Shepherd by ArtsandDogs
       Autumn Breeze by emmil        My Dog - Kormos by ZsofiaGyuker
:thumb214396082:      One of the Lucky Ones by ShesOnlyDreaming       Shepherd and sheep by Sauroctonus
Country songs by Vazadwel      It's my natural colour by The-Dude-L-Bug       Im Beautiful by NightTracker
:thumb205121369:      :thumb165625052:       Curious by nelow-ow

My little Queen... by JocelyneR   Mr. Salems Blue Eyes by SalemCat    :thumb216280080:
Little Momo 10 by Kumiko-Art    :thumb175461205:     Bunny Hop by be-focused
:thumb162776082:     Salems Favorite Show by SalemCat    
The Art of Bird Watching by SalemCat     Little Pinto Bean by superpower-pnut     Kitty.. by AlexAnaPhotography
Photogenic Feline by VGAce   :thumb175851094:      Sparticus by JillTisbury
Casper, Buffy and Red by JillTisbury     Molly and Jasper by JillTisbury      Kiko by hlaurah

An update regarding the $5000 reward offered for the missing cat.  The cat was located.  The story of the reward the lady offered hit the newspapers across Canada and resulted in some very negative comments regarding the amount of the reward.  Believe it or not, this story was also the subject of several talk shows and many felt a 'pet' wasn't worth $5000, however there were some who disagreed.  What do you think???

And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads.


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"Down in the valley, the valley so low
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow
Hear the wind blow love, hear the wind blow
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow."

The words to this song are lovely, even romantic, but "down in 'this' valley" hanging my head over isn't an option.  Even as I write now, rain pounds relentlessly like a zillion 'thunder bugs' drilling our roof demanding entry and indeed, it has found entry in one room where an annoying 'drip' and spreading damp stain is moving over new drywall and paint and making a mockery of our new roof.  Hmm.  

I believe we can count perhaps three days without rain since the end of May, so as you can imagine it is getting pretty soggy in this valley...well actually the entire Peace Region.  The South Peace has roads washed out and mud slides in the mountain passes making travel very iffy.  On our own little piece of Eden, the creek bordering and partially on our property continues to over flow its banks creating an interesting and pretty pond fifteen feet from our back doorstep.  I notice this pond has attracted many Killdeer and Sand Pipers along with the odd Mallard duck and Blue Winged Teals.  (Where is my camera at these times???)  Also in this pond are thousands of tiny frogs, no bigger than a Canadian Tooney.  So...maybe I will keep this pond.

Living in the Valley is definitely different from our former home in the 'high country', and it is taking some time to adjust.  While the Valley is verdant and teeming with wildlife, and new trails to discover, it becomes darker earlier in the evenings or rather a sort of surreal twilight where the sun has set upon the valley but not the land above.  Now I can't brag about reading the newspaper at eleven o'clock in the evening, nor does breaking day wake me at three am.  Of course in fairness, with the stormy skies we have had in this North Country, I doubt even in the high country would I be awakened by breaking day at three a.m.

As you can imagine, the deluge from the Heavens has kept me in close proximity of available shelter - my house, and so, I have not ventured far afield with my camera.  Most pictures I have taken are the beautiful woodland wildflowers that flourish within the confines of our own tiny valley kingdom.

I want to thank all of you for your continued support even in my absence.  How I appreciate you all.  I'm sorry that so many comments and notes have gone unanswered, but please know that I've read every one and they have all gone straight to my heart.  So big thanks again! :heart:

The Featured work below speaks for itself...and I hope they give you as much pleasure as they have given me.  I know they will!!
Sparrow on Ceanothus by Synaptica    Horsey Pose by Synaptica    Juvenile Meadowlarks by Synaptica
Goldfields by Synaptica     Sunset at Lava Beds 2 by Geotripper        Full Moon Rises at Lava Beds by Geotripper
Joshua Tree Sunset 6 by Geotripper     Yosemite Coyote by Geotripper       Redbuds near Yosemite by Geotripper
A single Tiger in view by The-Dude-L-Bug        Beauty of Bittersweet by The-Dude-L-Bug     Take off 2 by RavansShadow
Green? by RavansShadow     :thumb216404206:      yellow-bellied sapsucker by Gooiool
Jumping Spider 2011 by Gooiool     A Conversation Among Birds by SalemCat      Swamp Coon by SalemCat
Night of the Rougarou by SalemCat      :thumb205601877:     :thumb217138686:
:thumb196107706:     no ideamushrooms by marob0501       visit poppy by marob0501

I will try to be on dA more frequently now and I will try keep up with comments but please understand if I don't respond with thank you's for faves...that I truly appreciate them but time is a factor for me at the present.:heart:

May your past be a pleasant memory,
Your future filled with delight and mystery,
Your now a glorious moment,
That fills your life with deep contentment.

:wave: Joyce :) :heart: :love:

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Final Post by Kittihawk11, journal

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DOWN IN THE VALLEY by Kittihawk11, journal