Category Archives: Veterinary medicine

GRIT, Sophie, and how I’ve been feeling lately

A lot has happened since my last post! So much that I keep thinking that I need to write a post about each individual thing and then I think that it would take me forever to do that! I figured I’d just start typing and see how much I get through – how’s that sound?

About two weeks ago I went to initial instructor training for Les Mills GRIT. If you’ve never heard of GRIT, it’s a high intensity interval training (HIIT) style class that’s 30 minutes long. The premise is quick bursts, followed by short rests, to burn fat fast! HIIT has been around for a long time, and has many benefits cardiovascularly as well as for your overall health! The weekend was long, grueling, and tiresome. My husband and I drove the three hours to West Chester University (in West Chester, PA) early Saturday morning to arrive at a quarter to 8am so that I wouldn’t be late for training!


The training modules are two days long from 8am – 6pm, and include learning about the company, learning to choreography for the class, a physically demanding challenge, and teaching the choreography many times over the course of two days. After you have completed the two days you are given a grade out of 3.



When the weekend was over, I had gained 10 new friends, was tired and sore, got a recipe for some amazing low carb/gluten free cookies, and passed with a 3/3!  After we were done on Sunday, my husband and I went to this burger place around the corner from the college and I had a huge burger with bacon and avocado!

The day after training I went to CrossFit (enter surprised smiley face here) and managed to complete the workout, but I was done for for the rest of the week! Exhausted really isn’t even the word!! Since training (which was about two weeks ago) I haven’t looked much at GRIT but after this weekend I plan to really practice and learn the choreography so that I can tape and pass to become a GRIT coach!

Later in the week last week, I went to an interview at another gym for both GRIT and Body Pump. They were interested in taking me on as a substitute instructor for now and willing to help me with my GRIT certification. I was very pleased with them and happy they want to help! I look forward to working with them and practicing! I am excited for what the future holds with these programs!!

This past week was actually a really rough week for me emotionally. At work we had a dog come in who appeared to have been hit by a car, she’s paralyzed in her hind end and had no microchip. A good samaritan brought her in, and with no known home we began calling shelters and rescues. Due to the nature of her condition none of the shelters would take her but we were hopeful in one rescue who said they had to call us back. I felt horrible, she was emaciated, and clearly mistreated. Depsite all of this she was extremely gentle and sweet.


There’s no surprise that I fell in love with her at first sight!! They named her “Cali” and then changed it to “Joy” but I felt she needed a better name. I didn’t think Joy was appropriate so I began thinking of names for her. She spent one night in the hospital and the next day I came to work and asked what was going to happen to her. The doctor said that if they couldn’t find a rescue they would have to euthanize her. That just could not happen. I asked to take her home that night to buy her some time and so that I  could think of something to do. They told me a rescue had called but had to rearrange some things and would be calling the following day to let them know if they could take her or not.

When I got her home she ran inside as if she knew we were home! She smelt my whole apartment and took an interest in my boy Charlie. Where he went, she went. Charlie is kind hearted and wouldn’t hurt a fly so he quickly took her under his wing. She slept comfortably on my couch next to me snuggled up to my leg, melting my heart with each and every deep breath that she img_9827took. She was comfortable, home, and it showed in her demeanor that she was no longer scared, but happy to be in a warm home in a “bed” (my couch) with a loving human and friendly dogs. While I watched her sleep, the name Sophie (which mean wisdom) came to mind. I lovelingly named her Sophie.

The following day, I brought her back to work as she’s special needs and couldn’t be left home alone all day. Around 12pm I was informed that a rescue was coming to pick her up at 2pm and she was scheduled for an MRI the following day. I was prepared for this, but my heart was broken. I knew that it was best for her, but I wanted to take care of her, I wanted her to be mine. Saying goodbye to Sophie was one of the hardest things I’ve done in quite a long time. I know that she was getting the medical care she needed, that I would not have been able to give her right away, and she would be safe and free from euthanasia, but my heartached and I img_9839felt like the wind had been knocked out of me with the news that my sweet girl would not be coming home with me again.

Sophie had an MRI the following day and it showed that she has spinal inflammation likely caused by trauma and she was prescribed physical therapy. Sophie may or may not walk again, but the rescue is willing to give her the chance. If you’re moved by Sophie’s story – please considering donating to Oliver’s Orphan Oasis at


If you read the explaination of Sophie’s story on that go fund me account, that tear-filled tech — yea that was me! Damn, I really fell hard for that girl!! She is such a sweet sweet girl, and will need a furever home. If you want to feel the love of a rescue pet please consider adopting Sophie, or another baby who needs a home!

I’ve had quite an interesting week between Sophie, my tire going flat on the parkway to work, getting peed on and bitten by a cat, and feeling like the world is out to get me. I really hope that next week is better, and that whatever is going on with all this negativity stops soon!!

On a good note – 41 days til I turn 30! I’m not sure why that’s exciting, butIMG_9871.JPG I like my birthday, and I look forward to another year older – hopefully I can continue to grow as a group fitness instructor, continue to grow as a person, and maybe just maybe become a parent — I was hopeful that this last one would have happened sooner but looks like someone has different plans for us!

Heres to learning Body Pump 99, GRIT 18, and hopefully having a better week!!




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Puppy Up Foundation – Dog Walk

Today, Charlie, Miley and I went to the 3rd annual Puppy Up! fun dog walk in New Paltz, NY at the Adair Vineyards. The Puppy Up Foundation is dedicated to finding the links between canine and human cancers – through education, awareness, and investment in research, they are commited to finding these links as well as the causes of cancer for both human and canine patients alike.


Although Charlie doesn’t have cancer (and neither does Miley – I should note), we went to support both my job, my coworkers who have pets who have undergone chemotherapy, and the doctor that I work for – Dr. Sue Ettinger!

Dr. Sue Ettinger is known as Dr. Sue Cancer Vet, she co-wrote a book, speaks all over the country, and is a real advocate for canine (and feline) cancer – she loves her job and her patients! Dr. Sue spoke to the crowd about what it means to be an oncologist, why she loves it, and spoke about her passion — her new campaign — “See Something, Do Something – Why Wait, Aspirate!” Basically, there were never any real guidelines for lumps and bumps – how long do you wait? How big should it be before it gets looked at? So she set out to answer these questions with the See Something, Do Something – Why Wait, Aspirate campaign. If a lump is the size of a pea (about half the size of a penny) and has been there for more than a month, the new recommendation is that you bring your pet (this is not exclusively for dogs!) to your veterinarian to have it aspirated and have those cells sent to the lab for analysis.


During the day, I had many people come up and ask me questions about their dog – one man spoke to me about his dog with two large lumps on his neck that his General Practitioner (GP) Veterinarian told him was cancer, but had never done an aspiration. The aspiration is not that big of a deal, doesn’t hurt, and can save an owner a lot of pain, suffering, and money in the long run! In general many times surgery alone can be curative if a malignant cancer (this is not a death sentence — quite the opposite if caught early) is found early.

After Dr. Sue’s speach, some announcements, and the honoring of both a canine and human cancer survivor, the walk began!

Of course Charlie didn’t last long and needed to be carried almost immediately!! But Dr. Ettingers son came to my rescue and walked Miley while I carried Charlie for two laps around the vineyard!


One of the best parts about my job, and going to events like this is seeing the survivors! It just so happens that one of my coworkers, and a great friend of mine – Heather’s dog Hogan recently finished his chemotherapy protocol for lymphoma. Hogan went through his entire 19 weeks with little to no issues (except maybe a change in tastes which means he got to eat more of whatever he wanted)! Hogan is such an amazing dog, if it weren’t for his puppy cut hairdo (his hair didn’t really grow back after a haircut mid-treatment but should start to grow back now that he’s off of chemotherapy) and his bandana’s you’d never know that he had cancer!


Hogan enjoyed his walk with all of his friends today and really enjoyed this photo op!! Throughout the walk there were either In Memory posters or Survivor posters of both humans and canines alike. One of the owners of a patient we had seen was also there and found me to talk to me about her dog and where the family is now after their loss of their sweet boy. She has rescued two dogs since the passing of her boy, and now with a newfound understanding of what it is like to lose a pet to cancer – supports foundations like PuppyUp! It was sad, but it was nice to see that she seems to be in a good place and happy.

After the walk we watched the police dogs do their presentation – it’s always cool to see what they are capable of. And to our surprise there was a pitbull as a police dog! This was exciting because it shows the public that pitbulls are not all fighting, scary dogs. They can be trained, they are smart, loyal, and even play frisbee (as the police pitbull abptly showed off his skills after the demonstration right before he ran into the food truck to beg for treats!).

All in all today was a great day, we helped to raise money for the Puppy Up Foundation, got some exercise, enjoyed a day with our team, and even got to taste some really good wine (and some of us even bought a bottle or two — or three)!


For more information on The Puppy Up foundation head to puppyup.orgfullsizerender

  • Do you or someone you know have a pet with cancer?
  • What is your favorite foundation to give to?
  • What is your favorite type of wine?


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Today we said goodbye

Today we said goodbye to one of our beloved patients. As a licensed veterinary technician who works in an oncology (cancer) department, I often hear the Oncologist quote things like “with [his type of cancer] the median survival rate without treatment is 3 months and with treatment: 12-18 months.” “T”, as I will call him to give his family the privacy and respect they deserve, outlived those statistics living to a staggering 31 months after his diagnosis! 

T was one of those dogs that everyone was scared of when he first came in, a breed that tends to be “not-so-nice” in the veterinary world, but I’m pretty sure it was love at first sight for me! His mom, tough as nails (just like me), his dad, a big teddy bear kinda guy who laughed despite wanting to cry. I met T right after his diagnosis, a scary time for his owners with a lot of unknowns. They were scared he might bite me when we met and insisted he wore a muzzle every time! Over time though, I showed them that their boy trusted me and that I understood him. In the last two years, we rarely ever muzzled him. 

He was one of those dogs that announced he was in the building, the kind of dog that would bark and bark until you gave him attention or treats! I fell in love with T and his family as each week/month/year passed. T truly has a special place in my heart. 

I’ve written about euthanasia before, and how hard it is for the veterinary technician to deal with the loss of someone else’s pet (so I’ll save the repeat post for another time). But, today that loss is as real as ever – it’s hard not to connect with animals especially when you see them so often and for so long. 

Today, as I saw those eyes, they were not the same as they have been in the past. His pain showed, his lungs struggling for air, my heart broken for him, for his family… I thought about all of the great times I had with T. All of the times I snuck away to hug him and give him extra treats, All the times I laughed with his mom about his quirks. Today, after we said goodbye, I cried, I sobbed, I even hugged multiple people (which is a clear indicator of how sad I was because of you know me, you know hugging just isn’t my thang).

T is sure to be one of the pets who leaves a stamp on my heart forever, one that I will likely shed tears for over and over again.

Tonight, I hope you hug your pets a little tighter… I know I will…. 

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24 Day Challenge: Day 18/19 & Pup update!

Day 18 started as a pretty standard day.. with less than 7 days left of the challenge, I’m feeling pretty good! I skipped the gym because I really wasn’t feeling well, my throat hurt and I just needed a day, but overall my meals went good. I found myself slipping a bit around mid day when I found myself in the break room at the vending machine followed by snacking for no good reason. A huge difference between me and a regular person, is my disordered eating sneaks it’s ways in regardless of how good I’m doing. What I’m learning is how to handle those moments. So instead of thinking “I ruined it, I can’t do it, I might as well quit while I’m ahead” I said “it happens, brush it off, no journey is a straight line” and continued the remainder of my day. Although I recognized this, I also have to remember that I can’t just eat whatever and then let it go and accept it for what it is every time because then I wouldn’t make any progress – it can happen once in awhile not everyday!

When I got home from work my dog was acting funny, she wasn’t walking, and she was crying out. I brushed it off for a few but then she started scooting on the floor and crying so I checked under her tail and she had an anal gland abscess which hadn’t ruptured yet. I was not happy, I felt bad, but we just spent so much money on Charlie all I could think about was how this was very convenient that now Miley has an issue. I packed her up and we headed into the animal hospital.

 I’m lucky I work at a specialty clinic because the doctors are great! Luckily they weren’t too busy so I was able to get her in quick!  Poor girl has an ecollar and she’s obviously unhappy… Poor mama

but I gave her a bow to make her feel better… Not sure it worked!!

Anyway, Day 19 has been better. Miley seems to be feeling a bit better, Charlie’s almost all healed from his surgery almost two weeks ago, and I didn’t do too bad with food. For lunch I had a sandwich which wasn’t the best choice but I dissected it and made sure it wasn’t full of cheese and extras! I also had a weird “craving” for eggs today. Kind of random but I really wanted eggs on whole wheat toast – no cheese, no nothing – just eggs- preferably a little runny, on whole wheat toast…. (PS I didn’t have the crave check sr tabs today)

For dinner we went to Elevation burger which I really like because it’s organic grass fed beef in a lettuce wrap with tomatoes and onions – yum! 

Tomorrow I start my On Ramp classes for crossfit! I’m excited! I’m not sure what to expect but I’m hoping that crossfit can bring me to a whole new level of fitness!

Have you ever had two sick dogs at the same time?

Have you ever done crossfit? What do you like about it? What do you not like about it?

How do you handle cravings and/or when you find yourself in a sticky food situation?

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AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge: Day 8

Today I woke up crying – what an odd way to start the day! I didn’t have the best sleep last night because of Miley, she was crying and barking and she had me up at 12 and 3am. At 6am I woke up in tears, missing Charlie, feeling alone. How sad!! I got up and got myself together, having my spark and my probiotic, followed by fiber drink and breakfast. Then I headed to the gym for body pump and spin, and then to go pick up my boy!  

Look at that cute nose! He was still really sleepy but I was happy to be bringing him home! 

I’ve literally been watching movies and watching Charlie all day. When he gets up, I get up! 

I also started a new skin care regime today! I’m super excited about it because ever since I worked at The Body Shop I really haven’t had a skin care regime and my face definitely shows (in my opinion).  

I was super excited about the cleanser because it’s a scrubby cleanser! It feels so good!! And the night cream is so creamy it leaves your skin feeling so soft as it soaks in quickly and doesn’t leave a residue! Supplements for your body and supplements for your skin!!! 

Anyway, I posted this morning a quick update on my progress so far, and what’s even better is the text message I got from my mom this morning!  

9 freaking pounds!  This woman is on freaking fire!!! And it makes me so excited!! 

I feel like I’ve been such a bum today, but i guess once in awhile it’s good to just lay low, plus Charlie really needed me today so I just stayed home. 

I had a few more snacks than I needed, but I drank a ton of water- lunch was turkey mashed potatoes and mixed veggies, dinner was steak fajitas.. And I had a few oatmeal bars and bananas – Oh and I tried the AdvoBar Raw bar  

and I gotta say – it was really yummy! It was like I could taste that it was held together by dates and it was filling because it was a normal sized bar not like a tiny bar… Definitely something I’ll keep around for when I need a quick snack! 

I also realized today that I never did tell you all the story about the supermarket the other day. So.. Here it is: in the height of my binge eating disorder I would go to the supermarket after work and buy a bunch of things I didn’t need and when i went home I would then eat it all for fear that Patrice would come home and see it or because I felt like I had to eat it all in one sitting because who knows when I could get more – the mind of a binge eater is quite strange… Well, the other day – and a few times since then – I found myself in the supermarket for one specific thing and I found myself leaving just with that one specific thing! 

If you struggle with binge eating disorder you understand how big this is!! 

Anyway, I’m super proud of how I have been with this whole situation with Charlie and I have held pretty strong with my nutrition despite the stress! 

I’m so excited for my moms results, I’m excited for my other challengers results, I’m excited to change lives and help people!! 



If you want to get going and change your body let me know!! I can’t wait to help coach you through your 24 day challenge and beyond!  

If you want more info on the challenge or any of the AdvoCare products/product lines, please email me at or check out my website:

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AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge: Day 7

One week in! I can’t believe it’s the end of day 7 already! I actually forgot to set an alarm last. Ight. It managed to wake up at 5am for class!! So of course I headed to the gym with my spark!!

Today was a big day for me and my family – my puppy Charlie went in for soft palate resection and nares surgery as well as a dental where he had 5 incisors pulled and one premolars pulled! Charlie was really anxious and I was worried he’d cause too much inflammation so I decided to leave him in the hospital for the night. Charlie really hasn’t spent much time away from me unless he’s been at my moms house, so tonight being home without him is weird for me, but at least I have Miley and Louie! Poor char char… 

For breakfast I had my bevita breakfast bar and two eggs, for a snack I had trail mix. But, I’ll be honest today has been a bit crazy thankfully the doctor I work for bought us Chinese, so I got sushi. For dinner I had my lunch and then after dinner I had a banana and now it’s bed time!!

I’m actually really tired so I’m not going to make today’s post too long or very specific – I had a lot of anxiety today but it was great to have such amazing coworkers to keep me calm and to treat my pup. I’m so luck to work with the best! 

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AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge: Day 4 & Charlie is getting a nose job!


Can we just talk about the energy I’ve had today? Holy cow! This morning I woke up at 6am and didn’t even reset the alarm!! I jumped up and started getting ready for the gym and work and then headed out the door – but not before I took my catalyst and drank my spark!! 

Can you tell from the photo above that I was DRENCHED!? 35 minutes on the stairmaster and I was soaked! It felt so good, but my legs were a bit wobbly from all the running and drills I did yesterday! 

So, before I started the challenge group I purchased a few challenges that included the old herbal cleanse. Well a few days later the new simplified cleanse came out so damn I had these two old cleanses — so my cleanse phase is a bit different than my challenge group… With that said, I clearly forgot this and drank my fiber drink today instead of taking the probiotic restore. Oops! Looks like I’m making my own rules haha!  Either way, I feel like a million bucks!

I was offered chocolate and starbursts today and I politely declined saying that I’m challenging myself to 24 days of healthy eating and right now that food is not in line with my goals but if she still has some in June I may take a piece lol but honestly – probably not. 

It’s really strange – hard to explain for someone like me who tends to feel like I wear my food like I’m invisible (stole this idea from Sam but totally true) – but I really haven’t wanted anything today!! I’ll get more into that later when I tell you about my super market trip, but for now…

Work was uneventful – I had mashed potatoes, turkey, green beans and carrots for lunch, and pretzel chips with hummus for a snack. I got hungry around 5 but got busy and then all of a sudden it was 6pm! So I skipped my afternoon snack and just ate dinner – so today I skipped my mid day catalyst — oops!

That’s the beauty of this all though, it’s not a huge deal that I messed up a little today, just do it right tomorrow! 

So, this isn’t challenge related but this IS called “PUGS and push-ups” right?! So I have some news about Charlie!  


He’s going to get a dental on Thursday with Dr. Mary Buelow and then go to surgery with Dr. Bonczynski for a soft palate resection and nare surgery. His mouth is stinky and it’s been about two years since he had a dental, so it’s about time and since he’s going under anesthesia we figure it’s best to get his nose fixed and help him breathe since he’s really having trouble this year with the heat. Needless to say, even though I’m the one who wants to do this, and I’m the one who is paying for it and I’m the one who made the appointment, I’m freaking out! 

Want to know what’s cool about this challenge? It balances your body right!? So, that includes hormones and nutrients so my body is in balance and usual stressors don’t bother me – so sure, I’m stressed out about Charlie and this elective surgery but I’m not eating everything in my house, because I don’t feel the need to! It’s so incredible how quickly ones body can start to feel good once you stop putting crap in it and start supplementing with nutrients you wouldn’t otherwise get! 

For dinner I had chicken, sweet potatoes and green beans and for my snack I had my yogurt with Muscle Gain – so yum!! 

I really cant stress how much I love how I feel and I can’t wait to share this with everyone I know!! 

  And on that note.. Here’s my latest post on my personal Instagram… Because I love what it says, I had to share…..


If you want to get going and change your body let me know!! I can help coach you through your 24 day challenge and beyond!  

If you want more info on the challenge, please email me at or check out my website:

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AdvoCare 24 Day Challege: Day 2

Today I went to the SPCA of Westchester’s Walk and Pet Fair with my dogs!  

We hung out at the ASC/KBVC booth chatting with many people who had good and some not so good experiences at our hospitals, but overall the vibe was good! I walked around, made some contacts at a local YMCA and even bought some bacon and cheddar home made treats for the pups! 

Then, I took a photo with Bocker the Labradoodle! Bocker was a patient at my hospital that I had the pleasure and privilege of being part of his oncology care team. Isn’t he the cutest?  

I got my exercise in today by doing the 2.5mile walk while carrying my 26lb dog… He’s a pug and was having trouble breathing so I just carried him the whole way!   

 All in all today has been a good day! I before going to the walk I made sure to have my fiber drink and my breakfast – today I had eggs on a multigrain bagel and a banana, brought a gallon of water with me, and I had an apple for a snack. For lunch I had a big salad with grilled chicken, an egg, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and white beans as my complex carb. 

For dinner I found this frozen dinner at the super market that seemed pretty intriguing. I’m not usually a frozen meal kind of gal, but I was impressed by the packaging – it had the macro percentage right on the front!! Check it out  


I’ve got to tell you, it was pretty tasty and filling!! I was surprised at how big it was and how much food was in there! This might be my go to when I don’t have a meal planned out and already cooked! 

In other news…  

My allergies are killing me today, I woke with a migraine but forced myself to go ahead with the rest of my day – and I’m glad I did!! I took some of my pups allergy meds which seemed to help the headache and sinus pressure (thank God)!

How is your Day 2 so far?! Today I find it a bit easier to follow the plan, although walking into the super market is still a trigger for me to buy foods that I should be staying away from. Every day it will get easier!  

Last bit of news::: Patrice and I are officially Advisors with AdvoCare!! Oh and we are going to Success School in August!! Texas here we come!! 

 If you want more info on the challenge, please email me at or check out my website:

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Dealing with euthanasia: a vet tech perspective 

I recently read a blog by a veterinary technician about how vet techs cry even though you may not see it. At the time I thought “wow this is so true” but today it hits home more than ever (I can’t find the link but once I do I will link to the post). 

Sometimes as a vet tech we have to deal with owners making the hard decision to euthanize their pet, sometimes we have to witness the owner unable to make that decision and therefore the pet essentially suffers until they make the decision for them. As an oncology technician I feel like we may deal with these decisions more often than we’d like to – not because chemo “doesn’t work” but because our patients don’t typically live for 5-10 years after treatment (don’t be mistaken, I’ve seen some beat some pretty grim odds). Typically our patients live anywhere between 3 months and 3 years after we see them, many come to see us for quite a long time and weekly to biweekly – so as you can imaging we become attached to our patients, and their parents. 

I personally feel like I get attached to some parents more than others, mostly because they come the same day at the same time so I tend to do their appointment. These last few weeks have been trying. First we lost one of our most favorite patients, he had lymphoma and wasn’t responding to treatment, his owners ultimately decided that they no longer wanted him to suffer and decided to let him go. I think of him often, and wonder if his sister (who always came in with him as a support buddy) is doing well as an only pup. I miss his mom and dad, they were dedicated and loved him very much but were also becoming like family – since we saw them so much. 

Then we lost one two many of our other patients – some from sudden deaths others from euthanasia. 

Last night one of our long term patients came in through the emergency service – when I saw him this morning my eyes welled up because he just wasn’t the same happy pup I have grown to know and love. He was just in the other day, bobbing along, wagging his tail. He’s always been so happy and today he just was not that way.  

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t in the best of moods this morning, and selfishly stayed away from him as to not bring down my mood more. Before I left though, I made sure to say goodnight, and hug dad – the worst part of my job is when I see their parents crying. 

I consider myself a very strong person, I rarely cry in front of people, but what most people don’t realize is when I get in my car on my way home, I cry. I cry all the way home – I cry for my patient, I cry for their family, I cry for my team, I cry for myself. 

This is not an easy job – it’s not easy to love someone else’s pet like they are your own and not be able to make any life decisions for them – when a pet parent can’t bring themselves to end their suffering sometimes I wish I could make the decision for them – because it breaks my heart to see their baby (my baby) suffer – it breaks my heart to see them (as the owner) suffer. 

The next time you go to the vet, please remember that the people who are caring for your animals love them, and in time will grow to love you as well. Remember that we, as veterinary professionals may not cry with you, we must be strong – but boy do we cry… Even the strongest. 

Tonight I will pray for my friends dad, I will pray for him and pray that his suffering ends soon. For now, the kiss I gave him before I left work will be a “see you later” as I don’t like goodbyes.

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