Two new additions to the family!

It’s been a while since my last update, but yesterday I did something that I have been wanting to do for a long time. I got myself a pair of Gerbils! Ever since I moved to Hamar and started living alone, it’s been very empty without having the cats around me at all times.

So a couple of days ago, Kiko and Yuuto came into my life! They are 6 week old brothers, Kiko is the honey cream and Yuuto is the black eyed white. If they only knew how pampered their lives will be!

I also made a little video of them today as I was exploring some video settings on my Canon camera. They were too cute!

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Moving Baldur to Stall Lehne

Yesterday was a big day for us! We finally moved the horses to a new location; Stall Lehne. We have been excited about this for a couple of month already, and now it’s finally done!

Me and Maja both moved our horses together, as both human and horses are inseparable. Having such a great best friend is definitely something I am grateful for. We spent the whole day in the old barn to clean up after us before our ride arrived. We loaded the horses and set course for the new barn.

It went really smooth and the horses seemed very content, so we decided to check out the riding halls. I was skeptical about Baldur’s response to the mirrors, but I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t bother him as much! The boys did great riding-wise and we could saddle off at ease. Both of them got carrots for their work and were put in their boxes.

A great end to an exciting day!

Recap of the year 2017

As most of you can probably understand, 2017 has been a hell of a year for me. It has consisted of unsteady water and rocky roads as far as eye can see. At least the last six months have been a struggle, to say the least. So I’d like to like to take a look-back at the year.

The year started off with riding moderately. I was very focused on the show jumping and entering shows. So we had regular lessons for a trainer and we entered one competition(it didn’t go very well though). We even experienced some falls along the way. One due to bolting, one due to rider’s error in jumping and one was an accident where Baldur spooked and gently tipped me off. It’s weird how all these falls came in a two-month-period, after not falling off for 2 years. I guess the time was due?

Moving on to spring break, I took Baldur back to Ålesund for the break. That’s when my likings for the gaited bloomed once again. I came back into a gaited environment, and both I and loved it. We got the chance to ride for a world champion and we had great feedback, which really sparked my motivation to get back into gaited competitions.

The fall came and we went back to Hamar for studies. At that point, my interest and motivation was at it’s peak. Me and Maja would ride literally every day. No dressage, no jumping, just hacks. She would ride as usual, and I would push Baldur in the tölt-training. Turns out training tölt on hacks is great for building muscle! And it really showed. Baldur was in great shape and ready for fight. We entered our first gaited competition in Hamar and it was amazing. I was thrilled.

Little did I know that it was drastically going to change when I noticed that Baldur’s sheath was swelling. I tried to wash it out to see if anything changed, but a couple days later, the swelling was still bad. But the veterinarian was on the way to float the horses, and I asked her to check him in the same day. Baldur was drugged and his sheat and penis was cleaned. There were some spots and skin that raised suspicion, and a biopsy was made two weeks later(the day after the gaited competition).

And we all know that the results were positive for cancer. After getting that message, everything went south. My mood dropped and I became so vulnerable, anxiety really took me by the ear and didn’t let go. I was totally unstable and anything could make me cry. But I had to keep going, there was no other option for me but to keep my head high and move forward.

Baldur was treated with chemo therapy every two weeks and when almost all the cancer was gone and I was starting to feel the relief, something had to happen. Baldur was suddenly lame and couldn’t walk. He would fall with every step and it was horrible. The veterinarian came(this was in the middle of treatments) and checked for bone breakage first. No breaks. It turned out it was a hoof crushing, and it had to be drained of blood. Baldur recovered in a couple of days, and we shoed him with pads to prevent him from taking more damage to the already thin sole.

I handed in my exams and before leaving home for the holidays, I finally able to breathe. We had another veterinary visit, and this time there was no need for another treatment as everything was gone. It was exactly what I needed and more. I could cry of joy. I know it’s not over yet, there are follow-ups to do, but man, I was relieved. It was the perfect end of a hectic year. All I can really say now it that i really look forward to the new year.

We made it

Yesterday, Thuesday on December 11th, we could finally rest easy. The veterinarian came over for the year’s last treatment and behold – no more treatments were necessary! All of the papillomas are gone, and there is only scar tissue left where they used to be.

I was probably the happiest girl on the planet while speaking with the veterinarian. Every single papilloma is gone. Every little one. I can’t really describe how much relief I got in that moment. Knowing that we actually made it through all of this. I mean, we did it! We really made it!

I am at the point of being speechless, because there is not really anything else to say. We beat this cancer, and we will continue to beat it. After seeing the veterinarian every other week(sometimes more than once a week), it is almost weird that it is one and a half month till next time we have the veterinarian over. It is to have a control check to make sure that everything is as it should be.

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Baldur will be checked then, and if everything is okay, he will be checked only once or twice a year. It’s amazing how strong Baldur has been through this, I am so proud of him.

As a little side-update, I am going home to Ålesund tomorrow to be with my family. My leasee will be taking care of Baldur, as well as a good friend. So I can relax and know that Baldur is in good hands while I take a break. I also delivered my exams last week, and I am very pleased with what I delivered. So I am very positive and ready to chill out for Christmas.

I will be doing some 3D modeling while on holiday, and I am hoping to model the head of Conversano, and maybe Baldur as well. I don’t know what the results will be, but I think I will share it here if I am pleased! Other than that, I said my goodbyes to Baldur, and I will see him again when I get back to Hamar next year.

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Photo above: As you can see, there are no more white spots to be seen!

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Photo above: The darker areas of his penis are the scar tissues that have come. They will probably heal and disappear, as they are very vague already!

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I love my man to bits.

Baldur with a fresh rider

So, last weekend Anneli came to Hamar to visit me and Maja. We ended up going on a little trip to Sweden, going out to a restaurant to eat pizza, and then Anneli got to try out Baldur a couple of times! 

According to Anneli, Baldur is pretty much the opposite of her Icelandic Horse Kári, and it was a new experience for her. It was also good for me to see him with another rider and how he reacts to Anneli. It’s also a great way for me to see him being worked, without seeing him from above.

Anneli was really excited about trying out my Geysir Gold Plus saddle as well, as she is interested in buying it. I think I can say that she was very happy with it, and she liked it very much! So I don’t think it will be long until she gets one of her own, haha!

I think Baldur and Anneli were a great match! Some confusion in the start, since Baldur isn’t like what she is used to. If he understands what you ask, he is not hard to ask at all. But if there is confusion, he will clearly notify that he does not understand.

So I learned that Baldur indeed is a little bit tricky to ride in before you really get to know his riding “style”. I do also enjoy having a tricky horse, so when I actually have progress with him, it isn’t taken as lightly, if I can say it that way.

Anyways! It was fun to watch Baldur being worked by Anneli and how he responded to her. The weather was great, and the mood for the day. It was also fun for me to photograph my own horse in action and capturing the moments.

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Photo above: I absolutely love the light in this photo. It is subtle, but strong. And the new snow makes everything better!

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Photo above: Moving those hindquarters like a champ!

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Photo above: At it again with the lights! 

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Photo above: I think both the horse and rider enjoyed themselves.

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Just our luck

I didn’t think we could get any more unlucky, but here we are. Baldur was a little lame yesterday, so I decided to give him over night to see if he would be better today. Surprise, surprise. He was so much worse this morning. He wouldn’t put any weight on his foot at all, and when he walked, it looked as if he would fall with every step. So I didn’t hesitate to call the veterinarian for an emergency appointment. 

I was literally so stressed out. Seeing how painful it was for him to move made me tear up, it was horrible. Thankfully the veterinarian came fast and checked him out. He was scored on the lameness scale to 4 out of 5 grades lame. She checked for broken bones, but it turned out it was all coming from one place – the hoof. The veterinarian pinched around the hoof and we found out he has something similar to a hoof abscess, but without the infection.

In other words, he has stepped on something hard and taken damage from it. Almost like when us human hit our finger with a hammer, and the finger gets blood under the nail. So we have to drain out the blood and put on a cover with a special kind of compress-like band-aid that will drain out the blood and relieve his hoof. He was given a strong dose of pain relief and to make him feel better faster, he also got some local anesthesia on both sides of his fetlock.

I am so thankful that it wasn’t as serious, this is actually a best-case-scenario. It could have been tendons, bone, or something else. So I am so relieved that it’s not something super bad. The veterinarian told me he should be better tomorrow, and that he will be healed in probably a week.

So this cover he has around his hoof will be changed every morning by me, and hopefully he will recover completely. It’s amazing how we have gone almost 3 years with Baldur being in tip-top shape, and all of the sudden everything crashes on us. First cancer, then this abscess, what’s next?

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Photo above: This is how I found him. He stood like this, not wanting to put his leg down at all.

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Photo above: You can so easily see it on his face that he is in so much pain. He usually has quite a relaxed face, so his expression here really pains me.

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Photo above: Putting on the cover. You can clearly see where the anesthesia was put, and he reacted very fast with putting his foot down and letting it take some weight.

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Photo above: His expression here is definitely more relaxed than before.

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Photo above: The finished work after the veterinarian left for the day. He is supposed to be shod in a couple days, but due to the abscess, we have to push it a week just to make sure his hoof is okay.

Progress in defeating cancer

So, on Wednesday(yes, this blog post is a little late), the veterinarian came back for a round three of Baldur’s chemo treatment. And I have to start off with saying that it is looking very good at this point!

After drugging him and letting him drop, his penis was washed. There is nothing infected or any puss, just dry and flaky skin. The veterinarian could actually just scrape off some of the cancerous Papillomas and they would just leave scar tissue. Very good! Not everything is gone yet though, the “elephant” skin further up is looking better, but it is still there. The skin is drying and flaking off, so the “elephant” skin will most likely be gone soon!

As for more treatments, Baldur got a stronger dose this day, just so that we are sure everything is being killed off. We have scheduled another appointment in two weeks time, and from then on we will see if he needs more treatment, or if the Papillomas are gone!

It may be too soon to tell, but my veterinarian assured me it is looking like it may be a cancer-free Christmas for us. And that is literally my only wish, for Baldur to come back to 100% health and cancer free.

Other than that, I am very busy trying to finish my exams, and it is taking a toll! My brain is probably working on over-load at this point. I do however have some exciting news to announce on this blog soon! I have already announced it on my Instagram, but not very much in depth. I feel and hope that 2018 will be with a fresh, healthy and happy start!

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Photo above: Baldur getting droopy. I love how gentle he is. Not tying him up for the vet is so practical.

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Photo above: Here you can see the very dry skin that is left after the last treatment. There have grown some new darker spots on the very tip of his penis(you can just see them under the veterinarians right hand).

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Photo above: The “elephant” skin is definitely looking better!

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Photo above: One spot that had a bit much cream from last treatment, that actually created a wound – but this is also good, now we know that Papilloma is 100% gone.

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Photo above: Baldur’s manhood after putting on the chemo cream. The veterinarian was very generous with the amount of cream this time, making the dose stronger.

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Photo above: Finally a photo when Baldur got his dose of Metacam(pain-relief). It’s always so fascinating to watch.

Second round of treatments

The day has finally come for the second round of the chemo treatments. I was a bit nervous as to finding out how the treatment is working so far, and the veterinarian is still optimistic! The chemicals in the cream has burned little by little on the papillomas. Some of them have become smaller, and are not “sticking out” as much as before. It’s not much, but it is definitely progress!

As if it wasn’t stressful enough to have a cancerous horse, at least the bills are not one of my stress factors anymore. I am almost looking forward to getting the bills and being able to pay them instantly. The fund to pay for Baldur’s treatment bills has risen to $2,450 USD, it’s really insane! After paying the final bill and clearing Baldur of cancer, any remaining amount will go to Prince Fluffy Kareem and Kreftforeningen(Norway’s Cancer Society). So I am really excited about that too!

Our next treatment session will be in two weeks, and since Baldur handled the treatment so well, today’s treatment was with even more of the cream. So I am curious to how Baldur’s manhood will look like for the next treatment.

I can gladly say that Baldur has been acting like himself. But due to lack in motivation when it comes to training, he has become very stiff. But that is something we will have to work on!

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Photo above: Baldur getting more and more droopy from the drugs. Since he has been regularly drugged these past months, he is starting to handle them less and less. So today he was really sleepy.

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Photo above: Cleaning out! It’s starting to get easier and easier to clean him out, as the infection is leaving. So just that is a very good sign!

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Photo above: I couldn’t help myself to take this photo. Baldur never drops his lips, but today was the day he went all out. He dropped his top lip as well!

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Photo above: Putting on a more generous amount of cream this time. As he didn’t react bad to it at all. She is only putting cream on the papillomas, hence why she is only putting on dots.

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Ending this post with Baldur’s droopy and sleepy face. He is such a hero to me. 

A thank you

Gathering thoughts is something that I am normally not very good at. As usual, my thoughts and feelings are chaotic on the loose inside my brain, and getting a hold of them is almost impossible. 

Being thankful isn’t even a fraction of how I feel. I feel so loved, supported, encouraged, comforted, grateful. I mean, the list goes on. I don’t think any word in the dictionary can be enough to describe the feelings I have had the last couple of days. From being devastated about the insurance company not covering the fees, being shocked by the bill from the veterinary(so far over 8.000 NOK, $1000 USD) and then the amazing, indescribable feeling when some of my friends made a surprise fund page for us.

I have cried my eyes out too many times over a short period of times. After we were worried about cancer, after getting the diagnosis, after the first treatment and when receiving tons of support from around the world.

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The response has been mind-blowing. Absolutely so incredible. I could never in my wildest imagination know that the response would be this huge. Its literally insane how many people who are and have supported me and Baldur through this process. I am lost for words.

It’s incredible how well over 400 people have contributed already, and it’s barely been 48 hours since it was published. The page has incredibly reached over 19.000 NOK($2.400 US!)! And this fund page is only available for Norwegians, and still there are so many. It’s almost overwhelming. The feeling of having so many people supporting Baldur’s battle with cancer is amazing.

I don’t really know where I am going with this blog post, but I just want to let everyone know that I am so incredibly thankful for every single one supporting us though this battle. It gives me so much hope and perseverance. We will get through this, I am sure of it. Baldur is such a strong-willed horse, and just the fact that he is the one comforting me says a lot.

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Baldur’s next round of chemo treatments will be in one week, on November 1st. Then we will also find out if the treatment is working as good as we are hoping. If it doesn’t work, we have to try something else, and the last option is to amputate. It may sound terrible, but it isn’t as bad as it may sound. Veterinaries and general science is on our side, and I am determined to beat the crap out of this cancer.

Again, I want to give huge thanks to everyone who is supporting us. From sending me messages, giving me hugs and just showing that you are here for me when I need it the most. I am forever grateful to have such an amazing community of people around me. 

 

The first round of chemo treatments

Starting off with a warning that the photos in this blog may come as a little graphic and nasty. On Monday, we finally had our first session with the chemo treatments to try and take out the cancer. 

The veterinarian showed up at about 1 pm, and we were ready to roll. She started off cleaning him again. There was a lot of dirt and still some infected areas, but it’s looking much better than before already. The whole day was a bit of a process, so let me take this step by step.

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Photo taking while doing the wash and cleanup. The photo above shows the discoloration that we were troubled with. It’s starting to dry out and flake off, so it’s a good sign already. But there is still a long way to go.

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Still not done with the washing, but here you can see some of the residue.

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In the photo above, you can see our main problem, the benine cancerous papillomas. The occur as white spots, almost looking like blemishes, all over his penis. They have yet again grown in size and number, so it’s good we are able to start the treatment so soon.

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There is also being formed some kind of tallow around his urethra.

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The Efudix is being applied. This is the cream that acts like chemo. It will slowly burn away the skin and the papillomas. A painful process, but hopefully they will be gone in three treatments!

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Finally, Baldur getting a good dose of pain killers. I also received some pain killers to give him the two following days through a tube in the mouth.

 

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Above and under are the two new additions to my health supply. The Efudix cream and Metacam(pain killers).

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Ending this little blog post with a picture of the patient recovering from the drugs. He doesn’t look very pleased, does he?