Monday, September 21, 2009

Sounds like "Saabing"

I had planned to write a whole specially crafted post about the next step in Emily's diagnosis but after a whole day of explaining it to person after person for reason after reason I simply don't have it in me. The clearest, simplest explanation I've given today is to my parents so I'm going to cut and paste that e-mail in here to let you know what's going on. I've got posts in the works for days to come and I'll keep plugging along but no matter what you read here, make no mistake, this is all I'm thinking about.

Not sure where I left off with either of you so I'll run down the whole thing. Took her in because she wasn't eating. Got her some anti-inflammatories for her supposed arthritis and an appetite enhancer. The appetite enhancer made her anxious and I found other ways to get her to eat so we stopped that and used the anti-inflammatories alone for a few days. Her blood work came back with some elevated liver levels so I thought the doctor was going to diagnose liver failure. We spoke again this morning and it turns out that, though the liver info isn't fabulous, given her lack of reaction to the anti-inflammatories and her current physical challenges (stumbling, knuckling over onto the top of a foot, moments of forgetfullness, etc.) her primary ailment is neurological. We don't know exactly what it is but the possibilities are tumor, stroke, inflammation or something else we don't know about. The only way to find out for sure is with an MRI or a CT scan. For that they'd have to anesthetize her which is very risky at her age and it wouldn't change the course of treatment or give us a chance at some miracle answer so I'm not going to do it. We've taken her off the anti-inflammatories to bleed them out of her system so we can start a course of steroids later this week. In the case of a tumor the steroids might shrink it. In the case of a brain bleed they might help her body clean up the extra blood. Her inflammation levels are just barely above the high normal range so it's not likely to be that. My money is on a stroke given where her physical limitations are showing up. So we're not looking at as drastic and disgusting a demise as liver failure (though with steroids in the mix we may get that later) but the future is uncertain. She may decline slowly and come up with new challenges along the way. She may have a bigger stroke and go all in one fell swoop. In the mean time we'll see if the steroids help and I've talked with the homeopathic guy so she's got immuno boosters and hepatic support vitamins and I'm cooking food for her and hand feeding her as necessary to keep her strength up. She's getting even more spoiled and she's loving it.

Probably doesn't need to be said that I'm heartbroken and hating the high level of uncertainty but the girl is pretty happy and comfortable so I'm calling it a win. For now.


  1. Thanks for the explanation. I can imagine how hard it must be to explain it all over and over again, especially given the uncertainty. I'm glad that she's eating and relatively happy and comfortable, and I hope you can find as much happiness in that and in her as you possibly can. Hang in there. Hugs and treats for both of you.

  2. I am sorry about your dog. It's so hard with pets because they love and trust us, yet they can't really tell us anything about where or how it feels.

  3. I don't know if this will help. I rescued a dog years ago who was sick from the day she was born. After spending a small fortune I met a very realistic vet. He prescribed Prednisone. It's far from a cure, but my dog lived 16 years on that med and had a full and happy life.

  4. Miflohny11:16 PM

    Hug. Big Hug.

  5. Our beloved malamute suffered from thyroid problems which affected his liver; he also developed deafness and various digestive problems. He was a dear, dear, wonderful soulful dog. We spent thousands of dollars testing him and treating him with meds, but in the end, we decided not to subject him to surgery and other interventions.

    He died at the age of 14 during a terrible heat wave here in L.A. - his weakened system simply couldn't survive the heat - it was 115 degrees on the day he died.

    We really miss him.

  6. I've been out of the loop for a few days.

    I am welling up just reading this and just want to come over there to hug you.

    Please let me know if I can do anything.

  7. Hi sweetie,
    We've been out of the loop too, so thanks for this detailed account. This is hard news, but I don't think it's the worst. Call us if you want the info on the holistic vet we used (haven't spoken to him in years so not sure what's up with him). Just try to enjoy every minute you have with her and try not to be sad. Sounds contrite, but that turned out to be the best advice we received when we got Cam's diagnosis. Love to you both.

  8. These situations are so hard. Don't have much to offer but "thinking of you" and a cyber-hug. She looks like a wonderful dog and you are doing all the right things.

  9. Sniffle.
    Thinking of you.
    And I agree with ~annie: You're doing all the right things.

  10. Ah. The decline of dear old dogs is so hard. I am watching Goldie with fear and trepidation. Her back leg has a tremor and is stiffening up and it is harder and harder for her to jump up into the back of the car...But most days are still good, so I just try to treat her like a princess for as long as I will have her.