How’s Abby doing, you ask? Well, spoiler alert, I got to bring her home last night!
But to back it up…on Monday, the neurologist (who seriously, the NICEST) examined her first thing in the morning and then called me to say that clearly her vestibular system was being impacted- this is the system that gives us balance and spatial orientation and was the reason why she kept falling over and had her head bent at an odd angle – her whole world was tilted. But he didn’t know what was impacting this system…unless we did an MRI. And let me just tell you, Jennifer Lopez was wrong when she said Love Don’t Cost a Thing.
The MRI results:
A lesion on her cerebellum which he did not believe was a tumor (my biggest fear) but inflammation – my munchkin has encephalitis. And what is causing it is most likely immune mediated (her body’s immune system decided to attack its own body). It is a fatal condition in 95% of cases, but with treatment of high doses of steroids (for life), one can usually get another 1-2 years with their pet…sometimes 3-4.
I cried. Ok, so yeah, it’s not a brain tumor, but I now have been given a glimpse of her end.
There is still one pathology test result that we’re waiting on (it was sent to Toronto and then to New York…yeah, again, Jennifer Lopez, you were wrong). There is a very rare parasite that can cause encephalitis and Abby’s neurologist has seen two cases in Ontario (which apparently is HUGE) and so he wants to make sure to cross that off the list. Although, really, I hope that’s what it is – it can be treated “simply” with antibiotics…not a lifetime of steroids and a shortened lifespan. But it’s really VERY unlikely to be this.
It was suggested I not visit her Monday night so that she could rest (yeah, they know what she and I are like together…overly excitable lol) and recover from the anesthetic (she was put under for the MRI and spinal tap) and they were going to go ahead and start her on some low doses of steroids in anticipation of it being the immune mediated variety of encephalitis and an antibiotic in case it was the parasite (Oh, Jennifer Lopez, I shake my head). When Tuesday came around and they still wanted to keep her under observation they knew better than to keep me away another night and said I could come visit in the evening.
I cried when I saw her. Shaved spots all over her from different procedures, an IV hanging out of her hind leg, her fur a mess and, still totally unable to walk. It was heart wrenching. Well, until, 3 seconds later when she was all, “Ok, mom, let’s break out of here…but first, can we go exploring, in all the different rooms, and maybe find me some food, ok? Oh, but wait, since I can’t walk, I will drag myself on my side into you feel sorry enough for me and pick me up and carry me around to all the places I want to see”.
Seriously. This is me trying to cuddle…but note where her eyes are focused (and in the above pic as well!!)…on the door…planning her break away. She’s totally physically disabled, but her spirit was in fine form, let me tell you. She told a German Shepherd in the waiting area of emerg what she thought of him looking at her (it wasn’t good). lol
Then last night, they gave me permission to bring her home!!! She had clearly charmed the staff at the animal hospital as they all cuddled her goodbye and she behaved like a queen with her staff: somewhat acknowledging them.
I carried her out to the car and placed her gently on the front seat…
When I got home I brought her bed into the kitchen and placed her in it while I prepared her dinner…I put her food down and planned to physically help her stand to get to it, but then this happened:
I cried. She’s all, “What is your problem??!!” But the thing is, Abby hadn’t been able to stand on her own since Friday morning…so to me, this was the best thing ever. Until she made me HAND FEED her her carrots. How does a 30lb furball make that happen? I don’t know, but I suspect those eyes of hers have something to do with it!!
She literally spent the evening cuddling in my arms…snoring.
Except for a few drinking and peeing breaks – the steroids she’s on make her thirsty. And while she can stand and walk on her own, she’s like a baby calf on new legs – VERY wobbly and her head shakes like she has Parkinson’s. So sometimes, it’s just easier to sit down when trying to drink water!
Overnight and during the day while I’m at work, she needs to stay in her crate for her own safety
Thank you, thank, thank you, to all of those who reached out and said prayers for Abby- it was overwhelming and meant so much. We still have a tough journey ahead of us with drugs and relapses, but every extra day I get her is a gift.