First of all I must thank you all. John and I are completely overwhelmed by all of the amazing support that this community has shown for Encore over the past five days. Little by little Encore has been improving and I know all of your healing prayers had a lot to do with it. Last Friday when I first saw her at the Oakville Mississauga Emergency Clinic all that she could do was lift her head to try to kiss me when she recognized my voice. That lift of her head was more voluntary movement in Encore’s body than anyone had seen since she first collapsed with seizures the day before.
I will never forget the unbelievable feelings of relief and love I felt when I was finally able to lay down beside Encore and comfort her. Lynda took this picture with her phone between her own tears of joy. At that moment I knew we were ready to face whatever came, all I needed to know was where we were starting from. I had absolutely no thoughts of what Encore may have lost . . .it was all about what was possible from this point forward.
Saturday morning I got to see Miss E before her MRI and spinal tap. This time she squealed when she heard my voice and moved her front legs around as if trying to get up. The staff smiled as her squeals continued for several minutes. The MRI showed a lot of swelling on the left side of Encore’s brain and a small mass. We wouldn’t know more until the results of her spinal tap came back on Monday evening.
Her progress has been by leaps and bounds ever since. Saturday night the tail started wagging to go with the squeals and she ate her first bit of solid food. By Sunday morning Encore was brighter, more herself, now able to get up on her chest and trying to eat everything in sight as her meds increased her already ferocious appetite!
On Sunday evening were using a harness to help Encore to remember how to use her legs. It wasn’t an independent “walk” but it was her first few steps back to health!
Dr. Leslie came with my on Sunday evening and she shot this little video for Lynda (who had to go back to work and was constantly asking how Miss E was doing).
You can see from the video she clearly struggles with anything to the right of her body, I have been told this will improve, but may possibly have some residual long-term effects (but they don’t know Missy En:)).
Yesterday I was able I got to the clinic around 10 AM, they once again put Encore and I into a beautiful private visitation room and told me to stay “as long as I liked.” So I decided to stay the day! I brought my computer in and sat on the floor with Encore until it was time for her evening treatments (around 6:30). Just in that time alone, I was blown away at her improvements. We went for 3 “walks” and on the last one she actually used all 4 of her legs and managed to pee and poop on her own! I couldn’t believe how happy seeing my 8 year old dog poop made me! Celebrate the small steps baby!
Last night we got the results of Encore’ spinal tap. The good news is that there is no cancer. Yes, she has a mass and it the neurologist believes it will shrink but stay there for ever. It is likely a granuloma or necrosis. She has been diagnosed with “Encephalitis of unknown origin” or possibly a GME (Granulomatous meningoencephalitis). For now, she is being treated to get the swelling in her brain down, that is the important thing. But long term I personally will be looking at tick-borne diseases as the source of these problems. Encore has done a ton of traveling in her short life; had 8 trips back and forth to various countries around Europe spent an equivalent of months of time in various US southern and western states so my vet Dr. Kelly and I agree we need to be looking in a bigger geographical area as a possible source to Encore’s problems.
Today Encore is having a 12 hour treatment with a drug called Cytosar which is supposed to help reduce the swelling in her brain (along with the steroids she is on) by immunosuppression. This was the step that I was challenged to accept but decide to trust the consensus of Encore’s veterinarians and go forward with it.
But here is the best news of all. tonight at 10 PM Encore is being discharged! She will be spending tonight at home!
In preparation for Missy En coming home, I went out and bought this big overstuffed dog bed. It has supporting rolls around three sides so she doesn’t flop out the sides — yet is big enough for somebody to sit with her/treat her etc. Swagger and Feature have decided to keep the bed warm until Encore comes home later tonight:).
Today I would like to express my ongoing gratitude for all of you that have continued to stay by Encore side through all of this; for your positive thoughts and healing prayers. We have championed the first challenge in the battle and together will set our sights on a new journey of recovery. Thank you from the bottom of my heart you have helped bring my girlie home, there are no words that I can find to express how amazing this feels.