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.
The love and gratitude you show Encore is inspiring. Best wishes to you all on the road to recovery.
I know I’m a day or two late, but good to hear about the health of Encore. It’s good to hear that everything is going well.
I am so happy for you Susan, and very relieved to see Encore doing so well – I am going to the same vet clinic for my cat (brain tumour) and they are wonderful there.
My prayers will be with Encore, wishing her a full recovery
So happy to know that Miss E is much better!!!!
Keep on fighting girls !!! You already won this battle !!!
Go Encore Go !!!!! :)))
Oh, how happy this post has made me! So very glad to read that Encore is doing well enough to be allowed home 🙂
Lovely to see Encore looking so chirpy with you on the CC last night.
Susan, your strength and faith are rock solid. Truly an inspiration. I’m sure that is what is fueling Encore’s desire to work and get strong(er). All the best to you on this new journey.
Tears of joy and relief. My heart hurts for you all having to go through this but I know you all have the strength and endurance to power on and blessings will continue to abound. Much love and prayers xo
So happy to hear all the progress Susan –
she will amaze you even more. Thank you for sharing the good news.
Susan, Encore and family,
so glad to get the update athat Encore will be going home. I am familar with “Encephalitis of unknown origin” since my sister was diagnosed with it when we were kids. It can be a nasty. But both you and Encore are fighters, and have the support and love of so many, this make my Christmas better knowing she is improving. Always in my thoughts.
I am so glad to hear that she is home and hope she continues to improve. I have a red and white BC also and he is so fun and loving. Keeping you all in my prayers.
So happy that your beloved pet is home and doing much better. My prayers for her speedy recovery will continue.
So happy to hear miss Encore is doing much better. I have a 11 year old Pom was diagnosed with GME back in 2005. She was on steroids and immune system depressants along with seizure meds. The scar tissue on the brain will always be there. She is off all medication except for the seizure meds.
So happy to hear you are with her now. The recovery process is slow. My Pom still has some motor skills that never fully recovered. But she is 100% better than when she first got sick.
In my thoughts
One quote I remember well from one of my professors was (paraphrased), “No dog should die without experiencing the benefit of steroids.” While they get a bad rap, they are also capable of much good, whether on a long-term basis or short-term in order to buy us time to figure out what to do in the long run.
You made the right decision and I’m so glad to hear that she is home!
Glad for you to hear (read) this great news. Best news that she’s coming home! Life is a celebration of (small) successes and I wish you all the warmth and love together with all the dogs, your family and friends. God bless you Susan.
I’m sure Encore is home all snuggled into her new bed, by now, right where she belongs. Continued healing vibes are winging their way north, from North Carolina.
Hi Susan and all the support team (including wonderful John and Lyn da)
I have to confess that when I wake up each day in Australia, I look for your updates on Encore’s progress first thing even before even my cup of tea.
All I wish in my heart and soul is for a total and permanent recovery for Encore.
Being in a country plagued by ticks, I am also very interested in the whole issue of tick borne diseases and value your information and education on this subject.
We use Advantix (made by Bayer) on our dogs fortnightly. I would prefer not to use a chemical based solution on our dogs at all, but the alternative (ie death by tick poisoning which happens all the time here) is just not worth the risk.
Please keep the information coming and strongest posiitve thoughts for Encore from me. I watched the video you posted of his 2010 success through much misted eyes!
Yea Encore! We are still sending lots of love and healing thoughts! Keep strong beautiful girlie!
So glad she is making such huge improvements! Even better is the fact she is coming home!! Enjoy being home with Miss E!
Susan, do you know Roxanne and Lilly from “Champion of my Heart” on FB? Lilly has a similiar diagnosis and on the same IV drug that you mentioned “Cytosar”. Lilly contracted her illness (meningoencephalomyelitis). from the Rabies Vaccine…early this year. She stated it really is helping. Just a FYI…
So relieved Encore is getting better. We have paralysis ticks along the warm humid areas of NSW and QLD, and I’m scared my dog (or me) might pick up one of those when we come to visit. But at least – if it’s spotted in time – there is an anti-venom that helps.
Hate to think of some mystery virus that’s doing all this to Encore. She’s way too young.
so happy for all of you. You remain in our prayers
Oh goodness, Susan – just got on the computer tonight; what glorious post to read. I’m so very happy Encore gets to come home – I should say is already home as it is 9:30pm here in Arizona. Susan, you are deeply loved by so many who have never even met you, but feel like we know you from all the classes we have taken on line. Prayers continue for complete healing for Encore and for the Vets who are involved in helping get Encore well. Praying for you and John to find strength to get through this. I know you will be stronger for it. God bless you…
We don’t know each other but your story has touched me and I’ll tell you why. I think you know my agility trainer Leslie Granville Smith and her late beloved Westie Hope. I bawled my eyes out when I heard about poor Hopey. Then, a few months later another great agility dog, Encore, suddenly falls ill. I have been following her progress on Facebook and keeping my fingers crossed for the both of you. I hug my dogs and pray for you and Encore.
An early Christmas gift! I’m continuing to put out to the universe thoughts for her continued recovery. All the best to you and John, too.
I’m so happy she’s coming home and that you have a diagnosis, albeit of unknown origin. I really believe that she will recover fully! The bond you have with her will bring her though it all! Hugs and kisses to you both!
What wonderful news. En has the best nurse ever, that will be willing to help make baby steps in hopes that one day big giant steps are possible. What improvement in just a week. You go girl!
I am so happy your Christmas wishes came early. I know all the hard work you have done with Encore ‘s body awareness and her amazing talents she will make a remarkable recovery. We are sending more good thoughts your way so Encore can race her way down the road to recovery.
tears of joy!
I remember a spring week in 2011 when you helped teach me all about obedience. I’ve done really well since that time and have tried to help others along the way in the same way you helped me.
I was stunned to hear you were sick…but somehow knew all along that you would teach us all once again “how its done”. And now you are home tonight!
I will be sending you positive thoughts and can’t wait to see you again in a class someday in the future. Meanwhile, you and your mom are in our thoughts and we are sending many, many border collie hugs!!!!!!!!
Silver GCH CH Jay Jay The Jet Plane RN
p.s. I’m doing agility now too…so get well soon so I can show what I can (and can’t) do! 🙂
wonderful news i’m so happy for all of your family both 2 and 4 legged, she will feel so much better at home 😉 keep strong girlie
Happy Tears !!! REALLY HAPPY Tears …
It may not be an easy road but I know she’s going to amaze us all!
Thank you for sharing the video … to see how much she is working at doing what you are asking show her will more than any words can tell
So glad there is continued improvement. I know of your incredible patience having seen it through your videos on Puppy Peaks, Recallers and contact training. This training in patience will be the strength that you, John and Encore will benefit from during the recovery period. What good hands this little girl is in.
Susan, I love that you call them drunken hand touches. Your humor and your love is so powerful to watch.
I wonder how much vets, neurologists could learn from studying what a perfectly trained dog like Encore can and cannot physically do under these circumstances.
I’m glad she is coming home to you and John…that is where she needs to be.
I Love her.
Fantastic news for you, John and Missy En. Being Home is some of the best medicine around. So happy for you all – will continue to keep you all in my thoughts and prayers as she makes her recovery journey.
We are encouraged with Encore’s improvement.
Our hearts and wishes go out to you and John
for a good recovery. Our positive energy and karma will continue.
So glag to hear Missy En is coming home!
Hoping each day will bring more and more improvement.
Great news Susan, I am thrilled to hear Encore is doing so well. It must be a relief to have her home. I am sure you will now be able to enjoy Christmas as well. So I am wishing you a happy one.
WOW…simply amazing. The healing powers of faith, love and prayer are wonderful and you are experiencing them first hand.
Fantastic news that Missy En is on a new journey back to great health. Thank you for sharing the journey with the rest of us.
Thinging of you and continuing to pray for a full recovery.
Great relief for your whole household. Enjoy having your family reunited tonight. I will keep sending positive energy your way.
i am overjoyed for all of you. I hate those “unknown origin” diagnosis because it leaves you with so many unanswered questions. But for now, who gives a rat’s patootie. I am so glad she is going home. Pretty obvious she loves you dearly.
so happy to hear she is doing better. appreciate your sharing.
Thank you for taking the time to keep us all posted. I am so very happy she is going home. This all sounds good.
This is wonderful news Susan & John. I can imagine the relief & joy at seeing this positive progress. May it continue to give her the important things for a happy life going forward with you all. Encore has proven once again what a special girl she really is.
Merry Christmas to all… & to all a good night!
Many children have been praying just because I told them about Encore and said she need all of us to pray. How I wish you could have heard the prayers of our kids.
(Our kids are placed with us for various reasons, none of them good, and they have such enormous hearts that I stand amazed.)
We will continue to pray.
Dear Susan (and extended family),
From the first descriptions of Encore’s symptoms, I suspected a tick borne illness. But since I’m not a physician, I thought it best to keep my opinions to myself. I have to tell you that I am so sad to hear that it is most likely what is making brilliant Encore so sick but I am also so relieved that your savvy vet diagnosed it so quickly and started treatment.
I’ve lots of experience with Lyme since living on Martha’s Vineyard…fully 20% of the population is infected. When treated aggressively, symptoms can be managed but long-term antibiotics are in order and sometimes it’s given by intravenous drip.
There is a movie about Lyme Disease and deer ticks called Under Our Skin and there is a website that is very informative–should you want to do more research. It can be found on YouTube and Hulu.
Please know that although we don’t know one another personally, you have the prayers, hopes and good thoughts from a stranger who simply wants you and your beloved friend to share as much joy for years to come.
So glad to hear that Encore is recovering. Still thinking of you and praying for Encore – I know she’ll be as pleased to be home as you are to have her there.
So very, very happy to hear how much Encore has improved and that she is doing well enough to go home!
Know the best medicine will be getting back home and soaking up all the love and care from you there 🙂
Tears of joy for you. I am sure it’s the best possible present for all of you to have her back home.
God is Good all of the time… Thank You Thank… May your journey continue to be “BLESSED”: staying prayerful.. Love Ya!!