Tag Archives: brain inflammation

larger ~ post-chemo smile 8-14-13 a

Dog With Brain Inflammation – What I’ll Miss Most

It’s an odd thing to be both hopeful and practical. We will lose this battle eventually. We will, and I accept that. It could be next week. It could be next year. We simply don’t know. Yesterday marked 600 days since the ill-fated rabies vaccine. In February, I would have said getting this far was impossible.

Here is a list of things I’ll miss most when Lilly is gone.

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Ch-ch-changes in Lilly Town


Oh, boy. We have news to share — some good, some (potentially) not so good. DIY chemo, 3 weeks off the immune mediator, this week’s blood and urine tests, and more!

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rox college graduation (mom rox cropped)

Explaining Our Blogging Absence

On June 23, 2013, after a 6-day, whirlwind hospice vigil (ending to a long, long illness), my mom died from PSP, a rare, fatal brain disease. That’s why the blog sits silent. After a total of 3 weeks off for hospice / bereavement leave, I’m in triage mode in every area of my life. It’s hard to resume the day-to-day demands, while under the crushing weight of grief. Below you’ll find my tributes to my mommio and a few brief health updates about our intrepid canine heroine.

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Another (Unwelcome) First – Accidental Chemo Overdose


Honestly. Every time I think Lilly’s medical saga cannot get any worse, something else that’s unexpected / unwelcome happens. On top of the not-good kidney news from earlier this week, on top of figuring out Lilly still has high blood pressure (even though she has been on BP meds since February 2012) … Lilly received an accidental “overdose” of cytarabine (a chemo drug) Wednesday night.

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Canine Kidney Trouble – Not Good, Not Dire

Now that it seems Lilly has been free from bladder bacteria for a few weeks, after nearly 6 straight months of back-to-back bladder infections, we turned our attention to the levels of protein in her urine. Infections can produce high urine protein levels, so we checked again, 2 weeks after Lilly’s last clear urine culture — where her protein level as a 2 (zero is normal). And … it wasn’t good news.

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500 Days and Counting – Adverse Rabies Vaccine Reaction


Friday, June 7, 2013, marks 500 days since Lilly received the ill-fated rabies vaccine that has forever changed all of our lives. Her widespread brain and spinal cord inflammation remains and requires numerous daily medications and others (including a chemo drug ~ 4 injections, over 2 days, every 3 weeks) to keep her alive. June also marks a full year since Lilly became completely incontinent (both ways). Taking care of her (and working a lot to pay her veterinary bills) consumes my every day. This is our new norm, and that’s OK … until I look at old videos and remember how strong she used to be. Then I’m super sad.

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Bumping Along and Awaiting News

No real changes in Lilly’s overall condition to report, but here are just a few news items.

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Video Update on Lilly’s Brain Inflammation


I don’t much remember what life with Lilly was like before she got so sick with an adverse rabies vaccine reaction called meningoencephalomyelitis in January 2012. Taking care of her fills my days. Our world has gotten quite small, but we feel joy at even the tiniest “normal” thing — such as playing fetch. Here, friends, is a little video update.

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Feeling Brave-ish 16 Months into Our Canine Brain Saga


It’s official. I’ve fallen out of the habit of blogging. It’s complicated. Today, for example, my plans to finish work early so that I could clean my house (which is getting scary) got slaughtered by imminent, unexpected work demands from 3 different clients. Since it looks like I’ll be cleaning all evening, I’m trying to make some space in my brain to write a real update about Lilly. Let’s see how it goes.

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Quick Update on Lilly


Not nearly enough chocolate or ice cream in the house for a week like this, but here is a short recap of this week’s (mostly good) news … after Lilly became increasingly wobbly and weak, starting last Sunday.

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Into the Unknown We Go

We got mostly good news today from Lilly’s blood and basic urine tests. The urine culture takes several more days, but Lilly’s complete blood count (CBC) and senior dog blood chemistry panel look good. So, there is no reason we cannot go ahead with her cytarabine injections (“chemo”) tomorrow and Thursday. As for the sudden wobbly-weakness? Into the unknown we go …

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Reeling from Another Setback

<insert string of vociferous profanities here> Lilly is having another set-back. Whether the weakness and wobbling we’re seeing is a result of the antibiotic-resistant infection in her bladder and monster antibiotic picked to fight it (cloramphenicol)… or the resurgence of her ongoing brain and spinal cord inflammation … we don’t yet know. Here is how it unfolded (mostly in pictures).

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Canine Bladder Wars and Antibiotic-Resistant Bacterial Infections

The good news? A total of 7 weeks of antibiotics (2 different kinds) wiped out Lilly’s e coli bladder infection. The bad news? Now she has an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection called staph pseudointermedius. People get MRSA infections. Dogs sometimes get MRSP infections, like this one. All of this stems from her treatment for rabies vaccine-induced meningoencephalomyelitis (and the resulting incontinence). The drug chosen for this next canine bladder war is a doozy.

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Fun With Dog Brains, The Latest Lilly News

Another silly week comes to a close. Lilly received 4 more cytarabine injections Tuesday and Wednesday (that’s cycle #11, if you’re keeping tabs). Somehow, I ended up with 7 client conference calls this week, including 5 full hours on the phone Thursday. Sheesh! Just a little news this week.

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The Agony and Amusement of Canine Brain Issues

Lilly is doing pretty well, if you don’t count the 2 super-soaker / super-messy diaper days in the last week and the renewed urge to eat paper products. Oh, and we even had to break out the dog toy Jaws of Life today. Honestly! Continue reading

Adverse Rabies Vaccine Reaction Update 6 Weeks After Setback

Whew! We’ve been running around like wild monkeys, with as many as 6 veterinary appointments per week. You have our apologies for not posting about every little shift in Lilly’s health. Here are some highlights from recent weeks, as Lilly continues to recover from a terrible bladder infection (caused by immune-suppressing treatment for her adverse rabies vaccine reaction >> brain and spinal cord inflammation).

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Wordless Wednesday – Retroactive Pennies

Since I just came up with the pennies idea to track Lilly’s survival, I decided to go retro — retroactive, that is. I went to the bank and got rolls and rolls of pennies so that I had 1 penny for every day since Lilly received that fateful rabies vaccine on January 23, 2012, that royally screwed up her brain and spinal cord. Today marks Day 394 of Lilly’s survival. Howz that for positive thinking?

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Lilly’s Narrow Remission Ledge

Since Lilly’s ongoing weird / scary bladder infection was diagnosed a few weeks ago, we’ve added a number of experts to Team Lilly. While focusing on improving her quality of life, we’re still wrestling with medical decisions that will likely dictate the length of that life. Simply put, Lilly remains tenuously perched on a narrow ledge of “remission” from the deadly consequences of brain and spinal cord inflammation. She is NOWHERE near normal neurologically, but she is holding steady … for now.

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Tightrope of Gratitude and Grief, Taking Care of Sick Dogs

I remain befuddled by the reality that Lilly may still die from this vaccine-induced brain and spinal cord inflammation. That, I think, reflects my overall sense of optimism in life. Early on, it  never truly dawned on me that she would NOT survive. And, yet, I know I easily get bogged down by worry and not-so-positive thinking. While massaging Lilly’s back for more than an hour Sunday night, I realized that I constantly walk a tightrope between gratitude that she still lives at my side and (preemptive) grief over what her loss would mean to me.

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Canine Acupuncture, Physical Therapy, and Underwater Treadmills: Oh, My

It has been a ridiculous week in Lilly Town. Here is a quick recap of our efforts to help Lilly recover from a terrible bladder infection. It stems from her symptoms and treatment for rabies vaccine-induced brain and spinal cord inflammation. We are now 13 months into this saga.

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A Week Later: Champion of My Heart News

From sheer exhaustion and worry, I’m a weepy mess right now. I probably shouldn’t even try to write, but I know many of you are worried about Lilly. She is OK. Not great, but OK. Here is the latest news.

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Lilly Update: What We Know, What We Don’t

We’ve been busy with “hospitalized at home” protocols for Lilly since she came home Friday evening. Much to do, much to worry about, but here is a quick update from Sunday morning (1-27-13).

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Breaking (Bad) News: New, Dangerous Symptoms a Year After Adverse Rabies Vaccine Reaction

Friday morning (1/25/13) around 6:45 am, Lilly had her first seizure in about a year. Then, we found an absurd amount of blood in her urine, and our veterinary team found AIR inside the walls of Lilly’s bladder. That’s. NOT. Good. Potentially life-threatening, even.

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