Update: Lilly Neurology Check from March 12, 2012
GOOD news, fans and friends. Our veterinary neurologist is quite pleased with Lilly’s progress — totebag eating and dog conflict aside. We’ll know blood test results later in the week, but we don’t have to go back for a recheck for 2-3 months. Can I have a whoohoo?
Certainly, Lilly remains neurologically compromised:
- Her balance isn’t great.
- She is still weak here and there.
- She can’t quite sit 100% right, and her front feet still slide when she does.
- She remains a touch dull on the cognitive side.
BUT, if her blood work comes back showing therapeutic levels of the anti-seizure solution called potassium bromide, then we’ll get to drop the faster-acting, more powerful anti-seizure medication called keppra.
Lilly will remain on the immune mediator drug called cyclosporine (likely for months, if not years), but we get to continue weaning her down on the steroids (dexamethasone) … to 1/4 of a pill every 3 days. She had been getting one WHOLE pill every 3 days. Our goal is to get her completely off steroids in the coming months, which should help with the various, not-so-fun side-effects.
All the other meds for her tummy and blood pressure and other things will remain the same for now.
Perhaps the best news is that I’ve been cleared to ramp up Lilly’s physical therapy, including:
- Longer walks
- Some simple agility tasks
- Strength and balance work
I’ve been cautious with Lilly’s body for fear of making things worse or triggering a seizure.
Dr. Lane put those fears to rest. In fact, he said the more I challenge Lilly with tasks using her body the better able her brain will be to compensate for what’s happened. It’s a lovely thing the brain does called neuroplasticity. [We wrote about some cognitive work in neuroplasticity before.]
The other good news (for me) was that we got to wait in a big, private neurology exam room this time (instead of the lobby), and we only had to wait about 30 minutes because we had a real appointment.
So, we left the house at 6:45 am, and we would have gotten home by about 9:30 am, if we hadn’t stopped for a long walk along the creek in town and then met a friend for coffee.
Blame the caffeine (not an everyday thing for me) or maybe relief, but despite the happy news, I felt like bawling all day long. Go figure.
This has been wildly stressful and emotionally difficult in so many ways, but together … this amazing puppy-girl and I will keep at it.
She is doing an awesome job recovering, and it’s my job to help her keep the momentum.
Dr. Lane says it’s a lot like having a child with a closed head injury. To other people, Lilly may look normal (eventually), but I’ll always know, and I’ll always see her remaining deficits and compensations.
As I’ve mentioned before, I can tell when he is trying to buck me up and when he is trying mitigate my enthusiasm. The only time Monday I felt like Lilly’s future activities might be limited came when I asked Dr. Lane about Lilly returning to herding lessons.
His answer? “Let’s see where we are in a few months.”
The concern is Lilly getting herself into trouble with livestock and not having the speed — mentally or physically — to handle it.
I won’t worry about that now. Instead, I’ll focus on working with Lilly EVERY DAY to get stronger and stronger.
And, even through the tears, I’ll be grateful she survived.