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April 8, 2013

<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).

Starting last Friday, Lilly seemed reluctant to eat breakfast. With encouragement, she would eat, though. And, for the rest of the day her appetite has been fine.

Lilly also started peeing a LOT less. Almost NO wet diapers, but also very little peeing, in general. I’d like to think that she is regaining bladder control and output now that we’re fighting the latent bladder infection. However, since I’ve gotten so used to the waterworks and super-soaker days, it makes me worry.


Lilly had a GREAT Saturday. I mean GRRREEEAAATTTT!!! She rested nicely outside and kept me company while I lugged soil amendments and got my greenhouse ready for the season.

Lilly’s new friend — a Magic / Comfort Bear on loan from a friend of mine — is the newest member of a whole cadre of such bears the travel the country, keeping people (and now pets) company in their time of need. Since this bear is new to the troop, we got to name her.

We’ve decided on BB (short for Best Best or Bestie Bear) since I always tell Lilly that she is my “best best friend.”

best dog blog, champion of my heart, border collie and stuffed bear toy


By Sunday afternoon, Lilly began:

  • Walking with extreme exaggeration (especially in the rear legs)
  • Stumbling from weakness
  • Staggering from poor balance

I shot a little video and sent it to our neurologist for input. He decided that we should do a whole panel of blood tests and move up Lilly’s first urine recheck — essentially ASAP this week.

Our agreement was that I would call our main hospital Monday morning, unless Lilly tanked.

BB stayed at Lilly’s side all day Sunday.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, border collie and stuffed bear toy


best dog blog, champion of my heart, border collie and stuffed bear toy


Unfortunately, Lilly looked worse this morning when she woke up:

  • ZERO interest in breakfast
  • Much weaker
  • Much more trouble standing up or walking

So, we made a mad dash for the ER / specialty hospital early this morning. BB came along with us.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, border collie and stuffed bear toy

There is a chance what we’re seeing is caused by the monster antibiotic (muscle weakness is a rare, but known side-effect), but many of her neuro scores are low / different than before / strange. So, it may be the beginning of a real neurological inflammation relapse.

We’ll hike her steroid dose, and if the CBC and other blood work comes back OK in the morning, then we’ll go ahead with her cytarabine injections (chemo drug) this week to land on the inflammation with both feet. (We had planned on bumping it to next week.)

All treatment decisions are pending the test results.

In the meantime, we’ve resumed “hospitalized at home” protocols. Here is Lilly resting under my desk while I edited web pages for a client this afternoon.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, border collie under a blanket


The boys of Team Lilly (our neurologist and Tom) are both optimistic, saying things like “We’re not beaten, yet.”

I’m pretty worried, but I’m holding up. You wouldn’t think a few hours at the veterinary hospital + an afternoon of work would be so tiring, but I’m EXHAUSTED.

Let’s all hope that the blood work shows that Lilly’s body is handling the monster antibiotic well so that we can tackle the presumed neurological inflammation in ways that have worked in the past.

Our goal is to avoid another long hospitalization.

The next few days may be nutty, depending on treatment decisions, but I’ll try to post even a quick note … as news warrants.

Thanks, as always, for your love and concern.


About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

  1. Such sweet pictures, such bittersweet news. You all must be exhausted. Sending good thoughts, as always.

  2. Despite what all of your posts say, it’s wonderful that we get to hear about the progress, the setbacks, and what your life is like daily. Loving the pictures, and Lilly’s tenacity and ability to push through the challenges. You have a great team of specialists who are committed to making Lilly’s life so worthwhile. Hugs and love.

  3. The pictures of Lilly with BB are unbelievably sweet!

    I do hope it’s just the antibiotic, and not resumed inflammation. She still looks fairly “with it”, facial expression wise, and I’m going to take that as a good sign!

  4. Hang in there. You’ve made Lily’s life worth living as intense or dramatic as it’s been along with her funny-bunny times.

    The photos of her that you share with us glow with her love and trust in you as well as your love and trust in her. They are really a document to a rewarding relationship we two species are lucky enough to experience in our lives together.

  5. I have been and will continue to pray for Llily and you. What a wonderful momma you are to keep fighting for your girl.

  6. Poor Lilly. Ill be thinking about you both. Please keep the updates coming.

  7. It’s so startling to see these dramatic changes and setbacks. But it sounds like your doctors haven’t exhausted their bag of tricks.

    I hope you and Lilly can get some relief.

  8. Praying for you and your sweet Champion Lilly. Strength to weather one more fight!! It doesn’t look like she is ready to give up yet. She just needs a little rest time. Also, praying for neurologist that he can figure this out!!

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