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Friday, August 21, 2009

Breaking the blogging hiatus...

One way or another is was my "what's on my mind" statement on Facebook a few days ago. An ESRA friend commented saying that it sounded ominous, but I posted a reply to her in essence saying it really isn't. It just sounded that way.

More or less, I am a place where I needed to set a goal to get back to writing "here" again. I've attempted to several times, but although verbally my speech has remained the same since I took myself off of
Keppra, which is great! I am experiencing some difficulty with word retrieval and composing sentences. In no way is it as bad as it has been in the past, since my initial diagnosis of Epilepsy, yet, admittedly, it bothers me. Does it bother me enough to go back on Keppra. No!

I've not been able to focus, either. I'm sure much has to do with Summer. She's had so much going on which really has required me to watch her like a hawk. No
exaggeration. I've been keeping up with updates about her on Facebook, but not here. See, on Facebook I have a pretty good sized group of ESRA connects in my friend's list and quite a few I've gotten to know and they're all special people. So, I'm always mentioning Summer and my FB friends also ask me how she is. So, it's only logical I'd be updating there via comments and photo albums I've shared. In fact my profile blurb states that I'm on Facebook essentially to add a face to Epilepsy and ESRA, as well as connect and reconnect with old friends and loved ones.

This is one of the downsides of having a
Facebook. And, at the same time a personal blog that's evolved to include several interests. Interests that are close to my heart, such as my Springers and ESRA. Often, that means double "postings". It's not a biggie, but it does mean playing catch up here. I could simply copy and paste. But, it just doesn't get it for me. That kind of defeats the purpose of Project Rewire. Starting from scratch with my entries here, is a method I use to keep my words flowing. It's certainly become a tried and true method. So......


Briefly, before I can share any more about myself, this is what's been happening with Summer.

The last I entry I made about her "here" we were a week past her first
Heartworm treatment. Well, here's for some excellent news right off the bat. Summer is Heartworm free!!! We had the Dilfil test performed during a trip to the vets recently (you'll see why below) and the results were negative! That is a blessing! Much prayer has gone up for Summer. She very likely could have had to go through another painful injection, but I believe God intervened. In fact, when we first took her to All Animals we were advised of the steps she'd be going through. And there was to be another injection. Thankfully, we were able to side step that one! She'll be on her monthly preventative and tested annually as should be the case with ALL dogs! Not going to get on my soapbox about that! At least not now. ;)

Now, on to the rest of "her" update...

I also shared that the vet had discovered she was pregnant. Well, after a chest scan and blood test on August 4
th she was spayed and the vet repaired the "cherry eye" condition in her left eye. She wasn't very far off from having puppies, so it was imperative for her to be healthy enough to go through the surgery. Fortunately, even though she wasn't overly strong, she was good to go for them to proceed. The chest scan revealed that there really hasn't been any change in her heart, meaning that it was/is still enlarged. However, her lungs were clear, which is terrific.

Now, the
blood test did show that there was Microfilaria. (Microfilaria is the parasitic embryotic "larvae"stage of the Heartworm in a canine's blood system. In simple terms, they're the minute offspring of the adult Heartworms and are evidence that they're actively reproducing. In order for a dog to have any hope for a normal life and to regain health, this cycle MUST be stopped and the Heartworms MUST be killed. The protocol to eliminate the Heartworms in their entirety is usually done in two or three stages. I'd provide links, but there is so much information on the treatment of Heartworms in canines, for any of my readers unfamiliar and interested, please simply "google". There's tons of worthwhile information available.)

Back to Summer. She made it through the spaying and cherry eye removal just fine on August 4
th. So, the next day, Wednesday, August 5th, she was given an oral dose of Ivermectin to kill off the Microfilaria. She tolerated it well. Just like with the HW injections, it's a situation where she must be confined and remain as still as possible as there's a risk involved. The following day she was sick on her stomach, but the vet assistant contacted me to let me know that we could come pick her up. Since she was throwing up, I arranged for us to pick her up at the end of the day. We're an hour away and I didn't want Summer to be nauseous in our car, or possibly get sick on the way home. If I have nausea, I certainly don't care for riding in a car, so there is no way I'd put my dog in that position. Fortunately, when we picked her up, she was feeling a little bit better and just wanted out of there. So, we obliged her as quickly as we could. When the vet assistant brought her to us, she headed straight for the door! Who could blame the little sweetheart.

Summer's eye looked better right away. The incision in her belly is about 4 inches long and had quite a number of sutures from the spaying and "removing" the puppies. That's something I can barely write about, much less talk about. In fact I requested when we brought her in for the surgery not to give me any specifics as to the puppies. NO details whatsoever. The vets and staff at All Animals are very kind. It's a super veterinary hospital and each person I interacted with in person and over the phone was sensitive and didn't elaborate, thankfully.

was coming along pretty well. She was in slo-mo, but was recovering from the spaying and cherry eye removal okay, until she decided to tear out a few of the sutures over the weekend. My hubby wanted to go flying in our powered parachute ultralight late Saturday afternoon/early evening. I was torn whether to go with him to take a break, or stay home with Summer. I chose to go because I just feel safer being at the airport when he flies; even if I don't go up. It was probably within moments before our return home that Summer had begun biting the sutures out causing her tummy to bleed. To make matters worse, Chance had dug a hole under a big Hydrangea bush beside our deck to cool off and we didn't know it. So, when we let her out, this was before we saw what she'd done to herself, she dove into the hole. It was as if she knew she'd been a bad girl and decided hiding was the best course of action for her. I don't know if that goes back to something in her past, meaning how her prior owner treated her or what, but she was pitiful. When we got her out from under the Hydrangea bush, her foot was bloody and her tummy was covered in dirt. Yep! In the incision, too! She'd also scratched out the one stitch holding the "tuck" for the cherry eye repair. With the blood on her tummy it looked bad at first, but after a clean up and antiseptic treatment I was able to assess the situation more clearly. With her eye, all I could do was use a warm white wash cloth to wipe it off.

Thank God for Liquid Band-Aid! With us, the trend seems to be that stuff happens on the weekend. It wasn't quite an emergency, since I was able to seal the incision. Three times between Saturday night and Sunday night because she kept fooling with it! I was keeping a close watch on her eye, too. On Monday we took her back to the vets. She'd not only tore the cherry eye repair, but scratched the cornea. Although the incision looked okay, it was becoming inflamed, so we left with a triple antibiotic ointment for her eye and an RX of
Cephalexin. Well, I saw no improvement with her eye whatsoever and had a feeling she was having an adverse reaction to the ointment. And, she was showing signs of an ear infection, so back to the vets we went. To make matters worse, an ant bit Summer's rear right paw the night before we were to return to the vets which caused her paw to swell. So, she chewed on it off and on all night causing a dermatitis to set in. Poor Summer! She's like me in that they've determined she's sensitive to medications and obviously bug bites, too. I'm allergic to ant bites, so I so get it!

Wondering where we are now? Her paw is all better. One ear is clear the other still has a way to go before the infection is totally gone. But, her poor eye! Her cornea has an ulcer the size of her pupil when it's fully dilated. We've been back to the vets twice and "finally" have a referral to a canine
ophthalmologist in Cary, NC for Friday. I'm elated about it for a several reasons. The first being, I knew the moment I saw the scratch with black light and the staining agent, what it would possibly lead to. Things with eyes can go bad quickly. Secondly, I know what an ulcer feels like on the cornea. When I lived in Ohio many many years ago, I reacted to some eye drops I was using and had 7 ulcers on the cornea of my left eye. It was painful!! I couldn't wear makeup for 6 weeks. Sunlight made my eye burn and sting like crazy, of course, tears flowed when bright light hit it. So, with the size of the ulcer Summer has, I can't even imagine. And it's not like I can put sunglasses on her! I am keeping her out of the sun as much as possible and being careful with the lighting indoors. And, thirdly, the group we're taking her to is part of Animal Eye Care Veterinary Ophthalmology Associates. They have offices in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina. So, I can't help but feel pretty good about that!

Since then, things have been challenging with her. We're having to drop her eye with Ciprofloxacin and she is resisting it big time. They sting her eye and the fleshy part where she tore the cherry is very inflamed. I so wanted to get her into canine Opthalomologist sooner, but it was impossible and we ultimately got the first available appointment as it is. Am I sorry in anyway for taking on a special needs Springer. No way!!

There is no way NOT to love Summer. She is such a dear dog. She is incredibly humble and submissive. But, between making sure she didn't tear the incision any more and keeping her from scratching her eye further, well... I've kept a close eye on her and when I say close, I mean during the night hours. And during the waking hours. She's rarely more than a foot or two away from me. For all intents and purposes, she has been almost all consuming because there is such a potential for her to re-injure her eye and cause more damage and possible blindness. We could have put her in a "lampshade" collar, however, that would just cause her more stress and anxiety. With the toxins still in her system from the HW treatments and an enlarged heart, stress is not a good thing.

She's become my side kick in a different way than Sydney or Chance. For one thing, she's extremely needy right now. Her disposition is like no other dog I've ever had she's that affectionate. When I'm at my work table, she's under it. She loves it under there. It's her safe place. When my hubby and I leave the house for any reason, she waits at the door leading into our garage. The top portion of the door is glass and when she hears us driving into the garage the first thing we see is this pink nose bobbing up and down. She's on her tippy toes and her nose just makes it to the very bottom of the glass. It's precious, but it also shows she's anxious and has separation issues.

Summer is beginning to feel better, in spite of the situation with her eye. As her body rids itself of the of the Thiacetarsamide and Ivermectin, plus all of the antibiotics she's been on, she'll be feeling better and better. Her personality is truly beginning to come through. She's funny. And just this week for the first time she barked for her breakfast on Monday and Tuesday. Today, though, she's very subdued. But, a lot was done to her eye yesterday at the vets and she's on Carprophen to help reduce the inflamation and pain. It slows her down a bit. She's actually been on Carprophen since her first HW treatment. I'm doing some alternative things to help her such as adding supplements to her food. And, she's on a totally holistic diet. She and Sydney and Chance also get treated to meals of chicken and brown rice, and sometimes a few nibbles of fresh fish like Coho or Sockeye Salmon. Yum!

Not so much in a nutshell... that's where I am with Summer! Next entry I may be sharing some powered parachute photos! But! There's something more important coming in just a few days... my first year with Sydney! My miracle puppy!!! She's the joy of my life. I'm going to try to snap special pictures of each of the Springers... Chance aka Mr. Puppy. He's very camera shy and timid, so we'll see if I can encourage him to look at the camera for once! Then, the beautiful Miss Summer. Now that she's in my life, every day is Summer! And the star, Sydney Australia! Believe me, she knows how to work it. So stay tuned!

There will also be another YouTube soon, I just need to find the right time. Hoping for a good day outside when it's not so blasted hot! However, I adore Summer the season!

All photos of Summer were taken the day before she was spayed and had her cherry eye repaired. Today her eye looks much worse! Notice that she never dropped her little Hedgehog. She is rarely without the one in her mouth. She carries it everywhere. It goes to the vets with her and stays with her. She has a larger one that she uses as a pillow and one of my best friends just treated her to two more that she sent to us from Atlanta. Summer collects her Hedgehogs and other toys and surrounds herself with them. It's part of the "nesting" and "grieving" process. It's obvious she's been bred before and was a good mother. She mothers Sydney, even me at times. So, it's been pitiful to watch. But, except for her medical problems, she's happy and content and adores living here with all of us. The cats, not so much. But, as far as Sydney and Chance, except for a few growlies now and again, they're living in harmony. Can't beat that!

Promise my next entry will not take nearly a month!

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