Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The day after Henry's big day at the neurologist, Cupid had an appointment with our local vet for some follow up blood work as related to her thyroid issues. We are still waiting on those results. But this is not about her results. This is about Cupid being a cheap date at the vet.
Let's just say that Henry is 5 star pug at the vet and in comparison, Cupid likes to camp. Cupid reminds us why we are cat lovers in addition to dog lovers. Cats typically require so much less from your pocketbook. LOL
And look how well Cupid does in the car. She is just sitting there like a good little meowzer. She travels well and is the belle of lobby ball at the vet's office. She says she doesn't need no stinking box. She goes like a pug (in a harness and leash) and does a superb job. #CupidISaPug!
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
For the curious, here are snapshots from Henry's MRI. The area I circled in red is the spot of the hemorrhage. In the picture of the scan you can also see two other, much smaller black areas. Those are also small hemorrhage areas.
The area highlighted in red, also has some inflammation around it. You can see the inflammation in a different view. The white area is a bit of swelling which indicates that the hemorrhage is fairly recent. With time, the inflammation should subside.
Despite these scary images, Henry seems to be doing OK. So far, Henry has not had any more seizures since Thursday. Which is so relieving, but we are still a bit on edge and are watching him ever so closely. His vision does seem to have taken a turn for the worst, but we are working with him on that. We are so very lucky that Henry has weathered yet another storm!
Monday, December 8, 2014
Last Thursday, Henry gave us quite a scare. I was working from home and Henry was in my office snoozing away when he woke up with a start. He stood straight up and his face was twitching a bit. Thinking he was dreaming or something, I gave him a quick pat on the head and that seemed to snap him out of it. He promptly laid back down and went back to sleep.
A little later, I gave him his breakfast (it was an early start to the day for me). He was happy about that and came back into my office and went back to sleep. About an hour later, he got up and threw up.
Henry settled pretty easily after throwing up, but about an hour later he woke suddenly with the same facial twitches. This time, I knew something was not right and off to the vet we went.
They gave Henry an anti nausea shot and no one was really sure what to make of the facial twitching. Looking back, I also did not describe his facial twitching well at the vet. I described it more as a teeth chattering, which it clearing was not.
Henry acted like his normal self while at the vet and seemed fine when we got home. I went back to work and he settled once again at my feet under my desk. Once again he awoke with a start and had another episode of the weird facial twitches. By this time, I was on high alert and worried. But, Henry quickly settled and went right back to sleep. About an hour later, Henry woke up and had more facial twitches, but this time he went into full seizure that lasted 2-3 minutes.
I was pretty panicked by the situation. I have no experience with seizures in dogs or humans for that matter. I got Henry on his side and made sure he was safe in his surroundings. When Henry came out of the seizure, he could walk and seemed to have all of his functions. He was panicked and started to frantically pace about the house.
Once I felt like Henry was stable, we immediately left for the vet. Once we got to the vet, Henry had a shot of an anti seizure med and our vet referred us to a veterinarian neurologist. We were also warned that given Henry's age and history of cancer that a brain tumor was a high possibility. Luckily, our vet was able to get us an appointment with the neurologist the next morning. So we didn't have too long to worry about all the possible reasons that Henry suddenly started having seizures.
But even though the appointment was a mere 18 hours away we still had to worry about Henry having more seizures. After all, he had 3 petite seizures and one grand mal seizure in the course of 4 hours already that day.
Henry was well medicated when we left the vet and did well for the rest of the night. He did not have any more seizures before we made it to the neurologist about 90 miles away.
When we met with the neurologist, he suggested that the only way to really know what was going on was to have an MRI done on Henry's brain. If we didn't want to do that, we could start a general course of treatment, but if we figured out what exactly what the cause was we might be able to provide better treatment.
A brain tumor seemed to be the most likely thing. It could be metastasis from his renal cancer or a completely different tumor all together. Wanting to know exactly what we are up against we decided to have the MRI done. And I am very glad we did. It turns out it is not a brain tumor. It looks like Henry had a brain hemorrhage. A brain hemorrhage is by no means good news, but it is better than a brain tumor. There is a lot more uncertainty with a brain hemorrhage. What caused it? Will he have another one? We don't know with 100% certainty the answers to any of those questions.
The most likely cause for the hemorrhage is high blood pressure. We adjusted Henry's meds in hopes that that will help and we also put him on an anti seizure medication. We don't really know what the future will hold at this point. Will he keep having seizures? Will he have another hemorrhage? We were very lucky that his first hemorrhage happened in a part of the brain "that basically does nothing" to quote the neurologist. Had it happened in a different part of the brain or if it does happen in a different part of the brain we could have a very different outcome.
In the meantime, we are trying to make every day a great day for Henry. Just making him feel loved and happy.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Since the passing of Benjamin and Luna, Henry has terrible separation anxiety. Like bad. Like it's been weeks since the humans have left the house together sans Henry bad. Ok, so that is an exaggeration, but barely. Henry is ok for the weekday routine. He knows the deal there and manages pretty well. It's the weekends where he kind of spirals out of control. When the routine is not at all like a weekday. He knows we sleep a little later, wear different, more relaxing clothes, spend a more relaxed time at the breakfast table (no rushy rushy) and he knows that he can go MOST places. But it's those OTHER places where he cannot go and when we have to leave him at home where he melts like a snowman in July.
Whether you are "pro crate" or "anti crate" it is important to know that the boys learned to enjoy their crates as puppies. And this was more for their own safety than anything. While we puppy proofed our home, there would still be things that we would not have been able to keep them from had they not been crated. And from mere weeks old, they learned to know their crate as a safe, happy place. And throughout most of their lives, the boys had shared a crate.
Anyway, leaving Henry home alone while we do things together, like grocery shop, run errands, go to the gym, etc has become extremely hard. And there have only been a handful of times over the last couple of months when we have been able to have people time away from the house. Alone. And those couple of times did not turn out very well. With the new crate cam, we have spied on him to see how he's faring. And often, it is not good and we rush home to a worked up pug panting for the return of his people pack.
The latest solution has been to treat Saturdays like a work day. Oy! That means being up bright and early and planning our trip away from home so that it is as similar to a weekday as possible. This did work for the first time last weekend. While Henry did become suspicious since we were more casually dressed and he does know the Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday days better than Monday-Wednesday days, we did manage to fool him. But he did ponder it for a little while and although he almost fully imploded, he did manage to settle himself and it all worked out.
Of course, getting another dog has been suggested and considered, but Henry, we feel, like us, just wants his OLD dogs back. And they are not coming back. We would more strongly consider another dog IF we knew it would help him. But there is no guarantee. And then we'd really have a tough time. Plus, what age dog would we even get? A puppy? No way. Even WE are getting too old to enjoy a puppy! A 5 year old? Hmmm....a dog old enough to have any number of bad habits or various anxiety issues of his or her own. One which Henry and new dog could feed their angst off of? No thanks. A laid back older dog? Maybe. We would do anything for Henry if it helped him feel better. But, when we are out, Henry shows absolutely no interest in any other dogs. Big, small, pug, non pug, he simply does not pay any attention to them.
For now, we will continue to manage Henry's needs as best we can. We have Grammy pugsitting 4 days a week already so we really don't want to burn her out and we can schedule one weekend day to be predominately a stay home day where worst case scenario, the humans take turns running errands while Henry still has one of us there. At least that is the good thing! Henry is ok with either one of his people there. They don't both have to be there! (Luna was a little more specific. She did have a favorite person. So we are lucky that Henry is more easy going in that regard.)
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Henry, just hanging out with Benny and Luna.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
We wanted to share the latest in Henry's health adventures. Since Henry stopped chemo, the plan to monitor his cancer status included a chest xray and sonogram of his internal organs every 3 months. That would mean that around the week before Christmas, Henry would be due for these tests. We had noticed, though, that his eye had been getting a little more cloudy as of recent so we took him in a little earlier than scheduled for his follow up at the eye vet. The eye vet confirmed that his cataract had indeed grown a bit since his last visit. And she was no longer able to see Henry's retina through or around the cataract. With that said, Henry's eye pressure was good, which meant no Glaucoma.
While at the eye vet we discussed the decline of Henry's vision. We have noticed that he is having a lot more difficulty with "transitional" vision. This is vision between different types of lighting. Going from the bright sunshine into a dimly lit home (in comparison to full sun). Or from a dark outside (post sunset) to a well lit home. These scenarios have proven to be a challenge for him. We have also noticed that he is bumping into things (furniture, doorways, stop signs, etc) and that if the light is not just right that he can have trouble staying on the sidewalk.
Anyway, we discussed this with our eye vet. After much consideration, we opted to go the route of cataract surgery for him. We had him tested to see if he was a good candidate for this surgery and he was. The decision to proceed with this was extremely difficult. We realize that this would be considered an elective surgery and we know how much he has been through since March. Nonetheless, we felt that this would be a huge quality of life issue that Henry would vastly benefit from. (He has had some behavior issues since losing Benjamin and Luna--separation anxiety type things--and he becomes increasing nervous if he cannot find his people especially when he is searching for them. He becomes borderline frantic when he cannot spot them quickly.) Right after that, we wanted to be sure that he was cancer free before we actually moved forward with the surgery, so we bumped up his xray/sono appointment about a month early to be sure he was really in tip top condition. Although, sadly (and to our dismay) our vet will never actually consider him "cancer free" his chest xray came back clear (and the sonogram was bumped back to December).
We promised Henry that the cataract surgery would be the last time he would have to "go under" and that it would all be for the greater good. Then the monkey wrench came. The eye vet called and asked some follow up questions. She asked how long it had been since Henry had had his last dental cleaning. And the truth of the matter is that we legitimately cannot remember. Ben & Luna had frequent dentals since their teeth were problematic. Henry, on the other hand, needed his teeth cleaned much less often. So, we told the vet that it had been at least 5-7 years since this had been done. Apparently, without a fresh clean mouth, this risks of a cataract surgery are greater. (Something about the mouth saliva having a high bacteria content and being linked to eye moisture thus a greater chance for an infection.) So, we had to weigh our options. Have Henry get his teeth cleaned and then 2 or more weeks later, get cataract surgery. Or don't have his teeth cleaned and put him in a higher risk category for infection post cataract surgery. Or do neither the dental nor the cataract surgery and watch him go blind slowly. Can you say SOPHIE'S CHOICE?
We are now opting for the last choice. No dental. No cataract removal. Hoping that his eyesight holds out and that we can work hard now on teaching him skills that he may need in the future. This was not an easy decision to come to initially (before we even had the news that a dental was recommended) but then with the addition of a dental cleaning it became nearly impossible. It was truly a struggle. Still not an answer we love but we have to get a peace with it. We knew that cataract surgery alone was not without risk, but compound the whole thing with the need for a dental, too. That was just too much. And we had already promised him the eye thing would be his LAST GO UNDER.
So, we are doing everything we can to ensure that he is comfortable and working with him to prepare him in case he loses his sight altogether. The main issue is that Henry also does not hear that well, so he really has to focus on listening and trying to place where the sounds are coming from and not panic when he cannot immediately decipher where the noises originate from. He's getting there but it is a process.
The silver lining to all this is that our general vet shared that he thought Henry looked the best he has seen in the last 2 years! So, that is pretty cool! Go Henry! #HenryStrong #TeamHenry
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Looking forward to your captions in the comments.
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