31890505941_be890a0360_b2017 has been kind to us folks. I almost don’t want to post about anything because I don’t want to jinx it… but Jersey has been doing GREAT since cutting back on his pain meds.

For the first week of the year, we were giving him about 2/3 of his regular dosage. He seemed to be doing really well with that, so for the last couple of days we’ve cut it back to 1/2 of what he had been getting. The response from Jersey has been super positive, in that he’s shown no response at all. No spasms, no soreness, great energy levels and mood. He seems totally unaffected by the reduction of medication in his system.

We have even been able to relax his crate time significantly, allowing him to move around more. He’s now only in the crate/pen at bedtime. If we are home, he’s out in the house with us. If we are not home, he’s in the office with Oslo.

I am almost afraid to say it… but over all, he really seems like he’s back to his normal self!

My goal for January (assuming everything remains stable) is to have him off all meds by the end of the month. So far, that seems doable… But as always, we will follow Jersey’s lead and watch him closely for signs that he’s not ready. Things are looking really positive though, and I am SO thankful for that.

First post of 2017

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It’s a new year and a  new month!

Our Christmas tree is down, and all of our decorations are packed away for another year. It feels like to have our house back. The weather this week is cold cold cold, but sunny and bright. Oslo and Jersey have taken up some lovely spots of sun in the living room and are getting their suntans on.

Jersey is doing very well, and I am thinking that perhaps it’s time now to try again to cut back his medications again. Of course this fills me with dread and anxiety, but I know that it must be done eventually and is inevitable. Please cross your fingers that he responds well.

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Welcome 2017

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Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone!

I won’t lie– the end of 2016 was hard. Jersey’s health issues overshadowed basically anything good that happened, and coated everything with a thick layer of worry, stress, and anxiety. Things since Oct/Nov have been hard and exhausting.

My hope is that 2017 sees my fella continue to mend, and return back to his usual self. He has been doing really well these last couple of weeks and my fingers are tightly crossed that we continue in this direction. Is the worst behind us? I certainly hope so…  but I am cautiously optimistic.

Of course, I also hope for health for Oslo & our feline friend Xyla as well.

Oslo has been healthy as a little pig-shaped-ox for awhile now, and his most recent annual check up (in early December) got two thumbs up. He’s a sturdy & stable little guy. If my time with Frenchies has taught me anything it’s that their health situation can change drastically from one day to the next…. so every week, month, and YEAR that we manage to avoid some horrible crisis is something to be thankful for. And I am suuuuuuper thankful for Oslo’s health!

I haven’t mentioned it on here because this blog is about my dogs, and not my cat…. But in the spring of this year, our cat Xyla was diagnosed with a fairly large tumor in her abdomen. Unfortunately, it appeared to have also spread to one of her lungs. Because of the size of the tumour and the fact that it had already spread, our vet’s prognosis was not very good and surgery or chemo wasn’t a viable option. We thought that we would certainly lose her before the end of summer.

However, apparently this cat is completely indestructible. We changed her diet, and she has continued on as if nothing at all is wrong with her. She is one hell of a tough cookie!  Our plan is to let her live out whatever time she has left in peace and dignity, and spoil her rotten in the mean time. Initially we thought that she might only have weeks or months… but now it’s looking like she might outlive us all. So, naturally, I hope that 2017 gives us as much time as possible with our adorable, little tyrant… and that when (if?!) her time comes, we are able to do right by her.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

We had a great day. My inlaws came over to spend the day with us– we ate our faces off, and generally just enjoyed each other’s company. As usual the dogs were absolutely SPOILED by us, and our family members which warms my heart. These boys really love presents, and I love that anyone else would go out of their way to get a gift for my dogs.

I was a bit concerned about how Jersey would handle all the excitement, but he’s done very well today. We have given him lots of quiet time through out the day, but he has also had plenty of opportunity to enjoy his new toys and the visitors, too. Despite the excitement and being off his normal routine, he was comfortable and pain-free all day; truly was the best Christmas gift that we both could have asked for!

getting back on track

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I’m happy to report that Jersey has had a pretty good week. He has had two small spasms since my last update 10 days ago, but nothing in the last 7 days. His spirits are brighter, and he seems happy and comfortable.

We are being very militant about giving him his meds every 8 hours, as we definitely notice a change in his comfort level if we are even an hour late. We have also figured out a morning routine where we give him his morning dose at least 45 minutes before taking him out for his morning pee. This seems to manage any discomfort that would otherwise result from that first bit of daily activity. If we are very consistent about his pain medications, he is a MUCH happier boy (and I am a much less stressed & anxious  momma!)

In terms of his crate rest.. He’s not on strict crate rest, but we are going to great lengths to keep him as quiet and still as possible, while also allowing him some freedom. If there is any excitement going on in the house at all (visitors, pizza delivery, etc) he is put away in the quietest part of the house. We take him out only when we can really pay attention to him and make sure he doesn’t start running around and acting a’fool.

At this point I have no big plans to cut back his medications. We seem to have found a good groove, and I am terrified of messing with it and taking a whole bunch of giant steps back like we did last time. I know that eventually we will need to try cutting him back, to see how  he does… but not yet. Not yet.

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really hard week

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This past week was really rough.

As you know, through the last half of November Jersey had been doing really well, and we figured it was time to try weaning him off his medications. On Nov 30th (12 days ago) we cut those back by about 50%. Straight away he started having muscle (neck & shoulder) spasms again. Yikes! We took the hint, & immediately put him back on his regular dosage, on Dec 4th.

Trouble was, it took 5 or 6 days of being back on his regular dosage to get the spasms and pain under control again. Those 5-6 days were HARD. Mornings seemed to be the toughest time for him, and I was spending 15 minutes every day before work massaging his neck and helping him through a spasm.  Then I had to leave him in his crate, and just hope he was okay without me all day. It was horrible.

I’ve been emailing with his Neurologist who is concerned that Jersey is still in pain 7 weeks post surgery. Apparently this is not exactly normal, but not entirely unheard of either. Jersey just seems to be one of the unlucky ones… which, unfortunately, seems to be the story of my sweet boy’s life. He just can’t catch a break.

In an ideal world we could bring him back into the Specialist Vet to see his Neurology team again so they could rule out anything big. However, the clinic is an 8 hour drive away. 8 hours over several very snowy mountain passes. I am 7.5 months pregnant, and the journey is just not a safe one for me to make right now. Not to mention, both my husband and I are absolutely maxed out for time off work. I took a last-minute week off work to deal with his surgery last month, and doing it again could very well result in the loss of my job.

The good news is that the last 48 hours have been much better. We seem to have gotten ahead of his pain, and gotten it back under control. We’re hoping that this was just a bump in the road of his recovery, and that if we just keep him medicated and rested for a bit longer we’ll eventually be out of the woods. We will get him back in to see his neurologist as soon as we can… and my fingers are crossed that when that does happen, it will just be for a standard check up, and not for anything more serious.

I wish I had a crystal ball and knew what the future held. For now, I am just trying to do what’s best for this boy of mine, and keep him comfortable and relaxed.

not ready to be weaned off meds

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It has been a week since we started cutting back a bit on Jersey’s pain meds, and at this point it’s safe to conclude that he is NOT ready.

He went from having no neck spasms at all over two weeks, and being in great spirits, to having two of them in the last couple of days. The first spasm (two days ago) was quite small… and the second (this morning) was bigger and longer. He’s also lost the ‘pep in this step’ that he had regained, and is back to seeming sore and unhappy. This is super discouraging, and definitely breaks my heart.

Over all, he’s shown us that he’s still quite dependent on the medication (Gabapentin and Methocarbamol) for relief and stability and obviously isn’t ready for them to be cut back.

The recovery from this surgery has been significantly harder than I anticipated. With his incision all healed up, and the weight that he’d lost gained back, in many ways he looks like a totally normal dog. And when he’s feeling good, he seems normal too! But then he has bad days where he’s just so obviously not himself, and it’s a terrible reality check that we still have a  long way to go. In dark moments, I worry that we will never get back to normal and this will be the rest of his whole life…. but that is too awful to think about.