+ we call this look of hers ‘the angry old lady face’. I kid you not, she makes this face when she’s unhappy about something. naturally, it’s one of our favorite things ever.
well, it’s been a long month I’ll say that much.
four weeks ago we had a massive set back. after adjusting her meds (which we have to do, because the high dose of drugs isn’t safe for her to be on long term), her drug levels fell below a ‘therapeutic level’. just the slightest tweak in meds sent us back to the ER vet. we had gone 6 weeks with no seizures whatsoever, and that feeling of success just slipped right out of our hands. it was day one all over again – massive cluster seizures, completely disorientated, plowing into furniture, mentally spaced out…PDE at its worst essentially.
I’m going to be blunt and tell you we almost put her down. being back in the ER vet was awful. the last thing I want to do is continuously put her through the torture of being in a tiny terrifying cage in emergency care. but the hardest part about the disease (other than it being terminal) is that she is emotionally there, and physically can still get around. you always think that the day you put your animal down is because they’re 10+ years old and suffering. not one year of age and seemingly okay when the medication is doing its job. with PDE the suffering isn’t entirely physical – it’s a slow decline with constant rotation of medication, side effects, and the aftermath of seizure activity.
after an overnight at the ER, we made the decision to bring her home. we figured at that point, there wasn’t anything they were doing that we couldn’t do ourselves. we were also turning to fate a bit. she was either going to make the turn around at home with the medication, or she would continue to seize and we would put her down. this disease is terminal, and we are forcing ourselves to think long term. it was a difficult moment for my husband and I, but we knew it was time to draw a line in the sand.
when we brought her home she struggled. she had lost virtually all of her vision, was physically weak, and completely drugged out. we ended up having to move all of our furniture, pad walls with pillows, and barricade off portions of the house until she could figure out where she was again. we had a strict regiment of drugs, and syringes other medication on hand in the case she starting having grand mals again. I was happy she was home, but emotionally we were a wreck. watching her aimlessly pace around our house, not know who we were, totally confused, had us thinking the worst…
48 hours later (in true Lola fashion) – she was making a total turn around. 14 days later, she was back to the progress we had made the month prior. this past week however, we’ve had some ups and downs, with some spotted seizure activity. at this point we can’t forecast anything or try to assume patterns in her seizures or behavior. there are good days and bad days – we tackle them as needed.
that line is still drawn in the sand for my husband and I. because of her diagnosis, we know she won’t live a full life. at this point, we want to make what short life she does have, as quality as possible. long story short – no more trips to the emergency vet. we will continue to see her neurologist as usual, and attempt to treat with medication – but the next major ‘blip’ or set back she has, we know what we have to do…
it’s difficult and terribly frustrating. there are days where I want to just pull my hair out because of the amount of work we put into caring for her (our life and schedules completely revolve around this pug). other days I’m straight up pissed because I see someone with a dog and jealous rage takes over thinking – “that dog owner will get a full life with their companion, and we won’t“. then there are days where I can’t help but fight back the fucking tears, because Lola is just the absolutely sweetest and I hate that one day I’ll be making a heartbreaking decision to let her go.
later today we have a big follow up appointment with the neurologist, the first since her major set back. only time will tell at this point, so I’m hoping for more good days than bad.