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View Full Version : Ella needing another MRI. Please Help



anniemac
27th July 2010, 11:37 PM
I don't think I posted this yet because it has been weighing on me at the back of my mind. I have not been wanting to face what her neurologist told me a couple of months ago about doing another MRI for Ella in August. Now that August is approaching, I feel sick. I am meeting with him tomorrow because he is wonderful and will give her an office visit and acupuncture for $37.50. Just to have acupuncture with him is $75.00. He is a top neurologist but knows my situation and feels for Ella. When I mentioned a few things and after he did an exam the last time he told me he wanted to have Ella get another MRI. Of course I told him I could not afford it, and he said he would do it for free.

I have noticed some things that I just don't want to mention because there are the good times also, but she also has some symptoms that I knew would never go away. I knew she would always scratch or something but now it seems more frequent and when we walk she has to stop. She has been doing the past couple of day the thing that I hate the most- Shake her head. I know this seems little to most people because she is not whelping but to me its steps to the unknown. So she is laying on the floor now, under the tables. Just like before it makes me feel like. There was one bad day she would not run after a ball. All those things take me back in time to that horrible day when I found out she had a severe case of Syringomyelia that was progressing pretty fast. Like it seems to be doing these past couple of days.

I know I've been through this before and I am rambling but I'm really scared. What good would it do to have another MRI? I can't afford to have another surgery. I'm still dealing with the last one. Does it even matter how severe it has become as far as medication? I would think not. It would just depend on how the dog reacts to the medication. So it seems like it could just cause me pain and I know I will not be able to handle that. Ella probably has many more years left, it is just so scary when these symptoms come on so fast again and not just one day.:cry*ing:

Margaret C
28th July 2010, 01:07 AM
I do understand. I know you must be very scared. You have tried so hard for Ella.

Forgive me for being blunt, but I think I am only about to say what you already know deep inside. We all find it difficult to face up to what is happening. We all want to deny that things are changing and perhaps getting worse.

Ella's comfort has to be your main focus. She only has you to interpret how she is feeling. If you suspect her symptoms are getting worse then that is an issue that you need to face.

Your neurologist will perhaps be wanting to see how successful, or not, the operation has been, and that would help his knowledge, but you don't need to have the MRI done if you don't want to.
If you feel that it may be something that is distressing for Ella, for no gain to her, then that is reason to say no.
If your reluctance is because you do not want to see for sure if the SM has continued to progress despite the operation, then that is also a perfectly valid reason to refuse the offer.

But it sounds as if you do need to accept that she is not doing so well at the moment, and look again at her medication.

Hopefully these few bad days will prove to be a temporary blip, but people like us, owners of SM dogs, know in our heart of hearts that that there is likely to be a gradual deterioration.

All we can do is allow ourselves to see what is happening and do our best for our dogs.

I am thinking of you and Ella.

anniemac
28th July 2010, 01:15 AM
Right after I wrote this maybe an hour later it started to storm. Sm and weather changes do not mix and its been doing a lot of that recently. I apologize but I will admit I am very emotional person. People say I feel bad when someone else does, but that's how I am and all my feelings come out so anyone with a cavalier with sm its not the end of the world. Each dog is different and special in their own way. I think I was being selfish because I'm scared and I need strength. She is doing so much better and how great an opportunity this is to see the results of any changes, I might have to be a little loopy j/k but I know that God gave her to me and he will not give me anything I can not handle,

Karlin
28th July 2010, 03:31 AM
I can understand how difficult and emotional this is -- and how hard it is to know what to do.

I would absolutely echo what Margaret has said. There are many things that might influence whether you get an MRI or feel you want to know the result. But it is very important to do whatever is needed in terms of adjusting meds to meet her discomfort/pain needs. I think many of us with SM dogs have been reluctant at some point to raise meds levels because this forces us to acknowledge our dogs are not remaining stable but are having more problems -- even though we all understand this is a progressive condition for most dogs that start to show symptoms. But the dogs only have us to rely on to make sure their medication matches their needs, as Margaret says. In some cases we might also dislike medications and wish to minimise them. But again I feel really strongly that we have a special responsibility to meet our dogs' needs, and work to remove that pain burden as best we can for them.

All that said: if I were able to have a free MRI I personally would do it if it was not a burden for my dog. You should be able to ask your neurologist not to tell you the result but to use that information to help shape whatever medication route he wishes to take with Ella, and to help with his own understanding of the condition, if you do not want to know the details yourself.

Also: I can't remember how long ago Ella had her surgery but I know a lot of people who had ups and downs in the months after the surgery. And many, many dogs -- perhaps most -- need to remain on some pain management for life. So it wouldn't be too unusual to need to adjust medications.

I hope you find that Ella can be made a little more comfortable fairly easily. :flwr:

Storms and weather shifts definitely can make them more uncomfortable. I sometimes give Leo a little extra painkiller if weather is affecting him.

Karen and Ruby
28th July 2010, 08:28 PM
Im sorry little Ella isnt doing so well.

i also agree with what Margaret and Karlin said about being in a state of denial when it comes to our dogs.

Im not going to ramble on about my own experience as Ruby hasnt got severe SM, its moderate and she hasnt had surgery either. At the momment she is living as normal a life as is possible.

However I too had a scare last September where Ruby's symptoms seem to be getting worse and worse. I feared the worst at that stage so went back to the neurologist.

To cut a long story short, it was her meds that was causing the extreme symptoms and not a progression of the disease.

I supose all Im trying to say is that you never know until you ask and if it isnt a problem for Ella and the MRI will be free then I for one would jump at the chance and what will be will be.
There is nothing that we can do about what life has in store for us- I know that Ruby was bought to me for a reason and Im sure you feel the same about Ella. We cant change what is happening to us but we can learn from it and get strength from our little Fur babies.

They will let us know how they feel and we selflesssly have to deal with that, whatever it may be.

I hope that Ella is Ok and let us know what you decide.

Love and prayers to you both

anniemac
29th July 2010, 06:13 PM
Thank you so much for your responses and I think Karlin's idea about not wanting to get the results back is the best idea. I think sometimes I seem like I am in denial but that is because I am trying to stay positive maybe for other people and not really myself. I was not being honest because I know that each dog is different and I am scared to show all the bad when some can never develop any more symptoms. I was not being true and telling it how it is. To those that are around me in person sees a different side. I am constantly monitoring her progress and seeing things that others just are not. So everyone else will say how great Ella is doing and I see the signs that others do not. I think that I am truly not in denial, I know that she is doing much worse than she was. I see things and I really am in tune with her. I have been giving her extra gabapentin during times when she is not doing as great because I have talked to her neurologist about her concerns. But this is not about other people, it is about Ella. I think it is great that Ella's neurologist has used her (I think) for his own additional knowledge. He is a great neurologist and I am lucky to get to see him regularly with acupuncture but it is tough. You do have to adjust the medicine accordingly. I am lucky to be able to have regular contact and we are going to do another MRI. It is better to have that done and keep a check on things. A friend of mine even suggested to take notes of changes. We really have been having terrible weather and I talked to another owner of an SM Cavalier that said hers has been having a terrible time too.

I did know she would have to continue to be on medicine and I knew that surgery was not a cure, but it also was very scary to see some of the things she did right before she took a plunge for the worse. It was in a matter of days. She was not shaking her head but she started to so we adjusted her medication. I say these things but she also will go run after a bird and seem like she is fine the day before. The weather really does change her but I will adjust her medication when that happens.

I will keep you posted. Thanks for caring. I worry a lot about others. I did see things in Ella before her vet or anyone else did and demanded she get checked out by a neurologist when everyone said she was perfectly fine. I do know what is going on with her and I honestly don't want to face it. I don't think anyone does. We have to. Sometimes people would rather not know things because it is difficult and that is true. I do know that deep in my heart that Ella is sick. I do not want to know how long she has or just how bad it is. I do want to make sure she is on the right medication for her pain and I am taking care of her like I should. I want to know as much information as I can about anything and not just SM. I don't see the point of knowing how long she has (even though one I tried to ask her neurologist). As long as Ella is as comfortable and I am taking the best care of her that I can, that is all that matters.

Sorry for the long post, I just had a lot to think about. I always was going to get another MRI, but I was scared to know the results. Thanks to Karlin, I don't think I need to ask him. I need to be truthful and I see on here and talked to people, but I think there are always going to be adjustments in medications. Thank you so much for your honesty and I appreciate this forum for being there:luv:

*Pauline*
29th July 2010, 06:55 PM
Dear Ann, I just wanted to send a :hug: and tell you that your posts helped me today. Sometimes I think no one understands what it's like to cope with this when you are sensitive like you and I. I could relate to everything you said.

I take karlin's idea with regards to hearts too. I always say don't tell me till they need meds, which sounds like I don't care but in reality, my heart is pounding and I feel sick every time the stethoscope comes out.

Hang in there, be brave and PM me anytime you like, you're not on your own :flwr:

Love my Cavaliers
30th July 2010, 12:23 AM
I think that at Ella's post-op stage I would have had the MRI just to know if the disease was still progressing or if scar tissue had become an issue. Like you, I looked for every little change in Riley after surgery and I hated to let her out of my sight. I traveled everywhere with her since I thought no one else would be able to notice the subtle changes in her behavior that I would. Thankfully that changed for us (I hope it does for you) as we hit upon the right med and the right dosage. Slowly I was able to let go of hovering over her all the time and now I don't hesitate to leave her when I travel. It certainly makes my hubby happier!! But, I was in the neurologist's office close to once a month/every two months for almost the entire first year after surgery.

The thing is Anne that you know your dog best and you when there are subtle differences in her behavior. Everyone else can tell you how great Ella looks or is acting but they don't live with her - you do. If you think something is not right, if you think she is in pain, listen to your intuition and call your neurologist. It may be that you need to play around with different medications or the dosages. The MRI may give your neurologist information upon which to make a better evaluation of a new treatment plan. Thinking of you.

Holly
31st July 2010, 03:29 PM
Hi Anne! Good luck with your decision. I definitely think if you are being offered a free MRI you should take advantage of that as they are sooo expensive here and you may not get that opportunity again. Ask not to be told the results, but let the neuro use it to decide which direction to take with her meds.

As for the weather-- I think my SM girl is (unforunately) better than any weatherman on TV. I know if she is having a difficult time, bad weather is probably rolling in -- always at night. If I know that a storm is coming, I add Tramadol to her regime. I also give her Tramadol before bathing her, as that also sets her off. I try to anticipate what will cause her difficulty and adjust her meds accordingly. Pat B was kind enough to watch her for me while I was away (and had her spay surgery done at that time-- Thank you, Pat!!). When I went to pck her up, she was soooo excited to see me. We gave her a Tramadol then, too, because the extra stimulation was causing her symptoms to be more pronounced.

Let us know how it goes.

Tania
31st July 2010, 09:50 PM
I can't add anything that has been said before. However, I believe the weather and changes in atmospheric pressure plays a big part in how our sm dogs feel. I personally would go for another mri scan, this will determine the way forward. Try and stay brave and strong for sweet Ella, you have come so far and done so much for her, she needs your strength and will be able to sense your are upset. We l send you lots of hugs and best wishes...:hug:

anniemac
16th August 2010, 05:37 PM
I called Dr. Brofmann to see if he was willing to do another MRI for Ella. He had mentioned this in June and said he would do it for free so I am hoping he did not forget. I think it is better to know so I can have an action plan. After reading all of these recent posts about relapse from Dr. Dewey, I have been a little upset. I know that it is something that I need to prepare for but you hate thinking of your dog as a number or case study. I don't know, I just hate this thing and each time someone on the forum puts a post about their dog being diagnosed it is devastating.

Anyway, even though I don't want to think of the science and numbers, I do think it is important right now. Do you think 6 months is a good time to do another MRI after surgery? Reading some of the reports it talks about some getting worse within a year and if I knew sooner than later, then maybe I could do something about it. I don't know what but either way, I would like to know what I have to battle.

Now on a lighter note, if her MRI comes back and she has made great progress, then I am going to figure out how to through the biggest, baddest, online celebration party. After saying that it does not seem right since there are so many that have no reason to celebrate.

Furrfoot
16th August 2010, 06:02 PM
I will say a prayer that you get the free mri and that it comes back with good news! As someone with a chronic and progressive disease myself, I can say that most of the people I know who also have it are willing to rejoice with others when there is progress made in the good direction, instead of the bad. Sure, there is some "it would be nice if that was me", too, that's normal, but for anyone to be relieved of any degree of suffering for a disease (especially that you are intimately aquainted with) is a reason to celebrate, and to encourage hope for those just starting out on a journey that no one wants to take. :l*v:

anniemac
17th August 2010, 04:55 PM
Ella is scheduled for her MRI September 1st. I am scared of the news so I may need some support but maybe I will be surprised.

gyoselyn
17th August 2010, 06:01 PM
Good luck Anne! I hope for the best for Ella :xfngr: Let me know if I can help in any way :o