I was inspired to write this blog so that other people struggling the way I have can see that they are not alone. So, this is my story.
I love animals and I grew up with them. At some point or another in my life my family has had cats, dogs, rats, and various farm animals (including chickens, horses, goats, and sheep). It wasn’t until I got my first pet of my own, Pixie, that my love was tested. Keep in mind, when I got Pixie I was only 17 and now I’m 20.
I got Pixie as a puppy with my boyfriend, Brandon. She was given to us for free by a coworker whose dog unintentionally became pregnant and he couldn’t keep the puppies. There were no signs that she was anything but a happy, healthy puppy. For most of the first two years of her life, she was perfectly healthy; she like to play, run, be cuddled, etc. It wasn’t until January 14, 2013 (a little over a month before her second birthday) that we realized there was something wrong.
I keep my pets in my room with me when I sleep so it isn’t unusual to hear them (I also have a cat that we got as a kitten around six months after Pixie) rustling around during the night. This night was different, though. Around four o’clock in the morning, I heard some unusual activity from my dog who was over near my door. I wasn’t sure what I was hearing so I turned on the light to make sure everything was okay and I saw her thrashing around on the floor. She was stiff and her legs were shaking and her mouth was stuck open. She clearly wasn’t right and I panicked. I knew that she was having a seizure right off the bat but I had no idea what to do. I was terrified and crying and it took a combined effort of me, Brandon, my mother, and my sisters, to handle the situation.
Over the next few months she progressed from that single seizure to cluster seizures that have been extremely unresponsive to treatment. It only took about a month of care from her general vet before she had to be referred to a specialist at an emergency veterinary clinic about forty minutes to an hour away from home. I will go into more of the details later, but Pixie has had to be seriously hospitalized three times. The first time was because of a life threatening bone marrow deficiency caused by the Phenobarbital, the second was a foreign body removal surgery to remove an object she ate during a bad reaction to Topiramate, and the third is still going on. This third hospitalization has been her longest and it’s for seizure watch. A few days ago she had a tremendously bad seizure that resulted in cluster seizures for four days that we couldn’t stop without a significant amount of Diazepam (or Valium) and Propofol (an anesthetic drug). At this point we are waiting to see if the seizures have truly stopped before we can bring her home.
Ours has been a long, hard, and expensive journey with very little support. At every turn we have had people who legitimately know nothing about Pixie’s case, or even epilepsy in general, tell us that she needs to be put down and that she isn’t worth the trouble, time, and money that we have put into her. It has made me very angry and hurt on many occasions, especially since I’ve never asked for anyone’s opinion regarding whether or not she should be put down except her neurologist. This has made an already hard situation even harder and I know we are not the only ones who have been through this.
Tonight I have made the decision that I want to do what I can to help those who are struggling with a seizure condition and the uncertainty and emotional pain that comes along with it and this is only the first step. There is more to come.