Life after epilepsy

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Life after epilepsy

Post by SpencerBhumi » Mon Aug 27, 2018 10:05 pm

It is a year now since Spencer died. He was the last of our four pets to leave us (all of them within a year) so this last 12 months has been a quiet pet-free recovery for us.

Many years ago my plan was to buy Spencer’s mum after she had weaned her pups.
During our visits Spencer made himself known to us, endearingly invading our hearts, and he came home with us too. Mother & son were a treat to own. At age 4.5 years he developed idiopathic epilepsy and we struggled for another 7 years chasing this disease: in one way or another you all understand what that is like. His breeder, a responsible & caring breeder, was as grieved as us to hear of Spencer’s struggles and she offered to give us a new dog when spencer died.

What do I not miss about having pets (and especially an epi-dog)…? NOT!
Not having to vacuum and mop daily. Not having to wash pet bedding daily. Not being tied to a strict twice daily medication routine. Not refilling the water bucket many times a day. Not handing out thousands of dollars in health care where it could be better enjoyed. Not not-sleeping properly for 7 years and stirring to the slightest suspicious epi-dog noise. Not watching a beautiful creature stumbling around between ‘drugged-up and post ictal’. Not watching over his shoulder for any and every potential trigger that is going to set him back.
Whilst we have had a refreshing break I really have missed the pets!
I do not miss epilepsy for a second but I have not forgotten it. And I have not walked away from it unscathed.

The breeder recently contacted me and offered me another dog that she was unable to keep.
With 5.5yo Hudson rehomed we are now a pet house again! So it is back to vacuuming, feeding, toileting, exercising, training, and all the fun stuff you do with a healthy pet: slobbery kisses, nudging the lead for a walk, faithfully at one’s side at all times, eager to learn new tricks, eager to receive training treats, a couch buddy (…so looking forward to camping and the summer beaches).

Seven years of canine epilepsy with Spencer affected me.
My ears prick at the slightest sound of scrabbling feet (a normal dog just getting up off the floor). I watch patiently at the lightly twitching legs of Hudson dreaming. My slumber is easily disturbed by the humph of a sleeping dog just repositioning himself. I wait patiently for a glazed stare to pass (after the distant sound of a cat fight diminishes). I wonder if this normal dog is actually drinking enough water and why he doesn’t frequently flood the bedding.
I can still vividly see the sad emptiness & longing in Spencer’s face as he swaggered around in his drug induced stupor, with his never satisfied drug induced hunger. His ‘special’ affection & longing for company will always be with me.

My thoughts still go out to all of you epi-dog carers. It grieves me every time I read of a new member coming to join this group, and my memory & feelings are pricked with every lament raised on this forum.
Where I can, I will still try to help you – where I can’t, know that I am keeping you in my prayers.

I would like to publicly acknowledge how much Lynne has helped me over the years. Lynne’s wise & patient replies to us all helped me a great deal, and Lynne continues to inspire me even after the death of our dogs. There are many other members I wish to thank (too many to list) who have also encouraged me but I would like to thank Vivian, Colleen & Eley’s Mom for your good support condolences. (We have not heard from Barb in many years but my appreciation is extended to her too for all of her love and wisdom to us in my early years here).

Epilepsy sucks! This forum is great – it is you members who make it so great! Thank you everyone.
Continue to care for one another and continue to be loving and patient with your epi-dogs.

Grateful for the good days, weeks (months).
In memory of Spencer 7-12-05 – 22-8-17

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Re: Life after epilepsy

Post by jaragr » Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:09 pm

We are the same way. Every time our Jack is just getting comfy we are watching him like a hawk. Every bump in the night we're listening. A good nights sleep doesn't come very often. This dog is our life - we never leave overnight, we don't take vacations. We have other pets too, so we prefer to be home with them. All the dogs are old, but we cherish every day with them.

GentleJacob's Mom
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:05 am

Re: Life after epilepsy

Post by GentleJacob's Mom » Wed Aug 29, 2018 9:15 am

Hi Trevor,
First thank you so much for your kind words. Everyone here, definitely including you, inspired me and gave the strength to get up every morning and fight for Jake for over 11 years. I will never forget the comfort, guidance and friendships I found here. After Jake died it continued. I don't think most here realize how just coming here and helping when I can has helped me to heal somehow. Maybe it's because it keeps him with me just a little longer.
I knew Jake was slowing down and I knew in my gut this disease most likely was going to take him in the end and I tried to prepare myself as much as I could. But not even I knew the level of grief I was going to face. It has been one of the hardest years of my life without him. I had to focus on our surviving dog Chaco because she fell into a grief I'd never seen in a dog before and we were so afraid we were going to lose her. We've lost animals over the years but I didn't know what to do for her. Little by little she and I and our other furkids learned to exist all over again without Jake and eventually we adopted another dog. Of course our kiddos hated him at first because they were so used to laid back, take it as it comes, Jake. Bodhi was a very very scared, abused dog that needed a home right away so we took the leap. We've had some serious hurdles, but now you would never know he's the same dog. I tell everyone the Tao of Jake is alive and well here.
Like you, every sound, scratch, or tremble alerts me, and when Bodhi doesn't wake up right away, or has dreams I hold my breath. I'm not sure that will ever leave me. I heard something yesterday that really stuck with me. Even when you hit a moment of grief and you feel overwhelmed, like it won't go away, remember it's a moment, and look to those around you to create another one to help pull you through.
I've held onto the fact that Jake doesn't have to fight this disgusting disease anymore, how much he made me a better and stronger person, and I do my very best to honor the very special spirit he was and feel so honored to have had him.
I think of all of you every day and hope so much that sooner rather than later we'll all hear that there's been a breakthrough in canine epilepsy that will take this disease down where it belongs.

My very best to all of you,

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Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:42 pm
Location: Oklahoma

Re: Life after epilepsy

Post by ShilohsMom » Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:16 am

Oh Spencer, thank you for the kind words and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't wiping a tear (or two) from my eyes. I have always appreciated your sound advice and support. I'm so happy that you have found another dog to love and that will love you. I pray that you will have many happy and healthy years together.

Like you and Lynne, I still have that little part of me that is on guard at the slightest noise or odd behavior. After 2 1/2 years it has become more subtle but it's still there. While I wouldn't wish epilepsy on anyone I do think there were things it taught me and feel that I'm a better doggie mom/person because of it. It taught me to be more patient and understanding. It taught me you can't have too many carpet cleaners :D It taught me to take each good day as a blessing and to appreciate what I do have while I have it. It taught me that I'm much stronger than what I gave myself credit for. It also gave me a new friend and people who I became connected to through our common need to give & receive support. But most of all it taught me a truer meaning of unconditional love.
Colleen, Rylie, Sophie & angels Izzie & Shiloh
DOB: 11/11/05
First seizure: 07/28//10
Last seizure: 06/27/16

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Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2018 9:59 pm

Re: Life after epilepsy

Post by xxcesarxx » Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:55 pm

I read this post, stopped reading only to cry for minutes. I miss my baby, i think about him everyday and I ask God to take care of him, I know he's up there waiting for me.

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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:45 am
Location: Northern Negev, Israel

Re: Life after epilepsy

Post by Orli » Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:36 am

Is there life after epilepsy? Yes and no. 1 April 2011 my Pereg had her first GM, Four years to the date on 1 April 2015 she had her last GM and my wonderful vet came at 1am to give her peace. She was only six-years and three-months old.

I could not bear to be without "My little dog, a heartbeat at my feet" [Edith Wharton] so I had - needed another heartbeat, and she was born just a few weeks later. She was named even before I knew she had been born - TIKVA - which means Hope. Hope that the Monster would never come back. Pereg was a rescue puppy of no known origin so there was no way of knowing that epilepsy was in her background.

Tikva is a cross - Dachshund dam and Minpin sire - accidental mating. And both breeds have the Monster as known health problems. She is now three-years and nine-months old, but I still hope and pray that the Monster will never visit her.

But I am still on seizure watch. The slightest sound, even if she moves in her sleep, wakes me at night. Even during the day I am still on seizure watch and my heart leaps, ready to go to her. It is only very recently that I sometimes forget and call her Pereg and not Tikva. And the freezer I bought for Pereg's meat I still call Pereg's freezer although of course what is in it now is for Tikva.

I still use Pereg's picture as my avatar on the dog forum to which I belong. I had a hand-drawn graphic picture of her, done from photographs, which is framed and on my wall. Done in black an white but her special tag "I Have Epilepsy" was drawn in colour, with all details on the back.

None of us can ever forget, of miss, our epi dogs. They were our life as long as they were with us. That alarm clock going off three times a day for Pereg's meds - long thrown out now but those hours are fixed in my mind. 7am - 3pm - 11pm. 65mg Pb TID for a not very big girl. And three-monthly blood tests...

I loved Pereg and I miss her and I am convinced she sent Tikva to me. And oh how I love Tikva, who came to me when she was three-weeks-old and had to be bottle fed every few hours day and night. But just as that alarm clock made sure I gave Pereg her meds [and cleaned up after she had a GM], so Tikva's eep eep when she wanted a bottle, I had a reason to get up each morning.

Maybe what I will say now might help someone. I am old, disabled and wheelchair-bound. But looking after a severely epi dog not only gave me a reason to get up, but a reason for living. And almost before I was able to throw that alarm clock away, Tikva gave me a reason to get up and a reason for living.

Pereg loved life but the Monster took it from her and I know that she is in peace. There was nothing I, or my wonderful Vet, could do to help her any more. And every night when I say my prayers, I remember my beloved epi girl, and pray that the Monster never visits Tikva.

So yes, there is life after epilepsy.

The love I have for Pereg
And the love she has for me
Keep me going

Life without her would be easier
But then
It would be
So boring

GentleJacob's Mom
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:05 am

Re: Life after epilepsy

Post by GentleJacob's Mom » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:39 pm

Hi Orli,
I'm so glad you posted. I've thought of you many times and wondered how you are. I remember you and Pereg and how hard you fought for her. I do hope you know you did everything you could for her.
I do share the pain of losing such a special dog. We also have adopted another dog who needed us and he's filled our lives with his goofiness and love but I still miss Jake so much. He was our calm. When the other furkids would get out of control all he had to do was walk into the room and somehow they calmed down. I didn't realize it until after he was gone, but it seems he was helping me out all along. This pain we share comes and goes doesn't it? For some reason for the last few days it's come back again, but I know it will pass and most likely because of something goofy our new pup is doing.
I don't think the sounds of seizures ever leave us, but I have noticed when I wake up and realize that everything is okay, that is when I'm so thankful that Jake doesn't have to fight this anymore.
I'm so happy that your Tikva is bringing you so much joy. You have earned that. I really do understand naming a puppy before you find them. I had a dog named Kiva that I named before I met her. Kiva's are places of worship for Native Americans and the name fit her perfectly.
I do hope you're doing well. Thank you for sharing with us how you are doing and I hope you and Tikva continue to have a happy life together.
Please take care,

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