Friday, November 30, 2012

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's Presentation on TED

For anyone interested in learning more about the brain.. this is a great presentation by Jill Bolte Taylor on TED

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sit ups

Thanks to our AMAZING Pet Sitter, I got to take a 5 day vacation over the holiday.  She kept up Max's workout schedule and a few days ago I got a text that Max was sitting up like a normal dog!!!  When I got home last night, the whole gang came to greet me and Max was hanging out on the couch with Amanda.  I wasn't sure if he was going to recognize me or not, but he started kicking and pushing himself up when I came over and pet him!!!

His eye is looking much better too.  She has him eating 4 meals a day and he was getting plenty of fluids as well.   I think I need to adjust his cart so he's a little higher now. He did develop a blister in his inner thigh from wheeling around and kicking in his cart so much but it looks like he's ready to do some more work on sitting up on his own!!! So the next plan is working on sitting up, staying up and then moving into a standing position... it'll be a while but he's starting to regain more and more control of his body!  His eyes are also starting to track more and more and Amanda said he's enjoying sitting in the window and watching the other dogs play outside..  This morning when I was feeding him and Rex and #2 came in and started making noises he actually turned his head to look at them!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks for Giving...

It's been a wonderful Thanksgiving. We're fortunate that Mr. Max is getting a little stronger every day!  Today he went for a walk up at the park for the first time since May!!!  I finally figured out how to hook his Eddie's Wheels Cart up to Buster's old Pet Gear stroller and have it roll behind us until we got to a good place where Max could get out and practice walking.  He has been EXTREMELY frustrated the last few days with not being able to get up on his own. If he's not asleep and I move out of his sight he panics and starts to pant and kick and struggle and try and get up. The ER vet told me this would happen one night when I was visiting him in the hospital. She said as horrible as it may be- it's a REALLY GOOD sign that he's thinking, aware, and putting 2  and 2 together!

Max rolling across the field at the park

Max enjoying the sun
Max resting after a LONG roll at the park!   This cart has come in handy so many times with Buster, Buttercup and Max!!! Best Purchase!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Running Dog

Max has been working on those legs. He has them (all 4 of them) moving  in somewhat of a coordinated effort when he rolls and when he wants to walk. He's definitely getting stronger and more coordinated. The funny part is that his front legs, which have only had movement for a few weeks now, are much more coordinated than his back legs which he still keeps sticking under the back spoke of his rear left tire.  I don't know if he's still leaning when he gets tired because he's still used to having the feeding tube in or not.. But he DOES practice standing up straight in his cart.  We still need to work on getting him to stop knuckle walking on his left legs (front and back) the right side he's much better about placing them perfectly - but also could have something to do with his leaning and not wanting to put too much pressure on his legs just yet.  He does spend about 10 -30 minutes a day (at a time of his choosing) practicing standing up straight and holding his body weight on those legs. He's also practicing lifting and holding his head up as well (usually while eating dinner)

Today he did a bunch of laps around the house and a few outside on the deck.  Some with guidance, and some on his own..

Here's what Max has been up to lately:

Crazy Max Running down the hill in the back yard with his cart (He did need help stopping)

Max supervising the tree guys from inside while they removed the trees that fell during Hurricane Sandy

Max splashing around in the tub. He was like a baby when he realized he could make splashing noises with his feet! He kept doing it over and over again making more and more noise!  (Getting him and his cart out of there was a little bit of a BIG challenge!

I was at my desk and heard a loud crash and a big sigh... so I went to go see what was going on... Max, while doing his laps, crashed into the dishwasher nose first.  We'll be breaking out the orange cones in a few weeks for some drivers ed once he gets a little more practice under his belt. He still needs to work on that steering!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

CALGON... take me away!

So... what I've discovered... or at least what seems to be a pattern here.. is that when it rains Max has bad days and when it's sunny and crisp out, he has super fantastic days!   He had a very tough time after Hurricane Sandy, and a tough time during the Nor'easter, and the other day when it was raining he also seemed to not be doing well. But in between, when it's been nice and sunny out, he's been doing fantastic.

So fantastic that I need to run away and get a break!  I'm sure any parent of a to (as I write this he's peeing on the floor - it has not been a good day for carpets)... as I was saying.. I'm sure any parent of a toddler probably knows what I'm talking about.

So.. 2 nights ago, Max woke me up at 2AM.. panting and grunting and looked like he was just freaking out. He appeared to be badly dehydrated (I've clearly fixed that issue), He also was burning up. His ears were super hot and read, his nose was super hot, all 4 feet were burning hot as well. So I turned the AC on and cooled the house down to 65 (the rest of us were freezing) and put the fan on Max and then put him in his cart and started to try and get him to drink water.. He wasn't interested. I didn't know what to do so went back to the kitchen (aka the drawing board) and decided to put a few drops of my Vitamin B complex (non-alcoholic) into his water.. which turned it orange.  Came back and gave that a try (I know Vit B will flush through your system if there's excess) I also know it's good for your neurological system and your overall health too.. So went back to Max and he LOVED it!  - I managed to get about a cup of water in him (not on the floor) over the next hour and a half.. (yep.. not too much sleep that night). He also ate an extra can of food too.. I guess he figured, while we were up, we might as well have a snack.  He needed to put more weight on so all was good.. At 4:30 we finally got back in bed, only to wake up again at 6:45 when he had to go pee!

He had a great day that day... I was EXHAUSTED!  He took a bath and went swimming in it - wearing his life jacket.. He kicked his back legs, not sure what to do with his front legs.. (sorry no photos - need to find a water proof camera first).  When he got back on "land" he practiced using his front legs as he walked... they are still very stiff - but his right leg is being placed perfectly when he focuses.. The left one is dragged and doing some knuckle walking (this is also the one he's putting some weight on.. )

He had another great day yesterday.. but I could tell he was getting more and more frustrated that he can't do things.. His eyes are opening up wider and wider each day and becoming more and more clear, and every so often they are following what's going on and he's turning his head toward noises.  The ER nurse who was on duty when I first took Max home from the hospital told me that as he was getting stronger and more and more aware of what was going on and what he couldn't do, I'd start to see him panic, and I think that's what I'm beginning to see more of.

Max this AM after breakfast looking a lot like his normal old self

So flash forward to this morning.  Super Max ate a whole can of food within an hour, he practiced his kicking, drank some water,  took a nap with the cat and then took a ride into the family room, where he decided to work on using his front legs on his own. He did manage to move himself (sorry - can't find the camera with the video on it!!).. So I went over to help.. as I was watching him perfectly place his right left and working hard on the left front leg and trying to help him get more of his weight on his legs - he's relying on the cart a lot to hold him up vs. for balance (although sometimes he'll get frustrated or stuck and stand up with the cart on his hips and turn himself and go in a different direction).. as I was watching his front end.. and not his back end.. his back end decided to excrete a few poops.. which I stepped in... on the carpet..  (as I said earlier.. not a good day for carpets.. )   Max has always pooped on the run, so now is no different.. I just forgot to keep an eye out ... and now... we'll be getting a new carpet..

Then he decided it was time to try and roll over Rex who came to inspect the stink... A few days ago.. Rex had gotten in Max's way in the kitchen.. now Rex, you see, may have played a role in Max's current condition. About a week before Max had this bad seizure (the day before he had the small one) Rex PLOWED over Max on the street and bowled him over and Max his his head on the asphalt.  Max's neurologist thought the bleed was from an accident - which seems to work with the theory that Rex did it.. Anyway... I'm wondering if Max remembers this... The opportunity was ripe for him... Rex was right in front of him and I saw him wind up his legs and drive as hard as he could - faster and harder than I've EVER seen him push his cart, directly into Rex's side (Rex does like to get in the way A LOT).  Then he was on the hardwood, and he wound up and did it again, turning his cart just so he could hit Rex squarely again  - this time causing a bit of an injury, with Rex whimpering off and limping...   Yet another thing that makes be think Max is a little more with it these days and more aware of what's going on.

Max napping with Simba

Kind of a messy eater

Perhaps a bib is in order?

Taking a morning stroll on a cold fall day

Afternoon nap

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Put One Foot In Front of the Other....

Put one foot in front of the other.... and soon you'll be walking out the door!

From "Santa Clause is Coming To Town"

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking out the door

You never will get where you're going
If you never get up on your feet
Come on, there's a good tail wind blowing
A fast walking man is hard to beat

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking out the door

If you want to change your direction
If your time of life is at hand
Well don't be the rule be the exception
A good way to start is to stand

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you'll be walking out the door

If I want to change the reflection
I see in the mirror each morn
You mean that it's just my election
To vote for a chance to be reborn

Monday, November 5, 2012

That Hurricane Sandy....

So the last week has been a bit rough... Hurricane Sandy blew through and I don't know if it's because of the low barometric pressure, the fact that I missed one dose of Max's Keppra or a combination, or the stress of the storm but he ended up having a focal seizure.  The day after the storm hit I ran out in the morning to get some fencing (to keep the other dogs in after a tree crashed through the fence). When I got home, Max was in the same spot in the house that I found him when he was having the cluster seizure (needless to say he will no longer - ever - sit in that spot if I can help it.. a little superstitious)  His face was twitching - in particular his left eye kept blinking repeatedly...

I thought it was a full seizure, until I realized he was moving his arms and legs because he was trying to get up. If I pushed on a leg or arm, he'd push back, he would grunt, he was just all around irritated at the situation.  Having had a twitching eye myself (from eye strain) I can only imagine how frustrated he was.  I called his holistic vet and she came over to do acupuncture, and we decided to up his prednisone and keppra doses (at this point in the game we know what we're doing - normally I'd suggest calling your neurologist).  Once the focal twitching of the left eye stopped - we saw his eyes were circling.. Not a good sign. That meant there was some kind of pressure on his optic nerve or in his brain.. could be another bleed, a tumor, or related to the airpressure? or who knows - maybe just stress from the storm (we did have a tree fall 1 ft from the house (again)).

So.. his prednisone has been upped to the dose on the label, and his Keppra is right where it's always been. The circling has just about stopped but it's still there is a little. The first time his circling was bad it took about a week for it to go away - so in remembering that - we're ok.. but something is still going on (and I have to remember there's another storm approaching - another N'or Easter - if it does have anything to do with the barometric pressure..) I mention the barometric pressure because we know 4 other brain tumor dogs who were in the way of Sandy and ALL of them had seizures. I also know 2 kids who are prone to seizures in the way of Sandy and they also had seizures.  Who knows.. but something to consider.

The other thing I noticed was Max's gums were a little paler than normal. Pale gums can be a sign of pain (which could be from the circling or something else) or can be a sign of anemia or internal bleeding.  The last time Max had that bad cluster seizure his gums were paler than normal.. So... to combat that I upped his yunnan Biayo dose to 1-2 capsules / day ( I had him down to one every other day)

While we're still trying to combat and figure out what is going on with that part of his brain..  Max has started to use his front legs more and more to walk.  He's actually been able to start dragging them and putting them into the correct position when he's full of energy. Back legs he seems to prefer to knuckle walk right now - no matter how hard I try and work with him.. however if he's on the hardwood - he'll walk flat footed becasue he gets better traction..- go figure!

He has started to grunt when he wants to be picked up , or moved, or wants something - so something is going on in his brain where his speech - or noise maker function - is coming back slowly

And the most annoying thing that he's doing now.. if he doesn't want to eat, he will grit his teeth really tight and if you pry them open he WILL bite you and bite hard and grunt.. He is making it perfectly clear he will eat on his terms... He also has made it pretty clear he prefers sweet food to bitter or anything else for that matter, so I've discovered that if I add honey to his food he's more likely to eat it (honey does have some good properties - natural antibiotic)

Anyway - Max is definitely more cognitive than he has been .  He's doing some problem solving which is all good..   We just have to figure out what caused the googly eyes and see if there's a way to stop it and keep it from happening again... (which probably requires another MRI.. )

Anyway - that is the latest from Max land.. I have some videos I"m going to need to get up shortly for your viewing pleasure. I did not take any of his googly eyes - which looking back - I should have for others dealing with this.. but I really didn't want to face what could potentially be going on..

OH - and because we upped his meds.. he's more sleepy and lethargic (that's not the brain thing going on.. it's the drugs if anyone else is dealing with this too. )  And since he's more sleepy and lethargic, he falls asleep while he's eating so we added Sub Q fluids to his diet since his tube was taken out..   (This is something you can do at home if your vet is willing to show you..

It helps keep Max hydrated.