I wrote a series of blogs this year about the roller coaster that was Lily’s health. This summer we were debating whether to have Lily undergo surgery to help her with the bulging discs in her back. She began really struggling with walking and balance, so we took her to the vet clinic at Colorado State University. The care and attention Lily received was incredible. She had a doctor, a resident and vet students looking after her and trying to solve her problem. We decided to go ahead with a blood test that would determine if Lily had the gene for Degenerative Myelopathy, the disease I had been convinced she had from the beginning. In September, we received the results they she does, in fact, have the gene so we can be quite sure that her paralysis and wobbly back end are due to this disease. DM currently has no cure. It is a degenerative disease that causes paralysis starting in the back legs and working its way up the spinal cord. As of now, Lily has a special harness that allows us to help her walk around. She is unable to squat to go to the bathroom on her own so the harness is incredibly helpful when she needs a little support going outside. Other than her very unsteady legs, Lily is pretty much the same! She still has an incredible spirit and a love for life.
I’d be lying if I said I was handling this well. We’ve had discussions about coming to terms with the idea that Lily won’t be with us as long as we had hoped. I feel terrible admitting this, but I find myself getting frustrated and tired of the extra work and investment that is required of me now. I took for granted how easy it is to let a dog out to go to the bathroom at three in the morning or when it’s 15 degrees. Now we have to hook up her harness and bundle up to take her out to go to the bathroom. I will say I feel horrible and incredibly guilty for thinking of myself during this time. I can learn so much from Lily and need to take a step back and think more about that. She is really struggling physically. She isn’t able to do all of things she used to love doing but she remains a happy and upbeat dog. She works hard everyday to walk when she can and pull herself up when she needs to shift her position. She is working ten times harder than I ever will have to in helping her with this disease. DM is a nasty disease. It’s horrible to watch and so sad to think about. There’s nothing that can be done other than watch and wait. For now, we just love her, enjoy our time with her and support her in every way possible! Even at three am in the snow!