November 11, 2010 marks the date that my Sylvie became a seizure dog.
I still have a hard time believing it, and I still have a hard time saying her name and the word “epileptic” in the same sentence. As a matter of fact, I just asked my vet this afternoon if Sylvie really would be considered an epileptic— a fraction of a second after I asked, I was met with a resounding “yes” followed by the definition of epileptic, which I managed to quickly tune out. I’ve always been the kind of person to question and wonder about everything Iʼm told, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt just to ask…again.
Even as I typed that last paragraph, I felt like I had suddenly inhaled a baseball. Believe me, this is an improvement compared to what I was like a year ago. I’m not sure if it’s hard for me to believe that Vʼs an epileptic because it literally happened overnight, or simply because I just don’t want to believe that it could (and does) really happen to her. Truth can be a bitch sometimes, and I’ve never really liked surprises to begin with.
Iʼm not going to go into details about every seizure V has had, but Iʼll just throw out there that her “tonic clonic” seizures seem to last for hours when in reality they last about 10 seconds. Her “psychomotor” seizures last a little longer, but she settles down after sheʼs had her dose of diazepam.
A reiki practitioner and communicator once told me that Sylvie’s seizures bother me more than they bother her, which is actually a statement that I’ve tried really, really hard to believe in and not to question too much.
Yes, Sylvie is a rescue, and yes I know where she came from. Supposedly, her sire and dam and every dog before them were totally healthy, which could be true.
But, this is coming from people who brag about raising “crop and swine” as readily as they “brag” about breeding dogs. The dogs live in kennel runs, are bred often, and have no health testing, and little to any loving. V was then sold to an oblivious couple just because they had the $400 for her upfront.
She was then over-vaccinated, had two eye surgeries, had to have her dewclaws redone because they’d been butchered the first time through, and then was spayed. All before she was 6 months old.
Then I got her. And despite all that (plus ripping herself open going after a goose) V has always been a very, very healthy dog. I’ve never had any reason to worry about her, in fact, she has always been my steady, and I’m positive that she’s always the one looking after me instead of the other way around. There goes that baseball to the throat again.
I had everything from total body function tests run on Sylvie, to tick disease tests, to thyroid panels, to anything else I could think of and everything came back negative.
At this point, I was secretly hoping we would find that she had RMSF or Lyme disease or a really low thyroid so that I could explain the seizures away. It’s hard to understand something so straightforward at times — Sylvie is a seizure dog, is a seizure dog, is a seizure dog…
At first, Sylvieʼs seizures were happening once a month, and bounced back and forth between tonic clonic and psychomotor. They all happened in the early hours of the morning. She would suddenly jump out of bed and either hit the floor and go into a seizure, or start her crazed pacing and manic confusion.
I still wake up with my heart racing if I hear her get out of bed or wake up suddenly to realize that she’s not in bed. To my relief, she’s usually just downstairs getting a drink of water, but you never know, right?
Sylvie is not and has never been on any traditional seizure medications. She gets MinTran, which helps to calm her nervous system, a random dose of acupuncture here and there, which helps to balance her “Qi,” lots of good and fresh food, and heaping tablespoons of romps through fields, plenty of birds, and more love and kisses to the face than she’s comfortable with. We’ve also played with Reiki, in hopes of healing and straightening out her energies. I truly believe that all I’ve mentioned above has helped us from going to one seizure a month to one seizure every three months. Knock on wood.
After Sylvieʼs first seizure I went into panic mode about “what it meant” and “what it means” for Sylvie to of had a seizure. Would she still be able to go on our marathon hikes, go hunting, and jump off the boat at the lake? What did it mean for “us?” Would she still be able to compete in agility? Train for SDX and senior hunter? Would I ever be able to run her in field trials or fly her to Alaska again in search of long trails and Ptarmigan?
The answer to all the above, I’m slowly realizing, is yes. Yes, she can still do all those things, and yes, WE can still do all those things. It may just take us a little longer to get there and a little longer to figure out what all the sidenotes and scribbles in the margins mean, but I’m positive that we’ll get to where we both want to be and enjoy the ride just a little more, because it will mean that much more.
I knew when I got Sylvie that I was in for a wild ride, and she’s still proving that to me at six years old. I can’t help but wonder where we will be at this time next year? As the saying goes, not all who wander are lost…
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