Saturday, February 4, 2012


So I'm working on positive thinking...I'm ALWAYS working on positive thinking, it just doesn't always work for me.  ;)  But looking over these old posts last night brought back some memories and have given me a better sense of time in terms of Sampson's progression.  And MAYBE, just MAYBE, things aren't AS bad as I have made them out to be...  Let's take a trip back in time...

You can chronicle Sampson back to 2002, but let's start with his back problems.  It was early in 2010 when we first became aware of his spondylosis.  He was exhibiting some crazy symptoms, including some trouble with mobility.  We found that disease on x-rays--the same disease that took our Angel-girl--and we found it the same way, with x-rays for strange symptoms.  We made some adjustments--crate downstairs, better attention to gentle exercise, etc.  Because of his crazy tummy problems, we couldn't go the long-term pain meds route.  That's when we started acupuncture.  It was AMAZING.  He literally went from not being able to go up and down stairs, to RUNNING all around the back yard like a crazy man.  Good times.

I can't believe that was two years ago...

He started to regress a little bit last year--maybe springish timeframe.  I was worried.  I even had family portraits taken at our house because I began to fear if I didn't do them soon, we may not have the opportunity to take them with Sampson.  Then, all of the sudden, at the same time his left foot began to drag to the point we needed his "boot" to keep his toes from bleeding, he perked up.  I didn't get it--but I loved it.  He went back to playing like a crazy fool in the mornings, talking to me when he woke up, kidney bean dancing better than any boxer, running laps around the yard, taking steps and jumps with no problem, and kissing me with his big sloppy boxer mouth.

Until now, I didn't make the connection...

The degenerative myelopathy (DM) is what causes the foot to drag.  It is indicative of his spinal nerves "dying."  Without nerves, there's no pain.  It's painless.

This horrible disease that I curse on a daily basis, that makes my old man wobble, that makes his legs drag and cross, that renders him unable to run has taken away his pain.

Now, I'm not going to go so far as to call DM a blessing in disguise, but I will say that this connection now makes sense.  Unfortunately,  it's progressed to the point that he can't kidney bean dance for me...or run...or walk normally.  But, for a moment in time--MONTHS of time--I now believe that it gave me my Sampson back--in full strength.  It took away his spondylosis pain--pain that can be excruciating--pain that can make a dog suffer to the point that no responsible human would allow.  Maybe, just maybe, DM gave me more time with my Sampson.

Sampson in the sun, Fall 2011
On his last set of x-rays, it showed his spondylosis had progressed beyond any stretch of the imagination.  Yet, because of the DM, he can't feel it.  His spondylosis has progressed beyond the extent that Angel's reached, yet we had to let her go because of the damage it had done.  Again, I can't call DM a "blessing," but I will be thankful--putting on my positive thinking hat--that he is still here.  And he is not in pain.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Scoop of Moon-Flavored Ice Cream?

So, I'm back.  I've been here, just not *here*-here.  My writing time at the computer has been spent dissertating.  Dissertation is a dirty, dirty word to me right now.

But blogging fell by the wayside.  Lots has been going on, but I'm going to keep it short and to the point right now.  This blog started out in the "old days" of MySpace (ha!) as a place for me to write about my dogs.  Writing has always been therapeutic for me--not writing in the dissertation sense, but in the journaling sense.  And now, more than ever, I need some therapy. Sampson--my old man/my best friend--has degenerative myelopathy--more big words I have learned through Sampson's health issues.  It's not good.  Basically, the nerves in his spinal cord are dying.  (Here's a good, quick summary via the American Boxer Club: .) He is becoming paralyzed.  He has lost almost all control over his left, back leg.  But he is holding on.  He has some good times and bad times.  I think he's still happy--getting joy from food, treats, and love.  We have made some adjustments to daily life.  My heart remains heavy--in all likelihood, his spine is going to give out before the rest of his body--and that means a tough, tough decision for me.  But I know it's the right one--I just hope I know when it's the "right" time.

I found this great blog today while Googling Sampson's disease.  Great, because 1.  It made me feel like I am not alone and 2. It reminded me that maybe blogging shouldn't fall by the wayside.  I came back Moon-Flavored Ice Cream--the things that make me smile and give me the warm and fuzzies.  And I read about Sampson over the past few years.  I am glad I have a place where some of his life up until this point has been chronicled.  Maybe I should get back on that routine?

So, here I am...and I think I'll be back.  I can't promise when, the topic, or the tone.  If there is one thing Sampson has taught me, it's to be happy and enjoy the here and now.  Whether it was during a deployment or just a plain old gloomy day, he was there to make me smile--to bring me joy.  And that's the meaning of the crazy title of this, I *think* I will be able to make time for my writing therapy, with a scoop of Moon-Flavored Ice Cream.