It's hard to fathom how much Nova's life has changed in the last few days. In the middle of the night early Wednesday morning, I woke up to let Nova out and she was all disoriented, running into things. Hopping very tentatively when the night before she was zooming down the hall. I knew right away it was her glaucoma, and it seemed to have struck her blind. After her surgery in her left eye last week, she had a somewhat slow recovery, very mopey. I thought she might have been in pain.
She had a cataract in her remaining eye, and also uveitis, but had been controlled with medication for almost 2 years. Everything was fine last week in that eye. After the left eye surgery I had noticed her rubbing and scratching at her left eye, and also the right eye. I found that strange since her right eye had always been great. I called the Opthomologist and was told that uveitis can go from controlled to out of control in a short period of time. I had to bring her back in. I was a mess. I couldn't even get her to walk without slamming into things, so I had no clue how I would get her into the car. I didn't know how things could go from good to bad in one night.
I never thought in a million years that the glaucoma might get worse before the cancer. It is so frustrating to have spent months treating her, having her do so well after surgery, chemo, etc., no lung mets, and now it appeared she might be blind! I was overwhelmed. How could I possible cope with a 125-lb blind Tripawd? How would SHE cope? Was the blindness permanent? (With Glaucoma she will be blind eventually, so the question was whether or not her sight could be saved a little while longer.
On the drive there, Nova stands the whole time in the car because she can't see, and she is scared so rides the whole way with her chin on my arm whining like “Mom, I'm scared.” I'm a wreck, talking on the cell phone with my husband discussing different scenarios and such. I hadn't ever thought through what would happen if she went blind as a Tripawd. It really threw me for a loop because she'd had glaucoma for 2 years, and complications here and there, and the left eye (which was the worst eye) didn't get uncontrollable with medication for 2 years. But here she was, scared and shaking and absolutely miserable. She was so miserable, and I kept trying to see how, if this was the reality and she would have to be this way, how could that possibly be a good quality of life for her? Oh geeze, I was SO not ready to think about these things.
I got her to the vet and she stumbles out of the car, walks into a few walls, all while tentatively hopping and whimpering, looking dazed and confused. Lots of sympathetic looks came our way from the waiting room, then a dog starts to notice her from 2 feet away, Nova doesn't even flinch until the dog makes a sound, then she gets her quizzical, tilted head look, like “what was that?” I am a basket case, crying, etc. because it's so dang cute, and she's been scared and cowering all day. We get in to the exam room and start to check her out. First they say that the surgery worked beautifully in the left eye (YAY!), in fact the pressure was so low they couldn't even get a reading.
HOWEVER, the right eye's pressure had shot up so high, higher pressure than she had ever had in her other eye. This is something that was totally under control for 2 years, now the right eye decides to go crazy out of nowhere. It was like the fluid production was surgically stopped in the left eye, so it decided to take over the right eye immediately, in just a matter of a few days. I was appalled. The optho came in and said they wanted her inpatient for a few hours, they were going to try some different drops and monitor her, but it was highly unlikely that she would have vision in the eye when all was said and done. He was very grave about it all. Usually by the time you get them in, the vision is gone, he said. So I go off poking around stores feeling miserable for a few hours. Then they called to tell me that they got the pressures down and that she could come home. I was relieved.
I'm sitting in the waiting room and I hear this fast HOP-HOP-HOP-HOP-HOP coming down the hall and she comes barreling around the corner, right AROUND a chair and straight into my arms. The Doctor comes out, shaking his head like they always seem to do for my girl, and says she defied the odds, they got the pressures down and it appeared she had most, if not ALL vision left in that eye. He was shocked, said that I must have got her there in just in time. He put her on the same expensive eyedrops (Xalatan) that I just got her OFF of in her left eye, and said she will likely remain on them for the rest of her life. ARGH.
He also cautioned me that this could be something that could cause her to go blind in a few days, to a few years. I'm was just glad there was more time. I really was starting to panic about her quality of life. I have had blind dogs before who adapted well, but they went blind over time, they weren't struck blind suddenly. If you would have seen how scared and miserable she was you would have understood what was going through my head. Just that morning, I kept looking at her intently, trying to determine if she was telling me that she was tired and was done, and I swear that's what she was saying, but by the end of the day she was sticking her big ol head on my keyboard, licking my face, wagging her tail, asking for her dinner, like it all was nothing.
I went to bed happy, although a little fearful what I knew would be a roller coaster ahead. I was thankful for this reprieve, but worried about how long it would be before we had problems with the eye again.