Timeline, Before: March 26- April 5

March 26, evening- MJ runs into a fence while chasing a squirrel.  She hits the fence so hard, she loosens the fence slat.  She shakes herself off and goes about her business.  We check her for bumps and bruises.  She appears fine.

March 27, morning- James has MJ outside for a mid-morning potty break.  She starts making a weird face and foaming at the mouth.  We assume she’s stuck her snout somewhere it doesn’t belong.  We bring her inside, give her some water, and she appears to recover from whatever that was.

March 29- dinner time (5ish)- We go to pick up her bowls and notice there’s foam all over the floor in her room.  Over the last two days, she has become confused and slow to respond to cues, as though she’s mulling over the request.  We still think she just rocked her noggin pretty hard.

March 30, 11:30pm- we’re snuggling in bed before lights-out.  MJ stands up, and makes a snarling expression with her face (lips pulled back).  Her eyes twitch.  Her mouth foams.  It last 15-20 seconds.  I call the vet’s office and leave a message.  We think she’s having some kind of reaction/episode.  We use the word seizure.  We google “dog” & “seizure”.  We understand there is nothing we can do but keep her calm.

March 31, mid-morning- The vet’s office call us.  We schedule an appointment for April 2nd (Wednesday) first thing in the morning.  We are encouraged to observe her behavior for any additional changes.

April 1, 8am- MJ and I visit the vet.  Dr. G. does a full exam.  She refers us to a friend who is a veterinary neurologist because of MJ’s confusion and our explanation of her episodes.  Dr. G. believes she may be having seizures.

April 1, 9:15am- MJ and I drive to Southpaws Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Center.  I text James on the way.  I call out of work.  At Southpaws, they’re expecting us without an appointment.  They take us right in and we see Dr. T.  Her office looks more like a study than a clinic.


I talk about MJ and her symptoms while she observes MJ in the space.  Did I notice that MJ turns only to the left?  She’s walking in circles only to the left.  We try, with treats, to get her to go right.  No luck.  Dr. T. says that the episodes are definitely seizures.  She sends us for an MRI.  Could be a severe concussion.  Could be a minor skull fracture.  Could be encephalitis.  The scan will tell us.  MJ is taken back for bloodwork before we hit the road.

April 1, 10:15am- We drive to AnimalScan.  I update James via text message.  Dr. M. greets us– she knows we’re coming.  They will anesthetize MJ in order to conduct the MRI.  Dr. T. will see the images at her office as they’re captured.  I should plan to come back in an hour or so.

April 1, 10:30am- I call James and we’re finally able to talk.  He leaves work to come join me.  We have nervous coffee at the Peet’s beside the MRI place.

April 1, 11:45am- MJ comes out of sedation, and she registers her displeasure.  She’s full-on T-Rexing.  We curl up on either side of her while she shakes off the meds.  James carries her to the car, and we caravan back to Southpaws.


April 1, 12:30pm- There’s a room waiting for us with MJ’s name on it.  We sit on the floor and chat while MJ drunkenly wanders around the room.  Dr. T. joins us with our news.  MJ has a mass growing behind her left sinus cavity.  It’s likely been growing for a long time.  Running into the fence was the best thing that could have happened.


In the image on the left, the cursor is placed on her tumor.

The impact accelerated symptoms we might have otherwise missed in a gentle decline.  The tumor must come out.  We don’t hesitate.  We don’t ask about the cost.  We’re scheduled for surgery first thing Friday morning.  MJ is put on steroids to help with the inflammation.  We go home, and we wait.


April 3, 7:30am- We pile into the car.  We drop Zozo off at camp for the weekend– this was planned.  We have a really hectic weekend, and we had made reservations for the dogs to board and play.  Then we turn our attention to MJ.


April 3, 9:30am- We arrive at Southpaws to check her in.  She makes herself comfy on the couch in the waiting room while I finalize paperwork.


A nurse joins us to answer any additional questions.  MJ will head right into surgery.  She’ll be at the hospital until Monday.  They will call with updates.  We can call for updates.  She’ll be fine.  This is routine.  She’ll be fine.

April 3, 4, 5- Dr. T. calls frequently.  Our girl is a rockstar and everyone loves her.  She’s making friends with the other patients.  She’s wiggling her way into the staffs’ hearts.  If she didn’t have a huge incision, you’d never know she had surgery.

We wait for Monday, when we can bring our girl home.

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