I’m sitting in a café in Columbia, Missouri. I dropped Molly off at 9:00am this morning at the Mizzou Veterinary Center for her first procedure of many in this clinical trial. It’s been a long road getting to this point, and I’m hopeful that she will receive the treatment they claim to have seen very promising results with – though there is a 20% chance she receives a placebo. Still, an 80% chance is better than no chance. It’s been an emotional few weeks getting all of the pre-requisites completed, waiting for results, finding out if Molly is eligible, and then weighing the pros and cons of participating in the trial at all once we knew she qualified. In the end, the pros outweighed the cons and now here we are.
Today entails a full neurological exam, MRI, muscle analysis, and serum injection into her upper and lower spine. I anticipate a lot of funny looking shaved spots on her when I pick her up tomorrow morning. She will be put under anesthesia for most of these procedures, and then they will keep her for 24 hours to monitor her before she is able to go home. Afterwards, she will be put on immunosuppressants for 3 months to help the treatment take effect and make sure her body doesn’t try and fight off the foreign substance.
It’s an interesting turning point in our journey with this – because this is the last possibility for her to be helped with this debilitating disease. Her “Hail Mary” so to speak. After today, I will have done everything I possibly can to try and help her, and then it’s basically out of my hands. I’m not sure whether that’s comforting or not, but I’m trying to see it that way. I also keep reminding myself to keep my expectations low, and focus on the fact that regardless of what happens, Molly is helping complete some pretty amazing research. If they find that this treatment works, it will be an enormous breakthrough to help future dogs with DM as well as people with ALS. The vet I’m working with, Joan R. Coates, DVM, is the #1 researcher in the country for this disease. It’s kind of crazy that the top research center for this specific disease is only 2 hours away from where we live. I also saw this beautiful double rainbow on the way here this morning – so I’m taking all of these things as good signs.
After today we will come back in one month for a check-up, and then return every three months until she passes. I’m not sure I will ever really know whether she got the treatment or the placebo. Even if she gets the treatment, there’s nothing concrete out there that says it will definitely benefit her. So I guess there’s still a chance that even with the treatment I will not see any improvement. There are so many unknowns, but I’m going to stay hopeful that all of this is worth it and she may get some healthy years back because of this.
I took Molly to work with me yesterday to have some mother/daughter bonding time and it was a really great day. She loved meeting new people and getting extra attention and pets, having new things to smell and watching people pass by for meetings in the halls. Here’s a few pictures of her cozying up to my cube mates:
I’ll be anxiously awaiting updates today and will share more soon. Until next time.