Max’s GME Update: Distressing News

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Max's GME Update: Distressing News. Our dog, Max, suffers from GME - Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis. He was diagnosed with this terrible disease in July 2014 and continues treatment to keep the symptoms at bay. GME is incurable, so managing the symptoms for a good quality of life is the best that can be done with the poor dogs with this disease.


Our dog, Max, suffers from GME – Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis. He was diagnosed with this terrible disease in July 2014 and continues treatment to keep the symptoms at bay. GME is incurable, so managing the symptoms for a good quality of life is the best that can be done with the poor dogs with this disease.

For those of you unfamiliar with Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis (GME), it is a canine disease where the white blood cells attack the central nervous system. Max is well past historic long-term prognosis for this terrible disease. When he was diagnosed we were told his chances were “not leaving the hospital” – to – “up to three years”.

We were back in Ithaca earlier this week for round 10 of Max’s chemo (2018). We walked in with Max having had a bug, or gallbladder issues, or something the last few weeks.

Hubby and I took a trip to Las Vegas late last month/early this month to go through his Mom’s house. Hubby’s Mom passed away in September, and as the executor of her will, he needed to deal with her possessions and house. We went out to take care of the personal possessions, and for Hubby to engage an estate liquidator and Real Estate agent.

While gone, Sonny-boy stayed at our home with Mr. Max.

Even though Sonny-boy is 30 years old, holds a number of degrees (including two masters), has been on his own for 10 years AND has a SO who is a NICU nurse (and she stayed over a number of days), Hubby still demanded proof-of-life photos and video daily.

SMH

Max did great with Sonny-boy, but Sonny-boy indicated Mr. Max was off his feed the day before we came home.

Max ate less and less the week after we got home, and he definitely was not feeling well.

We took Mr. Max to his regular vet who prescribed Cerenia, and wow did that help! He stopped throwing up and started to eat pretty regularly.

On the return check-up, he had his wellness exam. His blood test showed a very elevated white blood count, and that was a concern. Was it a bug? Was it the GME? (This was last Thursday.)

Max's GME Update: Distressing News. Our dog, Max, suffers from GME - Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis. He was diagnosed with this terrible disease in July 2014 and continues treatment to keep the symptoms at bay. GME is incurable, so managing the symptoms for a good quality of life is the best that can be done with the poor dogs with this disease.


Max driving to Cornell.


We went back to Cornell earlier this week (Monday) – they used that blood test and started his chemo immediately. While there, he also had a sonogram (ultrasound) for his gallbladder, and an additional blood test to check his white blood cells and liver enzymes.

If you have been following along the last few years (particularly this year) you know Max’s gallbladder has sludge in it, and the doctors at Cornell were worried it would form a mucus seal. Those worries are coming to fruition.

Max has “tentacles” (we saw the sonogram, that is as good a word as any) that are now looking to form a plug. No one knows when that will happen. When (probably not “if”) the mucus seal (plug) develops, his gallbladder could (will) burst leading to a very painful death.

We now have a choice… to put Max down, or to have the surgeons at Cornell perform gallbladder removal surgery.

For myself, I always felt the mucus seal (plug) was the end-game. Hubby, however, feels differently.

And so, Max will be having surgery at the end of the month. There are many, many concerns all centered on his being immune-suppressed. Will he survive the surgery? Will he be able to heal? Will he develop an infection he cannot fight off (because he is immune-suppressed)?

Hubby’s thought process is surgery gives him a chance. My thought process is “is this humane”?

I will say that if Max survives the surgery, does heal well, and does not develop sepsis, he will probably feel a whole lot better. His gallbladder has definitely led to gastric distress and discomfort this year. He will still have GME, and that will continue to be treated, but his other issues will be (should be) gone.

Max's GME Update: Distressing News. Our dog, Max, suffers from GME - Granulomatous meningoencephalomyelitis. He was diagnosed with this terrible disease in July 2014 and continues treatment to keep the symptoms at bay. GME is incurable, so managing the symptoms for a good quality of life is the best that can be done with the poor dogs with this disease.


Max in the Cornell waiting room.


The fact that he is the longest survivor with GME at Cornell actually plays in his favor – he has shown he can tolerate GME management longterm. No one knows how long he can continue to do so (we’ve been in undocumented territory for about a year now).

Please wish Mr. Max luck. This is the most dire things have been for him since he first came home after his first chemo treatment over four years ago. He may or may not survive his surgery, but I know this little guy is a fighter. If there is a chance, he will be fighting like crazy to get better.

Here is hoping things go well, and out little PITA will be with us for a longtime to come.


Previous Max posts (read in order from the bottom up to follow his whole story):

Max’s GME Update: Chemo Round 9
Chemo Round 8 for Max
FOUR YEARS!!
Chemo Round 6 For Max
Chemo Round 5 For Max
Chemo Round 4 For Max
Chemo Round 2 For Max
Max is Back to Chemo for His GME
Max Had a Relapse
Mr. Max April 2016 Update
Max March 2016 Update
Mr. Max Post Cornell Visit Information
Max’s Latest GME Update
Max’s GME Update, One Year Later
Max’s GME Update, Month 11
Max’s GME Update
An Update on Mr Max, March 2015
Updating Max’s GME
An Update On Mr. Max
Last 2014 Trip To Cornell For Max
Back To Cornell
Max’s First Cornell Follow-up Visit
Max Exercises More Than I Do!
Updating the Mr. Max Situation
A Mr. Max Update
Mr. Max, Mr. Max, Mr. Max
It’s A Mr. Max Post!


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Comments

  1. Bless little Max’s heart! Such an ordeal for this little guy. Praying for Max and your family, Ann.

  2. So sorry to hear that Max needs surgery. I hope that he has a speedy recovery and that it gives him many more years with your family. I must say though, that I laughed out loud at the “proof-of-life” comment! You (and “Hubby”) crack me up sometimes! 😀

  3. Janice Maiolatesi says:

    I am so sorry they found out something else to complicate Max’s and your lives. Medicine and surgery have come so far that I think I would be clinging to that last good hope that this will improve Maxes life not make it worse. He is in Gods’ hand now and the maker has performed many miracles. I will be praying for you and Max. God bless you both. Keep us up to date please:)

    • Thank you, Janice. I agree medical science has come a long way, and I am definitely hopeful, but … I do feel bad for the little guy. He’s had a pretty rough life health-wise.

      Ann

  4. I’m do sorry about Mr. Max’s upcoming surgery. Sending pray for y’all and Mr. Max from Alabama.

  5. Hey Ann, sorry to hear Max is having to go through this hurdle, its such a tough time knowing whether its best thing for him or you guys but if the vets (and hubby) think that he has a strong chance of getting through and feeling much better at the other side of surgery then I agree you’re giving him the best chance of spending many more years of being loved and pampered by you guys. Will add him to our prayers to keep him strong and immune system well enough to get through it, I’m sure he will given his battle track record, he’s a tough cookie xx

  6. Patti Lifer says:

    Hi, Ann —
    As a pet owner, I can sympathize and understand what you and your hubby are doing to give Mr. Max the best quality of life for as long as you can. Wishing all of you the best of luck with the gallbladder surgery, and I hope for the best outcome you all are hoping for. Looking forward to seeing an update on Mr. Max!

  7. Jennifer Chauvin says:

    I think surgery is a great choice. At least you know you’ve tried. Sending you hugs and prayers. I know this isn’t easy. I had a cat with FIV (it’s similar to humans aids virus). He would have good times and then extremely rough times. I feel good in knowing I did everything I could for him. Hope all turns out well for your cute little guy!

    • Thank you, Jennifer. I do think that is hubby’s thoughts too… we did everything we could for the little guy. I know we will not look back and wonder “what if we had…” because we will have done everything medically possible for him.

      Ann

  8. Janice Maiolatesi says:

    Thanks for your reply, my heart goes out to you as 2 of my furbabies suffered from heart problems, but that was before medical science had come so far. I do believe if we were where we are today something could have been done to help them. I had to make the hard decision of whether I was keeping them alive for me or was it best to let them go. I couldn’t stand to have them suffer anymore so I had to let go but they are always in my heart. I think that furbaby of yours is remarkable. I pray he comes through his surgery with flying colors. Hug him for me. God bless Jan

    • Thank you so much for the warm wishes, Jan.

      I am sorry to read about your fur babies. Medical science has come a long way indeed, but unfortunately they cannot cure everything. Oh, how I wish they could!

      Ann

  9. I wish the best for all of you…so much all at one time.

  10. oh ann I have been following Maxx since he got his diagnosis. and now I know why you and I are connected. You see I am going through what Maxx is going through as well. I had sludge in my gallbladder and I suffered with that for four years waiting to get it removed, and when I finally grew gallstones and my insurance would pay for the surgery, I feel it was too late and my surgeon told my mom that my gallbladder was filled up with sludge as well. Sludge is hundreds of gall stones getting ready to form. I also had to have mine out or I would die and now I have not been able to process food for four years, I am down 100 pounds and can’t stop losing I’m not trying to lose I just can’t process. I have terrible life-threatening allergies and I can’t have any more tests because I’m allergic to them. I often joke that if I was a cat or a dog I would’ve been put down by now. I am very concerned , I have lost three dogs while Maxx has been getting his treatments. Treasure every day with him. Sending my love and condolences on your MIL passing.

    • Oh Debbie, that is horrible. I am so sorry you are going through that. Isn’t there anything the doctors can recommend for you?

      And on no. I am so sorry for the loss of your fur-babies. That is the horrible part of being a pet owner.

      Ann

      • Sadly i have crazy life threatening allergies as in i am allergic to thenext tests so i trust that God already has all this figured out for me. I have many things failing and every breath is a struggle (especially this time of year) but just like your Maxx this is my life now and i just find the next new normal. i am still glad to be here and appreciate every day. Even the bad ones.
        You will know when it is time for Maxx to go to the rainbow bridge, your heart will tell you and you will see his bad days out number the good and you will want him to have relief. Maxx’s angels will come and get him ready, you will see him looking at them very intently but nothing is there. You will know. Love knows. Yes it is hard ,saying goodbye, but it isnt forever… He is such a strong spirit and the cutest, i adore him ❤️ And you and hubs have take incredible measures to let him fight and manage his disease for so long. It is truly a testament of your love and dedication ❤️🐶

  11. Elaine Cobb says:

    I will be keeping your Max in my prayers Ann.

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