As many of y’all know, Steven had a tragic accident a few weeks ago and suddenly became paralyzed. I tried to give everyone updates on social media but it just became too much to try and keep up with. Thank you to every single person who reached out to me asking how he is doing. I feel so bad that I have been slacking on giving updates so I wanted to write a blog post answering some of the questions I received about what happened, Steven’s treatment and how we are going to move forward with his diagnosis. I’m also including a few of my favorite photos of Steven so you can have some smiles in between the sad talk.
I realized a lot of people completely missed my Instagram Stories on what happened with Steven. Grayson and I chose not to post on social media besides what I mentioned on my Stories and instead, try and take care of everything without having to process other people’s suggestions or thoughts. It is always so overwhelming to bring so many other people into the situation when we wanted to really focus on what the experts were going to tell us.
Let’s go back to three weeks ago. What seemed like a normal Friday was quickly going to change. Steven and I were going out for his routine potty break and occasional squirrel chase. I was holding him and we both spotted the same squirrel on the ground by their favorite tree. After Steven was honed in, I put him on the ground to run after his buddy. His usual squirrel chase was about to change all of our lives forever. Halfway through his sprint, he screamed, immediately fell over and tried to pull himself out of sight to the bushes. I immediately ran over thinking he would be ok but he was screaming so loud and stiff as a board.
We got back inside and I put him on the bed trying to figure out what my next steps were. Steven has had some issues in the past where he would jump off something too fast and not be able to use one of his legs but that would last maybe 5 minutes. This was much worse and so much different. I called Grayson and asked what he thought I should do. In the past, with anything that happens to Steven, I’m on the phone with one of my best friends who owns the vet clinic we go to. I didn’t want to be that worry wart dog mom but knew this one wasn’t right and that I would highly regret not taking him in. I called the vet and they told me to get there ASAP.
We rushed to the vet and Steven still couldn’t walk. His entire body was hard as a rock and he was miserable. At this point, worry is starting to set in as I know he’s never going to be able to walk again. They suggest I leave him there so they can do X-Rays and give him the proper exam. Talk about the longest day of my life. They finally called and Grayson went to pick him up. We were told that he has IVDD or Intervertebral disc disease.
Intervertebral disc disease is a condition where the cushioning discs between the vertebrae of the spinal column either bulge or burst (herniate) into the spinal cord space. These discs then press on the nerves running through the spinal cord causing pain, nerve damage, and even paralysis.
Talk about worst case scenario AND it was a Friday so if anything happened we would be taking him to the ER. I don’t think either of us slept the first night. We were all trying to get used to this drastic change, trying to keep Steven medicated and comfortable and what our next steps would be. Saturday rolls around and we are trying to keep it together. Just thinking back to those first few days tears me up inside. Steven can’t do anything on his own anymore; everything we have all known is never going to be the same. The saddest part is he has no idea what is going on…
That Saturday morning, we both go outside to help Steven go to the bathroom because he can’t stand on his own anymore. Grayson was on potty patrol for the first few days because I couldn’t keep it together taking him outside. Every time I would try and set him down he would just collapse and I would break down crying. We ended up going back to the vet before they closed that day to see another vet who could look him over and perform some of the tests in front of us so we could see what they were talking about. He failed every reflex test which is never good news.
No one could tell us a specific prognosis nor could they tell us if he definitely needed surgery. They told us to keep him calm and confined until we could go see a neurologist. This is about the time I started posting on Instagram Stories. Little did we know there is only ONE animal neurologist in Austin. Bad news is that we would have to go in on Sunday night and try and admit him to the ER to even get seen by this neurologist because she was booked out for weeks. We go in Sunday night around 6pm in hopes to just check him in to be seen first thing in the morning. More bad news… even if we did admit him, the neurologist was too busy to see him as an ER patient. We talked to a vet while we waited and he did a few tests on Steven.
Thankfully, it wasn’t all bad news and Steven somewhat passed a few of the tests. The main one – he knew where his legs were in space. That means that if they tried to tip him over or put him on his side unwillingly, he would try and catch himself with his legs. Since we weren’t able to see the neurologist we ended up getting the next best thing; her surgeon. I made an appointment the next morning to go see him. So far, out of every vet we had seen we were told we could go either way… Half said he should have surgery and the other half thought he might make a recovery without.
The next morning I took Steven in to see the surgeon and he seemed very optimistic that he could potentially make a recovery without surgery. We would have to keep him confined in a baby’s Pack n Play for the next 6 weeks not letting him walk AT ALL unless he was on a leash going to the bathroom. He suggested we bring him back in 3 weeks to have another checkup to see if surgery would be needed.
Longest and hardest 3 weeks ever. As most of y’all know by now, Steven is my child. Grayson and I don’t have kids so we baby Steven to the max. The next 2.5 weeks were challenging on everyone, including poor Steven. He was so sad, couldn’t walk, was having to take constant medication and rest 24/7. It’s so sad when they have absolutely no idea why they are being punished. We both couldn’t leave Steven alone during that time so I had to clear my entire schedule the first week to stay home with him. I ended up having a huge 6 day job the next week so Grayson was having to work from home and take him up to work. We were so scared that if we left him alone he would get too upset and end up hurting himself even more.
Over those next couple of weeks Steven started making some remarkable progress. He started feeling a little more in his legs and started trying to crawl around a little more. We would be able to set him down to potty on his own and he would try and walk around a little, do his business and then fall over. Each day was getting a little better so I was extremely confident and hopeful that our surgeon visit would be a good one.
Last Monday I took him to see the surgeon and he gave me the best news ever! HE DOESN’T NEED SURGERY!! At least for now, but I’ll take it. Steven was passing all of his sensory tests but he still isn’t out of the woods yet. As of today, we are still having to carry him everywhere, he is on medication 24/7, he can’t go on walks anymore, he will never be able to jump off of anything, he can’t go up or down stairs, he can’t walk on hardwoods or our concrete floors, and he is going to need to be crated constantly. All things he hasn’t been used to his entire life. We’ve always had homes or condos with stairs in them along with concrete and hardwood floors. He is being monitored at all times.
Thankfully, Steven is in great spirits. We try and take him on outings and now I am in charge of chasing the squirrels with him in my arms. We go back to the surgeon in a few more weeks to get a definitive answer on whether he will need surgery or not. Apparently, there is a very tight window on how long you can wait to have surgery from a ruptured/herniated disk. If we wait too long he wouldn’t be a candidate for the surgery and would need to have a wheelchair.
We are very hopeful that Steven will make a full recovery and I will keep everyone updated with his progress. THANK YOU to everyone who has reached out. We are so grateful to have such amazing friends and family who care about Steven just as much as we do.
Now check out these super cute photobombs from one of my photoshoots years ago! He was a hair monster!!