As you all know, and have experienced, 2020 has been a most difficult year for everyone. For many people 2021 brings about the hopes of a better, and hopefully less trying, year. For myself and my Stan, however, it is just the beginning of what could be the most difficult yet - which brings us to why we are here. *I will note, this is lengthy and I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read it. If it is not your thing, that is ok, I too have been critical of some of the reasons these posts may be formed and you are welcome to scroll by. I would not be here if it were not necessary for us ❤️ so thank you in advance for your time and generosity.
Anyone who knows anything about me knows that Mr. Stan is a major part of my life. From a college student buying my first horse in over 10 years, a $400 OTTB in 2010, to many many horses and ponies who helped pave the way to save and search for a Stanley. He was 8 years of saving every penny I made, and two years of shopping - and he was perfect. He IS perfect. A couple months ago I started noticing some odd things. Nothing major or concerning, just odd. One would pop up, a weird spook or not letting me pick his feet, to tripping in the indoor but not outside; so I wasn’t overly concerned. Before Thanksgiving some of the behaviors got a little bit worse and I thought it might be time for vet intervention. One or two alone would not be concerning, but five or six little things adding up was a little bit more concerning. We had an appointment set for two weeks away, and after an under saddle incident the Friday before Thanksgiving we made it an emergency call to get the vet out before the holiday.
It was quickly apparent to the vet that Stanley was exhibiting neurological behaviors. We tested for EPM and immediately began treating for it, thinking that was the problem. That was not a pleasant diagnosis, but we wouldn’t know until blood tests came back after the holiday. We also ran blood and tested for lymes. A week later EPM came back completely negative. Lymes was positive and I was so relieved! However, after a second vet saw him, and a Cornell consultation, we were advised not to treat for lymes. I made the call to go straight to Cornell rather than take weeks of troubleshooting at home. Which brings us to our Cornell visit a couple weeks ago.
After a neurological exam, X-rays and an ultrasound of his neck, Cornell is seeing a narrowing of his spinal cord which is causing ataxia of all four limbs (a disconnect between his brain and body that impedes his ability to carry himself properly - or safely). Often this type of diagnosis cannot be given without a Myelogram, which is a complicated and slightly risky procedure where they inject dye directly into the spinal fluid and take new X-rays to see if the spinal cord is actually being pinched, and where. This procedure take a 3-day hospital visit so the horse can be monitored and they can get all of the image they need under anesthesia.
Since this began November 23rd we have seen 5 doctors. One at Henderson, one at GVEC, and 3 different doctors consulting together over his case while at Cornell. Last week we had an hour long consultation with one of the 3 world specialists of neurology at New Bolton and we are heading there the end of January. There are only two possible outcomes for this (having already ruled out EPM) and one of them is bad enough that upon diagnosis they offer PTS on site. The other is a surgery that we would go immediately from PA to Kentucky for and there is a minimum one year recovery process with a 75% chance of being safely rideable and a 13% chance of being “competitive” again.
What I am asking for is any help at all that anyone can offer. Even if it is a literal dollar. We are thousands into this already and our trip to PA at the end of the month with be triple what we have spent already - and that is before surgery. This year has been sh*t. Let’s call it what is is. I work three jobs so I can have horses and I lost two of those jobs in March. Stanley has wonderful major medical but that will cap out about half way through our PA visit, because who would have thought I would need that much major medical! I am looking at $10-$20,000 out of pocket if he ends up in KY. Plus a year of rehab. I have spent the last month crying over the situation and have still not come to terms with this I don’t think. Long story short - we have a long road ahead of us. The way I see it, Stan was supposed to be my last horse, and he will be. Whether this works or not. This will completely drain me in every way possible. So I am going to give him his best shot because when this is over I want to say with 100% confidence that I did every single thing possible to give him his best chance. I will spare no expenses in hopes of being able to buy a new horse one day. If he ends up as a pasture ornament after all of this, then he will be the fattest, shiniest, prettiest pasture ornament you ever did see. But maybe, just maybe, he can be part of the 13% that becomes competitive again after this surgery, and we are going to hold on to that ❤️ PS - some people have venmoed and that works great also if it’s easier. @jasmine-bagwell (code is 8973 if they ask for last 4 of phone number)
- Ellie Hadity
- Mary Honora Corke
- Jennifer Lenio
- Sheri Schramm
Fundraising team: Stans Little Support Team! ❤️ (2)
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