As you all know, Samba is fighting a miserable disease called Masticatory Muscle Myositis. In easy non-technical terms, her immune system is attacking her jaw muscles.
Until two weeks ago I had never heard of this disease, so I thought I'd share our battle with you as we go thru the treatment.
The muscles of the jaw and temple are made of different matter than any of the other muscles in the body. For some reason, no one knows why, her immune system has decided that these muscles are foreign invaders and need to be wiped out, so it has started destroying them.
The treatment is high doses of steroids over a long period of time. Samba started off at 60 mg of Prednisone a day for two weeks. That's a high dose and we're seeing some nasty side effects. She has been having highly explosive diarrhea for several days and we're having trouble getting it under control. We're giving her special food and some drugs and hoping that when we start tapering her dosage, we can get it under control.
Samba's voice has changed. She used to snore loudly and growl frequently. Now she does neither of those. She had a deep bark, but her bark is now quite high pitched. These are a result of the steroid use.
The muscles in her jaw and temple have deteriorated to the point where she has deep indentations in her skull. Those will probably remain even after treatment. The muscle is destroyed and the surrounding muscles must pick up the slack.
At first Samba was unable to open her mouth and when she tried was in severe pain. With the treatment so far, she has regained some ability to use her mouth. She may never have full range of motion back, but seems to be pain free at this time.
I'm sure we'll go thru a lot more changes during the next six months as we continue treatment, but we'll face them as they come along.