It has been a bit over two weeks since radiation treatments ended for Spirit and he is slowly beginning to “come back to himself.”

Today, for the first time in a long time, he picked up a tennis ball and wanted to play ………. until he kind of realized he is not ready to play yet. Looked at me for a moment, dropped the ball and stared at me with a dumb look on his face, like “What the hell am I thinking here!” I almost had to laugh.

The underside of his jaw is still completely hairless and the right side of his lower jaw, where the tumor was located, is still swollen. That is drool hanging down off his jaw in the photo.

A week ago, he wouldn’t let me touch it.

While it must still be tender, he did lay his head on my shoulder the other day as we were driving to our walking place. Before all this happened, his habit was to ride in the car with his front feet on the center console, paw me when he wanted me to pet him, and nuzzling into my neck now and then too – so it is nice to notice he is able to do that a little bit again. A week ago, he was laying on the back seat of my minivan, period.

I still don’t touch his jaw though.

His leg, the other tumor site, is still hairless too but I don’t think there is much, if any, pain there anymore. Looks bad but don’t think it feels bad for him.

 

Because this leg wound is unprotected by a fur layer, each time we go for a walk, I put a Telfa non stick pad on it, hold it in place with Nexcare gentle wrap (sticks to itself), then cover that with a couple of two inch wide self sticking Velcro strips that protect against damage to his skin from brush, etc. Works very well, leaves him free to walk normally and infinitely better than the various medi boots out there, which are clumsy, always coming off and are not water proof anyway.

This routine works well whether it is raining out, or he takes a dip in a creek or whatever. As soon as we get home from our walk, I take all of it off, dry his leg with a paper towel if necessary, save the Velcro for the next time and dispose of the rest of it.

After this is done, I spray his leg (and jaw) with a wonderful Aloe Vera Spray product I found on Amazon (www.sevenminerals.com ). This is a great product for applying healing Aloe Vera without having to touch the area. A godsend for helping Spirit’s jaw, in particular. Now, when I start to spray, he lifts his head up and back so I can apply it – obviously it feels really good to him.

Next time, we will talk about my CBD oil chemotherapy experiment.

Blog post #7 06072019

So far, I have been talking about the day to day nitty gritty of caring for Spirit as we proceed through his healing process.

But, as it always is, it is my healing process too, if we broaden the meaning to include creating a more integrated, conscious self as a “healing process.”

All of us experience being divisible in this reality as “you and me.” However, the underlying reality is we are also and always in life together, indivisible, part of a mysterious whole. Our pathway toward a more fully integrated way of being, expressing, and experiencing this is to practice. (Practice #4 in my upcoming book, currently in editing, tentatively titled, Creating a Life that Works/11 life Practices.

In this book, we explore how this reality is put together and how we might practice playing this game in this more fully conscious way.

I have titled these practices as follows:

Part I Being (Practices in being more fully who we are)

  1. A Beginning Place/Being Now-Here (practice being present to what is)
  2. Our Inner Voice     (practice listening to our inner voice)
  3. Life is Re-creation (practice noticing the stories we are always creating)
  4. Me and We (practice experiencing being one with Infinite Being expressing)

Part II Expressing Being (the practices of playing the game with our words and actions)

  1. Doing What Love Does (this is Love with a capital L, how God expresses Love)
  2. Showing Up
  3. Choosing our Attitude
  4. Letting go
  5. Completing (practice disappearing upsets in our relationships)
  6. Bucking Up (practice fulfilling the promise of any long term commitment)
  7. Lightening Up

What I am discovering is we have the opportunity to practice most of these practices almost every day! It may be true that we could be practicing all of them every day. Perhaps, even in every moment!?

In any event, I am going to report how I experience engaging in these practices as Spirit and I go through our healing process together.

Why?

Reporting helps me to practice. And, who needs to practice more than me?

And, when would be a better time than now?

I am 80 years old. Probably shouldn’t wait much longer! J

 

So, let’s take a look at how these practices appear in one daily life, my own.

 

This particular life adventure began when I noticed what is: a lump on Spirit’s rear leg, then not long after that, another one on his lower jaw. (Practice #1)

What first emerged out of this awareness was noticing my own contribution to his illness. I realized I had long been busy creating a reality about him getting cancer with my fear of him getting cancer. (Practice #3, noticing my own story, reported in an earlier post.)

Next, I chose to let that (debilitating) story go. (Practice #8).

I consciously chose to create a new story. (Practice #3 again): I will treat this as a challenge, as an opportunity for healing. I would chart a new course, sailing toward an unknown shore, to be sure.

I may not know the outcome but am open to whatever Life brings, with love in my heart, grateful for each moment we have together. (Practice #7)

I could have let nature take its course and let him die (in a few months, I was told).

When I looked into his liquid brown eyes, my heart spoke, loud and clear (Practice #2).

I will spend whatever resources I am able to give him a chance at life (Practice #5).

Many, without the money to do anything else would have to make the heartbreaking decision to let him go (practice #8 again, and a much tougher row to hoe). How blessed we are that I have enough energy and money to use help from the veterinary profession for the treatments needed. I feel incredibly grateful.

Doing what Love does, in this situation, asks that I step up to meet the challenge (Practice # 6). I must be willing to provide my daily, even hourly, attention to his well being over the many months, perhaps even years to come. This is not going to be a quick fix but a long journey through surgery, radiation, and whatever other means I can bring to the table. (Practice #10).

One day, as I am looking at him sleeping peacefully, lost to the world, it occurs to me that I am doing this for him …. and for me ………. and what is the difference? What works for him works for me too. We are engaged in a win-win game together. Everything I feel for him I feel for me too. (Practice #4). I feel complete with him in this moment. (Practice # 9)

It also occurs to me one day, things could be so much worse.

His cancer is treatable, appears not to have metastasized, his appetite is good, his poops are good, he sleeps a lot (a key healing activity all by itself), loves being petted and is still excited by deer crossing a field, or a rabbit standing on the road, or when the plumber or a friend comes to the door.

He loves life.

Enough motivation for me.

So, whether he decides to leave in a few months and stays with me for many more years to come, I feel blessed. I feel cheered by this challenge, even joy! (Practice #11)

 

Two practices I have touched on, completing (practice #9) and the practice of being me and we (practice #4) warrant a bit more comment.

Unlike with my human relationships, which are more prone to fall in and out of completion, I am essentially almost always complete with Spirit.

How do I know this?

Whenever I look at him, there is a smile in my heart.

If there is an occasional incompleteness, if something needs repair, it is always within me (my fear based thoughts about losing him being one example). But, day in, day out, being complete with Spirit is our normal state of being together.

 

Robin Wall Kimmerer (Professor, State University of New York and author, Gathering Moss and Braiding Sweetgrass) proposes using the word, Ki as the singular pronoun to use when referring to non human life. This gets rid of “it” as in I ran over “it’ with my car or “it” landed on my birdfeeder or….

 

Naturally, as she notes, the plural of ki is a word we already have, kin! Perfect!

So, Spirit is Ki.

But I am Ki, too.

Each of us is part of the All That Is, Infinite Being expressing. Spirit expresses as Spirit, I as me, each of us, as who we are being in this reality.

We are all kin.

While in this duality reality of light/dark, large/small, good/bad, right/wrong, we mostly experience being me and “other.” But some magical moments, at least, I experience being both me and we. (Practice #4) He has given me so, so many such moments.

And he sleeps here at my feet, healing his body. So far, anyway, he is choosing to stay here, with me in this life.

 

 

 

Past #6 6/6/2019

It has been a week now since Spirit completed the radiation treatments, 18 in all, taking up most of the month of May. He is feeling lousy, the worst since this all began.

I administer anti –inflammatory medicine once per day (in his afternoon meal) along with pain medication three times a day, once with a small morning meal, again with his evening meal and again at bedtime so he can sleep peacefully through the night. Each one pretty much knocks him out, causing him to sleep/doze/in a stupor for hours.

I can see the pain killer does two good things – helps alleviate the pain but also gives him the healing gift of rest, allowing him to sleep more peacefully, day and night.

These are hours he has little interest in aggravating his leg or jaw wounds, locations where the radiation killed not only cancer cells but did significant healthy tissue damage that now has to heal.

Any regrets?

I look at him as I pet him, his eyes closed, and it breaks my heart to see him like this. His normal self is unbounded energy and enthusiasm.

But, no, no regrets.

The radiation did its job of killing off localized cancer tumors that were going to metastasize if left untreated.

So, this will be his pathway to complete healing, to the possibility of having a normal, healthy life.

Radiation treatment is very expensive ($9000 for treating both sites with each treatment), and very time consuming. But what is money and time (if we are lucky enough to have it) for if not to help those we love?

 

I have started giving him CBD oil twice a day; the wild west here, but the natural chemotherapy treatment I have opted for, hopefully helping his own immune system kill off whatever cancer cells still exist in his body.

Does it have any efficacy for this purpose? There is a very thin amount of science out there that suggests CBD oil kills cancer cells. Dosing is still a mystery.

Still, I decided I would not put Spirit through conventional chemotherapy.

I watched my wife deal with it, and she could tell the doctor when and how it hurt, about the multiple and sometimes horrendous side effects. But, dogs can’t talk. And, like any animal, they instinctively hide pain as a defense mechanism, a survival tool. Spirit is, therefore, incredibly stoic.

So, my gut feeling is not to put him through it.

So, I will take the more benign, totally painless, and possibly effective approach of CBD instead. Another benefit that is better known is it tends to reduce anxiety, so a good thing, whatever other benefits it may offer.

If I can spend thousands of dollars on radiation, what is a few hundred more to possibly help with a cure. Only up side, no down side I can see at all.

I will never know of course, no matter how things turn out. Not running a double blind study here with a statistically significant number of patients.

 

I also give him 300 mg of milk thistle with his meals to help his liver get rid of the chemicals I am putting into his body. Does this help? Again, cannot hurt, will never know. I would do it for me is all I know for sure. So I will do it for him.

I apply pure aloe vera to his leg wound four times/day (happen to have a plant and learned how to extract the aloe from the leaves). He seems to appreciate how it feels as I dab it on with a bit of cotton ball. He won’t let me touch his jaw, where most of the pain he is feeling exists.

The tech’s at the radiation center suggested using Aquaphor for this but also liked the idea of aloe. But will have to stop cutting leaves if I am not to kill the plant, so ordered pure aloe vera but may have to use Aquafor while waiting for it to arrive.

I can apply this right now to his leg but he won’t let me touch his jaw. Obviously he is in a lot of pain there. When the pure, organic aloe vera I ordered shows up, am going to whip it up with an immersion mixer, then see if I can put it in a spray bottle so I can spray his mutilated jaw area without having to touch him. Not sure how this is going to work

Spirit, even when he is totally well, is almost miraculously calmed by soothing music, played at a very low volume. I do this as much as I can, filling the house with barely audible (to me) Enya, the more delicate pieces of classical or new age music, almost meditation music. (He gets as far away as he can from loud sounds, TV or radio, as he can – really bothers him.

So, these days we are using the healing power of music as well.

 

Here is my boy: