Post #17

Post #17 09192019

Fenben (fenbendazole) is readily available without a prescription on Amazon or elsewhere because it is an ingredient in a deworming drug manufactured by Merck for treatment of animals. The product is called Panacur C, containing about 22% fenben. This drug has a long history of use, with no side effects, if human use is any measure. Human beings who have used it have experienced no side effects at the dosages described below.

The dose of fenben I am using is based on the dosage used by people who have successfully cured their own cancer – one gram of Panacur/day (so 220 mg of fenben.) Assuming the human user was a 150 pound man (I don’t really know this) and Spirit weighs 90 pounds, the dose I use is 90/150 X 1000 mg (1 gram) = 600 mg of Panacur C. It is a white powder that I sprinkle into his dog food. I am not exact about this when weighing it out – anywhere between 600-650 mg is OK with me.

I should say I bought a scale on Amazon that weighs in the mg range – the Diagtree Digital Milligram Pocket Scale for $17 and it works just great, simple to use and exactly what I needed and wanted. Very pleased with it so far.

I also created a daily chart where I record the dose given, scores for his appetite (poor to normal), energy level (score from low to high), character of his feces (runny, soft, firm, etc).

I will also have his liver function (called a chem. 12 blood panel) checked by my local vet each month just to be on the safe side. Checking the health of the liver is a measure of whether the body is eliminating the drug adequately. This is not cheap – $150 for a complete blood panel. But I will do this for 2-3 months and if it all looks good, likely reduce testing to once every 3-4 months.

So far, after two weeks of administering fenben, Spirit’s energy level, appetite and stools all look fine.

Is it working?

He appears to be in top notch health right now.

But, if he dies of cancer at any age, we would have to say no, or at least not good enough to be called a cure. If he lives the normal life of a Golden Retriever (10-12 years) and does not die of cancer, I would say yes.

Since about 2/3 of all GR’s die of cancer and he already has cancer, I am inclined to keep him on some dosage level of fenben for the rest of his life. Maybe after the initial 6 month chemo treatment period, I can go to some lower, as yet undetermined, dose (even up to the present dosage) – and maybe not every day – will have to think more about this.

As a sideways thought, if I was ever diagnosed with cancer myself, the way I feel now, I would take fenben rather than go through the whole surgery/conventional chemo/radiation routine. At my age (81) I am not up to that ordeal. I have lived a long and good life.

 

 

Past #16 9/1/2019

A Total Change of Plans.

It has been over a month since my last post. With new information, I hit the brakes on using CBD oil as my “homemade chemo” regimen for Spirit and have decided to try using fenbendazole (fenben for short) instead.

I began this drug treatment on 9/1/2019 and will continue it for six months.

This change is not based on whether or not CBD may be a good option for dealing with cancer in dogs. It may or may not. In any case, I have not tossed out the CBD stock I have in the refrigerator. It could come into play later on.

But the antidotal evidence for fenben seems stronger. Besides some strong antidotal evidence, there is also the fact that there is science for describing the mechanisms involved (blocks waste removal and nutrient intake from and to cancer cells, blocks blood supply to cancer cells, blocks sugar transport to cancer cells, increases the body’s immune system, etc.), providing some logic as to why it may prevent and/or cure cancer both in humans and dogs.

Anyone interested can do an internet search on fenben or go to the FaceBook page MyCancerStoryRocks, started by Joe Tippens. I first found out about it in a newsletter, Alternatives, I regularly subscribe to – which the reader may be able to access at www.drdavidwilliams.com . I am not sure if you have to be a subscriber to read the article, “A cure for cancer in plain sight.”

Does fenben really work?

Well, there are no double blind scientifically designed studies done on hundreds or thousands of mice, or dogs, or humans to prove that it does that I am aware of – and maybe there never will be. Drug companies make money by “managing cancer” not by curing it.

Further, why would a for-profit company spend millions getting FDA approval for any drug that can no longer be patented? One might reasonably ask why our government doesn’t do the research – or why what has been done by the National cancer Institute is ignored – or why the research done at MD Anderson in 2002 (the work of Dr. Tapas Mukhopadhyay) is completely ignored? I guess we need to occasionally remind ourselves that our totally dysfunctional federal bureaucracy is actually an oligarchy masquerading as a government by and for the people, to answer that one.

In any case, while I cannot change the bizarre world we live in, big pharma and its employees (e.g., our own government), I can – and am – moving ahead with my own plan for my own dog.

More on the details of my treatment protocol in my next post.

Post #13 07/26/2019 Protecting Radiated Wound Areas During Healing/Chemo Period

Below are some photos of how I protect his leg while it has no fur to protect it while we are out on our walks; this protection is done in three layers:

  1. First I lay a pad of Telfa on the wound area (available at any pharmacy, it is a non stick, soft pad that is needed while the skin in the wound area is reforming after radiation; once the skin is intact and healthy, could stop doing this step although I like the gentle protective layer it provides).
  2. I then wrap a couple of layers of Gentle Wrap to further protect the wound area, and to hold the Telfa in place. This wrap sticks to itself so is easy to work with (available at CVS).
  3. Finally, I cover the wrap with a couple of two inch wide double sided (sticks to itself ) Velcro strips that act as an “armor plate” to prevent brush and brambles from harming the wound and to keep the wrap in place.

 

The photos below show the bare leg, then with the gentle wrap over the Telfa pad and finally, with the Velcro strips as protection for the wrap. At the end of this post, I show photos of the products being used here.

The materials I am using both to protect the leg wound and the Aloe product I spray on several times a day to promote healing are shown at the end of this post.

 

 

 

 

 

When the wound condition allows, this approach is infinitely better than the array of dog boots out there, which are clumsy, rarely stay on for long, and are not fully water proof anyway. Of course, a boot was needed when the wound on his leg was still open after surgery, and his activity had to be highly restricted anyway. This period was a real headache for us both. So, boots do serve a purpose.

I should say when we walk, he is always off leash because we go to places where there are rarely people or cars, places with woods, fields, rabbits, deer, and other wildlife one would expect in this part of the world. We also go out in all kinds of weather, rain or shine, cold or hot; could be a blizzard or pouring rain but he still needs to poop. So, we go.

When we are out walking, I let him lay in puddles to cool off, walk through streams, and do whatever makes him happy. I am going to remove the wrap as soon as we get home, dry him off and spray his wound areas with Aloe Vera anyway.

These walks are his time.

His time to nose around, pee 50 times, explore the world, poop of course, and simply enjoy being alive. I want him to have a life worth living so I give him as much time as I have or he seems to need. When he is done, he tells me by lying down next to the car – in the shade during the summer, in the sun during winter.

Before cancer, I walked with him and we both got exercise; now, I have to restrict his activity until his hair grows back. I have found the best way to do this is for me to hang around the car or sit in it, maybe listening to music or read a book. Then he simply meanders around on his own at a gentle pace.

Because this is the nature of GR’s, he does not go far from where I am, ranging out not more than, say, 50 yards or so. I can almost always keep him in sight and if he is out of sight too long, I whistle him back.

I have an e-collar on him with three options: send him a brief shock, a longer one if the situation calls for it, or, as is true 99% of the time, simply a high pitched noise only he can hear but is startling to him. Finally, he comes to a just a whistle extremely well too.

I might have to shock him 1-2 times/yr these days (if he decides to chase people, another dog, or a car). If he sees and wants to chase a deer (like any bird dog, he gives up within 50 yards and comes back) or some turkeys, l let him have his fun.

We understand each other.

Post #11 07042019

It was 11 years ago today that I was writing a many page letter to my wife, Dianna, after she died on February 20, 2008 at 7:04 AM.

As recounted in my book, Dianna’s Way, a memoir about our life together, I was deeply immersed in grief over her death and this letter was my way of completing my relationship with her (practice #9 in my second book, Creating a Life that Works/11 Practices, currently being edited).

It has been my experience that when someone we love dies, our grief often includes an element of feeling guilty about something in that relationship. Not surprising. Few of us express Love perfectly in every moment of every day.

However, the beauty of guilt is it invites us to create and experience forgiveness, of self, of others.

This act opens the door wide to completing our relationships.

Simply put, the steps to completing our relationships are to a) notice there is something amiss in the relationship, b) own it (take responsibility for our own feelings, words and actions), c) forgive ourselves, then, if the shoe fits (if they have harmed us) forgive them too, d) share our completeness when appropriate, e) repair any damage we have done as best we can, f) honor their choices about whether to complete with us or not, without being bound by their choices.

 

So that was then and this is now.

I guess I never thought about it this way before but I had to complete my relationship with my dog, Spirit, too. This is an amazing insight for me!

In retrospect, completing is exactly what I did when I recognized I was transmitting negative energy into his psyche and body with my fear-filled thoughts and feelings about him dying of cancer.

Just by noticing my own negative energy, forgiving myself for harboring them, letting them go and creating a positive, constructive energy, both within my heart and mind as well as expressed in action, I could achieve completion with him. Now the way was open to moving forward with a practical, constructive plan of healing.

Of course, in all of this, I will continue to honor his choices in this matter, which may mean him choosing to end his life in a few months or not. I have no say in his choices.

Repairing the damage is simply doing what Love does (practice #5).

In this situation, this means doing whatever I am able to support him in his healing process.

This began with the insight that there was a practical way forward that had some possibility of success: radiation on the two tumor sites to kill the cancer cells in those locations, followed by an experimental CBD oil based chemotherapy for the next year – and, of course, all the associated support he needs in the form of wound healing, good diet, exercise and, in general providing a life he loves living.

Most of all, what Spirit, and any dog we have in our lives, most wants, most keenly requests, most appreciates, is always open and ready for, is that we be present to them in whatever moments we are willing to give (practice #1).

They, themselves, are masters at this practice, so teachers for us whenever we choose to be a willing student.

Doing what Love does also includes shifting my attitude to a positive, constructive frame (practice #7). There is a possible way we can achieve healing. No guarantees, the future is unknown, he may live a year or five. I don’t know. What I do know is, no matter how it turns out, I will have no regrets about everything I am doing now. Whatever happens, I will have done everything I could have done.

So, now we are in the phase of bucking up (practice #10), doing whatever it takes over the long haul.

We also know, given how this reality is designed, all of us are here only for a little while. We all leave this reality one day.

If I live that long, one day, I will experience Spirit dying, whether at age 8 or 15 or anywhere in between. When I held that squirming little puppy in my arms for the first time, I knew I was signing up for this experience too, that I would likely have the opportunity, painful as this always is, to practice letting go. (practice #8).

Life provides us with life, an amazing game to play.

 

So, why am I getting all this practice at care giving?

Life brings us the experience we need to expand our capacity for being and expressing. Nothing in life is an accident, not even “accidents.”

So, why me?

Why now?

I am naturally inclined to lean toward the mental, rational, side of experiencing life. I often love thinking about life rather than living it.

Care giving brings me back into life, into being present; how would I know if someone needs help if I am not paying attention? When present to what is, and what is is someone I love, who is in need, I am drawn into my own emotional nature, my emotional sensitivity, expressed as empathy, compassion.

Keeps me in touch with my heart.

All I need to do is pay attention to what it is saying, moment to moment.

So, care giving offers a perfect venue for practicing not only listening to my heart but to practice all of these practices.

Perfect.

 

 

Post #9 06192019

Today, am going to talk about the results of my research into using CBD oil for cancer treatment – for my dog, Spirit.

To review, he had two soft tissue sarcomas, one on his rear leg just above his paw and the other on his lower jaw.

I began my research through www.dogsnaturally.com and articles by Blake Armstrong and took it from there, checking various CBD oil provider websites, www.holistapet.com being one that provided a guide for dosing CBD oil for serious illnesses in dogs. One might want to also check out Armstrong’s website, cannabissupplementsforpets.com .

I finally arrived at 45-50 mg/day for Spirit, a 90 pound dog. I am using the guideline suggested on the Holistapet website for “medicinal use”. Is this the perfect dose for killing cancer cells? No one knows.

As to duration, I arbitrarily decided to do this for about one year.

Why?

In humans, chemotherapy can be over any time period but usually lasts around 6 months. I decided a lot can happen in a year so pick that as a target and see how it goes.

Ultimately, I decided to order $1000 worth of full spectrum organic CO2 extracted CBD oil from www.NuLeaf . It showed up at my door two days later, six dark 50 ml bottles, each one containing 2450 mg of the oil.

After lots of comparing, I chose Nuleaf Naturals because:

  1. a) They had the widest spectrum oil (7 components versus 4 for the others I checked – and since no one knows which components might contribute to activity, right now, more components is better, as far as I am concerned). I discovered this when I compared their analysis to that from other companies.
  2. b) Their product is extracted from their own organically grown hemp in Colorado (provided pesticide and herbicide analyses when requested showing no detectable biocides – can I prove what I have in my hands has the same analysis? No. But at least they have some data – and they sent it to me. The other companies I researched either had no data, or ignored my requests for it, or maybe were not using organically grown hemp or … who knows).
  3. c) Their oil is extracted using carbon dioxide instead of hydrocarbons – more expensive process but no chance of undesirable chemical residues either. (There are other companies using this process too, and some that don’t.)
  4. d) When I called, a human being actually answered the phone, answered my questions, and did what they said they would do when I asked for this information or that data. I was never able to reach a human being at any of the other companies I called.
  5. e) They offer higher concentrations of CBD than many other companies. This was of value to me as I want to administer a relatively concentrated dose of CBD oil in a small volume. With their 2450 mg/50 ml bottle I can squirt a 1 ml dose with a plastic syringe (no needle of course) into his mouth pretty easily.

I’m not suggesting there aren’t other good companies out there – Holista Pet, King Kanine, Hemp Your Pet and surely others too – and some of them even have better websites than Nuleaf (dosing charts for example) but I did not see others with a better product or customer service.

I make zero claims about being an expert about any of this. It is the Wild West out there with little science behind any of it. Does CBD oil actually kill cancer cells? Maybe. What dosing is best? Anyone’s guess.

Still, given the lay of the land here, I am satisfied with my choice.

Tomorrow we go for a checkup at the Animal Cancer and Imaging Center in Canton, Michigan.

 

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.

 

 

 

Below is a story excerpted from my book (still in editing, tentatively titled 11 Life Practices) to provide the background and context we need for what is happening now with Spirit’s cancer treatment process.

In my next post, we will begin reporting both the nitty gritty and spiritual aspects of the healing, treatment process Spirit and I will be using during this adventure in living.

One day I look down at Spirit’s rear leg and notice a lump, the diameter of maybe a quarter near his paw. Where did that come from?

I call the vet and set up an appointment to biopsy the lump.

It is cancer but appears to be a treatable one.

A few days later Spirit and I are driving to our walking place. He has his front feet firmly planted on the center console, his head right next to mine, mouth open, happy, interested, alert. He loves to see where we’re going and what‘s going on out there. He can also easily paw my arm, telling me to pet him. I begin gently stroking his muzzle. Suddenly, I notice another small lump on his lower jaw. My heart sinks.

This has now become more than my local vet can handle.

We visit Michigan State University Small Animal Clinic, the oncology section. After lots of waiting, multiple tests, I learn the lump in his jaw is cancer too. There is not much more they can do to achieve a possible cure, they tell me, unless I want to cut off his leg and remove a chunk of his jaw, then hope for the best. Otherwise, he has months left to live, they say.

Not doing that to him. Wouldn’t do it to me either.

On the long drive back home, I have plenty of time to think about how three of my last four Golden Retrievers died of cancer. About all that Dianna went through with it.

I stumble through the rest of the day and into the night, feeling like I have already lost him. I stare into the dark empty void of my future with terror, writing furiously in my journal, words pouring out of me as if he has already died, my love for him saturated with dread, grief and sorrow.

Suddenly I notice something important.

This story I am writing is the same story I have been telling myself for the entire time I have owned Spirit. All along, I have been thinking thoughts about the past (my other dogs lost to cancer) and about the future (fearing this dog is going to die of cancer too.)

Every day, in some form, I have been whispering in his ear, “I would be lost without you. My life would be empty, like ashes in my mouth, I could not live without you, my dear friend, blah, blah, blah.”

Once again, I am having my legs kicked out from under me, so I might learn what it is I have still have not learned.

“What we fear we bring to ourselves.”

We create our personal reality with our thoughts and feelings, with the stories we tell ourselves, for good or ill.

I already know this!

Dammit!

The light shines even brighter.

When I speak my fears into him, I am urging him to cooperate with the story I am creating. Does he understand my words? No. But he most certainly understands the feelings my words are communicating; feelings akin to desperation, neediness, dependence, of love gone astray. What else can he do but accept them, like a sponge sucks up water. It is what dogs do.

I feel a shift happening within me.

Of course. All our dogs die before we do, except maybe the last one.

Those of us who love our dogs like our own children take this on as a given when we hug a squirming little puppy in our arms for the first time. Our hearts tell us the pain of certain loss is worth it. Their death is just one of the many miraculous gifts they offer to us, helping us to be more present to the preciousness of life, to appreciate more, to be grateful more, to love unconditionally. They offer us a golden opportunity to practice doing what Love does.

They model all this for us with the way they are with us, and with all that life offers them.

In this moment, I see the shining opportunity being offered to me. I can forgive myself for my unconsciousness, then let go of stories that have been weighing me down. He, on the other hand, has no need for any of this. He has no stories resurrecting old fears or future anxieties. He lives almost entirely in the now-here.

So, now it is time for me to wake up.

The next day, after a long day and into the night of working through my thoughts and feelings, I finally wake up to what is. I smile in my heart as I study this beautiful animal, who is is sitting there in front of me, looking up at me.

How silly he looks, and how disconcerted he obviously feels, wearing this blown up plastic pillow around his neck that prevents him from, once again, chewing off the bandages wrapped around his leg.

“Tough, bozo, this is what you get when you won’t leave it alone,” I say, holding his head gently between my hands, staring into his liquid brown eyes.

He stares back into mine. He gets it and he doesn’t.

Just like me.

As with all stories in this (physical) reality, life goes on, with or without Spirit, with or without me.

Life is.

Spiritdog

Well, just found out my dog, Spirit, has cancer.

If anyone is wondering, I named the blog first.

So, when I picked up this tiny squirming puppy almost seven years ago, I knew before I ever saw him, I was going to name him Spirit.

Well, as often as not, I call him Spiritdog.

I told the breeder, I wanted the pick of the litter and a male. I also knew before I went I was going to let him pick me.

There were five males waiting for me when I arrived, all playing together in an outdoor pen. They were all at one end of the pen so I sat on the grass at the other end and waited. All of them came and went but finally, one came over, laid down between my legs, rolled over on his back with his little legs up in the air and looked up at me. (He still does this). In that moment, I had found, in this entire universe, my new Golden Retriever.

So, now I am going to do whatever I can to give him the opportunity to heal himself.

Our medical system does what it can to treat symptoms. With cancer (whether people or dogs) the process is cut, poison and radiate (new research is slowly changing some of this). My deceased wife went through all of it many times over during 17 of the 20 years we were married before she died of cancer in 2008. Not a bad run. She did it with remarkable grace, so much so I wrote a book about her and our journey together titled Dianna’s Way.

So, I have had some experience with cancer.

Treating symptoms never cured anyone but it does buy us time for the body to heal itself. Sometimes we win, sometimes not. But, we all die one day anyway. The real challenge is to hug life tight, live with joy in our hearts and, when the time is right, let go.

So, here we go.

I am going to use this blog to track the entire treatment process for Spirit as well as what I need to do to support him on a practical day to day level . At the same time, I will also report what we go through on a more spiritual level. using the very practices I wrote about in my book, 11 Life Practices.

No doubt, I will do some things well and likely make mistakes too. I’m prone to doing both.

Will, unflinchingly, report all of it.

Until next time, be well my friends.

 

Well, on June 13, my new seven week old Golden Retriever puppy picked me and I brought him home. I have had dogs all my life and raised all of them from this tender age but had not done it for ten years. I felt like a rookie all over again. Like any new mother with her first baby, I felt overwhelmed with a litany of new responsibilities and adjustments I had not thought about – or forgotten about

I had formulated all these grand ideas about separate vaccinations for each disease, natural products to protect against fleas and ticks – no massive combo vaccines or Frontline for me.

Then reality set in.

It is almost impossible to obtain separate vaccines for the principle diseases a puppy can get – they are sold in 4,5, 6 vaccine combinations and all the vets around here use at least a combo of four – so I caved and accepted the four shot combo (parvo, distemper, canine hepititis and adenovirus-2 vaccine)  – no leptospirosis though. At least not for this year. And, of course, since no one knows when a puppy loses its mother’s immunity so when the vaccines kick in effectively, Spirit is being given these vaccines four times, three weeks apart until he hits 16 weeks, when it is generally assumed the vaccines will be certainly effective.

A month later, he will get his rabies vaccine – I wanted it done separately mainly to avoid the possibility of a reaction with too many vaccines at one time – and to assure, if he does happen to have a reaction to the rabies vaccine, it would not be confounded by all the other vaccines.

At the same time he gets the rabies vaccine, I will have blood titers run for the antibodies associated with the other four vaccines to assure they were indeed successful. I want to know he is, indeed, protected. Next year, instead of any re- vaccinations, I will run the blood titers again. If the numbers look good, there will be no more vaccinations until the titers indicate he needs them. After the first year or two of good titers (just to build up a data base for his blood antibodies), I will probably recheck the titers every 2-3 years and hopefully, he will never need another vaccination (other than the required-by-law rabies shot).

As to my resistence to Frontline, well, when Spirit began scratching himself every 5 minutes and getting scabs on his body from fleas and I tried spraying him with my newly purchased assortment of essential oils – mainly cedar oil based – and the scratching did not abate at all (although he smelled like a brand new cedar chest) – and the vet confirmed a flea infestation. Being the chemical engineer by training who I am, I caved and gave him a Frontline Plus treatment and started vacuuming my house and washing my bedding periodically.

Within a few days, the scratching stopped, the scabs healed up and here we are.

The vet helped convince me – Frontline has an excellent safety record according to her (everything I find on the internet, pro and con, is all anecdotal anyway); she argued it does not go into the blood stream but follows the fat containing cells at the base of hair folicules along the skin – and it does not merely repel fleas but kills them (and the FL Plus kills fleas at different stages of  development as well) and my own research indicated that, if you choose to use an insecticide on your dog, Frontline is the safest choice out there. And, it lasts for a month.

Not only does FL deal effectively with fleas, just as importantly, it will deal with ticks – and we have plenty of them around here too.

Does any of this prove FL has no adverse effects on my dog? No. But, I watched him driving himself crazy with scratching, thought about how I would like living like that and said to myself, I am not going to watch this happen and not do something THAT WORKS to relieve his misery.

If it were me, would I rather live a long life constantly itching or a shorter life free of it? Simple answer for me. And this assumes FL shortens life. We really don’t know that either.

So, while I am at peace with my choices, I am disappointed I had to resort to these measures. I was hoping to avoid them.

Life

.

Golden Retrievers average life expectancy is 10 years. I have known some that have lived 15 years while treated with FL while my four have lived 11, 10, 8 and 8 years – so, maybe it is just the genetics of the breed and the breeding lines more than anything else. No one knows.

So much for my elaborate plans to follow the natural path to pest control for my dog.