Post #24 02282020

To recap, I quit smoking cigarettes in early December. After 80+ years of life with a normal 120/80 blood pressure or lower, in less than three months (November 2019 to January 2020) it inexplicably skyrocketed to 170-180/100-140 accompanied by almost daily headaches, lousy sleep and brain fog – not to mention gaining 20 pounds (I was within 10 pounds of my target weight too).

Why?

My doctors (family doctor, pulmonary specialist, and cardiologist) had no idea.

But I think I know why.

Increased stress is one common cause of HBP, and the only one that makes any sense for me, given my circumstances.

Like anyone else, I have my own basket of worries/stressors: Spiritdog having cancer, spending too much money, worry about running out of it before I die, the car broke down again, my DVD player won’t work, blah blah blah.

But my biggest psychological shift came in November when I went from working on my book to completing the book. My focus, purpose, means to contribute to others, evaporated. Suddenly, I was without purpose. It was as if I retired from work I loved only to come face to face with a deep sense of emptiness. What to do with my life?

But it gets worse. In the past, regardless of whatever stresses I happened to be dealing with, cigarettes have always provided me with a reliable everyday go to tool for handling it (though I did not realize tobacco was fulfilling this role in my life). Suddenly I had no tools at all.

So, as I see it, I have created a story about my life (no purpose, et. al.) that makes me feel anxious, stressed. Medically this stress acts to constrict my blood vessels, producing high blood pressure. And I am bereft of my lifelong tool (tobacco) for handling it.

Let’s assume this is all true. What do I do now?

  1. My most immediate action must be to reduce life threatening HBP ASAP. (HBP increases risk of heart attack and stroke significantly). The quickest way I see of doing this is HBP drugs to replace the drug I used to use, tobacco.

 

My doctor prescribed Lovastan (L), a Western HBP medication and I learned, through a friend, about an Eastern HBP medication called Mukta Vati (MV). It is an ancient herbal mixture routinely used in the east for HBP.

 

With my doctor’s knowledge and concurrence, I began taking both to see if I can get my BP down to my goal of 120/80. By 2/28/20, my BP has gradually dropped from ~ 150/90 to ~ 120/70, which is good. But, inexplicably, the daily BP variation can be as high as 30 points in my systolic pressure and 15 points in my diastolic pressure, considerably greater than it should be – a mystery.

 

When I reported these swings to the cardiologist I was sent to for follow up testing, he added a prescription for 5 mg of Amlodipine (A) to supplement the 50 mg of Losartan (L) and the 4 capsules/day of Mukta Vati (MV) I was already taking.

 

(By the way, after running an EKG on me, he declared I must have had a heart attack in the past as he could see heart damage. I told him I could not recall any episode of heart pain unless it would be when my wife died, breaking my heart. He looked at my quizzically and we moved on. I subsequently cancelled all the tests he had scheduled – stress test, echocardiogram, chest X-ray, pulmonary function test, blood work. Why do all this stuff in a hospital when at least half the people are already sick, it is still flu season, here comes the corona virus, and me with COPD? I will do it all when the flu season blows over.)

 

I decided to follow my own drug protocol, given I now had a home BP machine to track my BP daily, even hourly. I did not want to add A, another drug, further confusing my body and the data too. How can I know which drug it doing what while taking three of them at the same time?

 

So, instead of adding A, I substituted it for L on 3/1 instead. I also dropped MV from 4 to 3 capsules/day. I did this because my average BP readings had been dropping into the 110-140/60-80 range during the 3/2 to 3/13 period. When my BP stayed in the 120/70 range, I stopped taking A all together and reduced MV from 3 to 2 capsules/day on 3/13. Now I was down to only MV.

 

I could do all this drug manipulation and modification because I have a home BP monitor, taking readings 2-3 times/day and, like any good engineer, recording the data on a running graph so it is easy to see how things are treading.

 

As of 3/16/20, my BP has been running in the 110-120/60-70 range. I have cut my MV back to one capsule/day. If this trend continues, will discontinue it completely and will have achieved my goal of being off all BP drugs.

 

I still have two concerns: a) my daily systolic pressure can still swing 10-15 points and my diastolic ~10 points. No answer for this as yet, and b) need to make sure my home machine is giving me good numbers. So will bring it in to compare to my doctor’s equipment soon.

 

So, why has my BP dropped back to my historical normal?

 

Will explore this question in my next post.

Post #23 02092020

Since I quit smoking on 12/2/2019 I have had a miserable two months of lousy sleep, periodic headaches, a sense of despair (even though my physical life is, quite frankly, one of relative ease and abundance compared to so many others suffering all over the world). Then I (accidentally) discovered I have inordinately high blood pressure! My frequent headaches are a symptom of HBP but I did not know that. Besides, BP is supposed to go down when one quits smoking!

On the positive side, my lungs do appear happy with the change, almost no phlegm, no coughing. Saving money with no trips to the tobacco shop, no shivering out in the garage while smoking in the winter (in past 25 years, have never smoked a cigarette inside my house) and no time wasted on rolling cigarettes or smoking them either. (Although hand rolling cigarettes can sometimes be experienced as a form of meditation.)

However, peeking into an unknown future, I would rather die the slow death of COPD (but still able to choose if and when to end it myself) than the possible sudden incapacitation of a heart attack or, much worse, a stroke that might suddenly steal my capacity/agency to make choices. I do NOT want to spend my life or money on a nursing home, nor on expensive end of life medical expenses. I have already purchased my long term care plan for $700, a well made .38 revolver and a box of metal jacketed bullets. (They don’t sell them individually.)

In any case, my goal is to get my BP down to a safe level.

After some research, I learn the principle causes of HBP are:

Smoking. (This is contraindicated for my situation given my BP was normal a month before I quit and sky high afterwards.)

Being overweight or obese. (I am a bit overweight but the same weight I was when my BP reading was normal only 3 months ago)

Lack of physical activity. (Walk my dog twice/day + do aerobics on an elliptical at home alternating with weight training- not in shape to do a marathon but not a slug either – same as I was 3 months ago)

Too much salt in the diet. (My diet is unchanged from three months ago and don’t eat processed food, the source of most dietary salt.)

Too much alcohol consumption (meaning more than 1 to 2 drinks per day) (I drink very little)

Stress. (Interesting possibility!)

Older age. (I am only 3 months older than I was when my blood pressure was normal!)

Genetics (have the same genes now I had three months ago!)

The possibility of stress being the source of my HBP got me to reflecting on my life.

I finished my book in November, quit smoking in December.

For the past five years, my principle daily motivation was writing the book. I would get up in the morning; eagerly go to my journal, my Morning Pages (this title taken from the excellent book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron) and write 2, 3, 4, sometimes even 5 pages in my 8 1/2X 11 notebooks. I so looked forward to this, perhaps my favorite part of the day. I loved to write there in the garage at my work bench, in silence (Spiritdog still snoozing), armed with a hot cup of coffee and a cigarette or two or three. For me, it was Heaven on earth. Pure joy.

It is not a stretch to say that my latest book, 11 Life Practices/An Old Man’s Stories of Light, Love, Joy, was first imagined, and put down on paper (using my beloved Pentel Artist’s pen, 0.4 mm thickness) in my journal. Then, after meditating, walking Spiritdog, doing my daily exercise, the next few hours were devoted to converting those insights and revelations into readable copy on my computer.

When I get up in the morning now, I am lucky if I can fill a single page of my journal. No cigarettes, but no ideas or excitement either. Some days, I literally have nothing to say at all. There is nothing exciting to fill up my morning, or day, either. Tasks here and there of course, errands now and then but …………

 

So, here is my story:

My daily life has been tipped over, spilling away the meaning in my life. Now I understand why I have gone into an emotional tailspin.

Suddenly, my life feels empty and meaningless. I feel anxious, even despondent, at a loss with what to do with myself. The fun, satisfaction, thrill of creating something new has disappeared from my experience. What am I to do with me, my energy, my time? No surprise that my stress level has skyrocketed.

At the same time, my lifelong way of relieving stress is gone. My cigarettes!

When my wife, Dianna died, I was in a similar situation. I went from being married to an amazing woman, and having the honor of being her caregiver 24 hours/day to, in a single moment, having no one, suddenly without a purpose for being. Yet, throughout the subsequent years of grieving and sorting out my life, my blood pressure remained absolutely normal. I was smoking in those days.

In contrast, during this stressful period, my BP has gone from lifelong readings of 120/80 or less, to 160-190/100-160 when untreated with medication. So, today, I am taking 50 mg/day of Losartan and my average BP is still 140-170/80-90; better but still not good. Of course, the dose can be increased. BUT, I am not willing to accept lifelong HBP medications to achieve something I had naturally without drugs only three months ago.

So, where do I go from here to find my way back to normal BP without medication?

Post #22 02022020

Since quitting smoking on 12/2/2019, my approach is to take it one day at a time, recognizing that each day I can find a different way to respond to life events (a phone call, capping off dinner, having a beer, etc…) that used to trigger a cigarette I am re-wiring my brain for living life without tobacco.

Summarizing some sage advice from others who have traveled this road already:

Every smoke-free day I complete I am teaching myself how to live my life without cigarettes. Bit by bit, I’m re-wiring my brain, reprogramming my responses to daily events that trigger the urge to smoke by choosing something other than smoking when the urge surfaces.

Over the course of my first smoke-free year, I’ll encounter – and have a chance to clear – most of the events and situations (triggers) in my daily life that I have associated with smoking.

Practice is a necessary part of recovery from nicotine addiction. There is no getting around it, so try to relax and let time help me. I built my smoking habit through years of practice, and now I must build the nonsmoking me in the same way. The more practice I put between myself and that last cigarette I smoked, the stronger I’ll become.

Nobody said it would be easy.

On the other hand, when I look around the world and see what others are enduring, it puts my petty whining in perspective.

Time for me to Buck Up (practice #10 in my book), Lighten Up (practice #11)

Then, on 1/17/2020, a shocking turn of events.

While in a CVS pharmacy to get a shingles vaccine, I checked out my blood pressure on their store BP monitor. My blood pressure has always been normal and the last check up at my doctor’s office on 10/29/2019 was 117/74. I expected about the same this time so I could not believe my eyes when all three times I checked it, that CVS machine gave readings in the 190+/160+ range!!!!!

A couple of days later, I had my BP checked at my doctor’s office: 168/100!!! Still ridiculously high. The next day, for the first time in my life, I started taking a high blood pressure medication (losartan, 50 mg/day).

I also immediately purchased a home BP monitor on Amazon (Omron, recommended by my doctor, cost $50, and so far, am very happy with how it works, ease of use, though have yet to compare the results to the doctor’s machine, and durability is unknown.)

Unfortunately, during the two weeks since taking the medication, my blood pressure has stayed in an unacceptably high range – 145-180/90-100 – and the readings are erratic (the machine or reality – have no way of knowing yet anyway) so will be seeing the doctor again in a couple of days.

Besides, one’s blood pressure should go down when one quits smoking (smoking constricts blood vessels), not up.

So, what is going on?

Post #21 01152020

In my last post, I brought up the emotional turmoil I was feeling since I quit smoking on 12/2/2019.

How to describe it?

Periodic, almost daily, headaches (before this, I have had probably 5 headaches in my entire life), a discouraging absence of passion to do anything. No motivation, no focus, no enthusiasm. The opposite of how I usually feel about life, how I greet each day.  Worst of all, the quality of my sleep, which has almost always been excellent, has fallen off a cliff. Drifting in and out, most of the night, waking up still tired.

This all came as a complete surprise to me. I had no plan whatsoever for dealing with it.

On top of the emotional disorientation, which persisted through December, I hosted a family gathering for the holidays. About 2-3 days later, I began experiencing chills, lack of energy, headaches. The flu coming on? I immediately fell into taking long naps (2-3 hours), mega doses of vitamin C (3000 mg at a time, 2-3 times per day) and Echinacea 6-8 capsules/day). After 3-4 days, I began feeling better. So I have apparently dodged that bullet, whatever it was.

While physically OK again, I am still dealing with the same emotional funk.

I found the following comments while doing research into the characteristics of nicotine withdrawal:

People who have successfully quit the habit often talk about the “icky threes” of quitting. These include:

  • 3 days. The worst period of physical withdrawal. (not really that bad for me – I had spent months re-wiring my brain to not smoking prior to my quit day.)
  • 3 weeks. The time when physical withdrawal is waning and the psychological withdrawal takes over. (Oh yeah!)
  • 3 months. Sometimes referred to as “the blahs,” at 3 months post-quit-date some of the newness of quitting wears off, and some people wonder, “Is that all there is?” This is a common time for relapse to occur. (hmmmmm)

I am definitely in the last phase, an emotional state aptly named, “the blahs.”

My approach for now:

  1. So be it. This is how I feel. Be fully present to it (practice #1/ A Beginner’s Mind). In other words, do not put a happy face on it, or grin and bear it. Rather, acknowledge how I really feel, be willing to fully experience it and see if whether Werner Erhard nailed it when he said, “Whatever we are willing to fully experience disappears.” Has been true for me in the past. Will see how it goes now.
  2. Choose a more useful attitude about it all. (Practice #7, Choosing Our Attitude, in my book). Yes, the feelings I am having suck. However, each day is another day I have not responded to the million cues a smoker gets to have a cigarette by having a cigarette. Each day I am re- wiring my brain to behave as a non smoker. Each day without smoking is another success. Each day, my body, especially my lungs, are gaining time to heal, another day it is no longer under siege. Another day gifted to my body.

It is a beginning.

Post #20 01022020

Post #20 is my first post for 2020; nice symmetry.

This post also marks a shift from a 100% focus on just my dog, Spirit, to exploring other facets of my life.

 

On 12/2/2019, I smoked my last cigarette.

I smoked my first one when I was 13 years old on a cold, clear winter night in 1951. It was a Lucky Strike, snitched from the poker table where my dad and his friends were taking a break from their annual New Year holiday marathon poker session in Dearborn, Michigan.

I slipped out of the house with my single cigarette and a book of matches in my coat pocket. I can still feel that snow squeaking under my feet; see the cyclone wire fence paralleling the sidewalk, my breath puffing out into the black night air. I stopped under a street lamp to light up, then took my first ever drag.

Oooooh. Suddenly I tumbled into a wonder world. Bliss. Safer, more secure somehow, a space without sharp edges. This felt familiar to me in some diffuse, blurred way. Did I smoke in other incarnations? Did I know then what I was feeling now? That I had a new friend I could always count on to deliver, calm, peace, joy, relief, comfort, even a keener insight into life?

I never looked back.

Some 400,000 cigarettes later, I smoked my last one a month ago in a cold garage, snuggled up in my winter coat. I liked that one too. I remember liking them all save those few I smoked while suffering from one illness or another.

Why quit now, at age 81?

I have been pleasing my brain for my entire life but at the cost of abusing my body, especially my lungs. I could see the possibility of one day having to choose between breathing and smoking. I already have COPD. Not going to live my life dragging around an oxygen tank, which is why I bought a .38 last summer, paying $700 for my long term health care plan. A bargain I would say.

Still, why not do an experiment? Give my lungs a chance to some healing. See what life is like without smoking. If I don’t like it, I can always go back to it.

My process for quitting was/is elegant and simple: Pick out a date a few months away, occasionally remind myself I am quitting, and when exactly, and why exactly. I was giving myself plenty of time to practice re-wiring my brain so on “that day” I would already see myself as a non smoker. There were times during these months I was anxious for the day to come. I was already feeling like a non smoker.

When “that day” arrived, I quit cold turkey. It was easy. Since then, I hardly think about smoking – to be generous, maybe it has surfaced as a momentary desire a half dozen times during the past month.

I did buy some licorice candy and licorice root (to chew on) because I had heard it helps with cravings. Maybe it does. I like the root best, no sugar plus it provides oral satisfaction while chewing on the root. Nice.

What has not been easy at all, however, is the emotional turmoil I have been experiencing ever since. Ouch!

No energy, no motivation, no focus, no desire. Lousy sleep during the night so wind up taking long naps during the day too. And in the past couple of days, coming down with …. something. Chills, coughing, feeling delicate, vulnerable. I am devouring thousands of milligrams of Vitamin C, Echinacea.

So this is where I am at today.

There is always tomorrow.

Well, usually.

Post #19 12092019

About two weeks ago, discovered another lump on Spirit’s left rear leg (he had a lump/soft tissue sarcoma on his right rear leg that was treated with surgery and radiation and so far, has not noticeably recurred). A needle biopsy showed this small lump to be non-cancerous, and consisting of inflamed tissue.

My suspicion/gut feeling is this is may be another location where cancer is attempting to get started.

Also, the lump in his jaw bone persists. Not getting bigger but not getting smaller either. This could be  a) residual dead tissue remaining from the radiation treatments he had to this location in May or b) persistent cancer in the bone of the jaw.

The veterinary oncologist recommended a wait and see approach about all of it and I basically agree – with the added provision I believe in hoping for the best but planning for the worst; which is to say, continue to treat him as if he has cancer.

So I have upped the dose of fenbendazole from 145 mg/day to 222 mg/day (the amount a 150 human would take for cancer treatment) and will do another liver health check in early January, 2020 to make sure he is handling the higher dose. If the liver is showing any signs of stress, I will drop back to the lower dose. There is no “correct dose” of course – all the uses reported in both humans and animals are anecdotal. No one knows. Given that the side effects seem to be so minimal (none noticeable in Spirit to date after three months of use), a higher dose seems worth the try.

I have also added Metatrol and Immpower, both products produced by American Biosciences to Spirit’s daily meal. I give him one capsule of each per day with his food.  (By the way, Metatrol and Metatrol Pro have identical ingredients – just a packaging/labeling difference). There is some science and quite a few scientific studies that support the supposition that the former helps fight cancer by strengthening the immune system detect and destroy cancer cells and the latter helps strengthen the immune system in general. Neither product claims to cure cancer.

American Biosciences also makes an Immpower for dogs called NK-9; it is the same product only provided in 250 mg capsules whereas Immunpower is packaged in 500 mg capsules. Since Spirit weighs 90 pounds, he would get 2 capsules of NK-9 anyway, which is the Immpower dosage – and is somewhat less expensive to buy this way.

As to Spirit, he is still doing extremely well in terms of appetite, energy and attitude – acts like a 2 year old when we are out walking.

The name of this game is to buck up, stick to the program and watch for ways to improve our game.

Post #18 11042019

Today marks a full two months Spiritdog has been on the fenben (fenbendazole) chemotherapy treatment. I have been charting the daily dose given (always between 600-650 mg of Panacur C, which contains 22% fenben, so delivers ~ 140-150 mg of fenben). I am also paying close attention to his behavior/response to treatment.

What I record on a monthly chart each day is his energy level, appetite, stool consistency as well as note anything else that is unusual.

So far, so good. His energy level is excellent, his appetite great and stools have been mostly firm. The only hiccup in this regard is I began adding turmeric (mixed in a coconut oil with a bit of black pepper, which is supposed to help with turmeric adsorption in the body) and began with too much – probably a full heaping tablespoon in his dog food and his stools became soft, ill formed. His body could not process the change that rapidly.

So, I stopped giving him turmeric all together to give him a breather. That was about a week ago and his stools are gradually becoming better formed. In another week, if all is well, I will give it another try but with maybe a ¼ teaspoon and slowly build up to perhaps a tablespoon each day. Will see how it goes.

Stepping back from all this, what I am engaged in here is what could be called “bucking up,” meaning staying in the game for the long haul, doing what needs to be done day in day out, doing the work that it takes to meet a challenge and see it through to its ultimate conclusion. Bucking up is one of the practices in my new book, 11 Life Practices/An Old Man’s Stories of Light, Love, Joy, headed for publication sometime around the end of this year.

This effort to support Spirit in healing his cancer is my current opportunity to practice “bucking up.”

Another, not so obvious optional quality of bucking up is cheerfulness. It is one thing to trudge along in a long term effort weighted down by a sense of obligation, or perhaps even resentment if one is feeling forced to do what needs to be done. It is quite another to buck up with a smile in our hearts and a capacity to have fun with it, even having a sense of humor about it all (which alludes to another life Practice I have called Lightening Up).

When we can adopt an attitude (another of the Life Practices I have termed, Choosing our Attitude, choosing one that best suits whatever situation we are facing) that includes cheerfulness, our staying power is magnified enormously. Instead of a feeling that we are trudging through Jell-O, we are, instead, engaged in doing what Love does (another one of the Life Practices). We feel joy in our hearts as we go about the work, which now feels like an opportunity rather than a burden.

This is how I feel about supporting Spirit through his journey with cancer, not unlike the journey I took while supporting Dianna in her 17 year struggle with cancer (what my first book, Dianna’s Way was about).

So, why am I getting to do this journey again?

My sense is to practice doing what Love does by supporting one I love as they go through a rough patch helping them create and experience the best life they can live. Unsurprisingly, this allows me to create and experience the best life I can live too. What could be better, more satisfying then helping those you love live their best life?

Joy.

What I can see now is the practice of bucking up provides us with the opportunity to practice all 11 practices I have identified in my book.

Stepping back even further, choosing to be in this reality (physical form) could be looked at as our ultimate opportunity to buck up!

What better way to live our lives than being immersed in a challenge that captures our attention and energy, one that brings us all that life has to offer? Life’s blessing.

 

Post # 14 07/30/2019 New Information about CBD as a Chemo Treatment

I am a paying member of Consumer Labs, www.consumerlabs.com , an on line source of information about supplements –and they just came out with a report on CBD oil and its uses that changed my thinking about when to administer it to Spirit.

Here are the major takeaways for me in this report:

  1. Most of the research into the value of using CBD oil to treat medical conditions such as cancer is done at very high doses (like 20 mg CBD per kilogram of body weight – about 800 mg/day for Spirit!)– far above my 45-50 mg/day dose I am using for Spirit. However, at these levels, one must start to be concerned about side effects, like affecting kidney function, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.
  2. To be most effective, because CBD is fat soluable, adsorption is 5-15 times higher when given with or right after a high fat meal rather than on an empty stomach! The meal should contain 500-600 calories of fat to be helpful.
  3. With a high fat meal accompanying the CBD, the half life of CBD in the body almost doubles from 24 hours to 39 hours.
  4. CBD at the levels I am giving does not materially aid in sleeping better.
  5. Preliminary science and antidotal evidence suggests CBD does have anti cancer properties and enhances the body’s immune system response to cancer.
  6. There is also early evidence it can help with seizures, pain, anxiety, inflammation and likely other ailments too. Not my focus here, so I will not go into all the data about these conditions.
  7. Half life of CBD in the body, after hitting maximum levels in 2-5 hours, is 18-32 hours and, with continued dosing, much longer than that. So daily dosing, as I am doing with Spirit, would maintain a high level of CBD essentially all the time.
  8. CBD can interact with other medications in a negative way. Too complicated to go into here but one needs to do one’s homework and consult with others before proceeding. In Spirit’s case, he is not on any other meds so clear sailing here.
  9. As to who to buy CBD from, CL offers some information that will be helpful to some I am sure. I am already satisfied I have an excellent source with Nuleaf Naturals and will stick with them.

Based on this information, I am encouraged that the dosing level and schedule is a) not going to do any harm and b) may actually do what I am hoping – that this dose may have a positive impact on cancer metastases in Spirit – no, it not nearly as high as some studies have used but it is significantly higher than the usual – and will be doing it regularly and for a long period of time so…….who knows.

I have also immediately shifted to giving him his CBD dose right after his evening meal rather than at bedtime.

I also have added two heaping tablespoons of coconut oil to his food (worth about ~400 calories of fat). Coupled with the fat content of his regular dog food (Wellness Core dry dog food + Wellness Core canned dog food to hide his daily garlic pills for fleas and ticks + cooked hamburger + boiled egg) am confident I am up in the 500-600 calorie of fat range.

Nothing left to do now but buck up, continue with the program each and every day (practice #10, bucking up).

 

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 #12 07/17/2019 Done with Radiation, on to Chemotherapy

 

Back to the practical side after my deep dive into the spiritual side of this adventure, caring for Spirit, my dog, who has cancer.

To review, I had the lump on his leg surgically removed to the degree possible. Because the cancer is enmeshed in his ligaments, tendons and nerves, clear margins are not possible (only amputation of the entire leg offers that option). What the surgery did do is cut down on the size of the mass radiation had to kill, making radiation more effective.

What the radiation treatments did hopefully accomplish is completely kill localized cancer cells in his jaw and leg. This buys us time to continue CBD oil as a possible natural chemotherapy to deal with cancer cells throughout his body, or at least keep them at bay.

Maybe.

There is some early science, but not much, to indicate this may be effective.

I am going to assume this is true and have begun with 45-50 mg/day as the dose he needs to do that, again, with no science to back this up – simply what I concluded after perusing suggested dosages based on vague, anecdotal reports.

I will do this for a year.

If he is doing well, with no new evidence of cancer, will decide then whether to continue at this dose level or shift to a lower, maintenance level of maybe half as much …… probably for as long as he lives – two thirds of all Golden Retrievers eventually die of cancer so why stop if it seems to be working?