Friday, November 21, 2008

Great Vet Visit

Today's visit (our second with holistic vet Keith Weingardt) went smoothly. Vida was much more comfortable - flirting shamelessly for salmon jerky.

My favorite part? When he looked in her mouth and then looked at me and asked "Where was it?" Yep, no sign of it, except that her gum is pink instead of the black that's around it (she has both colors throughout).

We discussed what had happened since the last visit, and looked at a timeline of maintenance. Everything looks so good as far as "cancer" goes that how to maintain through the seasons and keep the stagnation from manifesting physically again was the main discussion.

We'll come back to see him in early Spring, and plan on quarterly visits unless something unexpected happens. We'll keep up with the general food supplements (wholistic pet, antioxidants, joint supplements, fish oil), as well as the NK-9. And of course keep up on checking her pulse and other acu-type things to notice, as well as energy work (reiki, and the bloodstone every so often).

We'll finish this month-long round of Max's Formula (Chinese herb blend for phlegm clearing) and then stop. We'll hold off on the Quantum Herbal A/T-B/C until Spring (we'll see him just before we plan to use it), and plan to use it quarterly.

A new part of the plan for maintenance is to use milder alterative hebs on a tonic basis. Alteratives are blood-cleansers. The A/T-B/C tincture is an alterative blend, but it contains some really strong herbs that should not be used constantly. I'm going to use ones that can be used more tonically, and try using them as teas, which is a better format for tonic use too.

My plan to try first is two blends that I alternate weekly. I'll brew a medicinal-strength cup of tea and feed it on weekdays (probably a tablespoon each meal), so her body gets a rest on the weekends. Dandelion and Burdock will certainly be included - maybe in both blends. Nettle, Oregon Grape, Red Clover, and something nice like Calendula to round it out - I'm sure it will change somewhat as I go, and as I see how Vida does with them. I'll post when ready.

Are you wondering how I keep this all straight? Well, this blog helps, but I write it down in my appointment book. It's the best way to keep track of when to start or stop herbs, or to note when something unusual happened, or when you changed something, when you did bodywork, etc. A weekly roundup wouldn't be a bad idea. If you use an appointment book you might as well really use it, eh.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Energy Dog!

First, the backstory.... My friend Paula Brown provided energy dowsings for pets at Dexter's this past weekend (modest fee, 50% went to the Animal Safehouse Program). She found a fairly strong energetic blockage in Vida's mouth (at the front, right side), which confirmed that we still need to battle that from growing into another physical manifestation. She also found blockage in her chest (hmm, same as last year, as was the mouth... yikes). Further dowsing indicated this to be a Heart Meridian issue.

This is the kind of indication that shows there's a place for energetic healing work. This is the idea that energetic imbalances come before physical ones, so address it in the energetic stage before it gets physical.

Paula suggested adding a bloodstone to her little collar packet, and I decided to also use the stone directly with some Reiki. My plan was to work in the area of her heart and heart meridian, with this energetic work as well as acupressure (though Vida clearly prefers energetic work, and often does her own Tui Na).

I haven't used crystals or gemstones much, and don't claim to be very knowledgeable about them, but I figure that if I believe that everything in the natural word has energetic properties it's hard to outright deny the idea that they can have a beneficial effect on the energy of another. I approached it with an open and positive attitude.

This morning I woke early, and decided to offer Vida some energy work with the two small bloodstone pieces I had. Since I've done Reiki as my energy work I planned to use that, with a stone in each hand, and focus on her heart area. She got up on the bed and tucked in so I could put my left hand under her front leg on her chest. I wanted to put the other hand on her chest too, but she just wouldn't settle in so I finally just stretched my right arm out with my hand open, expecting to just have it hanging out there. Well she had her own idea on this...

She started licking my open hand with the stone in it, and then put her muzzle into my palm, her nose pressed up against my fingers (I had to flatten them so she could breath), and the front-right area of her mouth pushed up to the bloodstone.

She stayed in that exact position for almost thirty minutes!

Now you need to understand that this is not normal for her. She does no more than a cursory morning cuddle, and she never shoves her muzzle into hands. She definitely has a point of view about her healing!

Clearly she knew better than me in this case. She knew the bloodstone's healing properties needed to be focused on her mouth, and made sure the stone's blood cleansing energy got there.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Anarcho-Herbalism" (a linked article)

I could write my own version of this pieces, but why? Here's a link to Anarcho-Herbalism: thoughts on health and healing for the revolution.

I've always looked on my holistic care interests as D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself), with the goal of being able to take care of basic health concerns for me and my pets with some self-education and low-cost supplies. Of course I need medical doctors to diagnose and treat major illnesses for myself and my pets - no argument that there is an important place for that. But to be helpless until so sick we have to go to a doctor - that's just foolish!

Besides my more mainstream care practice I also do a zine called Radical Pet that is a more forthright and opinionated version of my beliefs. Where they intersect is in my efforts to help owners become more self-reliant in caring for their pets holistically.

Read and discuss!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Are Acupressure and Cancer Simpatico?

This is an issue that comes up for acupressure practitioners like myself. As with most significant questions, there isn't one answer.

In fact, the discussion of this brings up more questions? What kind of cancer? How is the dog's general vitality? Are they in hospice?

There are some that believe acupressure/acupuncture are not appropriate for those with cancer because it will stimulate the cancer itself, or cause cancer cells to disperse to other areas of the body. Is this possible? I don't know. I'm not sure if anyone does, or if it's dependent on the type of cancer, or a collection of factors.

There is another way of looking at it, which is looking at the animal as a whole, the vitality, condition, whether there is pain or inappetence, is there phlegm stagnation, etc., then using acupressure in accordance with TCM (traditional chinese medicine) principles.

This is also the time to bring up other branches of TCM - food and herbs in particular. Are these being used?

I don't pretend that acupressure can cure cancer. I do believe that given the right circumstances a TCM approach can do an amazing job against it. At the very least as a support to western clinical practice. I got my dogs growth removed surgically, after all.

I always look at cancer in context, not as a singular diagnosis. How else can one live?