Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pay attention, adjust, subtract ego.

Vida's homeopathic treatment is interesting. I hope it's working. It's certainly doing something.

Observing one's dog during holistic treatments is sooooo important! There are so many clues to help you help them by making adjustments. By observing the animal and taking your ego out of your decisions you will make better decisions for their care.
For example,

I posted last time about the herbal formulas I was going to give Vida to accompany her current homeopathic treatment. I'd spent a few days mulling them over before writing them down, reporting them to her vet, and making up formula #1 and giving it to her.

Then I watched and learned.

First of all, she didn't need that much. I had planned on
one-half a cup twice a day. After all, we were "fighting" cancer, right? We need to get in there and get things done. Her vitality is good, she should do fine with it.

Uhhh, not so fast!

The homeopathics are aggravating her condition (at this point, the beginning of the process is when that's more likely). I can see how most owners wouldn't notice the aggravations as they're a bit subtle. They are also tied to existing symptoms, so they add to the picture.

She threw up twice, two days apart, at the same time of day under the same conditions. 10:00am - which is right in the middle of the time of day that the Spleen meridian is most active. She's need support for Spleen already. She's been more itchy, some reverse sneezing is back. Liver heat, stagnation, weak spleen coming to the fore... Not to mention that changes in her mouth (larger not only in the main growth but nearby spots that had been incipient).

It became clear that her body was having enough work to do processing the homeopathic treatment, and didn't need the added weightlifting of my mondo herb formulas. What her body needed was support. The body needs support to heal. It doesn't need to be run ragged.

to the rescue! Don't make fun of chamomile, it's medicine. I took a look in Cheryl Schwartz's Four Paws Five Directions and found several references that made so much sense (I'm not sure why I didn't use this book as a reference when doing my materia medica, but notes have been added now you can be sure).

We all know chamomile soothes the stomach. It's not discussed much in
TCM-centered references, but Schwartz describes it in a way to rang true for this situation; it "relieves constrained Liver Qi," smooths Qi circulation, helps clear damp heat, reduces inflammation, moistens Yin. There was a discussion of Liver and Spleen fighting each other that I found intriguing.

So she's getting a big spoon of Chamomile tea in her meals. Next batch will have a little dandelion added. Go slow, keep it simple, keep it supportive. Keep the ego out of it!

On a lighter note.... Vida got to go with me on a herb walk here at the Tecolote Canyon Nature Preserve led by John Finch from Self-Heal School of Herbs. She tasted fresh rosehips, toyon berries, and loved the young wild mustard (she kept grazing on it while he talked about the next plant!). She'll try anything - a real herbal dog!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New Year, New Battle Tactic for Cancer

We started on New Year's Day.

Vida's tumor has returned and grown; now larger than it was the first time around. Dr. Weingardt was not happy about (of course), frustrated by the lack of progress, so we've shifted gears to a homeopathic method developed by a Dr. Ramakrishnan called "plussing." The method uses 200C potencies of alternating remedies, one for the location of the cancer, then Carcinosinum. You start with the organ-specific remedy for a week (we're doing 3 doses 15 min. apart before breakfast), then switch to the other for a week.

There is a terrific veterinary article by Joe Demers that describes it, "A Holistic Approach for the Treatment of Cancer" (super easy to find a PDF online with a topic search like "ramakrishnan homeopathy plussing cancer dogs").

We've only been doing it a few days but there's already been a change. The tumor has gotten more "in the way" - maybe a little bigger, but definitely shifting toward the teeth. The evening before this photo she'd ding'd it on toys so it's a little red, with a blood spot in the center. Nothing like bloody toys to get you to look in your dog's mouth. She didn't seem in pain about it, which is a relief (I did see her in pain once when she did ding the gum edge - the same look a person gets when they bite their cheek).

Some people might be disturbed by this change, but I'm seeing it as a sign of movement because it has happened so quickly. I'm hoping the body is trying to purge it - we'll see. I've emailed Dr. Weingardt for his thoughts.

I also emailed him my "homework" - an accompanying herb formula pairing to alternate:

Astragalus (40%)
Alfalfa (20%)
Marshmallow lf/rt (20%)
Nettle (10%)
Panax (10%)

Dandelion Rt (30%)
Red Clover (30%)
Burdock (20%)
Ginger (10%)
Dill (10%)

#1 one is a building formula, and #2 a cleansing formula. I just happen to be doing a formulating section for my herbal studies, so this will go in for homework for that too, hehe. I think I'm going to alternate these weekly as well, but not switch on the same day as the homeopathics. I'm going to do water extractions, but I may leave some of the plant matter in too.

Other than a little dryness to her coat she's doing great otherwise. She kicked my butt at agility class last night!