Yesterday I saw three beautiful dogs that each had cancer. There is no way to make this sound nice but living with cancer can suck …or it can be ‘where’s my dinner’.
The most important lesson that I have learnt over the years is that thinking of the disease as cancer is already sending you on a downward spiral. My patients don’t know they have cancer, they might react to pain, or difficulty moving, breathing or sleeping but they definitely don’t think ‘ I only have xx weeks to live’. If we can relieve the symptoms, their thoughts will probably drift to ‘when are we going for a walk…where’s my ball…when is dinner…’; unless the owners think cancer and then they sense something is wrong, they worry about their owner, stress about things and eventually give up…
With my chinese medicine training, I look at every cancer as a chinese medicine pattern. Is there stagnation; is there deficiency; which organ/meridian; where? With this information, there are complementary medicine tools that can be initiated; acupuncture, herbs, homotoxicology, diet, mushrooms and so on. In many cases, these are taken in conjunction with conventional chemotherapy. The thing is that the complementary stuff can actually reduce the side effects of the harsh medication and many of my clients ask me if their dog really has cancer because they look and behave so well and have lived longer than expected.
I recently read an article written by a human oncologist about the popularity of complementary medicine with her patients and why her patients or the ‘alternative practitioner’ never consulted her about it. Dialogue might work best if it was a two way process. And another thing, I guess if conventional medicine was so effective, there would be no need for patients to seek anything else; as was the case for antibiotics until widespread resistance came along.
In the end, we try to make it the best goodbye