I saw one of my favorite senior canine patients this week, Caleb. I actually wrote about him earlier, after he had such an amazing response to a single dose of a vaccinosis remedy.
This time, tumor surgery was his main reason to visit. Catherine had had it with his grossly growing tumors and the constant admonishment by friends and family to just get these taken off.
Maybe they were all right, and surgery was Caleb’s best option. Maybe she was wrong for letting them grow this long.
Maybe she was acting irresponsibly with his health care.
Caleb turned 15 this month, and is a Staffie mix who’s a bit shy. He’s learned that I’m only here to help him, so he’s warmed up to me steadily over the past two years. He gets especially attentive when I go to the remedy cabinet to give him a dose of something fitting.
He came to me with a history of having had tumors surgically removed. Multiple times.
Even though the surgeon’s motto is “A chance to cut is a chance to cure!” that really never holds true in chronic disease. Caleb made that abundantly clear, as he continued to try, try again to make more benign tumors.
Now, we’re taking a different, homeopathic approach to his health, and he’s really enjoying his life.
And growing tumors like there’s no tomorrow!
Society and Symptoms
We live in a society that largely abhors seeing symptoms of illness. Your horse has rough bumpy eruptions on his withers? Your dog has a tumor the size of a pie plate on his chest? Or a new “scrotum” that’s actually a benign tumor?
DO something about that! Get it out of there!!
This pervading attitude is likely one you come face to face with once you’ve understood health and disease in a deeper way, usually as a result of working with a homeopath.
And this attitude is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of disease, shared by the majority of doctors in all fields:
The symptoms ARE the disease. If we can make them go away, we’ll have health.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Out of Harm’s Way
When a surface eruption (pimple, rash, hot spot, etc.) or tumor is manifested, it’s important that we have a proper understanding of where this originated.
Contrary to what is perhaps easier to accept, this hasn’t “fallen from the sky” or been acquired by contact with some sick animal or a toxic golf course.
It’s come from the workings of the vital force.
And the good news is, it’s very, very external and unlikely to be accompanied by inner disease.
That’s how the vital force rolls: keep disease on the outside, whenever possible.
Wayyyy better than a sick liver or heart or kidneys.
The (Vital) Force be With You
Homeopaths recognize an inner intelligence, resident in all living beings, and call it after Hahnemann’s term, the vital force. The vital force unerringly attempts to keep the animal (or plant or human) in balance.
I think of it as an extremely efficient gyroscope of sorts.
An acute example of its workings is the heat, pain and swelling that accompanies an injury.
Say you fell and your knee crashed into a rock on the trail.
And that knee is now “talking to you” for several hours, and perhaps into the next day or two. That talk is composed of symptoms, like the pain, heat and swelling.
And here’s the important point: these symptoms are NOT the disease. They are the workings of the vital force to repair the damage you’ve done to your knee.
The symptoms are indicative of the move to restore order, homeostasis, wellness, and as such, are worthy of your respect and assistance.
Still Trying, After All These Years
In chronic disease, we see symptoms stretched out over time, not uncommonly, over years.
And, as chronic disease is the commonest form of disease on the planet, these long lasting, repeating symptoms are the commonest type we see, in our animals and ourselves.
Caleb’s tumors, benign but unsightly, are an example of a chronic symptom.
And, just as in the acute symptoms of trying to heal an injured knee, these tumors are there for
Only. One. Reason.
Caleb’s vital force is putting tumors out on the surface to try to keep him well. To establish balance, harmony in the Whole.
Caleb has even more impetus to make these surface tumors than the average animal does.
His earlier attempts were repeatedly suppressed.
The surgeon, misreading their true purpose, said, in essence, “Oh! We’ve got a disease called lipoma. Let’s cut those nasties out.”
And Caleb’s vital force responded.
“Wait! I worked hard to get some balance in my whole economy by making these lumps out on the surface! Now I have to try again!”
So, more followed, and more, until even now, three years after his last surgery, his vital force is putting forth more tumor growth.
With Holistic Health…
…Comes great responsibility.
You can no longer count on your friends (at least your old ones) or your family accepting what you now know. You’re seeing health and disease completely differently from the model you grew up with, most likely (unless you grew up in a homeopathic family, much more common in Britain, Europe and India than in the West.)
The more you respect the workings of the innate intelligence to heal your animals (with a bit of help from homeopathy when needed), the more you accept symptoms as part of getting well.
Here’s how my conversation about Caleb went with Catherine recently.
WF: “So, you’re thinking you’d like to get this dangling tumor cut off, hmm?”
C: “Yes, it’s so gross. And everyone is telling me I should just do it, already!”
WF: “How’s the rest of Caleb doing?”
C: “Oh, quite well. He has a bit of trouble getting up on my bed now, but he still runs around all frisky in the yard. His sleep is still solid (earlier, it had been restless). He’s not humping the air involuntarily like he was before. And he always shrinks his tumors and gets a really shiny coat after you give him a remedy.”
WF: “Is he suffering with these tumors, do you think?”
C: “Not at all. He never seems to notice them.”
I then relayed to Catherine my take on the balance Caleb had achieved by having these benign tumors on the surface (he’s got several, and a long wart hanging from one lip). He was a happy old guy, coming to me for pets and keeping up with life at home really well, eating, drinking (a bit too much), getting around, and eliminating well.
An Earlier Patient: Tumor Off, Paralysis On.
I went on to share a patient’s story from years back, when I practiced on Maui, with a similar old dog with a huge external tumor. Much like Caleb, I hadn’t been able to make Timmy’s tumor shift much, though he was an otherwise healthy dog after prescribing constitutional remedies for him over the prior year.
His owner wanted that thing off of Timmy. She was tired off it, and tired of all the pressure from anyone who saw him.
Timmy had surgery and his tumor was left in the waste basket.
Within four months, Timmy was paralyzed in the rear quarters. He was incontinent for both urine and stool. From the waist up, he was a normal dog, but his rear end was no longer in his control.
Having learned in my homeopathic training about cure, palliation, and suppression, this dog showed all the hallmarks of the latter. The original disease manifestation was suppressed by cutting it off, and his disease then took a deeper, more serious turn.
Timmy was now paralyzed from the waist down.
Coincidence? Only to someone who’s not learned Hahnemann’s understanding of suppression’s effects.
Standing Your (Lonely) Ground
When you venture down this natural path, you really are a pioneer. And pioneers often have a tough time of it.
You’ve probably never heard of Ignaz Semmelweis, a physician in Vienna in the mid-1800’s. This man likely saved millions of lives by boldly sticking to his unpopular theory:
Women were dying of puerperal fever after childbirth solely because they were delivered by medical students who’d never thought to wash up after performing an autopsy just prior.
When he pushed his idea and required hand washing between procedures, the death rate plummeted.
His idea was so unpopular with his fellow physicians that he was shunned, ridiculed, and finally locked up in an insane asylum, ultimately dying there, having been beaten by guards repeatedly.
If you feel pressured to conform to the perceived norm in health care for your animals or yourself, I have some very strong advice:
Get new friends. Fire your vet if he’s not on board.
Who we hang with and listen to shapes our reality more than we might realize. If you constantly have to defend your values in raising healthy loved ones, you are taking on more burden than is necessary or good for you.
The good news is that you are far from alone. Communities of like-minded folks are springing up all over, including Vital Animal | The Natural Path and Dogs Naturally Magazine.
Get with your proper pack, ignore those naysayers who think you’ve got to make symptoms go away right now, and life will get better and better.
As to symptoms, keep track of them in the diary you keep for each animal, and if you see them repeating over and over or getting worse, it’s time to call your homeopathic vet for a consult.
Caleb Gets a Reprieve
Catherine and I decided, in light of how well old Caleb was doing, to not “upset his apple cart” with another surgery. Catherine would brave the slings and arrows of a non-understanding peer group in the interests of Caleb’s overall health.
Caleb came smiling up to me as I held out his remedy. Though he made a sour face after I gave it to him, I knew I’d done right by him. And he’ll come back even more confident and loving the next time I see him.