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Posted on 07-10-2014

Brinkley’s Journey: Not A Death Sentence

Four weeks ago, I received the devastating news that the most important creature in my world has lymphoma, a rapidly aggressive form of cancer that affects animals and people of all ages. I never dreamed that I would wake up one morning and hear “you have 4-6 weeks left with her.” Hearing those words devastated me and my heart was broken. Brinkley, my 9 year old boxer/beagle mix has been like a kid to me. I’ve had her since she was four months old.  I was up all night with her when she lost her first tooth as a pup icing her gums to help sooth her pain. Needless to say, she has gone everywhere with me over the years. She is my companion. I would do anything for her. When the doctor came back with the diagnosis I was faced with the decision on how to save her life. My options were prednisone to keep the swelling away to make her comfortable and let the cancer run its ugly course, chemo therapy to kill the bad cells as well as the good, or trust my nature of the holistic approach of healthy eating habits. To some people she may be “just a dog,”  but to me she is one of the loves of my life. When you love someone you will do anything for them whether they are human or a beloved pet. How do you make a decision on what to do next?

In life we are faced with many difficult decisions. How to trust. How to let go. How to move forward. Honestly, I am terrified. How do I choose to help her? I know that the outcome is in God’s hands, and I trust that everything will be okay. Sometimes we let fear take over. I have learned that when fear speaks, it is always wrong. There is no right or wrong answer here. People spend much of their lives beating themselves up over decisions that they have made in the past. “I should’ve” or “I would’ve done this differently.” The truth is everyone learns from past experiences and mistakes. It’s what we learn from those mistakes and how we chose to move forward and grow from each experience.

  I spent a lot of time researching my options on what to do. When presented the options I was told that if I did nothing that she would only have 4-6 weeks to live. This was incredibily hard for me to believe since she was running around and playing with her toys being her normal active self just 12 hours earlier. In a panic, after testing to find out how much it had spread, we elected to do chemo therapy. Immediately I contacted a holistic veterinarian, and used my knowledge of nutrition and changed her diet of eating minimally processed dog food to non-processed food and giving her raw vegetables. I started giving her only filtered water to drink. I travelled to Columbia and met with the veterinary oncologist and discussed treatment options. When I sat down and discussed dietary involvement and what a dog would eat in the wild to keep itself alive and well, I asked why couldn’t I give her a diet that was created for her as if she were living in the wild? The vet stated that giving her raw foods would cause her to become sick. How could giving her the foods that God created for her to eat make her sick? Did she get cancer from a lack of chemotherapy in her body? The answer is NO! People don’t get sick from a lack of chemo in their body. The chemo therapy protocol prescribed is 26 weeks, alternating between IV administration and oral. I was given the oral and asked to administer the drug at home. To my shock, the drug was given to me in a sealed bag with gloves. The outside of the bag had a hazard label and written all over it stated, “Handle with gloves.” Did I let fear get to me? How can I give something so toxic that I have to “handle with gloves” to her? I am still scared. I am giving her the treatment and wearing the gloves, but I know this will not bring her to health. What do I do to help her reach health? So, I often ask the question to others, “What is health?” According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

How do we achieve health? Of course we know the obvious eat well and exercise, but where does chiropractic fit in? As a chiropractor, everyday I am blessed to see people heal from different kinds of health issues. Your immune system is controlled by your nervous system. Your nervous system is composed of your brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves that control all of the organs, cells, and tissues of your body. The purpose of chiropractic is to help restore normal function to the body to allow it to heal. Why not get her adjusted to boost her immune system and help her fight the cancer?

  

I called a colleague that specializes in animal chiropractic to get her adjusted. I know that the body heals from above, down, and inside out. After evaluating her I realized she had severe subluxation. Of course her body isn’t working at its full potential.

Brinkley received a chiropractic adjustment and something amazing happened to not only her, but in me. She immediately curled up on the couch and went to sleep. Over the next several days I noticed her be more energetic and eating more. What did the adjustment do?  Did it help the chemo work better? I know that the adjustment removed interference between her brain to be able to talk to the rest of her body. Chiropractic adjustments help the body to adapt to stress. Her body is going through stress from cancer and stress from the chemo therapy drug.  I realized at that moment after witnessing function being restored, how blessed I am to see it every day in each person that walks into my office. There is no guarantee that either form of care will help her live longer, but there is a guarantee that the steps we are taking to get her well will help add life to whatever time we have left with her. With the chemo treatment the side effects can be horrendous and we have agreed that if she is not enjoying life that we don’t want to put her through the pain and suffering of continuing treatment. No person can tell me that they have felt worse after eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits. Healthy lifestyle choices including chiropractic, nutrition, exercise, and removing toxins may not add years to your life, but will add life to your years.

I decided to use both methods of treatment, using the western approach and the holistic approach. Against the wishes of the conventional methods. Do I think I am making a mistake in choosing her treatment option? Absolutely NOT!

We are starting week five after receiving the diagnosis and Brinkley is doing great! Currently, she is not experiencing the side effects that the vet said she may experience. Is that because we are using a holistic approach? The truth is, I don’t know the answer for sure, but I am certain that she is stronger and healing after being exposed to chiropractic and nutrition. She is happy and very active with her furry friends and family. She is getting adjusted, eating healthy, exercising, and eliminating toxins (besides the chemo).

To clarify, you cannot poison someone into health. I truly believe that medicine is designed for crisis care. In this case, I consider Brinkley’s diagnosis a crisis care situation. The chemo is killing the bad and the good cells. Moving forward I’m working to strengthen her immune system with chiropractic and nutrition and help remove interference to the best of my ability. I don’t know what the future holds for Brinkley, but I know that I am going to use what I know to help her live life to the fullest. Everything is in God’s hands.  What will chiropractic and healthy lifestyle choices do for you and your family?

Whether you have an important health decision to make for yourself, a family member, or a furry critter you consider as your family member, way out your options and don’t let fear take control of how you decide to move forward

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