Recovery and Stir Fry

Caution: not for the faint of heart or easily grossed out. 

I’m not doing very much today. I need some down time, as does Oakley.

It started last weekend with some restlessness and withdrawal. Then the loose, unformed poops started.

Again. For the third time this year.

I gave Oaks some bentonite clay in his pumpkin or sweet potato. Seemed to put the brakes on, and it worked.

Until Wednesday. Went to acupuncture, went to run errands, came home to find him standing in his crate. Usually, he just lies there and gives me the big hound-y eyes until he gets a token of apology from me. But he was standing.

I opened the door of the crate and found out that he’d had an explosive accident.  Emphasis on explosive. Cleaned him up, threw the bed out, mopped the floor. Ran him out in the yard where he barfed up bile. Called the vet.

We were able to get in with Dr. P. She does traditional Chinese medicine. That was good. The bad: we couldn’t get in until her last appointment on Thursday.

Took it. One of the other vets took pity on us and refilled the chicken-flavored Kaopectate gel so we could both get some peace.

Bloodwork and poop samples came back normal the last couple of times, so I didn’t bother with that. Dr. P asked a ton of questions. Out of that came the game plan:

  • Wean him off the acid blockers. They had crossed the line between providing relief and interfering with the digestive process.
  • Feed “cool” foods. In TCM, references to a food being hot, warm, cool, or cold are not about the level of spiciness or temperature.  It speaks to how likely a food is to cause inflammation. Currently, his proteins are restricted to turkey and bison. His carbs are coming from pumpkin or barley. We’ll try millet. The sweet potatoes and hard squash contain more sugar than his system can handle, and contributed to the bacterial overgrowth in his intestines that triggered off the whole cycle. Veggies allowed include spinach, mushrooms, and celery. He’s had a bit of zucchini, too, which seems to sit well.
  • Adjust portion sizes and balance. Even with all the digestive distress, he had still managed to gain weight since his last appointment. My bad. I had misread a feeding chart and was giving him a lot more meat than he needed. Dr. P suggested a book that I will review here after I read it.
  • Change up the herbs–get him back on the Liver Happy whether he wants to or not after a cycle of one to stop the diarrhea.

It’s all working beautifully. He slept well Thursday night, and on Friday he passed a poop so well formed that I almost posted a picture of it on Facebook. I thought the better of it, though. (You’re welcome.) He’s not happy about the forced abstinence from chicken and beef, or the smaller portions. But he does like the barley, the spinach, and not having cramps and an achy tummy.

And I like that we found an alternative to another round of antibiotics.  As if both of us sleeping through the night wasn’t awesome enough.

So today, we will recover. We had a lovely walk with friends this morning. Another one is in the offing for this afternoon. I will make a pot of stir-fried veggies later today. We will watch the episodes of “The Tudors” leading up to Anne Boleyn’s demise. And we will enjoy the peace.

The Courage to Change What I Can’t Accept

T-24:30 and counting.

This level of fatigue and brain fog is unacceptable. So are the mood swings, the sleeplessness, the heavy periods. 

T-24:25 and counting.

I’m not thrilled with the weight gain, either. Part of it my own doing, granted, from stress eating when my mother in law went through her last year on this side, trapped in the revolving door of what passes for health care for the elderly in the US. Part of it stems from attempting to comfort myself after Orion crossed the Rainbow Bridge. A lot of it has to do with this last act in the monthly dance of the hormones.


So tomorrow, I give something different a shot. Inspired by the quick and positive results that Oakley had with his herbs, I made an appointment at the local acupuncture practice. Many of my friends who live in town have had good results. It is worth a shot. 


I want to stay as far from synthetic hormones and more commonplace medicine as I can. At the time of her death, my mom was on high-estrogen birth control pills. She smoked. She had little relief from them. The heart attack that claimed her life happened when she was 51, just a few months older than I am now. 

That is totally unacceptable. 

I have too much to do right now. I have an e-mag; letters and emails to write concerning the environment for the generations to come; crossposting and reposting to do for animal rescues on Facebook; and a dog to care for. I don’t have time for fatigue, for draining periods, or to slip the veil of tears.  


I’ve done my research, so I have a rough idea of how tomorrow’s appointment will go. Curiosity has overridden fear. What changes will be suggested otherwise, I don’t know. I will let curiosity lead the way.





Is Your Liver Happy?

Oakley’s tummy runs on the sensitive side. Transitioning him off of the corn-laden food that had been donated to the shelter and on to a healthier brand proved interesting, to say the least. So did figuring out what he could or would eat–or not.

He’d been having problems with acid reflux. After a particularly bad episode, I got him in to see the vet at our practice who does traditional Chinese medicine. Check pulses, gums, tongue and a few other noninvasive things. Oakley had been holding heat and phlegm in his liver.

Dr. P recommended “cool” proteins such as bison, turkey, and fish; cut way back on dairy products; and a tablespoon of pumpkin with each meal. She also prescribed an herbal formula called Liver Happy. He’d gained weight. A lot. His body wasn’t breaking stuff down properly, and not being able to absorb the nutrients made him feel hungry.

I have no idea what’s in it, but he had a peaceful night for the first time in quite a while. He’s adapted to the diet changes pretty well. Perhaps a bit of complaint issued now and then, but a firm “What did Dr. P tell us?” puts a stop to it.

In very rudimentary terms, Chinese medicine is about bringing the body, mind, and spirit into harmony with each other through the use of acupuncture, herbs, and nutrition. It’s noninvasive. It spares the inconvenience, discomfort, and pain involved with western diagnostic testing. 

Oakley had hit the wall with the acid blockers, the only thing that western medicine had to offer. He will be weaned off of them soon. His liver will be kept happy.