It's Monday, December 3, 2012 and I'm awakened at 3:30 a.m. Yesterday, it was 2:30 a.m. so I'm grateful for an extra hour of sleep. I awake to what sounds like Darth Vader sleeping next to me. It is the deep raspy gurgling breathing of our boxer, Beau. He has a history of snoring but typically only when he sleeps on a pillow (so we usually didn't allow him to have one).
However, for the past couple days, it's much louder and constant. His struggle to breathe through his nose is keeping him up as well. He finally stops fighting to find a sleeping position in which he can breathe and sits up. Instead of being annoyed at my lack of sleep, my heart goes out to him as I know the quality and quantity of his rest is vitally low. It is starting to show in his eyes. As a wellness coach, I preach the importance of getting uninterrupted sleep, as this is when our immune system rebuilds and repairs.
This scenario brings back memories of my dad before he passed away as he struggled with emphysema. I can somewhat relate as for years in my childhood I struggled with asthma and depended on an inhaler. If you've ever experienced this you know the fear when you are fighting to breath especially for a child. I'm so blessed that I was able to heal myself (through whole foods) and be free of the asthma but most importantly eliminate my dependency on medication.
Besides the plethora of whole foods/herbs, I am using a combination of therapeutic essential oils on Beau’s paw pads including eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender, and a blend of various other oils. I also am using a cold-air diffuser using the same oils throughout the day and night to oxygenate his body as well as enhance his immune system. I know it won’t resolve the problem but will give his body some support and relief.
Beau has been diagnosed with a nasal tumor along with nasal polyps. It was not confirmed cancerous but a 90% chance it is. Therefore, these conditions create his struggle to breathe. Since his nasal passages are partially blocked, he breathes from his mouth. I had never seen this before in a dog and it is sad to see him struggle although most days he does quite well.
A scarier aspect that we’ve come to accept is when the nasal polyps burst. The nasal bleeding can continue for hours. He also starts a series of sneezes, which would be bloody and end up everywhere. You know, dogs don't use tissues. We started to learn the routine and follow him around when he started the sneezing fit and put a towel in front of him. However, he never sits still while he sneezes. Our walls end up being sprayed and it was a never-ending event of wall washing. My husband and I take turns cleaning. We may feel a bit inconvenienced but much more concern, love and compassion for what he was going though. I am wishing he could just tell me what he needed or how he felt. I know he doesn’t feel well, as he is not responding to our touch with the excitement he used to. Not wanting to be physically touched is totally out of character for Beau and all boxers.
We are amazed at the amount of blood and how he functions despites the constant dripping stream from his nose. The poor guy continues to lick his upper lip in an attempt to stop the drip. We used capsicum and helichrysum, which typically will stop internal bleeding, but this situation is not the same. My go-to, proven natural remedies weren't working. The first time, the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, was the worst. It started around 8 pm and continued throughout the night. I prayed so hard for it to stop on Thanksgiving morning so we could bring Beau back in the house. He hadn't been in a kennel since he was a pup. It was cold in the garage and he hated to be alone. We finally had no choice but to kennel him and we dug out our space heater to keep him warm. The bleeding finally subsided around 10 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning and we were able to have our four-legged baby back in the house, on his chair, where he belonged. Talk about an answer to prayer.
Although God gave us a reprieve for the day, it started back that weekend. It gets easier as we now know what to expect and that short term it isn't life threatening. However, long-term we accept (not very well) the fact that the tumor may continue to grow and possibly create additional restrictions. We are flooding his body with whole, raw foods and herbs. I start to feel a bit defeated. I've helped so many people with their health issues but why can't I help him? That's when I hear the reminder message loud and clear. “Bonnie, you're not God, you are just using what knowledge you've been gifted. You don't decide who is healed or who lives or dies.” I had to remind myself that I provide the protocol and leave the rest to our maker.
However, this little guy is so near and dear to my heart, I wanted to step in and take over because I'm not ready to let go. Then I humbly hear the voice, "that's not what we agreed to Bonnie". I am again reminded how blessed I've been called to serve others in this capacity and that God gave us Beau to take care of for whatever time He deems.
So lovingly we've nicknamed Beau Darth and other days we'd call him our “little” Cujo (bloody nose days). We've always attempted to maintain a sense of humor about life to keep it in perspective. Besdies, this is just our temporary stomping ground.I laughed one day as our UPS lady seemed quite apprehensive to deliver a package as we were standing outside. I'm sure he looked like a flesh destroying beast to her with his bloody little nose! I told her he was just a sick "little" guy with partial loss of vision, hearing and completely harmless.
Beau has always had a big heart for women and children. He is so gentle and forever erased my initial fear of dogs. Boxers are a needy and physically affectionate animals and have a constant desire to touch their humans. We’ve been so blessed to enable him in his needs.
Writing about Beau's journey is great therapy for me and hopefully a way to help others who may have to experience this. If you've been down this road (or are currently there) please comment or let me know how I can support you in any way.
- To read part 1 of the Beau Series: A Mom and Her Dog, click here
- To read part 2 of the Beau Series: Sleeping with Darth Vader, click here.
- To read part 3 of the Beau Series: Beau’s Holistic (Anticancer) Lifestyle, click here.
- To read part 4 of the Beau Series: All Dogs Go to Heaven: Goodbye Sweet Beau, click here.
- To read part 5 of the Beau Series: 42,038 Memories: Ode to our Beau - Part III of Beau’s journey, click here.