Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Our Puppy Has Panosteitis

Raven at 6 months old

That's our purebred male black German Shepherd puppy, Raven, at 6 months old and weighing in around 76-77 lbs (he wouldn't stay still on the scale), which is about 16-17 lbs above average at that age. He was the runt of his litter, but now he's the largest one and he grows overnight--literally. 

The day he turned 5 months old, he figured out how to get up on our bed by himself and it was his trick for the day. Every time we turned around he was up there again, then jumping down at will.  Being slightly indulgent parents, we just thought it was cute and took pictures. That night he started to limp and hold his right paw up when sitting and he was still doing it the next day, so we figured he'd sprained it by overdoing the on and offs from the bed, a natural assumption. Having tons of first aid training and having attended nursing school, I put some salves for pain on it and wrapped it, taking the wraps off at night to give it a rest. After a few days, he seemed to be doing better until we played a game of tug and he started to limp and hold that paw up again, so again I started wrapping it and we even bought a dog-specific neoprene brace for it since he kept chewing off the sports tape. 

After a month of this, we took him to the vet because we were becoming afraid he'd become permanently lame and learned that although I meant well, what I was doing wasn't doing any good, he had something called Panosteitis, or growing pains, that occurs sometimes in large breed puppies because of how fast they're growing, especially those who truly grow faster and larger than normal. German Shepherds are one of the breeds who are prone to it, and the only other one I know of is another male GSD who was the same size as Raven at the same age. 

The good news is that it will self-resolve when his growth plates close, somewhere around 18-24 months. The bad news is, we have a puppy who has a painful inflammation of his bones (the literal meaning of Panosteitis) for at least another year. It's hard to see your puppy limping or lying around when he should be running around, jumping and playing, or to hear him cry out in pain when he's just lying there. However, we've found some solutions. 

First, we're raw feeders but on a budget, so the mainstay of our dogs' diet is chicken and sardines. Our holistic vet suggested tweaking that by adding ground turkey to his diet because according to Chinese Food Therapy, a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, chicken (especially with bones in it) is a hot food and turkey is a cold food, as are the sardines. He runs hot and inflammation is hot, so he needs cold foods for balance. She advised us to keep using the turmeric and black pepper for the inflammation and added a plant-based steroid, served up with a bit of coconut oil (my preferred fat for the turmeric absorption and one he loves).

Second, I did some research on CBD oil and its effectiveness in Panosteitis and discovered it's actually quite beneficial because not only does it help with the pain and inflammation, but it also helps build bone density in dogs with Osteoarthritis, Panosteitis and HOD (hypertrophic osteodystrophy, another form of growing pains in puppies). So I purchased CBD oil from a company I trust and we added that to his brunch and dinner and that helped a little bit.

Next I did some more research and decided to follow advice for herbal pain remedies used in dogs for osteoarthritis pain, made sense since I'd seen it lumped together with the CBD oil. I chose two that I already had on hand for my own use, chopped licorice root and cayenne pepper powder. I just added them on top of the ground turkey with everything else, including his probiotic and vitamins. (I'm loving the addition of ground turkey, it makes it a ton easier to administer all of these additions!)

I noticed an immediate improvement with the licorice root, and even more of one with the cayenne pepper. Now he still has some pain if he overdoes things, but our puppy isn't limping often at all and he can run and play again! We still make sure we don't do things like play tug or do too much running or walking on pavement, but it's nice to know there was something we could do so that our sweet pup isn't suffering as much anymore.

If you have a puppy with Panosteitis, do some research, there are things you can do. And consider going a holistic route with diet and herbs because that's a lot easier on his or her system for long term treatment than prescription steroids and pain pills. 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Why I Prefer the Tarot de Marseille

3 of Cups from RWS, TdM and Thoth tarot systems

When I started my journey with learning to read tarot, I started out with the Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela and Joyce Eakins, a Thoth-based deck, having no knowledge that there were different systems, or styles, of tarot decks. I struggled with it for a few years until I finally found the pictorial system of the Waite-Smith, or RWS, decks and found those much easier to learn how to read. Most of us start there and some never venture into the other styles because they find them intimidating. 

In 2018 I decided to do an in-depth focus on the Thoth, and I fell in love. There's an energy to them that freed me from the pictorial keys of the RWS based decks, those fixed images as portrayed by the artist's interpretation of the meanings of the cards. However, each card has a key word that gives it a fixed meaning, so you're still locked into a vision created by the Golden Dawn, and it's very hard to see past those for alternative meanings. 

Both of the systems based on the Golden Dawn are great if you want a paint by numbers way of reading the tarot. You know, this card means this unless it's reversed or in shadow, then it means that, period, not much alteration from it. The 3 of Cups is a great example as it means joy or abundance, and is seen as a gathering with friends to celebrate. Of course, the shadow is the opposite of this. But can it mean more? 

I chose to move to studying the Tarot de Marseille (TdM) system in depth for 2019, and if I thought I loved the Thoth (and don't get me wrong, I still do, it's a gorgeous deck), then when I actually started to learn how to read the Tarot de Marseille the way it was originally read for centuries before Etteilla and Court de Gebelin got ahold of it, then the Golden Dawn, I was totally Gobsmacked. I found full freedom from the interpretations of others being imprinted upon the images of the deck, and the ability to find unique meanings based on the question and the rest of the cards. I had found my way back to cartomancy, this time with tarot. 

So, why is this important to me? Because now when I see the 3 of Cups in a reading I can look at the cards around it and the question and I can see cheating, or a break up, or one person controlling others, or someone breaking off from a group to find their own way. I can see both joy and sorrow much more easily, as well as a myriad of other possibilities. Maybe things are stacked together, or something has broken off of its main part. There's just so much more that can be seen here than in the other two systems.

I admit that it was intimidating in the beginning, and the journey hasn't been easy. I've read many books this year and I took the Tarot de Marseille Foundation and Advanced course offered by Camelia Elias. I've worked exclusively with the TdM for all of 2019, both personally and professionally, and I'm finally starting to feel like I've got it down rather well. 

If you're thinking of learning to read the Marseille style decks, then I highly recommend giving it a try, and approaching it like you're new to tarot. Forget all that you think you know, and let go of all that you think you need to learn, and start reading and playing. The best books to start with in my experience are Untold Tarot by CaitlĂ­n Matthews and Marseille Tarot by Camelia Elias, and I do recommend her course as well as her other books, but I'd start with these two books first because hands down they're better than any of the others that are often recommended. 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Making Sacred Time for Yourself

Stillness and time alone to connect with our inward selves and the Divine is a primal need for humans, yet one we often struggle to meet in today's hectic, fast-paced and overly busy world. It can very difficult to create time for yourself and your sacred practices like meditation and yoga, a walk in nature, or just sitting in peace with a cup of tea and a good book. 

I struggled with this myself for several years before discovering the secret was to find a good time of day in my family's routine for me to be undisturbed, and then make this time for myself a top priority above all others. This is something many women especially struggle with because we tend to put the needs of everyone else above ours. The kids, our spouse, the dogs, emails, work all come before our own needs, and we often feel selfish for wanting that time to ourselves, yet we can become resentful, fatigued, overly stressed--and even extemely ill--from not having it. 

For me, the way I finally found to get daily meditation, yoga and my daily tarot draw in was to make the first hour after I shower and dress in the morning my "Hour of Power". Since I work from home I don't need to get up early to do this, but I know of women who do exactly that in order to have that time. Those early hours of the day are actually very good for all of us humans hormonally, especially if we can have the rising sun in our sight. 

For my husband, the mornings don't work for this as that's his time he prefers to watch the news, have his coffee and breakfast and prepare for his day at work. He takes his time for a sauna, meditation and yoga in the evenings as a way to relax, destress and decompress from his day at work before going to bed. 

It doesn't matter what time you find for your sacred practice or just relaxing with some quiet time alone, it just matters that you do and make it your time that everyone respects, including yourself. We are, after all, human "beings", not human "doings", and time to BE is something we all need. Give yourself that gift this holiday season. 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Why I Left YouTube

So, the big question is, why did I leave YouTube? Well, the answer perhaps starts with why I started a channel in the first place, and that was because my office was downstairs under the living room and I felt like the troll under the stairs, a bit lonely and cut off from my family and I was bored while I waited for calls when I was working online as a tarot reader, so I was watching a lot of YouTube, one particular channel especially, and I decided to join in the fun. There weren't as many tarot channels back then, in 2014.

I've been on and off YouTube a couple of times over the past five years, same with Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. I'd canceled all of my other social media and returned to YouTube in August of 2018, right after my 55th birthday, but I've discovered a bit of a problem with it as time has gone on, the same things that led me to leave before: it's just too big of a distraction and keeps me from doing the reading and studying that I want to do, and it just starts to feel like too much pressure to keep up with everyone and adds too much stress to my life. 

I've thought about taking a break for weeks now, but then I started putting up the quality content I've always wanted to provide because with our upcoming move from PA to NH in 2020, I know I may be way too busy next year to produce any content or watch any videos. I also don't even know if we'll have internet, or if we do it may only be satellite or DSL. We're moving to an area that many people vacation in to unplug, so only in areas where there's a good concentration of permanent residents do they have decent internet, and that's what we're moving there to get away from instead. That realization is part of what made me leave YouTube permanently. 

So, what's the other part? For me, Paleo living has become not just a diet but a complete lifestyle, as much as possible in our modern age. This past week I've had a few chances to hang out with friends in person, and that felt very good and right. Talking about friends I have around the world and across the country, with a few exceptions, felt fake. I've never met these people in person and never will. Now some I text and email with regularly, and even video chat with occasionally, so those are the exceptions. The rest, it just doesn't feel "right". In his book Primal Connection, Mark Sisson mentions that we're designed to gather with small groups of people, not hundreds or thousands over digital media. I agree, and I think that's what's been bothering me for a couple of years now. 

Adding to it is the new elitist guidelines on YouTube, like only channels with over 500 or 1,000 subscribers having access to certain features rather than having them available to all channels. There were features that I had available that suddenly disappeared since I didn't meet the new criteria yet. 

Most of all though is just feeling like I get nothing done due to irrelevant distractions that aren't really adding anything substantial to my life, again with a few exceptions. Nor do I feel that I've done much substantial to add to the lives of others. I hope that I'll do so with this blog instead, and put some good content out that others will appreciate and find valuable, something that no social media really seems to do. 

I have no regrets over my time on YouTube, and I'm very grateful for the friends I've made that I couldn't have made any other way. Time will tell which ones are true friends and which are not, and I'm already discovering who is who, but I have to be true to myself and live my life without feeling I have to share it with the world.