Tessa’s Journey

Tessa’s journey (and more) as shared by her family via this email:

“Thank you so much for the info, this is very good to know!!  I was actually going to email you today to let you know some amazingly good news.  The mast cell tumor we’d found on Tessa 2 weeks ago is gone!!!

When we initially found the tumor we took her to the Oncologist right away and he did an FNA and determined it to be a mast cell tumor.  He wanted to do a punch biopsy w/radiation to remove it but we chose to hold off.

Since my consult with you, we’ve been giving her the Care by Design 1:1 twice a day and I’ve been putting the Bluebird CBD on the tumor directly twice a day, and it shrunk considerably to the point of it being almost gone.

Despite that it seemed to be gone we wanted to see if the Onco Dr. still felt it should be removed, so we took her back yesterday so he could have a look, and he said it’s effectively gone.  He said there is nothing to remove!  I have been a full believer in the power of cannabis to heal but this is the first time I’ve seen it actually make a physical difference.  I am so grateful to you for your help!!!

I also wanted to tell you that I first started researching cannabis and cancer in Aug 2016 when one of my dogs was diagnosed with Histiocytic Sarcoma and it was incredibly difficult to find any reliable info on dosing and side effects, etc.

We were living in FL at the time so that made it much harder, but we ended up being able to get some 1:1 from a company in CA and it made all the difference in his pain levels and I was sold on its effectiveness.  It didn’t cure him or even help battle his cancer but it made his life better while he was with us.

We weren’t given any info other than dosing, so to this day I don’t know what exactly was in his tincture.  We were desperate parents and willing to do anything to help him.

Since then I’ve continued to try to educate myself as much as possible on cannabis and dosing etc. but have not had any clear info to go on. It is shocking how hard it is to get information on something that is so healing and helpful.

When Dr. Kangas recommended we contact you, I was so excited to learn there was someone out there offering help, so I wanted to express my extreme gratitude to you and what you do for people and pets.  You gave me more info in 30 minutes than I’d been able to reliably find in over 4 years.  Tessa is thriving and I feel much more informed.

Also, Ruby (and our pup Ivy who isn’t pictured) were on 2ml of 20:1 vet cbd twice a day along w/ other pain relievers. When I started Tessa on the 1:1, I also switched Ruby and Ivy to it as well. They are all thriving. Tessa is off Gabapentin completely, Ivy is down to 100 mg 1x per day of Gaba. and Ruby is off Galaprant and down to 300 mg of Gaba. 1x per day. All were getting more of those meds and we will keep tweaking until we are hopefully able or stop them completely. They all are feeling great and an added bonus is this is saving us a lot of money.

Thank you so much!!!  I will be in touch regarding a follow up and probably another consult for me and my husband, as we both use cannabis for sleep and anxiety, etc.  and we have 5 other pups who could benefit from your knowledge.” -Sundara

(pictured: Tessa-left and Ruby-right)

Faith’s Journey – End of Life

Faith was a beautiful and faithful 12 year old German Shepard.  It was so very clear to me, the mutual love these two shared. It was Jill’s primary goal to slow the progression or reduce of size of the tumor which was on the right side of the anal gland, to provide control pain, and promote comfort and quality of life for her as much as possible.

Jill was very thorough and patient in her process and exhausted every measure she could to provide Faith with as much relief as possible, which included cannabinoids.

Here is the last email we received from Jill:

“I wanted to let you know that Faith made her transition into spirit this past week.  While we did not change the cancer, I know the CBD and all of your assistance was so vital to help Faith be more comfortable in her last months.  I so appreciate the time you took to answer all of my questions, as I certainly learned a lot and felt more empowered to make informed decisions regarding CBD and her care.   Thank you!”

Jill also shared this beautiful quote:

When people have love, they are no longer at the mercy of forces greater than themselves.  For they themselves become the powerful force.  ~Leo Buscaglia

I hope their story and Jill’s powerful words of love provide you with hope and courage.

Rory’s Journey – Seizures

I wanted to share Rory’s journey with CBD for two reasons, one it has a great ending and two I hope it will help someone else going through the same thing.

Little bit about Rory: We adopted him April 2010, sight unseen, from a friend’s friend, he came to us at just 5 1/2 weeks and 8 lbs, not the best beginning in life. He’s one of the sweetest souls I have ever known and so, so sensitive.

As luck would have it Rory seems to have all the conditions Golden Retrievers are predisposed for, mainly allergies and seizures. In 2011, Rory had his first and only Grand Mal seizure but following that continued to have stage 1 and 2 seizures, it was determined Rory had epilepsy and of course was recommended he start on all the pharmaceuticals that go with it.

At this point I was doing research like crazy and the more I read the more I knew this was not the path for Rory. My Vet had told me the seizures would not cause lasting damage and so for the next 4 years I attempted to control them by keeping logs of triggers and managing diet.

During this time I would talk to people about his epilepsy, a lot of people shared with me they managed that condition with cannabis. So I started to research and with the help of a new Vet was directed to CBD. For the next 4 years I tried to navigate the maze of CBD. How to dose, when to dose, am I buying “snake-oil” or is it legit. Some of it gave him diarrhea so I would stop, some seemed to upset his stomach further, so I would stop with that one. I thought he would build a tolerance so I would only give it to him during his actual seizures. Our success rate with this was minimal but it did reduce the severity and length of the seizures, so we continued. I went to a dispensary and bought a THC ratio CBD and that seemed to work a bit better but made him really sleepy.

It was right after trying the THC ratio that a friend told me about a seminar being given by an actual certified cannabis specialist (I never even knew there were certified cannabist specialists!). So I attended Robbin Lynn’s Seminar and for the first time instead of feeling confused, I felt hopeful about actually being able to stop the seizures with CBD and not just manage the severity or length.

She answered so many of my questions, I actually felt like crying with relief when I left that day.

I signed up for a consult and met with Robbin on 4/5/19. Rory has been taking a CBD she recommended daily since then and he has had 5 seizures total in the last 3 1/2 months, which have lasted about 5 minutes; a huge improvement.

When I first started CBD and diet control Rory was having 5-8 seizures a week and sometimes 3 in a day, and they would last up to 30 minutes at a time.

The seizures since meeting with Robbin can attributed a trigger, namely lack of diet control (sometimes its hard to say “no” to that sweet face)

I can’t begin to tell you what a blessing it has been to have met Robbin, she is so knowledgeable and I found it impossible,to gather this information on my own. Her dosing recommendations were right on, she was able to explain why certain CBD’s upset his stomach and whether we even needed a THC ratio. I can’t say enough about how good she is.

So for the first time in the last 8 years Rory is virtually seizure free, in addition it calms his head ”ticks” and helps with his appetite.

Thank you, thank you Robbin for doing what you do and sharing the knowledge you have by doing so you have given my sweet boy a quality of life he has never known until now.

Forever grateful, Katie and Rory

This post is from a letter written by Rory’s family and posted with their permission in the hopes that it helps others <3

The Life of Max

Our worlds collided by chance and I believe it was simply meant to be.  There’s a popular saying in the dog world “Who rescued who?” and we definitely rescued each other.

Max is the sweetest, laid back 30 pound love of my life.  He’s a Cockapoo, all black with a white patch on his chest, gray around his ears and estimated to be about 12 years old.  He came to me 7 years ago, a dirty matted long-haired mop with skin fungus as well as ear and eye infections. He was hungry and could barely walk. At the time of his rescue, he had narrowly escaped being hit by a truck in a rural area that was a known dumping ground for unwanted dogs and by the looks of him, he’d been out in the streets for awhile.  No one responded to my shelter posts of a found dog, nobody came forth for him, so I promised he had a home with me and I would always protect him.  I would never let him feel scared or hungry or alone again.

When I first saw him, I lifted the mop of hair surrounding his face and found a dark set of affectionate eyes looking back at me that felt like they touched my soul. When he was shaved down and cleaned up, his paw pads were found to be full of foxtails.  No wonder he couldn’t walk.  We weren’t sure how old he was or what had happened in his life to bring him to this point. He was nursed back to health and soon he was running around like a happy little camper.

About a year and a half ago, days from leaving for our end of summer vacation, Max stopped being interested in food.  We got him checked out immediately because he’s getting up there in years and we were concerned at the sudden change.  We didn’t want to leave him with a sitter.  He always goes on vacation with us.  The vet said he had a tooth infection, put him on an antibiotic and cleared him to travel. They scheduled surgery so that once he finished the antibiotic, the tooth could be pulled. We planned to also have some fatty tumors removed around his belly area and he would be back to normal, or so that was the original plan.  A few days later, off we went on vacation, both our dogs in tow.  It took all day to drive there, so we rested and the next morning we headed for the lake.  We enjoyed a perfect day out on the water except for Max, who is usually excited for our adventures.  He loves the wind blowing in his face and he usually tries to jump off the boat to chase ducks but this time he just wasn’t himself.  We figured he still wasn’t feeling good, so we kept him comfortable and let him sleep.

About an hour after we returned to our hotel room, Max seemed disoriented and confused.  He tried to walk but kept turning to the left in a circle, vomiting profusely before wobbling and falling over.  This happened several times within a matter of minutes.  I tried not to panic though I’m pretty sure I did.  My boyfriend called the front desk and asked for the name of the closest veterinary hospital.  It was past normal business hours and I hoped there was a vet close by with emergency hours.  Thankfully, the closest one was 5 minutes away and had on-call after hours emergency services.  Dr. Roundtree answered the phone personally, said he was also 5 minutes away and agreed to rush over to meet us at the hospital.  When we arrived, the doctor and his wife were already there waiting for us.  After observing Max’s functions, he gave him an injection to help with the vomiting and started him on a different antibiotic, stating that the one he was already taking for his tooth was very strong and likely intensified the vertigo-like symptoms and vomiting.  He diagnosed Max with Geriatric Vestibular Disease.  There was that word again, “vestibular”.

Oddly enough, I had just been diagnosed myself with a Vestibular Schwannoma brain tumor so I was newly familiar to the term and understood enough of what that meant for Max.  A big reason for this vacation was to get away from my own reality and pretend it wasn’t happening.  3 different surgeons that I consulted with asked me if I was falling over or had any bouts of vertigo or double vision. To their surprise, I hadn’t. But here we were seeing Max experience all the symptoms that I was scared of. The vet said Max would either come out of it and recover.  Or he wouldn’t.  I already feared the unknown for myself and now I feared it for my dog, too.  Is this what will happen to me if I don’t remove this tumor in my head? How will I take care of Max?  I couldn’t help but get more terrified.  We needed each other now more than ever before.  What were the chances that we both had “vestibular” issues?  How would we ever get through this?  I felt helpless and defeated and was just shy of having my own pity party, but on that 9 ½ hour drive home, I decided that I would stay strong for Max and I would try anything to help him feel better.  I was not ready to let him go yet and I knew I needed to get a grip, take a deep breath and figure out what to do.

Prior to my own diagnosis, I was fully on board the cannabis stigma train.  I didn’t understand the plant or the medicinal benefits of cannabis.  Although I knew it was helping a lot of people, I didn’t understand enough about it, so I didn’t feel it was for me.  The 3 surgeons I spoke to had all told me my tumor was quite large and recommended I have it surgically removed before it became an emergency situation, but the thought of having my skull sawed open terrified me.  The thought of never being the same terrified me. What if I am worse after?  I guess it’s fair to say that my fear of surgery changed my stigma about cannabis.  I felt like I was losing my mind some days as it was constantly on my mind and I was consumed with fear of all the unknown.  I knew I needed to stay focused on work and family but I especially needed to come up with a game plan.  These are the cards I was dealt, now what?  Cannabis is known to shrink cancer cell tumors, so maybe it could work with schwannoma cell tumors as well.  With some coaching, I started on a cannabis saturation regimen to see if it could shrink my tumor.  The CBD especially seemed to help my anxiety and fear so I could function and get through the workday.  It eased most of the symptoms I was having and gave me a sense of calm so that I could make the best decisions on what to do.

So on our long drive home from vacation, I decided that we would also begin Max on CBD oil as soon as we got back.  We started him on an aggressive dose of it twice a day.  He was in such bad shape, we weren’t sure it would make a difference and often wondered if he’d ever recover.  The months to follow were pretty rough.  Max couldn’t stand up without turning left, wobbling and falling over.  He had to be carried out to potty, held up until he finished, then carried back in.  He had no interest in doing anything but sleeping, he could barely hold his head up to eat, so we hand fed him, kept the house quiet and let him sleep.  He was still vomiting at random and had several pee accidents in the house.  We got him doggy diaper wraps so we could spend more time tending to his needs than scrubbing carpets.  This went on for several weeks.

I was trying to mentally prepare myself for the worst, but I wasn’t ready to give up and when I looked into his eyes, I knew he wasn’t ready to give up either.  Our vet in town said Max would never be able to withstand surgery, so we would have to wing it and treat symptomatically as needed for the rest of his life.  Weeks went by, then slowly but surely he started to respond to the CBD.  He began to have a little energy, he began to walk.  Still a little wobbly, but he was walking!  He was able to focus again on the things he enjoyed and he started showing interest again in his treats and the birds outside. He couldn’t walk too far, but he could get outside to potty and back to bed without being carried.  We practically threw a party when he was finally strong enough to walk outside on his own and actually lift his leg to pee without falling over!  We really knew he was feeling better when he started to bark again!  It took about 6 months until we were certain he was finally on the road to recovery and we gradually lessened his CBD dose.

It is now 1 ½ years later and my heart is so full.  I helped him recover and I also had my surgery and he helped me recover.  For the most part, we recovered together.  I guess we know the answer to “Who rescued who?”.  We rescued each other, no doubt about it.  We crossed each other’s paths years ago for a reason.  We didn’t know why at the time, but we were connected soul to soul.  We are both doing so well, we have cut back on the aggressive doses of CBD and we have lessened it to just taking a maintenance dose a couple times a week. If we have a rough day, which we still do from time to time, we might take an extra dose and by the next day we usually feel better, so it seems to be working out well.

I’m happy to report that Max has a pep back in his step.  He’s even running again!  Up and down the hall and all around the bedroom when we walk through the door.  He is thrilled to chase ducks again.  He follows me up and down a flight of stairs twice a day.  Some days are a struggle, but the good days by far outweigh the bad ones. He is excited about our adventures again.  Though he shows signs of getting tired from activities more quickly than he used to, we just take shorter walks and relax more.  After all, in dog years, he’s considered an old man. Nonetheless, he has way more energy than we ever imagined he’d have again.  He can no longer jump up on the bed or into the car but he’s just as happy to be gently lifted up.  Mostly, we are happy that he feels better and has regained a quality of life.

Thanks to cannabis oil, we will keep him happy and comfortable for the rest of his life and just enjoy that we have been given a little longer time to spend with each other.

UPDATE as of March 21, 2020:

We are sad to share that Max began his final decline a few weeks ago and today we made the difficult decision to let him go. To keep him here any longer for me would have only meant suffering for him.  It was a most tearful good-bye for now but I know as connected as our souls are, that we will be together again in the next life.  We made a pact today that he is free to run off as fast or as far as he wants and chase all the kitties and ducks his heart desires, but when my time on earth is through, he will be right there, waiting for me.  Until then, I will cherish the true love and the many adventures we shared and I will continue to celebrate the extra and unexpected 2-1/2 years we were given together, thanks to CBD.


Sydney’s Journey – Chronic Skin Issues

“My Westie —Sydney– has been struggling with chronic skin issues for the last three years. It is fair to say that I have tried EVERYTHING…herbal and chemical shampoos, supplements, traditional medications, essential oils, acupuncture, chiropractic …and have found minimal relief. I was at my wits end.

Since November, he has been in a depressed state, sleeping in dark places and not moving around much. Under the direction of my holistic veterinarian and Robbin’s advice, I finally decided to try CBD oil. I did not have any experience with it and had some reservations in the beginning.

After a month on this, my 12 year old “pup” is like his old self again…chasing squirrels, running after the pool vacuum, and begging for food. His skin condition has improved dramatically, he has regained the weight that he lost, and overall he is just feeling so much better.

I attribute this to the CBD oil. I am so excited about it that I am telling everyone I know that has a dog with a condition. I am beaming with joy and so very grateful for this product that gave my dog his quality of life back. Thank you, Robbin.”