Keylor: An End of Life Story
Jeff Levy, DVM

It was in May of '98 that I discovered the tumor of Keylor's left anal gland. My best buddy for nearly fourteen years (an Akita/Samoyed cross) had been doing well in general, but showing signs of advancing age. His biggest problem had been mild signs of degenerative myelopathy, with the typical progressive weakness and incoordination of the hind legs. I consulted an oncologist, who recommended against surgery for the presumed adenocarcinoma, and estimated that he had perhaps 6-8 weeks to live.

     Over the course of the next 5 months, with homeopathic treatment, of course, Keylor continued to relish his dinner every day. He maintained his weight, was enthusiastic about his daily walks, and basically showed no systemic signs of cancer. (He was on Carboneum sulphuratum for much of that time.) However, the tumor continued to grow slowly.

     By October I could tell that he was getting close to the end. Still eating well, but starting to lose his mental faculties, had restlessness and yelping at night, frequent need to urinate at night, and seemed to be unhappy for the first time. I believe he was experiencing some pain.

     Finally, the fateful night came when I knew it was the end. By 2 AM he just wouldn't settle down, and was anxious, restless, and yelping. What to do for him at this point, I thought? Pain of cancer, restless, thirsty, worse at night- maybe Arsenicum album would help. I gave him a dose of 200C, and he became immediately much worse! Oh no!, I thought. What have I done?

     I leaped to the books, and hurriedly crossed Generalities: Pain in cancerous affections with remedies that antidote Arsenicum. Only one remedy was in both rubrics: Euphorbium officinarum. (On checking Kent Homeopathic Associates' Complete Repertory 4.5 and their Relationships Repertory, there are 4 others as well, none of which fit Keylor's symptoms.) Only one small problem. Although I had prescribed Euphorbium once or twice before, I didn't have it on hand. It was after 2 AM, and Keylor wasn't going to make it through the night. Then I thought: the common name for Euphorbium is spurge, and I had "garden spurge" growing in one of my garden beds. I had no idea what species it was, but I knew it was a Euphorbium, and I thought it was worth a try. I picked some, ground it in a mortar and pestle with vodka, diluted it about 1:100, succussed it about 100 times, made a second dilution, and gave it to him.

     Literally as the drop hit his tongue, he showed instantaneous relief. Within a minute, he put his head down and went to sleep. Repeating as needed, and then making and giving a higher potency, Keylor was calm and peaceful for a few more hours. During that time, I realized that his abdomen was rapidly becoming distended with fluid, and he couldn't stand up anymore. Even the attempt to get him up caused great pain and distress.

     After a 'talk' with him, I felt that he needed a push to send him to the other side. At 5:30 AM, I gave him the injection that ended his life. I believe he would have died naturally within an hour or two at the most, and I knew he was afraid to go. Although I'm not a big advocate of euthanasia, I think it was the right thing to do in this case.

     Even after 14 years of practicing homeopathy, this experience just blew me away. I have rarely seen so clearly and dramatically the awesome power of a well-chosen remedy.

     Many of us tend to think immediately of Ignatia for grief, Arnica for injuries, and Arsenicum at the end of life. It's important to remember that there are other remedies to consider in any of those situations. I have since had another case of terminal cancer in a dog where Euphorbium was tremendously beneficial in the last weeks of life.

     Another good lesson from this experience is that the universe provides what we need if only we can see it before us. Thank you, Keylor.


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