We are all familiar with the age-old icon. The circle, half black and half white, with the white dot on the black side and the black dot on the white side. It is order amidst the chaos, representing the concept of duality in Ancient Chinese Philosophy, or whichever philosophy you wish to use to make sense of your own life. Rather than depict opposing, combating forces, yin and yang illustrate the idea of complementary forces that interact with one another to form a balanced, orderly whole. Nothing is inseparable and everything is connected.
You cannot have dark without light, good without evil, right without wrong, and happy without sad. You cannot have deep without shallow, early without late, North without South, and peanut butter without jelly.
You also cannot have Addison’s disease without Cushing’s disease, the Yin and Yang of veterinary medicine, if you will.
It felt too good to be true, so I asked the client I was speaking with over the phone to reiterate what she had said, and she confirmed. After bloodwork and other diagnostics, we diagnosed a dog with Addison’s disease, or hypoadrenocorticism, which is the disease where the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol and aldosterone. I told the client of this diagnosis and the required medical therapy to replace the hormones her newly diagnosed, cute little Addisonian dog would need, and she asked if Addison’s was anything similar to Cushing’s. I explained that they were exactly the opposite.
She immediately started laughing. “Oh,” she said, “my other dog in the house, her brother, has Cushing’s disease. The way she has been acting lately, in comparison to how he was acting before I knew he had Cushing’s all makes sense now. He was hyperactive, panting, and clearly stressed; she was always tired and never wanted to do anything.”
See, the duality of life, even in veterinary medicine. Confusion, anxiety, stress (and lack thereof) fusing together to create understanding, clarity, and a nice laugh.