A Homoeopathic Caress on a Brain Lesion (Astrocytoma - 1999)
Some patients leave an indelible mark on a doctor's psyche and Ancy (name changed) was one such patient. The 46-year-old Central School teacher from Kuthattukulam, Kerala came to me in 1999. She was a very dedicated teacher and had one aim in her life; to receive the best teacher award from the President of India.
When the teacher met me, she was bogged down by health problems. Her complaints started with headache that got relieved by analgesic tablets. Later, she started vomiting and had attacks of seizure and vertigo. She consulted a doctor at Medical Trust Hospital, Kochi. A CT scan of her brain revealed a lesion in the temporo-parietal region of her brain. Doctors referred her to Vellore Medical College Hospital. At Vellore, they performed a CT-guided stereotactic biopsy and the final diagnosis was Astrocytoma - grade II in right temporo-parietal region of her brain. The doctors gave her analgesics, anti-convulsants, anti-emetics and antacids. She had to undergo around 28 courses of radiotherapy. She had some temporary relief. It was at this juncture that Ancy came to me for treatment.
She was still having frequent attacks of headache and vertigo. She had a burning sensation in both her legs, below the knees, that got better with cold application or when she kept her feet on a cold floor. The burning sensation was worse during summers. She had warts on her neck, pain in heels andcorns in her feet.
She was asthmatic since 1984 that was controlled by allopathic medicines. Every attack of cold that she got usually ended in asthma. She had bouts of cough that got aggravated whenever she lied down.
She had simple goitre.
She had a family history of cancer.
Thermal reaction: Hot, but after radiotherapy changed to chilly.
She had a liking for non-vegetarian food, sweets, milk and milk products, salt, ice cream and cold drinks. She preferred warm food.
After analyzing her symptoms, I gave her Radium bromide 30 on 18-05-1999. This was to balance her body after exposure to radiation that had altered her state of health. After a few doses of Radium 30, in July '99 she was given Thuja as an anti-miasmatic, from 200 to 10M potencies, over a period of six months. She was relieved of many of her symptoms, including episodes of headache, vertigo, cold, asthma attacks and corns on her feet and warts on her neck. But she expressed a peculiar feeling of lightness while walking, with a sensation as though her feet did not touch the floor, causing imbalance. On 21-01-2000, Asarum europium 30 was given but it had little effect. After referring Herring's Guiding Symptoms, on 28-01-2000, I gave her Calcaria ars 30/ 6 doses to be repeated once a month. Ancy was completely relieved of this imbalance. She also reported a sense of general well-being, to the extent that she went off the medication for a while and started enjoying her beloved profession again.
A few months later, her husband got transferred and they shifted to Bangalore (now, Bengaluru). She received an invitation to attend an in-service training that was essential for her promotion. But her husband was concerned about her health and discouraged her from undergoing the training, saying that there was no need to strive for higher positions as she already had sufficient career achievements. She was depressed and frustrated and became ill again. She was taken to Manipal Hospital in Bangalore. A CT scan of the brain revealed a right temporal haematoma that was resolving with surrounding oedema and mass effect. The physician checked her old records and asked about the treatment history. He was astonished to see that she had survived such a long time with a huge lesion in her brain. He considered it a miracle that Ancy was still alive. The team of doctors at Manipal hospital expressed their helplessness at this stage of the disease. They advised her husband to give her the earlier homoeopathic treatment that had helped her come this far. So they came back to me.
I told them that she needed rest along with medicines. I advised them to stay somewhere nearby and take treatment. But Ancy insisted on going back to Bangalore. I gave her Arnica 30 on 06- 06-2003 and they returned to Bangalore.
A few days later, in Bangalore, her condition deteriorated and she was hospitalized in Vellore. They started chemotherapy but her condition worsened. She developed left sided hemiplegia and later lost consciousness. The doctors had to stop chemotherapy and advised her husband to take her home. From there, she was brought to my place at Thiruvananthapuram in an ambulance with life support on 03-07-2003. She was catheterized and fed through Ryle's tube. A female nurse was with her 24x7 to take care of her. I advised them to get her admitted to a local hospital as she needed continuous monitoring. The doctors at the hospital where she was admitted were very cooperative. They provided all the hospital facilities and gave consent to administer homoeopathic medicines. I gave a dose of Apis 200, one small pellet dissolved in a little bit of water. As she lay in an unconscious state, I instructed her husband to slowly drop 1/4th of this solution into her mouth.
We all know that it is hard to get symptoms from a comatose patient to arrive at our prescriptions. The signs, clinical history, bystander's observations, and the scan reports guided me to the correct remedy. Her scan report taken at Vellore showed oedema around the lesion.
She was given Apis mel 200, 1/4th of a pill at 10 pm. The next day, early morning, at 6 am, I was happy to receive a call from Ancy's husband saying that she had finally regained consciousness after three weeks. She sat up and even had some fluids. Apis mel 200 was repeated as and when required in the following months. Her improvement was amazing. Before long, she was walking down to my clinic to collect the medicine.
Four months later, another incident occurred that led to her final decline. She had a home nurse who took good care of her. Sensing her improvement, the nurse thought of taking a few days leave and going home. She formally made a request for leave. The patient was highly dependent on the nurse and was unable to take this. She cried out “are you leaving me?” and fell into an unconscious state. Her sensitive mind had reacted disproportionately to this small incident, which triggered a dramatic decline in her condition.
I knew at this time that the patient's vitality had shrunk considerably and that she wouldn't go any farther. Anyway, I gave her Opium 30/ 1dose. She was again hospitalized. She passed away on 21-10-2003.
Ancy left a lasting impression on me. This was perhaps due to the supportive role I had played during her extreme suffering, and sharing the happiness during the periods of relief. Myself, the patient and her family had shared many agonizing times together. I vividly remember the day Ancy was brought to me. She was sick and frail, having suffered through the searing treatments of chemotherapy and radiation.
Ancy was brought to me in 1999 with an end stage disease that caused her immense suffering, which was hard to witness. She was under my treatment, though not continuously, for four years. She had gone through bouts of agony and recovery during these years. At one stage she was brought back in an ambulance in a comatose state. There was also a period when she felt absolutely fit and rejoined her cherished profession. Handling this highly sensitive, terminally ill patient was tough for me on many an occasion. Since Ancy and her family were well aware of the nature of her illness, its prognosis and that there was no other treatment available, they took the Homoeopathic treatment very earnestly. She followed a strict diet regimen to enroll herself into this treatment.
Symptoms and miasmatic background chiefly guided me in the selection of medicines. After Radium 30, Thuja was given starting with 200 potency, gradually going up to 1M and 10M potencies. Thuja cleared her case to a great extent. It was in January, 2000 she expressed the peculiar sensation of her feet not touching the floor, leading to imbalance while walking. I referred the ‘Repertory of Hering's Guiding Symptoms of Our Materia Medica’ by Calvin B. Knerr. In chapter 2, 'Sensorium', under lightness, there is a description of “ground sensation as if feet did not touch”- with only one medicine, Calcaria ars. I referred Calcaria ars in ‘Hering's Guiding Symptoms’. The strange symptom given under Calcaria ars was “In sudden attacks he feels as if he was flying or swimming in the air, as if his feet did not touch the ground,” under heading 'Sensorium'. I gave her Calc ars 30 which relieved her immensely, to the extent that she rejoined her school and could even forget about her disease for several months. During this time, however, her family relocated to Bangalore. She was basically an emotionally sensitive person, with a low Emotional Quotient. Her debilitating disease must have further reduced her mental strength, which eventually made her vulnerable to the tiniest of setbacks in life.
In the middle of 2003, lack of support from her husband for her joining an in-service training emotionally shook her, strongly precipitating her illness. The team of doctors in Manipal hospital expressed their helplessness. They recommended that she continue the homoeopathic treatment that had brought her unbelievable and miraculous relief earlier.
In July 2003, after chemotherapy in Vellore, she became hemiplegic and unconscious when she was brought to me in an ambulance. A poppy seed sized globule of Apis 200 brought back her consciousness overnight. The medicine given clearly must have brought some vigor on the dynamic plane. The medicines in sub-physiological doses effecting such a drastic improvement confirms our modus-operandi of cure, which states that homoeopathic medicines work on the deep dynamic inner self, even in a patient with advanced pathology.
Her improvement in the following months was commendable – a smooth and encouraging convalescence. But it did not last long. In October, 2003, she again over reacted to another small disappointment in her life, worsening her condition. She was in a critical state from which no treatment could revive her – she responded only to a higher call to eternity.
On introspection about this case, I understood that each time she slipped into a state of mental agony, her vitality diminished. Dr. Hahnemann explains this phenomenon in “The Chronic Diseases.” Dr. Hahnemann says that some violent exertion of the body/mind or a very sad event that affects someone deep down to the soul, often caused the reappearance of the ailment in a weakened body, even those symptoms that had already been overcome. This happens when the seemingly cured disease had for its foundation a more fully developed psora.
Dr. Hahnemann says that by far the most frequent excitement of the slumbering psora into chronic diseases and the most frequent augmenting of chronic ailments that already exist, are caused by uninterrupted grief and vexation. He gives many examples, such as the sudden death of a son that can seriously impact his grief- stricken mother, who is already in a state of chronic ill health, can lead to an incurable suppuration of the lungs or a cancer of the breast.
Dr. Hahnemann advises that under such circumstances a good physician should do all within his power to exert his influence on the patient, the patient's relatives and surroundings to alleviate the patient's grief and vexation to the maximum extent possible. But if it is not within the power of the physician to effect a lasting removal of these triggers for the patient, Dr. Hahnemann advises the physician to better give up the treatment and leave the patient to his fate. For Dr. Hahnemann says even the most masterly management of the case with the most exquisite remedies will yield no results at all in such a patient whose vitality is being destroyed by continuous assault on the mind.
From the beginning I knew that Ancy's case was an open and shut case. Her debilitating disease and imbalanced mind at times responded to the treatment and at times gave way. I request my students not to dwell upon the negatives but be encouraged by the happiness that was extended to her on a good number of occasions. Rather than leaving her to her dismal fate, I am happy that I could provide solace on many an occasion. Without doubt, I can say that Homoeopathy brought Ancy many glimmers of hope and happiness during the periods of extreme sufferings in her life.
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