Jenny, 58, Lyme Disease
When Jenny was young her father would regularly yell at her if she didn’t meet his high standards. In her teens she learned to stand up to him, but this resulted in yelling matches with him, which usually ended with a slap to her face. In rebellion she married a man who was addicted to drinking and partying. He regularly cheated on her. They would argue and that too ended with him smacking her in the face.
In 2015 she became head of her department. She was good at her job but found it very demanding and this wore her out. After several months of flu like symptoms she was diagnosed with Lyme disease.
Dull, aching pain in her calves and joints that felt as if it came from the bones, which was worse at night and in cold weather.
Headaches in the back of her head with the pain radiating down from her neck and shoulders into her arms. She felt a constant dull, ache.
Rash: never a bulls eye; a series of itchy, red pimples similar to bug bites; initially bunched together on her right forearm and shoulder and later spread to her back
Fatigue: Jenny felt tired and exhausted.
Calcarea Carbonica matched Jenny well both in symptomology and personality. Calc-c types tend to be earthy, honest and good-natured. They have immense patience, endurance and stubborn perseverance. They have a tendency to overwork and burn themselves out, which is exactly what Jenny, had done. She was given Lyme nosode 30C and Calc-c 30C to be taken once a day or every 10 minutes when she felt pain or fatigue.
After three months the pain in her knees, hips and calves had become progressively much weaker. The rash subsided and became less itchy and less visible. She still had fever symptoms so for the fourth month I added Eupatorium Perfoliatum: relieves pain in bones, muscles and joints that are accompanied by fever, fatigue and the sluggishness. I increased the potency from 30C to 200C.
She became more energetic and started taking on more challenging domestic tasks such as gardening and painting her kitchen.
The tipping point
The pains levels went down and almost disappeared but then Jenny took on a lot of extra work, and she got the flu. She couldn’t shake it and eventually she went to her allopathic doctor, who tested her and found that the Lyme had resurfaced and that her liver was slightly toxic. She was put on Doxycycline and Flagyl. She felt exhausted with brain fog and just wanted to lie on the floor.
Actually, the sudden and dramatic reappearance of Jenny’s Lyme was a common and predictable experience. To understand why you need to know that there are two sides to every disease: a pathic side and a tonic side.
The pathic side (from pathos) is the symptoms, the suffering and the pathology of the patient. It’s the visible results of a disease. Once you’ve treated the visible results of a disease the invisible cause will begin to reveal itself.
The tonic side (from tone) is the underlying tone, tenor or character of the disease. It tends to be very hard to detect because it mental and emotional in nature. The tonic side is usually revealed through negative beliefs and attitudes towards self. I’m not good enough. I don’t deserve love. Life is painful.
In the treatment of the tonic side the focus shifts away from symptoms to the mind. We also start to rely more on counseling and education.
Anacardium is always in two minds. Anacardium is often portrayed as having an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, each whispering their imperatives into the ears of the protagonist. In Jenny’s case there was an incredible rage seething and invisibly on the inside and a compliance with rules and authority on the outside. Jenny’s life is dotted with episodes of this rage coming out in outbursts of anger and aggression. She described herself as a “rebel without a cause” often being rude and demanding to her coworkers and to waiters at restaurants.
The remedies were: Lyme nosode 200C and Anacardium 200C. She was asked to do journaling for 15 minutes a day about her feelings. We discussed her inner feeling and by the sixth month she felt that her energy levels had returned to normal, her pain had disappeared and she felt calmer and more relaxed.
Yumiko, 41, Tinnitus
Yumiko is very fine, delicate woman with a shy and timid personality. She is sensitive, spiritual, a little aloof and intellectually very smart. She is neat and dresses elegantly. Her ideal is to dress up and look elegant while sitting behind a grand piano playing classical music.
When she came for treatment she was living with her parents and spent most of her time at home tending her garden. She didn’t have a job. She had few friends and rarely spent time with them. Yumiko had a boyfriend but she said she didn’t love him and that he didn’t love her. They saw each other about once a month.
The reasons she came for treatment were for tinnitus in both ears; pain in her neck, left shoulder and left upper-arm and headaches. Yumiko was extremely frail and as a result of anorexia 10 years previously, so in addition we decided to rebuild and strengthen her body. She also wanted build self-confidence.
Neck, Shoulder and Arm Pain
The pain was deep; in the tendons; worse from fast movement, especially from raising her arm or pulling it backwards; worse when lying down or not doing anything; it felt as if someone was squeezing her arm. The pain along her neck and shoulders was a passive kind of pain that was there all the time. She was given Rhus-t/Ruta 30C, then 200C and then 1M. The pain progressive decreased and was completely gone by the fourth interview.
Forehead; deep inside; worse from sunshine and heat in summer; worse from strong wind in winter; worse from cold drinks, not sharp; comes and goes; slight fever. She took one panado (Tylenol) every four hours. She was given Nux-v 30C then 200C. The intensity, frequency and the duration of her headaches slowly decreased and then stopped all together. She stopped using panados.
Rebuilding after Anorexia
At the start of treatment Yumiko weighed 41kg; that was about 9 kg below her ideal body weight. Her dietary issues were snacking on pastries and coffee. In the first month I encouraged her to eat healthier snacks such as cheese, meat, nuts and fruit. Yumiko has a sympathetic dominant nervous system so in the second month got her to eat more white meats, vegetables and homemade yogurt.
After the first month she gained 3 kg and then another 3kg. She looks healthier and more energetic, and her face is fuller.
Mainly in the left ear but also in the right ear; all the time; no vertigo; no pain; no excess ear wax; worse when she has nothing to do and it’s quite or when she is playing the piano; her hearing is good; a humming sound similar to the chirping of a cicada; better from rubbing. It started two years ago and has slowly gotten worse; she has been to many allopaths but they have not been able to treat it; her mother also has tinnitus. I decided on China 30C daily, and regimenally ginkgo, zinc and magnesium.
After the second consultation the ringing spread to her right ear with the pitch in the right ear being higher than that in the left ear. After the third consult Ginkgo Biloba and the cell salts Calc fluor, Calc sulph and Kali phos were added. There was no improvement.
The fact that Yumiko’s pain had improved while her tinnitus had gotten worse, pointed to an underlying mental, emotional cause. It was as if her suffering was like a three-layered onion with feelings of inferiority at the core, tinnitus at the center and pain on the outside.
The idea of an underlying emotional cause was supported by two observations: Her tinnitus was worse when she played the piano, and she could control the ringing with her mind.
Although intelligent, Yumiko was emotionally more like a teenage girl than like a woman. Generally there was a failure to thrive and to mature. I felt this was related to the fact that she felt inferior to her younger sister; a successful diplomat and accomplished piano player. I was told that in her sister’s presence she was very humble and self-effacing but became far more self-confident when her sister is not around.
The left-sidedness suggested a feminine/mother connection. Graphites is a left-sided remedy that includes ringing in the ears as a major symptom. There is a mental state of indecision and inferiority. In The Spirit of Homeopathic Remedies Didier Grandgeorge writes, “Graphites has essentially the same chemical formula as a diamond, but life’s circumstances have kept it black and friable.” I felt that this described Yumiko well. She is the dull one dreaming of preforming at concerts while her sister shines like a diamond.
She was given Graphites 30C daily or every ten minutes for an hour when the ringing was most intense.
The emphasis shifted from medicine to counseling. We discussed ways she could reach her goals. We looked at ways she could build her confidence. We examined her relationship with her sister.
I feel that Yumiko’s case was a success. The pain in her arm and her headaches completely disappeared. She has gained weight and her tinnitus slowly diminished.
Yumiko has been unemployed for several months and was thinking of moving to Australia to live with a boyfriend she didn’t love. She decided to stay in Japan and found a job at a university about 15 minutes walk from her house. She now works in HR liaising with foreign students. She got a stylish haircut and dresses more elegantly so she doesn’t look like an old maid anymore.