In 1986 I was a young mother living and working in New York City. On April 28th I watched with horror along with millions of people, while dramatic events unfolded at the No.4 reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. I wondered about the fate of all the people and animals. At this time I knew next to nothing about homeopathy.
So it happened that I was contacted in November 2006 by a 50-year-old man with a heavy Russian accent. At the time of the accident, he had been living and working in nearby Belarus where he continued to reside for the next 6 years.
I was starting up my practice at this time. After learning the reason for his call, I became apprehensive. P was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid cancer during a routine medical examination in November 2003. The report described a “Well circumscribed, lobulated red mass, (1) lymph node”. In January 2004 the thyroid was removed. A regimen of radioactive iodine followed. During a routine checkup, metastases were found on his neck necessitating a second surgery in November 2006. Radiation was not prescribed this time.
His condition was outside my realm of expertise. Upon my offer of a referral, his voice rose, “Who will HELP ME? No! You WILL help me! My friend said!” He had passed the baton to me.
This case stands out because I owe its success solely to an Irish colleague, Nuala Eising, who was invited in 1993 “to work with a group of 12 children from Gomel, Belarus, some 40 km. from Chernobyl. These children, aged between 9 and 11 years, were brought to Ireland for a period of 6 months, primarily for homoeopathic treatment.”
The provings of Nuala Eising are legendary. For those of you who may not be familiar with her work, the source of her inspiration often comes in a dream. In 1986 she was directed to prove Granite (lap-gr-m), followed by Marble (lap-mar-c) in 1993, and Limestone (lap-c-b) a year later.
P was my first appointment of the day, arriving 20 minutes early. As he approached, it struck me that something was amiss. His face had a strange milky color and texture. He removed his jacket, revealing a tight t-shirt and buff, muscular physique. Yet, his skin appeared airless, dense, colorless. In my notes I used the word BOILED milk. He remained anxious throughout the consultation.
P: I take low doses of Synthroid. I’m on a low iodine diet. I won’t take anything with iodine.
They always do a scan before recommending radioactive iodine treatment. After the second surgery the scan showed nothing. Nothing to kill, they said. My doctor tells me that without radiation, cancer could return in 2 years. They don’t want to give radiation because it can kill cancer and something else…
Would you prefer to have the radiation treatment?
P: I don’t mind. It doesn’t bother me too much. You take 2 pills and sit at home in a special room. Watch TV. For four days you cannot come in contact with other people. Even after four days you still need to be far away from children. That’s not so important to me. You can talk on the phone… It’s a lot of attention from other people [BIG SMILE).
My parents, my wife, relatives, friends. They call and ask if I’m still alive.
MIND: DESIRES: attended, to be (1)
MIND: DESIRES: servants (1)
MIND: DESIRES: captivating others (1)
I don’t have any problems. I don’t feel anything. I get up, I work, I go to the gym 4 times a week. Also, I exercise every morning for 25 minutes at 5 a.m. No exceptions during regular life!
I thought… I am living a normal life. College, then the army. I worked. I’m not something special. I’m just a regular person.
I’m an engineer in a window company. I am responsible for all calculations. I am responsible for whatever you see on the outside of the building. My blood pressure goes up if someone tells me everything is wrong in the building. When I check and everything is okay my pressure goes back to normal.
MIND: RESPONSIBILITY (23)
MIND: ANXIETY; thoughts; from (8)
MIND: DESIRES; order (1)
MIND: SENSITIVE, oversensitive; reprimands, criticism, reproaches, to (19)
When I go to the doctor’s office, I am so nervous. My blood pressure goes so high. Every time. I am just afraid. Even as a child my heart rate was high when I saw the doctor. My hands shake when I get medical tests.
MIND: FEAR; tremulous (39)
They can find something… The doctor told me I can get that cancer back. I always think, “What can be done?’ After the second cancer… now I’m worried. The doctors don’t know what to do. Everything else is good. I don’t have any problems.
MIND: ANTICIPATION (47)
MIND: ANXIETY; fear, with (124)
MIND: FEAR; happen; something will (98)
I sleep well. I don’t dream. At least I don’t remember. Before the surgery I didn’t sleep well. I had a terrible time. When I’m nervous I can’t sleep. In normal life everything is normal.
SLEEP: SLEEPLESSNESS; thoughts, from (105)
I don’t like scary movies. I don’t want the scary moments. My younger daughter doesn’t like it. We turn the channel. Too much blood. I’m not scared of the blood but I don’t like it.
MIND: HORRIBLE things, sad stories affect her profoundly (43)
What happens when your blood pressure rises?
When I was 18 in college, I had terrible headaches. Like a spasm. I had blurry vision before the headache. It was less frequent after Chernobyl. A book called Radiation in Small Doses explains it. My co-worker had headaches for years too and it was better for him afterward.
When it starts, I feel something in my hands and arms. I get cold. It starts in the hands, moves up the arms, up the shoulders to the head. One time it is one eye. The next time it is the other eye. Not both at the same time. Sometimes it just disappears on its own. When I was young it was terrible. I couldn’t even go to sleep. It’s a constant ache in one part of my head.
Did you throw up?
Maybe… NO NO NO I don’t lose control! After it goes, I sleep. In a couple days I become normal.
MIND: SELF-CONTROL (28)
MIND: SELF-CONTROL; loss of (23)
I didn’t like school too much. Not many choices for a Jew in Soviet Union. We knew our place. I had to go to that college. It wasn’t my dream to be an engineer. I don’t even know what I dream. Sometimes I dream I am in Russia with a friend.
MIND: DREAMS: Russia, of being
It was not my dream to be someone special and it never bothered me. I knew where I had to be. I dream about my children not about myself. My bosses like my job. We have a good relationship. It wasn’t easy for 12 years. I don’t want to show I’m so smart.
I don’t go to the meetings anymore. People thought I was always proving how smart I am. The way I speak I may not be too polite. Others are not educated like me. If I see something wrong, I have to solve it. I can’t help it. I have to give my opinion about how something should be done.
I get nervous in a meeting. My voice gets loud. I get excited. My blood pressure goes higher. After a meeting I need an hour or two to relax. 5 or 6 years ago I yelled. Now I keep it inside. I try not to say anything. We need professional people. I know we can do it better. What I do is not what I want to do.
MIND: EGOTISM, self-esteem (31)
MIND: DELUSIONS, imaginations; great person, is (23)
MIND: DELUSIONS, imaginations; distinguished (4)
MIND: HAUGHTY (63)
I would like to travel. I buy lottery tickets. I’m not going to win the lottery but if I did, I would see the world. I’m always thinking, “What should be done better?” We need money for the children’s education. I don’t believe I will win any money. I believe I have to earn the money. I want to see different places, see different people. I just want to see. People at work say “You are crazy, what can you see?” I like to go to places to just know how people live.
Mirrilli’s Themes: Abroad
You never lose control?
I may yell or scream at home, but when I decided not to smoke, I just stopped. Whatever it is I can just stop it. Everywhere I have this control. Other people say “I can’t do this or that.” Going to the gym is part of my job. I can control my life. It’s just like the law for me. No exceptions. My first wife used to say, “Even if I know you are right, I will hate it even 3 years later.”
[His lips are very chapped. He looks dehydrated. I offer water but he refuses.] I don’t drink so much water. I don’t have salt. I have fresh juices.
Organizations call and ask for a lot of money. I always say I will give you 10 dollars and they never refuse. If God exists, he can see what I did and what I didn’t do. So I do the things I can do. I am …superstitious. But when I do those things, I feel like a better person.
MIND: DELUSIONS, imaginations; noble person, he is a (3)
How do you describe normal life?
To do something without having to think. Some stars, like Britney Spears, they are earning money, wasting money.
What I am doing is always under my control. I’m not a person who is doing crazy things. If I buy I already have that money. If I don’t have it, I don’t even dream about it. Maybe too much control. Maybe I am so limited by what I want or what I have to do. Too much dreaming makes me uncomfortable. This way I’m not too disappointed.
MIND: DREAMS: escape, of
MIND: DREAMS: escape, of; Buddhist monastery, from (1)
MIND: DESIRES: order (1)
Mirrillis themes: Suppressed
Maybe my first wife didn’t like it. She wanted more. I stopped her dreams. I cannot do crazy things. I’m regular. I cannot be a famous cosmonaut.
As he leaves he adds:
I dream. But I know it will never happen. I’m so realistic about what can happen. I know I will not win the lottery. I’m not sure if you didn’t earn it, it is good for you. Maybe winning is not good for you.
Early life as a Jewish man living in Ukraine deprived P of the freedom to make his own life decisions. The prevailing social order clashed with his personal aspirations. Instead, he was obliged to conform to a narrow band of choices. “We knew our place.” What I do is not what I want to do. It could be suggested that this is a narcissistic injury dating from a young age.
Vacillating between a self-effacing attitude and its boastful opposite, P. is ever in conflict with himself. On the one hand he is “not something special”. On the other hand, “I don’t want to show I’m so smart.” Of his coworkers, he says, “We need professional people”.
His inner life is suppressed. “Maybe I am limited by what I want or what I have to do.” I don’t have any problems.” “I don’t feel anything.” Other than the cancer, he says his life is good.
Sleeping dreams are unremembered. Waking dreams are a source of disappointment. He cannot readily admit to having aspirations, especially those involving pleasure, such as traveling the world or spending money lavishly. “I stopped her dreams (his first wife’s)”. “I have dreams for my children but not myself.”
The word NORMAL equals ORDERLY. In normal life everything is normal. Any perceived deviation fills him with apprehension. Because his foundation is shaky, he stays on the surface of everyday life. It is possibly ironic that his job involves construction of the façade of a building and not the foundation or frame. He cannot tolerate the slightest pressure. He shakes. He yells. His blood pressure goes up.
When asked if he purges during the headaches he protests, “No, no, I don’t lose self control.” “Whatever it is I can just stop it.” “Going to the gym is part of my job. I can control my life. It’s just like the law for me. No exceptions.”
His delivery is flat. He appears to have good vitality, but in spite of a very buff exterior, he has few dynamic symptoms. His headaches, better since the accident, reveal the most dynamic information. The symptom of coldness moving in the upper limbs is significant.
Emotional coldness is illustrated by his positive reaction to quarantining. He literally enjoys the doting attention of family and friends from a distance. It was the only time he smiled during the consultation.
There is a strong desire to be taken care of in a dependent, almost childish way. All his needs were delivered to his room for four days. The way he put his welfare into my hands, a complete stranger, was striking.
MIND: DEPENDENT (3)
MIND: DEPENDENT; desires to be, at another’s cost (1)
In reality though, his grip on control is tenuous, easily undermined by the pressure it creates. His voice rises. He trembles. “Now I keep it inside. I try not to say anything.” “When I check and everything is okay my blood pressure goes back to normal.”
While doing my work on this case I sensed that a very specific substance would be required. I was looking for a constitutional remedy that tells a story of suppression in conflict with a strong ego. The themes of Pressure, Self-control, Order and a need for Support needed to be present in the remedy. Could it also include the etiology of radiation exposure, an affinity for the thyroid gland, and a description of his skin?
It seemed like a tall order.
I looked at lapis albus, Calc Sil, Calc Iod, Iodatum, Baryta Iod, And Calc Fluor.
The breakthrough came when I focused entirely on the symptom of coldness in the upper limbs, an accompaniment to an elevation of blood pressure. Next, I added a Thyroid rubric. When I set the Analysis to SMALL REMEDIES there was Lap mar c, the only remedy in all three rubrics.
EXTERNAL THROAT: SWELLING; Thyroid Gland (39)
EXTREMITIES: COLDNESS; Upper Limbs (112)
EXTREMITIES: COLDNESS; Upper Arm (21)
I found out just how CHARACTERISTIC these symptoms are.
EXTREMITIES: COLDNESS; Hands (233)
EXTREMITIES: COLDNESS; Hands; icy (48)
EXTREMITIES: COLDNESS; Fingers (88)
EXTREMITIES: COLDNESS; Fingers; tips (35)
EXTREMITIES: COLDNESS; Fingers; tips; icy (3)
EXTREMITIES: COLDNESS; icy (2)
EXTERNAL THROAT: GOITRE (147)
EXTERNAL THROAT: SWELLING (164)
EXTERNAL THROAT: SWELLING; Cervical Glands (126)
A ReferenceWorks search for ‘Marble’ elicited Nuala Eising’s Provings of Granite (Lapis Granitis Murvey), Marble (Lapis Marmorean Connemara), and Limestone ( Lapis calcarea Burren). What I discovered took my breath away. This was exactly what I was trying to describe while observing the client!
The Complete 4.5 Repertory was only helpful after I read the Provings. In MacRepertory I performed a Remedy Extraction and found the rubrics that I have included throughout the case.
MATERIA MEDICA of MARBLE Lapis Marmorean Connemara
Intense heat and pressure changes limestone, a sedimentary rock, into marble, a metamorphic rock. Under these conditions, calcite recrystallizes as a denser material. The relationship between the two is also revealed in their profiles as homeopathic remedies. A common theme is the need for support. Like Calcarea carbonicum, Lap mar c has an affinity for the thyroid, bones, and teeth. You might see early caries or a failure to close fontanelles in a young patient needing Marble.
Nuala Eising’s dream in 1993 about the nature of Marble and its healing properties was not her first dream communication. Here we have part of what she was told. (ReferenceWorks, from The American Homeopath)
“… the heat and intensity and pressure changing limestone to marble-both are calcium carbonates-is the exact same process when someone is exposed to radiation. Marble is metamorphic. What happens to someone exposed to radiation is that they get an incredible amount of heat. The calcium in the body changes and they become metamorphic versions of what they were initially. When you get the peripheral effect of radiation, Granite is the remedy… if somebody has been left with the radiation, and the changes have taken place, then they need the Marble.”
“Look at white marble: it crumbles easily, it’s translucent. Look at the children of Chernobyl. They are white and translucent, they crumble from the inside. Radiation affects you from the inside out. Look at marble, it is only the shine on the surface that keeps it together. And it’s the same as the kids.”
“ On the psychological level, when somebody starts feeling that they have nothing on the inside, they start to make themselves a showpiece and it’s because of an intense need to be taken care of.”
Nuala: So Marble feels that the only thing they can offer is to be beautiful, graceful, charming and everybody will love them and take care of them – that type of thing. That’s what Marble is about and that is what happens after somebody is severely affected by radiation. The first thought I had when I looked at white marble is that it’s completely bloodless. You look at granite and you can see there’s passion in it-the blood is there, the fire is there, but it’s rock solid.
CHECK INS and FOLLOW UPS
December 2006 through 2010
A month after taking the remedy (December 2006) (started at 30c) P reported that he went to see the doctor for his regular appointment. “I thought I would be so nervous, but I wasn’t. I’m more relaxed even at the gym. Not pushing myself so hard. I feel rested.”
PX: Lap mar c monthly in increasing potencies
Six months later (JUNE 2007) we had our first follow-up. P reported that the past spring was very unusual, because he didn’t get a cold. Even his doctor remarked on it. My questions about general symptoms like sleep and appetite made him impatient, as did my explanation about treating the whole person. So far he saw no connection to the cancer.
Nevertheless, I learned that he is no longer running ‘hot’ at the office. This was new information. Before the remedy he needed the AC running constantly at work, to the annoyance of his coworkers. I wasn’t certain but his skin looked rosier, as if there was more blood in it. Although vague, he attempted to describe a dream.
In late JULY 2007 he said he sometimes dreams about his life with friends and coworkers in Russia. He says they are not new dreams; he had these dreams before taking the remedy. My assessment was that he is looking inside more. Suppression is lifting.
In OCTOBER 2007 we sat down for a second follow up appointment. He was well while his family and co-workers were sick with seasonal colds. He seemed worried about himself. “Unusual,” he said. Rhinitis was not reported in the Intake. He told me about a dream he had in which he tells a friend living in Russia that America is not like heaven as this friend had described it many years ago.
Tension headaches are a memory. He has lots of energy, and feels more relaxed. His relationship with his step daughter is improving. He expects the appointment with his neck surgeon will go okay. His skin looks softer, as if it is breathing. Less chalky in color.
PX: We continue with the remedy.
He canceled our MAY 2008 appointment after the doctors told him they found something. In JUNE 2008 he called. The scan was negative. He was giggling as he told me. His allergies or cold returned in MAY 2008 for the first time. In JULY he realized he was having an allergic reaction to the contrast dye from the June scan.
I became curious about Granite. Thinking of the rhinitis, in SEPTEMBER I suggested he take it weekly. He sneezed off and on for 3 weeks. Maybe a Return of Old Symptoms? After 3 doses he developed a pain in the lower back and abdomen and discontinued.
In the Granite Proving I found: He had a heavy feeling in his lower abdomen and a dull ache in his lower back.
PX: Watch and Wait
In early JANUARY 2009 we recapped. The pains had subsided but not completely. He had not taken a remedy for 2 months.
PX: Lap mar c 10 M.
By JUNE 2009 the back and abdominal pains had completely disappeared. He said, “No sneezing. No more colds. Everything is normal.”
[Let this be a lesson! I had been warned many times about changing a well acting remedy.]
In November 2010 we stopped the remedy at his suggestion. He was feeling confident about a good prognosis. I asked him to follow up with me if there was a return of the cancer.
We stayed in touch through DECEMBER 2010 at which time there was no recurrence. Since then I have no further news.
Many thanks to Nuala Eising for her dedication to healing. Many thanks to those homeopaths, present and past, who by generously sharing their work, help others to be better practitioners. May we feel the pain of all sentient beings and have the courage to try and help them.