Greg is a busy executive, 54, with a strong work ethic and a powerful physique. He describes himself as a “triple A” personality. He comes across as very straightforward, someone who calls a spade a spade. He has suffered from migraines since childhood. They are typically triggered by fatigue, stress, chocolate or sugar. He also used to get them at the start of school. The frequency of migraines went up twenty years ago to once every 7-10 days, and Greg started to use Imitrex 50 mg tablets [Sumatriptan], which he describes as a “godsend.” The Imitrex can forestall a migraine if taken early enough and otherwise moderates the severity of the symptoms. Greg consulted with another homeopath eight years earlier and got Erythroxylum coca, with some benefit, based on Greg’s tendency to suffer from altitude sickness.
Greg does a lot of traveling for his job. He says: “I have been to north of 50 countries. I travel 52 weeks a year. I now feel a migraine starting two or three times a month, and I take Imitrex each time. Putting something cold on my forehead helps a lot.”
Greg has no other medical history. He is in great physical condition and works out five times a week. “My body needs that movement. It is meant to be challenged. I’m a competitive runner, and I have a first degree black belt in karate.” I ask if there are any visual disturbance before a migraine begins, and he says no. He used to eat a lot of sweets but has cut back. He hates the taste of dairy products, and they do not agree with him. He likes fish.
After the initial consultation I had no idea what to prescribe, so I simply gave him a refill of Erythroxylum 1M. I found out later he never used it. I did not hear back from him for two years, then received an email: “I had one appointment two years ago to discuss my migraines. I got distracted with a host of other things going on in my life and didn’t follow up with you. I’d like to address this subject again. To that end, I’d would like to find a convenient time to get together. Please let me know your availability the week of September 23. Feel free to return this message, or call me on my mobile. Thanks.”
In the second consultation I asked him for more details about the migraine symptoms as they originally occurred. “I used to get sick to my stomach. I vomited every time and would feel better. I would rest, and then I would be completely back to normal. The migraines have a slower onset now and are seldom as severe. I don’t throw up anymore.”
He is a senior partner in his company and says he has to work harder every year just to stay in place. Exercise makes him feel much better. During the migraine he is sensitive to light. He has had sunstroke a few times. At the end of the interview I ask about his relationship to guns. “I know as much about arms as anyone,” he replies. When I probe further, he admits to having a violent temper. “Exercise helps move that out of the system. I’m a deep thinker. If I leave things inside too long it triggers a migraine.” I observe that he has ears that stick out.
Stick-out ears is a characteristic of Silica, according to Alfons Geukens. It is true that Silica is in bold type in the Migraine rubric, but there is nothing else to confirm it. For such a straightforward patient a straightforward prescription was appropriate. In the end there were four rubrics I felt I could rely on:
- Headaches, cold applications amel
- Headaches, sudden
- Headaches, light agg.
The leading remedy was Belladonna, which fit well with the undercurrent of violence that I sensed in Greg. He was of course a complete gentleman who followed a strict code of conduct, but he had to work much harder than most people, I observed, to release the inner demons that he lived with. Periodically this tension would be somatized in a migraine.
I remembered a case of cluster headaches presented by David Reilly at the 1990 IFH Conference, successfully treated with Belladonna. This patient had a character similar to Greg.
Rx Bell 1M (Hahnemann Labs), diluted in water, one dropperful, Sept. 26, 2013
Follow-up 12 hours:
“I took the remedy this morning as instructed. By noon I had a bit of a headache and some of the usual migraine symptoms. They got a little worse, but they weren’t overly dramatic. However, they did linger and ultimately were a bit too much for me, given my work commitments, so I simply had to take an Imitrex. I’m fine now. Unless you say otherwise, I’m going to take the remedy again on Saturday and see what happens.”
Follow-up four days:
“I took the remedy again yesterday morning. All went well until the evening. After church I went to Organic Avenue to buy my dinner and made the mistake (in hindsight) of including a chocolate desert. I like the taste, but generally my body doesn’t like the contents! In any event, migraine symptoms came on slowly, and by 3 AM I decided to take an Imitrex. I’ll blame the chocolate this time, which means yesterday wasn’t necessarily a good test. I’ll give it a day or two and then try again.
Follow-up 14 days:
“If you’ll recall, the first couple of times that I took the remedy it created migraine symptoms, and ultimately I took an Imitrex. All was well soon thereafter. I waited a day before taking the remedy again and then I took it every other day. On Wednesday of this week I had a migraine. However, there were other variables at work, so I don’t think the remedy was fully responsible.”
Follow-up one month:
“I’ve been taking the remedy every other day or so, and I’ve not had any significant migraine symptoms. More importantly, I haven’t had an Imitrex in about 10 days.”
Follow-up 6 weeks:
“I’ve taken only one Imitrex in the last three weeks! I know you’ll agree that’s fantastic news!”
Follow-up 3 months:
“I’m relatively consistent at one migraine every two plus weeks. This is an improvement over my condition before I started using the remedy. Additionally, the migraines have only required one Imitrex.”
Follow-up one year:
He ran out of Belladonna about 9 months ago. I did not hear from him, so I finally sent a note asking if he considered his migraines cured.
“I don’t think they are “cured”. However, I want to immediately add that their frequency has been substantially reduced. For example, in the last month or so I’ve taken two Imitrex. However, one of them was a result of driving for over four hours directly into the sunlight—without sunglasses. The other occurred after having a cup of coffee, not long after a hard morning workout. I’m certain that both occurred because of “other” circumstances.”
Follow-up 23 months:
“I’ve had an uptick in the frequency of my migraines. About half the time I weather the storm, and if not I take an Imitrex. Interestingly, this is commensurate with a change in my workout regime. The biggest change is more interval work on a treadmill, which tends to leave me more fatigued and much, much hotter than my other workouts. I was a competitive runner for much of my life, so I’m accustomed to heat and exhaustion. However, I have been away from that activity for several years. In any event, do you think I should go back onto the remedy?
Rx Bell 1M in water, one dropperful every other day or as needed
Follow-up 26 months:
“I took the remedy for a period of time but didn’t actually finish it. Over the last 3 months, I’ve taken two –just two—Imitrex. I also had two other experiences where I was able to keep the symptoms subdued and avoid the Imitrex. Come to think of it, I probably could have avoided one of the Imitrex that I took, but I had an important meeting the next morning and couldn’t run the risk. So, all things considered, that’s not bad; not bad at all. In fact, I think it’s a slight improvement from my previous run-rate. Unless you suggest otherwise, I say it’s steady as she goes, but I remain ready to apply the remedy again. I will contact you.
My continued thanks for your help.”
It has been two years now since our last contact, so it is still “steady as she goes.”