Clinical Cases

Oncorhynchus Tshawytscha for Fertility: Spinning like a Weathervane

Written by Shawn Vale

Homeopath Shawn Vale shares a case of dizziness and fertility issues in a woman of 44. The problems were resolved by the remedy Oncorhynchus Tshawytscha (Pacific Chinook salmon). Dreams of flying, snakes and danger were among the symptoms leading to the simillimum.

As with the Marble case published here in the August 2021 issue of Hpathy.com, [A Case of Marble: Thyroid Cancer from Radiation Exposure] I confirmed this remedy selection based on the contribution of another dedicated homeopath, Jeremy Sherr.

At the time I took these two cases, I was a novice homeopath. Not being satisfied with my repertorization results, I did a lot of reading of materia medica. Eventually I found Nuala Eising, who led me to Marble, while Jeremy Sherr’s article in the American Homeopath 2000 entitled “The Life Cycle of a Salmon” was responsible for the insights needed here in order for me to prescribe Onchorynchus Tshawytscha . This is a topic I would like to give more space to at another time. Let me just say here, “Thank you.”

THE CLIENT
A 44-year-old Scottish woman came to me complaining of bouts of overwhelming ‘dizziness’. She is the director of a global organization and spends a good many waking hours on a plane. When she made the appointment, she didn’t mention the fertility treatments she had undergone nor the miscarriages that followed.

She didn’t tell me then or at any other time about her mother’s recent passing, something I had learned from the person who referred her to me. She had come for help with DIZZINESS, which in her mind was separate from anything else she was experiencing.

OBSERVATION
The client has light hair. Her smiling eyes light up a pretty face as she enters the consulting room with a light step. During the consultation her hands are very active, emphasizing certain points. They are either separate and equidistant, giving a balanced impression, or encircling each other when describing strong emotions.

THE CASE
Client: A week past Sunday I woke up with the room spinning. There was no nausea or pain. The room was moving, then it calmed down. Since then, I have been having these dizzy spells. I feel light headed, like not feeling connected. It’s like I’m moving and the room is moving. When I’m talking to someone, I have to make an effort. Thank goodness I don’t have to drive. I don’t think I could do it. It happens in waves.

It’s not vertigo. This is different. It’s more like a whooziness. Difficult to focus and concentrate. It’s like a kid who goes round and round and you get dizzy. It looks like the room is spinning in big circles. It starts suddenly and lasts a couple of minutes at a time throughout the day.

I’ve had classic vertigo, at the edge-of-the-cliff kind when I felt sure I was about to go over the edge.  That feels very unstable. At the top of the Empire State Building I don’t stand at the edge. I could go over.

I felt it coming on in my sinuses. It feels like pressure like when I hang my head back in Pilates class. It comes in waves. It pulls across my forehead and circles my temples. I feel a tingle, unpleasant and an out of control feeling like I might fall down. It’s my head that feels funny. There’s a disconnect from the world around me.

When I was 16 or 17, I used to get allergies in the spring. I was sneezing, runny eyed. Wheezing. Years later I took a Boiron histamine remedy, and it was much better. Since I moved to the U.S. the allergies stopped completely.

When I was about 30 years old, I was getting severe cystitis regularly.  I would get antibiotics, but then it would return. When I started drinking cranberry juice it cleared up. I am generally constipated around my period.

My period has always been regular. I get low emotionally beforehand. I eat chocolate! Give me chocolate! If things aren’t as good as they might be, that one thing gets blown out of proportion. After the miscarriages I got tired of getting poked around.

Shawn: You reported two miscarriages on the intake form. [I always speak at length with prospective clients before agreeing to see them. On her Patient Intake Form she noted two recent miscarriages, a little more than a year apart. One was at 17 weeks, the other at 15 weeks. She never mentioned this on the phone. Following the miscarriages, she underwent fibroid surgery. The third miscarriage was omitted from the form entirely.]

Yes. We tried getting pregnant for a while. Then we went for HRT treatments. Everything was going fine until I started spotting at 14-15 weeks. They said to take it easy. But the bleeding got heavier. They put me on bed rest just before 20 weeks. Two days later my water broke and I was induced. They said it was due to infection within the amniotic sac. They don’t know what happened.

I was extremely upset. I felt something was wrong 3 weeks before it happened. I didn’t feel I was getting the support I needed when the spotting got heavier. They didn’t take it seriously.

We tried again and I was pregnant a year later. Everything was fine and then no heartbeat 15 weeks later. They did a D & C. There was nothing wrong genetically in either case. They don’t know what happened. They said it was unlikely that I would be able to conceive naturally.

Then we found an egg donor. I became pregnant but the embryo didn’t form. I miscarried at 8 weeks…Naturally! [She laughs] That one was genetic. At least there was a clear reason for it. It was doomed from the start.

Doomed?

It wasn’t my fault but the others weren’t either. We are back on the waiting list for another donor but it takes time, up to several years. My husband has been very supportive. He finds it to be like a roller coaster. He gets his hopes up.

Part of me wants to try again. I was happy when I was pregnant again. This issue has come up more recently: My brother is having a baby. Also one of my coworkers. The past losses. They can have babies. This is not fair. The first was the hardest because it was furthest along. You just aren’t aware of what can go wrong. If everything had gone well we would have a 3 year old daughter by now. That was tough.

When I don’t know people well, I shut down. I talked to my husband. Outside I was closing down my emotional responses. I’m not going to talk to them about it. If there are people I am close to I will talk about it. I will sit and cry on my good friends’ shoulder.

As a child I was fairly quiet and serious. I read a lot. I used to swim competitively. I mostly read history, historical fiction. Scottish history is full of tragic romance.

As a child I didn’t really have any fears. I mean, I guess I didn’t like insects. I never had the screaming heebie jeebies or anything. I hate mosquitoes because you can be eaten alive by them. I don’t like wasps because they sting. I can’t say I am really afraid or ever felt it too strongly… PAUSE

I guess it’s not like me with snakes. Like I’m not going to wrap one around my neck. Snakes! Oh no. Okay, snakes then. The physical contact I can skip!

My role is to oversee the support people. I do some support work and development as well. My department is made up of people in 150 countries. It involves a lot of communication. Until my new boss joined the department, we worked as one whole team. There is a sense that she has built a wall between us and the others who we were on good terms with. My colleague left. She blew her top about it.

Oh I do blow my top. I will go rant for half an hour. If things get out of hand I have a one on one with her. When I lose my temper, I become inarticulate. I either let it rip, scream back or else if I feel attacked directly and personally I may not react on the spot.

Part of me says I’m not letting this woman chase me out of a job. I know I have my constituency. People in all those countries appreciate what I do. If the overall pressure were different, we could lead parallel and separate lives but there is a lot of pressure inherent. Sooner or later some kind of confrontation will happen with the pressure. [Hands are parallel and separate and then move circularly.]

When I let it rip, I usually go pink first. My stepdaughter is living with us. She gives us the impression we should be waiting on her hand and foot.

It’s not a  %$#  hotel (she uses an expletive). I said what I needed to. I got it off my chest. She’s 13. She has been living with us a couple of years, but not since the beginning of our relationship. There are moments when it’s fine and others when it is really painful.

 [A lot of hand activity throughout this section. Hands moving around one another. Big circles]

As a child, I had swimming infections. I picked them up easily from diving after water got in my ears. It was really painful. I had dental surgery. I had extra teeth that needed to be removed. I have a narrow jaw also.

When I feel disconnected, whoozy, I close my eyes instinctively. I’m almost closing my eyes to be more aware of what’s immediately around me.

I close my eyes to recenter. I do it to fully concentrate again. I have to fight my way back to what was going on beforehand. The dizziness is like something is trying to take my attention away from what I am doing It’s the same at home or at work. It happened several times today. It comes and goes. Closing my eyes gives me physical comfort. I just have to wait for it to pass.

I prefer a cool room to a warm one I guess. I like the windows open. I feel like I have to be outside, not indoors all day. I’m most effective once I’ve showered.

Shawn: What do you need help with the most today?

Help with the dizziness. I saw my regular doctor last Thursday. He gave me a test. He told me to put my head down and forward then he threw my torso back. It took a breath to get everything back. I know my body will adjust. It feels like I’m missing out on something I’m supposed to be aware of.

Feeling out of control is unpleasant. It just happens. Well, I guess stress has something to do with it. I am under some stress at work.

And the miscarriages?

Yes the miscarriages are stressful. I’m not that aware. It’s not that conscious. I think you might be right. I am feeling the stress of that.

My doctor thinks the cause might be the inner ear.

[A question came to me a few days after the client left. On the intake form she wrote that she had a depression in the year 2000 prior to the miscarriages. I called her afterwards to ask her about it.]

In the year 2000 my fiancé moved back to the States. He broke everything off. He said, “I can’t deal with all this.” I stopped sleeping. I was upset all the time. The job wasn’t going well. His mother died the previous year. He said there were too many emotional demands on him. I was crying most of the time. When I don’t sleep well my whole world goes topsy turvy.

A month or so later he came back and we met up. He said he had made a huge mistake. We had broken up over the phone. I was very hurt. I was extremely upset. I felt rejected, almost betrayed although betrayed is too strong a word. Having worked so hard at this and the not understanding why…

Shawn: Tell me about ‘over the edge’.

Over the edge, over the cliff is purely a physical thing. That refers to vertigo. The fact that it’s a long way down. The edge is the drop off. When I’m looking over it I get the sensation of down. The edge is the end of solid land or a building. Emptiness is beyond it. It could be air or sea or whatever but it’s not solid.

Solid is my family. Solid is my physical environment, where I am sitting right now. Places I am in every day. Solid is physically solid. It is relatively constant.

The opposite of solid is things changing. Things appearing and disappearing. When you instigate the change, you feel more in control. You have taken deliberate action to make something happen. Several big changes in my life I made over time.

The whole business of my stepdaughter coming to live with us was something that happened rather than having been chosen.

I wanted to tell you something else about the dizziness. It only happens if I stand up really fast. This has been happening since I can remember.

[She recounts a dream she had the night of our appointment.]

I was on holiday somewhere, and there was a big sandy bay which looked nice for swimming.  For some reason I was flying above the bay, in a plane or something – not actually flying myself. When I looked down there were large sharks in a line, slightly out to sea but not far from the bay.  The person I was with assured me it was safe to swim but I wasn’t convinced.

Then, I was with another woman. We decided to go swimming somewhere else but as we walked to the swimming place, we saw a snake.  It was dark orange with a pattern that looked like black and white eyes. Then the snake was in my hair. It fell to the ground without harming me,  but it bit the person I was with.  I was convinced this was dangerous but when I tried to get people to help us, I had problems getting other people to react.  I had a sense of urgency, but no-one else seemed to think there was a problem.

I don’t remember any more about the dream – just the sense of frustration that people weren’t reacting.

My Reflections:
The client was described to me as matter of fact and I found that to be the case as she stayed on the factual plane. I sense that she is disconnected from her deepest emotions. I have the impression she is hovering ‘over the surface’.

She never mentioned the break up with her fiancé and subsequent depression nor did she say anything about the death of her mother, something I heard from a mutual friend. She talks about frustration with the fertilization process but not about her grief.

She uses the words ‘past losses’ together as if they are behind her. When I ask what she thinks about the dizziness she answers that her doctor thinks it might be her sinuses or inner ear.  It is only at the end of the consultation, as she is walking out the door, that she says more directly that the stress she is feeling might have something to do with the miscarriages. Overall, she gave me the impression of someone delicate but combative. Delicate, yet stoic.

Case Summary:
The client presents with bouts of dizziness (whooziness, lightheadedness) since one week that come and go suddenly. They make her feel “disconnected from the world”, not connected. She reconnects, “recenters” by closing her eyes and going inside.

The characteristics of the dizziness suggest aspects of the miscarriages. Dizziness comes on suddenly like the death of the fetuses. The symptoms come and go like the pregnancies. Spinning and circles are characteristic of the dizziness and are mirrored in her hand gestures.

The client says betrayal is too strong a word in reference to her husband suddenly breaking off their relationship but she uses it nevertheless and I think it describes the way she felt when the doctors didn’t heed the warning signs of the first miscarriage. She was “not taken seriously”. “I didn’t get the support”.

This is repeated in the dream where she cannot get help for her friend who has been bitten by a snake. “I had a sense of urgency but no one else seemed to think there was a problem.” She also says in reference to others who are having babies, “the past losses…they can have babies…this is not fair in all of this.”

The fetuses abort suddenly. The dizziness comes on suddenly. She “blows her top”. Rising up suddenly causes dizziness.

Remedy Affinities – THEMES
HEAD; DIZZINESS; FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM ( Miscarriage, FSH); EMOTIONS: Grief ; Loss; SUDDENESS; SYMPTOMS COMING AND GOING; CIRCLES

REPERTORY: COMPLETE 2005

Mind: GRIEF; Silent
Mind: LOVE disappointment, unhappy, agg.
Mind; DISAPPOINTMENT, deception agg.
Mind: DREAMS; Danger
Mind: Dreams; Snakes
Mind: DREAMS; Water
Mind: DREAMS; Water; swimming in
Mind: DREAMS; Flying
Vertigo: TURNING in a circle; He turns in a
Vertigo: RISING; On
Female: STERILITY
Female: ABORTION; Tendency to
Mind: CHILDREN; Desires to; have, to beget, to nurture (p, 7)
Generalities: SUDDEN manifestations
Generalities: CLOSING; Eyes; amel.
Generalities: FOOD and drinks; Chocolate; desires

My initial, broad repertorization brought up several polychrests. Then I did a repertorization of the dreams. This brought onc-t clearer into view. Lac delphinum also seemed to describe her state. This repertorization narrowed the choices dramatically.

DIFFERENTIATION

SEPIA
A sea remedy has as focus on respiration and reproduction. There is the idea of the abyss versus safety on solid ground. The client does not like change that has not been initiated by her. The vertigo of sea remedies is characterized by wavelike sensations and circular motion. A common survival strategy is emotional distancing. This remedy is my #2 choice.

LAC DELPHINUM
In this remedy there is also the fear of the abyss and a feeling of safety in numbers. She says “I have my constituency”. In the Doctrine of Signatures there is a group dynamic with high levels of group cooperation and more aggressive “one on ones” like the conflict with her boss and stepdaughter.

The dreams of danger, dreams of water and swimming can be found in this remedy. It has the characteristic turning in vertigo. Issues of suppressed anger are more so at the core of this remedy than grief or loss (Massimo Mangialavori). In order to prescribe this one, I would need to see a stronger affinity for the female reproductive system specific to miscarriage and sterility.

Repertorization Expert Analysis – General:


LACHESIS
Lachesis repertorizes highly. It has a strong affinity for the female hormonal system with a strong tendency to be infertile. Her sense of betrayal and suspiciousness is characteristic of the snake remedies. Snakes have jammed teeth and a narrow jaw that could be a confirmatory symptom. She sleeps into the aggravation when she wakes with the room spinning. I spent hours looking for an orange snake with a black and white pattern like eyes.

Onc-t is a small remedy whose issues are traditional family values and fertility. When I ask the client what is ‘solid’ she tells me ‘family’. Although she comes for bouts of vertigo, the center of the disturbance is around unsuccessful pregnancies.

The remedy covers many aspects of her vertigo, the idea of circles, the spinning. This remedy is better closing its eyes. There is a feeling of doom (death) in this remedy. The remedy’s theme of disappointment in love is reflected in her reading the tragic romances of Scottish history.

There is the theme of the wedding band in the break-up with her fiancé. She loves chocolate. Affinities are the female reproductive system and respiratory system (especially bronchial). This seemed like a perfect match.

Then I came across a fertility case of Jeremy Sherr’s in American Homeopath 2000 “THE LIFE CYCLE OF A SALMON: ONCORHYNCHUS TSHAWYTSCHA.”

The patient describes a vertigo ‘with a swimming sensation’. The feeling of being on a ‘roller coaster’. Cool air is preferable. Both ladies travel the world and like traveling. There is the importance of family against the backdrop of mother-daughter relationship difficulties. There is the suggestion of betrayal by a husband. At the core of both cases, however, is difficulty with procreation.

Oncorhynchus tschawytscha, proved by Jeremy Sherr’s students in The Dynamis School, was made from a wild Chinook salmon using eggs, sperm and blood. Sherr states, “The remedy embodies the whole cycle of life. The wild salmon circles thousands of miles of ocean to return to the river of its birth. There, it spawns another generation before it dies.”

CR2005 ReferenceWorks – Onchorynchus Tshawytscha; all sources from Jeremy Sherr
Food and Drinks: Chocolate desires
Open air amel.
Bending: Agg: Forward Head
Closing Eyes, Amel
Ovulation, Ailments During
Tingling, pricking  Sherr
Itching, tickling, internal   (throat)
Swimming, desires
Wandering complaints
MIND: Psychological themes: Gesticulation, Appearance, Verbal Expression” Speaking, Verbal Expression
MIND: Dreams: Circle; Danger; Flying: Forsaken, Forsaking; Snakes; Water, Swimming; of Soul Mate
Grief: sterility, from
Grief: silent
Travel: Desire to
VERTIGO: bending head forward, agg.; falling from a height, as if; rising, agg.; sudden, paroxysmal; turning in a circle, as if

RX: Onc-t 30 C 1 dose x 3 days, taken in the evening

FOLLOW UP 1: 4 WEEKS FROM TAKING THE REMEDY
The patient looks pretty and softer than I remembered. Dizziness is much better. It is not taking over as before. Her concentration has improved. There is a slight whooziness lingering. The frequency decreased from 10 times a day to only 2 or 3 times.

It is no longer necessary to close her eyes in order to re-center. There has only been one tingling sensation in the head associated with the dizzy spells. Its character has changed and is less intense. Constipation is less frequent. Her menses is slightly heavier than normal with cramps which took her by surprise. There have been no chocolate cravings.

“I have been much more aware of my first miscarriage… Grief and anger. This is the one I don’t understand. I cannot accept that this has happened. It should have been prevented. I knew something was wrong. I’m angry. Especially since I haven’t managed to have a child. (Crying) “It was the loss of everything for a while. It is the loss of that part of our lives we worked for and planned around”

She reflects on the dream. “I love swimming. I love swimming in the sea. The sharks and snakes are like the bogey images, bogey creatures. There is the transparent blue sea, very graphic very visual. The sharks and snakes are sort of primal. They are dangerous. I remember flying above and seeing everything so clearly. The clear water and the sharks. That is what struck me. How clear the water was.”

Regarding her relationship with her stepdaughter:

“No real intimacy or anything. It seems to be emotionless. I’m not sure which one of us is emotionless. But the relationship is. I didn’t have a particularly close relationship with my mother.”

No return of old symptoms although yesterday she had a “slightly choked up feeling” (gestures around the head).

On mother: “She was very strong, supportive. Principled. Moral backbone. I don’t like either of those expressions. She was grounded. I’m not sure where I’m going or what’s happening. Grounded knows what they are doing, where they want to be. I don’t have any life plan or vision. I’ve done a bit better than going with the flow. I recently applied for a post overseas. [MOVING HANDS AROUND] But, moving while I’m pregnant is not a very good idea.

FOLLOW UP 2: 8 WEEKS FROM TAKING THE REMEDY
There was one slight dizzy spell she describes as “more like a tiredness”. No head sensations. There is a crick in the neck, a possible return of old symptoms as she had stiff necks in the past. Menses flow continues to be heavier at the beginning, and she is very short tempered before it begins.

There have been no chocolate cravings. She is working on a big project. “I’m on edge, tired now. Life doesn’t have to be this stressful. Some people have a plan for the next 5-10 years of their life. I get swept along by events. Things happen to me more than I make them happen.”

Shawn: You once mentioned feeling ungrounded.

It’s partly the feeling of being swept along. When you are grounded you have a fairly clear idea. You are more in control of events. Where to start and what I want to happen and what my options are. I’m tired. I don’t like living like this. I’m running the whole time. Like a weather vane. I feel like I’m reacting. I’m not driving things.”

Shawn: Anger?

It’s a feeling of loss. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that it’s not going to happen for me. I want to try another cycle of IVF but it’s disappointing after. I’m not too optimistic. [covers mouth; holds head in hands] I would prefer it to be my own eggs.

The doctors told me a year and a half ago that they would not be prepared to do any follicle stimulation, so we are waiting for a donor. It has to do with the way I was seeing myself. With a small child the focus is on his needs. Now that focus is taken away.

­Shawn: What do you think of the remedy?

The whole dizziness thing seems to have gone. It seems to have helped.

­What about emotionally?

I feel like I’m in a better place to start looking at it.

I need a break.

Analysis:
The client’s chief complaint is much better but she is tired, emotionally flat, and feels as if she is “running all the time”. A loss of purpose (she uses the word plan) is mostly what she is feeling since the miscarriages: she had seen herself as a mother caring for a young child.

Now she is experiencing a loss of direction. She describes herself as a weather vane. She says she feels like she is being “swept along” instead of  “driving things”. I think the remedy has acted in the two months since she first took it and I give it again in a higher potency: 200C.

The interview ends with her saying “I need a break” but I know that she is on a big project and will not have one for some time to come. My feeling throughout is she needs support.

RX: Onc-t 200C split dose, evening and following morning.

CHECK IN 6 WEEKS AFTER CLIENT TAKES ONC-T 200C
The dizziness is completely gone since the last dose. The client doesn’t feel a need to return.

THREE MONTHS LATER
I hear from a mutual friend that the client is pregnant. It is a donor egg pregnancy. I email and then we speak. She says “it feels different this time.” I detect confidence. The client agrees to stay in contact with me.

TWO MONTHS LATER
The 20 week mark (when the first foetus aborted) has passed. There is elation and confidence on the telephone.

TWENTY WEEKS LATER
A healthy baby boy was born via C-section. He weighed 7lbs 5.4 oz and measured 20 inches long.

NINE MONTHS LATER:
An email exchange in response to my question, “What felt different’.

Dear Shawn

Sorry for not getting back to you sooner;  work here is really hectic and the rest of the time being a mama keeps me busy.

…This time did feel different somehow.  Maybe because we’d agreed that this would be our last ‘assisted’ try, also because I knew that everything was being really closely monitored, and because this time I was very, very conscious of everything that was going on.  

There is definitely a ‘loss of innocence’ after a miscarriage – you do become so much more aware of your body and what can go wrong.  I did keep a journal on and off this time – and I noted when I got to 19 weeks that I was past my previous miscarriages. My OB/GYN was really supportive – she actually asked me to come in every week for the period from about 14 – 20 weeks just to check everything was ok.

The day he was born, I’d had a stress test and he was ‘non-reactive’. The doctors decided to go ahead with a c-section immediately. I was one day over my due date, and she didn’t want anything to go wrong.  We had discussed the possibility of a c-section earlier in the pregnancy when the baby was in a transverse position and then breech for a long time.

I do remember the dream about the sharks, yes – and there was a snake too, I think.  I haven’t had such vivid dreams since then.

Sincerely, M

CONCLUSION:
While there is no tangible proof that the remedy I chose is responsible for this happy ending, logic follows its natural conclusion. We see in the follow-ups that, as the chief complaint and generals improve, the client is able to make new connections.

Her finer faculties, fired up with newly released energy, inform her sense of self, giving her new awareness and many insights. “This time I was very, very conscious of everything that was going on.” Such subtle yet profound changes are what we homeopaths come to expect from a well selected homeopathic prescription. And while these changes are immeasurable, there is little doubt when a remedy has acted favorably.

About the author

Shawn Vale

Shawn Vale, CCH, RSHom (NA) is a Certified Classical Homeopath, author, and lecturer residing in Staten Island. A graduate of The School of Homeopathy New York, Shawn has been in family practice in New York City since 2006. In 2005 Shawn was invited by Abhalight, a charitable organization serving Kenya’s poorest communities, to help establish a network of mobile clinics. Two years later, post graduate studies took Shawn to the Bombay School of Homoeopathy in Mumbai, India. In 2014, he was privileged to collaborate with Master Homeopath Dr. Massimo Mangialavori on his book, The Milks. Shawn continues to write and speak about the energetic principles of health and wellness, and especially about her passion for homeopathy. Her dream is to see this venerable medical art restored to its former good standing in this country. Today, with the advent of Tele-health, Shawn continues to expand her practice and the reach of homeopathy. Vitalforcetelehealth.com

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