Clinical Cases

Recurrent Basal Cell Carcinoma and Marijuana Addiction

Last modified on February 17th, 2015

Miroslawa Witalis

Dr. Miroslawa Witalis presents an expertly managed case of recurrent basal cell carcinoma and marijauna addiction.

The patient is a 40 year old woman, complaining of obesity, joint pain, and chronic, recurrent and new, multiple basal cell carcinomas on her face.  She is a small size, fair, moderately obese woman with pleasant demeanor.  She has pale grey, dirty looking hands and complexion with very faint yellow freckles and multiple small red eruptions.  She is washed and cleanly dressed; however, she keeps her warm woolen hat on her head throughout the duration of the interview.  Her presence instantaneously fills the office with a distinct, penetrating smell resembling that of a wet male goat, with undertones of a decomposing dog carcass.

Her case as given during her first office visit, January 4th, 2011

Patient’s report:

I would like you to help me with my joint aches and with losing weight. My hips have been hurting for 3 years now and although warm baths and massage help greatly, the ache does not completely go away.  I would very much like to lose some weight but those pains prevent me from exercising.  They are not too bad, just dull aches, always worse from cold weather.

basal cell carcinoma 1I have had a problem with recurrent basal cell carcinoma for most of my adult life.  My both parents had the same problem but not as severely as I do.  I have regular biopsies and surgeries but to no avail. The cancer reappears sometimes at the same site where it has previously been taken out, and there are new growths as well.  I have been using the Aldera and prednisone creams from my dermatologist but none of it has helped. Nothing ever will. I get desperate sometimes. Followed an advice of some odd website and made myself a cream which is supposed to digest the cancer. Has not helped either.

I have many other kinds of skin eruptions. Some of them resemble basal cell carcinoma, some do not. They never itch or hurt, but they do not want to heal, mainly sebaceous cysts and pustules which barely get inflamed, just stay stuck half done for months. Even when I try to express their half-dry cheesy contents out of them, it never makes them go away.  The most persistent ones are on my ears, also behind them – those behind my ears are usually moist. All my eruptions, malignant and not, bleed very easily. They are often covered with a loose, peeling scab. I currently have one terribly looking cyst on my breast.  I first noticed it two months ago; it was large but not tender, only slightly red.  My dermatologist injected it with prednisone.  After that, the cyst grew larger, became very red, and started to ooze fluid and pus. This was not supposed to happen. It still is neither tender nor hot, just tripled in size unless I squeeze it out, and not healing at all.

I have been addicted to marijuana since my teens.  I was still healthy then. It helps me socialize as I am a rather insecure person. It also helps me sleep; without it I wake up after midnight for many hours.  Pot also makes me eat twice as much as I would normally do, but eating brings me a great comfort.  My headaches and inner tension would go away when.

I have lot of anxiety, depression, and obsessive thoughts. I feel I am a useless, ignorant, and doomed person who will never be able to succeed in anything. When I was growing up, everybody around us has been wealthier than we were.  I absolutely hated it.  We had enough to live but I have always felt neglected and poor, with no chance in life. My parents were never there for me, nobody has ever taught me anything. For them I am a bad person.  I do not really care for them. I had to somehow muddle through my life myself.  I never got anywhere, and I still am poor. That is why I cannot have children.  I will always be too poor to have them.  I do not want them to feel the way I have always have.  I will never be a good mother anyway, so I should not even try.

I have always had a strange aversion to any kind of effort – whether physical work or mental strain. I had many odd jobs in my life but I hated them all so I quit.  Recently I have been even trying to go back to school, to get some easy job which would bring me money; but I quit after the introductory class. I cannot imagine why and how I would go through all this torture. It is just as with the exercise. Why do I have to do it when I can just live without it?  I love comfort. I have extremely changeable moods, and no self-esteem. I probably should not start anything serious as there is no chance that it would ever work.

I am often hungrier than I should be.  Sometimes my appetite disappears, but sometimes I have attacks of ravenous hunger and then I could eat large amounts of even junk food. This happens also at night. Without coffee, I would be constipated. With coffee, I am fine.

I have always been very chilly. I am especially intolerant of cold to my head.  I used to have chronic sinus congestion when I was younger – my nose was constantly stuffed up. Even my septum became inflamed and I had to have surgery to correct it. I have had much less trouble with my sinuses since.

I get painful cramps around my periods. They have never been regular or easy anyway. I get more moody than I usually am.

Initial assessment:

After the interview, as well as detailed review of body systems and a complete physical exam, the center of gravity of her physical symptoms appear to be multiple, recurrent, treatment-resistant, benign and malignant skin lesions, marked by indolence and unresponsive to treatments.  One of the striking features is the exceptionally strong, putrid body odor which the patient is unaware of, in spite of her cleanliness and a good sense of smell. Inertia and indolence are also significantly present in her mental / emotional state.

It is of importance to note that this case has a long history of cannabis use which, in absence of allergic reaction to it, is strongly suppressive of pruritus, and may be alone responsible for putrid body odor. Mentally, cannabis damages motivation without ruining self-esteem.

Repertorization points to Psorinum, Sulphur and Lycopodium.

Psorinum:  The hallmark of Psorinum on a physical level is chronic, not-healing, treatment-resistant skin pathology with a significant family history thereof, accompanied by ineradicable “dirtiness” of skin and remarkably putrid offensiveness of its discharges, in a body which is extremely sensitive to cold. The mental/emotional level of Psorinum manifests the same indolence, lack of reactivity, and aversion to effort which the pathology of its skin expresses physically. Psorinum’s skin is always profoundly itchy unless the pathology has been partially suppressed, for example by topical sprays or creams used to eliminate inflammatory, infectious, or cancerous skin problems, or by cannabis use.  Among the great variety of skin eruptions possible for Psorinum, the most uniquely characteristic are indolent pustules on any part of the body but almost always also on the ear lobes and behind them – the latter tend to be moist. In addition, there are desquamative, dry, bleeding, nodular or patchy eruptions; soft sebaceous cysts; yellow spots and freckles; there also is skin cancer. Perspiration odor, however offensive, does not correspond with the drugs used.

Psorinum dresses very warmly regardless the weather. The most cold-sensitive body part is head; Psorinum protects it with scarves or woolen hats even in the summer. There is a significant tendency to nasal congestion with inflammation of nasal septum. There is some tendency to chronic rheumatism, especially in feet and joints of lower extremity. There is an increased hunger, also at night, and insomnia especially after midnight. Psorinum is ameliorated by eating and by taking baths. In females, there is dysmenorrhea.

On the mental/emotional level, Psorinum has a tendency to changing moods, but   depression, anxiety, pessimism, social insecurity, forsaken feeling and lack of self-esteem are lasting features.  Psorinum uniquely combines the feeling of being poor even in good material circumstances, with a deep aversion to work and to physical and mental effort. There is lack of ambition and mental reactivity.

Sulphur

Sulphur is a remedy very closely resembling Psorinum in the presentation of physical symptoms and in many mental/emotional features as well.  The key differences are: intolerance to skin contacts with wool and to baths; aggravation by food; delusion of being rich, rather than of being poor; indifference to pleasure (the patient is primarily and essentially motivated by pleasure of an inert comfort); great inner and physical restlessness; and ambition, especially for fame and money. Self-esteem lacks only rarely.

Lycopodium

Lycopodium seems to share with this case many prominent features. Mentally, it is despondent, anxious, depressed, lacking self-esteem, often averse to work, often marked with prostration and debility, despairing of recovery, and easily changing moods. Physically, Lycopodium is chilly, sensitive to drafts, with catarrhal tendency. Its skin is often freckled, itchy, with fetid secretions, significantly prone to cancer and to recurrent abscesses forming beneath the skin and reluctant to fully mature; also to bleeding eruptions, and to eruptions on and around ears. There is painful arthritis.  Sleep is restless and unrefreshing, and there is an increased hunger at night.

However, Lycopodium does not despair about the future; It is restless, and it’s lack of self-esteem is bound solely on performance anxiety. There is no “dirty” look to the skin; rather, the skin tends to look older and thicker than normal for its age.

Remedy chosen:   Psorinum, single dose of 30C potency which the patient took on January 6th, 2011.      

Follow – up visit: February 9th, 2011

Patient reports:

I took your remedy as you prescribed.  I have not been using creams.  I stopped drinking coffee – although it was a bit hard – and did not smoke pot for the first two and a half weeks.  My boyfriend still did, but I asked him to do it outside so I would not be around it as much.  In the first week after I took the remedy nothing has changed. Early next week my breast cyst started to itch, and then shrink, to disappear by the end of that week. At the same time the pustules on my ears and those behind them started to slightly itch, swell, and ooze a thick liquid. They dried up and disappeared several days after the cyst did. My face has cleared up a little as well, especially forehead and cheeks. Nothing else has changed. I have drunk green tea to replace coffee and I was not constipated.  After two and a half weeks, I had a strong need for smoking pot in the evening so I did. I have been smoking pot several times this month, but have been slowly realizing that perhaps I should make an effort to quit.  My mother has been an alcoholic her whole life and I do not want to be like her.  Maybe I would be a better person without my addiction.  I would like to start thinking more clearly. I might feel better about myself then, in the end, and then do something good in this world.  Pot does not help with a good feeling for a very long time, one has to keep smoking.

I went to my dermatologist a week ago. She was glad to see the cyst gone. She did not find any new suspicious growths on my face and said that the two spots she believes are small and early basal cell carcinomas are not progressing but they should be excised or treated with Aldera. I made an appointment for the excision for the next month.

My assessment: The remedy has brought a significant skin health improvement in several areas: the prednisone-suppressed, non-healing breast cyst has healed within a week, the arrested nodules on and behind earlobes opened, cleared and healed, and most non-malignant eruptions disappeared form the face. There is a marked improvement in facial complexion.  There has been no aggravation or progression in any area, including basal cell carcinoma or any other form of epithelioma, as evidenced by mine and dermatologist’s physical exam. Although the patient partially resumed smoking cannabis after those improvements, there has been no relapse, and there appears to be a slow change in mental attitude, towards decision to quit cannabis and actively acquire more self-esteem. I conclude that the remedy continues to work, and I decide that no action is necessary at this point. I asked the patient to contact me as soon as any problems occur, and to keep her appointments with her dermatologist as well.

Follow – up visit: April 1st, 2011

Patient reports:

I saw my dermatologist last month and she took one suspicious spot out.  She said it was slightly smaller than before but she prefers to cut it out for safety.  The smaller one was receding as well and was so small that she said that it does not need to be excised right now.  She recommended that I use Aldera preventatively, though I do not want to do because it has not been working before, and I do not want any more poisons in me.

I have been trying very hard to quit pot for good, and to regularly contact my family and being nice to them regardless how they treat me.  I thought that this is what I should start from should I become a decent human being.  Regardless of my falling back into smoking on occasion, I do not need it for sleep anymore, and I started to notice new things, for example how I need to take more responsibility for myself and for others.  Even my boyfriend has to change for the better if he wants to stay with me.

My assessment: The single dose of Psorinum in the 30C potency has continued to improve the skin health of this patient, as evidenced by the physical exam. There is no relapse or new symptoms. There is an improvement in sleep. Patient continues to make a slow progress in her struggle with her addiction and with modification of behavior in order to regain more self-esteem.   I decide to take no action at this point.

Follow – up visit: May 4th, 2011

Patient reports:

I had a bad month, with several unpleasant conversations with my family. I have not been smoking much but have been eating terribly, and got a red rash on my face and chest.  It does not want to go away. My joints ache somewhat more. I was hoping that I can improve and maybe have children and give them some future. But it will never ever happen. I have been very depressed. I had to smoke pot to feel happier, although I still know I am a loser, really.

My assessment: All physical and mental symptoms have returned. There are no new symptoms.    Following Kent’s guidelines, I decided to repeat Psorinum in a single dose of 30C potency. The patient took the remedy on May 4th, 2011.

Follow – up visit: June 7th, 2011

Patient reports:

My rash has cleared in 10 days after I took the remedy. I did not have any new skin problems, just those small cysts on the ears and behind them do not quite heal. I stopped seeing my dermatologist, as I have nothing new to show her.  My sleep has been relatively good. My joints stopped aching and I purchased membership in a gym. Only I am too lazy to go there every day. I still would like to have children one day and give them a future.  But for that, I would have to quit marijuana for good, just to give them a healthy even if poor home.  My menses have been much easier recently.

My assessment:  The repeated dose of Psorinum in 30C potency brought physical and mental improvement, as evidenced by patient’s report and the physical exam, in a comparable extent to that achieved by the first dose before the case relapsed.  There is no evidence of an ongoing progress and there are no new symptoms. I decided to give a single dose of Psorinum in 200C potency. The patient took the dose on June 7th, 2011. I asked her to report any problems immediately.

Follow – up visit: August 3rd, 2011

Patient reports: In a week after you gave me the last remedy, my ear cysts have opened all at once and drained much pus. They dried up in two days. I felt strong enough to quit pot for good, so I did. I did not have it even once since and I do not even miss it. My boyfriend is trying to do the same now. I can sleep well, just my dreams are horrible, and I wake up chilly and hungry sometimes. But I do not eat then, just take a hot shower to warm up and fall asleep after a while.  After about two weeks of doing this, my hunger and chilliness at night went away. I also noticed that about the same time as I got warmer, some cysts and nodules I had on my back have been healing. They were itchy for a day or two and then they would heal. I had no new eruptions on my face, and my little cancer nodule disappeared.

I bought a new car last week.  I somehow could afford it. It will make it easier for me to move around independently, and maybe find some new job, or at least take nicer trips with my boyfriend. We are planning to have a baby. I do not know if I still can get pregnant but I wish I could, and if I would, I know I will manage somehow, and if not, I will have to find some help.

My assessment:  The dose of Psorinum in 200C potency brought much progress physical and mental improvement, as evidenced by patient’s report and the physical exam.  I view the transient itch of eruptions prior to their full healing as a good sign indicative of reversal of the suppression. There are no new symptoms. The remedy is still working. I decided to take no action at this point.

Follow – up visit: November 3rd, 2011

Patient reports:

I went to my dermatologist for a skin check. She found no new suspicious lesions. It has been the longest time without relapse that I remember. I also had no sebaceous cysts anywhere on my body, except for one a month ago on my left ear but it quickly drained and healed. I have been abstaining from pot. My boyfriend still struggles with it a little but I am trying to help him quit. I have been going to the gym, changed my diet and lost fourteen pounds.  We are both trying to become as healthy as possible in case I would get pregnant. We are also thinking about starting a small business together. The times are tough but it would make it easier for us to stay close and take care of the family if needed.

I feel much warmer physically, at night and during daytime. I feel less tired. I still feel anxious about the future sometimes, but I do not feel such a loser anymore. I sense strength in me which tells me that this feeling is real.

Physical Exam: no change compared to the previous one. There is no offensive body odor this time.

My assessment:  Psorinum has brought a remarkable improvement in this case. It cleared the skin from the nodular and pustular indolent eruptions including the basal cell carcinoma nodule, and halted their recurrence. It liberated the patient from much of her emotional and mental inertia, aversion to effort, and despondency about her resources and future. It helped her choose a healthier lifestyle and overcome addiction to marijuana.

Based upon her report and the physical exam, I conclude that the remedy is working. There are no new symptoms. I decided to take no action at this point and asked the patient to contact me should any problems occur.

End of case

About the author

Miroslawa Witalis

Miroslawa Witalis

Miroslawa Witalis is a board certified Naturopathic Physician licensed in Washington State. She graduated from Bastyr University and has been practicing since 2007. She received a Diplomate from the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians and is certified by the Council for Homeopathic Certification. She also earned an MA in Medical Technology from the Medical Academy in Krakow and worked as an instructor in Pharmacology, Lab Chemistry, and Homeopathy at the Medical College in Krakow. For nearly 15 years she served as a consultant to health care practitioners in Europe on cognitive, sensory and motor rehabilitation of developmental impairments such as autism, OCD, dyslexia, and Down syndrome. She also served as director and instructor at the Institute for Consciousness of Time in Switzerland. Miroslawa was also an international consultant to organic and biodynamic farmers and several small homeopathic and biological medicine companies. http://drwitalis.com/

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