In the December 2011 issue of Hpathy.com’s journal, there was a paper on cancer as well as a case of stomach cancer, from Edmund Carleton in 1913. In this case, he used 9 remedies in the course of the treatment, to resolve the stomach cancer and the result is a nice cure of what would very likely have been a terminal condition.
Some homeopaths think such treatment second rate, but probably the patient and his family were more than happy with the outcome. There is a tendency for some of us homeopaths to consider cures not wrought with the help of the single similimum to be second rate homeopathy. Hahnemann looked at this differently, but of course he had a lot fewer remedies in his materia medica and was obliged to zig-zag many of his chronic patients to cure, as he elaborated in his Organon, paragraphs 162-171 (6th Edition.)
There is a lot that could be said about this from various points of view, but having said this, I think the efforts of most homeopaths are oriented towards working to find the closest degree of similitude. It is these single remedy cures that are the most convincing examples of the power of homeopathy and they also yield the most interesting information in developing the clinical pictures of our remedies. It’s also true that the healing process is most sure and case management most easy, when we are able to find this level of correspondence between our remedy and the case (Dr. Vijayakar’s work in case management as also noted in last month’s issue demonstrates this most ably).
This is a case of Stomach cancer from 2009, in which the sufferer has recovered his health with the help of surgery and then of one remedy.
On the subject of cancer and homeopathy I can say over the past year I’ve seen wonderful results with Secale cornutum in a case of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in a man of 34 years, Ustilago maydis in a case of malignant tumor of the neck in an 89 year old man and this case of stomach cancer (at least post operatively) with Polyporus-pinicola. I think we could do more for homeopathy’s success in the treatment of cancer by making a concerted effort to do good provings and develop clinical pictures of remedies from the Fungi kingdom (and it is a kingdom, not a family, this means there is a very large body of work to be done) than almost anything else we could do. This very large group of substances many of which have been known since time immemorial to be very useful in the treatment of cancers and tumors (as well as many other serious conditions) is still pretty undeveloped by us homeopaths, which would be baffling to me, if it were not for the fact that this invisibility or rather this cryptic quality, the idea of not being able to reveal their true selves, is one of several characteristic themes for these substances.
CASE: 76 Year Old Man
Presenting: Stomach Adeno-carcinoma. Stage T2.
A Cyst was found in the left lobe of liver, 23/17mm and the doctor said it was not a problem. 11/17mm was the size of the malignant cancer in the stomach.
Observation: He is quite controlling and authoritative, nice manners, slim, very well dressed and presented. A respectable man who has had a successful business and is now retired.
He immediately takes charge of the consultation and is quite firm and controlling:
“First of all I want to know what you are going to do, or what I am going to let you do to me?”
I explain more about homeopathy and I ask him to simply tell me more about his condition and its history. He tells me his family history. His brother had prostate cancer. Sister had breast cancer.
Other sister brain tumor. His mother died from TB before penicillin was available. He had bladder cancer fourteen years ago and now has stomach cancer.
Someone calls him and he is upset because someone who knows he is sick told someone else and he did not want anybody to know about that.
“I had a bad back last year and again they recommended surgery but I said no so…. My back I don’t think anyone can do anything about that, I stretch but don’t want surgery. I have inflammatory arthritis, but this is serious (meaning the stomach cancer). Can you do something about the age….(he is making a joke with me I think to lighten the mood). I have tried many things, even acupuncture.”
He is taking nine different medications now, for hypertension, arthritis (including low doses of prednisone), stomach acidity, neuropathic pains, BPH and high cholesterol.
“I had three surgeries last year, on the arteries in my legs. First time I don’t want to say they screwed things up. I went for a CAT scan and they say I have clogged arteries and so they said I need surgery to splice it up. It was both sides, I was having muscle cramps before the surgery in the calves on walking, it would get very hard.”
“Arthritis? Oh that is a bummer, let me go back to my bladder, that developed first. (he is taking charge and controlling and ordering the case taking process). 14 years ago I had a tumor in my bladder; they removed it and I’ve had no problems since. I came back from my home country in ’94, had blood in my urine. Next day had surgery. I did not need chemotherapy or radiation. It was as big as an orange. I cannot blame my home country for that, you can blame yourself you know.”
“Let’s go to my arthritis, one day I got up in the morning and I couldn’t move, I had no strength to open the shower door even. As the day went by I felt better but my shoulder was hurting and everything else. Dr. gave me cortisone shot, it didn’t help and he said you need surgery on your shoulder and I said it can’t be, just yesterday I was fine there was nothing wrong with me. Dr. said there is nothing wrong but you have arthritis. So medication was Prednisone.”
“So arthritis began 14 years ago, right after my bladder surgery…. three or four months after the surgery. When my arthritis came on it was just my whole body, my hands, my legs, everything, whole body. I still have this. The worst is in the morning when you get up, in the evening I have no arthritis, as soon as I lay down and relax, your body I guess cools off I don’t know.”
“When it’s hot weather, I can sit outside in the sun its 102 and hot tub is good, taking a hot shower it helps. When I feel bad I take a hot shower, heat is good, it always, always makes me feel better, I like to feel it getting into my bones. Usually I am ice-cold in the hands and fingers…. Feet are alright, especially right foot since the surgery, it’s hot as fire all the time and the left one is cold. Before the surgery my left leg was always cold and the right one always warm or normal.”
“I’m already in business 49 years in the cooling and heating business!”
“My back hurts already 50 years, it’s nothing new. Everybody says my back hurts in America… it was very bad in 1972. I was under stress then, I was in business trying to make it, lots of pressure and my back was kind of bad. I have second and third disc, its L4, L5 trouble. They wanted surgery and I already gave up and I’ve never had it. Back pain goes into your legs, it hurts, you are paralyzed you can’t move, it’s like somebody sticking a needle in your back every time you move. It lasts only till about 10:00 am, once you get moving and you get loose it’s OK again. Like the arthritis.”
“Stress? My stress in the business was to try make everybody happy, I do the best I can for everybody. I just want to be, not perfect, but good and if I couldn’t accomplish it I couldn’t be at rest…It just was everything was concerning me to the bone….
My partner always told me you brought it all on yourself, most problems we have we bring on ourselves you know. So I got in my sail boat and sailed away for a while, as soon as I left port the pain just left on its own! I’m restless with pain and need to get away from everything and everyone concerning me and making me nervous I just want to get away from everyone out to sea where no one can see me and take it easy.”
“I believe I’ve always had a sensitive stomach, even as a child. If I eat something bad, something spicy, I never had a problem but it did bother me you know. No diarrhea, actually my stool was always good since I know myself. In 1954 they took my appendix out….. ”
“Aversion: What I don’t like, everything is good that’s the problem. I’m not a milk man. Desire: Fish, vegetables, good bread. I used to lots of meat, I like Prime rib and Fillet mignon, leg sometimes, pork loin everything is good. Fish was always my favorite. I like vinegar. Wine. I love cheese. I’m very particular I like good quality.”
“Aggravation: Only spicy food, it doesn’t agree with my stomach you know.”
“This stomach ulcer now I think it began with this new medication for arthritis three weeks ago. Vomiting now, taking that medication, as soon as I have wine or salad from vinegar and alcohol or orange, I would just vomit. But you see nothing comes out, it’s the whole problem you are choking yourself and nothing and two or three times.”
His tongue has a faint yellow coating but not strongly so. I ask about his attitude to medicine?
“I never was sick until bladder surgery. Doctor used to tell me you are going to live forever. I never spent so much time in the bed before as I do now because I’m old and sick and everything else you know. I like my bed.”
“Money? It’s the last thing I worry about, even with this crisis now, I never think about money that much, even when I didn’t have it that much, so why should I worry now. I don’t owe anybody anything and its fine.”
I said to doctor, I think I’m taking too much medication I want to stop something, and he said they are connected so it’s not good to stop them. We tried to go down to nothing on Prednisone and we got down to 2mg, the arthritis was getting worse then. What Prednisone did was shrink me down, I used to be 6’1” and now I’m only 5’8. It’s like they put you on a press and press you down like a cheese.”
Childhood : “My father and mother have 6 kids – 2 girls 4 boys and my youngest brother died during the war. My mother died very young from Tuberculosis. If she’d made another year she’d have lived a long time due to penicillin… we have in the family a lot of relatives with Tuberculosis, a lot of consumption in my country.
I am the fifth of the six siblings and I am the youngest one now.
My role? Family was different then, there were 16 of us in the house and you know they didn’t take good care of the kids like they do today.”
“Dreams? We all dream for better things, after the war everybody was talking about America and so I did, I made it all the way.”
“Marriage? She was not even 18 when I married her and I was only 22. We never mixed up or discuss our work together. Finally she got tired and retired and she died. See that is the problem, when you think you made it, you die and you’re gone. She was only 59 when she died. It is now 13 years ago. I don’t think I really ever recovered from that loss. I’m not married, everybody thought I could marry again, I had opportunities of course, but no, I never did. “
“I am very particular, everything has to be perfect it was my problem in business too, in the shop everything has to be perfect.
OK so it’s good enough but it’s not good enough, you know why? Because I’d rather do it myself than let someone else do it not so good. I am not very good at delegating and I always think I can do better. When everything is good you feel better, more happy, it’s like when you are dirty and you take a shower then you feel good.
Some people can live in the dirt and never do anything you know.
Tell the truth sometimes I don’t know who I am, I know but…… if everybody is happy around me then I am happy too. If it’s nice weather it makes your day much brighter you know.”
“We worked very hard, it’s the same thing even now during the day I’m not here, I’m in the city. It’s my building there, I go to the place, my son owns the business now, it’s my building I have a work office there, everyone still thinks I’m the boss. My son is not running it as well as I did.”
“I’ll say one thing I was always very susceptible to colds, I would get a cold just like that. I had a cold four times that year, just like that. Not thirsty really, I don’t drink much beer. I like something more refreshing like a tonic and vodka. I don’t like cucumber either. I like everything nice and dry and crisp, even the fish, bread etc. I love tomatoes and onions.”
“Skin? I get this little bit’s of white stuff, usually if there is a lot of sun and you swim or something. Bit of vitiligo but it’s not because it comes and goes so easily, its hypo-pigmentation (it is vitiligo) on the abdomen and trunk.”
“When I get angry, I used to throw things around. When you work, you make mistakes, people say they don’t make mistakes are full of beans. I make a mistake and I get mad at myself and even break something. How can you make that mistake I say to myself. I don’t try to hide it or cover it up.”
Plan: After this interview I gave him Natrum-arsenicosum LM 0/1. Two weeks later he went into the surgery and had a stomach resection. Doctors were satisfied with the recovery and no chemo or radiotherapy was suggested. The remedy made no real impression on him and so after speaking with him on the phone four weeks after the surgery, I had him stop taking it.
I then did not hear from him for four months, but I did have the opportunity of speaking with his niece who is quite close to him, and with his permission she told me a lot more about his nature.
She told me, he controls his family. He made a lot of money in business and he uses this unspoken promise of money and benefits to direct things and people to do as he wishes. He is quite clever with this and is very sensitive and observant of how people treat him. Despite this he is genuinely caring about and for people and will go out of his way to help not only his family, having donated significant sums of money to his community. She says the main topic with him is the sensitivity to cold. It’s a major topic with him. He always knows exactly what the weather will be and his life is scheduled around the weather. When he goes on vacation it’s about the weather. He hates the wet and the cold, loves it dry and warm.
Another interesting thing, when he gets stressed out and worried he feels freezing cold, if he gets upset or nervous he feels cold.
He wears a toupee and gives a lot of attention to his appearance. His presentation is very important and he likes others to be under him in a gentle way, but he enjoys the respect he gets and the recognition he gets, driving a nice car, giving good tips, there is always this undercurrent of money and how it gives him the ability to compel respect and control over people.
He says he likes company, but he controls friendships and socializing and also has a strong desire for solitude but also has a close group of friends and compatriots. He always treats them and buys the meal or whatever and keeps the power and distance. Socializes yet lives alone, keeps the privacy. Personal relationships, he is very picky, keeps his distance, protects his space, loves his home and sanctuary. Needs, to have things his way at home.
His home is surrounded by conifers and he loves these trees, the smell of them, the sound of the wind in them and everything.
He stresses he had many opportunities to get remarried but never wanted it, it’s too much trouble and he said “women want to control you, it impinges on my freedom.”
He talks about his dead wife as them having made a great team, never mentions the romance even at the beginning of their relationship. Even later in life he had somebody he liked, but he’s never been with that person. It’s a very businesslike sort of relationship, it’s not really romantic at all. A sense of distance and technicality in marriage, does not let emotions out, only after wine, very practical.
They only had one child and then he got a vasectomy deliberately and very early in his life, he had the means to have more children, but really strongly did not want any. He loves to drink alcohol, gin and tonic and a bottle of wine after dinner. Really relaxes him, helps him a lot. Wine is the cure for everything he says. But this is a problem when he got stomach cancer, as it’s too much acidity for his stomach. Always very particular about his diet, fish etc, loves to eat. Yet he is skinny.
He sort of hides when he is not feeling well. He does not like anyone to see him in his weakened state. He absolutely forbade anyone at all from visiting him in the hospital other than his wife.
Got stressed at work since he tried to make everyone happy. He gave more importance to his business than to his family. He said he would kill himself if he became disabled, if he had to depend on others it would be the worst, he prefers having them dependent upon him.
After this conversation I went over my original case notes again and started to think about the Fungi as a possible group to find a remedy for him. He has some of the fundamental themes of the group, the coldness is central, the difficulties with connection to people, problem with having more children, the almost impersonal nature of his marriage. Not wanting to be seen as weak and always maintaining the control in relationship. Neuralgic pains. The need to escape and hide. A lot of spinal symptoms and digestive symptoms. The coldness is really fundamental and I see a clear analogy between this and his relationships. This internal coldness into the bones has a frozen, rigid quality as if there is an inability to move and connect emotionally, a difficult contact even with his own body.
I really felt his niece had told me more about him than he had.
In Allen’s Encyclopaedia I found under Polyporus pinicola: “Peculiar sensation as though I would like to get away out of sight and lie down.” This matches well his statement – “I’m restless with pain and need to get away from everything and everyone concerning me and making me nervous, I just want to get away from everyone out to sea where no one can see me and take it easy.”
I thought I’d check the rubric Restlessness, Nervousness, Pain, from. I didn’t expect to find the remedy there, but thought some other fungi might be there. Sure enough Polyporus-pinicola is there, though it’s not well represented in the repertories at all.
I also thought it interesting his affinity with Conifer trees as this mushroom grows on pine trees.My sense of the case was adding up and I had also that almost indefinable sense in his presence. Nobody can tell you what a strawberry tastes like, but once you’ve tasted a strawberry you know a strawberry with your eyes closed. I think homeopaths develop this 6th sense or this nose, or some would say intuition about families or groups of remedies. Something distinct but personal to your own experience, but almost impossible to share, and once you’ve sat with two or three cases of say brassicaceae you develop a sense that is not academic or intellectual but visceral about the quality and nature of that presence. It’s important to be circumspect about this, but I’ve found it a very reliable meter when I feel it. In retrospect now I recognized it, I had this feeling with him, he is like a Fungi case.
Polyporus-pinicola LM 0/1 daily in water as per Hahnemann’s instructions. This was during October 2009.
He quickly began to feel much better. Prior to him starting this remedy he had not been able to eat well and had continued to lose weight. Could not take his usual meal in the evening and was barely snacking. He was constipated and had a hard stool.
His main complaint was that he could not eat enough to regain his weight and that he could not enjoy his wine nor his Vodka and Tonic in the evening.
In the first month after starting the remedy he gained eight pounds. In the three months prior to the surgery and up till the time he started taking the remedy he had lost 35 pounds and only now did he begin to put on some flesh again.
Slowly he became more sensitive to the drugs he was taking, as they lowered his blood pressure too much. He fainted a few times in Church and he would vomit and get into a panic, so he went to hospital and they did blood work. Everything was fine but they lowered his medications.
He used the remedy up in about three months but I didn’t hear from him again until the following May. Seven months later he is not exactly a compliant patient and insists on everything being on his own terms.
He had done so well for several months after starting the Polyporus-pinicola 0/1 and he continued to do well after he’d finished it, so he didn’t contact me. Now he is having trouble digesting again and cannot eat a full meal. Everything feels too acidic and he is feeling tired and cold again. He says he’s probably lost a couple of pounds in the last month, since when he eats a reasonable amount of food he gets an acid stomach and has not had any appetite. Also he noticed he can’t take wine again recently.
During the interview he spontaneously says, “I just cannot forget about things and they always come back to you, I cannot wait and that puts stress on me too. I have to attend to it now, it eats you from the inside out. I lost a lot of weight after the bladder surgery too.”
Analysis: I’m pretty confident this is a close remedy for him since he really did very well while he was taking it and for three months after he finished taking it. He’d regained weight and energy, his capacity to eat and drink had slowly built up and he regained most of the weight he had begun losing prior to the surgery. I feel now he is deteriorating again, but in a way consistent with his initial presentation and problems. There is nothing new here, he needs more of the remedy.
Plan: May 2010 Polyporus-pinicola LM 0/3 a dose every second day. After a week we had to decrease the frequency of the dosing to once every three days, since the dose every second day would make him ache more and disturb his sleep for the 24 hours after he took it. The reaction settled and soon he was enjoying vodka and tonic before his evening meal and putting on more weight again.
Slowly, on the remedy, he has built up his capacity to consume and digest food and drink again, enjoying his customary wine and vodka and tonic. He does well on light foods, and eats a lot of fish.
He will contact me when there is some disturbance with his digestion and usually it’s related to over indulgence. He is active at his very well-to-do local country club and seems quite mobile and happy.
I had him stop the remedy the beginning of July, since he was doing so well and was about to take a trip to Mexico. He continued to do well after this despite not taking the remedy until the end of October 2010, when he developed some indigestion and an aggravation of his arthritic symptoms again.
October he began using the remedy 0/3 again at three day intervals and very quickly picked up in appetite, strength and cheer.
Over last fifteen months he has continued to use the remedy sporadically as needed, mostly when his digestion is upset again, but on one occasion he caught a bad cold with fever and chills and the same remedy brought a quick recovery from this situation. He is currently using the Polyporus-pinicola LM 0/5 as needed.
I can not claim that the Polyporus pinicola cured the stomach cancer, since it was no longer in situ when he started the remedy. However the total process behind the cancer, digestive disturbances, the inability to assimilate and tolerate foods, the general well being, energy, complexion and even arthritic sufferings have been and continue to be significantly helped with the remedy each time he needs to use it. His ability to eat more substantial portions has increased, notwithstanding the stomach resection, and the overall aspect of the case is very positive. I doubt there is another remedy in the materia medica that could have done better for him.