In 1996 I attended Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital as an in-patient and attended another hospital as an outpatient for a cone biopsy. I was living in Shetland at the time, with a young baby of 3 months. I had an abnormal smear after the birth of my third baby, in 1992.
I would have had to travel to Aberdeen for a colposcopy, if I had been a compliant patient, a journey of 250 miles. I delayed as long as I could, so that I could read up about the problem and try as many alternative therapies as possible.
Susan Quilliam’s book Positive Smear was a great resource, with a lot of detail about risk factors and possible treatments. It should have been possible to have laser treatment, but different treatments were not discussed with me. I had the equivalent of a colposcopy in Shetland with a bad tempered consultant, not skilled with the equipment he was using.
I always had a fear of hospitals, not helped by the experience of giving birth in a hospital. I told the doctor who did the first smear that I wanted homeopathic treatment and he said I had made the wrong decision. Fortunately, by 1995, a new doctor was in post who had done some training at the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital. She was happy to give me a referral.
I knew when I had the abnormal smear that I was not in good mental or physical condition, so had to decide if I wanted to live or die. I had a bad marriage, and had very little money to buy good quality food. As a result of the experience, my husband left me in 1996.
I tried healing for the first time and had healing from 3 different practitioners. I improved my diet and was generally kinder to myself. Did more meditation and yoga and tried to relax more. I had colour therapy and counselling, and lots of homeopathy.
I came to the conclusion that when you are ill, it can be likened to a potted plant that may need feeding or watering, but sometimes needs re-potting. It may be that you cannot thrive in the environment in which you find yourself. My husband said later that he thought I was going to die so he switched off all feeling for me. I felt like I had to go through the experience alone. I had regular smear tests every few months and results came back worse until they said it may be cancerous.
It was a journey of 400 miles from my home in Shetland to Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital, in March 1996. It was dark and raining heavily when I arrived with my 3 month-old baby screaming. The nurses were lovely, made me tea and gave me chocolate biscuits and took the baby for a little while.
I was shown to my room and within a couple of hours of arrival I had seen the consultant and usual tests done – BP, urine and pulse. I was given a remedy.
I had some dinner and an early night. Baby woke at 4am and nurses took him again, while I had tea and chocolate biscuits.
I was starting to get used to this. My son made great friends with a fellow patient and laughed his first laugh with her. She wrote to me for years after, until her death and then I wrote to her husband until I didn’t get a reply.
I had an interview with the consultant again the morning after I arrived, and decided I would go for the conventional treatment of cone biopsy at another hospital as an outpatient. A nurse came with me from the homeopathic hospital and held my baby, while I had the treatment. The consultant was like a bus driver and obviously hadn’t read my notes, and ploughed on regardless.
Hospital food wasn’t great, especially for a breast-feeding mother. The staff encouraged me to go out in the afternoons. I stayed for 4 days until I had healed sufficiently from the biopsy. When I left the hospital I had a hug from the nurse, and the taxi driver said I must have been a very special patient.
I had thought they did that with everyone. I had regular reviews about my health by post and had more remedies when I needed dental treatment. When I had my next smear test it was normal. When I had the results of my biopsy, they said that it wasn’t as bad as it had looked and wasn’t cancerous.
I was left feeling unsure that I had made the right decision having conventional treatment. With homeopathic treatment, it would be expected to heal from the inside out, so maybe if I could have continued with alternative treatment, I may have had a normal result. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
The care I got from the homeopathic hospital was just what I needed at the time. I was given time to tell my story and felt that the consultant had all the information he needed to give me the appropriate remedies. This contrasted with the conventional treatment, which made me feel that I was a nuisance because I did not want to be processed. I felt like I was a nuisance for not conforming to standard procedure.
The homeopathic hospital felt like a refuge and they were very supportive and helped me to make the decision to have conventional treatment. I got ongoing support after the treatment with homeopathy, but none from my GP. When I went for my next smear, the GP had not read my notes. I have no faith in conventional medicine for myself, as a result of this experience; and would choose homeopathy first.