Mr L.M., age 32
Presented in May 1997 when he'd been off work for 6 weeks and after he'd been diagnosed as having had glandular fever. He feels exhausted and his muscles ache all over. He has not been well for the last two years, suffering from increasing tiredness, recurrent sore throats and headaches. He is not sure exactly when he had the glandular fever, the blood test is positive for IgG, but not for IgM. His identical twin brother has been suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for 10 years and he is very afraid that the same will happen to him.
I ask him what has been going on over the last two years. "Well, I think it has a lot to do with my lifestyle, it's been very erratic, over the top…..there's definitely been a certain amount of self abuse. The sore throats are always a warning signal that I'm overdoing it. I've been working from 10am-10pm, six days a week. I run the performance program of an arts centre, we promote experimental work, the more radical the better. It's powerful, confrontational, the buzz has been addictive….I've been working there for 10 years. I bring radical thinkers and doers together, break down barriers. I have big ideas, but I like to work as a team, so someone else can take over the details. Without new ideas, everything will atrophy. I need to be with creative people to discuss ideas, but the artists are very intense. I have the feeling I have to extricate myself, I need time to reflect. I've been working constantly for 10 years. I'm very pleased with what I've achieved, but I've done too much, too fast."
I ask him about his social life, relationships. "I'm incredibly close to my friends, it's almost a ridiculousness. But I don't see enough of them, most of them live far away. I don't have a long term relationship, I don't believe in monogamy. I've had two unsuccessful relationships … if the woman gets interested, I run a mile."
He is close to his twin brother, but they are very different. "My brother is more introverted than I am. I try not to draw parallels between me and him. He could go on a lemon juice diet, I'll abuse myself."
His physical symptoms are a recurrent sore throat, always worse on the left side, starts there then moves to the right. It feels red raw, difficult to speak and sore to swallow. The glands swell up a little. His mouth and throat feel dry and he wants cold water. He drinks really fast. The sore throat is aggravated by hot drinks.
He has severe headaches, often with the sore throat. They are piercing, daily, frontal and then move to the back. Also muscle aches, especially the back of his legs, worse for standing and walking.
Time: Low point at 4-5pm.
Sleep: He lies awake till 3-4am, wakes up at 2pm. Sleeps on his right side.
Weather: Likes summer, but not humid weather.
Thirst: Desires cold drinks, water and orange juice with ice, which ameliorate. Hates hot drinks, especially milky drinks.
Food: Loves food, loves the process of cooking. Desires Indian, Thai food, can "overdose" on spicy food, then stops for a month. Likes tasty food.
I prescribed Medorrhinum for him initially, 200C, three doses.
Follow Up June 1997:
"I have been up and down"
. He has found out that he is to lose his job when he is back from sick leave, several staff members have been made redundant. He feels quite relieved, looks forward to not having too much responsibility for a while, but he is worried about how he will cope financially. He knows he has to move on, develop his own creative ideas, he feels he has spent 10 years watching other people's creations.
He has continued to have aching legs and had another sore throat. He reiterates the amelioration from cold drinks and describes how fast he drinks a glass down. I prescribe Phosphorus 30C, for two days with the next sore throat.
Follow Up Two months later, August 1997:
He has attended a writer's course at summer school, but only managed part of it. He developed a fever, headaches and a very bad sore throat which lasted two weeks. Then he started writing play reviews at an Arts Festival on a freelance basis because of his contacts in the art world. "I battled on, I have learned to accept disappointment. I have to stop myself accepting work all the time."
I prescribed Glandular Fever Nosode, 30C, three doses.
Follow Up By September 1997:
He is a bit better, he had a slight reaction after the remedy with a sore throat for a week, but has had no recurrences since. He has started swimming alternate days, feels great afterward, but exhausted the next day. I prescribe nothing.
Follow Up By October 1997:
He has been on holiday to Greece, but overdid it before he went away and feels depressed since returning. "I feel depressed, everything seems so slow, things are not progressing according to plan. I've let go of the art world, but not of the artists I worked with. I don't want to shut myself off entirely. I want to put MY views forward now. I was obsessed, I threw myself in, I tried to start the revolution and collapsed. It's like I've reached the pinnacle without the support system, that's why I collapsed. I have to find myself again."
At this point I feel he needs a Silver Series remedy because of his huge involvment with the world of creativity and new ideas. I prescribe Iodum 200C, 3 doses, because of his feeling he is letting go of the art world. In retrospect we will see that the "letting go of the art world"
is not the key issue, it is only the result of his illness that he is unable to continue working. The key issue is the feeling that he "reached the pinnacle without the support system"
, and I will understand this later.
Not a lot happens after Iodum, although he is able to do more exercise, but has bad muscle aches and stiffness afterward. I prescribe Sarcolactic Acid 30C, weekly as required. This helps the muscle pains, so he is sleeping better, but he is still depressed. He is worried about how much dope he is smoking.
Follow Up In January 1998:
He develops urethral pain on urination with a persistent burning pain in the glans penis. A urine sample is clear. He has pain with erections. I prescribe Cannabis Sativa 30C and the symptoms gradually settle over two weeks.
Follow Up By Easter 1998:
He is still suffering sore throats and muscle aches, but is doing a bit more. He feels 30% better overall. He is doing freelance journalism and wants to meet people, make new contacts. But he is cautious… "in the past I made too many contacts."
Follow Up In June 1998:
He again has a spell of intense headaches with sharp pains in his scalp, worse on the left side. Also more sore throats, again he tells me that this is a sign that he has overdone things. "I'm overdoing it again, if my friends ask me out I can't say no, I don't want to miss out on anything. When I was working the artists became my friends, it was difficult to differentiate work from friends. I'd be out till really late, I was reaching my limit, but I've got all these contacts and one of my natural instincts is to party. I'm overdoing it on the dope front too. Hey, do you have a remedy for people who can't stop overdoing things?"
I prescribe Cadmium Phosphoricum 200c, 3 doses. The Phosphorus component of this salt was evident from early on, indeed I gave him Phosphorous which helped a little. But the combination of Cadmium and Phosphorus covers the whole case. Cadmium is stage 12 in the Silver series, the stage that corresponds to the feeling of having reached the pinnacle (stage 10), but collapsed as there was no support ... by stage 12 the feeling is of being unable to maintain the performance, the system is to weak and has to keep repeating and overdoing in order to sustain. The reason that he keeps overdoing things is because of all his contacts in the art world, which brings in the phosphorus component.
Follow Up September 1998:
"I managed the whole Festival, did lots of reviews. I threw myself into it with a sense of purpose. I'm over the moon that I was able to manage it. I only had one slightly sore throat in the final week. I realized there's no point in overdoing it."
His sleep and the muscle aching also improved, he has had no headaches. He feels 75% better. He has lost weight and is exercising regularly in the gym. He has started to write a book, a very imaginative story dealing with the issues of instinct versus reason.
He continued to take the remedy as required, working out to be approximately monthly with good results within one or two days. In May 1999 he had a "dramatic reaction to taking the remedy, I felt worse for two weeks after taking the remedy, bad aches and a sore throat. Then I felt fine again, really very good."
I thought that he had overdone taking the remedy as he had felt so well with it. He admitted he had been taking it monthly because he wanted to continue to feel so much better. He agrees to take a 30C only when necessary.
Follow Up June 2000:
"The remedy is still helpful. I take it when I'm feeling run down or I have a sore throat, it kicks in within 1-2 days. It relaxes me, helps me to deal with things. My book takes me into dark places in my head, sometimes I work on it till 3am. It's to do with balancing instinct, spontaneity, pleasure with reason, looking at the way we behave vs. the way we want to behave."
Follow Up April 2001:
Writes to me: "Thank you for posting the remedy again. I use it every 3 months or so. I am currently working 5 days a week so am unable to book an appointment. You have been absolutely brilliant and helped me regain my confidence and health. Thanks so much."
He has continued to find the remedy very helpful, every three months or so. He has been taking on new challenges, "confronting his demons"
. He has become a successful freelance journalist, and hopes to get his book published in due course.
Julie Geraghty: email@example.com