Uncontrolled Ulcerative Colitis
We are presenting this case for four reasons:
- Homeopathy was very effective in curing the ulcerative colitis.
- The patient was helped by a highly unusual remedy, which makes for a good teaching case.
- The homeopathic case taking, using the Sensation Method, allowed us to understand and appreciate this patient’s sensitivity and nature in a way that never would have been possible.
- This gentleman is neither a typical patient in our practice nor is he totally healed.
It is by no means the perfect case. The greatest obstacle to cure is his weight—around 350 pounds—prevents his further healing in other areas at this point. This case confirms that you can be helped beautifully by homeopathy even though your diet, exercise program, and physical condition are less than optimal.
Jim, fifty-eight years old and happily married, was referred to us by his chiropractor. We saw him for the first visit only in person, then he continued by telephone consultations from Boise. He had spent his working life outdoors until his physical infirmity drove him inside. “Western medicine has not been effective in reducing my problems. Before I had a severe case of pemphigus. I lost all the skin from the top of my head to my toes. The blisters were everywhere. Very fragile. I would just touch them and they would pop. I finally got over it.”
“I need a left hip replacement. The pain is so bad that I have to take prescription pain meds three times a day. I need to grab walls and furniture to get around the house. I limp severely. Mostly I use my right leg to get around. The left leg goes numb if I sit for any length of time. I had an aseptic left hip. I’ve needed a full hip replacement for the past ten years. The pain refers to my left knee. I can barely tolerate the pain. I get hot pain down from my hip to my leg and knee. A hot, searing pain.”
“I’m here for help with ulcerative colitis. I have a severe need to go to the bathroom. It’s uncontrolled. I can’t hold it. I feel a dull, throbbing pain in the small of my colon, back, and rectum. Without medications, there is a lot of bleeding. The blood oozes out of the rectum. There is mucus around the stools and they are flat. I can have ten to twenty bowel movements a day. Explosive. I call them flares. There was a period of time where I couldn’t even leave the house. It’s embarrassing.”
“The pemphigus started initially on my scalp. Many small blisters. They were itchy and very, very fragile. Then they started progressing to other parts of my body. Sloughing. Big, oozing sores. They presented my case at grand rounds at a local medical school. The blisters are watery. All you have to do is touch them and they pop. They propagated on various parts of my body. When I say ‘propagate,’ they show up in the oddest places. On my calf or a toe. I took massive doses of Prednisone. They hospitalized me and gave me pulsed IV steroids. Then oral Prednisone up to 260mg. I smelled like death. The skin would slough off, then bleed. It was like out of a horror movie. The doctors didn’t think I’d survive. The pain was so severe. Once I passed out in the hallway. I couldn’t move because of the pain. It was like having second or third-degree burns all over your body. They had to apply wet towels and sheets.”
“Years ago I had shingles on my face and in my mouth. It was also on the left side. My face swelled to the point where you couldn’t tell I had an ear! Now I have rhinophyma. I’ve always had trouble with acne, cysts, and pimples with pus in them. I’ve had a big cyst on my nose for as long as I can remember. It would swell and get red. I am going to have surgery in a few weeks. They’re going to cut my nose down. To remover the overactive glands and excess tissue. They think it was caused my untreated acne rosacea.”
“My knees and shoulders get very stiff. I can barely raise my deltoid. I have to sit on the edge of the bed in the morning and rock a bit to be able to stand up. I’m trying to lose weight so I can get my hips replaced. I weigh about 350 now. The first time I lost over 150 pounds. The second time I got down to 280. Then, two weeks before surgery, I got the ulcerative colitis and gained all the weight. Now the X-rays show that the hip is fragmenting.”
“I’ve always loved to camp, hunt, fish. Being in the forest is like my cathedral, my church. [Jim teared up.] I feel closest to my creator there. The stress falls away. All of my cares and woes and concerns float away. I revel in the beauty of the country… The smells. The visual beauty. Feeling at one with nature. I love the forest. Conifers. Conifer forests. The fragrance. Perpetuity. Enormity. The gorgeous color. The wind through the trees at night. Evergreens are one of the most beautiful creations. More beautiful than flowers. There’s something about evergreens. I don’t just mean Douglas Firs. Cedars. I become emotional just being in the presence of that kind of beauty.”
“The cedar smell. Cedar makes beautiful fire starters. You can use it for so many things. Paneling in closets to repel bugs. It’s just beautiful. I love the grains. Cedars are some of the largest things in the world. Red cedar, Sequoias. I was fortunate enough to visit the Trees of Mystery. I was astounded by the grandeur. Out in the woods is where I belong. That is where I sense my higher power.”
We inquired more about the sensation Jim had used a number of times to describe the pemphigus blisters, “fragile.” This happens to be one of the main sensation words in homeopathy to describe the conifer family. “Very delicate. If you were to manually hold it, you’d have to be very careful… not durable. You have to approach it with care and gentleness or it could be destroyed, harmed, damaged… II was healthy as a horse prior to these health problems. I used to run and job and do a lot of athletic stuff. It makes me feel vulnerable. Me and my higher power are at odds about this.”
The Homeopathic Prescription
Jim’s homeopathic kingdom was quite clear. There were no animal themes like survival, competition, strong and weak, predatory and prey. Nor were there mineral issues such as structure, performance, and relationships. Jim’s sensitivity and his ability to describe feelings and sensations so clearly and effortlessly led us unmistakably to the plant kingdom. Jim was highly emotionally sensitive in a lovely way, exhibited by his tenderness when sharing his appreciation of nature, particular of the forest, and of the cedars that lived there. This was one of the beautiful cases where the patient tells us exactly what he needs. The themes of the conifer family are: fragile, broken, brittle, disconnected, and cut off. We found Jim’s case to be far more on the physical than the mental, emotional levels. The rigidity and weakness characteristic of this plant family describe well Jim’s physical state. The feeling of those needing conifers is crumbling, which corresponded exactly to Jim’s X-rays, which indicated that the left hip was fragmenting.
We studied the Materia Medica to find the conifer that best corresponded to Jim’s symptoms. We chose Terebintha, or turpentine. It was the first time we had ever prescribed this medicine. Terbintha was well represented in the Abdomen, Rectum, and Stool sections of ReferenceWorks as well as the Back symptoms, and was also mentioned specifically for pemphigus. It is listed under the Typhoid miasm, where intense, short bursts of effort and struggle alternate with resignation and collapse. We felt this pattern fit Jim’s tendency to rally and lose huge amounts of weight, then to relapse and again struggle. But he was not one to give up!
Terebintha was used homeopathically way back in the 19th century. It was prepared using the oil filtered from oleoresin (turpentine) and known primarily to treat urinary complaints. Oil of turpentine is extracted particularly from pine trees. It is considered to be a valuable solvent, though in most industrialized nations it has been replaced to a great extent by cheaper substitutes extracted or distilled from crude oil. Turpentine possesses antiseptic attributes (of interest in this case due to Jim’s septic hip) and is considered a “clean fragrance.” Therefore, it is often added to cleaning and sanitary products. It is considered a small remedy in homeopathy and we had never before used it in thirty years of practice. The only keynote of which we were aware was urine with a sweet odor, like violets. Also of interest in Jim’s case is the fact that turpentine produces adverse side effects when it comes in contact with the skin or is inhaled or swallowed in the form of a blistering sensation on the skin and in the mouth or stomach. Remember not only Jim’s pemphigus, but also the shingles in his mouth. We chose Terbintha 30C plussed to take once a day. Jim has been on this same potency of the same remedy for two years and seven months.
Response to the Turpentine
“The nose surgery went well. Results of the biopsy were negative for pemphigus. The urgency to go to the bathroom is 20% to 25% better. I don’t have the ache in the small of my back anymore. I’m scheduled for a colonoscopy in six weeks. My shoulders haven’t bothered me nor have my right knee and hip.”
Four and a Half Months
“The last colonoscopy showed slight inflammation. My colitis is 60% better. I still need to lose 100 pounds before they will do the hip surgery. I used to weigh more before stomach surgery. My highest was 414. I need to cut back on my portions. I am determined to do that. My triglycerides and cholesterol look good but they just started me on Lysinopril because to lower my blood pressure, which was 156/85.”
“The Terebintha every night seems to be controlling the ulcerative colitis. I need to get down to at least 260 for the surgery. “
“I’m down to 324 with the help of an appetite suppressant. My blood pressure is down to 121/72. The Fentramine makes me nauseous and decreases my enjoyment of food. I’m working out with weights three times a week along with my wife. I had another colonoscopy recently. It still showed some mild inflammation. The ulcerative colitis is still a lot better. I have no problem going out of the house. No concern about having an accident. And no flares when I have to get to the bathroom quickly. I am losing a pound or two a week.”
One Year Two Months
“I fell out of bed and tore my rotator cuff. I had previous damage due to a football injury. I can’t seem to lose weight. I’m frustrated about it.”
One Year Five Months
“I’m upbeat but the weight loss is agonizingly slow. I’m still around 325 pounds. I ear normal portions but I can’t exercise with the hip the way it is. I’m probably a year out from the surgery. My colitis symptoms are doing really well.”
“The ulcerative colitis is doing very well. I’m trying to use portion control.”
Two Years Two Months
“I’m losing weight again. I have such a fantastic spouse. She’s so good to me. I stopped the remedy for four days and I could tell the difference, so I started taking it nightly again. “
Two And a Half Years
“I want to read you the results of my colonoscopy. It’s completely normal. No inflammation at all. I just need to keep working on my weight.” We continue to have brief appointments several times a year.
What Can Be Expected With Homeopathic Treatment?
This case certainly brings up this question. Assuming Terebintha is the right medicine for Jim, which we believe it is, what is possible regarding improvement in his health and wellbeing. First, we believe that, mentally and emotionally, Jim is quite healthy. The fact that he has remained remarkably upbeat, self-confident, and hopeful despite a degree of pain, disfigurement, and discomfort that would bring most people to their knees, is heartwarming and impressive. I think we can all agree that the prescription of homeopathic turpentine was correct, and that his ulcerative colitis responded beautifully. We cannot comment on the pemphigus, since it had already resolved with steroid treatment, but it is a medicine that is well indicated for the condition. The obesity and resulting, debilitating hip pain is obviously very problematic. How much the massive steroids contributed to the bone weakness and fragmentation we cannot say. Our hope is that Jim’s wonderful strength of spirit, despite all odds, and his highly supportive wife, can help him continue to push forward to lose another sixty pounds so that he can undergo the hip surgery. In the meantime, the homeopathy has allowed him to be far more comfortable and free of the “severe,” to again use Jim’s language, bowel symptoms.