A 22-month-old boy with the chief complaint of recurrent ear infections. The boy’s high energy, compassionate sensitivity for others, precocity, night aggravation, and sleeping problems were used to select a remedy which addressed his symptoms and miasm.
During our first year of study at the Academy of Classical Homeopathy, our instructor, Ann Jerome, took a live case in class and used it as a chance for us to participate in the homeopathic process from start to finish. This occurred at a time that it helped tie together everything we had been studying, from the nuances of case taking to detailed case analysis to choosing the potency and dose. Since then, we have learned a lot about case management from following this case, as the client has returned to class for live follow-ups for two years.
We watched Ann conduct the first interview on December 2, 2007. Jordy (not his real name) was a 22-month-old boy with the chief complaint of recurrent ear infections and was brought to the interview by both parents. He had had about ten ear infections treated with antibiotics during the past year and a half. Jordy’s infections were usually accompanied by nasal congestion and a fever of about 100 degrees F. He could seem fine and then scream in pain suddenly “out of nowhere.” The fluid from his nose was usually of medium thickness and clear color. Even with an infection, his energy and activity level were normal, though sometimes he would sleep longer than usual. His parents noted that he could get involved in playing and seem to forget his ear pain.
With the last infection, Jordy had a higher fever (about 102F for five days, higher at night), was listless with low energy, and also had chest congestion. Around midnight one night, he suddenly developed a deep barking cough and a few hours later he had to be rushed to the emergency room with trouble breathing. His lips were a little blue. While they waited at the hospital, his mom was crying and he soothed her by stroking her face and kissing her as she held him.
Jordy also has always had trouble sleeping. His parents have “read all the books” and tried their advice, but nothing has worked. Jordy had slept through the night only a few times in his life; his pattern was to sleep soundly for a few hours at the beginning of the night, then wake frequently. He can stay awake during the night for up to four hours at a time. He has to be holding his mom’s hair and neck to sleep. He moves a lot at night, all over the bed; the only time he sleeps soundly is for naps and in his first sleep at night. He never keeps covers on while sleeping.
We observed Jordy to be energetic, friendly and happy. When he entered the room, he hid behind his mother at first. In motion throughout the majority of the interview, he threw some small toys in the direction of the observers while watching for our reaction, but he was careful never to hit anyone. When his dad told him he was not allowed to throw things, he pretended he was going to throw a toy at us, while watching us and his dad. We observed that he responded well to redirection from his parents when they kept their attention on him, though he did repeatedly return to the forbidden throwing, when their attention strayed. His parents were very attentive and skilled, even though he is their only child.
Jordy’s mother stated that he always has a lot of energy. He loves to dance and he is “obsessed with balls,” which he has thrown and kicked with great accuracy ever since he could stand up. He hits and his arms flail when he is angry, and he can have strong temper tantrums. When he was an infant, mom had to move and dance around while nursing him; otherwise, he stopped nursing and cried.
Jordy is also emotionally sensitive. Mom says that she is his “blankie.” He’s cautious and holds on to his mom when other kids are excited to see him. His emotions are intense and he can quickly pass from mood to mood. In relationships, when he is hurt, he is very hurt. He uses words mainly for emotional purposes; he says “sorry” a lot, and “oh no” and “wow” fairly often. In altercations with other children, he never retaliates, never pushes or hits or takes toys from them. Mom saw a classmate kick him, and his reaction was just to cry with hurt feelings and run to her.
The pregnancy was uneventful except for some minor spotting early on. Jordy’s birth was three weeks overdue and he aspirated meconium at birth but had no lasting distress or trouble. He has been vaccinated on schedule, with no reactions.
Jordy likes milk, yogurt, crackers, breads, ice cream, chocolate, grapes, cheese, butter and jelly, rice cakes, spaghetti, sweets and cookies. He has allergies to peanut butter, which causes a diaper rash with raised red bumps, and to milk, which gives him a runny nose and often leads to an ear infection; recently milk gave him hives on his face, sides, and legs. He is afraid of heights (wants mom to come with him on the high slide at the playground), strangers (mom says he “reads people”), and dogs of all sizes if they come too close (he laughs then turns away).
On Jordy’s mother’s side, there is a history of alcoholism, allergies, birth defects, cancer, and diabetes. His father’s family history includes heart disease. Both of Jordy’s parents are very healthy.
Under Ann’s guidance, the class identified the individualizing symptoms and these were the rubrics we chose to represent them:
MIND; Sensitive, to rudeness (because other children can easily hurt his feelings)
MIND; Sympathetic (because he comforts his mother)
MIND; Fear, high places (his fear of the high slide was strong)
MIND; Precocity (because of his athletic ability)
GENERALS; Motion, amel, continued motion (because he is constantly in motion and because his ear pain doesn’t bother him when he’s moving)
GENERALS; Athletic person
GENERALS; Short sleep, amel (because he wakes at night after a few hours’ sleep)
GENERALS; Night, agg (because all his symptoms are worse at night)
SLEEP; Short, evening
The repertorization suggested as top choices: Carcinosin, Aurum metallicum, Calcarea carbonica., Medorrhinum, Pulsatilla , and Staphysagria. To help us differentiate the remedies, we also looked at the case miasmatically and found there to be evidence of psora (fear of strangers, hides behind mom, needs someone to be his “blankie”), sycosis (better from motion, expending energy leads to more energy), syphilis (worse at night), the tubercular miasm (restlessness, temper tantrums at a young age, mischievousness), and the cancer miasm (loves to dance, family history of cancer and diabetes, sympathetic, concern for others). So we knew we would need a remedy that covers all five miasms.
Henny Heudens-Mast writes in her book The Foundation of the Chronic Miasms in the Practice of Homeopathy: “When more than one miasm is represented in the patient’s symptoms, finding the most strange, rare, or peculiar expressions or symptoms will often “shoot” to the miasm that is asking for treatment at the time of the consult. …When a reaction is different from one we would normally see in a certain situation or when it is not necessarily unusual but very definitely out of proportion, it is a symptom” (p. 234). In this case it is most unusual for a 22-month-old child with trouble breathing, to be most concerned about comforting about his mother. We also noted Jordy’s sensitivity to other children’s rudeness and his extremely high energy. Since these symptoms are signs of the cancer miasm, it pointed us to the miasm that needed treatment first.
The article “Carcinosin” by Don Webley from the journal Simillimum (Fall 1992; Volume V, no. 3, pp. 19-52) was assigned reading in our course and provided a wealth of information about Carcinosin and the cancer miasm. We also had learned that Carcinosin, like the cancer miasm, contains elements of all four of the other miasms, which is one reason this remedy can resemble other polychrests. The other remedies we considered did cover some of Jordy’s symptoms, but none covered his primary miasm.
We found that Carcinosin covered all of Jordy’s symptoms very well. His high energy, compassionate sensitivity for others, precocity, night aggravation, and sleeping problems were all well represented in the remedy. His energy and reactions were fairly strong and we concluded a single dose of 200C would be appropriate. This was given to him on December 4, 2007.
First follow-up: January 13, 2008
Jordy’s parents reported that right after the remedy he had been “a little lethargic” and immediately started sleeping through the night. A few weeks later he accidentally had some milk at school. Soon after that, he had a runny nose and a little cough for almost 3 weeks, during which time his sleep was disturbed again. The pediatrician checked his ears and they were fine. While traveling during the holidays, he developed a fever of 102F and got an antibiotic from a quick care clinic. Since recovering from that illness, he had been sleeping soundly from 8 PM to 5 AM every night.
We saw that his language had developed a lot, too. Instead of single words, he was making phrases and sentences: “Mommy, garbage truck,” “Open it,” “How do you open?” His tantrums were so much less frequent that his mom said, “It’s not an issue in my mind any more” and “Everything used to be a fight, but it’s not anymore.” We observed that he played much better by himself and that he was more orderly in his play. There was no throwing of toys this time.
Jordy’s mother again noted his emotional sensitivity. One day she was watching the children on the playground at school and Jordy threw some sand. His teacher reprimanded him gently and told him to get out of the sandbox for a while as a punishment. Jordy went to his mom silently, then had a deep cry in her arms, “crying as if from a loss.” She saw his crying as “painful and cathartic.” This gave us a great example of how emotionally sensitive a Carcinosin child can be, especially to reprimand.
Our assessment was that Jordy was better – his sleep, his nasal congestion without an ear infection, his development, the improvement in his tantrums. We worried that the antibiotic might have antidoted the remedy but we decided to wait, as he was still clearly better.
Second follow-up: March 1, 2008
Jordy and his mom had had the flu in February, a few weeks after she had gone back to school. Still congested from the flu, a week ago Jordy developed an ear infection that required a stronger antibiotic than before. As always, the pain had been worse at night and he’d had a fever of 100F to 102F. His parents had decided to take him out of school because he had been sick so much since the holidays. His sleep had become more restless again and he was waking more at night. He was having tantrums sometimes and would hit, then say “sorry, sorry” immediately.
Our assessment at this point was that the remedy definitely worked, his symptom picture was the same, but we felt the remedy was no longer acting, because he had not been able to get fully over the flu and was showing relapse in his sleep and tantrums. Carcinosin 200C was repeated.
Third follow-up: September 7, 2008
In April 2008, Jordy’s mom had reported that he was doing great, sleeping through the night and staying healthy. He was now nearly three years old and had not been ill, except for one fever that passed without treatment. Some nights, he would wake at 3 AM and seem scared. He slept with the door open and the hall light on. At bedtime he would say, “I don’t want to go to bed, I want to sleep with you.” About one night a week, he would wake several times and have to be taken back to his bed.
Jordy listened to Ann’s questions and his parents’ answers during this interview and injected his own comments. His dairy sensitivity remained; he told us, “No cheese on pizza.” He still loved sports: “I like football, I catch it with my hands.” When Ann asked his mom about his stool, he interjected with delight: “I POOP!” He still loved to dance especially to fast music, and his food preferences remained narrow.
Our assessment was that he was doing well and the remedy was working. His parents agreed with us that his sleep disturbances were within normal range for a sensitive child of his age. He did not receive a remedy this time.
Fourth follow-up: May 29, 2009
Jordy was having more difficulty sleeping again, waking most nights at 1-2 AM and then staying restless until morning: moving his legs, playing with his mom’s hair. He was also having chronic post-nasal drip and the doctor had prescribed a daily dose of antihistamine, which made him irritable and groggy. His ears were staying clear, but he had a thick and sticky runny nose and a dry cough that was worse at night. He was still a caretaker of others, and still cautious. He still had a lot of energy; mom said “He can dance forever.” He was doing well at school, liked the older kids (age 5-7) and was frustrated with kids who weren’t up to his speed.
Overall the totality of Jordy’s symptom picture was essentially the same, and the original symptoms of restlessness after first sleep, night aggravation, and upper respiratory issues remained. Although he was much healthier than before the first dose, we felt that the remedy was no longer acting. The antihistamine could be antidoting the remedy, or it could simply be time to repeat. Carcinosin 200C was repeated.
Having had the opportunity to observe and follow this case has provided much insight into the cancer miasm, Carcinosin, and case management in the long run. This child’s improved quality of life makes all our striving to become homeopaths worthwhile. It is much easier to live a full and happy life when you feel good.
D.W. Crawford is a third-year student at the Academy of Classical Homeopathy. Having used homeopathy effectively for acute care for more than 20 years, she finally realized that it works as well for chronic issues. Prior to becoming an engineer she was a Navy Corpsman and registered Nuclear Medicine Technologist. She is an engineer by day and aspiring homeopath the rest of the time.
Mary Ellen Meagher is a third-year student at the Academy of Classical Homeopathy. She decided to start formal studies in homeopathy after studying and getting excited about it with the Lake County (FL) Study Group, affiliated with the National Center for Homeopathy (NCH). She is now the leader and NCH coordinator for the Lake County group and is a retired software engineer.