Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
My sister is quite remarkable. She can sing, dance, act, build things, has met Paul McCartney, got me backstage onto The Lion King sets, was way ahead of me with half the things we did as kids (especially the 'naughty' ones) despite being 2 years younger than me. She can wind me up better than anyone else on the planet - I've so much learning still to do!! But none of those are the reason for writing here today.
What is relevant here is that I see she has faced her recent challenge with grace, humour, humility (and clearly, sometimes some tears, grumpiness and those emotions you'd expect from hurtling through life then finding a fist sized tumour in your head) and done a lot of rolling up her sleeves and getting on with healing from it.
I asked if she'd write a few words for the blog here on how she's integrated the various options available as I think that could be helpful for many others. For me, it's not a world of black and white, of shoulds and should nots. Homeopathy or conventional medicine. It's a grey place (actually filled with beautiful colour but stay with me on the analogy.. I'll try not to mention 50 shades...) with uncertainty, dancing our way on a path of our choosing that makes sense to us. Not to the neighbour, the friend or the friends' cats' uncle. They aren't what's going on here. Use what works to you. Research what you can, understand where you're aiming to go (but equally don't go mad - you could read and research forever and be even more confused than when you started), and start walking.
So without further chat from me, here's Ruthie and her story with reference to how homeopathy has been a part of that challenge:
On the15th of August 2016 I got my front wheel of my bike caught in a tram track and fell off my bike hitting my head on the road and getting numerous bruises and grazes, fortunately I was wearing a bike helmet so it wasn't too serious at the time. On arriving home I took my usual arnica to help reduce the massive bruises that were coming up down both legs and put hypercal on the graze on my arm where I had donated 6 inches of skin to the road!
The following day I felt drowsy and mildly sick so ended up heading to A&E. Having had a CT scan we received the news that I had a ‘lesion’ on my brain. I was immediately admitted to the neurological ward and remained in hospital for 4 nights having further scans and blood tests.
Having been discharged for a week, I located a GP homeopath who I consulted for further advice and was advised Aconite for the shock and grief due to the trauma of the event as well as using then also using the Banerji protocols. On returning to see my consultant I was shocked when I saw the size of my tumour and knew that I had to have surgery - it was about 8cmx6cmx6cm and I had no idea how it fit in my head without having affected me - instant nausea on seeing it!
I had, until this point felt to be in a difficult situation. I know that there are some theories that state that if a tumour is encapsulated it can be best to leave it in situ rather than removing it so as not to disturb the cells however upon seeing the size of it, I now knew that I needed to have surgery.
There was an ongoing pull-push that I felt to be in – I was aware of work going on around the world, working with homeopathic and more natural type therapies, without the conventional drugs, and having used complementary therapies myself for a long time there were certainly decisions to be made. Some family preferred the sound of that and others wanted me to use from the conventional route i.e. surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy as well as backing it up by using complementary therapies.
I have in the end decided to follow my own path, I have had surgery, supported by homeopathy, radiotherapy, supported by homeopathy and am now having chemotherapy, supported by homeopathy. I have astounded all my doctors and consultants by how fast and well I have healed during every step of the way. I have also used a significant amount of supplements, am also taking iscador, LDN, CBD, using an infra red sauna and following a dairy, sugar and gluten free diet mainly based on vegetables.
I recently had my first scan post radiotherapy and was informed that the tumour has shown ‘some response to treatment’. At this point, we are waiting to find out how much response but, having been told that it would be unlikely for the tumour to shrink, any response and shrinkage can only be a good thing!
I will continue to use homeopathy in my recovery and every day life as I believe that it has supported me and sped up my recovery times as well as helping my body look after itself during what has been a massive life changing event.
Thanks for reading! If you want to follow her more her blog is here.
Here's Ruth with her lovely wife Lel.
Ruth is on the left of the pic and Lelly the right. Lel does my graphic design and printing, and is just as remarkable as my sister. And better with graphics packages ;)
Where I say 'I' there, I suppose I mean me + homeopathy. The super duo. And not that I was blowing my own trumpet, more that I believed that homeopathy can help with anything.
Because it's kind of like inverting the medical model, or just blowing wide open the reductionist approach, we're looking at whole people. Real people, not just a bad toe, a case of IBS, a brain tumour. Not a collection of symptoms, or isolated things of fascination, but a whole, living being, working in harmony. Or not, as the case may be.
As we're looking at that whole, looking to get it back into balance, gently stimulating their system with a selected homeopathic medicine, it can be amazing to see the things that drop away and get better. If someone has serious health issues, seeing people whilst they consult with their conventional medical practitioner is the way I prefer to do it, for example where someone wants to reduce their drugs, or they're finding that the drugs they're taking still aren't combatting the problem. I would never suggest to anyone that they reduce the drugs they're taking. Not my place. But should they wish to do that under supervision of the doctor that prescribed it because they're stopped having the issue, for example recurrent UTIs, in a recent case, then that's another case entirely. It's team work - I love to do my bit but always suggest people use the available services in an integrated way.
I'm happy to say that I've been able to help people reduce their medication, under consultation with the prescribing physician, to come off long term antibiotics, reduce allergy medication, get rid of depression medication, throw out the painkillers and more. But everyone?!
Some people's health has progressed to a point that there can be palliation of symptoms, we can help to manage their health but perhaps not bounce back to quite where they were before. That said, it's always my intent to do my best, help to my best capacity.
And then I suppose it begs the question as to what is cure? To me I think it's an absence of that dis-ease, and my intent and ideal is to be able to bring that about in a gentle way. So my horse (whose recurrent eye disease was treated with homeopathy and never returned) was said to be in remission by conventional practitioners. It was a recurrent disease that never recurred, she lived a long time after the treatment and was generally in very good health. For me that's good enough. The horses we heard of whose eye was removed to 'cure' the disease, I suppose also were cured of it. But I know which route I prefer.*
Others may benefit more from another therapy, suit a different practitioner - perhaps I'm not the right person for them. We're all still learning (I've been in practice 10 years now and most definitely am still learning more all the time, working hard on how to effectively help more people), refining and I think back to many years ago to being told just because someone is in that certain situation, doesn't mean you're going to get on. I like to think I'm fairly easy to get on with, but I'm not arrogant enough to think that what I am is what everyone wants.
So I no longer would think I can help everyone. But I'll definitely try my best.
* There are cases where surgery is appropriate and I'm not denying that at all. In this instance a beautiful cure took place, in my opinion. I've seen clients who've been told they needed operations that two months later there was no need for after well prescribed homeopathic remedies looked to have helped the issue. And equally, others have had surgery and that was the best thing in that case.
One of the issues, I think (I'm aware this is a complicated area beyond my simplfying things here) is the 'miracles' that come out of good homeopathic prescribing. The patients who couldn't walk, who now can. The ones (I read a post about recently) who were blind and can now see. The children diagnosed with autism who are then non-autistic. The ones who've tried for years to find a solution to their migraines/depression/anxiety/physical problem and really you can probably insert any condition there. The people with a CD4 count of 4 (that's really really not good) and sent home to die who are then 2 months later able to walk, laugh and talk. A few more months later, most definitely not dead and indeed continuing to get better.
These are not made up cases. I've seen some of them in practice. Others friends and colleagues have treated and others I've read about in journals. That's something we do a lot of I think. The homeopaths I know are constantly researching, reading, discovering and learning.
But I think it doesn't perhaps help us. Instead I could tell you about eczema that's improved, PMS reduced and gone, anxiety decreased, headaches gone. School children who are struggling to concentrate focusing more in class. Bad dreams gone. Constipation improved. Mucus more manageable. Ordinary, everyday stuff. Normal to many of us, perhaps not that exciting and actually to that individual, hugely helps their everyday world. So I think there's a place to share the normal. The mundane. To embrace the everyday joys that working with homeopathy can bring. It doesn't have to be extreme to be exciting. To be able to sleep when you'd struggled for years is pretty fab really. Lessening of PMS is great for everyone around.
Then there's cases when the 'miracle' doesn't happen immediately and I think sometimes there's a disappointment it's not immediate for some.. it can have been years of struggling with that complaint - and sometimes I/we get there straight away, just spot on with a remedy that matches that patient and onwards we go. Otherwise it takes a little more time. My promise to a client is that I'll do my best.
So whilst I love the amazing things homeopathy can do, perhaps it's time to celebrate the normal, ordinary, steady, everyday miracles too. I am really happy to see those in practice alongside the rest.
Homeopathy Awareness Week is coming up and runs from the 10th - 16th April. Do feel free to share any of my blog posts - and have a look here for more about HAW 2017.
Thanks for reading!
Good health is not a fairy tale - it's a very real option.
One of those things that I love about life is when I'm surprised by someone or something. I suppose we connect the dots, make things make sense to ourselves all the time, and there's a pattern, a system. For example, it does not surprise me that we're late to school (or at least verging on being late - we often manage the last minute thing) so often. I'm overly optimistic about the time we have, and my daughter has so many ideas and things that she'd like to do and create. This morning it was a mini Norman fort, complete with drawbridge.
But then I get surprised constantly too. The lovely gentle lady in front of me may tell me she loves to sky dive, or a child comes out with a comment that strikes me with its sense and power of observation. Or someone may tell me their coping strategy. This is where I'm going this time. Superglue. As a coping strategy for bad eczema. I'd never been told that before and so I was surprised. At times when the eczema was bad, the skin would split and it would be really painful, so the superglue helped it to heal together. Through the process of a few consultations, we've seen that it turns out in this case, you can swap the homeopathic remedy sepia for the need to use superglue*.
No longer do her hands crack as they were doing. The skin is smooth - last time we met she told me that she kept stroking her hands because they hadn't been that smooth in ages. They're not totally perfect yet, albeit much much better. But it's also not been all that long, and the eczema had been there (on and off) for a long time, so I'm very hopeful we can get them even better.
What a lovely surprise to have. I do so love my work. Although if you regularly read my blog, that won't be a surprise to you.
www.findahomeopath.org has a database of homeopaths around the UK that are registered with the four major homeopathic registers here.
Always happy to chat with people over the phone if you'd like to know more about how homeopathy may help what's going on for you.
With best wishes,
*Sepia will not be the remedy for eczema in every case, only where the symptoms fit. There are many remedies that may help with eczema and it's worth seeing a homeopath for a full consultation to help this get better.
To find out more about the remedy sepia, homeopath Dr David Lilley has written about it in more depth here.
I’ve been aware many people don’t really understand homeopathy entirely but this was a surprise comment to me recently. We were talking about recognising people out of context and they asked what I did. I work with homeopathy, said I. ‘Oh.’ Said they. ‘So… do you recognise your clients with their clothes on?’
Well of course this prompted a discussion of what I do, which I hope means they went away a little more aware of what homeopathy is and what we do. But the reason for being here writing this is that I’m aware it’s not that uncommon.
The definition of homeopathy – that homeopathy treats each person as a unique individual with the aim of stimulating their own healing ability. A homeopath selects the most appropriate medicine based on the individual’s specific symptoms and personal level of health – helps explain a little more.
What we do, in terms of actually seeing clients could be different for each practitioner so really I can only talk about myself. I allow a two hour session for the first consultation although it could take anywhere between 90 minutes and 2 hours. I perceive that this is their space, if they talk non stop then that’s OK. My aim is that the more details I can get about what’s going on for them then the more likely I am to be able to find a remedy that matches what’s going on for them.
There are remedy pictures of thousands of remedies out there. There are many types of person, and indeed many types of remedy. My job is to match the two as best as I can. The length of consultation space allows the depth of investigation of what’s happening for them. The feelings that they are going through. The experiences they’re having/had and how they respond to them. How challenges are for them. What they like, dislike. What makes them better and worse. What makes the conditions they suffer from better or worse. What makes them angry – do they get angry? So talking. We talk. They talk a lot, or not a lot. Ideally for me it’s a place they can be themselves, not have to be an anything for anyone. To be honest with feelings and experiences. It’s a confidential space, they’re able to be themselves without judgement.
Several clients have commented recently that I know them better than they know themselves, which clearly isn’t the case as they have told me it all. But it does beg a point of how often we are aware of ourselves, or also how often we notice how we behave in situations or around people. So perhaps longer term, some patients become more self aware, and that is a part of the process some engage with. Others find their main complaint clears and off they go into the world. Probably as many patient responses as there are remedies. And that, for me, is their choice, it’s not for me to choose.
So back to the homeopathic consultation experience, I’m looking to understand as much as I can about how it is to be them, what’s it like living their life and ideally help them move forwards in a healthier way. It may be that we look at obstacles to cure, things that may stop the person getting better.
Dr Hahnemann, founder of homeopathy, worked before his adventures into homeopathy as a conventional medical doctor and then started moving away from medicine but into helping people to live a healthier life without drugs – improving their diet, suggesting they cut out caffeine, alcohol or get some exercise. This was his way of working for some time, and continues to be something that’s relevant for homeopaths today. It’s one thing to try and help with the constant coughs, but if someone keeps smoking, there’s only so much we can do. So support to stop smoking may be relevant – either with homeopathic remedies or something else. Which may or may not be something the homeopath offers – I work with food and mindfulness, others work with other systems, and what we often may do as homeopaths is refer someone to another practitioner where this is needed.
So we find out what we can. We give the remedy that matches the patient. I may do that in the session and there will explain more about why I’m giving that remedy. And then they go away and take the remedy. Or I may work on the case after I’ve seen the client – which could be any time up to a couple of hours of work with research and reading around what’s going on for them. An appointment is made for the next session which generally is between 4 and 6 weeks for them, depending on how acute things are for them.
The follow up session is a place to assess how taking the remedy has been for them. How the complaint has changed or altered, and where to go from there. It may be to wait, to repeat the remedy or to change the remedy, which is what we do in that space. I allow an hour for that session and generally it’s between 30 and 60 minutes in duration.
In terms of how long people will consult me for – that differs – it’s difficult to guage that right at the beginning of meeting someone but we can have more idea after the first or second follow up. There is one school of thought that things may take as many months as they lasted for years. This hasn’t been my experience but I’m sharing it as a guideline. I’ve seen 20 years of headaches be better in 5 months. So, just as we’re all so different, so are our paths to health.
And those differences make our work with homeopathy so much more challenging, interesting and wonderful to work with. But please, please, keep your clothes on.
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.
Em Colley MARH, Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy
BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Laughter Yoga Leader
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition