A Ball of Fire
Joseph Kellerstein, DC, ND
Franklin, a 47-year-old male, had called the college clinic quite a number of times. Desperation is hard to watch. Rachel at the front desk patiently encouraged him to give homeopathy a try. “It won’t hurt,” she would patiently repeat.
Hesitation acquires a tormenting life all its own. It was new and unknown territory. On the one hand, that’s what it was going to take to solve this conundrum. A leap to a new paradigm. On the other hand, conventional tried and true wisdom had only served to make the issue more intolerable and promised a life of misery. What would this voodoo inflict in the way of unwanted sequelae?
Finally, and with an enormous degree of trepidation, he did book an appointment. I imagine the final lure was the old Primum Non Nocere of homeopathic treatment. The first law of medicine we inherit from Hippocrates — first do no harm. Where conventional medicine has a love affair with toxic doses, homeopathy deals with infinitesimals.
Homeopathy is predicated on matching a profile of sensitivities so exquisitely that a mere exposure to the ghost of a substance will propel the system towards a dynamic self-healing — the Holy Grail of medicine.
Let’s get real. No sane patient will swallow that one too easily. Common sense tells us that the enormous machinery of conventional medicine would’ve caught on to that one if it were legitimate. So why trust a quack? Only because of limited options and this one is at hand. Anyway, I was referred to Franklin by a previous patient.
Franklin was suffering from severe prostatitis. It had been over a year, 3 specialists and many rounds of antibiotics. The net result – it was now chronic. At least the labels had changed.
One evening just over a year ago he began to acutely experience a rather unpleasant sensation. “It was as if a large object was inserted into my crotch.” It stayed like that for 3 months. Drugs had no effect.
“Now it is chronic and for the last 7 weeks I have this severe lower back pain. It is all unbearable. However I am optimistic.”
I hate to admit this, but over my many years of practice I have not had more than a half dozen cases of prostatitis and none of them had any very peculiar symptoms in the syndrome itself. So of those I was able to be effective with, the remedy was determined by closely questioning for peculiarities in the chronic state. This one was to be a very different sort of challenge.
On being prompted to describe the discomfort, there was no delay in launching into a richly descriptive outburst.
“Where my prostate is, it feels like there is a tennis ball there and it is on fire! After having sex there is a pulling tension in the urethra. In my coccyx there is a cold numb pressure. It’s there 24/7.”
Now on questioning a bit more, this pulling was a pain that extended backward along the urethra into the abdomen.
I often have trouble writing quickly enough to keep up with these narratives, but this time I made it to the end without asking for a repeat of the story.
Hot Epsom salt sitz baths relieved coccygeal pain briefly.
The pain interrupted sleep. He would wake at 5 am and be very unrefreshed. Going right back to sleep he would finally get up for the day at 8 am.
The urinary stream was interrupted.
Our patient had been involved in a bad motor vehicle accident 2 years previously. He described his problem as a severe closed head injury to the lower brainstem. There was as well chronic pain in the right wrist and the cervical spine.
Short-term memory loss was experienced.
Headaches were also on the menu. Mostly at the vertex with a feeling as if worms were in the head. The headaches were severe and accompanied by vomiting. They were now less frequent than before, but still a horrible and frequent imposition.
“I am just not the same person as before.” This was clear to him when reading or attempting to multitask in some way. It just didn’t happen smoothly or well.
“The first two months after the injury I could not feed or bath myself…after the injury I had major anxiety attacks.”
He reflected on his state for a bit and it seemed to trigger other associations.
“I do have a history of depression. I was unmotivated and there was inertia.” Both these episodes occurred after breakups.
He describes himself in relationship as a caregiver. There is an aversion to the cold weather. A small decline in energy at 1 pm.
Overall what struck me most as characteristic (after all, this search is our principal job as a homeopath) was the symptomatology around the chief complaint.
The burning ball. I chose to use the rubric under inflammation here as opposed to just burning pain. Inflammation of the prostate.
The pain extending backward. Here I used the rubric Urethra; pain extending backward. The most satisfying read was found (as is so often the case) in Hering’s Guiding Symptoms; Burning smarting in urethra, from meatus backward, posteriorly stitching while urinating.
Urethra feels inflamed and sore to touch, along its whole length, during erections tensive pain, feels drawn up into knots.
Pain extending from orifice of urethra backward, burning-biting, posteriorly more sticking, while urinating.
The remedy was Cannabis sativa 200. One dose. I’ll let you know next issue what happened.
Joseph Kellerstein, DC, ND graduated as a chiropractor in 1980 and as an ND in 1984. He graduated with a specialty in homeopathy from the Canadian Academy for Homeopathy, and subsequently lectured there for two years. He also lectured in homeopathy for several years at CCNM; for eight years at the Toronto School of Homeopathic Medicine; and for two years at the British Institute for Homeopathy. Dr. Kellerstein’s mission is the exploration of natural medicine in a holistic context, especially homeopathy and facilitating the experience of healing in clients. Dr. Kellerstein is presently teaching a post-grad course in Hahnemannian prescribing with Dr. Andre Saine. Its mission is to promote excellence in the basics of homeopathic prescribing; case taking; repertory; Organon as applied to real-life practice; and case analysis skills via modeling the masters.