Dissimilar Disease

 In Homeopathy

Joseph Kellerstein, DC, ND

Elizabeth first consulted me in 2009 following a surgery to remove some intestinal polyps that proved to be malignant. She was 74 years old at the time. This elegant lady presents as sensitive, intelligent, and sympathetic.

History and Symptoms

Some 5 years prior, she had a severe episode of food poisoning; ever since then, her stools have been soft. Once, a year later, she experienced 1 episode of hemorrhage from the bowel and vomiting of blood, which caused her to collapse to the floor due to weakness. The diagnosis was peptic ulcer. Ultimately, the soft stools were attributed to lactose intolerance.

Elizabeth describes the enormous stress she and her family have been suffering. They had run a successful business but had been scammed by some “con artists” into losing it. The losses were in the 7-figure range. They had trusted these people. Furthermore, the trauma of legal actions added to the insult.

“I think about it all the time and we blame ourselves.”

“Every time I get upset…say, a shock from a piece of mail, I get an urge to stool. This has become worse.”

“I can’t take things like I used to.”

“During a lawsuit I could not stop shivering. I was shaking. At the time, we were going through a difficult exam for information. I felt it was abusive.”

“I get cramps in my feet and occasionally in my hands.”

“I can get chilled from cold drinks.” (Always)

“I need the bedroom to be about 80 °F for sleep.” (Longstanding)

“My pulse can intermit every 3 or 4 beats.” (Longstanding)

“I feel panic as if I have no control over anything, and it’s worse if I think about it.”

Repertorization & Remedy

Elizabeth describes herself as controlling, persistent, and fastidious, and tends to keep things private.

On observation, the patient was sighing frequently as she discussed the stressful situation. Her reason for consulting me was the perceived increased response to stress.



The patient was given Ignatia 200C PRN for the nervous effects of “stress.” Elizabeth was very pleased with what the support doses of Ignatia seemed to offer, and it has continued to help in increasing potencies (still PRN but far less often). She is still experiencing legal and high-stress issues.

Subsequent Considerations

Several months later, in a follow-up visit, the complaint is very different. She now has allergy symptoms with watery eyes. Lots of blinking, “as if stones in the eyes.” There is irritation and a cold sore in the right nostril.

I took this opportunity to give the patient Arsenicum album 200C. I felt it was a good chronic remedy, especially in view of the thermal needs in bed and the anxious response to stress. The irritation and eruption in the right nostril also seemed to support the prescription.

Not much response, unfortunately…

I still insisted on a very chilly remedy. Silica 200C produced a quick amelioration of the allergy symptoms. No change, though, in the general thermal profile. Oh well.

A few months later, Elizabeth returns with “acidity.” Although I’d been unaware, she had apparently long had this symptom.

If she takes anything acid (eg, orange juice, wine, vinegar), especially any sharp-tasting vinegar, the heartburn is horrific and persists. It leads to a watery diarrhea that causes weakness and, if lasting long enough, goes to trembling.

We find this in the materia medica under Antimonium crudum: Very thin stools after taking vinegar, with pain in the rectum during stool.”

The prescription was Ant crud 200C PRN.

More Follow-Up

Elizabeth reported back: “It works very well and repeatedly. I seem to need it about once a week, or there appears a painful spot in the abdomen like the acidity is starting up again.”

Over time since then, the frequency of needing the remedy has decreased to only very occasionally, but the need is still present.

Well, a while later Elizabeth returns with the complaint of pains in her finger joints (and nodes are developing), especially in the cold weather and worse with exertion. None of the previous remedies had affected this. (Why am I the last to know?)

Calcarea carbonica 200C repeatedly helped last winter and this, and whenever she gets cold and the joints hurt.

What To Do?

Elizabeth has just left the office. She has been sleepless from thoughts of the past stresses and grief. Dwelling on the past and blaming herself. Ignatia had helped these past years when this occurred, but not this time, so we increased the potency from 50M to CM.

I am not a happy camper. We have 4 remedies going: Silica for the allergies, Calc carb for the osteoarthritis, Ignatia for the nervous system, and Ant crud for the gastric upset with vinegar – all different issues. Each complaint has repeatedly responded to remedies for more than a year in the 200th potency, and she is a person of average sensitivity. With the Ignatia, at least, she is responding well to increasing potencies.

Hahnemann tells us that we can have different disease processes occurring at the same time, and occupying different locations in the system. It’s all about real estate: location, location, location. It’s called dissimilar disease. But there is a part of me that is not buying it. Yes, she needs fewer doses, and yes, all complaints are becoming less and responding more quickly. However, something tells me there is an overarching remedy that would do so much better for my patient, if only I had a better case.

With using these remedies for each complaint as needed when a problem aggravates, I have her taking several remedies sometimes within a short span of each other. It seems more “piece-istic” than “holistic.” No matter what it is…despite the fact that I want more for my patient and am not thrilled with my skills here…homeopathy is amazing. Hahnemann was a super genius. I need to understand his work to a greater degree.

Better get to my next case…

Kellerstein headshotJoseph 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 2 years. He also lectured in homeopathy for several years at CCNM; for 8 years at the Toronto School of Homeopathic Medicine; and for 2 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 patients.

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