My Journey Toward Homeopathy
My journey toward homeopathy began in the late 1980s. I was a Nurse Manager at Women’s College Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada managing two departments and pursuing post-graduate occupational health and safety nursing education at the same time. My work and home life were very busy and often stressful.
During this time I consulted my family doctor for excessive fatigue. All tests and examinations were normal yet I continued to feel awful despite exercising 3 to 4 times a week. I began to investigate alternative medicine with a healthy dose of skepticism as my nursing education and practice were based in research and science. I spoke to a trusted friend who suggested homeopathy as an addition to traditional western medicine. I asked myself: 'Homeo what??'”
With initial caution and doubt, I saw an excellent, competent and caring Homeopath who not only prescribed a remedy that alleviated my symptoms within a week but also recommended immediate nutritional changes (my daily intake of 4+ cups of coffee was immediately substituted with a lot less water-processed decaffeinated).
My life continued at its hectic pace. Fast forward to May, 1999. I saw my Periodontist for what I thought was a mouth chancre. After his examination, he mentioned the word “tumour”. Denial and rationalization kicked in.
July, 1999 and I was sitting in front of a Head and Neck Surgeon at Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada with a diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma of the right tongue. He examined me and palpated the tumour. He began to talk about surgical process and the 10-14 hours I would have to spend on the operating room table i.e. my jaw would have to be split (and wired and pinned), possible loss of lower teeth, muscle graft from my left forearm to replace the tongue that had to be removed, tracheotomy-my greatest fear, etc. Because I had cared for patients with this diagnosis, I knew exactly what this meant and the tough recovery and potential disfigurement that lay ahead.
An MRI was needed for diagnostic confirmation and it was scheduled for the coming week. During this time, I rushed to my Homeopath who prescribed a remedy that fit my totality of symptoms i.e. physical, mental and emotional and was known to cure tongue cancer.
When I returned to the Head and Neck Clinic at Princess Margaret after the MRI, I was anxious to learn the result. When I asked about the tumour size, the Surgeon responded: “I don’t know. It’s diffuse”. I was incredulous and almost fell off the exam room chair. What was felt as a hard mass by the same Surgeon two weeks ago was now broken up and scattered. The only medication I had taken was the homeopathic remedy! I was told that surgery was still necessary because the mass was deep.
I ran back to my Homeopath and explained the situation. She advised me to have the surgery and she would work on keeping me well post-operatively. It was then that I had an 'aha' moment and made a promise to myself that if I survived, I would study to become a Homeopath.
My pathology results showed stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma. Because the cancer was contained within the cell i.e. intra cellular, no radiation was necessary (I could not help but wonder if this was also a result of the homeopathic remedy). Post-op recovery was exhausting and grueling. The doctors were impressed with the speed at which I was recovering and the only medicines I was taking was homeopathic i.e. arnica, hypericum as I had stopped pain medication 4-5 days post-operatively.
An aside to give huge thanks to Dr. Jonathon Irish and the team of care givers at Princess Margaret Hospital who gave me exemplary care and attention. That this world class Surgeon, steeped in science and evidence-based medicine was open to discuss homeopathy with me and agree to my starting certain remedies 48 hours post-operatively (to determine if my tongue graft would take), eased my anxiety, increased my trust in him and made our communication stronger.
Fast forward to 2002 when I entered the 2 year program at the Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I graduated in 2004 with a Diploma in Health Sciences and Homeopathic Medicine.
In December 2004, I spent 8 weeks in Mumbai, India in advanced study at one of the most recognized homeopathic educational and treatment centres and returned to Toronto and opened my homeopathic practice.
A lot of life lived and fast forward to July, 2015 where my husband and I have relocated to Playas del Coco, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. This is another story for another time.
So what is homeopathy and how does it work? It is a system of medicine developed in the 18th century by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician. It is based on a universal, natural principle, the “Law of Similars” or “like cures like”. In other words, the remedy or substance that produces certain symptoms in a healthy person could be used to treat the same symptoms in a sick person (e.g. Peruvian Bark that produces sweating and intermittent high fevers (symptoms of malaria) in a healthy subject can be given to treat patients suffering with malaria). The remedies are derived from over 3000 plant, mineral, and animal sources. It is natural, safe (even for infants and pregnant women) and when taken appropriately under supervision has the power to gently restore health and vitality.
Homeopathy complements western medicine. Homeopathy differs from traditional medicine in that it treats the individuality of each person and examines how the patient is faring on all levels: physical, mental, and emotional. We are all unique and before any treatment is recommended, an in-depth history and consultation (usually 2 hours) are required so that your homeopathic practitioner has a complete understanding of your concerns and who you are on all levels.
Homeopathy has the ability to treat a wide range of conditions including physical (e.g. skin diseases, allergies, arthritis, injuries, infections, menopause, prostate) and mental (e.g. depression and anxiety) conditions. As chronic health states take longer to heal to bring the body back into balance, it is important to seek out help earlier rather than later.
Prevention is key and your homeopathic practitioner is a partner to support and guide you to achieve optimal health.
Yours in good health.
General medicine, surgery; coronary, respiratory & surgical intensive care, and emergency & occupational health & safety
Award of Excellence, Ontario Occupational Health Nurses Association, Canada
Certificate, post graduate study, School of Classical Homeopathy, Mumbai, India