June 16: Homeopathy, return of old symptoms & tinnitus
Google history: ‘stem cell research on hearing loss’, ‘does tinnitus go away?’. Tinnitus message boards – apparently tinnitus caused by sensorineural hearing loss (my type of tinnitus) never goes away. Arrgh….
After the doctors tell me that the tinnitus and hearing loss are permanent, I give myself two days in bed with my head under the duvet. But then I need a plan. The plan is homeopathy.
When I was a kid my mum was extremely unwell and the doctors tested her for leukaemia, which she thankfully didn’t have. She turned to homeopathy and was cured within weeks.
Homeopathy has its sceptics so I force myself not to look anything up online. This turns out to be a blessing and a curse.
How it works
Homeopathy is unlike anything I’ve tried before. My homeopath (Jane) isn’t interested in the physical symptoms; instead she wants to know about my emotions – the feelings I had leading up to my illness and, more importantly, dating right back to my childhood. Blimey.
The appointments are like intense therapy sessions but Jane is uninterested in the ‘human narrative’. Instead she wants me to describe my feelings in vivid images. You what?
I describe a seemingly endless bookcase, an overflowing river and a black panther pouncing. Bizarre? But Jane finds the imagines enlightening.
The theory is that these images help to point the homeopath towards remedies which will unlock the body’s natural healing system.
I take the first remedy in April and it definitely makes a difference, transforming me from March’s solitary Victorian lady to a creature determined to leave her flat and return to her life.
A new remedy in May only makes me feel disturbed and angry. Jane changes tack and, in June, she prescribes a third remedy. Nothing can prepare me for what follows.
Dissolving back into illness
One Friday evening in June my head starts to swim and the light in the living room becomes blurred and foggy. Once again it feels like a train is thundering through my left ear.
I try to stand up but the vertigo has returned. I stumble around searching for furniture to hold on to.
Panic washes over me as my body plunges back into the appalling state of January and February. Thankfully the acute vertigo is gone by morning – but the following Friday, when I take the second dose, it returns.
The next few weeks are a blur. My body feels like a block of cement and I’m unable to work. I can do nothing but lie on the sofa, half-sleeping and binge-watching bad TV. I feel like my soul is being sucked out of my coccyx. Is this what dying feels like? There’s no light or tunnel – am I going to hell?
The muscles in my neck and shoulders are stiff and burning hot; I rely on my arm strength just to lift my head from the sofa cushions. My urine stinks like I’ve eaten a thousand fields of asparagus and I cry uncontrollably at anything and everything.
The physical sensations are so scary that I text my friend Amy one night before bed, as I did in both January and February, to warn her that I may not wake up.
Tinnitus sound of the month
But a curious thing happens. While my body dissolves back into illness, the volume of the tinnitus is tumbling down. It’s miraculous. While I can’t stand upright, I can suddenly think straight.
The tinnitus also acquires new sounds, all involving water. There are loud bubbles like a child blowing into their drink through a straw, and a squelching noise like wellies stamping in thick mud.
My osteopath explains that the middle ear is filled with water. Is something shifting or getting stuck in that water?
Homeopathy & return of old symptoms
Being catapulted back into acute illness terrifies and mystifies me. But had I done my research on homeopathy, I’d know this is a very good sign.
At my next appointment Jane explains the homeopathic phenomenon of ‘return of old symptoms’ or the Herring Law of Cure. If we haven’t fully cured an illness then an element (or memory) of that illness is stored in our bodies. The right remedy draws out these old illnesses in the reverse order that they occurred, and this enables the immune system to resolve them. It is not uncommon for symptoms from childhood illnesses to briefly reappear before the patient begins to feel better.
My remedy has triggered a rapid (and painful) detoxification as my immune system finally works out how to fight the illness. In doing so the volume of the tinnitus reduces. I’ve taken the remedy on two Friday mornings, which is why my symptoms are so extreme on those evenings.
A few weeks later, symptoms return from an illness I had five years ago. Instead of panic, a smug satisfaction sweeps over me. I know my body is cleansing itself.
Did it work?
The results of homeopathy have been dramatic and I feel so much better. After the return of old symptoms, I take a less potent version of the remedy for over six months. The improvement is gradual – at times, too gradual – but it fills me with hope. It proves that the tinnitus is not an incurable by-product of hearing loss, as the hospital decreed, but a symptom of an illness which can be treated.