Monday, April 11, 2016

Why I Choose Homeopathy

It's Homeopathy Awareness Week.

Kind of like a birthday, it comes up as a time for reflection for me. Homeopathy is woven into the matrix of my life, enmeshed with significant events in my life and like a photo album, I can review those snapshots in time and remember.

I remember the first conversation I had about homeopathy. My husband- who was not my husband, or even my boyfriend, but my housemate who I had an un-acknowledged crush on- and I were driving in his dad's old truck. He was giving me a lift home from the University. He was telling me a bit about his family, how his dad was a veterinarian and incorporated some holistic approaches. I was a vegetarian and as into natural medicine as one can be at 20, being healthy and therefore never really faced with any big medical decisions anyway.

He said his dad was taking a homeopathy course, or had taken one. I made the classic assertion that it was like herbalism.  Kevin challenged me strongly that no, it was not. He explained that it was an energetic modality and maybe a bit more than that, but mostly I was like, huh? And went back to trying not to focus on the crush.

But like a tiny pebble dropped in a still pool, that ripple resonated.

I didn't think about homeopathy again until years later, our crush not only firmly acknowledged but consummated in marriage and a baby, I sought out a homeopath to treat our daughter. We had moved across the country, starting to set up our life in midcoast Maine. I asked around for a homeopath and my stepfather told me to see Dr. Dirk Vandersloot- the best guy in town.

I remembered the conversation years back with Kevin in the truck, but mostly I wanted to choose something natural and holistic for my baby. Dirk was a doctor, no longer practicing conventional medicine, but as a new mother still figuring this whole thing out, it bolstered my confidence. We used a few remedies with my daughter for teething and fussiness (pulsatilla, of course), and I saw him myself for a transient vertigo I sometimes experienced. I felt well, the vertigo went away. My daughter seemed to respond to the pulsatilla.

But still... I didn't really get it. I knew I wanted to learn more. I was intrigued. Dirk suggested a book, Miranda Castro's Complete Family Guide to Homeopathy. I bought it. I read the introduction. Many times. I acquired some remedies.

Homeopathy at that point remained like a picture on my wall. One I saw everyday, but didn't truly engage with. It was there, I acknowledged it, even stopped to ponder it a bit. But it remained separate, a part.

When my daughter was a month from turning 3, I gave birth to my son. It was fast. Two hours. The midwife barely made it time. The cord was around his neck, he was blue. He needed oxygen. When he came around, he screamed bloody murder, and wouldn't stop. The midwife asked if I had Aconite (for shock, fear, trauma). In fact, I did. The instant the remedy was on his tongue, he stopped screaming, and looked into my eyes.

This is the moment when picture came off the wall, the moment it stopped being something I looked at, and became what I lived.

If that seems strange, because I had already had a healing experience with homeopathy and so why did it take this moment to become three dimensional for me, I can only say that having talked to many people about homeopathy and their experience with it, my situation is not unique.

I have said before that homeopathy is fast, slow medicine. Unless one witnesses an experience like I did with my son, an instantaneous acute response (that's the fast part), the medicine is slow enough and gentle enough that sometimes we almost dismiss it. Maybe it was that I ate better those two weeks. Maybe it was that I slept better. Maybe the symptoms moved off on their own.

We never think - the remedy supported me to eat better.
                         - the remedy supported my sleep
                         - the remedy gently helped my symptoms move away

Many a homeopath, and patient, I have spoken with have concurred that despite having several positive experiences with homeopathy, it took time and some significant event to make them sit up and pay attention.

The instantaneous response of my son to the remedy was undeniable. When he went on to develop consistent croupy coughs, I discovered Aconite, Spongia, and Antimonium- tartaricum moved him through the symptoms within days. Rather than hanging on to colds and coughs for a week or weeks, we were through and moving on.

I needed to know more, and I knew this medicine was to be what I did in this world.

And so it has become that.

I call this post 'Why I CHOOSE Homeopathy' and not why I CHOSE homeopathy, because it is a choice to make, every day, at every opportunity that arises.

While there are a few go-to remedies, say Arnica for an injury, or the Aconite my son received for a physical shock, homeopathy is not, by its nature, 'match the best answer.' It requires us to stop and pay attention. Our symptoms are not a static picture to be looked at, but the story and action of our lives that we live, everyday.

When we view our symptoms as the static picture on the wall, many of the medical options presented to us are the equivalent of moving it to a different wall. Changing the frame. Moving it again. Touching it up.

When we take the picture off the wall, when we step into it, answer all those questions the homeopath asks, consider the present snapshot in the movie of our life, there's a flow, a continuation of one thing to the next, an opportunity to make sense of the whole- and not just the piece.

When you see the whole, you can make decisions for the whole. What does this ear infection need right now? Does it need antibiotics? Again? Does the ear need antibiotics right now, but because it keeps coming back, the child needs to be considered and treated in the bigger picture so the ear infection doesn't come back.

Does this back pain need anti-inflammatories day after day and maybe the opinion of a surgeon, or could this person benefit from a remedy to help manage stress, increase energy to enable exercise, a shift in perspective and confidence that may lead to changing an unsatisfying career, relieving the back pain?

Is more medication the only option for the side effects of cancer treatment, or can the patient consider homeopathic support to help tolerate the symptoms, and then a constitutional remedy for the whole being to help repair the vital force, build strength, and hopefully ensure the cancer does not return- as opposed to living in quiet anxiety from check up to check up?

This past fall, when I discovered that my left ovary had thoughtfully grown a very large cyst, I took that picture off the wall and stepped into it. I chose the advice of my very caring and experienced ob-gyn surgeon *and* I chose homeopathy and other modalities that helped me consider that moment, in the context of my whole life.

Homeopathy helps me to walk through life with my eyes and ears open. When patients come to me, having chosen homeopathy for their own reasons, I show up ready to help, having made that choice too.