Kathy, 56, came to see me for Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris (PRP) which she had since the age of 10 when she went through puberty. She had taken the standard medical drugs for PRP: isotretinoin (Accutane) then acitretin (Soriatane) after Accutane had been pulled from the market due to its liver-damaging effects. The Accutane had helped settle the PRP, improving it about 80%. It flared again when she had a hysterectomy at 35. The Soriatane again helped the condition, again improving it to about 80%. After 18 months of taking the drug there had been no further improvement so she stopped the drug. She had a slight worsening of symptoms for the next 2 years, then it stayed the same with no improvement or worsening. Opting not to take the Soriatane again, she decided to try homeopathy.
Pityriasis Rubra Pilaris, known as PRP, is a very rare skin disorder characterized by severe itching and very red skin with a lot of white flakes. It affects the person head-to-toe. In the world, it is estimated that 1,400 people are affected. There is no known cause. The target of the medical drugs and creams is to decrease the flaking. Sometimes an antihistamine is given to decrease the itching.
With homeopathy, when a person has an ailment for more than 6 months, the condition is considered to be chronic. A Classical Homeopath looks at acute ailments (those less than 6 months) differently than chronic ones when looking for a healing remedy.
Having worked with a great number of individuals with acute PRP who had not taken the drugs prior to seeing me, it was different to work with someone who has had the PRP for a lifetime and had taken the drugs.
Kathy presented with the classical signs of PRP: the white flaking, very red rash from head-to-toe and severe itching that was worse on the back and made worse with heat. Although she stated it was about 70% improved from when she had initially had the rash, she was still covered with the rash, although it apparently wasn’t as flaky as it had been in the past.
When selecting a homeopathic remedy, those symptoms that are not common to the disease condition are more important than those commonly seen in most individuals with the disease. For Kathy, she had all the classical signs of PRP but was unable to tell me anything unusual about the disease. I find this very common in people with a chronic disease, especially if they’ve had the disease a long time. To them, everything is as it always has been. They may know what makes it worse, but often times they have lost interest in even paying attention to those details. To Kathy, it was a rash plain and simple.
In such situations, a homeopathic remedy must then be matched to the uniqueness of the individual as seen in their reactions to others and their environment, with extra emphasis placed on the person’s emotional or mental perceptions of situations.
One of the first impressions I got from Kathy occurred prior to her even being seen. When she called, she demanded to speak to me immediately. My assistant had explained that I was with a patient, but Kathy refused to wait, would not allow me to call her back, would not let anyone else assist her. When I called her back, she was arrogant and generally rude in her demeanor, stating when she calls someone, she expects to be put through immediately. I made a note of her behaviors to be factored into her remedy selection.
At the appointment, Kathy stated she was depressed in cloudy weather, anxious during thunderstorms and happy when it was sunny. When asked to describe relationships with others, Kathy said that she had great relationships with her employees and husband (but I noted she had made the 5-hour journey to see me alone). When asked how she felt others perceived her, she stated that everyone loved her and offered no details of any faults she felt she had that others would see in her. She did say that she worked with her employees but that she was their “boss;” she was superior and it would lower her standards to interact with them outside of being the boss. Still, she believed they loved her and would do anything for her.
She had no friends and didn’t care to have any.
As I had the opportunity to analyze her Intake Form prior to her evaluation, I noticed she repeatedly used the word “arrogance” when describing features of others that caused her distress. I asked her about this. She stated the people that bothered her the most and caused her anger were those who were arrogant; they felt they were more important than she was and those who had to always have their way; and that others felt she had to accommodate them no matter what. This was how she perceived arrogance. In her Form, she also wanted people to “get what they deserved” which she stated meant that if someone caused her distress, she felt they should suffer and be punished by God. The other word in her Form was being “abused” to which she defined as people looking down on her.
Matching Kathy to a Remedy
During my studies in homeopathy, I had read a case by Dr. Rajan Sankaran where he chose a remedy for a woman based on the complaints she presented about her husband. Dr. Sankaran said the woman was “sensitive” to the certain characteristics of her husband; therefore, these were properties within herself, how she truly was, but how she refused to see within herself so she saw them in others. For this woman, he selected the remedy based on her description of her husband’s behaviors, those behaviors that annoyed her or caused her distress in some way. And the remedy worked for her.
I chose the following rubrics for Kathy:
– Contempt, arrogance and pride
– Demanding, haughty
– Superiority complex
– Narcissism, self-love
– Indifference to company
– Ailments from onset of menses
I selected Platina.
The main picture of Platina is of a woman who feels she is queen. The queen feels she has power but not as much as the king, so she feels small, inferior. In an effort to compensate for the lack of power and feeling inadequate, she becomes a dictator and contemptuous of others. She is haughty, trying to show others that she is superior and above them. She tries to keep others “in their place,” which she feels is below her. When wronged, “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
Platina also had an affinity for the female reproductive system.
Kathy was given Platina. Within 2 months she began to see a change in her PRP. She also developed hot flashes and some difficulty sleeping. I had initially suspected a hormonal connection with the PRP based on the onset (puberty) and the flare-up after her hysterectomy. Both sleeping disturbances and hot flashes are associated with hormones. I did not change the remedy, however, as the new symptoms were manageable.
But I began wondering if Platina was the best remedy or if a remedy that would address the female system more deeply would be better. I planned to address this at Kathy’s next follow-up if the symptoms continued. But before the next appointment, it was confirmed that Platina was the right remedy.
It has been said that the person’s true self comes out during times of stress. Sometimes a person finds within themselves a courageous self when they run into a burning building to rescue a child. Or during a financial crisis at work a tough CEO breaks down and cries.
Sometimes a homeopath does not find what emotions or mental perception is true behind a person’s ailments until the person has a crisis or time of high stress; then the homeopath can truly see what the person is like behind the mask they presented in the office.
With the situation of Kathy, I was able to see that she was truly a Platina person, something that was not truly confirmed until it was time to schedule her evaluation after 5 months of care.
My assistant emailed her to let her know it was time to schedule the evaluation and offered several openings over the next 3 weeks. Kathy emailed back stating that none of the times would work then stated she would come at other times that were before or after office hours. When she was told she had to come during office hours, she demanded a phone evaluation, which she had already been told was not available to her because rashes are always seen in-office. She proceeded to offer reasons why she wasn’t going to come for a visit, then demanded I come to see her (5 hours away) as her time was more important than mine. Finally, she ended with: “you will just have to work on a Saturday to accommodate me.”
At this point I knew I had selected the right remedy. The final confirmation came when she emailed back: “I am really disappointed in your willingness to work around my schedule. I don’t want to work with someone who is not a genuine caring person” and stated she had already found another practitioner. “I plan to tell him all about how unprofessional you are. I will tell EVERYONE and ruin you. You should’ve just come here to see me. Ha Ha.”
The keynotes of Platina are:
– arrogance: Kathy felt I had to work early, late or on a Saturday to accommodate her. Her time was more important than mine.
– haughtiness, the feeling that she is superior to everyone else: Kathy was the boss and to interact with her employees would lower her standard
– demanding: she didn’t ask for a phone evaluation, she demanded one. When offered appointment times, none were good for her so she demanded we accommodate her with a different time or for me to drive 5 hours to see her in her home.
– wrath, punishing of those who doesn’t do what she wants: Kathy said she would tell another practitioner how unprofessional I was and ruin me.
– feeling of powerlessness, inferior so she has to be rude to others: Kathy labeled me as “uncaring” in an effort to make me feel bad, to make herself feel better and more superior because she felt she had no power over me when she didn’t get her way. She stated she had found a different doctor because she didn’t get her way.
– loneliness: Kathy had no friends and didn’t want any. She had no relationships with her employees on a “friend” level. Outside of work, she had no one but her husband, who didn’t travel with her 5 hours to any appointments.
When a person is not forthcoming with how they feel about themselves, their illness or their situation in life, sometimes the homeopath has to look at how the person perceives others andhow they consider themselves in respect to others. Sometimes that is where the homeopath will find who the person truly is. Often the “mask” the person wears in the office is not who they truly are inside; and what they are inside is usually what is driving the disease process that brought them to the office.
The remedy Platina, in this article, was chosen based on how the patient saw others around her, the behaviors of others that caused her distress. The remedy was later affirmed when she became stressed; her words spoke volumes to prove Platina was right for her.
I do believe Platina would’ve helped Kathy immensely in her healing. I hope she finds help and healing along the way.
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