My only regret is that I didn’t see a homeopath sooner, I’m convinced it would have saved me from years of discomfort & illness
At around the age of eight I started to experience allergic reactions that at first caused sneezing, itchy and watering eyes, and a running nose. However, more distressing symptoms were to follow. These included a swollen face that often caused my eyes to close to narrow slits, and my face and arms becoming discoloured by a deep red, almost purple rash that would feel hot and sore. Then the skin on the affected areas would eventually become flaky and peel. But worse was to come! During particularly bad attacks the membranes inside my nose would become so swollen I would have difficulty breathing: a frightening experience for me and my parents.
I underwent an allergy test and was found to have acute allergic sensitivity to a wide range of allergens including: the house dust mite; bed mite; hay, tree and grass pollen; horse and cat dander; and oil seed rape pollen. So indoors and out I was subjected to a wide range of airborne particles that would trigger such violent reactions I would, at times, be left feeling extremely ill. Although I had to suffer these attacks throughout the year – having a severe reaction about every two months – because my family lived in a rural area, it was during the spring and summer months that I was most vulnerable.
The family doctor referred me to the allergy clinic in Dundee where I saw the first of what was to become over the years a very long list of allergy specialists and dermatologists. The treatment prescribed was antihistamine tablets to alleviate the cold-like symptoms, along with a topical hydrocortisone cream to reduce the inflammation on my face and arms. Although these treatments did offer some relief, I was still prone to attacks when I unwittingly came into contact with someone who had in turn been in contact with one of the sources of the allergens that I was so sensitive to.
Over time my body started to develop immunity to various antihistamine drugs, so regular appointments with my GP were necessary for the treatment to be reviewed and the prescription changed. I also had to contend with the drowsiness that is a common side-effect of taking antihistamine medication. The side-effects associated with long-term use of topical steroid creams such as hydrocortisone were beginning to worry me too. These can include a thinning of the skin, permanent striae similar to “stretch” marks on the skin, bruising, discolouration and the appearance of thin spidery blood vessels. Nevertheless, I followed the doctors’ advice and continued with the prescribed medication as I believed there was no alternative.
Then in 2002, I went to my GPs’ surgery for a routine check-up and saw, purely by chance, a recently qualified GP who had just joined the practice. During the consultation the doctor asked whether I’d ever thought about trying homeopathy. Although open-minded on the subject of complementary and alternative medicine I had never seriously considered it as a way of treating my allergy problems. Thinking I had nothing to lose but, to be honest, without any great expectations either, I agreed to a consultation with a homeopath.
Homeopathic consultation & treatment
I saw a homeopathic doctor at the Roxburghe House Clinic which is located in the grounds of the NHS Royal Victoria Hospital in Dundee. The consultation was very different to anything I had had before. I was asked questions about my lifestyle, diet, the work I did, family and personal relationships, all of which seemed unrelated to my allergic reactions.
At the end of the consultation the doctor prescribed the homeopathic medicine Pulsatilla for the skin eruptions on my face and for my very itchy, puffy eyes: one 30C tablet to be taken three times on just one day a month. Five separate medications derived from the material that caused the acutest allergic reactions were also prescribed. These were cat fur, horse hair, grass pollen, tree pollen and oil seed rape pollen, with each having to be taken three times a day for three months. The allergy medications came in pill form and had to be placed under the tongue to dissolve at least an hour before eating. Another appointment was arranged to review the treatment in three months.
Six to eight weeks into the treatment I became aware that I was no longer suffering the violent allergic reactions that had been such a distressing part of my life. I was still experiencing very mild symptoms but these were easy to live with compared to what I’d endured in the past. After three months even the mild symptoms began to clear up. It was incredible – just like a miracle!
At the follow-up appointment the doctor suggested I stop taking the Pulsatilla and only use the allergy medicine as and when I needed it. This I did, only taking the homeopathic medicine when I felt the allergy symptoms returning. Gradually I noticed that I needed to do this less and less often. I no longer suffer any severe allergic reactions and it’s now been two years since I last needed to take the homeopathic medicine.
Further evidence of the dramatic improvement in my condition came when the field directly behind my house was planted with a crop of oil seed rape. Even when the oil seed rape is in full flower I suffer not even the slightest reaction, while some of my family and friends are sneezing their heads off!
My only regret is that I didn’t see a homeopath sooner, I’m convinced it would have saved me from years of discomfort and illness.