IN THIS PODCAST, WE COVER:
01:53 Advocate for one’s health
04:02 The true parameters
11:00 Treating rashes through homeopathy
16:35 Learning about Joette
22:33 Pregnancy journey
40:45 Using remedies during and after surgery
42:38 Dealing with pain
44:48 Newborn remedies and some success stories
49:17 Annie and the Aconite; some diagnostic tools
LINKS AND RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST:
abbyloopers.org – Support group for transabdominal cerclage
Sepia — for “Monster Mom” moodiness and fertility
Mag phos — for post-surgical heartburn
Nux vomica — for post-surgical nausea
Argentum nitricum — for post-surgical anxiety
Joette’s blogs on Surgery Prep — “Answering Your Questions: Surgery”
Aconite 200 — for newborn entry after C-section and for shock after accidents
Chelidonium 6X — for newborn’s jaundice
Arnica — for injury (in pets as well as humans)
You are listening to a podcast from practicalhomeopathy.com where nationally certified American homeopath, public speaker, and author, Joette Calabrese, shares her passion for helping families stay healthy through homeopathy and nutrient-dense nutrition.
Joette: Each day from my office, I get to see how homeopathy is transforming lives all over the globe, and I want to share them with you. Some of my students have really caught my eye. Some of you have done all you can to learn how to cure those around you using homeopathic medicines. Your successes inspire me. They’re glorious and powerful. I can’t keep these successes a secret any longer. So, with help from my roving reporters, we bring you a mini podcast series that I call “Moms with Moxie.” Sometimes we even interview Dads with Audacity. See how regular mothers and others, average people who want to cure those around them, have gone from freaking to fabulous with homeopathy.
Kate: You are listening to Podcast Number 50 at practicalhomeopathy.com.
Hi, this is Kate. I am here with Kathryn today. Kathryn is a brave, strong woman. You will be amazed at the stories she has to tell. I know that you will learn something today from her. So, Kathryn, welcome to the podcast.
Kathryn: Thank you. I’m excited to be here.
Kate: I’m excited to learn from you, Kathryn, because I’ve heard some pretty amazing stories about the things that you’ve gone through, and how you’ve used homeopathy in amazing ways. So, why don’t we get started by learning a little bit more about you. Give us some information about where you live and your family.
Kathryn: Sure. I’m from Texas. I’ve been married to my husband, Nam, for 14 years. We have twin, five-year-old daughters, Charlotte and Esther, and a newborn daughter, Rosemary
Advocate for one’s health
Kate: As Kathryn and I have been talking, preparing for this podcast, I think that Kathryn is brave. That’s the word that comes to my mind when I think about Kathryn because she is one tough cookie. Let’s just put it that way. So, Kathryn, you say that you are a proponent of people advocating for themselves and that’s what you do. You are an advocate for yourself, for your children, for your family. So just give us a little bit of a background in how you came to be such a strong advocate for your health.
Kathryn: So, my background … I really didn’t have a particular interest in anything medical or advocacy for myself until 2010. Then I was pregnant with twin boys and sadly, I delivered them very early during my second trimester. Isaac and Samuel both passed away very shortly after birth. That was horrible, and all the doctors that I met with — yeah — they all said, “Well that was a fluke. Well, that was a twin thing.” And I had lots of frozen embryos because we had done IVF. I assumed correctly that I would have twins again, and I couldn’t go with just a “fluke” or a “twin thing.” So, I really had to dig in and research and find out what had happened and what I could do to prevent it again.
That put me in contact with lots of other women who were courageous and brave and had gone through similar things and had a better outcome. It took me out of state and definitely out of my comfort zone. But, as my husband and I explored and researched that area, we really learned about advocacy. We had learned about understanding the true parameters of a situation. Just because somebody tells you what something is, that doesn’t mean that’s actually true. Sometimes it might be. But, we really learned how to identify correct parameters with our sons’ (Isaac and Samuel) passing. So, that’s where advocacy started.
Kate: Kathryn, I can’t even imagine what you went through. I’m so sorry that that happened.
The true parameters
Kate: So, Kathryn, can you give us a little bit more of an understanding what you mean when you say, “find out what the true parameters are.”
Kathryn: Sure. So, when something happens, you go to the doctor that you have a relationship with or who has been with you through something. And, you ask for his expertise, and he gives them to you as if it’s fact. And, that may not always be the case. So, for me with my sons, Isaac and Samuel, I was told, “That’s it. It was a fluke. It’s a twin thing. We don’t know. It probably won’t happen again.”
I went to the next doctor, a specialist. I met with him. He said, “It’s just a fluke. We don’t know why. It probably won’t happen again.”
But then, I went to an out-of-state doctor who happens to be the world’s foremost expert, in my opinion, on cervical insufficiency. He said, “No, it’s not a fluke. This is a classic incompetent cervix. And here are your options and here is what I think is best and here is why.”
So, if I had just stuck with what those other doctors said as fact — fact: it’s a fluke; fact: it probably won’t happen again — then in all likelihood, I would have lost more children. So, because I really wanted to make sure that those boundaries were in fact true — they were correct — I found out that they weren’t! I was able to get other information and other insights.
Kate: You didn’t take “no” for an answer, right? You just kept digging in and researching and kept looking for what you thought was the sufficient answer, and you really wanted to know the truth.
Kathryn: I did. I remember sitting in the second doctor’s office that I consulted with. I said to him, “I feel like I’m fighting for my future children’s lives.” He kind of smirked and laughed and said, “Well, you’re not really in that camp yet.” But, I think he’s wrong. I was in that camp. I had frozen embryos that I felt it was my obligation to protect and to give a chance at life. I really was fighting for them.
Kate: That boggles my mind. How could he even say that? Oh my gosh! So, you actually took a trip out-of-state to see this other doctor. You found him … do you mind me asking who this doctor was that you found because maybe some other listeners want to know who this is.
Kathryn: Yes, Dr. Arthur Haney is at the University of Chicago. He is well-known for his work with cervical insufficient patients. He performs a particular surgery called a transabdominal cerclage which is a permanent cerclage placed through surgery. It is very different than a traditional vaginal cerclage that many women are familiar with. So, I was able to do a free phone consult with him and free email with him because he just has a heart to want to help moms who have gone through this.
He gave me the information. My husband and I prayed on it. We met with several older couples that we really trusted to kind of run through the information to make sure we were understanding it and thinking through it correctly. You got to have your people around you that you trust so that you can run information by them.
And, we ended up traveling out-of-state. He is in Chicago, and I had surgery there — which on the front end of it, going out-of-state for surgery and then staying in a hotel after being cut open, that sounded really scary to me. But it was fantastic! There’s a group of women who advocate for this particular procedure called the TAC. And they really helped to prepare me. It’s just a great sisterhood to be a part of, and Dr. Haney is a saint for helping all of us.
Kate: So, when you say TAC, is that an acronym? What does that stand for?
Kathryn: Yeah, TAC, T-A-C stands for transabdominal cerclage.
Kate: Okay. So, there’s a Facebook group?
Kathryn: Probably the best group to get information about that procedure is called Abbyloopers, and their website is abbyloopers.org, A-B-B-Y-L-O-O-P-E-R-S.org.
Kate: Great! Thank you for sharing that information. So, then you healed from that, and everything went okay after that?
Kathryn: Not quite. I thought that we would be able to jump right back into fertility and do a frozen embryo transfer. Unfortunately, I noticed that my vision changed. So, I went to the doctor because why wasn’t I seeing? After lots of trial and error and looking into different things, it turned out that I had a very small, benign tumor on my optic nerve. And, I didn’t know enough back then to know of alternative methods. I did ask the oncologist, “Are there alternatives to radiation for this?” He said, “No.” There were not. I don’t know what happened to my advocacy-self, but I think I was just scared because my vision had changed, and I couldn’t see.
Kate: I’m thinking through this as you’re saying it. And, I think it’s so important if you can’t advocate for yourself, to have someone else who can advocate for you. If you are in the hospital, have someone there the entire time!
Kathryn: Yes, absolutely. My mother and my husband were champions for me. But, we were still inside of a conventional paradigm. That’s kind of where … I don’t know that I failed. I mean that’s where I was at that time. But, I advocated for myself within that conventional paradigm.
So, I did end up having radiation for that tumor. Then after that, I had a wait period. Then, we were able to pursue fertility, and I did, in fact, then have my twin daughters.
Kate: Wow! How exciting to have twins!
Kathryn: It was very exciting.
Treating rashes through homeopathy
Kate: Okay. So, let’s talk a little bit about where in that period of time you learned about homeopathy.
Kathryn: Sure. So just like Joette says, new mom really wants to make sure she’s doing the right thing for her children. Certainly, I had fought very hard to have these girls. I wanted to do the best by them. So, when my daughters were about a year old, one of them developed this really horrible diaper rash. It wasn’t minor. It was down her legs and up her backside and really painful for her. I tried lots and lots of naturopathic things. After a month and a half or so, it just was not gone, and it was getting worse. So, I loaded her up, and we drove an hour away to our pediatrician (because I can’t just have a pediatrician close by, of course, in particular).
The nurse practitioner looked at it and she said, “Well, have you done this? And I said, “Yes.” “Have you done this?” And I said, “Yes.” She went through this list of naturopathic things. I had done all of them. She said, “Well, you’ve done everything I would recommend. So, at this point, we really need to go ahead and give her a steroid cream.”
I know I hear everybody gasping, but I didn’t know and my child was in pain! So, I took the prescription for the steroid cream. We went home, and it was the tiniest little tube. (I look back and that was such a blessing.) But, I applied the cream and sure enough, that rash started improving. It did not go away by any means, but it started improving. Just when I thought we might be over a hump of it going away, the tube of cream ran out! So, in the time that I had to wait for the doctor’s office to call in to refill — and the pharmacy — the rash came back with a vengeance. Kate, I think it was literally a one-day delay. But it came back horribly! I went ahead and applied the second tube, and we went through it, and it never made a dent in the rash. It just remained really terrible. I’m so thankful for that, but I didn’t know that then.
So, I thought, “Well, if I take her back to the pediatrician, she already told me the next step would be giving her an oral antifungal.” I thought, “I don’t want to give her this oral antifungal. She’s a baby!” So, I really wasn’t sure what to do, but my child was still in pain. My husband said, “Look, take her to the doctor tomorrow and take her to a real doctor,” which is pretty funny because he knows that I would have gone through a naturopathic doctor or the chiropractor or, if I could have found it, a witch doctor — anybody besides back to the pediatrician because I did not want to give that oral antifungal.
Kathryn: So, I had my marching orders. Take her to a real doctor. Then I remembered, “Hey, there’s a real doctor who’s not very far. (Real meaning he’s an MD.) He practiced something called “homeopathy.” I don’t really know a ton about that, but it’s not going to be a prescription for the oral antifungal. And, it meets my husband’s criteria of a real doctor.” So, off we went.
Kate: Did your husband know that you were taking her to an MD homeopath?
Kathryn: No! No, I didn’t tell him. I did say, “Guess I’ll go to a real doctor.” So, we went. I took her to the real doctor, this homeopath. He asked a few questions. Well, actually pretty in-depth questions, and they were difficult to answer because she was 14 months old — and he’s a classical homeopath. So, it was pretty hard to answer those questions about my 14-month-old’s preferences. Anyhow, he asked questions. Then he did do an overall exam, listening to her and looking at her. Then he went over to his cabinet. And he opened a little bottle of something. (I think they were like Number 10 pillules — they were so small.) He put a few on a piece of paper and made it like a funnel, and he opened her mouth; put them in, and he said, “Okay, there you go.” I thought, “What do you mean, ‘There you go’?” I said, “Okay, so do I give this to her twice a day or a few times a day?” He said, “No. That’s it.” I said, “What do you mean that’s it?” He said, “That’s it. That should take care of it. If you need me, you can email me next week.”
Kate: Meanwhile, are you thinking in your head, “My husband is going to say, ‘What in the world?’”
Kathryn: Yes! We went and checked out, and I paid. So yeah, I drove home, and I thought, “My husband is going to be so angry with me. What have I done? I just got taken for a ride.” Because I didn’t really have experience with homeopathy, I didn’t really know what it was. I just knew I was trying to avoid that prescription medication. So, got home … I had to admit to my husband what I’d done. He wasn’t very happy with me, but it was bedtime, so we all went to bed. So, we woke up the next morning and I eagerly went in there and took her diaper off. Holy cow! That rash that had persisted horribly for over two months was 50% diminished.
Kathryn: I could not believe it. I called my husband in there, and we just kind of stared in disbelief. That was on a Tuesday. By Thursday, it was totally gone!
Kate: Oh, my goodness!
Kathryn: I was floored. I was astounded. I thought I have got to know what that was. I couldn’t believe it.
Kate: Right. So, did you call him?
Kathryn: No. I dashed off an email to him saying, “You won’t believe this!” But of course, he did.
Learning about Joette
Kathryn: I had a friend at church who I knew used homeopathy. She and I started talking about it and looking at things. That was really over my head. There was so much minutia involved. I got a couple of books that were for moms and things to help with infants and children. I could kind of navigate through, but I didn’t have a ton of success. I didn’t really know what I was looking for. I certainly didn’t have anything as grand as that rash that disappeared in four days, but then this friend came across Joette. So, she said, “I’ve got to show you this stuff.” So, she introduced me to Joette’s website and to the Banerji stuff. Wow! I could do that. I could learn that stuff. It really was distilled in a way that I could understand, and I could start using right away. But, it wasn’t really just homeopathy that Joette taught me. I think what Joette did was she came in line of a lot of other people who had prepared me, and Joette really gave me this message of freedom. I can be in charge of myself, truly. I really could do it. I really could take care of my family myself. That was huge!
Kate: Yeah, that’s what you had been looking for all along. Talking about advocating for yourself — this is the ultimate!
Kathryn: Absolutely. Absolutely, it is. There are times when — going back to that idea of parameters — you know, have to know what our situation is. Then within that, what are our choices?
Kate: Which leads us right back to what you were saying in the beginning which is freedom.
Kathryn: Absolutely. When my friend introduced me to Joette’s website, I actually went all-in. I joined a study group. I purchased several of her courses. And, I started working with her one-on-one to learn more about homeopathy.
Kate: That is all-in!
Kathryn: It is. I don’t think that’s typical. But, that was perfect for me because doing each one of those things sharpened what I was doing in the other areas. So, I could hear something in a study group and talk to other experienced moms. And then I could listen and learn in the course I was taking, and then have a one-on-one conversation with Joette and say, “Now wait a second. What did you mean by this or what about in this situation?” So, I was just learning a ton.
Kate: So, let me ask you a question here because a lot of moms ask me, so should I take a course? Should I join a study group? Should I consult with Joette? They’re trying to figure out what’s the best way to go about this. What do you recommend?
Kathryn: I think it probably depends on where everybody is individually, where they’re at. The reason that I started consulting with Joette was because I was desperate. I had something I like to call “Monster Mom.” I think other women can relate, but mine was really, really bad. I mean I had done five rounds of IVF at that point. Those are heavy duty drugs, lots of hormones, injections, I mean all sorts of things. My daily life really reflected that.
I had these precious daughters that I wanted and treasured. Yet, I would find myself screaming and just being ridiculous, throwing things across the room and saying mean things. It’s totally not me. I mean, I am a Christian woman and I love the Lord, and that is not how I act or how I conduct myself. Yet, it was happening all the time with more and more frequency. I was overwhelmed with life, and I just couldn’t get it together. So, I had tried all the naturopathic things. I had done all the fancy testing. I had done all the supplements and all the natural hormones. I had done prescription hormones. I had success with all of that stuff for about a month. Each new thing would be about a month. Then Monster Mom would come back and throw her head back and laugh and say “Nope!” She’s still there, and she’s still in charge.
So, I was really desperate. My family was desperate. We needed something. Monster Mom needed to be slayed. That actually is why I said I don’t have time to learn this fast enough — because I think I could have learned it, particularly with the Feminopathy course. I could have learned it. But we were desperate, and I needed to work with Joette to get a grip on it right away. She did in fact teach me what I needed to know. Not only was Monster Mom slain, but then this is pretty funny, Kate. A few months later, I realized, “My goodness, I haven’t had a period in quite a while. Huh, I wonder why not?” But we’ve never had a natural pregnancy, so I just didn’t really track my cycles. So, I didn’t think much of it. But then another week went by and another week went by, and I thought, “My goodness, where is my cycle?” I kind of worked myself into a frenzy. I thought, “This is it. My body has given up on me at 37.”
Kate: Oh no!
Kathryn: “I must be full-blown diabetic.” Because I had been trying to uproot some insulin resistance in me, and I had decided, “Well, forget it! The homeopathy I was using didn’t act, and I’m full blown diabetic, and my body just isn’t having periods anymore.” I realized finally, “I need to go talk to my doctor — because if I really am diabetic, I need to do something. But before I go, I know the first stuff will be taking a pregnancy test. So, let me get that out of the way.”
I woke my husband up at two in the morning because I was frantic. I said, “You have to go to the 24-hour store right now and get a test.” He said, “No. It’s two in the morning.” I said, “You have to go! I’m freaking out!” So, he is such a great husband. He got up and he went at two in the morning.
Kate: Wow! Wow!
Kathryn: You know what? He came home, Kate, and I was asleep.
Kate: Oh no! Oh my gosh! Oh, my goodness.
Kathryn: So anyway, I woke up the next morning, and I took that test. I could not believe it. It was positive. I was pregnant. We had been married at that point 13 years. It was the first natural conception that we have had without IVF. I wasn’t working on fertility, but that happened. It was great!
Kate: What a testimony to the fact that when you take the right remedies, it just fixes things that you’re not even intending to work on. But, it really works on your whole body.
Kathryn: Yeah. So, the remedy that I had used was Sepia. I think a lot of people know that’s my all-time favorite remedy because it did slay Monster Mom in me. But then I got this little baby, my little Sepia baby.
Kathryn: You know, Kate? That threw me into, “Okay, what am I going to do now? Because I’m pregnant, and I do have that permanent transabdominal cerclage. That means that I absolutely have to have a C-section. There’s no other option.” I knew that when I had that placed, but that was okay with me because live babies were better than babies who passed away.
Kathryn: But, that meant I need a lot of interventions. I couldn’t have a home birth. I couldn’t go to a birthing center. I couldn’t even just have a vaginal birth at the hospital. I had to have a C-section. So, I was pregnant with this surprise Sepia baby, and I was overjoyed. But at the same time, I was really nervous. This was my tenth pregnancy. So, in all of my previous pregnancies, I had had hyperemesis gravidarum, — which I think a lot of moms know, that’s not just a little bit of morning sickness. That’s really, really severe vomiting and losing fluids. I would always end up in the ER and even hospitalized because I had it so terribly in all my previous pregnancies. So, while I was excited about this little surprise Sepia baby, I was pretty nervous about that. I had decided previously that in future pregnancies, my plan would be to get weekly IV fluids to help prevent dehydration. I would take whatever drugs they were giving for nausea and vomiting because I was trying to avoid ER and hospital. I was even thinking, “You know, I guess I’ll just get a port. So that I can have these medicines given to me very easily because I know I need them all the time.”
Kathryn: I mean that’s how severe it was. But, I had a consult with Joette. I told her my fear. She said, “Why don’t you consider looking at these remedies?” The first one, it didn’t work for me. The second one didn’t work for me. I thought, “Oh no! This isn’t going to work. I’m going to have to use drugs.” And the third one — oh my gosh! It just stopped! I was done. I was done throwing up. I felt totally fine. I couldn’t believe it. That lasted for four days. Then the hyperemesis came back.
Kate: Okay, so now what?
Kathryn: Yeah, then what? So, I tried another remedy, and that was it. I took it twice a day for a few weeks. Then I didn’t even need it anymore.
Kate: And that was it? You were done?
Kathryn: That was it!
Kate: Oh, my goodness.
Kathryn: It was night and day. I couldn’t believe it. I could not believe it, because that was such a serious concern in all my previous pregnancies.
Kathryn: So, I did; I had this drug-free pregnancy. I only used homeopathy and nutrient-dense food. It was fantastic. So, I knew I would need a C-section. But, I still wanted to be in charge of how my care went — even with the C-section. So, I started really researching what needed to happen, and what I wanted, and what standard procedures were, and was that okay with me. Was that what I wanted?
Kate: By this time, you’re gaining confidence in using homeopathy, right, because you’ve seen it work so many times.
Kathryn: Yes, absolutely, because in addition to chronic stuff that I had been able to uproot, I still had these little girls and husband and at that time two dogs. I was helping take care of their needs left and right with homeopathy. I really, I was able to abandon all other modalities that I had been using because homeopathy took care of it. I just didn’t need anything else anymore.
Kathryn: So, one of the first things that I realized was what a blessing it was that my husband and I decided to not carry medical insurance. So, we didn’t have limitations and boundaries that insurance companies often place over which doctors or which facilities or how procedures have to go. We are part of a healthcare ministry where we share costs. But, that puts us in the driver’s seat. So, that was a huge blessing that we had already made that decision a couple of years prior. And then I was able to choose the physician I wanted. So, I chose the physician who has decades of experience. He’s closer to the end of his career than the beginning. He’s at the top of his field. There’s nowhere else for him to climb. So, he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. The other thing that was important to me was that he has lots of years of experience to remember when things used to be done a little bit differently.
One example is, currently if somebody goes in for a surgical procedure at a hospital, every surgical patient gets prophylactic antibiotics. Period. The end. That’s the story. That’s true for C-sections, as well. There actually can be good reason for that. But, I have a really unique situation in that I’m not allowed to go into labor because of my transabdominal cerclage. My cervix won’t change — and, and, and, and. So, there are other things that are really particular to me that I was able to research and realized — in my opinion, for myself — I don’t want those antibiotics. And because my surgeon didn’t have anything to prove, and he could remember when that wasn’t the standard procedure, he was fine with me signing a declination form for no antibiotics. So, that was one aspect.
Another aspect was I really had to know the actual surgical procedure. They use chlorhexidine to do an incision site preparation now. Well, that’s an antibiotic. I didn’t want that! So instead, I was able to say, “Hey, remember when they used to do the old Betadine preps? I want an old Betadine prep. Then when you close, just close the fascia and then give me a Betadine bath for two or three minutes. Then close the skin this way.” But, I had to learn all of that, Kate.
Kate: Oh, my goodness! Wow!
Kathryn: I had to do a lot of research. I had to talk to lots of medical people. Fortunately, because of my mother, I have access to lots of older nurses and old L&D people who remember how things used to be. But, you really have to learn what’s going on. Just because something is a standard procedure now, it doesn’t mean that that’s the best thing for you and your situation. So, you’ve got to be willing to dig in and look at that.
Another aspect of my pregnancy was, well, I had to deal with the hospital. They have consent forms. Have you ever read any of those consent forms?
Kate: Oh yes! Actually, because whether it’s a dentist or any medical professional, they want you to sign lots of forms, right?
Kathryn: Absolutely. So, I had to jump through hoops to get a copy of the consent prior to my surgery day. Can you believe that? They said, “Well, what do you need these for?” I said, “Well, it’s 23 pages. I can’t read that the morning of my surgery.” So, I got them a couple of months ahead of time, and I read through them, and they’re shocking! There are shocking things in those consent forms.
Kate: Kathryn, you are amazing!
Kathryn: Well, thank you. I don’t think the hospital felt that way.
Kate: I know. It’s as if when you question, and you say, “I want to read these,” they’re shocked first of all. And then they act as if, “Why would you want to read these?” as if you’re crazy for questioning them and just not signing — which I do not understand.
Kathryn: Well, I’ll tell you, later on when I did go (the day of (to sign them), I said to the ladies in the room, “Hey, do you know it says this?” And they were shocked. They work there! It’s their job to get the consent signed, and they didn’t know that that’s what it said. One of the things it says is it’s at the hospital’s discretion what they do with any body fluid, tissue or body parts from surgery. They can dispose of it. They can do research on it. Or they can bank it — which frankly it means they’re going to sell it and make money on it. No, thank you! Not with my body parts! That was all throughout the consent forms. Not just the one you sign, but it’s all throughout the booklet.
Kate: So, did you cross things off of the consent form?
Kathryn: No. I contacted the Hospital Advocacy department. They assigned me my own personal advocate because I called so frequently. And, we worked with the hospital’s legal department, and they drew up personalized consent forms for me.
Kate: Oh! So, no one would think of this, right, that that’s even an option? You just think, “I don’t have an option. I have to do what they’re telling me.” But, that is amazing, Kathryn.
Kathryn: So, that goes back to what I said at the beginning: knowing the true parameters. If I had just read it and said, “Oh well, this is what it is,” I would never have known. Kudos to the hospital because they did work with me; they really were great. Other things in the consent forms that might be concerning to people who listen to Joette’s podcast: the consent forms will say that they’re allowed to have a vendor, a medical vendor in the operating room. No, thank you.
Kate: What is that? What is a medical vendor?
Kathryn: I think, probably, if there is a material used in the surgery, and it’s sold by a particular company that a rep from that company can be in the OR. Something else in the consents was that you can send to the procedure being photographed or videotaped. I asked, “Well, what is the purpose of that. Is it for training purposes? Do you de-identify me? What body parts would be shown?” And they didn’t know. I said, “Well, no thank you, just no videotaping or photography.”
There’s a pretty blanket statement that says I consent to standard protocols that hospitals employ being enacted. I don’t know what that means. Does that mean they automatically give a vitamin K injection? They automatically give erythromycin eye ointment? They automatically give a Hep B? I wanted to have control and choice over each of those things. So, having that general statement of standard procedure was concerning to me. Then the last thing that was pretty funny to me that I had taken out of my consents was saying that I consented to having creditors text message my cell phone. I said, “First off, I’m already paid up — because I paid cash and I paid ahead of time. So, that won’t be an issue. But, no thank you, they cannot send me texts.”
Kate: Oh, my goodness.
Kathryn: You have to read those consent forms and know what’s in them. I don’t know that every hospital or facility would be cooperative. But, it doesn’t hurt to ask — and ask more than once. Ask more than one department and go up the chain.
Kate: Right, if you don’t get the answers that you’re looking for, yep.
Kathryn: Another thing that I really had to battle with in my pregnancy was the newborn screen. You guys are probably familiar with that. They do a heel prick and test the baby for a set of genetic disorders. Every state handles that newborn screen differently. Some states test for 73 genetic disorders. Some states test for only 22 disorders. What are they testing for? Is that necessary? Then most importantly to me, what did they do with that blood sample?
And so, probably a lot of people just don’t do the newborn screening. I actually, as I researched it decided, yes, I did want to do that. Again, it’s about choice. So, it’s about me having the education and doing the research, doing a cost benefit analysis. I decided yes, I did want the newborn screen. However, what they do is they take a newborn blood sample, and they put it on a blood spot card. I had to find out what they did with that. I really had to dig. I spent a lot of hours talking to my state health department, getting different answers and varying answers that didn’t seem to all jive. So, I spent a lot of hours digging into that.
I found out that they send the blood spot cards to a research facility. They do the genetic screening and send the results out. Then they keep that blood spot card for 25 years, and they do research on it. They can do experimental research, or they can do control research — just to make sure that they’re sticking with good procedures. They even trade those blood samples with other states and other labs. I thought, “No way!”
So, what’s the alternative? If I don’t want my state to have my child’s blood sample for 25 years, what else can I do? Well, in Texas, you can opt out of that. However, that’s all they tell you. They don’t tell you that if you sign the opt-out form, they still keep it, and test it for two years.
Kate: It’s like a false statement that you can opt out. It’s not really opting out.
Kathryn: That’s absolutely correct. I then said to the state, “Okay, well if someone opts out, when you do destroy it, what are you destroying?” They said they destroy the blood spot card. I said, “What about results from any testing?” They said, “No.” They don’t destroy the results from any testing. It was unclear whether they de-identify any results that they got from that blood spot card. So, I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but it just doesn’t seem like a good idea to me for the state to keep my child’s blood. You could go into a million what-ifs. But at the end of the day, if they don’t have the blood, there is no what-ifs. Kate, I come back to, I wanted that newborn screen. So, what could I do? Well, what I could do is I could do it privately.
Kathryn: I found an organization, actually, that was responsible in my state for increasing the number of genetic tests that are run because they had had a son who had passed away from poor screening. So, I was able to purchase, very inexpensively, a private newborn screen kit that is superior to the number of tests that my state runs. I took that thing to the hospital, and they would not use it. It was a disaster because they didn’t know what forms to have me sign. They wanted me to sign a religious declination form that I had religious reasons I was refusing the newborn screen. I said I’m not refusing the newborn screen. We are, in fact, doing the newborn screen. They didn’t know what to do with me. Honestly, I don’t know what happened. I think they probably just wrote patient refuses to sign and put it in my folder. But anyway, they didn’t get my baby’s blood. So, then I went off the next week to our pediatrician. She pulled the blood sample, and I got to use my private newborn kit.
Kate: This is all so fascinating. I am so proud of you that you stuck to what you believed in, and you didn’t just go with what they said. But I’m sure there’s more, right?
Kathryn: There’s the actual C-section.
Kate: Okay, tell us about that.
Kathryn: So, I went in. I had again done research. I had actually spoken to several hospital pharmacists at my delivering hospital — several times — to have discussions about pharmacology, and the drugs that were typically used with the C-section. I had to meet with anesthesia ahead of time, too. So, I had this list of all these drugs that they typically use. There are a lot of drugs, Kate, that are just thrown at people when they go in for a C-section. I thought, “No, no, no, no, no, and no,” to a lot of them.
In particular, with my previous C-section when they do the spinal, they include a drug called Duramorph which is basically what keeps you pain free after the numbing wears off. But, I had a terrible allergic reaction to it. When I had my twins, I was hallucinating, and I was so itchy, and I couldn’t stop vomiting. I didn’t actually get to see my babies the first 24 hours because I was so sick. So, I knew in this C-section, I did not want to experience that. They couldn’t come up with an alternative for me. I said, “Well, then I’m just not having any. I guess it will really be just homeopathy.”
So, I went for my C-section. I had a special form that my surgeon (who’s wonderful) signed allowing me to use homeopathy in the OR. So, I did have bupivacaine which numbed me, so I wouldn’t feel the incision. They typically give a blood pressure medicine when they do that because the body automatically usually drops blood pressure. But the anesthesiologist was fine with me saying, “Let’s wait until I feel like I need it.” I will tell you that when I was on the table, I said to him, “How is my blood pressure?” He said, “Fine.” I said, “I don’t think so. You need to push that,” because I could tell I was crashing. Sure enough, by the time he got it, he said, “Oh yeah, you were dropping.” So, I did have those two drugs. Then at the end of my C-section, after the baby was taken out of me, I did have oxytocin — which I went back and forth about whether I should get or not. But because of my particular situation with my permanent cerclage, I did do a lot of research. I ended up deciding, yes, that was a good move for me. So, I had those three drugs.
Using remedies during and after surgery
So, during the surgery when I was on the table, I would have various symptoms that I needed homeopathy for. For example, I had terrible heartburn, and my husband would get out the
and give me a pellet. If I felt nauseous, he would give me Nux vomica. When I was anxious, for me, I like Argentum nitricum. So, he had all of these in his pocket. He was just dosing me. Again, I wasn’t doing it on the sly. That was very important to me to be upfront with everyone. So, I did have that permission form that my doctor had signed, so that the hospital was comfortable with me using these medicines.
I had a doula in the OR. She was another set of eyes and ears for me. She knew everything I wanted including how to prep me and how to close me. She had remedies in her pocket, too, in case my daughter needed remedies when she was born. She didn’t, but we were prepared. Some people thought I was way overprepared for my C-section. But you know, Kate, I disagree because I made this flowchart in my head of, “It could go this way or this way or this way or this way or this way, and if so then what?” So, I was prepared for any situation. I had a ton of remedies with me at the hospital. I had fleshed out all sorts of things. Even if I needed blood products, I wanted to have my husband’s blood. So, we looked into a directive donation. There were reasons that that ended up not working out. But, I mean really, I was prepared for whatever might happen. I had it covered.
Kate: And, can you really be over prepared? I don’t think so.
Kathryn: No, absolutely not. My husband likes to say, “We’re only going three hours from home. You don’t need to pack our whole house. We’re not going to a third world country.” I say, “Yeah, but the grocery store there doesn’t have this.”
Dealing with pain
So, that was my C-section, and it went great. The OR was great; the staff was incredible. I had this little baby that was a surprise baby! When the numbing agent wore off when I was in recovery, Kate, that was really bad. I had gone ahead before it wore off, and I had taken some of the remedies Joette suggests on her blog for surgery prep [and here]. I fully expected those to act. Maybe they did, but I was in a world of hurt. So, for about four hours, I would say my pain level was between a 9 and a 10. It was not improving at all with the various remedies that I was trying. You know, I think it’s really important to note that at that moment, I didn’t have time to get on the computer and ask other moms for help. I didn’t have time to get a book out. I needed some relief because I knew I could sit at a 5 or a 6 of pain, but I could not sit at a 9 or a 10. I didn’t want to. I had a new baby. I wanted to nurse and introduce to my other daughters and just enjoy my family. So, I did ask for my surgeon to come back, and we came up with a drug to help with pain. Then that was it. That took care of the pain I was experiencing. I was able to use homeopathy for other symptoms and other things that came up for me and the baby. In less than 48 hours, I was out of there. I said to the surgeon, “Hey, I didn’t have antibiotics. I got to get out of this hospital.” He said, “Yeah, go home!”
Kate: That’s funny.
Kathryn: I want to emphasize, Kate, that I didn’t just go rogue during my pregnancy and C-section. I did work with my doctor to have a plan. I wasn’t going to not address pain from being cut open or the potential for an infection there. I just had a different plan than what the conventional medical community was offering. When my doctor was unfamiliar with using homeopathy in that realm, he was so respectful. He even asked me for my specific remedies and plan to make sure I had one.
Kate: That’s great. It sounds like you had a fantastic doctor. I wish we could all have doctors that worked with us like that.
Kathryn: He really is one in a million.
Newborn remedies and some success stories
So, for my newborn, as soon as we got to recovery, I gave her a dose of Aconite 200 just to clear her from anything that she may have experienced. I knew that the bupivacaine was injected into me while I was still pregnant with her. So that was her first drug she ever received was that bupivacaine. Also, she was pretty jaundiced. They measured her, and whatever they measured, she wasn’t at a level where she needed further intervention — because I was ready for that fight, too. But instead, I said, “Well, I’ve got this Chelidonium 6X right here.” It was ready to go. I just administered that twice daily, and her jaundice cleared. It did take probably 10 days to clear it. But, it was pretty significant jaundice. I didn’t have to do anything else besides that Chelidonium 6X. It acted beautifully.
Kate: You have done an incredible job of preparing yourself. You must have done so much research. I know what it’s like to have the remedies on hand for every possible situation. That must have taken you so much time to prepare that, and to know all the what-ifs, and then here’s what I’m going to do if that situation arises.
Kathryn: It did. It took a lot of research. I had to go to the conventional medical world and say, “What happens if this; what happens if that; what typically occurs here; what typically occurs there?” because I was going to be in that world. I needed to know what I could do.
Kate: Yeah. I think if you’re going to be in that world, you do — you need to know what to expect because then you can be prepared. If you don’t know what to expect, how can you be prepared?
Kathryn: Right. And, you know, that’s true even outside of a hospital. Any birth, things are going to happen. So, be ready. We don’t have to be afraid of it, but we can be prepared.
Kate: Okay, so not only have you used homeopathy with your birth. Can you give us a list of the things that you’ve used homeopathy successfully for in your family?
Kathryn: Oh! That list is so long, Kate. We would need several podcasts to go over all my success stories. But, I can highlight a few. After my twins were born, I had de Quervain's syndrome — which is a tendonitis or sometimes it’s called “Mommy’s Thumb — in both my wrists. I ended up having — this was years ago — I had steroid injections that didn’t work on one hand. I ended up having surgery on that hand, which is a terrible surgery. But, I didn’t have any other alternatives at the time. Sure enough, after I delivered Rosemary a few months ago, that de Quervain's syndrome (tendonitis) showed up in the wrist that I had not had surgery on. But this time, I had homeopathy. So, instead of steroid injections and instead of surgery, I went right to my homeopathy kit, and I got the remedy I knew. I think it was three doses, and then it was done. It was taken care of. So, that was huge.
Another success recently, my mom was really sick. She finally went to the doctor. They diagnosed her with pneumonia and bronchitis and gave her a litany of prescriptions. She promptly put those away and called me and said, “Okay, what can I take?” I knew right what to give her for pneumonia and bronchitis. So, I took the remedies over to her. Within, I think, three days, she was all better and back at work. So, that was pretty big.
Kathryn: Also, I think just last month, my dad actually fell, and he hit his head and his eye on our driveway. And it was really severe, and he had a really awful gash. So, he had to go to the emergency room to get stitched up. While he was in the emergency room, my mom called and said, “Here’s what happened. I’m sending your brother to get homeopathy. Give him something.” So, I saw a picture of my dad’s eye. It was just so swollen closed. I mean it was like a grapefruit sitting on his face. It was terrible. I chose a combo remedy, and my brother picked it up and took it to the hospital. Within four hours, my dad’s eye was opened. The swelling was decreased. His eye was open. Within four days, it was almost totally gone. It was amazing. Looking at the pictures, it was spectacular. So, he needed to go to the hospital to get stitches, but we were still able to employ homeopathy in a helpful manner.
Annie and the Aconite; some diagnostic tools
Kate: And not only for humans have you used homeopathy, but with animals too.
Kathryn: Yes, absolutely. One time, our beloved little Annie, she’s about a 20-pound dog. Somehow, she got out of the house and ran into the street. All I heard was my husband yelling, “Annie’s been hit!” My heart stopped. He ran outside and then ran back in carrying our dog. She’s been hit by a car. I could not think what to do. I was so overwhelmed. So, automatically, that muscle memory kicked in. I grabbed the Aconite. I took a dose, and I gave the dog a dose of Aconite. Then I was able to be calm and think through. “Okay, what do I need to do?”
So, my husband and I did do an exam on her because we are well-equipped with diagnostic tools in our home. So, I did that immediately and then at 10 minutes. And then I went ahead, and I did call the vet. I was able to report to the vet, “Hey, I did these assessments. This is what I’m seeing. Do we need to come in?” The vet was completely comfortable with the assessment I had done and saying no. I did monitor her. Of course, I was giving her Arnica, but she was totally fine. Now, she may be could not have been if she had been hit differently. But, I was able to take care of her in that situation with homeopathy.
Kate: When you talk about diagnostic tools, what do you recommend to have on hand?
Kathryn: Certainly, have a stethoscope and know how to use it on people and animals. You would want to have something to look at pupil dilation quickly — not just the flashlight you have to go dig around for, so I like the eye light. Certainly, an otoscope is important, a blood pressure cuff. Then you want things like tongue depressors and urine dipsticks and rapid strep tests, a glucometer. Those are all the things that I think are necessary just for a basic home diagnostic tool kit.
Kate: There’s a lot of ways to learn how to use those things nowadays with the internet. There are a lot of classes that you can take online or even just YouTube.
Kate: So, Kathryn, I feel like we could go on and on and on. I just want to sit here and listen to you and learn more. But, let’s wrap today’s conversation up by just talking again about that freedom. Just give our listeners one final thought about the freedom that you have with the knowledge that you have gained.
Kathryn: The overarching theme that homeopathy has brought my family is definitely freedom — freedom to research, freedom to decide which course of action is best for us. I recently heard a doctor tell somebody that with the medications he was taking, even one drop of alcohol would become toxic. I know that the patient heard that doctor say that and thought, “Oh wow, definitely no more alcohol for him ever again.” But what I thought was, “Are you kidding? What kind of drugs is that man putting in his body everyday that makes a normal beverage toxic to him?” So, I think that we really have to be willing to have that paradigm switch. We have to be willing to think about things differently, and ask, “How can we get freedom?” Are we truly living on our terms the way that we want to? So, we have to question and examine from different paradigms. With homeopathy, I don’t have to be a slave to any one paradigm at all. I’m in charge.
Kate: Kathryn, thank you so much for sharing all of this information with us. I learned so much tonight. I feel like we could go on and on and even have a part two podcast. Maybe we will someday. I don’t know. But thank you again.
Kathryn: Thank you so much for having me and thank you to this community and for Joette educating us and giving us this freedom. It’s a huge blessing!
Kate: You just listened to a podcast from practicalhomeopathy.com where nationally certified homeopath, public speaker, and author, Joette Calabrese shares her passion for helping families stay strong through homeopathy and nutrient-dense nutrition. Joette’s podcasts are available on iTunes, Google Play, Blueberry, Stitcher, and TuneIn radio.
Thank you for listening to this podcast with Joette Calabrese. To learn more and find out if homeopathy is a good fit for your health strategy, visit practicalhomeopathy.com.