Case of Cancer of Liver. Case of Supposed Cirrhosis of Liver, declared incurable.
THE next are two somewhat similar cases and to these I devote the first portion of this chapter as affording equally important evidence of the truth of my statements.
Both of the patients had been attended by a number of doctors in Southampton.
The first is that of an artist of good repute, whose name, as well as those of the practitioners connected with his case, I suppress for obvious reasons.
On October 29, 1898, I received a letter from this gentleman’s wife, from which the subjoined are extracts:
“Perhaps you will remember whilst in southampton attending me and bringing me as I thought at the time from the brink of the grave. I wish now to put Mr. M.’s case before you, as no doctor here nor the specialist in London, Dr. M.B., has done any good. At the end of May Mr. M. had jaundice, but got fairly well again in two months, able to walk eight miles. Then as the weather changed he took cold and has been very ill over two months, not able to take any solid food without suffering agonies of pain after it, and is now starving from want, getting thinner and weaker every day.
“Dr. M.B., the specialist, thought there might be a gall-stone; the doctors here a growth or tumour.”
The letter went on to ask if I thought it possible to do him any good.
Few particulars as to symptoms having been given, I relied more upon past experience in sending him down Ornith. Umbel. O A., which he took October 30. On November 2, his wife reported unfavourably; he had had one of his bad attacks of acidity which left him more prostate than any of the preceding ones; no appetite whatever, takes only a little arrowroot. “To-day he had not been able to touch anything until 4 o’clock p.m., when he took part of an egg beaten up, but without appetite. “I am really afraid,” she goes on to say, ” he is sinking; he has got very thin and looks dreadfully ill.”
The letter went on to request my coming to see him, which I did a few days afterwards, but in the meantime sent down the better indicated remedy, Iris versicolor O A., and on November 4 report came in ” Mr. M. took the powder at 9 this morning, and found it working till 3 o’clock this afternoon, when he was sick naturally, an unusual thing for him; the vomit was slightly acid and yellow, about a teacupful. He is feeling very weak this evening, having been in bed four days and taking no nourishment through the stomach, and he does not feel inclined to take it, being only supported by suppositories.”
The assurance of the patient that he felt the remedy to be acting, followed by a change of symptoms, in this case a natural sickness, is proof that the selection was the right one.
After this, improvement continued; the dose was repeated in a week and proved too violent in its action to be pleasant for the patient’s comfort; when disturbance from it ceased, as it did in some hours, improvement again set in for a few days.
The subsequent progress of the case was somewhat checked by a severe cold with feverishness, and on November 27, I again called to see him and was much struck by his jaundiced appearance. This jaundice I ascertained had never really left him since he was seized with it in May. I found the stomach distended, with clearness of percussion over the duodenum except where the left globe of the liver appeared to overlap it, which led me to suspect a carcinomatous growth coming from the under surface of the liver. The patient expressed himself as having been so far wonderfully relieved; he had been, her said, in agonies of pain for two weeks before adopting my treatment, and had almost wholly lived during this time on food suppositories.
The presence of jaundice and the exacerbation of the symptoms on dark, misty days, led me to select Calendula off. O A. for him, and after this steady, uninterrupted improvement went on.
Thus, on December 2, his son writes” ” I think since Mr. M. has taken the powder the jaundice is much better; anyway his colour is much better. There is nothing unusual, as far as we can see, except that the bowels have acted twice a day for the last three days, but have not acted to-day, and his appetite has improved a great deal. This improvement is still maintained, and he has practically left off (food) suppositories.
On December 4, I repeated the Calendula without any disturbance whatever, and towards the close of December I gave him continuous doses of Ferrum picricum 6th dec. in tablets, and subsequently in drops, and without in any way disturbing the continued improvement.
From this absence of disturbance I conclude the greater part of the disease had by this time disappeared.
On February 5, of 1899, the patient himself writes: ” I am still progressing, having been out and walking about two or three miles, my legs aching a little, but otherwise doing well,” and his letter goes on: “Now, Sir, I again thank you for your marvellous treatment. Friends seeing me down town think it is my ghost, or else I could not have been so bad as was reported. But I find,” he goes on, ” there is a great prejudice against your system and I wish to testify all I can to its great efficacy.”
I care little what nomenclature may be chosen for this man’s disease; his abdomen had not been opened into like that of Murrell in the Cancer Hospital, and hence no one can be absolutely certain whether cancer was present or not. But one thing is perfectly certain, and this is that ordinary treatment had altogether failed to afford relief, and that at the present time the patient is in every respect in the enjoyment of good health. Beyond a unit dose of Senecio Doronicum in February, he was not had a particle of medicine sine the above report was made, and is now quite well.
The next Southampton case is equally interesting; I was telegraphed for on February 10, 1899, to see W. H. M., aged 59, a gentleman connected with the Commissariat Department of the Royal Navy, and supposed to be dying of cirrhosis of the liver. I saw him in the evening of February 10 in the presence of, thought not in consultation with, his medical attendant; one of the oldest and most experienced practitioners in the town. I then learned these particulars; twenty-three years ago W.H.M. had had ague in Bombay, had got well, but in 1877 went to Malta when it returned, and has had indefinite symptoms of it ever since. Two years ago was operated on for piles, which he had had since 1882. There is no history of any irregular habits. Present attack began a month ago by his bringing up black blood from his stomach, followed by great pain during the night and next morning, and since then has had occasional sickness, the last time two weeks ago. He has a burning pain all over the chest, under the ribs, and especially round the navel, but present as well throughout the abdomen, with excessive nausea and disinclination for food. Is being entirely fed by the bowel, sleep restless and suffers from pressure across the forehead. Urine natural.
On examination I found the liver decidedly small, with dullness and hardness in front of the left lobe, but without much distension of the stomach. I left as medicine a drop or two of an acetous tincture of Lobelia Inflate in a tumbler of water, with orders to take a dessert spoonful every third hour.
This evidently disturbed him, and the report came in next day of general upset and constant pain in hepatic region, and in the left side as well, with increased nausea and sickness; a suffocating feeling and tightness in the chest; to all of which I replied that he must go on to the unit dose, and that he was not to expect benefit from it for some days. The selection made was Crocus Sativus, which was taken February 12, and soon after the sickness left, but on 18th the complained of pain all over the body under the arm pits, in shoulder blades, up the spine and across the abdomen, with burning on right side, worse round the navel and upwards; from all of which I inferred that the disease was giving out, and consequently I left him without medicine. On the 20th there came in a very good report food was keeping down and the pain was gone. In this way he went on making good progress, so much so that on March 3 he thus wrote: ” My first letter must be to you tell you that under God’s good providence your skillful treatment of my case, so far, has been attended with great success. You will, I know, be as pleased to hear, as I am to tell you, that I am progressing most favourably, have an excellent appetite and enjoy my food, leaving off invariably with an appetite.”
Finding such remarkable progress to have been made, I considered there could be no harm, as in the last case, in giving a tablet of Ferrum picricum, 6th dec., every fourth hour, but with the precaution that if he found it upsetting him in any way he was to discontinue it immediately.
5 This I did as the rapid change that had taken place in his symptoms convinced me we dealing with something very different from ordinary cirrhosis of the liver, and that the growth from the left lobe of the liver was accompanied by a non-cirrhotic shrinkage of the hepatic substance.
The warning was justified by events, for though he did not begin taking the tablets till 8 p.m., at 7 a.m. of the next day copious diarrhoea set in and great prostration due, as I considered, to the too free elimination of morbid material. Naturally the Ferrum pic. tablets were stopped and medicine again discontinued.
Improvement at once set in, and on March 7 patient wrote: ” I am feeling much better, and everyone tells me they see a great improvement within the last week.” The letter went on to say that appetite and sleep were good flatulent pains had left, food was digesting, and except that this legs were weak and his feet and last symptoms I pointed out to him was evidence that the emunctories of the system were at work and the absorbents thrown into increased activity. This proved to be the case, and these swellings soon went down and without the development of any kidney complication.
On March 24 reports: Getting on very well. Swelling of the feet going down, but toes are swollen. Has some scalding pains spreading up from the knees in the muscles with sensitiveness to the touch, and yet a feeling of deadness in them. Bowels were disturbed ( from a chill?) yesterday, stools light-coloured and liquid, and sometimes only flatulent expulsions. Crocus sativus O A. was now given, and on March 28 his daughter wrote:
” My father is too unwell to write to you. On Sunday he got your letter and dose and took the latter at 1 o’clock p.m. Bowels were disturbed 9.30 p.m. same day, and next day at 1.30 and 8.30 a.m., and several times during the day and again this morning.
” All day yesterday he was feeling most miserable; achy, oppressive and drowsy, so much so that he was unable to take anything after his tea at 5 p.m., All through the night he has been in much pain, passing wind, and woke up during the night feeling very sick, with sudden rush of salt water in his mouth; the sickness he managed to stave off, but early this morning it again came on, and he threw up about three pints of very sour and acid stuff. Has had heartburn yesterday and all night, and now severe acid eructations.”
The writer goes on:
” He cannot help thinking the medicines you give him are somewhat too strong for a weak stomach and frame such as his, but of course you know best; he merely wanted to let you know his stomach has always been very weak, and he was never been robust. You will probably get this letter early this afternoon, and if necessary telegraph instructions.”
In reply to this I sent a dose of Camphor bromide, 3rd dec., and on April 10 had up a report that for the last day or two he had been much troubled with flatulence and a feeling of soreness and of tightness across the abdomen and the waist, with a full feeling in the chest, and a hot burning sensation in the passages; the swelling of the feet and legs had disappeared for twenty days. Also, the report went on to say that after the Camphor bromide he had had a good night, but much pain and indigestion up to the 3rd and 4th of April (about which time I ordered him a teaspoonful of castor oil every morning), and that since then he had been considerably relieved.
On April 26 patient was able to come up to town by himself to see me, a different man in every respect from what he had been in February; then he was lying prostrate, all medicinal treatment having been discontinued, his state being considered hopeless, and being fed entirely by the bowel; now, though thin, he was sturdy and strong, and able with ease to take this long journey unattended.
As he suffered from a faint, weak feeling before food, and heat and soreness in the pit of the chest, with tendency to looseness of the bowels, I gave a dose of Ornithog. umbel., and he has remained perfectly well ever since. Not a single dose of medicine has he required from that day (April 26, 1899) to this (May, 1900)
It will be evident to the intelligent reader that in dealing with the cancerous affections of the pylorus and adjoining regions we have to do with disease that are very easily acted on, so easily that the difficulty is to dislodge them in a way commensurate with the patient’s safety. Thus in the first of these two cases, that of the artist, I have since been told by him that shortly after I took him in hand after the dose of Iris versic he brought up quite a fair sized pail full of dark glutinous matter, while in that of W.H.M. it is evident that an unmistakable intolerance existed to all but unit doses.
Now when men in an advanced stage of disease go bringing up pails full of thick grumous material it is evident that the process must be very exhausting, and not only so, but that if the channels through which this material has to find an outlet get blocked, a condition obtains that is incompatible with life.
And this is a danger that is present in all advanced types of these diseases; the patients may die though beneficially acted upon. My contention, therefore, is that these diseases can be easily acted upon, and that in our anxiety to bring about recovery, stimulated of course by the same desire on the part of the patient, we must not endeavour to hasten recovery by undue repetition of the remedy.
A very good instance of this is afforded by cancers of the gullet. Here we get an obstruction produced by the narrowing influence of the cancer upon the lumen of the oesophagus. The very moment the remedy acts, as remedies very easily act, upon the affection, a quantity of phlegm, often very offensive, comes away, and the chance for the patient depends upon his allowing this action to expend itself upon the disease. If therefore the physician, blind to Nature’s warning, repeats his doses under the old and spacious plea “of its being necessary to push the remedy,” he will inevitably hasten the death of his patient. And the more related the dose has been to the disease, the more necessary is it observe this warning.
What, then, is the upshot of the whole matter? It is this, that in the diseases of which I have just given examples, the struggle at elimination of the diseased products has almost as much to do with the obstinacy of human nature as with the intractability of the disease to be treated.
Facts are facts, and progress in medicine depends upon putting a right estimate upon these facts, and deducting from them legitimate inferences.
I claim for these facts and the attendant inferences an important and a power that is provable by the existence in this life of these three men, in the enjoyment of perfect health, who had been declared by leading authorities to be, each one of them, in a dying condition: I refer now to Mr. Murrell, the Southampton artist, and to W.H.M.