Sushmita (name changed) a 33-year-old female suffered from systemic sclerosis since 7 years. In the past, she tried various forms of treatment, but they would provide only temporary relief. She was consuming a lot of allopathic medicines like Glucocorticoids and Methotrexate (Cytotoxic) along with anti-inflammatory drugs. She came to our clinic with multiple complaints and worries.
On detailed case study, we found that she had severe dry irritating cough that did not respond to any anti-allergens or antibiotics. She suffered due to breathlessness, severe pain, swelling and deformities of the finger joints that restricted her daily activities. She had excruciating body aches and joint pains in all long bones in spite of taking painkillers 2 – 3 times a day. Sushmita used to have severe burning in the chest and regurgitation of food with burning in esophagus after her meals. Gradually there were increasing levels of irritability, anger, anxiety, fear and depression.
A Computerized tomography (CT scan) of her lungs was advised that revealed changes suggestive of interstitial lung disease. Thorough general physical examination revealed pallor, bilateral edema on the legs, thickening and darkening of skin on the hands and fingers, deformed finger joints and telangectasia on the face.
A complete blood analysis with Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR), ASO titre, C-reactive protein (CRP) and other blood tests were also advised. Her reports affirmed — ESR 21 mm / hr (normal range 18mm / hr), ASO titre - 200 (positive test usually is >200 units/mL) and CRP was negative.
On further investigation it showed that her sleep was very disturbed. She had repetitive nightmares of ghosts, robbers, accidents and dead relatives. Further probing revealed that she had an intense fear of her own death and her family member's death. She had also been a fervent smoker since 10 years. On the basis of her symptoms and state of mind, we prescribed her Stramonium 200. This was in May 2007. We asked her to taper her conventional medication from June 2007 and she eventually stopped them by August' 07.
A remarkable improvement was noticed in her, right from the beginning. All pain in the long bones and major joints substantially reduced during the first month itself. Her ‘chronic' cough disappeared by the second month and breathlessness improved to a great extent. She began to eat well. Her general health enormously became better; the edema on her legs subsided. Her anxiety reduced, she would get a sound sleep in the night and could perform all her daily chores at home with great ease.