I have decided what being in my situation feels like. It is like being at a party, the best party you can imagine, a children’s party and there is a game of musical chairs. The music has stopped and everyone, but me, has managed to find a chair. All eyes are on me – it is my time to stop playing. But I don’t want to. I am having fun. I am happy. I don’t want to stop playing and I definitely don’t want to leave the party. The silence of the halted music rings in my ears and the anticipated looks of the other invitees all looking and waiting to see if I will leave (as one should do when you fail to sit down fast enough). Will I make a scene? Was it bad luck that I missed the chair? Can I claim some injustice and request we play the music again and redo that round?
I have to admit to finding the last 3 months (since the scan) really quite hard. I have felt rather lost, occasionally feeling normal but often being overwhelmed with fear or uncertainty. Then worrying that such feelings send bad signals to my cells which will in themselves not help the healing process. Then researching how long people like me live for, and while there are many stories of people healing, following some of the various natural or non harmful protocols I am also exploring, there are those who go down the conventional route, some of whom live for quite a few years. But their lives involve chemo after chemo, hair loss, nausea, numbness of the hands and feet and ulcers among the other horrid side effects. And the thought of having to do any of that again overwhelms me, as I wonder, will I give in at some point and just decide a few years is better than nothing. Can I achieve a few years, can I achieve full healing – with what I am doing? Or at least for long enough for some less toxic treatment that has remarkable responses to become widely available?
The recent news stories of yet another success with immunotherapy glints at where we might be going with cancer treatment. Some form of long term approach which has a vaccine like effect – to genetically modify t-cells to manage the cancer themselves. Oh, you can imagine what these stories are for people like me! I want to shout ‘let me try it!’. But the stories always come with the probably sensible caution that there is still a lot to learn and more research is required. But goodness it seems to me that we have a mad system. Why, as advanced cancer patients, do we not get more say about what treatments we have? There may be unknown risks but there are many known risks with the existing treatments. Why can I not take the chance and with it the risks? It would be my decision. Why am I not eligible for immunotherapy treatments in the UK now? There must be thousands of women like me. Are we going to be the last generation subjected to the poison of chemotherapies with our doctors knowing there is no chance they will actually save us. Yet here we have evidence that approaches are being discovered which have had some remarkable responses. Even in this example they seem to have trialed the new approach on people who had only months to live. Do we really have to play such chicken with death before we are eligible forsome of these new approaches? Ravage our bodies and minds with existing treatments, simply because the research has been done and the risks (however horrible) are well documented – making it OK to offer as a treatment. Iwonder how many advanced/terminal cancer patients around the world, like me, simply closed their eyes on reading the promising findings from the recent trials and crossed their fingers and toes so tightly – whispering to themselves – please let me still be alive in time for this to be a treatment I might benefit from. I do know there were some cases of horrible side effects in this trial, but given that current treatments have a very low chance of any significant extension of life, surely the exceptionally high response rate vs the severe risks for a relatively small number is a risk many like me would like to take.
I have been having regular blood tests after my scan and my liver bloods have been going in the wrong direction. Not too severely at this point but enough to indicate the cancer is active again. My other bloods are pretty good but it is unsettling knowing the liver bloods are a bit dodgy. I have just returned from Germany and had dendritic cell therapy again with a view to reversing this deterioration. Instead of waiting another 3 months I will need to go back in another month and then possibly another until we have the bloods back where we want them. Dendritic cell therapy has similarities with the new research in as much as it is an immunotherapy which relies on harvesting the white cells from the cancer patient. In the case of dendritic cell they develop a vaccine – the dendritic cells are the generals of the immune system and they train the t-cells. But the newly trained T-cells, after each injection, eventually die and are replaced by untrained t-cells which need to be trained themselves if the body cannot manage the cancer itself after the initial training sessions from the immune system generals.
One of the downsides of having to return so soon and possibly more frequently than I had hoped, is that there is a pretty big price tag per visit and I am eating fast into the generously donated support to cancer is pants.
If my cancer has become active I need to take more action and have decided to start one of the major natural cancer protocols that exist. For those of you who have not heard of the budgwig protocol, it will sound a bit whacky, but if you do just a little research there is a wealth of supporting evidence and testimonials, very impressive and numerous, of people for whom the budwig diet appears to have reversed the disease process. The protocol was designed by a German biochemist and physicist (Dr Budwig). She was a seven time Noble Prize nominee. She was considered one of the world’s leading authorities on fats and oils. Her research demonstrated the effects that commercially processed fats and oils have in destroying cell membranes and lowering the voltage in the cells of our bodies which then result in chronic and terminal disease. The cells of our body fire electrically. They have a nucleus in the centre of the cell which is positively charged, and the cell membrane, which is the outer lining of the cell, is negatively charged.
Taken from Cancer Tutor.. Read Morehttp://www.cancertutor.com/budwig/
Dr Budwig discovered that when unsaturated fats have been chemically treated, their unsaturated qualities are destroyed and the field of electrons removed. This Commercial Processing of fats destroys the field of electrons that the cell membranes (60-75 trillion cells) in our bodies must have to fire properly (i.e. function properly).
The fats ability to associate with protein and thereby to achieve water solubility in the fluids of the living body—all this is destroyed. As Dr Budwig put it, “the battery is dead because the electrons in these fats and oils recharge it.” When the electrons are destroyed the fats are no longer active and cannot flow into the capillaries and through the fine capillary networks. This is when circulation problems arise.
Without the proper metabolism of fats in our bodies every vital function and every organ is affected. This includes the generation of new life and new cells. Our bodies produce over 500 million new cells daily. Dr Budwig points out that in growing new cells, there is a dipolarity between the electrically positive nucleus and the electrically negative cell membrane with it’s high unsaturated fatty acids. During cell division the cell and new daughter cell must contain enough electron rich fatty acids in the cells surface area to divide off completely from the old cell. When this process is interrupted the body begins to die. In essence, these commercially processed fats and oils are shutting down the electrical field of the cells allowing chronic and terminal diseases to take hold of our bodies.
A very good example would be tumors. Dr Budwig noted that “The formation of tumors usually happens as follows. In those body areas which normally host many growth processes, such as in the skin and membranes, the glandular organs, for example, the liver and pancreas or the glands in the stomach and intestinal tract—it is here that the growth processes are brought to a stand still. Because the dipolarity is missing, due to the lack of electron rich highly unsaturated fat, the course of growth is disturbed—the surface-active fats are not present; the substance becomes inactive before the maturing and shedding process of the cells ever takes place, which results in the formation of tumors.”
She established that this can be reversed by providing the simple foods, cottage cheese and flax seed oil, which revises the stagnated growth processes. This naturally causes the tumor or tumors present to dissolve and the whole range of symptoms which indicate a “dead battery are cured.” Dr Budwig did not believe in the use of growth-inhibiting treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation. She was quoted as saying “I flat declare that the usual hospital treatments today, in a case of tumorous growth, most certainly leads to worsening of the disease or a speedier death, and in healthy people, quickly causes cancer.”
Dr Budwig discovered that when she combined Flaxseed oil, with its powerful healing nature of essential electron-rich unsaturated fats, and cottage cheese, which is rich in sulfur protein, the chemical reaction produced makes the oil water soluble and easily absorbed into the cell membrane.
In practice this means starting a diet which includes the daily consumption of a mix of low fat organic cottage cheese and flaxoil plus ground flaxseeds. There is more to it but essentially this is the heart of the protocol. As I am an extreme case, with cancer in a major organ, the amount of the mixture recommended daily is very high. I have spent ages scouring the internet and despite a few dismissive posts there is far more supporting this diet for people with advanced cancers. There are many testimonials, too many to have been made up, from people for whom this diet reversed their condition or at the very least vastly improved the well being of the affected person. It is low cost, and no one is going to become rich if cancer patients adopt this as a supporting protocol. The worst that can happen from my perspective is that it does nothing and I have to endure the not particularly nice taste of this mixture.
I spent quite a few hours while in Germany this time reviewing testimonials from cancer patients and integrative health practitioners who have used this as part of their support to patients. With indications that the cancer is getting busy again I have to be proactive and so in addition to my existing efforts (juicing, supplements, diet and of course dendritic cell) I have started (as of today) the budwig protocol. This is a long term strategy and really needs to be followed over the long term (I would like there to be a long term so I am not complaining). I just need to work out the logistics to make sure I always have the ingredients I need to hand. At home in Brighton this is quite straightforward but if I go anywhere, even London for the day, I have to work out how to accommodate this diet and have the ingredients to hand as often as necessary. I cannot say I find the mixture very delicious but it there is even a small chance that it makes the difference it is worth it (I sound very martyr like – the reality involves a good deal of moaning and groaning as I try and eat it down, a bit like with some of my less appetising juices).
Essiac Tea. This is another protocol that I have started. The story behind it involves a nurse in Canada called Caisse (essiac is Caisse backwards). It really is worth reading more about this. Rene Caisse, a nurse in Toronto discovered, from an elderly patient she was looking after, a formula of herbs which this patient claimed to have used, advised by an American Indian, many years previously and which had cured her of her breast cancer. Rene Caisse spent many years investigating this further and ultimately using it to treat patients, many of whom were sent to her by doctors who had run out of conventional options - her reputation was so great. The story is one of persecution and resistance by the mainstream medical authorities paralleled with many from this field persuaded of the contribution of this therapy in cases where all other efforts had floundered. The therapy is basically a tea with four main ingredients; sheep sorrel, burdock root, slippery elm bark and turkey rhubarb. I boil it up as per the instructions and take the stated amount twice a day on an empty stomach in the morning and last thing at night. This site has good information about the tea and some extracts from Rene Caisse herself. http://www.healthfreedom.info/Herbs%20for%20Essiac.htm
Rebounding – (basically jumping up and down on a small trampoline) is often used by people working to heal themselves naturally, as it stimulates the lymph system. I was given a miniature trampoline for Christmas and try and keep up with this. Here are some of the benefits of rebounding taken from http://wellnessmama.com/13915/rebounding-benefits/
Benefits of Rebounding
- Boosts lymphatic drainage and immune function
- Great for skeletal system and increasing bone mass
- Helps improve digestion
- More than twice as effective as running without the extra stress on the ankles and knees
- Increases endurance on a cellular level by stimulating mitochondrial production (these are responsible for cell energy)
- Helps improve balance by stimulating the vestibule in the middle ear
- Helps improve the effects of other exercise- one study found that those who rebounded for 30 seconds between weight lifting sets saw 25% more improvement after 12 weeks than those who did not.
- Rebounding helps circulate oxygen throughout the body to increase energy.
- Rebounding in a whole body exercise that improves muscle tone throughout the body.
- Some sources claim that the unique motion of rebounding can also help support the thyroid and adrenals.
- Rebounding is fun!
I have also recently begun ‘tapping’. Again, sounds a bit whacky but there are too many people convinced of its benefits for me to disregard it as it costs nothing and there is a logic behind it. It involves tapping meridians around your body. People often refer to tapping as an ‘emotional freedom technique’ or EFT. Perhaps EFT sounds more scientific than tapping but I have discarded any cynicism and incorporated it into my daily routine. Here is a link to some information about tapping…… http://www.alternative-cancer-care.com/eft-and-cancer.html
There is something I have been doing, and feel obligated to admit to as I would not be sharing the full range of therapies I am using if I did not. My reticence in writing about this is so very British. It involves bottoms and coffee. But when you are in my situation you open your eyes to all possibilities and evaluate each one on their merit. Coffee enemas appear in every, and I mean every, natural or integrative approach to healing. I could not ignore them for too long (although I did to start with). There are many benefits. Here is a list taken from http://www.naturalnews.com/038429_health_benefits_coffee_enema_detox.html
1) Coffee enemas reduce levels of systemic toxicity by up to 700 percent. According to the late Dr. Max Gerson, a pioneer of coffee enema therapy and its effectiveness as part of his famous Gerson Diet, caffeine and other beneficial compounds in coffee stimulate the production of glutathione S-transferase (GST) in the liver. GST is said to be the "master detoxifier" in the body, as this powerful enzyme binds with toxins throughout the body and flushes them out during the enema process.
According to a 1982 study conducted by the National Research Council (NRC), the effect of green coffee bean consumption on the production of GST in test mice was an astounding 600 percent increase in the liver, and a 700 percent increase in the small intestine. In humans, the effect is similar, if not amplified, during a coffee enema, as coffee is able to directly stimulate the liver without having to first run through the digestive tract. The result is a powerful detoxifying effect that is unmatched by sheer diet alone.
2) Coffee enemas cleanse and heal the colon and digestive tract, improve peristalsis. Besides detoxifying, coffee enemas also cleanse and flush the digestive tract and colon without substantially disrupting the beneficial flora that populate a healthy gut. By regularly taking coffee enemas, you will not only help keep your digestive tract clean and free of debris and toxic buildup, but you will also promote healthy peristalsis, which is the series of organized muscle contractions that move food through the digestive tract and the tubular organs that connect to the kidneys and bladder.
3) Coffee enemas boost energy levels, improve mental clarity and mood. ….the body is effectively ridding itself of poisons that sludge up the blood; decrease oxygen transfer; and clog up the intestines, all of which generally leave a person feeling fatigued and ill. A coffee enema is a particularly effective detoxifier; however, as the direct absorption of caffeine and palmitates into the bloodstream stimulates the release of bile and the efficient removal of wastes from the body in one fell swoop. The end result is a detoxifying release so powerful that many people describe it as a "high" marked by significantly improved energy levels, enhanced mental clarity, and better moods.
4) Coffee enemas eliminate parasites, candida. Because of the immense toxic load that results from regular exposure to chemicals in food, water, air, and the environment, the body is often unable to fully and effectively eliminate all toxins and maintain homeostasis by itself. Intestinally, this can result in a gradual buildup of impacted fecal matter, parasites, candida, and other toxins. Coffee enemas; however, can effectively alleviate all this by fully irrigating and flushing the colon in such a way as to break up these "nests" of disease, and eliminate them from the body.
5) Coffee enemas detoxify, repair liver. If you regularly suffer from symptoms like bloating, stomach pain, flatulence, and other problems commonly associated with poor digestion, chances are your liver is overburdened and not functioning up to par. Coffee enemas are an excellent way to fix this; however, as the coffee and all of its nutrients are directly absorbed into the liver through the colon wall, where they take on the immense toxic load that the liver is otherwise unable to process quickly enough on its own.
6) Coffee enemas relieve chronic pain, ease "die-off" symptoms during cleanses, detox regimens. Interestingly, one of the earliest known uses for enemas was as a pain reliever. During World War I, nurses actually discovered that water enemas effectively relieved soldiers' pain when drugs like morphine were in short supply. Fast forward about a decade and researchers out of Germany had made the discovery that coffee worked even better than water at offering powerful analgesic benefits, which can be particularly helpful when undergoing other dietary cleanses and detoxes that cause "die-off" and other pain symptoms.
7) Coffee enemas heal and prevent chronic illness. Ultimately, coffee enemas are one of the most effective ways to maintain a clean body that is free of disease. Even if you already suffer from a debilitating, chronic illness such as cancer, coffee enemas can provide both relief and healing without the need for drugs.
No one, seriously determined to affect their disease, would ignore the benefits of this therapy and I could not. It is not good to do them during chemo but absolutely essential to after to help to relieve the toxic load left behind. For me, given the cancer is in my liver, there was even more reason for me not to ignore this approach. Every day (if I can manage it), I sneak to the bathroom with a big pot of coffee. This clearly confuses the boys, and if I am elsewhere, others who may notice me bringing this cooled coffee with me into the bathroom – as I have clearly given up coffee as part of my diet. Why then do I disappear to the bathroom with so much coffee? Well my dark secret is out. I actually have not written about it for fear that my mother might read about it! But I have to be honest and friends who know me urged me to just get it out there as anyone one really committed to healing should have this as a routine part of their daily/weekly programme. I combine them with an Epsom salt bath and find the private time rather soothing. The hoops I am jumping through – I had seriously better get well!
Finally I am buying an infrared sauna. This also stands out as a solid supportive treatment that stands out as a good complement to everything else I am doing. Here is a description of some of the benefits taken fromhttp://www.cancerdefeated.com/newsletters/Infrared-Saunas-A-Fun-Relaxing-Way-to-Detox.html
…….infrared sauna therapy for cancer offers a combination of healing mechanisms. They act simultaneously to support the fight against cancer. These include:
- Hyperthermia: Heating the body is a well-known and underused method of killing cancer cells…. Cancer cells are weaker than normal cells and more susceptible to damage from heat. Infrared saunas are superior for this purpose
- Eliminate Toxins: Saunas also help purge the body of toxins, such as heavy metals and chemicals.
- Improving circulation. Cancer often grows in tissues with poor circulation and thus poor nutrition and oxygenation. Infrared saunas boost overall circulation. This brings nutrients, hormones, oxygen and other substances to all body tissues.
- Decongesting the internal organs. The liver, kidneys and other internal organs can become burdened with estrogen, chemicals, and toxic metals. Infrared saunas cause blood to move toward the body surface. This helps cleanse the internal organs.
- Care for your body's largest organ: Your skin is a major organ for eliminating body wastes. But in most people, it's inactive because they don't sweat enough. Infrared saunas help cleanse you from the inside. They encourage sweating and free up toxins stored beneath the skin.
If the cancer is getting active again I have to up my game and adapt what I am doing. The last 3 months have shown me how easy it is to lose the fighting spirit and let doubt creep in. On so many fronts the reality of my situation hits home. I am not sure I even feel like me anymore. Not the me I was. I am not sure what my purpose. Of course it is to love my children and be the best mother, wife, sister, daughter etc. But outside of my own immediate interests I doubt what I have to offer anymore. My life was always full, working for one cause or another. Passionate about making change happen and improving things that in my view were not working, or not fair. But now my daily endeavour is so very self centred and self absorbed. Staying alive. Working to stay alive and well. I get comfort from my work as when I am involved in it I am transported from me and I can engage in conversations which have nothing to do with me and I am reminded of my old life and purpose. But even this has changed. I cannot travel at the moment in the way that I did. My work have been amazing and accommodated and supported me so that I can adapt how I work. I have cut my hours this year as I needed the extra time to fit in all my various potions and anti cancer activities. Giving up, which I certainly considered, would feel as if I was giving in and accepting my future was limited. But I intend for it to be anything but limited in length and in some sense am defiant in my determination not to give up. Maybe the day will come but if I have my way it will not.
My recent trip to Germany was more subdued than previous ones. I realise that I will have ups and downs and I need to stick with determination to keeping the faith and working through the downs. If I could only keep the cancer as it is today I could live a normal life (almost). I would like of course to beat it down but living with it in a steady stable state would work. I am not fussy.
This time I went with Rupert. He has not accompanied before. Ned was on a school trip and Will went to stay with my Mum and Dad so we had the time free. It was a very special time. We spent the first night in Hamburg and our hotel had an attached spa/gym. We decided to go for a swim and use the sauna (a good therapy). We were in for a surprise. There were very strict instructions all around the swimming pool and sauna area that NO swimming costumes were to be worn in the hotpool or sauna. There were middle aged couples wandering around baring all. I am rather body reserved (especially as I am missing a nipple so baring my body is bound to attract attention, if only surreptitious glances). But I was determined to use the sauna and cleverly removed my costume and covered myself with my towel – dropping it only at the very last minute. Rupert went for a swim in the pool (you were allowed your togs on there but not everyone wore them) and had some very interesting views of our fellow swimmers nether regions. The view haunted him all night. At one point Rupert and I were in the pool at the same time swimming and talking when the life guard signalled us. I thought we were going to be told off for wearing swimming costumes in the swimming pool but he just wanted to tell us to be quiet as we were disturbing the other users of the facilities.
In Gottingen there are about 7 really quite substantial churches. Most of them are shut but this time we managed to visit 2 of them (it is a pretty town but there is not a huge amount to see). The one closest to where we were staying was hosting a major production of Benjamin Brittan’s War Requiem. We managed to get tickets and spent our first night listening to this major choir and orchestra. It was a very peaceful (and at times dramatic) way to spend the evening.
The following day, after my treatment, we went to visit one of the other Churches – St Michael’s, which is a Catholic church. It was beautiful and white inside, not what we expected from the old façade. We knelt down for a bit to pray and think and we lit a couple of candles and then discussed what we had prayed about. We both admitted to starting our prayers with a few thank yous and then asking for strength and as we stayed there praying our prayers became more specific – a miracle no less. But if it is possible to heal we should not need a miracle just the strength and guidance to know how to heal. I have not prayed regularly for a long time but more recently I have started. I always feel rather guilty that once I have gone round praying for various people and issues and being grateful for what we have I end up almost pleading that everything be OK and that we will overcome this disease. I am not really sure who I am praying to, I have always had a conflicted relationship with religion, but I do believe it offers a framework and community which can and does give many people strength in difficult times and as I was bought up a Catholic there is such a familiarity walking into a Catholic Church, wherever it is in the world, that I enjoy the atmosphere and space to reflect and yes, pray. A friend of mine from my school days shared a prayer her father had taught her, and which she says she prays for me. It is rather lovely so I thought I would share it. ‘’Do not be anxious. The same everlasting father who looked after you yesterday will look after you today, tomorrow and always. Either he will protect you from your suffering or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it’.
The weather there was a few degrees colder than here and it snowed for a couple of days, not really settling, but the snowflakes were wet and heavy. I suffered terribly from the cold despite having bought long johns and thermal long sleeved vests. My loss of excess fat I think has made me really sensitive to the cold and I struggled every time we had to go out into the fresh air. I really am looking forward to the warmth of spring and summer and understand better than ever the misery a cold winter can have on older people.
It was good that Rupert finally met Dr Martin, as with other companions who have accompanied me, he too was overcome by what a lovely man he is. It was lovely to spend the time together, it has been so long since we have had that long on our own. This is not just my journey, it is his journey too and he has his own demons to face. When one is down we need the other to be in fighting spirits to balance us out. I have been weepy on occasion and he has been good at reminding me of the beauty of every day and that all is still well. I am going to plan more things to look forward to keep our spirits up and engaged with life. Distracted as much as possible, in a good way.
Ella came home from University to be here when we got back and was ready with my juice. She cooked a curry I could eat, prepared my apricot kernals, massaged my feet before I went to bed and is here for a couple of days and continues to look after me, making sure I keep on my toes and don’t give into any self pity.
I have not written much over the past 3 months. I have felt rather numb and unimaginative, but I hope to reverse that. I have a hard few months ahead with my new protocols and therapies but hope the sun will come out more often and help me along the way.