It is three weeks now since I started the Budwig protocol. What has it been like? Well, as I have stage IV cancer I am having between 5 and 6 spoons of flaxoil, mixed with either cottage cheese (organic) or kefir. I take it in turns. The cottage cheese really is the best base but I find it really hard to eat so taking it in turns with kefir on alternate days makes it more bearable. I mix it with pear and nuts, or apple and nuts with crushed flaxseeds. I have noticed a couple of things. First, and most significant has been the impact it has had on my energy levels. Just days after starting it I began feeling far more myself than I have for a long time. The week after I started I went to work in London twice and drove Tom to visit Exeter University, spent the night and day there and drove back again and felt totally fine. This is amazing as not long before I simply would have got too tired. This may simply be that my body has been craving more fat and this diet introduces that, but it is consistent with other testimonials which frequently indicate a physical impact even soon after starting the diet. It does take at least 3 months for tumours to respond usually, sometimes longer (for people likeme who have had chemotherapy). I have a slightly obsessive habit of reading budwig testimonials. I read them in the bath and before I go to sleep. On the train. When I wake up. Anytime I begin to feel doubtful or fearful and they cheer me up. If it works for all these people surely it will work for me? Together with dendritic cell - how can the cancer survive.
I have learnt a few things. Mainly not to balance a bowl of budwig mix on the side of the bath. Earlier this week I did this and it slipped in. The bath had only just run and was lovely and warm so I just stayed in it surrounded by cottage cheese with oil and the odd nut floating here and there. I have also learnt that it is quite difficult to eat all that mix and have space for anything else. So now I am slightly worried I will miss out on other vitamins and minerals as I am not eating much of anything else. I try at the very least to have one raw dish a day and some days all I have is my two bowls of budwig and a salad bowl (and of course my juices). You should not have antioxidant supplements on the diet as it cancels out the effect of the mix so I have stopped a good number of my supplements and am continuing only with chlorella, a mushroom supplement, curcurmin, milk thistle, metformin, aspirin, cimitedine and vitamin d. I have also started avemar again. I found this really helpful during chemotherapy. In the morning and evening, on an empty stomach I have essiac tea and sauerkraut and in the evening I take some CBD/THC oil (just a few drops not the full cannabis oil protocol) and melatonin. I am a bit confused about what to do with melatonin as I understand this is an antioxidant so I am wondering if I ought to give this up - but there is so much about it as a good therapy for breast cancer particularly.
Metformin is an old drug which has been used for diabetics for years. In the integrative health world it is well recognised as being a good anti cancer drug. It is an inexpensive drug most commonly prescribed for type 2 diabetes. It seems to affect multiple key processes related to cell growth, proliferation and survival. It decreases the amount of glucose produced by the liver and reduces the bloodstream level and cellular uptake of insulin. It does more than this but for many this knowledge has been available for quite a while but our good old NHS couldn't possibly prescribe this cheap drug to someone with advanced cancer as it is not registered as an anti cancer drug, so I had to buy mine first by internet from an Indian pharmacy (which a cancer colleague of mine advised was the most reliable). More recently Dr Martin was very happy to prescribe it and did not even question why I would want to take it. I was walking in London this week and passed a newsagents. I ran my eyes across the front pages of the various news papers and the front page of the Express read ‘Diabetes pill beats cancer….and costs just 2p a day’
‘New research suggests it can slash the risk of developing liver cancer by an astonishing78%, breast cancer by a third, pancreatic cancer by 46% and bowel cancer by nearly a quarter.
The discovery raises the possibility that the drug metformin could be a potent weapon in the battle to find a cure for cancer. Scientists think the drug could prove to be cancer’s Achilles heel.
It works by reducing the amount of glucose - which feeds cancer cells - being produced. It helps cells mop up sugar circulating in the bloodstream cutting off cancer’s energy supply’
The study was undertaken by researchers from the Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics at Shandong University in China who analysed 37 studies involving more than 1.5 million people.
It amazes me how long it takes to get promising treatments into use. The Chinese who published this study didn't actually DO research on actual people they studied existing studies. This means that the evidence already existed - yes it is helpful that they have now collated it - and come to the conclusion that many already had reached - that it is a useful drug in the cancer arsenal. I wonder how long it will take to dribble into everyday practice. I am not sure I really have the time to wait for that day so as with many of my other approaches I take my health care into my own hands for the moment.
What has been so wonderful about feeling more normal is that I don't think about the cancer so much. I think I honestly believe that with budwig and immunotherapy I am going to be able to keep it under control, hopefully for a very long time. I would dearly love to be a walking talking example of taking stage iv cancer by the balls and manage it, living as normal a life a possible. I am not in pain. In fact I feel rather a fraud at the moment. I had a eye appointment recently and they went through a basic check list - was I on any medications etc etc. How was my overall health? I didn't think I could face telling the very nice optician that I had stage iv cancer - the pain on people faces - a sort of contorted mix of pain, shock and sympathy - is just too horrible - it is much easier to just say I am perfectly well. It most definitely shuts down conversations almost immediately and I just want to be normal.
It feels more normal to go into work now and I am back in a more day to day work pattern and my work colleagues and friends, while being very loving, just get on with things and what might have been a rather dreary meeting in the past is suddenly refreshing for its normality. It is as if I have removed a mask and am experiencing the normal with a kind a excitement simply because I can experience it. When I was first diagnosed I was so certain that was the end of any normal life. I’d like to think I am a better mother because of it. When Ned starts some verbal diaorrhea about something that happened at school, rather than grunt as I try and carry on reading or concentrating on a task - only reallyhalf listening and making that noise that reminds me of my mother and how frustrated I would get when I tried to tell her something but knew she was distracted - I now stop what I am doing and drink in whatever it is he has to say. There is nothing like a possible deadline to focus the mind.
My next trip to Germany is next week and this time I am going with my cousin Tim who I have been very close with all my life. We used to spend so much time together, we travelled in India together after we finished school, before university (I have added some photos of us at that time). My Aunt Jo who died of ovarian cancer in 2014 was his Mum. While the reason for going to Germany is not brilliant it is a treat to spend time with people I love. He has children and a job and we simply don't see each other as much as we might like - so I am happy he will be coming with me. I leave on Wednesday and will have my bloods taken on Thursday. Any test makes me a bit jittery, I have been feeling so good I cant believe the results will be bad, but it is always an unknown. I do trust in how I feel but the liver can be quite damaged before you get symptoms. I have had incredibly dry skin all over, which was one of my first symptoms when I was diagnosed last year - so that makes me a bit nervous. It could have a simple explanation - the cold? too many hot baths? lack of oestrogen? We will see.
I have been working through my diaries and photos slowly. Last week I pulled out one of many bags of photos from the days when developing photos was the only way to see them. How I miss those days. My more recent photos are very badly filed and I reallyhave no idea how to efficiently organise them. Why do we insist on taking 4 or 5 of the same exact scene. Because we can! So I have multiples of far too many photos. Rationalising is an effort - it requires either just blindly deleting 4 of the 5 or as I tend to do it, spending far too long looking at each of the almost exact same 5 photos trying to decide which one is best. This is a hopelessly slow way of organising photos. Last week I joyfully organised actual hard copy photos. These were all from the year before Rupert and I married. I won a scholarship to Harvard the year we met and so soon after getting engaged I moved to Boston and Rupert came to visit a few times. I arrived home in the summer of 1995 and we married in September 1995. I was pregnant with Ella about a month later. We also travelled to Spain a couple of times on long weekends away. Luckily we did all of that as once I was pregnant with Ella, the other 3 came in relatively quick succession and Rupert and I can count on two hands the times we have been away and alone together since. I filled 3 photo albums and got used to looking at pictures of the young me. I didn't really even think - goodness I look young - to me I just looked like me. I remember looking like that, I just felt as if I was looking at me. Then I went to the bathroom to go to the loo and caught myself in the mirror. What a shock I got! I must have simply become so absorbed in these photos that I adjusted my self image and then when I saw myself with my curly short brown hair, glasses and lined face I took a sudden step back in shock. How does time pass so fast? I don’t feel any older really. Physically yes, but not in my head.
I then worked my way through my 1985 diary. I was 14. The diary is very small with a tiny space per day. At that time I lived in Barton Stacey on an army camp near Winchester. That year we moved to Rhinedalen in Germany (another military camp). The diary describes my rather violent swings from being deleriously happy about life and feeling lucky to misery and depression linked to friendships and self esteem. I was unhappy about the prospect of moving to Germany, but when I did I ended up enjoying my time there. The films released in 1985 (that I saw) included an Officer and a Gentleman, Greystoke, Desperately Seeking Susan and Weird Science. On one weekend I went to stay with a friend and we watched Breathless - and 18 - and I remark that it ‘was OK but only had 40 seconds of sex’!
1985 was the year I had the operation to remove the cyst in my left breast which I still believe had a role to play in my later cancer.
‘Went into Heatherwood Hospital ward 1. Full of mostly geriatrics. The one next to me sounds like she might die in the night’
‘Had operation. 7 people visited me at once. Mum bought grapes and apples and crisps’
‘Feel really whoozey. I’m just walking around like a zombie saying the right things’
Having moved to Germany I complain about having to share with my younger sister ‘again!’. I note the day to day goings on interspersed with observations about the wildlife…’15 year old boy lives down the road. Will meet him. Bet he is the biggest JERK alive’
I note the date of my first period. For information it was April 16th 1985 aged 14. I was pretty late compared to my friends at school and remember when finally it came. These days perhaps I wouldhave announced it somehow via social media - (privately to my friends of course) but then we had to rely on the telephone stuck to the wall in the hall which cost loads to use if you were calling England.
1985 was the year I did my Duke of Edinburgh - it ‘rained badly on night of practice expedition, slept little and then took wrong turn and ended up walking an extra 20 miles - got lost but eventually found our way’. We failed the first expedition. I didn't write why in my diary but I do remember that the person assessing us was not impressed with the food we took with us (I chose a cucumber among other things and this I was told was not an ideal food for an expedition, heavy and with no calories). We were also criticised for hanging a camera on the outside of the tent. According to our assessor, had it rained the camera would have made the outer tent touch the inner tent and got it all wet. This was bad enough to fail us. I don't think he liked us very much, especially when we tried to defend our actions by claiming (quite sensibly) that had it actually been raining we would not have been so stupid as to hang our camera up outside to get wet. We failed and were the only group who had to repeat the expedition part the Award. When we finally did the expedition again I note in my diary ‘Did final DofE expedition having failed first one. This time - we got lost and cut out massive corner but did not confess - and as we ended up in the right place we passed.’ I also note that we ‘set fire to farts’ outside the tent.
I did two O levels early (I was the last full year of O’levels before GCSEs were introduced) Spanish and RE (we called it Doctrine). I noted that I ‘look like George Michael’ in my school photo.
This was also the year that I had railway tracks fitted. I wore them for about 9 months. I had this uncomfortable contraption I had to wear every night to help pull my teeth back into place. I can vividly remember the pain of wearing this nightly. On October 24th 1985 I had two teeth out. These are the teeth I had forgotten I had out and it was only when I went to the holistic dentist recently that they showed me on the X-ray and pointed out the infection in the jaw where the teeth had been. I wonder how long I had had that infection. It has now been cleaned out - but I wonder if it had been bubbling away on and off since they were originally extracted?
What else? A few other notable events. I passed my canoeing one star (on the Thames). I made blue lavender smelling soap for a chemistry exhibition for a parents day - only to find it had turned pink on the day of the exhibition. I was a general pessimist when it came to school work. Frequently I note in my diaryhow hopelessly I have done in various exams which in the end I do pretty well in.
In 1985 Boris Becker was only 17 and ceded number 1 at Wimbledon. Apart from that and a comment about a volcano in Colombia that killed about 25,000 which I mention the focus of the rest of the diary is almost entirely self centred. It was, at 14, all about me.