Tantrums and Tiaras

Quitting Just Doesn’t Cut It

You may be relieved to know that this post has nothing to do with either tantrums or tiaras, but having just finished watching The Crown on that popular streaming service I thought the title was apt.

I am pleased to say that as the end of my first round of immunosuppressants draws to a close, and I prepare for round two on Christmas Eve, I appear to have almost sailed through it and can only hope that months two and three are of a similar ilk.

Since posting Wrote a Book, Bought a Book, Read a Book much reading and research has taken place, as well as much meditation and an increase in physical activity, with some personal reflection too.

There are times in life where it appears my stubbornness just isn’t an option, sometimes others are actually right and even superheroes need to hang up their cape – even if it is only temporarily.

For myself though, I have learnt that quitting just doesn’t cut it when things become tough or they’re not going quite to my plan. I just find another route and keep going until I get it right. And that is what appears to have happened again in these past few weeks.

In my mind I have two choices. I either accept what the medical experts say, carry on with my life in the same way as I have done previously, and just count the months. Or I take matters into my own hands and find out what other options are available to me.

If you remember previously I mentioned a book called How to Starve Cancer? Well, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and we’re not just talking lettuce here! I have read so many stories of people with advanced stage iv cancer, given only weeks to live, putting themselves into remission and 10, 15, 20 years down the line sharing their amazing stories to help others. Letting them know that there are other options and that there is hope.

Now, I’m not here to convince anyone of anything, because as always, we all have our own path to tread. However, I do feel that through my own diagnosis I have been given an opportunity to get some information out there. What is then done with that information is entirely up to the individual.

But if it can reduce fear and stress in the outset, and people are able to see that there is more than one option available to them, then maybe, just maybe, the medical profession will accept we have choices. Maybe Big Pharma will stop making money out of cancer and actually start saving more lives!

Taking The First Step

The first step I took was to completely change my diet. So I have cut out refined sugars, simple carbohydrates and starchy carbohydrates, meat, most dairy, alcohol and black tea. For those non-vegan and non-keto amongst you, you may be forgiven for wondering what it is I am actually eating. A thought that has crossed my mind on many occasions over recent weeks. Especially when you throw in the blood group diet for good measure too.

Whilst my taste buds are being challenged right now, I am discovering that as when I went through chemotherapy back in 2014, I am drawn to fresher lighter foods. A little like the ones you would find in a Mediterranean diet. I love rocket, tomato, olives, hummus, mozzarella, red onion and pesto! My sister-in-law Claire and my brother Kyle, have both been supplying me with homemade soups. And Claire has given me various cookbooks for meal ideas.

I have had many a mixed day when it comes to mealtime though. Something that is really tasty one day is likely to make me feel somewhat nauseous the next. And it’s on days like this I’ll head over to the protein smoothie to make sure I am still getting the nutrients I need to keep the immune system strong, the gut healthy and the body working effectively.

How has this impacted me? Well, as I’m unable to see inside my own body I am not sure what is going on at a cellular level, but what I can tell you is that I have shifted around 7 kilos – or over half a stone. The aches and pains that have been evident in my body for years have disappeared and I am sleeping better than I have done for a very long time (possibly since I started chemo back in 2014). And despite the drug related fatigue I do feel more energised. Perhaps this is why I feel the need to keep on going until I just flop?

Mistletoe Isn’t Just For Christmas

Through the course of my recent research I have been lucky enough to connect with a couple of other ladies here in the UK. With the same mindset as myself they have been following various protocols over the last year. Using supplements, change of diet, off label meds – and also mistletoe therapy. And the results have been astounding.

One lady was diagnosed with stage iv secondaries 12 months ago and it took them 3 months to find it. The cancer was all down her spine, in her hips, and in both legs in her bone marrow. She initially undertook traditional treatment but then decided to try something different.

This included Mistletoe Infusion which is given to 60% of patients undergoing chemotherapy in Germany. It isn’t available on the NHS and is something that you only get to find out about if you are doing research into complementary therapy for cancer. And when we spoke last week the only evidence of active cancer was at the base of her spine.

Had she continued with traditional treatment this would not be the case. She would just have been swapped to a new form of treatment until that too had stopped working.

I have been left feeling really quite shocked and disappointed by my recent learnings. I do have the utmost respect for our medical profession and we are incredibly lucky to have such a fabulous health service. I will never dispute that. But what I find heartbreaking is the close-minded attitude of some of the medical profession.

When you receive a diagnosis of cancer or any other life threatening disease you want to know that you have options. You don’t want to be told sorry, this is the end of the road. I simply don’t understand why are people being placed in a further position of fear.

There Are Always Options

I consider myself to be fortunate, I am obstinate and will not just accept what I am told. There have to be options, there are always options.

The mind is incredibly powerful if it’s placed in a position of fear it is difficult to climb out of that position. However, with nurture and additional information it is possible to change the thought process. Using tools such as mindfulness, meditation and visualisation are great ways to help create a level of clarity and calm as well as being beneficial to the immune system.

As I have already mentioned, I am only part way through my treatment. My next scan isn’t due until the end of February so I won’t know how successful my treatment has been for while. But I have taken responsibility for my own future, and I’m doing everything I possibly can to ensure that I will still be nagging JP at the age of 70.

I fully intend to be here to hold my grandchildren and care for them in the same way my own mum did with Aaron while he was growing up. No pressure Aaron.

In a bid to help others I have created a Facebook page containing lots of information about what I have found to be helpful over the past couple of weeks. My aim is to build upon it and make it a useful resource although I must point out – I am not a medically trained physician.

This is a blog of my own personal journey and most of what I am sharing I really wish I’d known when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2013. Maybe then I wouldn’t be in the situation I find myself right now.

But they say all things happen for a reason and perhaps my inner strength is being tested so that I can make a difference and help others through a dark time. Who knows.

Anyhoo, I’m going to leave you in peace for now. It’s only 4 days until Christmas and I still have gifts to wrap. Tomorrow I am being drained of more of my blood and I have a trip to the printers to collect my new work workbooks.

So, until next time, have a fabulous festive season and know that each day you wake up is actually a gift.

First published December 2020