Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Switching Base

It was a very difficult decision to make, logistically very challenging to pull, but in the end, I needed to switch base. I’m at a very critical time in my Cancer, whatever I do from here on in will impact my life. We moved back to Vancouver Canada from London England a little over a month ago. I had chemo waiting there for me at NHS, but that was the only option they gave me. I switched base so I can explore what the BC Cancer Agency has on offer. I know it’s not much either as according to my records, I’m towards the end stage where aggressive chemo and radiation is there answer. There are alternative treatments I plan to pursue and I hope to get there. The 10 hour flight did take a lot from me, in fact I’m still slowly recovering. I don’t know my own strength anymore, I thought all I needed to recover is a weekend, was I so wrong! I have been in and out of hospitals since landing, the 5 day stint at the palliative unit was torturous, and mentally devastating. I hit one of the dippest lows in this journey where I started to give in to the worst scenarios, some images fleeting on my mind. It was a very dark time, as I lay unbelievably weak at the hospital. With all the strength I could possible muster, I tried hard to meditate, talk to my cells and beg them to cooperate with me. It doesn’t help that they’ve put me on mind altering heavy narcotics as well, but I need it, the pain is unbearable that I ask “how is this pain even possible to exist”? The last thing I want to do is to be on these drugs but I have no choice, I don’t think anyone would have the choice given the pain. My oxygen is on almost 80% of the day and I can't go anywhere without my wheelchair again, I hate losing my independence!

I was admitted to the palliative care unit for further diagnostics and help me cope with the pain. I got so unwell there that I started to question the drastic change of meds I was being given. I settled after a few days, but only just, I can barely breathe and at this point having 1-2 hour coughing fits that bring out clear mucus, it is so uncomfortable, painful, and really scary when I’m unable to bring it out. This is the part of day I dread so much. On bad days I can get as much as 4 fits but at least once for sure, I don’t get a break. The bone scan confirmed metastasis on the lower ribs, lower spine, and left pelvic bone, in addition they also found lesions on more lymph nodes and both breasts. They assured me I will have that bed for as long a I want and they suggested I stay. For what? To lie in bed, being fed meds, and do nothing but wait? It’s so ridiculous I asked for a discharge.  They are instead sending a nurse to see me at home whenever I need it, much appreciated.

It was off to the BC Cancer Agency the day after discharge at palliative, got back from Palliative around 9 pm and had to be at BC Cancer for 9am! I was offered radiotherapy to control the bone pain, I took it. That night I really felt I was buzzing, I told my husband, I’m turning into a radioactive super hero or villain! It was nothing like I’ve experienced before, no doubt. I felt a burst of energy the next day but they told me that is the only radiotherapy treatment I am allowed to have. We will definitely sit down and talk options again.

I'm very slowly getting settled in my routine, as with every move, it takes time, more so in my condition. Its always been said, moving and dealing with death are the two most stressful times in anyone’s life, how am I getting them both!
If theres one thing that is definitely an advantage being back in Canada is getting access to real medicine, cannabis oil. I finally got the real deal, the Rick Simpson Formula. Talking about alternative treatments in not taboo here too, they are more open to listening about my choices, which is good. The dietician was knowledgable, it’s not just Ensure they offered. It was a very helpful meeting.

I don’t know what the near future holds for me. It was a very brave and bold move but I made it, thus far. Christmas was what is should be – Christmas! It was so good to be with family. Even though I struggled to breathe through it all, It was a very Happy Christmas!

You don't always need a plan. Sometimes you justneed to breathe, trust, and let go and see what happens.

Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

''Tis the Season" : Holiday Gift Giving Ideas for Cancer Warriors

It is the time of year for gift giving. For individuals and families dealing with cancer, it can also be a difficult time, less festive especially for one just recently diagnosed. This is my fourth Christmas living with Lung Cancer, markedly different from the past three as I'm weaker and at a critical point in my battle. It is also special this year as I'm spending it with my family back here in Canada. 
Picking a present for a cancer patient can be daunting for some but just put a little more effort and thoughtfulness into it and you will have made their life more comfortable. Any gift of course will be appreciated, the thought counts, but it would be nice to put in an extra caring touch to your gift choices for them. I recently had a birthday and my dear friends drove all the way from Seattle to come see me, snow and all, and brought me this wondrous, warm, and super comfortable blanket, it feels like a big hug, I love it so much. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of it, thank you Larry and Carme, love you!
Think Comfort and you're on the right track. In my search for supplements, gadgets, apps, things to make myself cope with pain and living with my cancer, I'm listing my favourites. There are websites dedicated to gift giving for cancer, I'll  share them here too. Practical gifts that brighten their day, ease
pain, make their space conducive for healing.
1. Cancer books. This covers a wide range, there are cancer books for managing the disease, alternative treatment options, diet, mindfulness and meditation, etc. You definitely won't run out of choices. If they are too weak to read, come over and read for them, it will be a nice bonding moment.
2. We stay home most of the time. Think cosy slippers and pyjamas, soft warm blankets, a really nice pillow.
3. The iBeanie, I got this for myself. When you've got cancer, holding up your tablet whilst in bed can get tiring. The iBeanie does that for you, holds your tablet on a bean bag.The iBeani® iPad stand

& tablet stand is the best stand for iPhones, iPads, Kindles, or any other tablet computers.
4. Essential oils. To soothe and heal. Make sure you get organic, good quality essential oils. They are concentrated so if it is not organic and clean, you get all the toxins in concentrated form as well. Doterra is one good brand. I personally like the set from Epigenetic labs, you can apply it topically or ingest it, it's that pure, goes on my wish list. A diffuser to go with it will also be very useful.
5. Natural supplements or special dietary food, if they are on it. Take advantage of the deep discounts or holiday and gift bundles on offer at this time of year. Even a month's break from these mostly expensive life support will be surely appreciated.
6. Safe and organic bath products, magnesium flakes, a natural scrubber, again think what would make them comfortable.
7. Book them a massage if they can handle it. What about meditation classes or yoga for cancer. A retreat if they are able to, I  would love that.
8. If they are on chemotherapy or radiation and face hair loss, there are lots of bandanas and head pieces specifically for cancer, find those made with natural fabrics and soft.
9. A basket of healthy fruits and vegetables. You can make this yourself or order it.
10. If you're feeling generous I would recommend "gadgets" like a masticating or cold press juicer, a
vitamix blender, the bio-mat, a rebounder, or a lymphasizer.
11. Prayer cards, greeting cards, a sincere email, let them know they're thought of.

Thoughtfulness is appreciated when you carefully pick your present and spread good cheer to a family member or friend going through Cancer. Your token box of chocolate or generic holiday gifts just may be an insensitive thing to do. It would still be appreciated but wouldn't it be nice to know that you've made them more comfortable with a thoughtful gift.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it like I do. 
A Peaceful and ProsperousYear Ahead!

Here's an excellent website for Cancer Care shopping!
https://livebetterwith.comlive better with cancer

* I'm writing this from my hospital bed, I don't have access to my photos so this post lacks the glitter of the season 😊

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Chelsea and Westminster

I was at Chelsea and Westminster hospital yesterday maybe for the last time, unless I come back to London. This facility has been a big part of my life for the past 3 and a half years or so, almost a second home if you can believe that. I've spent many days confined or getting chemo or other treatments and endless diagnostics here. There was a time where the only place I could go was the hospital and the hospice - in a medical transport. I never got used to the CT scan, or the X-rays, I dreaded cannulas! I'm glad that part is over. I've dealt with unbelievable pain and the tears I've shed can fill deep buckets! It's quite a journey! The oncology team and the caring staff at Chelwest have been really supportive. They have been there for me throughout the ups and downs, during the bleak prognosis I get, during the little victories I achieve. 
thumbs up for making it through over a year of chemo
As the car drove away I caught a glimpse of the window of the room I was in for 8 days during the first cycle, I just cringe and recall that time, when I was in there almost lifeless. I've been confined so many times, each time in critical condition. I can't help but be emotional when I see patients being moved around on their hospital beds to diagnostics and their room, I was that patient three years ago, I always got picked up by hospital transport, wheeled into the chemo ward and wheeled in my hospital bed throughout the facility wherever I needed to go. It seemed like I didn't have a chance at that point. I felt like a rag doll being tossed all over the place. My stay at the chemo ward was always pleasant, of course the treatment itself was torture but they were all very nice, and very complementary. I can't say anything bad about the staff, they are sweet sweet people, thank you. I know it's been a journey for them too, seeing me go up and down my ride of a lifetime, my consultant mentioned he's learned a lot from me too and that makes me happy. I hope he didn't mean that giving his email out isn't a good idea for patients like me :) My only complain, was the unhealthy food they serve, but all hospitals serve the same crap don't they? My oncologist and his team have been amazing I can't thank them enough. Tom and Chantale thank you so very much.But, now I've got to move on, chemo is not the path I want to take now. I need all the luck in the world! And a big big helping of prayers! 
Inside Chelsea and Westminster Hospital 
last day of chemo January 8, 2015

With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself, or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow, or an obstacle to keep you from growing
You Get To Choose!
- Wayne Dyer

Caroline Reyes-Loughrey Photography

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

How Much Is Too Much

Caroline Reyes-Loughrey Photography
Information Overload! My brain's about to explode! Of course, I've been wracking my brains extracting whatever information I can find to help me overcome this Cancer. Books, the Internet, cancer groups, blogs, anything that could provide answers and relief, I go to. 
There are days when it gets too much and I just have to stop, it comes to a point where I just stare blankly at my computer because I can't think anymore, I get paralyzed by the very information I seek. Pages and pages of material that needs to be validated, researched more, learned, and applied. It's endless! As vast as the Internet allows, infinity! And I can't stop, almost wishing I'd come across a personal message for me " OK Caroline, this is what you do, here's where you go......". Unfortunately, it's not like that. 
Then, you get people telling you this and that like you're the only one who doesn't get it. I've been on the outside looking into someone's cancer journey, but now that I'm in it I fully grasp how misunderstood that world is, and how judgemental people can be even with the treatment path you choose. One protocol could have opposing views, with everyone claiming theirs is the path. Information is good, discussion is welcomed, but sometimes it's too much. The overload makes it confusing to know which direction to go. When this happens I do take breaks, although I'm careful with this too, it's easy to get distracted as well, before you know it you've spent and probably wasted time from your mandatory distraction. Unfortunately, you do have to keep at it to stay focused, time is even more precious. 
You are extremely lucky if you have a team to help with your research, I'm mostly a one man band. Cancer is an urgent matter, time is key. You almost have to speed read and absorb everything in beyond human record time, at least I try to. I'm at a critical point in my journey, either I make it or I don't . The urgency that it presents adds pressure, and Cancer is very very expensive when you pick the alternative route. There is hardly no room for mistakes because that will cost you. Personally, I have had my share of bad decisions and even scams, I've just been lucky to survive it. My collection of supplements would rival Holland and Barrett :) a lot of them either didn't benefit me or I've switched to something better, an expensive trial and error scenario. 
Treating cancer is a full time job, if you don't discipline yourself, you won't have time to take all your supplements and nutrition for the day. My foggy brain becomes a challenge too, so I've written a schedule, a challenging strict regimen I'm still trying to perfect. I've said before that Cancer is highly individual specific, you can't do a cookie cutter approach, what works for others might not work for you. There are tools out there to give you direction, special diagnostics to help you learn more about your Cancer, and your own healing path. 
Through the past three years, I have learned to be receptive and allow myself to be led. The books I buy, the supplements and therapies I've picked comes from deep research and praying for guidance, sometimes I would stare blankly at my computer, then an article would catch my attention, this is mostly how I find inspiration, my therapies, my supplements, my information! I ask to be guided. It's hard to say feel it in your heart because you want this healing so bad, you want to believe you're right and the search is finally over. 
Whatever it is you eventually choose, make sure you picked it because you truly feel it is your path and not forced on you. No one can know for certain if you've chosen what would work for you, it is extremely complicated and overwhelming but you can't give up, not if you want to live ! 
Caroline Reyes-Loughrey Photography

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Trying To Heal In A Toxic World

Caroline Reyes-Loughrey Photography

I haven't touched my blog in months, I was too busy keeping myself alive! The past 5 months or so have been crucial. The quest for answers continue. The search for all possibilities explored. New awakenings were gladly realised. 
My therapies are all in London, I have researched the best therapies I could find, and from this I gathered, the most experienced practitioners who specialise in these modalities and how it can treat Cancer in the UK, are all in London. It was a rigorous 5 days per week of either hyperbaric oxygen, Bowen, or vitamin infusions that I took on, which required me to face the world five times a week. It's a TOXIC world out there! I thought moving a little bit further out would help, but ,- well, only just! The commuting itself isn't so bad, it's navigating through the pollution and avoiding other environmental toxins, which is inescapable in a big city. I have stage 4 lung cancer and London surely is a challenge for everyone with a compromised set of breathers! As I step out of a treatment clinic, I survey the street where I'm headed for smokers and crowds and avoid them like the plague. When the alternative route isn't a logical walking distance for my weak legs then I just wait for clearance, which is why I always give myself plenty of time ahead.The city turns into a giant hazardous maze for me. It's unbelievably toxic, you get people who smell like they've put an entire bottle of toxic perfume on them. I used to love perfume too. Your average perfume though, contains on average 14 toxic chemicals that contain parabens, phthalates, and synthetic musks that cause hormone disruption, reproductive problems, and Cancer. However, there are safe fragrances, you can find a list at the EWG website. When the perfume is really strong, I can't breathe, I was on the tube one time, and this strong waft of perfume permeated the air, I had to move. Smokers, they are everywhere! Smoking is one health risk known to most and yet the streets of london are littered with people who resemble like walking chimneys to me. I've had to slow my pace a lot when smokers are ahead of me, sometimes though, by the time you realise there's a smoker nearby it's too late and you just smell and inhale that carcinogenic fume. It's torturous! Sometimes I come across acquaintances who are so disrespectful that they smoke in front of me, even in my own home, maybe they forget I have lung cancer, duh! I just step out of the room of course, but it's disgusting. It's a big city and of course you expect cars, trains, motorcycles, trucks, etc. I don't get why in 2016 we are still struggling with toxic fuel emissions, why can't that smoke that spew out of those things become cleaner. If I move out of london, I would still have to travel to the city for treatments so there is really no point. Healing in a toxic city presents so many challenges but right now I can't escape the maze, I leave my house every time with fingers crossed I could miraculously get through the day with the least poisons dumped on my immune system without choice. This is why we constantly have to detox. At one hyperbaric oxygen session, we got to talk about getting out and about with our compromised immune systems and we all agreed, it's very difficult to blend in with the healthy world. Disability is not always in the form of crutches and wheelchairs but unfortunately you can't wear a disabled sign on your forehead to let people know you require assistance. When I carry my portable oxygen is the only time everyone's more accommodating and considerate. I sat on a disabled seat on the bus one time, and was asked to give up my seat for an older woman, I would be breathless trying to explain that I'm disabled too and it was just one stop so I just obliged. I always carry my peppermint and frankincense essential oils, and rub it on my hands and my nose, so I smell that instead.
It's been a long and difficult year. I'm still struggling to stay stable. My recent scans showed metastasis on the lymph and breast. My foggy brain is desperately trying to keep up. My weak body yearning for a break. I now use my oxygen more often and I had to get a mobility scooter to get around. 
I know we can never really cleanse ourselves completely, the world has become too toxic, we've lost control of the air we breathe, the water we drink, the way our food is made. It takes more effort now even for the healthy to keep up. We need to be vigilant and we need to be stronger than our excuses to keep our bodies, mind, and spirit in the right frequencies.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016


Maggie's Cancer Centre, Dundee Scotland
It's been three years since the Cancer diagnosis today. Three years is actually exceptionally good for the type of Cancer I have, by any standard. My expiration date has been predicted so many times. A Cancer diagnosis can turn your life into complete chaos or blissful awakening. It's your choice. When one gets a diagnosis especially a grave one like in my case, given two months. What do you do? The hospice offered me free services to get my affairs in order. They referred me to a lawyer to write my will, they even had a filmmaker offer his services to shoot messages I would like to leave my family and friends. I was gathering photos and materials I wanted in the film, then, I stopped, picked up the phone, told him I changed my mind and that I'm going to fight this. They said maybe I should do it anyway, at least it's done and I won't have to regret not doing it later on. I declined, it was not setting me up for the right mindset to turn this nightmare into a dream. It was brave, but if I didn't make it beyond the two months, yes I would have regretted not doing it. I never called him back. 
I now have three years of Cancer research behind me, and believe me, I've just scratched the surface. It takes so long to decipher, validate, qualify, test, or even make sense of what you read. Cancer is such a massive industry, it's easy to get overwhelmed, lost, confused, or just give up. If I had known what I know now, I would treat myself very differently. There was so much uncertainty about the protocols I chose the first time, the dire predictions adding more pressure to decisions I've had to make on limited time. I've always encouraged people to read up on Cancer now, because if you start researching on the day you get the diagnosis, you may not be thinking clearly, under time pressure, you may be panicked or too shocked to establish coherence. Reading up on Cancer doesn't mean you're inviting it, reading up on Cancer puts you ahead in prevention, and it's a healthy lifestyle anyway, so why not.
Conventional medicine can tell you what your disease is and where it is, then they prescribe patented drugs or treatments for it. But, they won't tell you the cause, the mechanism, or the pathway involved. To fully understand why that is, you need to look deeply at how the medical industry and medical schools operate. It's too lengthy to discuss, I leave that up to you. Here's where the gap is, patients often want to know more, like how it occurred. They seem to imply that it just happens randomly, well, no! Instead of naming your disease and then getting rid of the growth by burning, poisoning, and cutting, we should look into what's going on inside, when we understand that, we can supply the body what it needs. Not saying conventional treatment doesn't work, I've had chemo myself, although had I known I actually had time, I would have gone a completely alternative route, I still deal with the side effects of chemo more than a year after. But, of course, I'm grateful, it did help.
Not one protocol would work for everyone, we are all different. The key is to tune in, understand your body, hear what it wants. I'll share here what I think one should do when you do or a loved one gets a diagnosis. I'm not claiming to be an expert, far from that. This is all based on common sense gathered from my extensive research and the endless quest for the cure, which I am told by conventional means, doesn't exist.

1. Eliminate Stress. I know. It's like - how? That's what I felt like, easier said than done hey! This is number one on my list, it is stress that triggers Cancer cell expression. We all have Cancer cells but not every cell turns malignant because the body is able to reverse it unless you keep inundating it with stress all the time and not doing anything to manage it. I wouldn't say eliminate as we all deal with life on a daily basis, stressors are a part of our existence, but get off the flight or fight mode, it gets your body's PH balance out of whack, creating an acidic environment Cancer cells thrive on. This depletes oxygen to your cells and creates an anaerobic environment which makes a perfect home for Cancer cells. The key is to change your reaction, change the way you perceive the trials that come to you, change your attitude, aim for happy despite trying circumstances. Meditation and Tapping have helped me with this. This is number one because this step alone can start a surge of healing. In her book Radical Remissions, Dr. Kelly Turner recognised that only 2 of the 9 steps Cancer patients who's had spontaneous Remissions took is physical, the rest is mental, emotional, and spiritual. It was a long and hard journey to even get me to a place where I'm just chilling, I'm still working on it, but it is possible. Change your thoughts to change your immune system. You've got to take control of your thoughts and of your mind. Allow positive thoughts to flow even in the most wearisome of situations. Stay away from bad energy and toxic people and noxious environments as much as you can. Think Epigenetics. I wrote about Psycho-Oncology here.
Eat, Pray, Meditate!

2. Definitely Eliminate Sugar. I'm a big baker and this was a hard one. Not only is sugar hidden in so many things, the cravings tempt so much at times. White rice is something I'm still working on. I do give myself treats from time to time, the occasional scoop of ice cream, toast with butter, one little square of chocolate. That's just me though, getting rid of sugar completely is the standard here. When you get a pet scan, they inject you with radioactive glucose, because Cancer cells survive on sugar, they naturally seek the glucose and that glows in your scan for the radiologist to interpret, so if your Oncologist or Dietician says you can have sugar, don't believe them. Sugar feeds Cancer. Starve the cells of sugar. The body doesn't classify the sugar source either, it turns into sugar, they gobble it up. When you've got Cancer you need to watch out for hidden sources of sugar or sugars that may be healthy for most, like fruit, but not recommended whilst you're healing from Cancer. When I started juicing, I was adding a pear or an apple to make it palatable but as I got better and my taste buds adjusted to the new diet, I was able to eliminate the fruits completely and just juicing vegetables. I do add frozen berries or dark cherries to one of my supplement, it needs it to mask the horrible texture. The only fruits I eat are pineapple which contains the Cancer fighter enzyme Bromelain and Papaya which has Papain.

3. A Complete Vegan Diet is recommended but I think as long as it's about 80% plant based,  you're good. I'm such a meat eater, this was difficult but I'm getting there. If you decide you still want meat, make sure it's organic, fresh and properly sourced. I have written a previous post about this, here! and on food combining here. Plants hold the answers to all our health problems, if everyone goes vegan today, it will solve a lot of world problems, but that's another blog post altogether. I would recommend changing your diet from day 1. You can enhance immune function through dietary and lifestyle changes. It's been said that an intensive healthy lifestyle and a plant based diet can actually turn off Cancer-causing genes and turn on Cancer- protecting genes. I try my very best to juice every day, usually organic carrots, kale, celery, cucumber, ginger, lemon, and wheat grass. I would add cabbage and peppers sometimes. The Gerson Therapy requires 13 juices everyday! Living Fuel is part of my daily regimen too. I take PEO - parent essential oils, turmeric, I drink frankincense water, and lemon water, or alkaline water, coconut water. I take a herbal cocktail. It's a full-time job, it takes so much time and effort, but that I manage to do it is a blessing, I'm just happy I have the strength to do it. The closer to its natural form is how you want your food to look and taste like. Make sure you eat food that is alive and full of goodness. You're going to have to or get someone to make your food for you, you just don't know how even commercial salads are prepared. In the past 3 years, healthy fast food is growing in the UK, I have tried most of them and gladly there are a few good ones now. I would trust Crush, Protein Haus, Pure. Neal's Yard Cafe, Le Quotidien, to name some. I come to these places when I don't have the energy to make something. There's a lot of controversy regarding Raw Food, I tried doing this, but, I think you need to listen to your body too. Yes cooking destroys most of the nutrients but sometimes it's not digestible, so I've switched to 50/50. Cancer patients don't have working taste buds, esp. if you've had chemo. You don't enjoy eating as much anymore. I take three drops of wormwood in water before meals, and it's kept my appetite up. If you're having chemotherapy, drink lots of green coconut water to re-balance the electrolytes you lose, find one that's in the pure form, green, those chopped up white ones are soaked in a chemical to keep them from getting brown, and there's added water and sugar in the packaged ones. In the UK, you can get it at coconutty.co.uk
Green Juice by Caroline Reyes-Loughrey Photography

4. Eliminate Dairy. Cow's milk, organic or not has been shown to contain 35 hormones and 11 growth factors, one such growth factor, called IGF-1 is strongly linked to many cancers. In his book, The China Study (a good read) Dr. T. Colin Campbell says casein, which makes up 87% of cows milk protein promoted all stages of the cancer process. If you don't have the right enzymes to metabolise these hormones, they flood the body with excess estrogen and you don't want that, especially if you have breast cancer. Milk, isn't what it is marketed to be, it is highly processed and the way the conditions by which it is delivered from "farm to table" is appalling. It is full of antibiotics, mucus, pesticides. No cheese! No milk! It's a cancer promoter.

5. Improve Gut health. This is key. I only started to feel good when I started to treat my gut. All disease start here. If you are having problems there, you won't be able to absorb the nutrients you put in, no matter how hard you try. You've got to clean it! You've got to support it. It is your second brain, it's the only part of your body that functions on its own, it doesn't need the brain to operate, it's where your sustenance comes from, don't overload it with putrid food it can't digest, let it breathe, treat it with respect. After chemotherapy, Cancer cells, and Cancer stem cells still linger in your bloodstream, you've got to let those out. I started with Colonic Irrigation sessions from a specialist. For a cancer patient, twice a year is recommended, but for healthy individuals, once will suffice. A session is usually three Colonics, at least. You can also take Colosan, or Oxy Power to cleanse the colon if you don't like your backside poked :) Learn to do enemas at home. I do coffee and herbal enemas everyday. I love it, I make it my "me time", I either listen to music, a podcast, or I meditate and relax when I do this. One ritual, although tedious, that I look forward to. Read here for benefits and recipes. Take prebiotics, and probiotics, eat fermented foods, but try and make it yourself, you just don't know what commercially fermented foods contain, what kind of salt they use, for instance. Start and end your day with bone broth, this creates a lining in your stomach that protects it and gets it equipped to absorb the nutrients you're going to put in, the evening broth seals and soothes your gut. Here are the benefits and recipes.  Your diet plays a major role in establishing your gut health and supporting your Microbiome's good bacteria, but you've got to support it. Visit Dr. Axes' website, loaded with information on gut health.

6. Eliminate Food Sensitivities. When I had Cancer I found out that I am gluten sensitive, it's been hurting me all these years and it took one test to find out. Take a food sensitivity test to find out your food tolerances and sensitivities. Most of us are not aware what our body can and cannot take, we usually remedy a headache, a stomach ache, or skin breakouts with a pill, but we never address the cause. One test and you will know what you can actually eat. While we're on the tests subject. If you're a Cancer patient and completely overwhelmed by the options, there is a test, a detailed molecular profiling of your Cancer genome that tests against a list of alternative treatments. This will tell you what treatment should work best on your cancer. Only two companies as far as I know does this, a lab in Greece and one in Germany, although I was told there are labs in the UK that does this now, another research topic then. If you're in the UK, Dr. Wendy Denning can facilitate this for you and there is a blood test to check for circulating Cancer cells in your system and how much. I get Vitamin infusions at her clinic.

7.  Reduce Toxic Exposure. We are bombarded with toxicity all over, it's almost impossible to avoid getting exposed to carcinogens even when you're all clean and green, sadly. But, you try your best, and the best you can do is stay vigilant and inform yourself. Read labels. Toxic exposure is harmful to the healthy individual, it can be fatal to a Cancer patient, especially lung Cancer, even being beside someone with perfume I can't tolerate, I struggle to breathe. When you're looking after a Cancer patient, make sure to use nontoxic cleaning solutions at their home, don't suffocate them with bleach. There are safe plastics but I have switched to mostly glass and stainless steel in my kitchen. Get rid of all toxic chemicals in your home, switch to natural and non toxic. Change your personal products and cosmetics too. How's your water? Make sure you're drinking good water. There is information about health, water, consumer advice, etc. at the Environmental Working Group site, make sure you bookmark this website, loads of practical information. I refer to them a lot.

8. Get a Functional Medicine Doctor. Supplement with essential oils and herbs. Functional medicine will answer the why as opposed to the what in your Cancer journey. You work collaboratively to address the root cause of your disease and find a suitable solution based on your individual profile. I went to a herbalist who ordered a detailed blood test from which we determined what I'm deficient in, and where I can improve on. My herbal concoction is purely me and for me, no guessing which supplement you need. This dramatically jump started my healing. This was the time I put my wheelchair in storage. Support your liver and kidney health too, those need to be cleansed as well. I take milk thistle seeds for liver reinforcement.
Milk Thistle Seeds by Caroline Reyes-Loughrey

If it's a slow-growing cancer, you can do all this, well you've got to do it, but if it's urgent, then there are more aggressive therapies that have good success rates, but be wary of scams too, believe it or not there are marketers out there whose business is to ply on the weak and desperate. New claims and therapies pop up everyday and that's good except I wish it's regulated somehow. Cancer is very expensive. Prices of therapies vary so much, it's like shopping for shoes. It seems to me that they can charge as they please and patients just don't have the energy nor the time to question or argue with the line "is there a price for your life"? I have come across clinics that charge 6 US dollar figures!
My main therapy remains to be Cannabis Oil, there's a tab on this page on Cannabis, but it's been in the news lately and there are exciting things happening, I will update my Cannabis info soon. Again cancertutor.com is a good place to start if you're looking for options. Watch the series, The Truth About Cancer, where Ty Bollinger goes around the world searching for available Cancer therapies and cures. The website is a wealth of information as well. The book Mom's Not Having Chemo by Laura Bond outlines a lot of these therapies as well.
Cancer is scary. It's complicated. It affects your life and your family on so many levels. It brings out the best and the worst of everyone around you. Don't buy into the fear Cancer brings, change your thoughts, see it as individual cells that need attention and love and care, don't work against it. Nourish it. If you follow the protocols I wrote above, then you would understand that you would want to do this anyway because now you understand why you got ill in the first place and maybe why and how you've allowed it to happen. Even just acknowledging that, sends messages to your brain that you've got it now, they're going to be looked after and hopefully you have time to fully recover. My last scans didn't give me a good picture and it really hit me, I questioned the sanity of my efforts, but I would be worse if I stop, so...keep moving! Use the Cancer to strengthen your core, it did mine, that's why I'm still fighting against insurmountable odds. I'm not talking about fighting the Cancer, that's going against it, but fighting the pain or thoughts of pain that come with it. The journey can get agonising, and dark but as long as you remain committed and focused, you should always manage to bounce back and see the light. You need to heal the whole body, mind, and spirit, not just where the disease is. It may be the hardest thing you'll have to do for yourself, but if you've got a purpose, it is possible to heal from this. It is easy to feel isolated and misunderstood as well, I personally don't mind doing it alone, I love my solitude, if you can't have support from those around you, well, slay your own dragons! Seek help elsewhere, Macmillan, Maggie's, online forums. Try meditation and yoga. Listen to inspiring people, watch happy movies, sing even when you have half a lung left, do what you love, raise your consciousness, talk to the universe, imagine your future, be close to nature, get sunshine. Eat, pray, meditate, and love! It makes you cheesy, this Cancer!
What I experienced the past three years is more than just a transformation, it's an evolution. I'm not the same person I was three years ago but wherever this goes, I like myself better now so I know I'll be just fine. It feels like my third birthday really, an excuse for a birthday cake :) 

Quick list of my supplements:
cannabis oil, living fuel, frankincense, parent essential oils, baobab, chia seeds, moringa, powerful teas like soursop, oregano, and essiac, milk thistle, wormwood, turmeric, zinc, selenium, multivitamins, vitamin D, vitamin C, red reishi, l-glutamine, iodine, chlorella, green juice, boswellia extract, herbal concoction of ashwaganda, astragalus, shcizandra, siberian ginseng, gingko biloba, and liquorice
coffee enemas, infrared sauna, magnesium and hydrogen peroxide baths, meditation, ozone therapy, hyperbaric oxygen, oil pulling, dry brushing, vitamin infusions, acupuncture, massage, energy healing, chakra healing, Bio-mat

I'll come back to this post if I remember some more. If you want to know more about something posted here, send me an email or comment below.

“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”

Thomas Carlyle

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

Maya Angelou 

Meditation Circle, Caroline Reyes-Loughrey Photography

http://www.phytosphere.co.uk - herbalist
http://www.danielmaxwell.co.uk - acupuncture
dr. wendy denning - Vitamin C infusions and molecular blood test
http://www.urbandetox.org.uk/pages/ozone-therapy.php - ozone therapy

Friday, 8 April 2016

An Update and An Invite

Caroline Reyes-Loughrey Photography
It's been three months since the failed Nivolumab clinical trial when I first came back for a check up at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. I immediately notice the change of staff at the ward, I used to know everyone there. I got a little disoriented but then I finally see someone I recognise and I look for my Oncologist. She gives me a hug and tells me I'm in the wrong place. I have forgotten I'm now supposed to go to the outpatients department instead. Well, this isn't the worse of these episodes, one time I came for a scan at the right time, but a day earlier, such are the perils of chemo brain, a constant struggle to be on track and in sync with the healthy world. 
I've checked myself in on the computerised reception system and from the hallway I see my Oncologist waving, I apologised for my tardiness, told him I'd been at the chemo ward first. After the usual medical routine, we talked about what to expect now that I'm not having treatment. In a gist he said I will be increasingly dependent on people to assist or do things for me. During the worst part of the cancer, hospital transport was the only way I could and was allowed to get around. I needed a wheelchair when I'm out and I had to be on oxygen 24/7, even in the bath. My immune system was non existent so even taxis are not encouraged. Like that boy in a plastic bubble, at that point, I won't be able to handle a virus or bacteria. I have solved many Sudoku puzzles whilst waiting for transport, they get really busy, glad I'm over that. So, I proudly announce that I used the London Underground and a bus to get there. He was pleased, the nurse suggested I wear masks if I do that. He then said maybe we should do an X-ray, just to look. All that radiation, just to look, I'm not a TV show, I declined saying they're not giving me treatment, so they're not allowed to look in there. I booked my next appointment and ended the meeting. It was a crisp and sunny winter day in London so I decided to visit my favourite shops along Fulham Road.
I love the feel of the winter sun on my face. Two places I go to, that quaint French market that sells produce, good seafood, French tapas, fresh olives, etc, and of course French groceries, I love that place. Then there's this Italian shop that sells cooked Italian food and produce and groceries from Italy, I always stop by there too when I'm well enough. One last stop is the juice man in South Kensington, I ask him to make a fresh liter of pure green juice whenever I come around. This was four months ago, things have shifted since.
As I walk into his office, my Oncologist gestures for me to take a seat then says, "approaching three years, trouble!" , that's the moniker he has given me. He was all smiles and looking at me in awe, why, because I'm doing so much better than predicted, though I admit I did put a little effort that day to look good and to surprise them and to prove to myself that I still look normal. He probably told me I'm amazing about 10 times during the meeting, funny. I may still look well but I have had to modify and pace a lot since our last check up. I'm getting increasingly breathless and I get on my oxygen most nights, sometimes overnight. I walk less, but I can still get around on my own. The healing protocols I designed for myself are hopefully keeping the Cancer at bay and myself stable. Cancer is a full time job, it occupies my whole day and night. When you're dealing with Cancer, you and the people around you need to be ready to compromise with you at any given time, you can't predict how your day is going to play out, you just wish you'll be good enough for what you planned. I'm still struggling with the side effects of chemo, mainly brain fog - chemo brain. The past two months were specifically challenging which is why my last post was in February. The side effect from the Nivolumab drug, pain and general weakness on my upper arms, that's more pronounced now, though not debilitating yet, I just can't carry much which is probably a good thing because then I can't shop too much. Sometimes putting clothes on can be a pain too, but like anything else, modify. My Oncologist tends to credit my buoyancy to a possible late reaction from Nivolumab, but I just don't think so. We arranged a CT scan on the 20th of April, this time I agreed. 
I have a list of activities I do for days when I'm breathless or lack energy but I just can't do nothing, unless in meditation and tapping. I'm finally caught up with my Photography, uploaded new images on the website and even launched a new Spring Gallery - Cherry Blossoms, that's me slowing down. My photography website is my life's tapestry, I was in every single one of those photos obviously. I realise it will be quite a task for me now to be lugging equipment and heavy cameras around, but I can't give this up, so now I will focus on photography I can do from home, a change in subject - Food, which I have some photo stock of, and still life, florals maybe, like the new series. This art form just makes me so happy, I will continue doing it. This is an invite to visit the site, you can comment on the images if you use your facebook login. I have everything from travel scenes, animals, florals, black and white, even street art. I would appreciate help promoting the site, would be really a boost to my efforts, Photography is a big part of who I am. A sad part of the journey is having to give up my then Photography, Cooking, and Travel websites, having been given a chance to do it again even on a smaller scale, is such bliss. Thank you. 
It's been almost three years since diagnosis, a really really long three years, but my resilience has kept me steadfast and standing. I don't function 100% but I'm living.
Thank you to everyone who continues to pray for me, and everyone who wishes me well. Take care. 

At Any Given Moment, You Have The Power To Say This Is NOT How The Story Is Going To End

Pittenweem Fishing Village Scotland in Black and White by Caroline Reyes-Loughrey