Wednesday, 23 April 2014

After the Shock

I was in a state of shock after hearing that I have cancer. The initial reaction was like, this can't be, there are so many things I have yet to do, places I'd like to see. I can't go, who's going to look after my kids. Not at this time, please! What about all my plans for myself and for my precious kids. My deadline can't be up already. It was not a good place to be, and I had to quickly rise above that. It is a hard process and I'm still dealing with it from time to time.
I knew I had to stay strong in body, mind, and spirit. Instead of dwelling on what I can't have, I focused on arming myself with knowledge, fortify the troops with the right ammunition to fight this big C that threatens to take a mother from her children.
At this point, we only know that I have cancer and they have yet to see if the primary is the lung or thyroid. We were hoping it was thyroid as it was easier to treat, chances of survival is better. They could not get enough sample from the bronchial wash so I was asked to come in again for a biopsy. I'm told they are more inclined to say it is Thyroid cancer but they need to send my samples to a pathology expert at the Royal Marsden, a cancer hospital in London which is on the same street as my hospital. What happened next is my first taste of real pain from this dreadful disease. The doctor took the samples raw from the nodules on my left shoulder. It was so painful, I couldn't even scream but I felt the tears down my cheeks. What the heck is he doing taking a sample without anaesthesia. Despite the pain, I felt happy they're saying it's likely to be thyroid and not lung cancer. So, after all that, I was again booked for a biopsy. They needed more samples and this time it will be done with anaesthesia and by an expert from the Marsden. This is the 4th attempt to get a proper biopsy. What's frustrating is there does not seem to be a sense of urgency given that we know this is late stage cancer. It's been 5 weeks now and we still don't know what cancer and stage I'm in. I had an appointment cancelled once, the doctor was on holiday. I met with a thyroid cancer expert from the Marsden and was told we will continue treatment there if and when we find out it is Thyroid.
While waiting for test results, my husband and I went into research. We have been homoeopathic for years so it was an organic choice to go alternative. Reading about how toxic chemotherapy and other conventional cancer treatments are, I was determined to go the natural way. The information on cancer is unbelievably colossal. I cried in frustration one night, staring at my computer and thinking how one can possibly search, read, absorb, and validate all these. I went to websites, forums, blogs. We bought books too, so offline I was still learning about this new guest I have, cancer. I then enlisted the help of family and friends. I gave them different topics I needed research on. By seeking help I gained more time to sort out my game plan and more importantly save my energy. Thank you everyone who stepped in, it really helped start off my journey. I've got family in the medical field too, that was a bonus as they knew where to get information I probably could not access myself or know where to look. The hardest thing is finding out what is legitimate material and advice. It was very hard to weed out the best treatment. Deciding which supplements to take was a mind boggling, migraine inducing task. We found a lot of promising alternative treatments. Which one? I am on blood thinners and I have to be careful that what I will be taking does not contradict this. A lot of the natural supplements also have blood thinning properties and should be taken with caution. Initially, we bought graviola capsules, aluminium free baking soda, colloidal silver, dmso, apricot kernels, guanabana juice, vitamin C, naturally chelated iodine, alpha lipoic acid, carnivora, cellular oxygen elixirs, and cannabis oil. I survey my new collection and put them on a tray. This tray used to hold my make up. I write a schedule and I tape it on. Then I ordered a masticating juicer and books, lots of books and DVDs. I start reading the Gerson Therapy books and watched their DVDs. I start research on alternative cancer clinics around the world.  I now realise this is going to be my life for quite a while. I take down my websites, I would not have time for it with all these going on. It was a sad time as I was planning to keep the sites up notches this year. This year I had planned on taking my travel writing up a level, I got a writing job that will pay for my holidays as well as the articles and photographs. My first assignment was Panama, I turned it down and informed them that work will have to wait. 2013 was supposed to be the year of extensive travel, leisure and getting back on the workforce, for myself and the kids. I had business plans in the works.
I was starting to get impatient with how long it's taking for the results. Finally, after about 6 weeks, we get a call to come in to discuss what they found. It was not what I hoped for, they confirmed that it is not Thyroid but indeed the dreaded Lung Cancer, stage 4! my heart sank. They wanted to start chemo immediately. Chemo is the only option I have, because of the metastasis on my left lung and lymph nodes and just the sheer number of tumours, I'm inoperable, and radiotherapy was not an option either. I asked how long I have, and he said 2-3 months without treatment. As soon as I heard that, that's all I hear in my mind "2-3 months, 2-3 months" over and over again, NO! I did not just hear that. I know I'm sick but was I that sick? - obviously. How did they take 6 weeks to find out about my cancer and then tell me I've only got this much left. I need more, I cannot end like this and this soon. There is no cure, they said, and whatever I will be receiving is to improve the quality of my life and prolong my life. Palliative care is what I'm getting. I had to really really recompose myself and not panic. My mission now is to find that holy grail and in the quickest time because I refuse to confirm that there is no hope.
I declined chemo and decided to take on the Johanna Budwig protocol. There's a cancer clinic in Spain that specialises on this diet and more. I will write about my experience there on another blog post.
Here are some useful links that I used for my research. - a good place to start when you're looking for alternative treatments - a very good forum for cancer patients and their caregivers. I got a lot of helpful tips and encouragement from the members, or if you simply want to vent out, it is a safe place for it.  - another good forum
I will post more links as I get on with the blog