Still alive after nearly two years … but with a change in strategy

Well, it’s been nearly two years since my diagnosis.

I wish I could say that I had sterling results with the non-allopathic approach:  intravenous vitamin C, the raw vegan diet, juicing, nutritional supplements and other infusions and treatments.

The truth is:  I didn”t.

The fact is:  the IV C didn’t work.  Or if it did, not enough to control the growth of the tumour. 

The web is full of anecdotal evidence on folks who’ve tried IV C and it’s worked, but it didn’t for me.  I do know of two people for whom it worked, but they are the only ones I’ve come across.  In fact, I’ve met more people for whom IV C did not work for metastatic or primary cancer.

After much soul-searching, I’ve had to change my strategy:  a scan last year showed that the tumour had grown and one of the lymph nodes had grown too.  And two friends who had been doing IV C with me in Brighton, died within 3 months of each other.

One of them, had metastatic breast cancer and had turned to IV C because she’d gone the conventional route the first time round and had lost faith when the cancer recurred.  Unfortunately, once she came off the hormone suppressor and the biphosphonates, the cancer came back with a revenge.  It started munching its way through her spine, she had a stress fracture to her pelvis.  She died in a hospice.  I shared a flat with her in Brighton and still remember, with tears in my eyes, her gentleness and kindness in leading me through the early steps of the cancer journey.

Another dear friend had metastatic liver cancer (primary unknown).  She’d been diagnosed just before Christmas and the sensitive and caring nurse had told her brightly:  “well, at least that means you can go back home and eat all the chocolates you want for Christmas!”  IV C, lots of raw food and supplements bought her a little more time than the 3 months predicted by the doctors.  But in the end, she couldn’t stomach any more juices or supplements.  She died at home.

At the first friend’s funeral, one of her friends (who didn’t have cancer) marched up to me and challenged me with:  “if [xxx] had gone the conventional route this time, she’d still be alive wouldn’t she?”

I was taken aback and all I could do was mumble something about how cancer treatment was a very individual thing.  But her comment started me thinking – how much of my approach to cancer was a philosophy, and how much of it was grounded in reality?

Because the harsh reality is:  cancer is a deadly, cunning beast.  The friend who passed away was hard-core raw vegan and had been a vegetarian since the age of 16.  But sometimes, not all the diets or holistic living is enough to boost the immune system or beat cancer.  Sometimes the conventional, allopathic method is needed, alongside complementary medicine.

And even then … what I’ve learned is that cancer is a chronic disease.  We do our best to rid ourselves of cancer through chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and diets and supplements but there are no guarantees.  Chemotherapy only gets rid of the circulating tumour cells.  But it’s the cancer stem cells that are resistant to chemotherapy and lurk to be reborn.  The triggers could be stress, or environmental, but cancer can recur.

So where does that leave me? What have I been doing?  More to follow.