God bless Donna

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Donna loved sailing in Nova Scotia, Canada. Image credit: sailboats.wordpress.com

I don’t normally write obituaries, because since I’ve been on this journey, I’ve had so many friends pass away, the blog would be full of good-byes.

But I wanted to make an exception for my friend, Donna Lockyer.

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Wishing you a happy and healthy 2016!

Friend

Updated March 2016 – For more information on GcMAF, please join the GcMAF and GcMAF Cancer forums on Facebook – they are closed groups, so you have to wait for your membership to be confirmed.  They contain up-to-date information on sources of GcMAF, and also feedback and contributions  by people who are using GcMAF.

(Updated 3 Jan 2016 re. GcMAF)

I used to pray for strength to get through the year.  And the Universe heard me and sent me challenging life experiences (like a divorce, house sale, cancer treatments, the death of two of my beloved cats) to build up my character and strength.

Thanks, Universe!

So this year, my prayer for myself and all of you, is to be happy and healthy.  Let’s see what Mr Universe makes of that!

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Brachial plexus injury #9 – Back on the roller coaster

RollerCoaster

It was 5 days before surgery.  Two months after the mastectomy.

My left arm was still paralysed.

I’d thought I could sort out the brachial plexus nerve compression damage with osteopathy, chiropractic treatments, hands-on healing and acupuncture.  Everyone was praying for me.  But while the treatments helped ease the area and calmed me down, they did not resolve the issue.

I was in denial up to the moment the nerve surgeon delivered the ultimatum, hoping that a miracle would happen, that my prayers would be answered and I would miraculously wake up with my arm back again, without having to go through surgery.

In the surgeon’s many many years of experience, the only thing that would work to relieve the nerve compression, was surgery.

And there was a sense of urgency:  a narrow window of time in which surgery had to be carried out, otherwise there was a chance the nerve damage could become permanent.

I had no choice really.  My arm still hung limp and useless.  I had to go back to work and needed my arm.  The nerve surgeon assured me that some function would return after the surgery.

But …

… what if it doesn’t work?

… what if I die?

… what if it gets worse?

… what if I get lymphoedema?

There were the usual pre-surgical tests which involved blood tests.  When I gave the doctor my medical history, she said:  “yes, the world is full of suffering”.  When I pointed out that a lot of people didn’t have to go through what I had, she said:  “don’t worry, something bad will happen to them”, as though there was some sort of karmic steam iron going around putting new creases of fate in the bedsheet of people’s lives.  Or that life was a mix of good experiences counterbalanced by bad.

I had no answers.  Only fears and doubts and worries at the moment.  I couldn’t believe that in 5 days’ time I would be having surgery for the second time in 2 months.

That sinking feeling I’d had when I was first diagnosed, of having my breath punched out of me, just as the roller-coaster plunged down a fall, had returned.

9 Things People Who Have A Silent Disease Want You To Know

I came across this article written by Mandy Velez, and it pretty much sums up what I’d written previously in my posts on what to say or not to say to someone who has cancer.  Cancer can be a silent disease.  Unless the patient is cachexic or has lost his/her hair, it’s not always obvious it’s cancer.

Snoopy

Typical response from well-meaning people when they find out you have a life-threatening disease!

9 Things People Who Have A Silent Disease Want You To Know

1. Just because we don’t look sick doesn’t mean we’re not in pain.

Invisible illnesses affect nearly 1 in 2 people in the U.S. That’s about half of the population that has an ailment that doesn’t manifest itself physically. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Conditions from depression to Crohn’s disease affect the internal organs or brain and are just as painful as any outward conditions. This is why it’s a bad idea to judge someone’s abilities based on their appearance:

2. Our illness may chemically affect our mood and temperament, and no, it’s not just an excuse.

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Growing roses on the shit

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When I last posted in June 2015, I had good intentions of posting everyday.  I wanted to play catch-up with my “Best of Breast” news posts (which has now 10 months’ worth of backlog!) and to finish telling what happened post-mastectomy and nerve damage.

But life for me this year was like sitting blindfold on a roller-coaster:  divorce … house-sale … recurrence … more cancer treatments … my cat dying of cancer … having to find somewhere to live … financial pressures … work pressures.

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Why the long silence and hello 2015

terminator-im-back Since I last posted in December 2014 I’ve been through a divorce, a house sale, the start of conventional cancer treatments, and oh yes … my beloved favourite cat died of cancer. There, that’s out of the way now. My life is so un-funny it’s funny. I do hope that by telling you all this it gives you a sense of gratitude about whatever shit is going on in your life.  All around me my colleagues were having babies, buying houses and getting married and going on honeymoon.  I felt like the evil Black Fairy at a christening bringing the Anti-matter of Happiness.  They should name a Black Hole after me. Hence the long silence, it’s been hard to summon any motivation to post when I was trying to juggle so many balls at once and also wanting not to share too much misery with the world! But I got a nice e-mail from a blog reader asking after me.  How much of it was curiosity as to whether I was still alive [which is a common question if you see a cancer patient hasn’t updated their blog for 6 months], or true concern, I don’t know, But I was touched by his kind words.  I’ve also seen from the stats that my blog is still being read even though I’ve been quiescent.  So it’s been a nice boost to know I’m helping someone.  Or at least I hope I am.  I’ve got a fearful lot of catching up to do, but it might prove therapeutic and help me get some sense of getting somewhere. So here I am.  Hello 2015.

Happy 2014 – lessons learned in 2013

Updated March 2016 – For more information on GcMAF, please join the GcMAF and GcMAF Cancer forums on Facebook – they are closed groups, so you have to wait for your membership to be confirmed.  They contain up-to-date information on sources of GcMAF, and also feedback and contributions  by people who are using GcMAF.

Updated 10 Jan 2014 – previously “Happy Christmas and 2014”

Updated 22 Feb 2014:  please note that the process for culturing Maf314 is different from Bravo Probiotic.  I am therefore unable to offer any cultures because I suspect my Maf314 culture is no longer viable.  I suggest that if you want to start, you buy a fresh set of cultures from Bravo as only they can guarantee the activity of the cultures.  Compound 1 must be cultured afresh from powder each time.  Compound 2 can be re-propagated from the existing culture.  

Here is the link to Bravo Probiotic:  http://www.bravoprobiotic.com/

And for further information on GcMAF and Maf314:  http://www.gcmaf.eu/

Happy 2014 to all my friends and family.

It’s been a year when the rug’s been constantly pulled from under my feet.  So thank you for seeing me through a challenging year.

It was a year in which I found a voice through this blog, I also met Grace Gawler who is a wise and generous cancer strategist who has held my hand throughout 2013, and been an integral partner in my journey.

To my friends on the cancer journey – may this year bring you NED and good health and loads of money for and success in all the treats and treatments you may need.

********

Winter at Hallwang video

(Here’s a short video I found, that I took from my room at Hallwang – the magic of the soft, falling snow and wintry scene in the Black Forest seems apt for this festive message)

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Why it’s OK not to be positive! (plus some funny cartoons on cancer)

FOL personality

THE FULL OF LIFE (FOL) PERSONALITY
Image credit: “Cancer made me a Shallower Person” by Miriam Engelberg. Click to enlarge.

Updated 25 Jan 2014:  I recently came across this quote in a blog post by chemobabe which pretty much sums up what I was trying to put across in my post:  

“Treatment sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.

While attitude may influence compliance, it does not otherwise influence outcome.

The right treatment for the disease is what counts. …  

I think it’s disappointing to come to terms with the fact that positivity is not going to determine the outcome. …  

I will tell you that the women I admire most are the ones who flourish not because of their good attitude, but because of their unflinching honesty.”

So … let it all hang out.  Being authentic is more important than being positive.

Being positive and the Law of Attraction and Cancer

There is this New Age philosophy that people with cancer must remain positive.

There’s also another New Age meme that holds that somehow, people are responsible for their cancers.  Or the popular Law of Attraction which implies that people with cancer attracted their cancers to themselves like some sort of warped anti-health magnet.

What I attempt to do in this post, is to trace the roots of these beliefs, why it seems to apply only to cancer, why I think it’s dangerous, and what we can do to counteract it. There are also loads of funny cartoons on cancer to liven things up.

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Don’t miss! Special Healing Session at the Haven – Saturday 12 October

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Tuaca Kelly, a master healer, will be offering a group healing session at the London branch of the breast cancer charity, The Haven, on Saturday 12 October from 6pm to 9pm.

http://www.thehaven.org.uk/node/4923

The group healing is called the Alignment.  Cost of the healing is special price of £40.  There are still 10 places left for this session.

Address:  The London Haven, Effie Road, London, SW6 1TB

For more information and to book your place contact caroline.hoffman@thehaven.org.uk

Please note:  you do NOT have to have breast cancer to attend this event, or even any cancer.  This event is open to all seekers of healing.

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Book Review – “Cancer Etiquette” (Part 2) – what to say and not to say to someone who has cancer

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Updated 15 April 2014 with more personal additions

From the book “Cancer Etiquette” by Rosanne Kalick – one of the best books in the market offering guidance on what not to say and what to say to people who have cancer. [Unfortunately it is only available as a hardcover book.  Amazon has some used copies].

I’ve covered some of the mistakes people make when speaking to someone who has cancer in Part 1, as mentioned in Rosanne Kalick’s book.

In Part 2, Rosanne Kalick shares some tips on what not to say, and to say, to someone who has cancer.  I’ve since updated this post with my personal additions, so it’s hard to separate what is Rosanne Kalick’s and what is mine, but the bones of this post is from her book.

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