Thursday, 26 November 2015

Pablo's journey through a brain tumour

Today’s post is from one of our younger beneficiaries who has kindly agreed to share his story. Pablo, 26, from Wrangaton in Devon is living with a brain tumour.

It started out in August 2014 with some migraines and nausea. I was working as a garden centre assistant in mid-summer and one day after work I had what I thought was a stroke. My GP said that it may well be a migrainous aura. I went back to work and carried on as normal thinking I was okay and just needed to hydrate more.

A week or so later I had another episode at the end of work, with continuous headaches and distorted vision occurrences throughout the week. Turns out they were seizures.

I returned again to my doctor and explained that I felt there was something very wrong with me and that I would like to go to the hospital for a scan. I had the CT scan and was told by the attending Neuro-Doctor that it was all clear. I went home feeling grateful. The next day though, I got a phone call from the doctor explaining that he had spoken with a neuro-surgeon and that there was an abnormality within my brain and that I would need to come back in for a MRI scan.

This shattered my whole world really. I felt as though I was dying. The fear I felt and anticipation of news that would change my life kept me in a state of despair for the whole day before the MRI. (What does abnormality mean?  Is it a tumour?)

I know people say this all the time, but nothing can prepare you for something like this. Nothing at all…

I went back to the hospital and had the scan, my partner waiting for me, hoping and praying for an all clear result. As was I.

I’ve got to say that the whole experience of having a scan is uncomfortable and very loud! Afterwards I saw the doctor and he didn’t mess around or fumble for the right words. He said ‘it is definitely a tumour, as for what grade of tumour, you would have to have a biopsy’.

Devastation! Complete and horrific devastation. I and my partner were in tears. Shaking and deeply afraid of the next stage of our lives.

How do you carry on living knowing that you could die?

The big “C” word, Cancer. Everybody knows that it kills. The statistical data for survival is not good.

A month later I had the biopsy and recovered very quickly. I then got the call from the hospital after two very long and arduous weeks saying the Neuro-Surgeon would like to see me. My mum, my partner and I all went into the hospital to wait for the result.

The surgeon tells me it is a Glioblastoma Multiforme. I know what this means as I have done a tonne of research into the grades of cancer. I say, “so this is terminal,” he replies “yes”.  

My partner goes white as a sheet, my mother looks stunned and I seem to be keeping my cool. For about a minute or so, I am calm and pensive. Then the shock kicks in and I blurt out, “oh F**K IT ALL!” have a little cry and then harden my resolve. I know that if I become weakened by a little life or death situation, I might as well die. I tell the doctor, “I want to live, and this is my opportunity to love life and live well!”

That’s my story really. You get the most devastating news you could possibly get. Yet it doesn’t kill your spirit right there and then. It makes you want to live all the more!

I opted out of Chemo & radiotherapies and chose to do my own thing.

The whole concept of poisoning your body with a toxic drug made no sense to me so I chose to try an “alternative” and much more natural approach to treating my terminal cancer.

I am currently one year into my alternative therapies. I take numerous anti-cancer supplements to support my immune system and to decrease inflammation. I am on a ketogenic, high fat diet which means my body is adapted to burning fat instead of sugar as its fuel. Tumours love sugar and I am starving my “terminal” cancer of its fuel to grow.

This diet is brilliant at stopping my seizures and I am actually much healthier than I have ever been in my life. Twice a week I see a Toyahari Acupuncturist. He monitors my system and tweaks anything out of alignment. I also see a Cranio-sacral osteopathist once a week.

I get advice on which supplements to take through an organisation called Nutritional Solutions in America, they have extensive knowledge of natural ways of treating cancer and also to support people undergoing conventional treatments and to help alleviate the symptoms of chemotherapy.

I am one year into my self-administered treatment and I have halted the tumour growth for a second time by maintaining a very strict diet of no carbohydrates and taking all the correct supplements for my system, daily. Considering the life expectancy of a patient with GBM 4 is about two years maximum I feel I am doing extremely well.

The only downside of doing it without the NHS is that my family and friends are constantly struggling to find the funds to buy all the expensive supplements I need to keep me going.

I can’t remember how I found out about Yes to Life. I think that in my research into cancer I stumbled upon their website and the freedom of information they provided gave me inspiration and ideas for my own self betterment. Charities like this are so important, providing a well of information to anyone with cancer who needs some free information with no bias.

I called the helpline and they were very helpful. Yes to Life funded me to have a consultation with Patricia Peat of Cancer Options and with her help I ended up getting all of the necessary information to help me battle this tumour.  

Yes to Life then offered me financial support to help pay for the supplements and therapies I use, which is a great help. I have now set up a Personal Fundraising page through Yes to Life to raise money to continue to fund my journey.

I had an MRI scan last week, and you will be pleased to hear...THE TUMOUR IS STABLE! It's the simple things in life ey...

If you would like to contribute to Pablo’s campaign to support him to continue on his journey you can do so here

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