Monday, 25 January 2016

Holistically healing from breast cancer

Today’s post is from one of our beneficiaries who has kindly agreed to share her story. Maria, 44, from Canterbury talks about treating breast cancer and her own journey of physical and emotional healing.

I was diagnosed with stage 1 grade 1 breast cancer in September 2010. Overwhelmed at times, and in deep shock, an instinct for self-preservation kicked in as I sought to make sense of the experience. This manifested as an urgent and fervent effort to find out as much as possible about the particularities of my disease, and how I can make positive lifestyle changes.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Becoming a Cancer Widower

Today is our second post from John, who recently lost his wife to ovarian cancer. Last week John spoke about the politics surrounding cancer research in the UK, this week he shares a more personal take on his experience of becoming a cancer widower and offers some advice on coming to terms with loss.

Cancer Widower – I never thought I’d be describing myself as that.  But at 4:50pm on 8th October 2015 my status as Husband slipped away from me, along with the woman I loved, and I joined the wretched ranks of millions who live in the shadow of cancer and its unstoppable trail of misery and fatality.  On the front of the leaflet handed to me by a very caring hospice nurse was the quote “Grief is the price we pay for love, it is the cost of commitment”.  A price worth paying in my book - I would just have to find the strength to deal with it.

Palliative care at home

My wife’s name was Beata.  She was just 37 years old when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, shattering our happiness in a heartbeat.  Sadly, as is usually the case with ovarian cancer, it had already spread when it was detected, so Beata’s prognosis was poor from the outset.  Despite this, she did everything she could to try to fight her illness, showing the most amazing strength and determination during her three year battle, but in the end she eventually ran out of options and was referred for palliative care.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Cancer: Dying for a Cure

Today's post is from John, who shares his personal experience of supporting a loved one through cancer and discusses how the way we approach cancer desperately needs to change.

Three months ago my wife died of ovarian cancer, after a three year battle to try to overcome her illness.  Her name was Beata and she was just 41 years old - a beautiful young woman with a beautiful spirit, full of love, kindness and excitement about the wonders of life.  We had been married for just six months when she died and were deeply in love - soul mates, best friends and a great team.

Like millions of others before her, her life and mine had been taken over by her cancer from the moment she was diagnosed.  Our lives revolved completely around doctor and hospital appointments, research into treatments and diets, and putting into practice healthy lifestyle changes that we hoped would make a difference.   She was forced to accept a punishing treatment schedule with systemically damaging side-effects and virtually no prospect of a cure, just to be able secure what little extra time she could.

She twice had major surgery, underwent twelve gruelling chemotherapy sessions that caused her a great deal of physical and mental suffering, participated in demanding clinical trials of experimental drugs, had ports and tubes implanted in her to make it easier to administer drugs and blood tests, and had numerous emergency visits to A&E to deal with life-threatening symptoms from her treatments.