Thursday, 4 February 2016

Finding an integrative path for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Today's post is from one of our beneficiaries, Olive*, 47, from Kent who has kindly shared her experience of being treated for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

After a year of getting regular boils in my armpits and round after round of antibiotics I got concerned when one lump wasn't responding.  After another nine months of hospital visits starting with the breast clinic, chest clinic and skin clinic, I ended up with a diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) at the Haematology clinic.

Having never heard of this condition it did not register that this was cancer.  I was on my own when the consultant broke the news, having had so many visits to the hospital I thought this would be another 'we can’t find anything wrong'.  It was a shock to say the least.  I had no warning or pre-counselling about what I was about to be told.

I drove to work after that in my state of shock and the first people I told were my boss and a colleague.  They cried with me.

I was put on a treatment of R-CHOP chemotherapy for six months followed by 18 rounds of radiotherapy in 2009. Having spent four months researching on the internet to learn more about NHL I realised that there were alternative therapies if I could do it privately.  Unfortunately I got no support whatsoever from my then husband and family.  The gossip mill engineered by him was that I was refusing treatment and on a ‘death wish’.

In the end under immense pressure I conceded and seven years later regret having gone through it.  I still suffer from the side effects of the treatments.  My immune system never fully recovered and I still have neuropathy in my feet. My hair thinned out and never recovered.  I wear wigs all the time. I feel I was not given the full information as to the extent of the damage the treatment would cause.

I first contacted Cancer Options in 2008 after my cancer diagnosis and was directed to Dr Chris Etheridge, a herbalist, and began developing an integrative plan. Having heard about ozone therapy I pursued this with high dose vitamins intravenously, followed by supplements and a change of diet.  I visited the Penny Brohn Centre in Bristol (pictured right) and have been on juicing retreat in Spain.  I cut out refined sugars and fast foods and whenever possible eat organic foods.  I have spent thousands in keeping well.

My consultant cannot understand how I am still alive and looking so well.  He never wants to hear exactly what I do to stay healthy.  I had been given nine months to live if I refused their treatment but it was so bad that I nearly died from pneumonia two months after radiotherapy had I not started on the ozone therapy.

After my treatments, I had not been able to get back to work due to regular ill health caused by low immunity. Dr Etheridge recommended Yes to Life when I could no longer afford to pay for a regular supply of supplements.

I first contacted Yes to Life via email and filled out an application form for funding online.  I was contacted a day later and have had excellent service each time I have needed help. The charity have supported me with four monthly awards.  My treatment of ozone and vitamin injections costs £268 a week and the funding from Yes to Life has gone towards this and helped me stay out of debt as I am on benefits.  My son  and another friend also help.

Yes to Life means a great deal to me as it is the only organisation that I know of that actually helps to give people a chance to use alternative therapies.  I wish I had heard of the charity earlier.

Yes to Life - I think you are a God-send, you are doing excellent work.  May you continue to grow and help many more people.  Thank you is not enough for what you do.

With awareness rising and demand for our services at an all-time high we need your backing more than ever.  Donate today and help us support more people like Olive.

(*Name has been changed)

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