Thursday, 23 June 2016

Improving Quality of Life While Living with Cancer

Today’s blog is from Denise from Buckinghamshire, who shares some of the story of her cancer diagnosis and how nutritional advice with support from Yes To Life has helped to improve her quality of life.

My cancer journey began when I started to experience shortness of breath, chest pain and tiredness. The symptoms continued for a few months and then worsened to include difficulties swallowing, reflux and weight loss.   I was eventually admitted to hospital as an emergency case, after being referred by a doctor in a Minor Injuries Unit.  I was immediately diagnosed with oesophageal cancer.  The diagnosis came as a huge shock, as my GP had been treating my symptoms as a chest infection!

The hospital staff were wonderful and very sensitive.   Within eight days I had been diagnosed, had an endoscopy, had a CT scan and had a stent fitted to enable me to swallow.

I was told that chemotherapy was the unfortunately the only option to treat my cancer, as it had already metastasised to my liver and lung, so I gave my consent and started the treatment.  Straight away I reacted quite badly to it - I was very sick during the first chemotherapy cycle and had to have injections to help with the side-effects.  I was supported by Ian Rennie nurses who were and continue to be wonderful.  One good thing was that I didn’t completely lose my hair as a result of the chemotherapy - I wore a cold cap during the treatments, which meant that although cut short, I still retained my hair.

The doctors changed my nausea tablets for subsequent treatments, which did help a bit, but I still felt very weak.  The nurses didn’t expect me to manage the final treatment but with their support and against the odds I did.  After three chemotherapy treatments there was a slight tumour shrinkage and after the final treatment the cancer was reported as stable.

Improving My Quality of Life

I’ve done a number of things to help with the side effects of the chemotherapy, including managing the stress and anxiety, which is something that I suffer badly with.  Reiki has helped me enormously with this and over the last 8 months I have attended relaxation classes at my local hospital, which included a guided journey.  These have been wonderful and I find they take me away from any worries.

One other big thing I did to help improve my quality of life is to see a nutritionist.  This came about when I spotted a poster in the cancer centre at our local hospital advertising a workshop ‘Eat to Outsmart Cancer’.  Unfortunately the workshop was full but the nutritionist who was running the workshop discussed my illness with me and helped me to arrange private consultations with the help of funding from Yes to Life.  As a result of this I have radically transformed my diet.  I now eat organic food and drink green juice each day.  I take aloe vera daily to help reduce inflammation, Ultra Probioplex capsules to aid my digestion and Propax Gold, which has increased my energy levels and I now rarely experience reflux since taking it.

Consulting a nutritionist has made an enormous difference to me, as I feel now have an awareness of foods that could aggravate my cancer.  Before this, I was depressed, as my prognosis wasn’t good, and I didn’t feel I had any quality of life.  The nutritionist has helped me to adapt and improve my diet, which has not only improved my physical health but also my mental health.  The consultations with the nutritionist have enabled me to do something positive towards giving myself the best quality of life while living with cancer.

The most wonderful news is that I have now outlived the prognosis I was given and through the help I am receiving, hopefully will continue to do so. I am certainly stronger than I was and live for every day.  Thank you ‘Yes To Life’ so very much for all your help - words will never express how much it has meant to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.