Monday, 5 December 2016

Old drugs and new theories: Discovering a healthier way to control my cancer at Yes to Life conference

Sitting on the train from Edinburgh to London, I was contemplating the Yes to Life conference that I'd be attending. Searching for new ways to fight my own illnessI expected it to be interesting and informative and I was eager to meet other people whose philosophy on dealing with their cancer might be similar to my own; but the reality was so much more than I had anticipated.

From the moment I entered the conference hall I was immediately aware of the positive energy in the room.  Many of the attendees were being treated for cancer and there was a large number of health professionals representing different aspects of cancer treatment and support.  The audience were animated and smiling; this was going to be a memorable event.

When I was diagnosed with advanced Ovarian Cancer in January 2015 I immediately met a wall of negativity.  Poor statistics and no options other than chemotherapy seemed to be the standard response to any questions I had. I found it emotionally exhausting to be constantly fighting against the accepted treatment protocols. How uplifting, therefore, to find a gathering of lively, energetic people who had come together to listen to six extraordinary speakers, each with a common purpose; to share their personal experiences of researching, treating or beating cancer.  Each speaker spoke with passion and an in-depth knowledge about their particular topic. During the morning sessions it was fascinating to have the metabolic theory of cancer explained step-by-step and in such a way that an unscientific listener (such as I!) could comprehend.

After lunch, (which was delicious), three further speakers related their own approaches to treatment and/or taking control of their treatment by constant research and perseverance.  Having had a consultation at the Care Oncology Clinic the previous day, I was delighted to listen to one of their doctors explaining again the promising results they were seeing through prescribing a cocktail of safe and well-tolerated, re-purposed drugs; this is a refreshing approach and a far cry from my own experiences to date. It was impossible not to admire the courage and determination of the latter two speakers, who had both defeated cancer and were each shining examples of health and vitality.  Firstly, Patricia Daly explained the benefits of a Ketogenic diet and how she had successfully adopted such a regime in her own fight against cancer; her message certainly made me appreciate that what we consume can have an adverse effect on our bodies and the potential to starve, and consequently kill, cancer cells by adapting one’s diet, is a very appealing premise.  Jane McLelland was the final speaker and I owe her a personal debt of gratitude as it was through her wonderful Facebook page that I heard about this conference.  Her own triumphant story moved many of the audience to tears and I hope she will go on to speak at many more events; she is truly inspirational.

It was a wonderful day and I was so glad to have been there and to have shared it with so many positive people. I returned home with renewed energy and determination and I have already amended my diet and commenced my cocktail of re-purposed medicines!

We are extremely fortunate that in 2016, there is a growing realisation that we don’t have to wait years for alternative cancer treatments; they are already available and I am so grateful to the Yes To Life charity for organising such a remarkable event and for bringing so many amazing people together.  Please may we have another one soon!

Written by Jane Waygood

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