I was originally diagnosed with a Grade 2 mixed ductal and lobular carcinoma of the left breast, both oestrogen and HER2 positive. I have a long history of breast cancer in my family, so I wasn’t that surprised to finally succumb to the same thing, particularly having had several years of acrimonious separation from my daughter’s father.
At first, being rather depressed at the time, I didn’t care if I lived or died, but after a few days, I pulled myself together and made a conscious decision that I wanted to live. I have always said that I would never do chemotherapy, but in 2010 when I was diagnosed, I didn’t know where to turn for information about alternative therapies and indeed, I never imagined so much research into alternatives existed. I was quite ‘matter of fact’ about the whole thing but realised much later that I had just gone into survival mode and got on with what I thought had to be done at the time.
I certainly had some very low days, some suicidal days and some total panic days – mostly I felt a failure as a mother, as at the time it was almost impossible for me to meet all my daughter’s needs – she was only 6 when I was diagnosed and still reeling from the family break-down. One day she told me she liked her father’s new girlfriend better than me and that one thing shattered me more than anything, but of course what she meant was that it was more fun being with the healthy new girlfriend rather than the very sick mummy who she had to leave alone every third weekend and much of the time in between.
After that, I started to look for all the information I could and a friend told me about a few good websites on natural and alternative cures and treatments, so I started reading everything I could find and was amazed by it, and so began.
As I didn’t know what else to do and presumed that time was very much of the essence, I initially agreed to go down the mainstream route. I had four months of chemotherapy, followed by a lumpectomy, in which a large part of my left breast was removed. Shortly after this I started radiotherapy for four weeks. I also had Herceptin, an antibody drug, for 6 months, as I was participating in a trial. Others were on it for 12 months.
The side-effects of the treatment were pretty horrendous, although not quite as awful as I had expected. My hair fell out within a fortnight and I was very sick from the FEC chemotherapy drugs. I turned down extra drugs that I was offered to help with the nausea because I wanted to minimise the overall poisoning of my system and each drug came with its own complications.
Midway through the treatment, the chemotherapy drug was changed to docetaxol, which caused me to lose all the hair on my body, my eyebrows and my eyelashes, but on the upside, much less sickness, which was a result as far as I was concerned.
Things got much harder as time went on, as the effect of these drugs is cumulative, and I got weaker and weaker - I could hardly function, which made me feel very miserable and desperate. I was also in a huge amount of pain, as I had very severe peripheral neuropathy in my hands and feet, so the slightest touch was agony. My fingers split to the bone on almost every finger, which made doing anything at all almost impossible.
It took about three years before I started to feel like an ‘almost normal’ person again – just in time to be diagnosed with a new primary cancer and secondaries in my liver and the base of my spine. So, we began again with chemo and Herceptin and now Pertuzumab as well – another antibody drug, which works much the same way as Herceptin but costs the NHS a mere three thousand pounds every three weeks. However, I had so many unpleasant side effects from this drug that I stopped it just before Christmas.
A New Approach
I decided that a new approach was needed. I first cleaned up my environment, such as disposing of all plastic containers, as these leach chemicals which are oestrogen mimics. I then changed my diet, using organic food as much as possible eating a lot of green veg each day.
I now take a number of supplements as well - astragalus, Siberian ginseng, quercetin, indole 3 carbinol, high dose vitamin D3, green tea extract, curcumins with piperine, cordyceps muchrooms, resveratrol, high dose of vitamin C, vitamin K2, selenium, magnesium, natural vitamin E – must be natural, vitamin B complex and also PectaSol-C (modified citrus pectin). More recently I started taking a wonderful probiotic, which is finally making all the difference to 2 years of diarrhoea. It is in a liquid form and called Symprove.
I also do yoga when I can and walk and get as much fresh air and exercise as I can manage – little and often is better and loads now and then. In general I live my life with as much optimism as I can, which is quite a lot now that I have all these wonderful herbs and therapies at my disposal.
So far my experience is that I am defying the odds of a person who has had chemo twice and has secondary lesions and two primaries. I have been in stable remission for the last year and a half and so far there is not one sign of any cancer anywhere in my body. I am healing slowly but still better than I could have hoped after the ravages of mainstream treatment. I feel confident that if I stick to the protocol, I will continue to beat the odds.
I spoke to a lovely lady called Patricia Peat who runs Cancer Options and she told me about Yes to Life and how they could help me. Paying for the many supplements herbal treatments was a struggle and so Yes to Life was a God send for me. I can’t recall now exactly but I know I spoke on the phone to several very kind and patient people at Yes to Life.
I had a consultation with Patricia Peat and found it very reassuring. I am still doing most of the things she recommended two years later and apparently I am doing much better than the average cancer patient, which I feel certain is not a matter of luck but due to the various therapies which are working their magic for me.
Yes to life has helped me many times with a donation towards my supplements, items like the glass kettle I bought to replace my plastic one and with the cost of my consultation with Patricia Peat. It made all the difference to me - as single mum on incapacity benefit I could not have paid for any of these things without help. They have made a huge difference to me – my oncologist told me that only about one percent of patients up and down the country doing as well and I am and I know it’s because of the natural meds that I’m taking.
So far I haven’t been well enough to start fundraising but I’m gradually persuading my friends who run for cancer research, to fundraise for Yes to Life instead and hopefully they will do that soon.
I'd like to attend some of the Yes To Life workshops but they've been quite a distance from me and I’ve been very ill for a long time, as it’s taking an age to recover from the second round of chemo and the allergic reactions to the antibody drugs, but I hope to get to some of them soon, as I am slowly starting to feel like a human being again.
The support I’ve received from Yes To Life has meant peace of mind to me, as I have such confidence that the various remedies I am taking are going to be the difference between life (for more than the prescribed 5 – 10 years) or death. I’m just incredibly grateful for your support and wish more cancer patients would trust that they can be well and live a normal life without chemo – if I’d known in 2010 what I know now, I would have gone down a different route with my treatment and improved my chances of longevity even more.