On December 2nd 2013 I was officially diagnosed with breast cancer. It was infiltrating ductal and lobular carcinoma to be precise, and was classified as grade 2, stage 2 – it scored full marks for being oestrogen receptive, and was classed as borderline Her2 positive. The mammography and ultrasound scans showed two tumours – a larger one measuring 4cm x3cm x1cm located immediately superior to my left nipple, and a smaller one measuring approximately 1cm, positioned more laterally. According to the radiologist who performed the ultrasound scan the area in between the two tumours was also diseased and was likely to be pre-cancerous. With this in mind a lumpectomy was not considered an option, and instead I was recommended to have a mastectomy. The medical staff also suggested I then follow the standard NHS treatments that were on offer, i.e. radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and Tamoxifen.
I often felt very pressurized by both the medical staff and by a handful of well-meaning friends to follow the standard NHS route. However, my gut instinct was screaming at me telling me it was not the right option, at least not for me. In the early weeks and months I did not rule out the surgery option; however I was desperate to avoid the radiotherapy and chemotherapy. I could not reconcile that it would make sense to inject an already sick body with systemic poisons that would, in effect, kill off an already struggling immune system, and especially at a time when the immune system should be supported not obliterated. Also blasting my body with radiation did not sound like such a great idea to me either, especially since, as a radiographer, I had had it drummed into me that radiation is harmful and causes cancer! So after much hesitation and deliberation I postponed the initial treatments and instead I opted to start treating my cancer using diet and natural treatments, and looking back on it all now I am so, so glad that I did, so unbelievably glad that I listened to my own gut instinct . It wasn’t an easy decision and it wasn’t an immediate decision, it sort of happened gradually.
Over the coming weeks and months I went on to do hours and hours of reading and research on the internet. I bought about 50 books, not all at once. I have had several private consultations with integrated cancer specialists, attended a few seminars, and have spoken to many people who have an interest in cancer, including several people who have healed their own cancers using non-conventional therapies.
I gradually implemented lots of stuff into my own personal get well programme, i.e. virtually vegan diet, as much as possible organic, juicing, clean filtered water, apricot kernels, green tea, wheatgrass, chlorella and spirulina. I was monitoring by body pH using pH strips, and was taking bicarbonate of soda to help alkalise my body. I was rattling around due to the immense number of supplements I was taking on a daily basis: curcumin, resveratrol, quercetin, Indole-3-carbinol, Vit K, Vit E, Vit D, Milk Thistle, alpha-lipoic acid, and mineral supplements. I was also taking the famous Essiac tea, morning and evening – urrgh.. I started taking high dose liposomal vitamin C, but as it was working out at about £100/week to buy the bottled stuff I opted to start making my own. I was dosing up on about 10-15g of home-made liposomal Vit C per day. A few months on I started on the ‘Budwig Muesli’, with added benefit of the sunshine too! I started a regular exercise programme in the form of running and yoga. I started doing the obligatory daily coffee enemas, I was a little hesitant at first but since all the other cancer ‘survivors’ were doing it I guessed it made sense that I should do too. As far as ‘treatments’ are concerned I was having regular Bioresonance treatments, I was seeing a homeopath and was taking daily homeopathic remedies, I was also having the occasional energy/relaxation treatments such as Reiki, reflexology, Bowen, massage. I started going for regular hyperbaric oxygen sessions (HBO) at a local MS Therapy centre in Leeds. I discovered a local spa in Dewsbury that has an infra-red sauna, so I made an effort to go along for a relaxing sauna every once in a while, though not as often as I would have liked to. As you can imagine it was quite an ordeal fitting all this into my daily schedule! Last but most definitely not least I undertook a thorough mindfulness programme to help with the deep psychological healing. Fortunately in the preceding September I had enrolled on a year long mindfulness course, much of which is based on the work of Brandon Bays and Byron Katie. When, just a few months into the course, I was diagnosed with the breast cancer I felt almost as if it had also been planned by the ‘Universe’ that I should be on this course – a way to see me through this life changing and often difficult time of my life. There were about fifteen people on the mindfulness programme, a mixture of practitioners, – some homeopaths, psychotherapists, a nutritionist, a business coach, and a few non practitioners. Being part of this group helped me immensely – I felt very supported by a group of such loving, caring individuals, many of whom have become good friends. I am particularly grateful to Clare Walters, the course facilitator, who with such skill, insight, and loving nature has supported me immensely throughout my healing journey, and to Emma Colley who, as both homeopath and nutritionist, has given me great support.
As well as implementing lots of good stuff I also tried to cut out as much as possible of the bad stuff. One of the first things I cut out was dairy, along with meat, sugar and refined carbohydrates, deep fried foods, bad fats, processed foods, microwaved foods, tea/coffee, alcohol, with the exception of the very occasional glass of red wine. I also became quite fastidious, even to the degree of being obsessive, about cutting out any potential harmful skin products, or anything else that might have an opportunity to enter my body via the skin. This was especially important to me as the histology result had shown that my tumours were highly oestrogen driven. Hence I felt it was important for me to remove as many as possible of the so called xenoestrogens (artificial chemicals that mimic the action of oestrogen in the body and can have the same effect, i.e. stimulate tumour growth). So no more perfume, or perfumed body lotions, no deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, hair colour, no high street brands of sun creams, no make up, etc. I do however use just natural hand made soaps, I use organic coconut oil as a skin moisturiser, which is fabulous, and occasionally use a deodorant made by ‘Faith in Nature’, and I still use a bit of mascara, and organic natural sun cream if necessary. I also had a complete overhaul in the kitchen. I already use very few harmful cleaning products as I had previously switched on to a fabulous chemical free cleaning system, Enjo, several years ago. However I was still using standard washing up liquid and dish washer powder/tablets, so I switched onto the more eco-friendly brand Ecover. The overhaul extended beyond cleaning chemicals – I ditched any Teflon coated pans, and now use only stainless steel or cast iron pans. I threw out several plastic drinks bottles, and one of my top priorities was to get a reverse osmosis water filter plumbed in – comes in handy when you live with a plumber. This means we have a dedicated tap giving us pure filtered water on tap – none of the nasty chemicals that are rife in the standard tap water. I am still acutely aware that I am surrounded by invisible, harmful electromagnetic radiation in the form of Wi-Fi, and mobile phones, but at least I don’t walk around with my phone in my pocket all the time as I used to do, and I make a concerted effort to remember to switch the internet off at bedtime. Unfortunately I’m not sure that the neighbours do though as I can still see Wi-Fi connectivity of at least five neighbours that shows up on my laptop. At least if I can make an effort to control some of the unseen EMF I guess it’s better than nothing. Finally I’ve tried to cut out the late nights that but that’s something I still need to work on, I’m often still up reading until way past bedtime.
Jumping ahead to August 2014, almost 9 months from D-Day, and having had several ultrasound scans and thermal imaging scans that reassuringly showed that there was no signs of growth or spread of the cancer, I was pleased to see that my own natural treatment plan was obviously working, at least to a degree, and I was feeling fabulous! However, although there were no signs of disease progression I was still very much aware that the tumours were not decreasing in size either. I was pleased that my efforts and my body had managed to halt the growth and spread of the cancer but since the main tumour was so large and solid I was not confident that I would be able to break the tumour down naturally using just natural methods or more gentle treatment methods. I was aware that some people who have been diagnosed with cancer are quite happy to live with inactive tumours, and may just choose to keep a close eye on them, and as long as they remain inactive that’s fine with them. I had also read the inspiring book by Beata Bishop, ‘A Time to Heal’, in which she describes how her tumour, and also the tumour of her fellow cancer buddy, had become encapsulated in a thick fibrous coating, possibly the body’s own natural way of preventing the tumour from spreading. In fact it has also been shown in post mortem studies that many people who die of causes unrelated to cancer have tumours that they are unaware and which may have been inactive for some time. Nevertheless as my tumour was quite a size, was causing a considerable degree of breast distortion, and I was constantly aware of it I decided to still go ahead and use black salve to remove the larger of the two tumours. I had come across black salve as a treatment for cancers many months earlier but had not rushed into using it as it appeared to be quite a traumatic process to undertake. However after considerable research on the subject and much deliberation, I decided to go ahead with the black salve treatment.
The black salve process took just four weeks. It is now eight weeks since the large tumour came out, and I have just a small scar, less than the size of a penny, where I once had a great big cancerous lump. I am still monitoring the smaller tumour and may decide to do a further salve treatment at some point.
I felt a sense of intense joy and liberation when the large tumour came out, the nearest thing I could describe it to would be childbirth – but instead of giving birth to a child that had been growing in my womb for nine months, I was ‘delivering’ a whopping great big lump of cancer that had been quietly growing inside my breast for several years. Apart from that quite significant difference the pain and the ecstasy were pretty much comparable.
More to follow on the salve process later…