Amanda Goes Paraben-Free

Amanda WardellAfter Amanda O’Neill was diagnosed with breast cancer she became concerned about toxic ingredients in beauty products, both for herself and for her baby daughter. Amanda writes:

In June 2010, aged 33, and just after the birth of my little girl, I was shocked to hear the words “you have cancer.” I was diagnosed with breast cancer – a grade three invasive ductal carcinoma.

At the time, I didn’t fully understand what that meant but I knew it wasn’t good news. As a child, I watched my very beautiful mother battle brain cancer, so I knew what to expect of the chemotherapy, but Continue reading

Things I wish I’d known before #3 – How to evaluate complementary therapies

Angelina Jolie - anyone can be affected by breast cancer

Angelina Jolie – anyone can be affected by breast cancer

Debate rages on the internet following Angelina Jolie’s announcement that she has had a preventative double-mastectomy. Everyone, it seems, has an opinion. But where does this leave the person who really matters – the patient?

When serious illness strikes, we search for cures. It’s a perfectly sane reaction to a life-threatening situation. In fact, it may feel almost irresponsible not to do so. Unfortunately there are some people ready and willing to exploit our fear and desperation, whether it be for profit or personal aggrandisement. Others have more philanthropic motives but may be strongly influenced by their own personal belief system. Continue reading

Gloria’s Glorious Veggies

 

carrot apple beetrootGloria Meltzer writes:

I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast in September 2011. I had a lumpectomy followed by 25 sessions of radiotherapy. The margins were clear, the one lymph node taken was clear, so no chemo required.

I am so fortunate to have a very loving, supportive partner. That makes a world of difference to coping with a cancer diagnosis. One of my strongest motivations to keep well is to live to see my four beautiful young grandchildren grow up.

At the time, I read everything I could lay my hands on – searching for a recipe for future cancer prevention. I followed a naturopath’s advice and he obtained some high quality supplements for me. I began taking 5 drops a day of iodine diluted in water, from a compounding pharmacy. I read and decided to rigorously follow Professor Jane Plant’s book ‘Your Life In Your Hands’ and have now been on a completely dairy-free diet for 12 months. There are also many good recipes to be found in Jane Plant’s book ‘Eating for Better Health’. My partner and I grow many of our organic vegetables ourselves. Nowadays I eat and cook a sensationally healthy diet.

I live in central Victoria on a bush block, so I do regular bush walks – weather permitting. I attend a yoga class weekly and practise yoga at home every morning.

I have long been interested in health foods and healthy cooking, but cancer gave me the incentive to do this daily and much more rigorously. The result has been that this has been the healthiest year of my life: my first winter with no sore throat nor cold or flu bug. Now I want to share a few of my simple recipes.  Continue reading

Not the Year You Had Planned

Cathy McCarthy was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2007. She had surgery, 6 sessions of chemotherapy and 33 sessions of radiotherapy. Having recovered  from the treatment she feels blessed to now be so well. She describes her bout with cancer as an opportunity to get living:

May you find the wisdom to listen to your illness? Ask it why it came, where it wants to take you What it wants you to know, What quality of space it wants to create in you What you need to learn to become more fully yourself That your presence may shine in the world. – John O’Donohue

It is a great shock to be diagnosed with any form of cancer. It takes a while to filter the information and to believe that you are the one with the cancer.

When I was diagnosed I decided I was going to make the most of the unexpected year in my life. It was not the year I had planned, but it was the year I had been given. Continue reading

Coping With New Chemotherapy Research

A human fibroblast cell

In the past month research has been published that suggests that chemotherapy may cause cancers to return. The news is all over the internet, of course, and is presented differently by various groups according to their interests.

For several days I refused to read any of the articles. I don’t want to know about that, I thought. But this is important information, you have to read about it. Well, let me just say this: nobody HAS to read about anything if they don’t want to and no-one can make you. But this research Continue reading

A Prayer

This weekend, Eloise Cook is marking the end of her year of cancer with a big party. As well as celebrating with her friends and family she has worked through her memories of the last year in a prayer. “It feels like a full stop,” says Eloise, “It feels welcome”.

Expectant

My fingers found the lump with a jolt.

I knew it was alien, other, not quite right, not meant to be there

But I had no concerns, only curiosity.  Continue reading

Acceptance is the Key to Freedom

We were utterly blown away by Sim Warren’s unexpected news of remission. After she’d finished partying all night, we asked her to tell us a bit more about what happened:

Last July I was told that the chemo for my relapsed lymphoma had not worked. My tumour had in fact grown. I was given ‘options’.

Option  A – stronger chemo, then more chemo, then a bone marrow transplant. This carried a significant risk of death or long term morbidity (a posh term for other conditions caused by the treatment, for example: heart disease; leukaemia and hypothyroidism).  Continue reading