Wow! What can I say?! I am overwhelmed with the abundance of love and light coming my way recently in the form of your generous donations to my funding campaign so that I can seek complementary therapies. In just a few days you have donated nearly £5000! My heart swells with gratitude for you all.
I am already busy putting your money to good use and I will try and document everything that is going on when I have the time and energy.
I have been taking a range of supplements since I was diagnosed, as detailed in my book, however, in light of my updated health situation I felt intuitively that I needed to reevaluate these. So, with the help of a friend’s mum who works in this field of expertise I have made a number of changes.
It feels inappropriate to detail the changes I have made as every body and every diagnosis is different so, instead, I would advise that you seek guidance. It is also important to note that some supplements can interfere with other treatments so always be open and honest with *all* of the practitioners caring for you.
I would, however, like to highlight that vitamin C is good for your immune system and vitamin D is important, especially if you live in the northern hemisphere – in fact it is advised by the NHS that everyone living in Scotland take vitamin D supplements. Vitamin B12 is also essential for those on a vegan diet. The rest, I shall leave to your own research and professional guidance.
Under her guidance I also purchased some more organic frankincense oil. This was something I used extensively for the first 18 months following my diagnosis and I had become complacent and stoped using it. I love essential oils and frankincense is a particular favourite of mine and so I have reintroduced this into my daily regime in my morning Himalayan salt baths and homemade coconut oil moisturiser.
There is also increasing evidence suggesting that the use of frankincense oil can be beneficial when the body is healing from cancer. I encourage you to have a *google* around this topic.
TOTAL COST: for my new supplement regime and oil I spent around £100.
Chinese Medicine Doctor
Many of you know that I have a long standing interest in Chinese medicine and how it relates to the dis-ease in my body. I have no experience or knowledge in this area, but rather just feel drawn to it by my intuition. Despite feeling this way since I was diagnosed two years ago, I have never actually taken the plunge and booked an appointment with a Chinese medicine doctor (CMD)…until now!
Yesterday I found myself sitting with not one, but two CMDs. It was an eye opening experience.
Firstly, they spent 90 minutes discussing every aspect of my life and health. They focused not only on how I feel now, but also how I felt in the years before my diagnoses. The consultation was very thorough and I have no doubt that they now know more about me than my oncologist – their questioning covered everything you could think of…even (and perhaps particularly) my temperament. I am told, in case you are interested, that my temperament is ‘liverish’ – that is I have a quick temper, I don’t process anger easily and I have a fire within me. Who me?! Yes, my husband will confirm I am sure!
They then asked me to lie on an examination table and they checked my pulse in both wrists, felt my legs and feet and poked around my neck (I wish I had asked more questions about what they were checking – I will next time). They also checked my tongue. This I found particularly interesting as a few weeks before my recurrence, my tongue developed some deep cracks in it.
On looking at my tongue one of the CMDs told me that my digestion was bad. I tried to assure them that this was not my main concern but, after a discussion they explained that whilst, in Western medicine, the spleen relates to your immune system, in Chinese medicine, your spleen relates to digestion of food and emotion – ok, this I can relate to! As it happens, the cracks in my tongue were, you guessed it, in the spleen area of my tongue! So, not only are my tumours on the spleen meridian in my body but now also my tongue is indicating spleen issues. You can’t make this stuff up! (For more info on why this fascinates me please read my previous blog post).
So, what did the CMDs suggest? Well, firstly they wanted me to take herbs. However, as I take a lot of supplements they didn’t want herbs to interfere with these and so, instead, they had other plans. They put the herbs in my belly button! Yes, you read that right! Weird? Maybe. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained so I was game!
I am told to keep them in there for as long as possible. In fact, they gave me a tub of herbs and some dressings to take away with me.
To work on the ‘fire’ within me and my ‘liverish’ temperament I have been prescribed several acupuncture sessions which I am SUPER EXCITED to start as I have never had acupuncture before. These start next week and I’ll keep you posted.
TOTAL COST: for my consultation and initial herbs the charge was £0 (super kind!). Acupuncture sessions are £35 for 90 minutes. I will keep you updated on costs for herbs and future appointments.
There is soooo much research about the therapeutic benefits of infrared saunas. They are great for detoxification, boosting immunity, helping reduce fatigue, aiding relaxation and helping with aches and pains. Needless to say, if you have cancer then they are indicated as treating a number of symptomatic affects as well as helping your body to get to a state where it is better prepared to deal with the cancer.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you of their use then I know that, from my personal experience, when I have used an infrared sauna extensively over a few days (i.e. when I have been on holiday where the hotel had one), my cancer markers have dropped. Maybe a coincidence? Who knows. However, either way, I have wanted to have one of my own for ages!
Now, having your own sauna isn’t the most practical of things as, not only do they cost a lot of money, but they are MASSIVE.
But I have a solution! A recent, serendipitous encounter with a fellow cancer warrior who I had previously met at one of my book talks led to a discussion about infrared saunas and she told me about a blanket version that she had just purchased.
I was intrigued and had a search on the website she provided and voila I was convinced! These nifty versions allow you to lie on your floor or bed wrapped up and meditating while receiving the same benefits of sitting in a giant sauna!
So I have purchased one and, although it arrived today, I am yet to try it. I think it will become my evening treat while I do my pre-sleep meditation. I will let you know!
‘Yes to Life’
Some of you will have heard of the charity ‘Yes to Life’, however, for those of you who haven’t they “empower people with cancer to make informed decisions about their cancer care options; providing information to guide people through the confusing options for care and lifestyle choices. Their aim is to help them make informed choices by simplifying the complex and facilitate access to expert knowledge.” (Taken from their website).
Basically, if you send them an email then you can have a chat with one of their team who will be able to advise you on whether they can give you some help funding (available for those with monetary issues) alternative cancer treatment, and also, to point you in the direction of holistic cancer doctors who can work with you to create a treatment plan – this part made me particularly excited.
The women I spoke to on the phone was very informative and spent about 45 minutes going over everything with me in great detail. She also directed me towards various aspects of their website which offer lists of therapies for particular cancers available in specific areas of he country – i.e. I can look up alternative/complementary therapies for metastasised ovarian cancer in Scotland. This is beyond helpful and cuts through a lot of the ‘minefield’ situations we often experience when facing a cancer diagnosis or recurrence.
Their website also has a range of discounts for various cancer treatments, such as the aforementioned sauna, so it is definitely worth a look.
TOTAL COST: the consultation with ‘Yes to Life’ was free. HOWEVER, consultations with the holistic cancer doctors are pricey. I have booked one that costs around £300 – I told you they are pricey! I have done this because I want to know if it is worth the money so that I can feed this back to all of you lovelies. Personally I am apprehensive about this as I think there is no reason to change such prices. Let’s see where it leads to…
Valuing Healing Time
One of the biggest steps I have taken since my recurrence is to drastically cut back on things in my diary. I am a people pleaser by nature but, right now, my only purpose and priority must be on healing. So I have (finally) learnt the power of saying “no” to anything that does not serve to put my body in a better state of health. The result, quite simply, is empowering! I feel in a much better state of mind and have more time to focus on what I love doing – as well as more time on my healing journey. This is not always easy or possible, I know, but (wherever possible) I encourage people to cut back and embrace the power of saying no to anything that doesn’t serve you, so that you can say a big fat YES to everything that does….like time on the beach (even in Scotland, in January!)
TOTAL COST: it costs £0 to start putting yourself first; in fact, you may even save some money and you will definitely save some time. With these savings I encourage you to buy and read “The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck” by Sarah Knight. It is, as the title suggests, life changing!
I LOVE yoga and I do it most days. The main difference I have made is to SLOW DOWN my practice so that I am now only practicing yin yoga. It is beautiful and empowering and it is really helping to calm my mind, body and spirit. Give it a try….and if you live local – come to one of my classes! I’d love to see you there!
Body Stress Release
I have mentioned this wonderful form of treatment to you lovelies before and also created a video with the practitioner I see in Broughty Ferry, Dundee.
Basically, the therapy works by the practitioner very gently working on different points in your body to release any trapped stress – I am in no way doing it justice in my basic description so, if you have time, please watch the video.
I went for a session yesterday and asked Claire to ‘go very gentle’ as I was anxious that too much pressure would interfere with what was going on with my cancer. She obliged and I could hardly feel her touching me. As a result of her gentle touch, I thought that I would miss out on the benefits of the treatment. Boy, was I wrong! I got home and had some diner and was overwhelmed by a sudden tiredness. I was so tired I could hardly talk! So, very unlike me indeed, I went and lay in my yoga and meditation space and ‘zoned out’ for two hours. I felt like I was in a trance. Then I near crawled to bed and had the best sleep ever before waking up refreshed and pain free.
Now, the important thing to highlight here is two fold. One, always speak to your practitioner about your concerns and how the treatment can be adjusted to your needs. This will be no problem for a good practitioner and will also allow you to remain empowered! Two, listen to your body. If your body is begging for time out to heal then honour this. If, instead of listening to my body’s needs after this session, I had ‘powered through’ and had a busy night then I would have not only wasted the efforts of my practitioner, but I probably would have made myself feel worse. This notion was encouraged and supported by the Chinese medicine doctors who highlighted the importance of taking the rest of the day to myself following any ‘healing work’.
I love to read and and to also watch documentaries. This week I have been reading “You are the Placebo” By Dr Joe Dispenza; and “The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck” by Sarah Knight.
I have also purchased “The Biology of Belief” by Bruce H. Lipton.
I have watched ‘Heal’ and ‘E-Motion’ which are both FANTASTIC documentaries.
I hope this all provides a helpful overview of some of the stuff that has been going on in my healing journey in the week following being told my cancer had recurred.
In honesty, I feel fantastic. I have no pain, no symptoms and my energy levels are good. I am continuing to explore my options with great enthusiasm and will keep you posted. It really is a blessing to be on a life path that allows me to explore and share in this way.
Love, light and healing to all of you on this wonderful journey of life, Fi xxx
To fund my endeavours please DONATE HERE or on paypal – firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Disclaimer – please always speak to a specialist practitioner before making any changes to your treatment plan. I am not a trained medical professional and this blog serves only to share my personal experiences.