I have a confession to make. I’ve been keeping a bit of a secret from you because it is only now that I feel ready to share my news. I agonised over whether to tell you earlier but the truth is, I was worried what you might think. Having a blog like this can be a weird thing as readers come to know and follow you so when you have news like I do, you kind of feel you ‘owe’ it to them to fill them in. So here it goes and by the way, it might surprise you and please don’t judge me!
You may have read a few months ago that I had some radiotherapy on my neck as some rather ugly looking tumours had begun to grow and prevent me from eating, swallowing and was causing me breathing problems. You can read more about that here.
So at the beginning of June when I started radiotherapy, my oncologist told me that my most recent scan had shown some cancer in my lungs. At first I hadn’t been too concerned, simply because at the time I was sat in her office starving hungry and exhausted as the tumours were stopping me from swallowing. Everytime I tried to eat something, I ended up spitting it out as I just couldn’t get it down my throat without choking. I hadn’t eaten properly for about a week, needless to say I was starving and being told I had cancer in my lung wasn’t too much of a concern thanks to my delirium.
As you will read here, I had a very rough month of radiotherapy which ended with me being hospitalised for a week and having 3 litres of fluid drained from my chest wall. Something I don’t ever wish to experience again! Once I had completed the radiotherapy and the tumours on my neck had thankfully disappeared, it was time to discuss the cancer that had taken residence in my lungs. (I prefer to call it the cancer in my lungs. I have a resistance to calling it lung cancer.) On a CT scan, the cancer looked like white cobwebs hanging in a big black tunnel. Mum, Dad and I trundle into my oncologists office to get the hard, cold facts. My oncologist tells me that she recommends having a course of chemo which I have a lot of resistance to, especially given that I have spent the last 2 years treating my cancer naturally and annoyingly doing really well until the neck tumour went berserk and started trying to starve me to death. My dad asks what will happen if I don’t have the chemo and the answer that comes feels like what I imagine being punched in the stomach feels like. (I’ve been punched in the face before which ensued into a massive bitch fight outside my Sixth Form College but never the stomach so this was a new experience for me. And by the way, I won the bitch fight! Just like I am going to win this bitch fight with cancer. Cancer is officially my bitch!) My oncologist says “If you don’t have chemo, I’ll be surprised if you make it to Christmas.” F.A.R.K. That stung like a motherf*cker. We left her office, tears stinging my eyes and feeling super pissed off that she had even said that. I know she has to be honest so I know what I’m dealing with and so I can make an informed decision but boy did that suck. I had a big decision to make. To chemo or not to chemo.
For 2 weeks I agonised over what to do and I must admit that I worried what my followers and readers would think if I decided to have chemo. “Am I a hypocrite?”, “Will I be judged?”, “What will people think?” were some of my first thoughts. I thought about doing the Gerson therapy and while I think it’s a brilliant and effective way to heal cancer, I was still very weak from my month long stay in bed during radiotherapy and knew that I physically wasn’t able to sustain such a demanding daily routine. I considered targeted chemo by a doctor in Germany who goes in through the groin and up to the lungs so the chemo doesn’t damage any other parts of the body. But in end I decided to have full blown chemo so I could blast any other cancer that might be lurking elsewhere that I’m currently not aware of.
I know in the past I have been kind of anti conventional treatment but quite honestly, my belief is that overall, an integrative approach, ie holistic and allopathic treatment can run side by side and be incredibly effective. Sometimes, people need a quick fix in the form of radiotherapy or chemo to control the situation and give them an opportunity and more time to then follow an alternative approach. I decided that if I was going to have chemo, that I wanted to maintain my holistic approach at the same time. So I enlisted the help of Dr Kate James who has been a godsend. Kate is a medically trained doctor who takes a holistic approach alongside allopathic medicine so she has prescribed me chinese herbs to strengthen my liver and kidneys as well as potent Reishi mushroom which has proven itself to be extremely effective against cancer. She is incredibly intelligent, informative, compassionate and intuitive which was a big pull for me.
Instead of having 1 large dose every 3 weeks, Kate suggested I have smaller doses every week so it was easier to tolerate. I have just completed my 4th cycle and my tumour marker has dropped from 6000 to 72 so it has been very effective and I’ve been fairly lucky not to have had too many side-effects. Compared to the chemo I had in 2006, (when I didn’t lose any hair), I’ve hardly had any sickness at all but I have struggled to keep my haemoglobin count within the range required to have chemo and so far I have had 3 blood transfusions!
The picture on the right is of my lungs in July and the picture on the left is October after 3 cycles of Carbo Taxol.
I managed to keep most of my hair, until now. I shaved it off this week as it was annoying me. So there you go. I hope you understand and support my decision. With love, Polly