I dreamt I was going down a ski slope. It looked tricky, but to my surprise I found it quite easy, I had the ability to do it, and I could see I was going to make it on to the flat section ahead. I am coping, I feel OK right now, I need to remember I have the ability to cope and that I am doing so. I was even enjoying the downhill skiing.
I gradually built up a regime which I’m sure helped me through the chemo. I’m including it here in case it’s of use to anyone, but stress these were just my personal choices.
- Vitamins D and K (supportive of chemotherapy)
- Slippery elm regularly, to aid the digestive system, including putting a paste of it in the mouth last thing at night, to help prevent mouth ulcers
- Psyllium husks to aid digestion
- A good mouthwash – not chlorhexidine as this destroys ‘good’ bacteria too, and a soft toothbrush to prevent mouth damage
- Colloidal silver to protect from infections
- Vitamin C only in moderation, as it can interfere with chemo uptake
- Pau d’arco tea, soothing for the stomach
- Dandelion coffee, liver-cleansing
- Magnesium citrate
- No caffeine
- Fresh vegetable juices
- High calorie build-up drinks (not from a packet)
- Maitake tablets
- Homeopathic remedy
- Organic food
- Something to eat in the night to keep the calories up
- Castor oil body packs
- Soothing teas such as chamomile
- Regularly moisturising feet and hands as chemo makes them very dry.
- Milk thistle
- No yeast in food if possible, to stave off thrush from chemo
- An acid-free diet if possible
- Omega oil
- Linseed oil
- Iscador (a homeopathic remedy – I asked for a referral through my GP)
[Many of these supplements are available directly from Cygnus – Click Here to see the full range]
Most of this was just to support the physical body. I knew that my thoughts and inner being needed even more attention. And this is what my time with cancer has been all about. Pat Pilkington, co-founder of BCHC, uses the ‘Hero’s journey’ of myth as an archetype or metaphor for the cancer experience:
The Hero leaves all that is familiar, comfortable and companionable, and in the dark before dawn, rises alone and sets off to journey to the far country. It takes consummate courage and faith to face the ‘dragon Fear’ and rescue the ‘Maiden’: the true Self. The Hero returns, changed by the experience.
My body has suddenly become quite strange and alien to me, as though it’s not really mine. Will it suddenly get an infection from some small thing it would previously have shrugged off, what’s this tiny ache I would previously have ignored? So… it’s time to befriend it. To own it. And in particular to acknowledge it for the fantastic job it’s done all my life, and still now. Thank you, lovely body. Let me know what you need. I’ll love you, not be scared of you.
Living in a glass box
That’s what having chemo is like. I could see life going on all around me, people going about their normal business as though they would live forever. ‘Normal’ for me now was feeling more and more tired, spending a lot of time resting in bed. I could be doing something very ordinary, taking it for granted, when the un-ordinariness of it all would suddenly hit me. It was as though I had indeed walked into a glass wall, had smacked up against the realisation that nothing was the same any more. That I was probably dying. Maybe quite soon.
But I still went to every chemo session reciting to myself, ‘Chemo is my loving healer. It destroys all cancer in my body, and nothing else. I am healthy, fit, happy and healed.’ And I gave my body that message first thing every morning.
At the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not
call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither
movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the
point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only
– Four Quartets: TS Eliot
From Dancing With Cancer by Diana Brueton © 2014, published in the UK by John Hunt Publishing.
Cygnus Code: 240314
DANCING WITH CANCER
by Diana Brueton
Looking into the deep azure blue of the Mediterranean, Diana Brueton wondered if she would be granted enough time to write this book. Having just been diagnosed with cancer, her life was turned upside down and she felt as if it had been taken out of her control. How she took back control of her life, wrote her book, and mastered the devastation of cancer, is her story.
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