Where it all began
It all began in 2014 after the birth of my beautiful little girl, Maisie. She was 18 weeks old when I was given my life-changing diagnosis. I was sleeping four times a day, after a 12 hour sleep. I had a cold and a cough and then found a lump under my right armpit. It’s hard to describe the emotions that run through you when, not only are you trying to adapt to first-time motherhood but also all the hormones, sleep deprivation and lack of control over everything that go hand in hand with the first few months of a new born baby’s life.
Approximately one month later, in an absolute whirlwind, my treatment began. After four lots of chemo a scan highlighted that some of it had disappeared but unfortunately, along with the positive that it had partly worked, there were also new spots that were showing which meant that the treatment simply wasn’t strong or effective enough. The next step involved further treatment until it was deemed that I was at the lowest risk possible to allow me the best outcome for my stem cell transplant.
After an agonizing wait and a follow up scan, I had the devastating news that the transplant hadn’t worked after 6 months of being in remission. Retrospectively, I was feeling quite hopeless at this point in my mindset and therefore this then prompted me to seek a second opinion from a consultant in London. After much discussion, he also came to the same conclusion as my primary consultant and therefore another plan needed to be made to continue my treatment into 2016.
Chemotherapy was then continued and I was told that my best chance of being able to fight and be completely cancer-free would be to consider another stem cell transplant but this time from a matching donor. This took a significant amount of time as a perfect match needed to be found, contacted, tested, agree to participate (as it can take some time to collect enough stem cells of the right quality and quantity) and then have them implanted.
A fighting chance
Unfortunately three of my matching donors failed on medical terms at the last stage of testing. They then found one matching donor and I was all set, went for my pre consultation scan and was completely devastated to be told that the cancer had come back again. There was too much cancer to proceed with the transplant and it was at this point that I had no other option other than to consider clinical trials.
I filled in all my paperwork and was accepted onto a trial that was running up in Manchester. There should have been six separate cycles of treatment with two-week gaps in between. I had completed three of these when my consultant withdrew me as it was aggravating my previously diagnosed colitis and IBS due to having to take such high doses of steroids. So I had to sit and wait for a donor which matched – which felt like years and years. I got the phone call to say they found a match and then had to wait for all the testing etc. Got another phone all passed and the donor will be ready for you. So I had a scan a couple of weeks before heading in for my donors transplant, I was giving a date did all my goodbye’s sorted childcare out, food etc. I sat in the waiting room the doctors came through but didn’t even look at me and then a nurse came out into the waiting room and said I am sorry there is a hold up in the transplant unit, so I waited more and more.
Tom and I were then pulled into an office and told the news; that we couldn’t go though with the donors transplant as my cancer had come back and there was more than 10%. I was shattered and placed at the bottom of the pile again, sent home to wait to see what the plan of action was. It was a long wait!!
Due to so many unsuccessful donor attempts, the hospital wanted to ensure that the donor that best matched myself wasn’t lost. As a precautionary measure, they froze the donors stem cells and although not ideal, as they were not fresh they were implanted. I stayed in hospital until I was no longer neutropenic and was allowed to go home on the premise that I attended hospital appointments once a week. At this point in time I had to be housebound due to all infection risks, which as you can imagine is incredibly difficult to manage at the best of times let alone with a small child at nursery. Although it was lovely to finally be home, it was the start of a very slow recovery – I was thoroughly exhausted and needed 24 hour care. My 31 your old body had the immune system of a new born baby and was susceptible to catching anything.
I was given between four weeks to under a year to live. I had to tell all of my family, friends but most importantly my precious little girl. This was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
The words I’d hoped I’d never hear
100 days later, a scan confirmed my life-shattering news. I was given between four weeks to under a year to live. Being told those words is something that nothing can ever prepare for. I had to tell all of my family, friends but most importantly my precious little girl. This was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Words cannot even begin to describe it. After four years of absolute hell and torture, with every treatment failing, I was at an all time low. I felt that I had nothing to lose and therefore decided to research alternative treatment options and subsequent complementary therapies.
I sought further information and support from friends, family and the online community and this led me to embark on a strict diet regime working in parallel with a cosmodic machine. At the time I was unsure it was having a physical effect on me however, it was making me feel mentally more positive, physically more energized and overall reducing my pain and tiredness.
An alternative outlook, and being declared cancer-free
I maintained my healthy alkaline diet for 3 months to expel all of the chemotherapy out my system and continued to use my cosmodic machine, which helped the recovery and repair of my cells. At the time I felt I started to feel a lot better and had read and heard about patients who had opted to use cannabis oil as an alternative treatment. I researched this further to understand the clear distinction between CBD and THC. Rick Simpson who talks a lot about curing cancer which helped me understand the dosage and protocol required as I decided to pursue this.
Fast forward to February 2018 (less than six months after embarking upon my alternative treatments) I became unwell and was hospitalized. Reluctantly, I had to have a scan to find out what antibiotics were required to make me better. My consultant then came to see me unexpectedly to report the results from the scan and confirmed that there was NO Hodgkins Lymphoma! Sat on my own in hospital, to my absolute delight and amazement I planned my 'escape route'! I was in disbelief, complete and utter shock and didn’t know what and how to say to tell people, I had convinced myself that people would think I was making the whole thing up.
Simply put, these are the products that I felt worked for myself whilst I was very unwell. I spent many hours researching each and every one of them whilst I was in hospital and I truly believe in them.
Now in the midst of summer, I’ve had a wonderful family holiday, something I never thought I would be able to do and am enjoying spending time with those who matter. I’m back to being a mummy rushed off her feet again, taking every day as it comes and appreciating all the time that I didn’t think I would have. I certainly appreciate all the little things, my priorities have certainly changed and I can’t wait to see how everything continues to unfold – watch this space!
Since being told I was cancer-free I have had so many people asking me about my story and what my approach had been.
I have developed this website to provide some answers to those questions and to share what I've learnt on this crazy journey. Simply put, these are the products that I felt worked for myself whilst I was very unwell. I spent many hours researching each and every one of them whilst I was in hospital and I truly believe in them.
At this point I must clarify that I am not a trained nutritionist and am not providing any medical advice. I am just letting people know what I felt worked for me personally.