I write about all the events I go to, so here we go……….Cancer.
At 23 Sophie Trew was told she had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. “It was terrifying.” Today she is recovering from hosting the second Trewfields Festival on an idyllic farm in Surrey. This festival is her extraordinary response to a disease that destroys many lives. Sophie has brought together some very inspiring, wise and determined people; sufferers and survivors, doctors and carers, healers and therapists. Lectures and debates take the main stage at this festival. Reflection and self discovery under a grand oak tree. Meditation and music nestles in the woods and plays until the early hours. Healthy eating is everywhere. It was moving, peaceful, supportive and friendly. It is almost certainly part of the healing process.
What did I learn? About myself as a carer, about my mother in palliative care and about the loving community that is pushing against not only the disease but also the closed mindset of many, many medics from conventional medicine. I learned so much. Too much for one article. More suited to a face-to-face but I’ll have a go.
- Want to live. Every doctor who took the stage made it quite clear that they can only help. You have to really really really want to take this extremely difficult journey.
- If you are diagnosed with cancer, read ALL about it; become an expert.
- Find the right oncologist; one who embraces a multifaceted approach to your care and, hopefully, your cure. This is critical. If your oncologist will only treat you with conventional methods of medicine they are the wrong medic.
- Explore everything to find what works for you. During the weekend I heard about so many opportunities to improve the chances of survival and thrival. There are many and they are not all easy but they will lead you to a regime that will suit you, your body and your cancer.
- It’s your cancer. It has latched onto you and you have to work with it to keep it in its place. You can think of it not as a fight or a battle but as a relationship where you need to be assertive. For many it does not go away but it can be kept under control.
- Take care of your carers. They probably don’t know what to do either. Help them by being clear and open.
As the Trewfields Festival unfolded for me I started to draw a picture of cures and challenges to cancer. My picture was very busy by the end of the weekend. It’s titled ‘What can I offer my cancer?’
Here is my picture translated:
* You thought you had just one but it can be mobile.
- Read all about it.
- Your mind WILL help cure your body.
- Conventional medicines help…only help.
- Off label means drugs designed for something else but impact cancer.
- Search the World; eg there are miracles happening in Istanbul!
- Eat the right things: don’t feed the cancer; some love protein, many gorge on sugar, others devour fats.
- Breathe to calm body and mind using Mindfulness.
- Then you may be able to Meditate to help the mind do its bit (see No.2).
- Move, gently at first.
- Give give give to get back love.
- Cannabis, legal in some forms, is worth a try because it chimes with our genome.
- Immerse yourself and marvel in nature and the seaside
In my next article I will explore some of these in more detail.