I got diagnosed on a Monday morning in early April 2004. I remember it well. The weekend just before I had been on a shamanism intro with the Sacred Trust. We were doing journey work to connect with our power animal. I met and got absorbed by a dead shark (which in truth freaked me out a little) but then I became a bee who flew out of the shark. I have reflected on this and its meaning intermittantly since – was my power animal a dead shark? What does that mean? Is it a bee? Or do I just have to be a worker bee? But now I wonder if it symbolized flying out of the jaws of death. As it were.
So I am settling into my second week on this 60 acre organic farm. Start meeting some of the people who live here. People who have all been fully informed of my situation. It is amazing. I always hide the fact that I have cancer. I don’t deem it a relevant fact for people to know. I just work with what I work with and it has been an amazing teacher for the last 12 years but I cannot tell you how safe and wonderful it feels to know that people know my situation and I don’t have to do any explaining, out myself, or deal with people’s reactions to it. No-on asks me any inappropriate questions. No-one questions why I cannot lift saucepans or work in the fields. I am held.
I am held by my friends Gabba and Coost who I have already introduced you to in my previous blogs and who I cannot praise and thank enough and also by a small group of hardworking people aged from 22-65 that includes many strong and amazing women; like the Brazilian bee keeper who represents Lgbtqi rights within the land sovereignty movement Via Campesina, the young Moroccan woman who looks after the goats, makes the cheese and used to do animal welfare in her homeland, the agitating hardcore political activist from a pedigree activist lineage who is also involved in a Syrian seed project and pony shows, the German ex punk who gruffly holds down much daily multitasking with wonderful spikey humour, and the steady robust intern whose family were dairy farmers. And the guys: 3 older ones and one helpful younger one whose mantra is “it is not about the money” and who is tailed doggedly by his German Shepherd. It is to these people/comrades and friends I have a debt of gratitude.
I decide I need to do somethings.
Using the intermittent internet I can access in Gabba’s trailer I start researching. There is a German clinic called the Hufeland Klinik. I had heard of it before I came here. I google it. It looks amazing. I contact them. They want my medical notes. I contact the fantastic hospice in London. They send my notes to me, in encrypted form of course, but also call me to say come back to London, we will find you a bed. But I know I am meant to be here. The Hufeland get back to me – the cost for their clinic is 24000 Euros for 6 weeks – and also could I please fill in the gaps of my medical history as there are 7 years not documented pre radiotherapy treatment.
I consider going to the clinic, I mean I feel I need to do something. Urgently. The clinic looks great. I Speak with my sister. She will crowdfund even though we both agree it feels too much to try and raise. It also feels wrong in a way – the idea that you can only have health if you have money, which is why I have not pursued these options before. My sis also contacts the sterling Yes 2 Life organization who once more come through with gold suggesting an appointment with Patricia Peat that they will pay for. (Patricia Peat is one of those professionals whose name I have repeatedly come across over the years and I felt a resounding YES to the prospect of talking with her.)
While I am waiting for this I start writing the email to the Hufeland. It looks like this:
Yes so I was diagnosed in 2004 and chose not to take conventional approaches. I had already been vegan for years (since 1990) only interested in eating organic food and already had a daily spiritual/meditation practice, didn’t smoke or drink. I immediately cut out all sugar and fruit and put myself on a detox programme. I ate mainly raw for the first half year plus enzymes supplements and did coffee enemas as I researched approaches to helping my body heal itself.
Then I did metabolic typing and ate meat for 3 months – which was initially great and then my body didn’t need it anymore.
I worked with an amazing kinesiologist and chinese medicine practitioner called Olivia Maxwell for 3 years using various nutritional supplements and working on liver pathways, ancestral cell resonance, miasmas, fungus/bacteria etc.
I did journey work (with Brandon Bays) and emotional work with hypnotherapy and NLP EFT and Life between Life work with Helen Craven.
I took colonic irrigation and Andreas Moritz liver cleanses regularly.
I trained and studied in 5 element theory and meditation/organ detoxing with sound at the Tao centre and with Mantak Chia. (I am a musician)
I went on a ten day shamanic death retreat.
I did urine therapy for half a year culminating in a urine fast for 10 days – which I have to say was the only thing I have done that has visibly reduced the tumour, (apart from the bicarbonate of soda) but I had to stop half way through it due to an intervention by a concerned friend and the threat of the St.John’s ambulance.
I used Bowen technique and acupuncture for a year or two.
I used Iscador as self injected every other day prescribed by Doctor Kassab from the Royal Hospital for Integrated Medicine from 2005-2007 until I paid* for a blood test that matched the tumour with various modalities and substances which showed that my body had a neutral response to the mistletoe but a positive response to vitamin C, Radiotherapy and propolis.
I started university to study Ethnomusicology in 2008 and took a 6 week course of intravenous Vitamin C injections* (which made me feel okay but not super great). Started working with a great herbalist called Christopher Hedley and I decided to pull the cancer out of my body through the primary tumour in my breast using clay, bloodroot and poke root. This was messy but okay for me, but at this juncture my friends and health professionals – Dr. Kassab and my kinisiologist/chinese medicine practitioner advised me to have radiotherapy to dry up the tumour. I agreed to some radiotherapy. In late 2010 was sent to Dr. B at UCH. I agreed to have the tumour radiotherapied but not the lymph nodes. I had a CAT scan which showed the cancer was no- where else in my body and the radiotherapist took it upon himself to break our agreement and blitz all the lymph nodes in the surrounding area of the the breast as he thought it was so amazing it hadn’t spread after 8 years and he wanted to help….ectera ectera….I would describe my health as generally very good. I just have this tumour which generally isn’t very problematic but….
Well okay – I mean I added some superlatives and the names of practitioners for the purpose of this blog, but you get the picture…and so did I … sometimes you don’t realise things until you have it in front of your eyes – I hadn’t realised I had done so much in my health activist quest, and I didn’t even add all the sound stuff – which led me to study ethnomusicology. My body is my work, the workings of my body my corpus of knowledge.
Email sent and waiting for replies and appointments I decided I wanted to contribute to farm life. But I was limited and still nervous about triggering a bleed. What can I do I asked? I can’t bend over too low, can’t sit hunched up, can’t lift anything, can’t harvest vegetables. “You can pick flowers for the mixed salad boxes I hate doing that” says the expunka handing me a large green crate. “We sell them in our shop in the Mitte district of Berlin.”
Thus my twice weekly dream job began. Flower Picker. Of Holly Hocks. Starting at 7am. Though I had the option to start at 8am or 9am. Most people in the summer months choose to work in the fields early because by 11am it is often too hot to be toiling. What a luxury. Choosing flowers in the sun with the buzz of bees a background drone, knowing that I can stop when I want. Knowing I am not doing a twelve hour shift for a multinational, or having my skin in contact with toxic pesticides, or working for 2 pence a week. Reflecting on my dad’s ancestors who were Dorset farm labourers who lost their land and livelihood through progressive land grab, industrialization, colonial privileging of imported grains: one being imprisoned during the Swing Riots that swept through the agricultural south in the 1830’s two more latterly ending their lives in workhouses. And I – I can just meditatively soak up the beauty of my surrounding and the flowers and fill up my green crate zen femme CGP style. It is just perfect for me, a guineapig’s dream. Then comes the request to pick yarrow and another green crate. I will never forget what yarrow looks like! But I also learnt that yarrow is used to stop bleeding. Homer mentions it – the Greeks used to take it to battle to put on wounds. So serendipitous.
I am strengthening daily and also creating an amazing biodynamic feed back loop with the nature, the trees the greenery, the air, the animals. I feel it in my bones. It feels good. I get a reply back from the Hufeland Klinik.
Thank you very much for sending your medical reports.
Our physicians went through the documents very carefully and came to the conclusion that your admission is not possible. Due to the comprehensive treatment you already had there is no option for our immunobiological therapy.
We are really very sorry not being able to provide you with more favorable news.
With all our best wishes for your health we remain
Well I reason to myself – (after the initial disbelief) – I am getting natural Immunobiological therapy by being at the farm anyways and who wants to spend 24000 euros in 6 weeks at a clinic in Frankfurt. I will wait and see what Patricia Peat has to say.
And at this juncture I will stop scribing and thank-you for reading my story and tune in next week for the next instalment.
*Paid – by the Liberator possee putting on a benefit and Joy and Janes second hand clothes rail at Club Wotever.
Pictures and Resources:
Brandon Bays http://www.thejourney.com
Helen Craven http://www.thecravenclinic.co.uk
Yes 2 Life http://yestolife.org.uk
Patricia Peat https://canceroptions.co.uk/patricia-peat/
Hufeland Klinik http://www.hufeland.com/en/
The magical and wonderful herbalist Christopher Hedley, and magical and wonderful kinesiologist Olivia Maxwell are in retirement.