Hello dear readers, a couple of you were asking about the maggots. Rest assured they do get a mention today albeit briefly. As you are probably by now aware, I like to write things a few weeks after the fact in order to give me time to reflect and process.
So I arrived back in London in September to receive a letter from the German Krankenhaus (hospital) billing me for 2000 euros and also carrying a rather large tumour on my person. That was now irradiated.
At the time it was hard to see which was the more problematic. I briefly flirted with the idea of making the bill for 2000 euros the most worthy of my immediate concerns – as a diversionary ploy – but actually the fact I was now carrying a irradiated mass on my body was by far the most important to deal with.
You see the way I have worked with these errant cancer cells for 12 years is to try and help my own immune system destroy them in a way that is ethical and holistic. To see the cells as part of me and not an evil “other”. I believe in this way whole heartedly. It is who I am and how I live. It has been a precarious balance between how many cancer cells my body can take down and how many are randomly splurging and multiplying at the same time.
Normally the body works super hard when you have cancer/ a tumour as it has to break down dead cancer cells when you do anything that is cytotoxic – that is cancer killing. And there are many natural things that are cytotoxic. This is why naturopathic, holistic and integrated approaches to cancer acknowledge the importance of detoxing on some level. Some of the detox protocols suggested include coffee enemas, colonic irrigation, fasting, juicing etc etc to help reduce the toxic load from the body, and support the liver. It is accepted knowledge that you stand a better chance to do this if your body is not carrying poisonous residues of chemo or radiotherapy, and in fact conventional wisdom states that rigorous detoxing whist on these modalities can be dangerous as it gives your body too much stress. I mean don’t get me wrong, working with alternative protocols after allopathic cancer treatment can still work, there are many untold successes and miraculous recoveries, your body can still do the business – it is just a bit harder. (As an aside there is some super interesting data and articles emerging in the last time of the efficacy of fasting whilst on chemo and how fasting can protect the liver.)
So what was I going to do?
Well I decided to ignore the hospital bill and try and push through a couple of things like sourcing naltraxone on the NHS and trying to find some larva. Meanwhile behind the scenes organisational rumblings of a techno benefit party were underway. Whilst I was in Germany my sister had (unbeknownst to me) approached one of my closest friends from the Stay Up Forever posse to float the idea of fund raising. At that time we were tentatively looking at 24 grand – a grand and princely sum – until the clinic of my choice ruled themselves out of the equation. I still though needed to find some money from somewhere, and something along the lines of 2 grand if I was to do what Patricia Peat and Chris Woollams suggested: a couple of expensive hormonal blood tests not available on the NHS and going to use a hyperbaric chamber 3 times a week for a few weeks. This would be a way of using oxygen to help deal with both the tumour, my body and the effects of the irradiation. I was also aware of a 2 grand hospital bill lurking under a pile of papers in my hutch.
After a few weeks of prodding the cumbersome yet well meaning dinosaur (though not a lapras) of health bureaucracy through my lovely hospice doctor it became clear that even though the Royal Free Hospital has the very packs of larva that I need, they only have a licence to use them for people with diabetes who have ulcers and gangrene. There is no seeming leeway to use them on tumours. Especially as the tumour I have is considered super clean and healthy as it were thanks to the turmeric jelly I topically apply from Christopher Etheridge . (Note there is no room for maggots in the lexicon of healthcare – only larva). If I want to pursue larva therapy I might need to return to Germany. Similarly the NHS pharmacy attached to the hospice after 7 weeks still can’t seem to access the £30 month Naltraxone.
I knew at the time of agreeing to the radiotherapy – contrary to what the doctor had insisted – that this was short term gain for long term pain. I had done enough research and also lived through radiotherapy before to know that I would be making more work for myself but I accepted that as part of the deal – because dear reader I was informed, which is all we can do, right – make decisions that are fully informed as possible….the true meaning of consent.
I mean I have to say that western medicine is fantastic as an emergency modality. A&E is one of the wonders of the modern world and so are the medical staff who work there. We shouldn’t expect it to work for systemic chronic long term illnesses that are the result of many complex multiple factors. I have written a few times before on this. The nature of western medicine is it’s strength and it’s weakness – do what is necessary now and deal with the future impact later. Focus on and fix the thing in hand and not relate it to anything else in the body. It is uncannily like the establishments attitude to conflict and war – identity the other as the enemy and then destroy it. Deal with the consequences and collateral damage later. Don’t look at why it happened, or relate it to past happenings because there is no time. There is only imperial and medical time. It is seductive.
It is said, in a generalising way, that without an understanding of history we are doomed to repeat the failures of the past. Whilst this might be a loaded statement as it doesn’t specify whose history, we do each have a body which is our living archive some would say temple. It reflects how we live, who we are, what we do, how we feel and think, and what we are born with. How we inhabit this body is how we develop spiritually, and learning to have compassion for our bodies so called failings and weaknesses and acting from that compassion is a key to holistic and spiritual wellness. Because our bodies do ‘fail’ sometimes. We also embody a lived experience of multidimensionalty as our genes contain information and history of our bloodlines. And each one of us is individually tweaked – and I don’t mean a kind of neo liberalistic individual tweak age.
Isn’t that amazing! What a resource we are all sitting on as it were. Each one of our bodies is its own source of knowledge, transformation and power and to believe in that is a major key to health. Listening to what our body needs is a great way to navigate through health options and choose treatment plans. We are all different. In an ideal world we could all have the treatments our bodies wanted – whatever they were.
I learn that there has been a date fixed for the techno boom boom benefit party. I swallow embarrassment and a sense of discomfort and breathe in deep gratitude. I always feel like I survive and thrive and am in better health than a lot of my peers. I remind myself that now the tumour is irradiated I need to do this thing and not just rely on my homespun health protocols. I need some more firepower as it were and some focused action.
A reminder letter comes through the door with the post. It is from the German hospital. It requires that I pay 20 euros. ‘Oh no!’ I think. ‘I am now going to be charged twenty euros for each reminder letter they send. I had better sort this out.’ I google extensively for a couple of days but can’t find anything relevant to being charged 2000 euros for radiotherapy. I phone up the DWP who tell me to phone the number on the back of my EHIC – european health insurance card. I call them, It transpires that I am just going to have to pay it and then apply for a refund, but I will not get everything back. How much will I not get back I enquire. They can’t tell me. The nice lady then suggests that she can email my card details over to the hospital in case there was a mistake. I doubted there was a mistake as they took my card and passport away not once but twice and were very thorough and efficient.
I decided to phone the hospital in Neu Brandenburg. Initially there is no one there who speaks English. I manage to utter my name and hospital number and the date I was in. I understand nothing that is said back to me. There is much laughter between us. She is nonplussed about my figure of 2000 euros. I am too. Finally some-one with scant English skills is found to match my sketchy German, and between us we manage to clarify that the original bill was not for 2000 euros but 20,00 euros. I totally misunderstood the letters. I simply have to contribute the same amount that every citizen in a public hospital has to pay – 10 euros for each day spent in hospital. The cat scans and radiotherapy has been paid for.
The only problem now is paying it. My bank charges me £30 to make a payment into a German bank account as I found out in the summer when I tried to pay the wonderful Heike Martens. I need to find a German friend with paypal that I can transfer 20 euros to. I realise it is unlikely that any of my anarchist farm friends will have this. Luckily old connections and friendships come to the fore again. Another old friend and ex lover now living in Berlin will use their paypal and then refuses to let me transfer the twenty euros.
I am so grateful for these fine webs of friendship holding me in their gossamer threads, swaying precariously, stretched over place and time, but holding strong.
Thank – you once again for reading this blog. Wishing you a week of strength, empowerment and safety especially those of you in Calais supporting the people who are undergoing violent and cruel evictions from the Jungle. Again it is old friendships, connections and networks that have created and sustained the Refugee Community Kitchen and made the phenomenal and heartbreaking work they are doing possible.
May all beings live in Peace and Wellness.
Join me next week for more scribings.
To support the Calais community kitchen and know more about their work click here – http://refugeecommunitykitchen.com
Christopher Etheridge http://www.integratedherbalhealthcare.co.uk