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The Power Of The One Is The Power Of The Many

gp big faceHello 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.

Calliope xx

To support the Calais community kitchen and know more about their work click here – http://refugeecommunitykitchen.com

Christopher Etheridge http://www.integratedherbalhealthcare.co.uk

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Back To Business: Reflaxing Not Chillaxing

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Hello readers, where would be without our stories? (As Byron Katie might be paraphrased). Stories are a great way to educate, share information, pass on pearls of wisdoms in ways that can adapt to each individual that hears them, and our ability to reflect on our own stories, integrate the learnings and then reframe them and share them with our insights are powerful acts of magic.

The stories we are told around cancer are so invasive and prevalent, colonising the psyche and creating a fear that feeds the very thing itself. I want each and everyone of you to know that a cancer diagnosis does not have to be a death sentence or a harbinger of doom. It is some way an invitation to dance with a part of yourself that is hidden, and a means to access some valuable spiritual resources – regardless of how you choose to work with it.

I would advise anyone with a diagnosis to keep calm, get a second opinion, and get informed as possible before making any choices. I also want to thank you for following my dharmatic dramatic story of European Adventuring.  My story is of course ongoing – I mean actually I have so many stories I could be a high rise complex in a Blade Runner scene. Many of these are written already, many more to be written.

Today though I am going to share some information, instead of telling a story as such. It is  important information and does not seem to be widely known. Today I want to talk about the role of FLAX or linseed in a cancer preventative role and a cancer protocol.

From Pliny, Homer and the numerous mentions in the bible it is evident that flax or linseed is a plant with a long history of use in the world – from Egypt to India across the Mediterranean. Its fibre is used for textiles, rope, paper. The Egyptians used it for bandaging mummies. It has long been used as food both for humans and livestock, as a potent pharmaceutical to lower cholesterol, regulate blood pressure and for mental health, and ornamental purposes. It is apparently a hard crop to commercially harvest, being best left to grow wild in soils of its choice and was used commercially from the 1700s. It declined in use and popularity with the advent of the cotton industry and the aggressive promotion of that by the colonies eager to build empires on the backs of ‘free’ slave labour. For more information on flax – check the links at the end of this blog.

‘Of course there are also many stories and myths around Linseed or flax and there are many traditions are associated with this useful plant. Flax flowers were believed in the Middle Ages to be a protection against sorcery. The Bohemians have a belief that if seven-year-old children dance among Flax, they will become beautiful, and the whole plant was supposed to be under the protection of the goddess Hulda, who, in Teuton mythology, was held to have first taught mortals the art of growing Flax, of spinning, and of weaving it.’ (Mrs M Grieve). Flax in the popular imaginative narrative continued with the French composer Debussy writing an evocative piano piece about a girl with flaxen hair.

But what I want to write about is its use in supporting a body that is cancering.

One of the main reasons that flax oil is recommended for those of us working with cancer in whichever way is its omega 3 -6 ratio. I mean there is a whole protocol that just uses flax and cottage cheese to help the body take down cancer – the Budwig diet – named after a German Doctor called Johanna Budwig who cured herself from breast cancer using this.

Over the years I have tried to do the Budwig protocol but found the dairy aspect too gagathonic. I tried substituting goats quark – but then discovered it had to be low fat dairy. So I left it alone. I have though been taking up to a tablespoon a day of organic oil; in porridge, on sprouted wheat bread, as a late addition to soup after its been cooked; for almost 12 years.

I also use the ground up seeds – which have to be ground up just before you use them as they go rancid very quickly and lose their therapeutic power – as an egg substite. They are amazing as an egg substitute, especially in cakes! But apart from that I don’t bother with them.

But I was reminded last week by my wonderful health practitioner that as great as the oil is – especially for the cell lining of the large intestine – it is the roughage that absorbs excess oestrogen in the gut walls. Now for someone with an oestrogen positive/dependent cancer this is great news. But also, for anyone with cancer it is great news. The oestrogen balance in the body is one of the main physiological components of cancer. Chris Woollams in his great book on oestrogen cites scientific data that shows stem cells that are fed excess oestrogen will become cancerous.

Most hormones/excess oestrogen are broken down by the liver – and how the body manages this can be be tested both through working with the liver pathways with a good Chinese medicine/kinesiology practitioner, or getting blood tests. Sometimes though, as I have recently discovered about my own body,  excess oestrogen is seemingly metabolised okay by the liver but is simply not digested by the gut wall for many reasons. The roughage of the flax seeds efficiently mops up this excess oestrogen. And then of course did I mention flax seeds to counteract symptoms of menopause such as hot power surging flashes…..

So for me, I will be putting remembering to put a tablespoon or so of seeds – I don’t think it matters if they are brown or gold – that is a question of personal taste – in my coffee bean blender daily and then putting them on bananas, porridge, coco yo with great delight. As my old friend Hippocavies would say

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be

thy food.”

Now of course that segues easily into a much longer post so at this point I will choose to leave scribing and get on with my daily guinea pig business. Thank you again for reading this blog. I hope it has been useful/inspirational. Please feel free to pass it on, share it with a friend, or comment/contact me.

Also I am in deep gratitude to a wonderful organisation called Yes to Life.

If you fancy helping other people on this path you can click this link  Donate to Yes to Life to go straight to the yestolife donation page and support them in their fantastic work.

Links and some Flax inspired music:

https://www.amherst.edu/system/files/media/1450/Flax.pdf

http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/flax–23.html – A modern Herbal from Mrs M. Grieve.

https://www.cancertutor.com/budwig/ – “Dr. Budwig was born in Germany in 1908. She passed away in 2003 at the age of 95. She has been referred to as a top European cancer research scientist, biochemist, blood specialist, German pharmacologist, and physicist. Dr. Budwig was a seven-time Nobel Prize nominee.”

http://www.budwigcenter.com/the-budwig-diet/#.V_uslWURXiA

https://nourishingwords.net/2010/11/07/10-reasons-to-eat-flax-seed-every-day/

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=3518

http://www.chriswoollamshealthwatch.com/book/Oestrogen-the-killer-in-our-midst/9

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Potato Thrashing – The Personal Made Public

gp big faceThe realisation of the length breadth and dimensionality of interconnectivity makes my breath stop for a second in my throat when I am at the farm.

You see the city is so loud. “Inner City Life, Inner City pressure”. But the countryside is Louder. Really. You know that expression the silence was deafening – well I am truly burst open with the resonance sound of nature.

Inner and Outer, private and public, boundaries boundaries boundaries. Sharing this blog has been liberating. The personal made public. Living on the farm has erased the need for a publicly constructed face. The trailer is a bit cold and damp in the morning. It is not a place to loiter in. I have to just get up and get out – into an already hot day: to go and wash, or go to the loo, or harvest early in the morning. It doesn’t matter if I am not clean and fresh, the smell of multishaped and multisized chocolate logs from many different animals pungently fragrances the air – top note goat poo, bottom note horse poo; it doesn’t matter if I look like I have only one breast, it announces nothing, betrays nothing, triggers nothing. I segue seamlessly from personal to public to personal – a multi species public composed of barking dogs, shy hens, approachable horses, flowers that greet me, truculent ponies, ducks trying to avoid the humans, humans speaking German, English and French and sometimes Arabic. Something deep inside me is fed. I look like a farm creature not a tame urban domestic hutch guineapig.

Talking of greeting me, Gabba and her dog Pixel came and picked me up from the airport. It was now mid August. We arrived back to the farm, the white trash trailer was waiting for me. Everything was as I left it but different. The dirt/soil was still there, but the flies were gone from the farm house. I went to pick the small white flowers but the flowers were drying up and shrivelling, only my beloved purple hollyhocks remained though not in their abundant glory as before. The Blue lagoon – the name for the outside compost toilet – was now in the throes of a hornet colony – the lone drone of the previous month, that I took pleasure in recording with my zoom had morphed into an electrical crackling of the multitude that was spine tingling and not conducive to conducting ones morning business in a smooth and easy manner. Squeak!

I started the 5mg of melatonin, breaking each tablet into 4 pieces as I am very sensitive to light at the best of times, and being contrary down to the last bone in my little gp body, find that melatonin has the inverse affect of its supposed nighttime slumber facilitation.

I started the iodine, after ordering all the supplements I needed – but then realised that actually the trusty Zell Oxygen (that has been my companion for many years, and will be the only thing that I will always take) has everything except the vitamin c in anyway – how amazing is that – no need for money to be spent except a £13 bottle twice a month.

And I started working with my new tuning fork of 111hz courtesy of Ashera Hart. I have used sound extensively over the last 12 years – and will write a blog entry soon detailing this – but I felt re-invigorated about the potentially of individual frequencies – despite my cultural musicologist head inwardly poo pooing that.

I had brought with me books by Cesar Milan and Barbara Marciniak. Good companions for the evenings and had taken Gabba the whole next season of Orange is the New Black that we watched intermittently.

During those first days for some inexplicable reason I was observing myself sulking (with myself) for not going on a family holiday on the Isle of Wight and choosing to come back here but after that I got in the flow. Luckily what looked like Autumn already when I arrived morphed into weeks of glorious sun and heat. I started getting more involved in the farm work, in the kitchen, got exposed to films and activist speakers from Syria, did a couple of gigs, had a super brief sojourn in Berlin, caught up with old friends, including sharing some Chi Kung with Swanhilde in a Berlin park, went to the Supamolly, visited some other projects, returned to the farm, was called upon to do some mediation, baked pies and cakes.

Gabba had wisely voiced concern that maybe the farm wasn’t the best place to take down the tumour, but after re-assuring her I wasn’t going to tackle the tumour head on, as I didn’t want full on detox symptoms on the farm the iodine started making my head and kidneys feel a tiny bit achey, and it felt right to stop it. The hornet nest in the loo had had a paralysing affect on my colon intelligence, temporarily affecting my ability to naturally release toxins and I didn’t have the tools that would have helped. Anyone working with cancer knows that constipation can be a side effect of detoxing and can be hard on the body – no pun intended – hence the reliance on enemas for protocols such as the Gerson technique.

There was still an option of getting admitted to the well respected anthroposophical hospital in Berlin to try and see Gabbas amazing doctor – but it would mean going in as an emergency on my own and staying in, having lots of tests, and then still not being guaranteed to see her, so I decided to just focus on getting some kind of daily morning routine so I could do my personal health care stuff.  Stuff like wound care, intermittent juice and cold showers within a time frame that still enabled me to contribute with harvesting and cooking, lightweight cleaning, laundry and clearing. Then by 4pm I could skidaddle off to the woods. Taking a blanket and a stick (made me feel safer as the forest is full of wild boars) I would walk to a  relatively secluded oak place by the cows or in my last week – cycle 3k to a magical lake. All this was building up my immune system. Being in nature, being part of a community, working, sharing and collaborating with others, and of course friendships – with my wise peers Gabba and Coost, but also by connecting with others on the farm. This plus my daily walks and meditation practice from 4-6pm.

Well readers as we all know all good things must come to an end – so other good things can happen and I always knew my time on the farm was finite. But so many amazing memories, so much gratitude, and a magical place now always placed in my heart to revisit when I choose too.

Towards the end of my sojourn on the farm the first time there had been some potato thrashing action. I had decided my left arm could be employed in this manner and enjoyed gleefully hitting big red bugs off the potato plants with fellow farm hands.  This natural and time consuming method is the most eco, sustainable and ethical way of knocking off the little blighters feeding on the potato plants to the soil, the reasoning being it takes them then a day or two to laboriously climb back up. One makes a weed brushel then walks along the rows of spuds twatting them. It is superbly satisfying and avoids using insecticides and poisons. Unfortunately one of the consequences of this action as we discovered later was that not only did the bugs get knocked off – yay – but the seed of an insidious potato weed got spread further afield – thus creating more weeding work. You see dear readers every action has a consequence. What we saved in money and harmonious ethical plant power we lost in time. But in a place where time is not money and profits don’t dictate the process the pressure is not on quite the same way. People before profit. Earth and her inhabitants before profit!

And this is an analogy as to how I choose to work with the cancer. I will take longer, make more work for myself, but ultimately try and protect and honour the body and the earth (despite my human flaws and air miles). Yes of course I am part guineapig and part flawed human who despite the best intentions will still hop on a plane due to practical considerations, but we choose our battles and as long as we don’t get disheartened we can learn to live more and more sustainably. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Just as I was getting ready to go home, Gabba came and grabbed me excitedly. “Calliope you know I went to see my doctor at that amazing anthroposophical hospital in Berlin today … well I told her about you… and your situation. She knows other women in similar positions, and groaned when she heard about the radiotherapy voicing that hospitals these days simply do not know what to do with tumours and freak out, anyways, Calliope, are you listening to me, she suggested something, and I don’t know how you will react to it …. so prepare yourself” “Erm, do I want to know this” I squirmed, “is it conventional horror?” She laughed. “No” she said – “she suggested using……maggots!”

I laughed wholeheartedly – “maggots! ”

“Yes Maggots! Apparently they are in a little enclosed pouch and you put the pouch on the tumour and they do their thing in a contained way and eat all the zapped tumour that your body can’t break down! ” I laughed some more – “what a perfect ecological sustainable idea! Right then I had better get on the case and see whats up with this maggot story.” I did some cursory research and established that in the UK there were a couple of companies supplying hospitals with medicinal maggots. This was the information I had been waiting for and now I could come home.

And that readers is the end of todays blog. Thank-you for reading, thank-you for your encouraging comments and remember everything is possible.

Tune in next week for more health adventuring.

Much love Calliope xx

photos and resources:

Swanhilde Maas: http://www.chen-taijiquan.net/swanhild/Willkommen.html

Ashera Hart: http://www.asherahart.net

Zell Oxygen by Dr.Wolz : https://www.wolz.de/en/products/vitality-regeneration-anti-aging/zell-oxygenr-plus.html

 

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A London Intermission.

gp big faceHello dear readers, it may be Autumn equinox and the air is silently quivering with the steady change of Mabon but I still have some story to tell and hope you will follow me through this brief catalogue like post.

I came back to London at the end of July. I was still incredulous that the German clinic had refused my admission. I really felt I wanted to go somewhere where I wasn’t directing my own health care for once, but still felt that the biodynamic immune boosting feedback loop of the farm was calling me. I had gone round the farm the day before my flight and mentally thanked the land for it’s sanctuary but as I mentioned before it felt counter intuitive and counter intelligent to leave. I made a promise/ a commitment to my heart that I would return in 2 weeks.

The morning after arriving in London I had an appointment with Patricia Peat. We spoke on the phone. Yes 2 Life paid for the appointment – of which I am eternally grateful for. She was matter of fact, informed and helpful. She suggested that I maybe think about using a repurposed pharmaceutical called Naltraxone that had originally been designed to treat alcoholism and substance addictions. It sounded good – as good as a repurposed pharma drug could get –  and would only cost the NHS £30 a month if ordered through the correct channels. Swallowing my distaste once more of using pharmaceuticals I approached the fantastic doctor at the hospice and she got on the case.

While I was waiting for this I started researching iodine. Everything I was finding was pointing to iodine being a super supplement for me to use to reroute oestrogen, mop up excess oestrogen and take down the tumour. There were established protocols. I excitedly remembered I had a bottle of Lugols stashed away somewhere. I dug it out and dusted it off. It was violet. I needed to take it with vitamin C and zinc which I had to order. I decided to do that – order – when I was back in Germany. But once I got over the transition of being back everything got into summer swing. Lots of friends and guests, birthdays, a new table and chairs in the garden facilitated by my life research assistant as an invitation to stay in London all summer, more invites for great stuff. My mum had come up to London on the third day I was back and gave me a little pep talk on applying for PIP – squeek, and let me just add that my mum has consistantly been supportive and amazing since my diagnosis. The heinous and dehumanising PIP form which has more or less replicated most of the old disability form but added an extra points question on each section “and do you use a special appliance for….cooking, washing, toiletting, travelling, eating, filling out this form etc etc” which of course only the most physically disabled of people are gonna get to tick – and even that doesn’t guarantee them being entitled to this “award”. For my mum to be on my case about it surprised me – she comes from the working class ethos of working for everything you earn, no credit, no government help, no sponging. I have problems writing negative scripts about myself and had previously decided to not bother but promised her I would consider it.

I then received an email from Chris Woollams saying he was available for a skype call and that he had been on holiday for the first time in 12 years. We negotiated an early morning call. We discussed and shared info on supplements and protocols. His buzz tip was melatonin and oxygen chambers. I remembered I had also recently found a tub of melatonin from years back that was good until April 2017.

By now I had been back in London for 3 weeks. I felt inspired, like I had a new armoury, some hope and a couple of potential plans, but – I had made this promise to my heart to go back to the farm. I resolutely booked a one way ticket back to Germany with a nagging feeling that maybe it wasn’t the best thing, as everything I needed seemed to be here but I knew I needed fresh air and food from source. The naltraxone hadn’t materialised despite 3 weeks of repeatedly trying, but I had the melatonin and iodine. I knew it was still tricky to be travelling and that I had some hardcore work to do but sometimes you have to honour the promises you make your heart, even if you have obscured the memory of your hearts desire so it no longer remembers it.

So mid august I found myself back at the airport, complete with bags and a new 111 hz tuning fork that I had bought the day before from a visiting friend – the amazing Ashera Hart – hoping that my unseen guardians and the universal goddess would once more look out for me.

Thank-you for reading this slightly below standard blog and see you next week as I return to form.

Love Calliope xx

 

 

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European Adventures pt6: Goat Time

It’s astounding, time is fleeting and the goats are bleating – especially the young billy who has just been relocated to the male pen away from his mother and sister with the 3 other billys where he will grow into a hoary old goat. Time is ticking though. I am stuck on the farm but am gradually getting stronger and stronger. But I don’t want to get back to normal – the normality of co-existing with this tumour with the best health I can have. I need to hold onto the recent emergency and remember it is a game changer in order to create some action. I am really ready for this thing to go. But I don’t know how. And now it has been irradiated it will be harder for my body to breakdown. Though I will do it.

Meanwhile life on the farm continues. The goat tv from the trailer gets more interesting as one of the dogs and one of the goats have an increasingly mutual dislike and take it in turns to antagonise each other – normally resulting in the goat chasing the dog away in the opposite direction that the herd is being shepherded. I become better acquainted with above mentioned herd of female goats with names like Mari -Lu, Susie, Nora and try my hand at milking them. It is much harder than it looks. I feel like Heidi. The cats lurk about stealthily waiting for any opportune moment to be That Cat – the one who gets the cream.

There are 3 billy goats plus a newbie. They stink and wee on each other beards. They are kept in their own paddock away from the others. I bond with one of the two shetland ponies, and accompany Gabba on the Pony Express. Gabba and I start the juicing process – picking the beetroot fresh from the soil is another source of deep joy and then juicing it, with cleavers or berries.

My life becomes a slow laborious attempted routine of cold showers, picking cleavers/beetroot, making juice, waiting for water to heat up, moaning about not having enough protein as a vegan, walking to the different gardens, harvesting flowers and baking the odd cake or pie, plus throwing sticks for Gabbas dog. It feels so precious. The farm is so beautiful. I now have my own trailer, having given Gabba her trailer back and it still feels so right to be here.

In the meantime I am waiting for Patricia Peat’s people to contact me. They don’t. I send Chris Woolams from cancer active an email. Nothing. It is summer and holiday season. Friends and former lovers from Berlin come and visit – bringing raw vegan chocolate. I am hungry. A friend from Berlin sends me the contact of a woman who she recommends called Heike Martens. I decided to go and see her – and make a day trip to an unknown part of Berlin called Charlottenburg. I mean I have to keep on it. We have an initial  wonderful hour. We resonate. but she refuses to charge me and says even though she sees me and hears me her English is not good enough to communicate with me and we would need a translator if we were going to work together.

But I have to go back to London. I have things to sort out. I am waiting waiting waiting here…. and communication is hampered by no mobile signal and intermittent internet.

Instead of climbing a mountain goat style, I need to climb into the air on a flying contraption known as an airplane. I keep rebooking my flight. On a weekly basis. I am super nervous about flying. Nervous about stress raising my blood pressure and nervous about trying to carry bags, nervous about being knocked on my right side, or being patted down too vigorously if the metal bleeps. Ryan air have a wheel chair thing for people with disabilities  but I can’t get my head round that. I decide to pay for priority boarding (the best move I made!). But I don’t want to leave. It doesn’t feel right. I know that the London monster will have me on a plate for dinner quicker than the blink of an eye if I am not careful. And it will all be business as usual. I pack my bags but leave stuff in my trailer and clothes in Gabbas trailer. ‘Oh you can’t leave, are you coming back?’ I am asked repeatedly. ‘I will be back in two weeks,’ I say. ‘I don’t want to leave but I have to’.

I finally choose a concrete date and book the flight I will not change and on a beautiful day at the tail end of July I pack and leave, which happens to be the day after the hostility came to a head between the dog and the goat and a scrap was had.

As you can imagine this is not the end of the story by a long chalk. Thank-you for reading so far and hope you tune in a weeks time for the next instalment.

Love Calliope xx

Pictures and Resources:

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Heike Martens  http://www.praxis-mommsen.de/martens.html

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European Adventures part5: A Way of Bee – ing In The Land of Milk and Honey

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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:

Hi Angelika,

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

Yours faithfully.

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.

Peace

Calliope x

*Paid – by the Liberator possee putting on a benefit and Joy and Janes second hand clothes rail at Club Wotever.

Pictures and Resources:

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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European Adventures Pt 4: A Strange Kind of Paradise.

gp big face

 

Hello dear friends and readers. So let me rejoin the story without further ado as you are maybe likely to be sitting in front of the computer during a hot late August European heatwave.

I woke up gingerly from having slept on my back without moving. Flies buzzed. The pink plastic hand of God beckoned from the other side of the room but I couldn’t move very quickly let alone make a swatting action with my right arm. I was in a blue trailer on the farm. I had managed the night without a bleed, though it had been a bit touch and go before I slept; radiotherapy often creates little surface bleeds and I had had a moment of belly fear panic before sleeping. Gabba had sat by me on night watch prepared for a long haul until I insisted that it was safe to leave me and that she could go to bed.

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So I was in a pickle. Or it felt like I was in a pickle. For 12 years I had laboured with this errant energetic cell behaviour in my body, and all for this! As I said before, the bleed and hospitalization had been a game changer and I knew that I had to make some kind of different action, or to revise and revisit things I had done before in a different way. But What?

Before I came to Germany I had already decided that I was no longer going to co-exist with this, it felt time to unequivocably command it to go. I mean I had commanded it to go before, but I needed to get all parts of me onside, make a link between the multiple realities existing within my being and join up all the dots. I had also decided to find a German clinic. Well I had manifested that sure enough and pretty quickly, just not the type of clinic I was envisaging!

I don’t know about you reader, but for myself I miraculously have access to deep resources of self discipline and self trust, yet sometimes it feels like I use up all my self discipline so early in the day that there is none left over for the simple things, like cooking the evening meal early enough or /and getting to bed early.

Getting to bed early. It has eluded me, slipped through my fingers like a slippery snake all my life, feeling counterintuitive to how I am. I have cajoled and invited, threatened and beaten myself to try and make it happen but there is a part of me like a stubborn horse who won’t be led to water, that just tosses it’s rainbow coloured main and refuses. Point blank. (guineapigs, horses, snakes – welcome to the anthropomorphic world of my plural realities!) It’s like I can do hardcore fasts and enemas and colonics, daily juicing and no sugar for 12 years, I can break myself, reconstruct myself, detach from things I hold dear – like veganism – and then refind it, alter my perception of things and adhere to nay enjoy complicated meditation practices, tick off checklists and complete disciplines before 9am if I have to, but the sleep thing – ah Morpheus you elude me

While I am on it permit me to share with you the second thing I have never managed to get a handle on, and something which is a main protocol for stimulating the immune system – cold showers. Cold showers! Squeak! Who has daily cold showers first thing in the morning? I mean for the first eight years of working with this I did not even have access to a shower, yet as a cancer protocol it is gold standard. Oxford Don Michael Gearin Tosh if you remember lived with pancreatic cancer and worked for 16 years swearing by the Gerson diet, 5 element organ detoxing and … cold showers. I mean Madonna apparently has just got into ice cold water as a beauty/health thing as well.

So I am on this farm, staying in Gabba’s trailer from which I don’t surface for a few days. Gabba and Coost deliver hot meals for me – the house has a system whereby all members of the collective take it in turns to cook and clean up daily but I start to think about how I am going to wash. There is no hot water here. There is no wifi. There is an outdoor and an indoor compost toilet.

Coost has washed all my bloody clothes in cold water and the blood is all out, and then put them in the washing machine but I can’t put myself in the washing machine.

Gabba has an outside hose behind a makeshift shower curtain between some trees, but I am terrified no longer trusting my body to comply. I was also very fatigued and the prospect of navigating an outdoor cold hosepipe whilst protecting my modesty and being paranoiac about a breast wound wasn’t doing it for me.

My first precautionary measure was to request some Chinese medicine (for gun shot wounds amongst other things) that I have used previously with success in the Uk to stop bleeding called Yunnan Baiyao. I thought if I had it on hand then if the unthinkable happened I would have some recourse to positive action. My friends in Berlin couldn’t source it over the counter. The local Chinese herbalist two minutes from my house sells it but I am not there. My life research Cambridge lab rat gets on the case. Within 2 hours of receiving the instruction late on a Wednesday afternoon she had sourced, in exemplary fashion, bought and sent a couple of packets on the way through courier by 6pm. I was extremely grateful and felt a bit calmed by this. It is amazing medicine.

A day later I feel ready to brave my first wash. Gabba points out that there is a bathroom in the farmhouse that has a wood burner to heat up water. I just need some-one to chop the wood, light the fire, and maintain it. All this is outside of my remit. I cannot bend or bow, or use my right arm very much, or either of my arms actually, but Coost sorts all that out for me, and once again Gabba stays in with me to make sure nothing untoward happens. It doesn’t. Everything is fine.

I continued to rest. I wasn’t bored. There was goat tv, horse tv, pony tv and dogs interacting with all of the above tv from the window in the trailer, but by the end of the week I was curious about this outside shower. It had a very long hose attached to a tap from an underwater source. This very long hose was in the sun. ‘The water is hot’ says Gabba, ‘the sun heats it up in the hose. It is so lovely having a shower outside with the birds and the trees’ (not the bees – though of course there are many bee hives here). My curiosity increased. I ventured out and sniffed around. I decided to go for it. Hanging bits and pieces I would need on the tree branches in the shower area, making sure I had things ‘just in case’ I clumsily stood on the wooden pallet in the little secluded wooded area behind the shower curtain and held the sprinkler attachment on the end of the hose. I pressed it in. The water was luxuriously warm. Gloriously warm. I basked in brief pleasure and then tout d’un coup icy cold. Well not so icy cold but pretty goddam near icy cold. and do you know what – once I got over the shock of it it was delicious.

Wow I thought I could get into this big time. Cold showers by default. A little warm water first then bam. This was something I could do, aided by the lack of choice in the matter.. at last I can start using this as a health protocol. Couple that with farm life – where everyone gets up at the crack of dawn, fresh air with the no wifi, intermittant phone signal and no electric lights outside which makes a trailer pitch dark at night early bedtimes also suddenly become a possibility.

There was a reason I came here, and these two things were going to be the new building blocks from which I would recharge my immune system whilst I started looking for holistic clinics and protocols to support for my situation.

Tune in next week for for what happened next.

Love Calliope

And here are are some pictures

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European Adventures pt.3 Escape From Krankenhutch

gp big faceHello once again dear readers, glad you could join me as I continue my long tale of summertime happenings in the life of my alter ego – a guineapig called Calliope.

If you recall in my last post I was resting and re-ecuperating in a German Hospital in Neu Brandenberg. In fact I had settled in rather comfortably, rather too comfortably and had started to feel reluctant to leave my golden bubble of ‘white yet exotic other’, protected by my non comprehensive language skills, non comprehensive unless I chose to engage my brain and sprechen und verstehen Deutsch. Even the anodyne food wasn’t phasing me – dried bread, vegan pate and fruit three times a day. I had a flask of green tea and a supply of bottled fizzy water whenever I wanted. I was learning that hospitals can be wonderful places if you just want to sit and do nothing, drink shit loads of green tea and drift in and out of consciousness being good and quiet and patient like. Much like being in a domestic guineapig hutch with no playmates.

In ancient Greece there were healing temples to a deity who was once a centaur called Asclepius. Doctors make an pledge to him (and others including his daughter Hygeia) when they take the Hippocratic Oath. People who were considered terminal were sent there as a last resort. In these temples which were like gated communities, incubation or dreaming was the main healing modality. Dogs and snakes would tend to the sick and lick their wounds, and there was also much human music making and ritual*. Some people recovered – a case of radical remission ** . Was I having a hospital delire  – the result of a fanciful imagination creating stories to counteract institutional sterility? No dear readers, everything is possible, EVERYTHING.

The doctor did his rounds and enquired as to my well being. I told him there was no more bleeding and that my friends were going to come and pick me up in a car later that evening. He said he was happy for that – and glad I would be going back to london. Except I had tuned in to my body and it was telling me to go and recuperate – to ‘get back to the garden’ a la Joni Mitchell.

Herr Doktor: ‘You are going back to London aren’t you?’

CGP: ‘Well yes I will be, but nein not now. I am going to stay with my friends on a farm outside of Berlin.’

Herr Doktor: Adjusting glasses and smiling benignly ‘I would advise you to get straight back to London and go immediately to a hospital.’

CGP: ‘Thankyou for all your care Doctor, I appreciate it. I need to recover from the bleed and the radiotherapy on a farm before I can handle the pressure and stress of travelling. Stress raises the blood pressure and could trigger more bleeding.’

He couldn’t argue with this. He smiled again and with a kindly parting shot said “you will not heal this cancer with music and sound you know”. This took me aback as I had not shared any of anything with him – he hadn’t asked – he just knew I had been at a music festival and was a musician, spooky doktor.

Some officious admin person came by and wanted my passport. I handed over both my passport and magnanimously proffered my eu health insurance card, the one you could get for free at the post office if you are travelling.’Yes we are still in Europe I quipped – despite my country’s stupid and disastrous choice to leave. Sorry for that.’

The day wore on in a haze of relaxation.

It was now late in the evening and the hospital was vibing on night shift and sleep mode and I reluctantly had to leave. I said goodbye to my bed, my room mate with the dancing partner of a chemo drip, gingerly packed as much as I could without bending stretching or lifting. Agents Coost and Chiara arrived and grabbed my luggage took me out to the car where a man I had never met before was in the driving seat. Bugged out from lack of sleep and guarana type ethical stimulants he had heroically decided to help out when no other drivers could be found. This was Diogo.

Dear readers we had a nightmare almost Rocky Horror drive through thunder, forked lightening, sheet lightening, scary lightening, flash floods, torrential rain, visibility down to zero, road works, new road works and a sat nav in full disorientation and us all bug eyed and post festival fatigued well in my case post radiotherapy fatigue and shock.

We finally got past Berlin, past the freak storm, into a clear night then turned into a road that was nothing more than a bumpy track for the last few kilometres. It was pitch black. At the end of the track was a light and a welcoming party of five barking dogs, a large dusty hallway and Gabba – who I hadn’t seen for 8 years – with a table full of late food, plus home made goats cheese, honey and apple juice. My car angels Chiara and Diogo ate quickly and then left having to drive back through the night to the festival site. Coost and Gabba carried my stuff to Gabba’s trailer which they insisted was going to be my home whilst they slept in a van.

I had arrived at Bienenwerder or Bee living Place. I had come here on blind trust, little knowing it was actually a proper anarchist collective organic farm, and that it was called a Bee place – well that is what google translate proffered. All I knew was that Gabba lived here and Coost part time. I did not know what would happen, how long I would stay for and whether I would have to be driven as an emergency through the night to a hospital in Berlin. I was a bit scared, very weak and physically compromised. But I trusted that I was meant to come here. This bleed and hospital visit had been a game changer and I was ready to start facing the tumour down, no more comfy co-existing and pussy footing around as it were.

Tune into the next installment next week dear friends and readers.

Love Calliope x

* From Kimberley C. Patten. Ancient Asclepieia: Institutional Incubation and the Hope of Healing in Alzenstat & Bosnak: Imagination and Medicine.

** For a good read on hope science and possibilities: Kelly A. Turner phd. Radical Remission Surviving Cancer Against All Odds. Harper Collins. 2014.

Ps for good measure the Hippocratic oath – I swear by Apollo The Healer, by Asclepius, by Hygieia, by Panacea, and by all the Gods and Goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will carry out, according to my ability and judgment, this oath and this indenture. (Yes its from wiki.)

 

 

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European Exchanges pt 2 DAS KRANKENHAUS

gp big face   So my dear friends and readers – I believe I left you on the edge of your seats in my dramatic description of how I came to be left alone on a hospital stretcher bed in a corridor of a large emptyish hospital in Neu Brandenberg whilst I seemingly bled to death – apologies for that. To make up let me share the next instalment.

I watched a couple of beds with elderly confused patients get wheeled past me and wondered what was up with my stationary status. Finally some invisible clock chimed the hour of my reckoning and I was wheeled through more empty sterile corridors and a couple of lifts until arriving at a more sunlit unit – though still being in a large sterile corridor – where I was parked in well yes the large sterile corridor. Some one came and spoke to me and said ‘you should be seen soon. We have to wait for the English speaking doctor.’

Twenty minutes later I was wheeled into a room and had The Strangest Experience – reminding me of the day I got diagnosed all those years ago – me and a room full of medical staff, doctors, nurses, auxiliaries all looking at me like I was the elephant man not a guinea pig. One kindly older nurse grasped my hand, her eyes brimming with tears – I looked enquiringly into them and she said in halting English ‘I’m a woman too.’

The doctor strode in. Adjusted his glasses. I greeted him. By this time my blue trousers were covered in dried blood  my top half was just covered with red and black bloody dressings, but I had loosened some of them for dramatic effect and to check the blood flow – which had kinda stopped. The doctor said, ‘there is only one thing we can do for this and that is give you radiotherapy.’ Radiotherapy! RADIOTHERAPY! I echoed IN DISBELIEF. Oh come on surely not – what about a vitamin K injection to clot the blood. (I had made the nice doctor in the ambulance go through my hospital options in English and German as a conversation piece so I was prepared)

Herr Doctor : No vitamin K – it would be useless.

GP : Um okay. Can you cauterise the part where the bleed is.

Herr Doktor : Emphatically No.

GP: Why not? I thought cauteristation was a very viable option.

Herr Doktor: Nein. absolutely not. Look radiotherapy is the only thing that we can try in your situation – which is very very serious.

At this point I realised to myself that no one had actually looked at the tumour, looked at the bleed, asked me anything like – had this happened before and what normally happens if it does. I mean it does happen very occasionally and has done over the years – though admittedly never like this, but this time even though I knew exactly where it was bleeding from – and it was in a very difficult place to access  – radiotherapy felt like a totally counterproductive option.

GP: No! I am not having radiotherapy again. The last time it was hell, and made the cancer grow back worse, though I have heard of radiotherapy being used successfully for bleeds, I added as a peace offering.

He adjusted his glasses.

Look he said – a bit more kindly – do you want to bleed to death? Because you will if you don’t do this.

Of course not I squeeked indignantly, but I am not bleeding to death – the irony of being covered in bloody dressings not escaping me or anyone else. And it’s stopped now I added.

Well he said – it’s your call but we have to let the radiotherapy staff know soon.

GP: Okay let me think for half an hour while I grapple with this quandary.

And what a quandary that was. I had radiotherapy in 2011 ostensibly to dry up a tumour that I was dealing with by applying mud and bloodroot topically. I was freaking out the professionals around me who nudged me into the arms of one of the best and personable radiologists in the country. Unfortunately this well meaning silver fox of a radiologist broke our mutually consensual agreement of what I was happy for him to do and what I felt that my body could handle and blitzed me from here to high heaven daily for 5 weeks in a valiant attempt to save me from the evil C word. I ended up with severe burns, a severely restricted right arm for a year, most of my breast vanished and a faster growing tumour grew back in its place. Kinda predictable really – as Bernie Siegel points out in his fantastic book Love Medicine and Miracles – it’s always best to work in tandem with the patients’ belief systems. But readers, I gained compassion, so all was not lost, but that is another story. Anyways….

My reference points not being so fine I had some quick work to do. Both my human and guineapig brains weighed up the options and decided on the side of the radiotherapy. I mean I couldn’t handle another bleed. I had lost too much blood – by my reckoning about half a litre – I am very happy they did not suggest a blood transfusion – and I needed somehow to get home. I could live with this decision.

My afternoon then consisted of being wheeled to the radiotherapy department. My doctor came to see me whilst I was waiting and explained that as far as he was concerned I could stay here for one night two nights or three nights my decision, the radiotherapy wouldn’t have side effects as a one off and that he wished me the best and would see me tomorrow. I had a CAT scan – though I don’t recall being asked or told I was having one – was inked up and then wheeled to a room on the 4th floor cancer ward. A beautiful light airy room with just me in it and a bed by the window overlooking the town. Wow. My lovely male nurse sorted me out with a phone card to use the phone by my bed, television access, a bottle of fizzy mineral water – while google gleefully informed me I was staying on the site of a prisoner of war concentration camp. Imagine if we had a similar thing going on here – you google the National Portrait Gallery and the first thing it says is ‘formerly a cruel workhouse for the destitute’ (thanks Bird la Bird) – BUT apologies dear reader I digress. I was told I would be having radiotherapy at 7pm.

I set about letting a handful of loved ones know my situation. I texted my life research assistant and pt lab rat who I had instructed to fly back to London without me – despite her loud protestations – the previous day to get me some stats on the efficacity of radiotherapy for bleeds on previous sites of radiotherapy. My erstwhile business partner got to work and two hours later told me she had arranged through her fiancé for a distant healing circle from Fishguard to Birmingham conducted by trans and queer Reiki practitioners to kick in at 7pm to help me with the radiotherapy. I spoke to another young loved one, my sister was on the phone, my friends from the festival also in the loop.

I felt calm and simply not alone, yet having the luxury of solitude to go deep inside myself and use my inner resources. I also felt protected in some invisible way.

At around 7pm I was still comfortably sitting in the hospital bed waiting to be taken to  radiotherapy when I just felt this incredible energy surrounding me and becoming me, like a switch had gone on. IT WAS INCREDIBLE. I realised that this was the distant healing energy kicking in from the UK. I mean as a Reiki practitioner at master level since the late nineties I have done much distant Reiki for others, and received it myself as well, but this was truly something else. I was so grateful and happy and deeply touched. If you happen to be reading this and you were one of those healers – the power of the one is the power of the many (to quote Ippy D) – and THANKYOU. Healing circles Rock!

A brisk brusque no nonsense doctor had come and tapped and poked my ribs and chest earlier in the the day saying GUT as she did. When my time came to be wheeled to the radiotherapy department – which I note is always in basements – she was the doctor in front of the computer screen that had my CAT scan results on. I had insisted, dear readers, that I would only have the radio if I could see the results of the scan myself. ‘So can you just direct the radiotherapy on the site of the bleed’ I asked – ‘or the surface tumour’. She snorted with disgust and pointed to the massive mass on the screen. ‘We Do All, Alle.’ Um okay I started trying to argue but could simply get no purchase due to the language barrier. ‘It will help with the pain/schmerz,’ she said. ‘But I don’t have any schmerz,’ I said, ‘kein schmerz not now, not before.’ She snorted again and tapped on the screen. ‘You will in the future,’ she said, ‘you need this radiotherapy to stop having pain in the future.’ I could immediately see the flaws and self fulfilling prophesy of her proclamation but, as I said, my words had no effect as no one could understand them. I decided to stop arguing the toss and just get on with it. ‘I habe Angst,’ I heard myself pitifully proclaiming, a proclamation that was accompanied by a sense of liberation. ‘Ich Habe Angst,’ I repeated. It felt good. I would NEVER in a million years articulate a sense of fear in a British hospital or institution – it would feel like a debasement, a capitulation a betrayal of myself – but here, in my shonky German, it just felt good.

One of the nurses held my hand sweetly as they wheeled me into the room of the RadioRays and then scarpered inna quick stick fashion. Have you ever noticed that strange phenomenon within these hospital departments, dear reader? I was blitzed with a high dose of radio rays for 3 minutes and then taken back to my room. I felt strangely calm.

screaming better

The rest of the evening was spent talking to fam and friends on the phone. I slept well. I woke with a jolt – the jolt of my bed being wheeled out of my room at 7am and into the dark corner of a room with two older ladies having breakfast. We all pretended I wasn’t there until I was compos mentis. One of them was attached to a drip of chemotherapeutic agents  (who she gaily called her dancing partner Hermann) from 4pm until 8am daily. I settled in. Normalising. Started to switch off and get lulled into a false sense of security of being a passive bedridden patient. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes that is super necessary and healing of itself but I was aware that I was starting to believe the medical mantra that was being repeated all the time around me – surgery, chemo and radiotherapy are the ONLY way to get rid of this – when I’ve seen that it isn’t. Doctors are the saviours (actually some of them are – big up to all the doctors and nurses I know). But for cancer it is this prevailing message that nothing else works except these big hitters of the global pharmaceutical companies  – a holistic approach is frippery, nutrition is child’s play. The message that I needed to get home and get chemo and hardcore invasive surgery was starting to get an imprint in my brain. I started flirting with the idea in the same way I flirted with the radiotherapy in 2010, seduced by the promise of a silver fox man in a white coat making it all better for me if I handed my agency over ….

The phone rang by my bed making everyone jump. I answered it:

Calliope. It’s agents Coost and Gabba. How are you doing? We are gonna bust you out of there. We are getting a car with agents Chiara and Diogo and will do it today. We have sorted somewhere to take you to. Bis spaters. Ten Four Over and Out.

Operation Rehabilitation CGP was underway.

Tune in for the next instalment same time next week readers – and thank you for listening to my story so far

Much Love Calliope x

 

 

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European Exchanges and other stories Pt 1

gp big face       So dear reader hello from the land of exploratory health adventures German hospitals and anarchist organic farms. So much has happened to this guineapig I almost don’t know where to start but start I will with a nice dramatic story!

So I got invited to go to a festival outside of Berlin at the end of June as a guest speaker. The day after my talk –  I had a life threatening tumour bleed – kind of like Arya getting stabbed in game of thrones series 6 – the kind of bleed that is totally rare and unusual. And yes it happened to me in a field though fortunately it wasn’t at Glastonbury this year with all that mud – imagine!  It was a Sunday afternoon and I had just found the Czentrifuge area after two days of it being obscured by the disorientating mists of limbic festival time. I found a good friend and had just started talking to him when there was a sort of warm wet splurge from within my teashirt followed by a dexter style blood spatter which just started expanding – think chromatography. I had knocked my chest with my knee the night before getting into my tent – one of the reasons I have a bell tent here in the Uk – but didn’t realise my body would have this kind of extreme reaction to it. Initially I was taken by a punk ambulance to the medics and rested and got it dressed. Efficiently. German style. I was grateful. It stopped. I thought this GP could now slowly and leisurely enjoy the festival with friends and loved ones and squeek with wonder at the installations and sound systems but the next morning – after lying rigid as a plank on my back all night – a most unnatural position for us guineapigs – I noted that there was blood on my belly. Realising that the dressing probably needed changing and that I didn’t fancy trying to do that again in a tent and also more importantly that I actually needed to get home, I got up, grabbed a random human to help me and made my way to artist care with my luggage at 9.30 am saying I have a medical emergency –  I need to be in one of the shuttles back to the airport asaps. This was a tall order as shuttle places had all been booked way before and I had tried the previous night to get a shuttle for this day with no luck.

The helpful guy at artist care said there would be one at 12 noon I could take. I then in a Calm and Orderly fashion told the guy – I am going for breakfast and then I will pop and see the medics. Then I will be back to get a shuttle.

Off I trotted. I mean what would your priority be – medical needs and wound care versus food – how could it not have been food… so I made a bee line for the artists and performers cafe – wolfed down a large bowl of muesli ate some vegan just cooked muffins and drank a pint of green tea. Leisurely. The calm before the storm.

When I felt replete and ready to face the day – a good breakfast is such an important thing dear reader – and something I would be so grateful for later on this particular day – I made my way to the medical tent. I explained my situation and said I needed a dressing changed.

A doctor was found and I was taken into a spillover makeshift tent with no-one in it – as the main medical tent was FULL of groaning gurning or sleeping festival casualties. The dressing started to be peeled off and Lo! biblical onslaught of pouring red blood, up my neck down my back down my front squuueeeek. Lots of large dressings pressed onto it but the blood just coming and coming and coming. I think you had better go to a hospital said the nice lady doctor – yes I agreed – an ambulance was called, a iv saline drip was introduced into my arm. The blood continued. I was calm. Hospitals were called and it was decided that the nearest hospital wasn’t any good for me so I had to go to one a bit further. The ambulance arrived and then we started a two hour journey.

At this juncture I would like to point out that my command of the German language is random and sporadic. Luckily my favoured words  – sheisse the German word for “crap” or “shit”  Oh Scheisse!  schwachsinn which I corrupt to kvatch (bollocks) and wasser (clearly water) – served me well in this setting but also luckily the lovely young lady doctor who worked in Rostock no less and who took kindly to me came in the ambulance and also spoke a bit of english.

Unfortunately during the two hour journey all the wasser I was drinking and the saline drip made me want to pee. Desperately. I held out for as long as I could. We were in traffic jams. They were not using the siren. Yes I was like WTF I am bleeding to death here and you are not using your siren to queue jump – Like I know “we” as a country idiotically voted Brexit but hey we are still part of the EU – but I didn’t know the words for any of that in German so just kept saying Ich Muss Piss, interspersed with Oh Sheisse! hoping they would not mistake my body needs.

It finally got to that point when something had to happen.

I did not intend that something to be me pissing my pants.

So I insisted the ambulance stopped at the first relatively suitable stopping point – which was in a village street with houses on one side – with a couple of people gardening – I mean of course – and a hedge on the other. We stopped hedge side. I got out clutching all the dressing around my chest. The doctor came with me carrying the Iv drip. I stood by the hedge – she pulled my trousers down I pissed and the blood was just running down my legs from my chest. I simply cannot imagine what any onlookers would have thought or how they would have processed that seeming indelible image – I sincerely hope no-one was scarred for life. It was at that moment I realised that my body was out of my control and that I was in a bit of trouble.

I started shivering and bivvering and decided that actually I felt a bit funny but fifteen minutes later we were at a large hospital where they were waiting for me. My ambulance crew  and doctor handed me over on a trolley to an efficient but slow nurses station and then they all left leaving me against the wall in a sort of corridor junction area – no-one actually talking to me or asking me anything – but I knew I was in the best place and started to feel calm again.

To be continued ……………so stay tuned for the next section of this story

Love Calliope x

 

 

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