Gratitude In Cancer

Almost 2 weeks ago, I posted about how difficult I had found the previous couple of months. No matter how positive and determined I tried to be in my resolve to tackle this cancer, even my strong spirit came close to breaking.

Right now, it’s hard for me to believe that this was so recent. On 29th April, I finally began a new treatment, a targeted therapy called Pemigatinib, and the effect on me and the debilitating symptoms that had consumed me no matter how I tried to rise above it all, was almost immediate.

But, although I am truly grateful to finally be feeling more myself again,that isn’t the reason for this post…..that’s just an update and I will post soon about this treatment and how i’m finding it as time goes on.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao at Unsplash

As I have mentioned before, I decided early on in this “fight” that I didn’t just want to rely on standard treatment and spent a lot of time researching the benefits of nutrition, exercise, supplements, stress reduction, repurposed drugs as well as alternative therapies found to be beneficial to cancer patients, such as IV-C infusions, oxygen therapy and hyperthermia treatments.

Although the nutrition, exercise and stress reduction methods such as meditation were relatively easy to implement into life, the many supplements recommended, repurposed drugs and alternative therapies are expensive and unfortunately, the bills still need paying, so these were just not an option for me. I made the decision to focus solely on the nutrition, exercise, supplements and meditation.

And this was fine to start with. I was lucky to tolerate the chemotherapy well with minimum side effects and showing a good response to treatment with scans showing shrinkage in the tumours and because of that I was able to eat well and get out for my much loved walks.

A lot of my friends and family were aware of my wish to tackle cancer from all angles and soon after my diagnosis, a very dear friend, Emma, suggested setting up a Go Fund Me page in order to get me access to these alternative therapies. I had been mortified at the time, embarrassed that I would need to rely on the generosity of other people for this to be an option and so refused whenever the subject was broached.

However, when my treatment ended and my health began to decline rapidly, the fear crept in and when my friend asked me to consider this again, I agreed for her to set one up.

I don’t know what I did expect but it certainly wasn’t what occurred and in a very short space of time. People began to donate and share my story so quickly, we were both left completely gobsmacked. The “target” set was reached within 24 hours and has since surpassed this. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that thanks to peoples kindness, love and generosity, I am able to access these additional treatments and give me the best chance of controlling the cancer and buying as much time as possible to spend with my children, friends and family.

But, what has completely blown me away has been the messages of support from people, even complete strangers. I have spent much of the time since, a blubbering and emotional wreck as messages continued to pour in offering support, encouragement and love. It’s given me the opportunity to connect with old school friends, family members and new people, all wanting to help and it has been completely overwhelming.

It’s been a tough year for everyone, many losing loved ones or unable to visit sick family members due to Covid restrictions. Many have lost their jobs and businesses have either folded or have left owners in considerable debt.

And yet……STILL people want to help.

And HAVE helped.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world” – Desmond Tutu

After a period of extreme pain, fear and vulnerbility, this support has reignited the fire in my belly and resolve to invest everything I have into my healing and to live each day.

I cannot convey just how truly grateful for the compassion and kindness shown towards me, not only recently but from the start of this chapter in my life.

I hope you or your loved one has support and love around them.

I am always here for anyone struggling, needing or wanting someone to talk to.

Much love and strength,

Megan x

“Live” with cancer

As I wrote in the previous post, it’s been a difficult couple of weeks, full of fear and pain. During this time, I thought the fear of a quick deterioration would kill all hope and break my spirit.

It’s this part of cancer that sucks for me.

Thankfully, the pain is easing somewhat and I’ve finally had a couple of decent night’s sleep.

During last night’s bath, I took some time to reflect on the last 8 months. So many days get lost or roll from one to the next when you are fighting cancer and every now and then, I like to take time out to think about how far I’ve come, what’s worked, what hasn’t and what lays ahead of me.

One thing that struck me was how, from the start of this, I have always been determined to live. Like most people, I have a long list of things I would like to see before I depart this beautiful planet of ours. Watching my children grow, flourish, get married, grandchildren and to be there for them when life’s obstacles get in the way. There are so many places I want to visit and goals I want to achieve. Goals that seemed so unobtainable BC (before cancer) but now, with a high level of gratitude for being alive and a new found confidence in myself, completely doable.

But, I couldn’t help feeling I was stuck in no man’s land.

In my planning for the future, for when I “beat” cancer, I forgot something….

I’m living now

What if I do succumb to this illness? Will all of my time since diagnosis be spent planning for a future I may not see?

Today….right now whilst typing this, I am alive and feeling relatively well.

Tomorrow, I will wake up to a brand new day, 24 hours to “do” things. In the pain, the fear, the anger and the sadness post diagnosis, it’s sometimes hard to appreciate this when we are told we are facing a death sentence in x number of weeks or months as the medics tell us. However determined we are to beat this, often the fear gets in the way of enjoying being alive right now.

Of course, for those who are in a great deal of pain, or who have made peace with their predicted fate, then getting out living may either not be physically possible or not something they desire. And this is fine. Everyone is entitled to deal with and feel how they wish.

So, although Covid restrictions are (still) putting a spanner in the works in terms of places to visit and loved ones to see, I plan to live for today.

However small, I will DO something every single day that makes me happy. For those days where I’m consumed with fear, I will watch something that makes me laugh. On days where I feel invincible, I will head on out and walk in some of the breath-taking countryside Yorkshire provides for us.

“What day is it?” asked Pooh.
“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
“My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
― A.A. Milne

Love and strength,

Megs x