Monday, 12 May 2014

Cancer - get informed!

I know that anyone that has lost someone close to them will,like me, be haunted by dates. The day they died etc.  They are never far from our thoughts of course at most times,but then significant dates come along and it gives a time to see it all from a slightly different angle, albeit none less painful.

It is 3 years today that my sister got a 'death sentence' from the hospital, when she was given the news that far too many receive, 'it's terminal cancer'  'we're sorry,there is nothing we can do'

Even more of a shock as she only went in for a hysterectomy - cancer was never on the cards.

But 7pm on Friday 13th of May in room 13 on this ward will be a scene that will never leave my head.
Even now I find it hard to think that I won't see her again and I can't just call her up for a chat or head out for the day.

We talk about cancer as being a cruel illness, like there are kindly ones out there - well maybe it's not the illness but the way it is treated or not treated that is the cruelty.

The choice, one quickly realises, on just what the NHS will offer, is limited, it is no different than 70 years ago. It is still surgery,radiotherapy and chemo....the drugs may have changed, but then again - even there, not that much.

All those years on, people still dying from it in ever increasing numbers, diagnosed with it in ever increasing numbers and yet still we persist with the same basic approach.

Across the globe innovative methods are showing results, methods that are cheaper in many cases, more effective but ignored.

There are various experts out there with documented studies and strong case study evidence to show how different approaches can work.

We held our own conference a year after my sister died, 2 months later, a similar conference and later next month Back to Health in Exeter, UK, have a fantastic line up of speakers, all sharing the knowledge of what is out there and working to restore to health for those with cancer.

At the moment, those wishing to follow a different route need to have the finances behind them, but how much does it cost to fund that same patient through the set route. What if doctors can explore other methods for patients, what if you had a budget for your treatment, i wonder where you would spend it.

Cancer was an illness I wanted nothing to do with, I didn't want to have to think about it, so how quick a learning curve for me, when I watched my sister being given the news and that look of disbelief on the face of her husband.  The coldness and matter of fact of the delivery from the doctor.

My single biggest regret was not having enough knowledge at the time and playing catch up with the limited time we had

Don't let lack of knowledge be a terms of health and treatment, get informed and keep updated.    Some people watch their stocks and shares more than what's going on with their health.  There are no pockets in shrouds as they say!  They keep a look out for the best interest rates,  but not the latest innovations in health.   They vote on X-factor but not in an election.  Press the MP's to review the outdated 1939 cancer act and untie the hands.

Why do we trust decisions on our health provisions ultimately to MP's  a Secretary for Health one minute and Trade and Industry the next.....So we need to press for better provisions and greater choice in heath care and train our doctors far wider than the MERCK manual.

How many people will hear the same words today my sister heard 3 years ago and how many through conventional and blinkered approaches will be dead in 6 weeks.

I will never forget my sister being told she was too ill for chemo, so we had to try diet and supplements and natural medicine, so much so she got stronger and well enough to have chemo offered - her fear lead her to accept it and just one bout lead to her death along with increased so called pain relief.
She regretted the chemo instantly, her instinct over taken by fear, yet there is no going back after a chemo infusion.

Cancer patients rarely have an autopsy of course, after all, who wants to put a body through that they say....I wonder what the real cause of deaths would be if autopsies were carried out?

Get informed and don't act out of fear.

As Philip Day (Health Journalist) writes....Cancer, why are we still dying to know the truth?

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Good Health Needs Effort and Sometimes an Innovative Approach

April seems to have flashed by in an instance and here we are in May.

It is national walking month here in the UK and there are so many beautiful walks.  In much need of getting my own legs going, I took myself off to Paxton Pits,which if you have never been and live near by, is well worth a visit, especially at this time of year where the cormorants are nesting. It has the biggest inland colony of cormorants in the UK and watching them sweep across the lakes carrying huge sticks for nesting is a joy.

Watching them do what they do without an architect or planning permission and not bound by the man made rules and social nonsense makes you envy them their freedom. I'm guessing there is no 'jobs worth' cormorant giving instructions!.so having done the flat walk of the reserve and woods, the legs needed a hill and so of to Sandy.  Where half way up the winding hill to the Hill fort, I met an 83 year old on her way down, which obviously meant she had done the worst of the slow steep climb in the other direction. I was more the impressed, she looked slightly concerned but it was all down hill for her walk wise.  It is no mean feat if you take the steep path way which she had....if at 83 i still have the will to do it, i'd be pleased. The view is worth the climb and the reward of the cuckoo at the top was certainly a bonus. My first one in spring. Having watched the cormorants nest build, this hill was once home to an Iron age fort and with various info boards showing how they lived and built there homes.....well we have just learnt how to complicate matters with so called progress.  They were true environmentalists without having to invent how to do it.

It's never far from my thoughts that at the basis of enjoying life is good health, it is certainly true that without it,life is much more difficult and I'm sure that 83 year old enjoyed excellent health to have the desire to do it. All of which leads me on to Patrick Kingsley's talk.

We were delighted to have Patrick come and speak to our group in Cambridge
I'm sure those that attended would agree what a font of knowledge and more importantly the practical experience to back it up, he is.  As some of you said after, you could listen to him for ages.  I don't think i have ever heard Patrick speak, where he finishes before his time.  

He focused of course mostly on cancer and touches slightly on MS.  I think he would be great to ask him back in the future to cover other aspects of health.  If any of you purchased a copy of the New Medicine book, you'll find it an excellent read and a generous sharing of knowledge.

He was a head of his time in many ways and you wonder just who will be the maverick doctors of our day...they are few and far between of course.

Yet still the 'free' treatment that is the prescribed route for NHS patients with a cancer diagnosis is based in the dark corners of 1939...we have technically not moved on from that time...the format is now 75 years old and we call it modern medicine!  It is only the drugs that have changed but the format remains the same - yet the problem is worse than ever.
Health shouldn't be dictated by influential financial lobbying!

Interesting article in the Times and the Telegraph today on Lord Saatchi's bill to allow Dr's to be less tied to these conventional approaches and this appalling act. It seems a large study has been carried out on the public to see if there is an appetite for this and it seems there is - well what a surprise!  It's good to know the general public would like a more innovative approach to health as the reality is what they have isn't always the best of what's out there.  

According to Andy Lewis from the quackometer website, he thinks this will open the door to charlatans etc - clearly the guy thinks doctors need laws to apply thought!  Or that we have medicine according to Andy Lewis and our health remains in the hands of the closed minded.........

A talk i really recommend  is called Survive and Thrive and delivered by health journalist Philip Day.  There are 2 dates near us. The first is Saturday 5th July 10.30-4.30 in Norwich at the Holiday Inn, Cromer Road. Norwich or the other one is slightly nearer at the Suffolk Golf and Spa Hotel, Fornham St Genevieve, Bury St Edmunds -  on the 6th July 10.30-4.30.  The cost being £25 if booked in advance. Details on the website  and click on events.  

Well worth it and will stir the health passions i'm sure.  If you check out the website, you'll find a date for a talk near you.