Choice. A small word but has big implications. My journey of choice was a lonely one at times, there was no book of instructions, no point of reference to compare, it felt like I was charting waters that at times seemed deep and murky especially at 3am when the thoughts started their heavy descent. It was the hours in those endless, sleepless nights when your old foe, fear, pays a visit and you find yourself digging through Wayne Dyer books and trying to find that quote of hope….and there it is….. and you can exhale.
“You’ll be happy to know that the universal law that created miracles hasn’t been repealed.”
– Dr. Wayne Dyer
I still had no idea of what my prognosis was, when I cancelled my conventional appointments, they were no longer interested in me or how I wanted to treat it. It was google that gave me protocols to use from eye-opening websites that were all about natural treatments. Google was great but I really needed to know what I was dealing with so I sought a second opinion but where do I go if I had no faith in Doctors? And I didn’t have faith in them, I had been trying to tell them for years that something was wrong with my health but not one of them would listen to me and it wasn’t until I found the lump on my neck did they finally listen. Then it was too late. I had no idea of how to find somebody. I didn’t want a Doctor as they already are bound by how they believe cancer should be treated so would not offer any other options.
Luckily, I have a friend who is a holistic neurotherapist and was able to facilitate the first members of my support team including an incredible naturopath who pointed me in the direction of a Doctor of Health Science who specialises in Integrative Oncology and I was lucky enough to get an appointment in Sydney the following week. I checked out his credentials and experience and was impressed but he also looked a bit like the actor Lee Marvin which I found strangely comforting 😀
This appointment was devastating!!! Bruce and I went in full of optimism and came out feeling like deflated balloons. He was matter of fact, cold even in the delivery of his prognosis. He said “I have reviewed your scans and reports and based on my 45 years of experience in this field I give you 6 months to live if you do nothing and 12 – 18 months if you do conventional treatment”.
I remember feeling a strange sense of calm and peace wash over me and a hush in the room. He was still speaking but I couldn’t hear him, there was an internal quiet that was louder than everything around me.It was like I had stepped into a calm, still cave. All of sudden I heard myself interrupt him and softly say “I am treating this naturally so if you can help with that, great, but if not we are done here”. No hysteria, just calm and even.
The 2 hour drive back to Newcastle was surreal as Bruce and I never mentioned the prognosis, we just agreed that we should keep it ourselves and only tell a few members of our wellness team if we absolutely had to. We really didn’t want the fear based good opinions of others as to what we should do with this information. But at least we now knew what we were dealing with.
15/01/15 The CT scan is done and the waiting game begins. Where else is it in my body? At this moment I know I have a primary tumour in my Thyroid and secondaries in 3 lymph nodes. The phone is silent and I feel like heart failure from a panic attack is going to kill me before cancer will. In my typical pro-active Melle way, I get on with Dr. Google and start researching. An interesting fact jumps out at me from at least 11 different sites. We all have cancer in our body every day but our immune system takes care of it. So is cancer the problem or is my immune system the problem? A question I can’t wait to put to my Doctor!
The wait is agonising and then when it does finally ring, I need to vomit but he says it’s great news and that it hasn’t spread any further……. at this stage. I say that I have great news too, that my immune system is the problem so how do we fix that? His reply was both devastating and enlightening. He said that he had no idea about my immune system and that I have cancer and this is how we treat it, & proceeded to tell me of all the appointments he has made for me. I tried to press the point about my immune system but he cut me off saying “Look, I think we have got this reasonably early and the surgery may have a successful outcome for you to have a satisfactory life for a number of years to come”.
WTF!! What does that even mean? I am a firm believer in that we set our path before we have this physical experience. I had a vision of me sitting around with all the Angel life planners with them saying “Now Melle, you’ll end up having a satisfactory life” and I saw myself say “Yeah Nah, that won’t work, what else have you got?”. I wouldn’t have agreed to it then and I wasn’t going to agree to it now. I said thank you to the Doctor and hung up.
What does that mean going forward? I have this thing in my body that, at every turn, I am being told it is the biggest killer in the world. It is on every TV channel, ad, radio, newspaper, magazine, facebook and there are fundraisers everywhere you turn. And they all tell me that they desperately need money to find a cure. And then it dawns on me, that I have something that has no cure so if that is true, what is the point of this treatment they want me to have. Because at this moment, I want to live and if I am being told everywhere I go, that there is no cure, what is it going to do for me that I can’t do myself. My breath is becoming shallow and I feel like I am going into anxiety!!! Just that word “cancer” sends me into absolute fear and panic which puts me into flight or fight mode and I just read how those chemicals that are released in that state have chronic effects on my immune system. I need my immune system to help me so I need to be calm. At that moment, I just can’t say the “c” word. I decide to name it, my cancer became Kyle.
I sat and looked at the diary at my upcoming appointments with Kyle and I felt sick to my stomach. I closed the book and went back to researching, this felt much better. I came across a site talking about how we manifest illness so I thought if I manifested this then surely that means I can manifest wellness and health too. There is no cure for cancer, they keep telling me, but nobody has said that you can’t “un-manifest” it. If my immune broke down then I can fix it and it can get back to treating Kyle like it was supposed to. YES!! That feels right. I remembered that I had a whole series of blood tests that had been done and I always ask for a copy so I checked them. Everything was normal, even my thyroid so why take out something that is still functioning within the normal range.
After a lengthy chat with my husband Bruce and with his full support I picked up the phone and cancelled all of my appointments. I just needed breathing space, I needed to look at all of my options and all of a sudden, I didn’t feel sick anymore and so my journey with Kyle began, but more importantly my journey with choice.
12/01/15 Four years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. It was just supposed to be an ultra sound in my lunch break at work to tell me the lump in my neck was nothing to be concerned with “it was not a tumour!” but I heard all of the words you didn't want to hear - cancer, metastases, primary, secondaries, urgent, no time and before I knew it, I had appointments for a CT scan, needle biopsy, Oncologist, surgery, chemo and possible radiation therapy.
As I sat in the waiting room for my CT scan, I looked around at what my future looked like – scans, biopsies, blood tests, ultrasounds, waiting rooms, hospitals. I looked and I mean really looked at the people around me with smiles and nods that tried so hard to hide the fear they felt. The energy was so erratic, laden with fear, sadness, timid optimism and forced smiles and all of sudden I felt sick and wanted to vomit. But I pulled myself together and told myself to “toughen up princess”. Then I had the uncontrollable urge to run and just as I was about to bolt for the door, they called my name and I weirdly felt my legs carry me toward the voice.
As I dressed in my gown and sat in the cold cubicle that felt like the walls were caving in, claustrophobia that I didn’t know I had started creeping in. I heard myself repeating over and over in my head, the words my Doctor told me “this is how we treat cancer”, “this is how we treat cancer”, “this is how we treat cancer”. Something was off but I couldn’t pin point it. I just kept thinking "Oh My God in 2 weeks time I will have half of my throat cut out and in 4 weeks time be vomiting like I’ve never done before only I won’t have to worry about holding my hair back because I won’t have any!!!!!"
I’m about to run out as fast as I can and never come back, but I’m too late, they call me through. I’m standing there all vulnerable in my gown and she starts telling me about the stuff they will inject into me and how I may react to it. I may get a rash but I could go into anaphylaxis but not to worry because they are well equipped to deal with it and we have the best cardiac facility across the road. There is all of a sudden a ringing in my ears and I can see her lips moving but can't hear anything.
I’m still pondering this new threat to my life when I find myself laying there watching the needle go in and the dye start to enter into my body. Not long after, to my horror, I realise that I have wet myself. I raise my arm and the nurse rolls her eyes and comes into the room. I apologise to her saying I really didn’t have the urge to go before but I have wet my pants. She didn’t hide her annoyance at having to repeat herself, as she had told me before that this is also a side effect of the injection. I told her that I didn’t hear anything after she said cardiac arrest & anaphylactic shock!
What on earth had I just allowed them to put in my body??? What is wrong with me? Why didn’t I ask questions? What’s going on?
“Because”, a voice in my head said, “This is how it is. This is how we treat cancer. Suck it up like everyone else has before you”……. and then it hit me… a tiny word “we”. It suddenly dawned on me and I realised that ”we” didn’t include me. I had become completely irrelevant as nobody actually asked me how I wanted to treat this, nobody asked me I wanted. Not one single person in the medical profession asked me how I wanted to proceed, how I wanted to life to go from this point and all of a sudden the girl that had no voice, had never spoken her truth or put herself first finally stood up and for the first time in her life said NO!!!.