“I was diagnosed with a rare, ‘incurable’ cancer at 22. At 26, I am healing myself naturally.”
In 2008, when I was 22 years old, I was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called epithelioid sarcoma in my left hand and arm.
I was living in Sydney at the time and working as the online editor for DOLLY magazine. I was living an ideal life for someone in their early twenties – burning the candle at both ends, paying no attention to how my actions could affect my health, but having a whole lot of fun while I was at it.
Everything was going exactly according to my life plan. Or so I thought.
On the 24th of April, 2008 I went to see my hand surgeon to have a cast removed, following an operation I had to biopsy some lumps that had been popping up all over my left hand and arm.
After taking the cast off, my doctor told me the news that would change my life in too many ways to predict. He said that I had cancer, and that the type of cancer I have is so rare that not many doctors know how to treat it.
Epithelioid sarcoma doesn’t respond to chemotherapy or radiation, and my only chance of prolonging my survival would be to have my arm amputated at the shoulder. But essentially, my condition was incurable.
None of this made any sense to me. I felt so healthy, and I looked healthy. I could not understand how my life had come down to a decision about whether to have my whole, fully functioning arm chopped off.
After so much anguish and being given no other options, I signed the papers and arranged to have the amputation. However, Baby Jesus, Buddha, Elvis – or whoever is up there – must have been looking out for me, because two days before I was due to have the operation, my medical team came to me with an alternative option.
They wanted to tie a tourniquet around my armpit so that an extremely high dose of chemotherapy drugs could be pumped through my arm. I spent eight days in hospital having the treatment, then a week at home recovering.
Following scans showed I was clear of cancer, but in 2009 - not even a year after going into remission - the cancer was back.
This time I was told that my only real chance of prolonging my survival would be to have my arm amputated at the shoulder, but that this would just be biding me time. My case was regarded as terminal.
Deciding this was not good enough, I took matters into my own hands. I refused their offers and began searching for natural, alternative cancer treatments.
The way I saw it I had two choices. I could let them chase the disease around my body until there was nothing left of me to cut, zap or poison; or I could take responsibility for my illness and bring my body to optimum health so that it can heal itself. For me it was an easy decision.
I began looking at the different ways I may have contributed to the manifestation of my disease and then stopped doing them.
I swapped a lifestyle of late nights, cocktails and Lean Cuisines for carrot juice, coffee enemas and meditation and became an active participant in my treatment.
This research led me to Gerson Therapy which ensures you have a perfectly balanced diet for optimum health, assisting your body to flush out nasties whilst feeding it with all the goodness it needs to flourish.
The therapy involves drinking 13 fresh organic veggie juices per day (yes that’s one an hour, every hour of my waking day), five coffee enemas per day and a basic organic whole food plant-based diet with additional supplements.
For two years I devoted my entire life to healing, to the extent that I was effectively housebound.
I am ecstatic to report that it has worked for me. I have had no cancer spread, no more lumps pop up (they were popping up rapidly before) and I can actually see some of my tumours coming out through my skin and disappearing.
The journey has been so emotionally and physically tough, but at the same time it has been the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had.
To paraphrase the great Mick Jagger, life doesn’t always give you what you want, but it just might give you what you need. Cancer is a powerful teacher. Nothing calls for you to assess your life and your priorities quite like being faced with your own mortality.
During times of ease, we get caught up in shallow pursuits and pleasures. Hard times call for us to go deep. The less meaningful stuff falls aside and we wake up to what’s really important.