Monthly Archives: September 2006

What a difference a doctor makes

Second opinion

Elaine’s mood immediately improved after spending an hour or more with Dr A. at Leeds Cookridge Hospital today. It was not because of any promise of a cure – there was none – but because we had our every question discussed and thoroughly answered!

The consultation with Dr A. was our “second opinion”. He was a cross between the Startrek Voyager “doctor” hologram and a character out of an AJ Cronin novel (even the soft Scottish lilt). Not only was he very knowledgeable, he was a first class communicator; when he wasn’t sure about a statistic, he went straight to the relevant web page to check.

The mean survival from now is still only 18 months but he said categorically that he had many patients who survived much longer.

Having now received some concrete evidence about the drug combinations which Elaine would be offered, chemo looks a far more likely choice. Chemo would be done in periods of three months, each folowed by a scan and re-assessment.

I’ve just returned from driving Elaine to the Lake District where she is having a weekend with the Gentle Way with Cancer group. I drafted some of this while we had a break at a cafe in Settle en route. When I read it through to Elaine, she said she wanted to add that Dr A had really lifted her spirits and that she no longer felt like a dead woman walking. What a difference a doctor makes.

End of phoney cancer

Elaine has been quite ill for the past couple of days. Firstly, her foot has been giving severe pain. This is the third or fourth bout of foot probelms, lasting a week or two each time, and making it difficult to walk. To date, it had been a mystery and the doctors were suggesting a ligament problem. Our GP made a home visit today and told us he thought it was probably caused by the cancerous aortic lymph node blocking nerves. Every night this week, Elaine has had diarrhoea, and last night she was vomiting too. Our GP said that he thought it seemed like liver associated problems. All this is a great disappointment, as it means the cancer hasn’t yet been defeated by the therapists and witches’ brew.

The Phoney Cancer

At the moment, it seems we are going through the phoney war of winter 1939/40. The country was at war but no fighting taking place. Elaine has cancer but there are no real symptoms. We know the cancer has returned and is apparently not curable. The doctors and scans have revealed that. But at this stage it is not obvious; even the bowel problems seem to have abated.

Of course, there is still the fear and anxiety which, at the moment, is worse than the disease itself. And Elaine has more periods of tiredness than normal – but this could be put down to one or more of the various medicinal concoctions Elaine is consuming:

These include

GP prescribed: Metformin (diabetes), bisoprolol (blood pressure). The Metformin is not essential for Elaine’s diabetes which has been diet controlled for years, but a New Scientist article revealed a connection between cancer and diabetes and the possible benefit of Metformin in controlling tumours.

The full Bristol Cancer Centre mineral and vitamin programme of Vitamin C complex, carotenid complex, flaxseed oil capsules & a multi-vitamin and mineral pill.

Herbalist prescribed:

  • Herbal mix
  • Cats Claw tea from a herb gathered in the Amazon used by shamans against cancer and various other ailments.

Homeopath prescribed

  • Lypcum
  • Carc and hydra on alternate weeks

Other stuff

  • Laetrile – 30 apricot kernels a day with a digestive enzyme
  • Chorella – green sea algae – good for cancer
  • Milk thistle tablet – good for liver
  • Co-enzyme Q10 – makes all other tablets work better
  • Wheat grass juice – “so nasty it must be killing some of the cancer”
  • Inositol – from Jan De-Vries clinic – on order
  • Probiotic powder – 1 tsp a day
  • Diet – vegan and organic.

And then there’s the acupuncture and healers, and meditation and yoga if there’s time. Oh and a daily swim.

I suppose this phoney cancer will be revealed some more by the next scan, which will show how much further it has spread, or whether the witch’s brew above is having an effect.