Editor’s note: The following post is by Barbara Gannon, who was featured as one of our Cancer Survivor stories in October 2017. You can find out more about Barb’s healing from a diagnosis of terminal Stage 4 mesothelioma and Stage 2 breast cancer here.
Hello & G’Day fellow Truth About Cancer Readers or “TTACers” for short!
My name is Barbara Gannon, and I’m from Australia! Yes, The Truth About Cancer has long arms spread out to the “Land Down Under.”
I’m looking forward to talking to you all via this blog over the coming months. Why? Because we all want to know how people are doing on their ongoing journey to winning the war against this disease in their body. Me included!
TTAC’s Live Event in Florida… and Then it Hit Me!
I attended TTAC’s Live Event in Orlando, Florida, in October 2017. It was an amazing experience to say the least; helping me truly understand how many people are suffering from this insidious disease in so many forms. The speakers were inspirational, informative, and expanded my understanding of all the many options we have in front of us to heal.
Whilst at the conference my survivor story was released by TTAC. As a result I had a few people come up to me start asking me questions. When I got back home to OZ (Australia), the questions continued.
I received all different types of inquiries ranging from the simple (the day-to-day of dealing with cancer), to the more heart-wrenching emotional questions that were all encompassing. What struck me though was that one central theme kept coming up… “longevity.”
In other words, people were amazed that I had this type of cancer and yet I am still here! (According to conventional medicine, mesothelioma has no known cure and a very poor prognosis.)
Oddly, it seemed I was a source of inspiration to these people because I am still alive. Wow, I was so humbled.
Then it hit me! While it’s so valuable getting educated on the natural healing options available, what people also need is long term PROOF that cancer is NOT a death sentence. It can be beaten, it is being beaten, and you can win! These precious people just wanted to know that we cancer conquerors are surviving and surviving well. Or, if not, what are the ongoing challenges of living a life with and post-cancer?
So, I got an idea…
What if I could share my journey on a semi-regular basis with you all. The point being so we can all see a longer-term picture of how a cancer survivor is proceeding in their journey, dealing with differing cancers, and implementing the various strategies provided by the speakers and experts. To give an ongoing perspective of someone on the cancer survivor journey such as it is… “warts” and all.
Are You a Fellow Cancer Sufferer?
As a fellow cancer sufferer (what an awful term), I have kept and continue to keep vigilant against attacks from this disease in my body. Like you, I strive for my health to “win” each day, and there are days, weeks, months that are just brilliant. But then you get a setback, and again, you have to reach deep within and pull out that “something else” to keep you going. To keep fighting the beast in every effort to win.
These periodic blogs from me will provide some insight into my personal cancer journey. As a person surviving this disease, it’s always great to be able to encourage another person that HOPE is there, that HOPE is what you hold on to, that HOPE will give you the fighting spirit to “just keep swimming” – no matter how strong the tide seems.
My Cancer Diagnosis… Times 2
I was diagnosed in August 2015 with two very separate cancers (yep, at the same time and NOT mets). I was initially diagnosed with mesothelioma (aka asbestos cancer) and then also received a diagnosis of stage 2 aggressive breast cancer in my right breast. Lucky me, hey!?
Well, I did the most unnatural thing (according to doctors, that is), and I turned around to the specialists (respiratory, surgeon, and oncologist) and said a big fat “NO” to their offer of chemo for “palliative care”!
“But why,” I hear you asking. Well, I wasn’t sickly, I wasn’t in any pain, and I wasn’t of the belief that what they were offering me was going to do anything but put me “in the ground” earlier.
They said, “You have 6 months, maybe 12 months to live,” and that my cancer was terminal. They said, “Go and get your affairs in order and say your farewells to family & friends!” My response was that they DO NOT know the number of my days, only God does, and that I am out of there, and don’t contact me again! Effectively, I FIRED them all!
Mind you, they didn’t know what I had up my sleeve. They didn’t know that cancer picked on the wrong woman. They didn’t know that this woman was NOT about to give in, and that with the strength of my faith in God, I was going to give healing naturally my every effort!
The Importance of Being Proactive and Creating Your “War Chest”
I sought out an integrative oncologist (Manuela Boyle, who was a speaker at the TTAC Live event, and a featured expert in TTAC’s A Global Quest docu-series). I sought out an integrative GP for infusions, and I learned to make my research skills better than they ever were.
I put my armour on, and I went into battle – head on!
I put together a “war chest.” What’s a war chest? Briefly, the first part is having people who you trust to have your best interest at heart. People who will step into the fight for you when you need it the most. People who will pray with direction and “stand in the gap” for you when you can’t. People who let you know you’re not alone in this fight! That’s part 1 of your war chest.
Part 2 of your war chest is research, so that you learn to take control of YOU. You must be aggressive in YOUR care. Research is a key component to this, and as it’s your body in distress, you need to step up to the line, and take control of you. I will expand on this over time, but I’m setting the stage for you, as this blog is not just about me… it’s about you!
How Do We Cope With the “Mind Games”?
What about those of you who have had the blessing of a “No Evidence of Disease” (NED) report, and then the absolute torture when you go for your first 6-month bloods workup and scans, etc.
How nerve racking it actually is, because you hope that you are still in that position, but the agonising question that keeps lurking in the back of your mind… “what if?” How the mind can play awful games on you, and what do you do to get over them?
So, that’s a whole topic of “self speaking,” and learning to do it the right way, and also how to use your war chest to get you through when you’re biting your nails down to the quick.
How to get up again if you’ve gone backwards? I know a number of survivors who have gone through this, and each time they have become smarter, more clever in their attack on the disease, and developed a tighter resolve to NOT SLIP BACKWARDS.
So, I hope you will join me on this journey, and that together we can impart to others strength, HOPE, peace, love, and FAITH! Faith and hope being the most important here, because without either your journey will be difficult. These blog posts are to be meaningful, inspiring, and encouraging; that survivors can perhaps help you along the way.
Where Do We Go From Here?
To start off, post your question or topic you’d like covered in the Comments section down below. Try to make it one that is beneficial to many people (i.e. patients, caregivers, family), and not directly aimed at the type of cancer you’re suffering through. Think about the one burning question that you would ask a cancer survivor if they were sitting in front of you.
If you are a fellow cancer survivor I also want to hear from you. Share some of your journey. What advice do others ask you for? What piece of wisdom would you share with a loved one who has been recently diagnosed? Please share and I look forward to sharing more soon.
Cancer is NOT a death sentence.
It’s important to surround yourself with people who will step into the fight for you when you need it the most.
Practice self-speaking to overcome the mental turmoil that can accompany a diagnosis.