Decisions, choices and cancer.

My mother has been diagnosed with cancer for the fourth time. This time it is a recurrent diffuse large B-cell non Hodgkin’s lymphoma, post autologous stem cell transplant. This has come as a huge shock to myself and my entire family. Her stem cell transplant had a success rate of 70% and when you get odds like that you like to assume you will be the majority. Unfortunately for my mum she was in the minor 30% and the transplant hasn’t worked.

The transplant was a huge emotional, physical and mental challenge for my mum. But the thing that got her through was that, the odds were on her side for success. We all had hoped – and thought – that this nasty cancer business would soon be gone from her body. We all truly thought that she had the best chance of survival, and that this really would have kicked it in the butt once and for all.

When we got the news that it was back and that it is in multiple areas, let’s just say it was a humongous and terrible shock. The chemotherapy that will be used to treat it is not a guaranteed cure, it will hopefully shrink the tumors and put her in ‘remission’ so that a second stem cell transplant could be done if she was well enough, physically, mentally and emotionally. The chemotherapy drugs put a huge strain on your body in so many ways, and given the last stem cell transplant wasn’t successful you have to wonder will the next one work? And what if on so many things.

But nevertheless, it got me thinking…what else is there out there that we can do to help my mum? We have heard about this professor of chinese medicine who treats cancer as a ‘chronic illness’ with herbs and other support. He is deemed as an expert in this area, with a focus on lymphoma, and his main premise is to not have more chemotherapy as he feels the cells have become immune to the drugs, and in fact get stronger with each subsequent dose.

Aside from this, we have been planning a trip to New York with my parents that was discussed when my mum was sick last year, and in many ways has been the golden carrot  for mum to look forward to on recovery. If she chooses the chemotherapy option this trip is unlikely. We could go in one of the 2 week breaks from chemo but who knows how your body will really be doing, and what is going on on the inside. And what happened if something happened so far away from home?

The chinese medicine option would see her being able to travel, however the thing is that there is not the ‘science’ (and pharmaceutical dollars) behind this treatment that places much doubt in ones mind.

I feel like I am on the set of the television show “deal or no deal” and we have to watch mum choose the right suitcase. But which is the right suitcase – if only we knew. There are so many question marks around everything. There is a risk with everything, and is it gambling with your life to go away from billions of dollars of research and development and a Western Medicine approach? Are we crazy to even consider Chinese medicine as an option to heal my dear mum? Some would say yes as the ‘western medicine’ hasn’t worked given we are where we are. I’ve expressed before that I believe in listening to the body and supporting it in multiple areas, but this time it has me stumped. Do we support mum in a organic vegetarian diet? Do we look at other options such as Gerson therapy?
I’ll leave this post with a quote from one of my favourite books called the “Tao of detox’ by Daniel Reid, who writes that “despite the wonders of modern medicine, the state of human health throughout the world continues to decline at an alarming rate..”