Not over yet

Tom and I returned to London on a mission.  I called the Breast Cancer Care helpline and the nurse who took my call recommended I seek a second opinion. She told me there are women who have been living with secondary breast cancer for years. Then, as if to reinforce the message, that night my brother texted me from Australia; ‘It’s not over yet, let’s get a second opinion.  I’ll be there in a few days.’ Slowly we were recovering from the initial shock and we were now thinking of ways to deal with the damage.

I then posted on the Breast Cancer Care website and the response nurtured those initial shoots of hope I had felt in the church in Suffolk.  There were women who had secondary bone cancer who’d been living for ten years with the disease. For a third time, now by the women on the forum, I was urged to get a second opinion and so Tom and I gathered our strength and began to research the internet, write lists and compile emails.  We worked like my life depended on it.

We found out who the best oncologists were in London and emailed them, emailed their secretaries; even their colleagues.  We wrote a list of questions about treatments that might be available: chemotherapies, Cyberknife, trials and studies. Words and names I’d never heard of offered further hope.

I thought back to what the consultant said – we could try chemo if I wanted to. Wanted to. I’m 28, of course I want to try chemo, I’d try anything to give me more time.  In the days following the consultation I struggled to comprehend why I wasn’t offered a course of action. To this day I still can’t understand what happened in that room.  I run it over and over in my mind; how could I at 28 be written off?  How many other people are told the same thing as me and don’t have the support or will to challenge that verdict?

I’m a person with a partner I love, with friends that I cherish, with a life that in my view is pretty fantastic, but to me it seemed that to the people I was relying on to make me better I was just a hospital number; the treatment didn’t work on that one, she’ll be one of the statistics that doesn’t make it. Is it a funding thing? I guess the NHS has to draw the line somewhere. Sorry, we couldn’t fix her, next please.

Yet amidst all these dark thoughts, our fight back was beginning to yield results. One Professor who had been recommended by a member of the Breast Cancer Care Forum replied to my email immediately. I’d explained my situation and he said he’d be happy to see me, so we made an appointment to see him on Harley Street that week. Insurance wasn’t an option but we were willing to pay to get another opinion. For the sake of the blog I’ll call him Professor Hope.  Meeting him would transform my outlook and I believe ultimately my outcome.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ann
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 10:12:51

    Very best of luck to you, my thoughts and fingers are crossed.

    Reply

  2. Ellie Jeffery
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 10:24:15

    Thank you Ann, and thank you for taking the time out to keep reading.

    Reply

  3. C
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 21:23:16

    I read your story on BCC. Just want to say never give up. Thinking of you.
    C

    Reply

  4. Margaret
    Nov 10, 2011 @ 23:05:22

    Read ur story in Femail Mag…Go to http://www.eraof peace.org and download ‘Musical Rapture’….Keep positive…will remember u in my meds & prayers.

    Reply

  5. David Reavely
    Nov 11, 2011 @ 14:43:59

    Eleanor. I would strongly suggest that you check out the Hippocrates health institute in Florida. They have some inspiring stuff on Youtube. You can also listen to the Director of the institute, Dr Brian Clement. I know someone personally who reversed her terminal breast cancer by following their programme. I’m thinking of you and wishing you all the best,

    David

    Reply

  6. Thelma
    Nov 16, 2011 @ 13:05:16

    Ellie how are you doing today….stay strong, you are an inspiration!

    Reply

  7. Nuria
    Jan 14, 2012 @ 13:07:02

    Dear Ellie,
    Thank you very much for your inspiring story. All my best wishes are with you.
    I was diagnosed with Secondaries in September 2011 (Currently in the lungs, and lymph nodes on my neck). Awaiting more tests in the next few weeks to confirm whether I also have it in the bones (possibly in the Pelvis, neck).
    Sounds like Professor Hope has been sent by God. Would you mind sending me an email with his name so I can contact him to maybe get a second opinion about best treatments.
    I have just turned 40 and I have a lovely husband and a 9 year old son and I want to try everything that is possible to keep this illness under control for as long as possible.
    Thank you very much and hope your treatments continue to work. Don’t give up!

    Reply

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