The ‘fight’

After long discussions I persuaded Tom he should go to the States for a show he was working on.  He’d already missed out on two weeks out there and it sounded like the team really needed him. He would be away for six weeks and with the prognosis of just months to live it seemed like six weeks could be precious time we were sacrificing, but in my heart I truly believed I had much more than time than just a few months and I knew it would be good for Tom to be forced to concentrate on something else.

My brother John would extend his stay to be with me while Tom was away and mum would come and visit to help look after me while I went through radiotherapy.

The radiotherapy to my pelvis made me really quite sick. The sunny summer days taunted me as I lay on the sofa recovering from being zapped.  The rays would shrink the tumour but they also hit all the organs in that area.  I felt nauseous, I was losing weight and I was getting depressed.

When you’re ill because of cancer treatment it’s hard to remind yourself that it’s not the cancer itself that is making you feel so bad.  You can’t help but weigh up in your mind if it’s all worth it.  You have to balance the illness of treatment with your quality of life.  For anyone going through this struggle I’d have to say that, from my experience, it is better to at least give it a go and stick with it for a decent amount of time to see how you react to the treatment.  You might be really ill on the first cycle of chemo and want to give up, but the second might treat you more kindly and fortunately for me, by the third I was living a relatively normal life.

I’ve read and heard many cancer sufferers say they don’t like the word ‘fight’ when talking about cancer; it’s a cliché.  Maybe it is, but I do see it as a fight.

Acceptance is easier; there’s no waking up at 3am worrying if a treatment will work, if you’ll live to see your wedding day and beyond.  Who wants to be constantly prodded and poked with needles?  To willingly put poison into your body?

When I was feeling particularly sick one day after radiotherapy – and I feel guilty admitting this – it felt reassuring to think, ‘I’m going to die, there’s nothing I can do about it and I can stop all this treatment and give up.’  To remind myself that I had that option was comforting.

To choose to live and to battle takes energy.  Some mornings I look in the mirror, take a deep breath and say to myself, ‘Come on Ellie, keep going.’ Of course ultimately I want to keep going, I really do love and cherish my life too much to give up without, dare I say it, a fight.

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sharon Duckett
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 15:16:28

    Yes, fight, fight, fight, just heard loads about your wedding plans from Matt and can’t wait to hear more and see yours wedding pics
    lots of love Sharon and Mike

    Reply

  2. Peas and Cougars
    Aug 31, 2011 @ 20:34:17

    Just started reading your blog – you’re a great writer and I hope you’re able to tell your story for a long long time. My thoughts are with you!

    Reply

  3. Wesley Johnson
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 08:36:51

    Great blog – and best of luck with your fight! Thought you might find this post by the RSA’s chief exec interesting: http://www.matthewtaylorsblog.com/public-policy/why-cancer-patients-need-a-new-friend/

    Reply

    • Ellie Jeffery
      Sep 01, 2011 @ 09:47:56

      I’ve just heard about this on R4 – incredibly interesting read, and I have to say I agree with a great deal of it. Thanks for bringing the full article to my attention.

      Reply

  4. Jon Hyde
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 15:31:32

    Ellie…I am a friend of Suzanne Boot…I think you know her niece….Susie sent me the address of your blogsite…..I was diagnosed with both indolent and aggressive Non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2002-2006, for which I had a total of 12 months of chemotherapy….The really nasty stuff…Nuff said!! I then went on to get thyroid medullary carcinoma IN 2008 and had very aggressive surgery to my neck to remove my thyroid and associated tumours…..I still have metastases in my chest and raised cancer markers…I am 5 years in remission from NHL..Why am I telling you this?…well, I am a firm believer in your hypothesis of cancer management ….for the last few years I have been taking a combination of supplements which I feel stops the cancers from growing, and may even eventually kill them…the key ingredient is Salvestrol, an extract from organic fruit…then there is ellagic acid, from raspberries, turmeric, and green tea extract (inhibits angiogenesis in tumours, )….I also take di -indole methane ( from cabbage), which lowers endogenous oestrogens and exogenous xeno- oestrogens…(useful in oestrogen sensitive tumours)…I also take other supplements that I won’t go into here….why do I think they work..well, of course, I should pushing up the daises by now…..the thyroid cancer normally spreads really fast, with many micro mets…..so far it is just sitting there whimpering and my cancer markers are slowly falling…it was three years ago that I had the first surgery….in fact, thirteen years since I first got cancer..I still have lymphoma lumps around, but they don’t do anything generally…..last year I started to grow a large lymph node in my stomach and thought “here we go again”……so I increased my salvestrol intake by threefold, and within three months it had gone…I was amazed, as I was convinced a marrow transplant was pending (the next line of treatment for this NHL…)…I am evangelical about what I am doing/taking…and there’re no side effects from the supplements……if you are interested in finding out more, I suggest you contact Susie Boot ( or her niece) and get my email address off her ( and a character reference!!!…so that you know that I am not a whackoo!!..)…I have a background in biochemistry/nutrition/medicine, so what I am describing I have fairly well researched..also, Google salvestrols and do some research yourself ..you will find the way they work interesting, I think!!

    Anyway, good luck with everything…maybe hear from you?..

    Reply

    • Ellie Jeffery
      Sep 01, 2011 @ 21:08:11

      Really interesting stuff Jon, thank you. I currently take tumeric supplements and do a shot of wheat grass everyday I really should do some more research into diet. I’m so pleased you are beating your disease. I can’t imagine going through 12 months of chemo – I did 5 and it was, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to contend with. Thank you for reading the blog and getting in touch, I’ll email you personally about the diet side of things. Best wishes and I’ll be in contact! Ellie.

      Reply

  5. michelle
    Sep 02, 2011 @ 20:44:21

    HI Ellie
    Blog is really good and so interesting to read different views on health diet etc. :Let us know if and what you decide to follow as so interesting. michelle

    Reply

    • Ellie Jeffery
      Sep 03, 2011 @ 17:17:10

      Hi Michelle, my next post will deal with some of the diet changes I’ve made – to be honest not many, but I’m always interested in people’s opinions on diet and what has worked for them. I’ll, literally, keep you posted! Ellie.

      Reply

  6. Lorraine hughes
    Oct 22, 2011 @ 09:15:58

    Ellie,
    I’m so so sorry to hear all of this, from you. It’s so unjust. Your strength and courage is inspirational to me. You’re a princess. Keep fighting. Your life is worth it. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. I’m so sorry.

    Your old friend,

    Lorraine x

    Reply

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