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In July 2012, at the age of 38, I was given the devastating news that I had advanced ovarian cancer. This is my blog and the story of my fight to regain my health. I hope to share with you things that I've found helpful along my journey and keep you posted on my progress.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Enagaged and Stable!

Hello everybody.  A lot of things have been happening since my last update.

One of the main things is that my partner John proposed to me, so we are now engaged!  I must admit I didn’t expect it at all and I was absolutely taken back and surprised.  We’ve been together for about 3 and a half years and getting engaged was my dream.  Well, getting married was my dream, but this is a big step towards it!  I am thrilled that I have on my agenda to organise for us to get married.  We are hoping to plan it for early next year depending on how the organising goes.  Luckily I never wanted a big wedding, so that fits in with not having the means for it!  For me the main thing is that John proposed and that we will be married.  One of my dreams is coming true.

The other big news is that I had my 3 monthly follow up blood test and I am glad to say that my cancer is currently stable.  Following all my most recent treatments, my tumour marker had dropped to 33, in October.  It had risen slightly to 36 a few weeks later but my most latest result was 35 – a drop of one point!  I am very happy about this.  It’s always a nerve-wracking time taking blood for the tumour marker test.  I get very nervous and fearful of the reading.   I don’t think it ever gets easier but I’m trying to learn how to deal with it as calmly as possible.  The doctors also wanted to do a CT scan but I refused as I had a clear scan fairly recently and I am trying my best to avoid further radiation – they only want a CT scan to be able to offer more chemo and I really don’t want that.

Another recent development was a consultation I had with an oncologist who has an interest in alternative methods as well as conventional treatments.  He suggested a few off-label drugs for me to consider.  Off-label drugs are drugs that can have a beneficial in treating medical problems that they were not originally intended for.  One of these was Low Dose Naltrexone.  I’ve been told by a couple of other alternative doctors in the past that this might be beneficial and there seems to be lots of evidence on the internet that it can shrink tumours and help control ovarian cancer.  There are also apparently clinical trials now being conducted with it.  It is something I’ve tried in the past but I thought I would give it another go.    Unfortunately I had to stop it fairly soon as I was getting hallucinations and fears.  I was very disappointed about this as it did sound promising but I tried my best and it is obviously not for me.

Another off-label drug that was recommended to me was metformin.  This drug is normally used for diabetic patients but there are some active studies looking into its use for treating cancer.   It is well known that cancer feeds on sugar, so I can see how a medication that controls levels of sugar in the blood could be a useful aid to fighting cancer.  So, I am in a process of trying to get hold of it.  I’ve been referred to a private clinic that is doing a study on metformin for treating cancer, so this may be an option.

I’m also looking into one other off-label drug that was recommended to me – artesunate.  This is a form of artemisinin - a herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine - and it is most commonly used to treat malaria.  Again, this has been shown to have beneficial effects against cancer and some clinics abroad already offer infusions of this as part of their treatment programmes.  I’ve identified a private clinic in the UK though that may be able to prescribe this for me.

In the meantime, I am continuing the supplement regime put together by the medical herbalist I saw in October and I’ve got a follow-up appointment with him in January.

So, I have few things on the go that will both keep me busy (researching new treatments) and happy (getting married!).

Thank you for reading and thank you for everyone for their onging support with my fundraising appeal.

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