Cancer- A Long Haul Journey of Learning - Episode 1 Intro & The Wonders of Medical Advances & Carers
Updated: Mar 27, 2022
I moved my family to Dubai in December 2018. I continued to work most of my time in Kuwait where we had lived for the previous 5 years. I was spending 3 out of every 4 weeks there. My last trip out of Kuwait was Feb 19th 2020, just before airports around the world shut and the world locked down!
I am forever grateful to Oracle (The company I was contracted to) and Alshaya Group (The customer) because when most companies were closing, down sizing, or stopping all non critical work they kept my project going and we started working remotely throughout the pandemic.
I am also eternally grateful to the government of Dubai as in July 2020 my cancer was diagnosed, but treatments continued when most health services had to stop all but COVID19 care. (Including cancer)
The following series of Bloggs are NOT about my journey, suffering or any gory details. They are about what I am grateful for and what Ive learnt because of the cancer.
Just for context, 4th July 2020 I got diagnosed with stage 4 oesophagus cancer which had also spread to a couple of lymph nodes in my chest and a couple in my abdomen. It's not curable I was told! But we can manage it!
Today I am an ants whisker away from full remission and I am so very grateful.
In her book "Radical Remission" Kelly A. Turner writes about the 9 key factors that most people who have experienced radical remission have as part of their journey.
Radically change diet
taking control of your health
using herbs and supplements
Releasing suppressed emotions
increasing positive emotions
embracing social support
deepening your spiritual connection
having a strong reason to live
In my learning there are 10 key factors. These 9 and top of my list is the absolute wonders and advances in medicines and the fantastic care I have received from my doctors and nurses.
I am going to base my learning using these key factors as I believe they fit for my case also, albeit I cannot say I have had a radical remission.
What follows is a series of 10 Bloggs where I will share my experience and learning.
Medical advances and my special team of carers
I want to start with this because I believe that it is both elements that have got me to where I am today. Traditional medicine and the power of willing your body and mind to achieve your desired result, good health in my case. Without the medical care I have received I do not think I would be hear writing this!
My Cancer in Numbers:
Weeks in treatment 76
Treatments Chemotherapy cocktail of 2 types, chemotherapy with immunotherapy cocktail and Radiotherapy, total 78
Procedures / operations 4
Hospital 2 weeks
Days off work 3
I am not qualified to discuss this topic too much but I do want to say what I've learnt to help anybody who may be at the beginning of a cancer journey.
Today each Cancer case is treated as an individual and different case, rather than the way it used to be which was almost the same course of treatment for everybody. My Oncologist made this clear from the outset, and she was right.
Very early on I asked her why I didn't feel very sick, her response was "Brien, if you want to get ill you will" this was very thought provoking. (more about this later)
Medical science is amazing, at the beginning she told me to send one of my biopsy's away for molecular analysis because "If I had one or more very rare enzymes I would respond much better to immunotherapy treatment" I did and I have 1!!!! This was a game changer for me.
Depending on the type of cancer and personal situations Immunotherapy can be a "Game Changer" in the treatment results
Most of the problems I suffered where side effects, not actually the tumour / cancer I had.
The best way to manage side effects is to drink tons of water and stay active, I excised throughout.
Palliative care is NOT only end of life care, It is care for pain management, they are great
At a point my treatment was changed to Radiotherapy, this is so advanced now the can pin point it to a needle head spot, causing far less damage
Its a long Journey and is NOT over when you think it will be. In my case I have three times got to a point where I thought treatment was "Over" only to be put on another 12 week course. Prepare for the long haul!
In my case at Mediclinic North Wing in Dubai the complete Hospital staff have contributed to my recovery, that's the security guards, receptionists, administrative staff, the nurses that have provided very caring and personal care to the doctors, radiologists, technicians, and general doctors who have looked after me. Absolutely amazing people I really owe my life to!
Next time I will talk about the next key factors starting with Diet.