We waited all last week to hear from the surgeon's office about the date for Les' surgery which must take place the week immediately following the radiation therapy. As usual over here, no one attempted to contact us and we had to call around to the bowel cancer nurse Linda, who was out all week and who couldn't find her bum pack with both hands and a flashlight.
This is the same nurse who stood mutely watching through the surgeon's initial rude and arrogant meeting with us on September 6th; who then took us down to the MacMillan Cancer Centre near the Hospital entrance to have a chat with us about Les' very personal health issues and prognosis in front of two strangers--MacMillan community volunteers who hung on our every word. Linda it was who warned me not to engage in research on the Internet--just stick with the MacMillan website.
The very same nurse who called Les back on September 16th just to find out how he was feeling about the "radiotherapy" (I refuse to call it that. It sounds so innocuous--as though Les is going to sit in a room with some head phones on listening to deeply moving and cathartic music like Gustav Holst's The Planets, or the Wagner Ring Cycle every day for a week. I will call it what it is: radiation therapy) and a follow up surgery.
Nurse Linda spent fifteen minutes repeating herself ad naseum about "how much liaising there was to do between the two hospitals" as though it might take some help from Parliament to make it all fall into place, but she had not a clue about radiation therapy times or surgery dates; she wasn't privy to whether or not the surgeon planned to do the Ileostomy and the removal of the tumor and bowel re-section all in one go or in two separate surgeries. Nurse Linda was in short, BLOODY worthless at actually imparting any meaningful information at all.
Les left her a message this past Friday morning and she returned the call Friday afternoon to say she'd been away all week and she needed a few minutes to get on top of things and then she would get back to us. A few minutes later she rang back to say Les' radiation therapy appointments had been changed--instead of starting this week, they would commence on October 7th and surgery would take place on October 16th! Mr. H. who has been on vacation the week before last, returned to find there simply was no room in his calendar for Les surgery until then.
What Americans don't know is that over here they have a two tiered system: there is the National Health Service which covers all British citizens, and private practice for which one may pay for out of one's pocket or with private Insurance; in which case one can jump the NHS queue and be seen right away--most likely by the same doctor one would see through the NHS. I wonder how many private payees have jumped this queue to line Mr. H's pocket while Les' tumor continues to grow.
I am appalled no one even thought to contact us personally and let us know about these changes. Our son and daughter-in law had to juggle their calendars, and arrange for time off work to take us to the scheduled appointments.
I have a very jaundiced eye toward American health care from my own experience but the ineptitude I have personally witnessed over here via the NHS makes U.S. health care look compassionately brilliant by comparison.
What's that you say?? "Yes, well but we don't pay for ours." Stop saying that! I bloody well mean it. STOP SAYING the NHS is free because it's not. It is free at the point of service--which means you pay through the nose for it out of every pay check but you don't pay for services at the time of delivery. Les worked from age 15 to 58 and believe me he has paid for the health care he has received and the actual care he should have received but has not, due to incompetence and lack of anyone really giving a rip about high quality health care delivery in this situation. And they will keep getting away with offering inferior service as long as Brits put up with it as their due because after all, "it's free"...
I either rant here, or I will have to remove the surgeon's liver with a cocktail fork after he completes Les' surgery--if he ever actually gets 'round to it. All the other appalling, inconsiderate, incompetent things that have happened to Les throughout this debacle will be detailed in my book I started writing about my own journey through cancer. Now the book will have at least a chapter detailing Les' journey and possibly that of our Canadian friend B. who follows our blog, in order to offer a more comprehensive look at this agonizing experience from country to country.
Rant over. We are choosing to look on this extra time as an opportunity to work on getting Les stronger physically and better able to withstand the radiation treatments and come through the surgery with a good outcome and
Les takes Chlorella tablets to enhance the oxygen levels in his blood and raise albumin levels as well. Cancer patients typically have low oxygen levels which is what cancer likes. Albumin is a protein found in the bloodstream. According to the National Institutes of Health low Albumin levels signal malnutrition and is a marker for higher mortality rates of cancer patients. Chlorella is a blue-green algae used for preventing cancer, reducing radiation treatment side effects, stimulating the immune system, and improving response to flu vaccine, increasing white blood cell counts (especially in people with HIV infection or cancer).
Les is also taking Modified Citrus Pectin which significantly inhibits the adhesion of cancer cells to the endothelium which are the cells lining the blood and lymph vessels--the pathway by which cancer metastasizes.
He is taking large doses of B vitamin for energy and high doses of Vitamin C which not only fight cancer but promote wound healing.
This week we will add in supplements such as Glutamine which accelerates healing after radiation therapy, increasing healing of irradiated intestines and decreasing systemic infections resulting from bacterial translocation; Woebenzyme which is an adjunct to radiation therapy which inhibits metastatic cancer. These enzymes modulate the immune system, activating macrophages which cause phagocytosis and release tumor necrosis factor alpha, stimulating lymphocytes to penetrate tumor sites, eating the tumor cells.
We are also using Co-Q10 which removes toxin, protects the heart muscle against damage by radiation therapy and high doses of Adriamycin (antibiotics often administered as a chemo therapeutic agent).
Finally we are adding in Low Temperature, 100% Cross Flow Microfiltration (CFM) Whey Protein which acts as a barrier to to further bowel invasion incidences of cancer, and inhibits tumor growth.
All of this is in addition to potassium supplements to engage changes in Les' bio chemistry at the cellular level, and twice daily doses of Essiac herbal decoction with blood root tincture to cause tumor cell necrosis (death).
Since we began the Gerson therapy diet, juicing, Essiac, Chlorella, Modified Citrus Pectin and potassium supplements almost a month ago, Les' energy levels have climbed to the point he felt well enough to split wood the other day. He also reports that before we started this regimen he could feel the tumor in his rectum all the time. It felt like someone had their finger up his bum. Lately he cannot feel it at all. I am doing everything in my power as a Green Witch, medicinal herbalist and a healer, as well as an academic researcher, to ensure Les survives.