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Monday, September 23, 2013

At My Wits End...

"If you're going through hell, keep going."  ~Winston Churchill

   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
healing. He has been on the Gerson intensive therapy diet. We purchased a Green Star G-2000 juice extractor and he has been drinking very high quality juices throughout every day.
   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.

19 comments:

Paul and Elaine said...

Hi Guys.
So sorry to hear that you are getting the runaround. We have also had extensive dealings recently with the NHS and cannot fault the service or staff, they have been fantastic at every level.
Best Wishes
Paul and Elaine

Mike Muir said...

Greetings, you two.
I have had my own run in with the NHS in 1977 regarding a broken leg which took 3 visits to get an xray, and a 4th before it was "casted", nearly a week after the accident. I am appalled at the treatment you are recieving at the hands of these insensitive, arrogant people.
When Phill was diagnosed with a similar cancer in Canada (may have been "caught" earlier in growth) she was lined up with specialsts for examination almost immediately, and operated on in less time than it has taken Les to even gate a date for the operation.
Gaaaaaagh!
I have known "B" for about 30 years, always had some medical problem or other due to physical size, approaching, I suspect, the limit at which normal human beings can grow to. No growth hormons at all, unlike many in the sporting world, whose weight would eclipse that of my friend. I wish the men with all the initials after their names would descend from the clouds and actually think about their patients as people, not pieces of paper in a manilla folder.
Mike on NB GARNET.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Jaq,
NZ and Oz have similar national health systems and decades ago one young idealistic doctor to me that in his opinion many of the "Specialist" deliberately make the public health system inefficient to "encourage" patients to go private where the specialist earns more money!

Dave,Beryl Bradshaw said...

Jaq keep Ranting it keeps you focused
thinking of you. Dave & Beryl

Graham Budd said...

We're with you.

Bryce Lee said...

With Gerson there's a good chance the tumour shall be physically reduced.
Which in turn shall means fewer problems for your beloved Les.

As for you; young lady, keep up the good juicing program

As for the surgeon, I can supply a small fork to assist...

Carol Palin said...

Hi Jaq, keep doing your thing! The fact that Les feels better is a positive indicator. If you feel good then you are more able to cope with adversity. We think of you two every day. Love Carol & George x x

Sue said...

Am reading

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Paul and Elaine,
I am happy to hear someone is getting good service form the NHS. I suspect it has to do with three issues: your location (not within spitting distance to London), your age (younger than us by at least a decade if not more), your presenting health issue (hopefully not cancer!)
Jaq

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Mike,
So the NHS has been broken for quite a while then. I concur with all you've said. Modern medicine everywhere treats the disease but not the person; the symptoms but not the cause.
Love JaqXX

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Tom and Jan,
While your statement is appalling it doesn't surprise me. I was shocked in the U.S. to discover that my insurance would not pay $850.00 a month for the alternative treatment I chose but would pay £10,000.00 a month to inject me with Cisplatin--liquid platinum chemo. The world is so screwed up!
JaqXX

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Dave and Beryl,
Bless you both and thank you for your support, encouragement and loving kindness.
JaqXX

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Graham and Jill,
I cannot think of better cheerleaders!! Rah, Rah, sis boom, rah!! The two of you could go into business dispensing healing with humor. Just reminiscing on our dinner with you two, and Sue and Vic makes all my molecules laugh and jump up and down all happy.
Love JaqXX

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Bryce,
Good things to keep in mind. As for the fork--if it fits in your very large hand it has got to be bigger than a cocktail fork, which means we could probably remove a bit more than Hallam's liver!!
Love JaqXX

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Carol and George,
Thank you and I am keeping it up. Some days I deal with it all better than others. Much love to you both,
Jaqxx

Christina Haight said...

I've been wanting to comment on this for some time, but I had to take some time to take in your response. All I can say is that I love you Jaq, and you are a freaking rockstar! You are a fighter, and knowing you, that's how you roll. And you are not afraid to call BS when you need to. Lately I have been uninspired by people, I'm surrounded by others who don't want to rock the boat, and I think that has been sinking into my psyche. Honestly, it has made me sad and hopeless. This rant has made me want to speak up again, so I thank you.

Take care you two!!

Christina :)

Anonymous said...

Jaq,

I love your blogs! Not to take away from the seriousness of Les's cancer, but you are pretty damn funny with some of your "observations" on the system. On the serious side, I am learning a lot from your medicinal supplemental language, explaining what each supplement does. Regarding the high doses of Vit. C, they are great, just be sure Les drinks tons of water as it can cause kidney stones. Keep up the great writing, and thank you for keeping the blog going for all of us to keep up to date on Les's journey.
Love Lael and LarryXX (from email)

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Christina,
I was so very grateful we found each other on the liberal desert that is the Palouse! I'm glad you got my humor--it is pretty dark and sarcastic but it is what it is and I am who I am. did you ever see the bumper stickers from the 70's women's movement that said, "Ladies sewing circle and terrorist society?" I loved them and I still do. There should be a golden spoon award for those who have the courage to stir the pot. Just be sure you take good care of yourself while you advocate vocally for change.
I love you too!
JaqXX

Kathleen Turk said...

I've know you, Jaq, for a long while. You never cease to amaze me with your knowledge bank. Looking at your and Les' situation makes me think about this point in time of how you two met and how your relationship with Les grew. It was all meant to be. :)
It's like looking at a beautiful mosaic when you look back at all the pieces of events that took place to be where you both are right now!
I'm a big believer that everything happens for a reason and nothing happens by coincidence. Everything we go through comes back into play one time or another. There is a reason we go through all the trials and tribulations.
You are such a blessing Jaq; for Les, for your friends, for your family. Keep up the fantastic work awesome woman. I look forward to buying your book once published.
Love you, always!
~Kat

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs