Ginny Fraser Melanoma update

Ginny Fraser  Melanoma update

Originally published in Issue 1 2005 icon

Ginny Fraser

Cancer Has Changed Me

Ginny Fraser, a regular contributor to icon, was first diagnosed with melanoma in 1993 when she discovered a mole on her arm. "I had it briskly excised, along with a chunk of my arm, and then got on with my life." Three years later a tumour found in the lymph nodes and "I realised I couldn’t just ignore it like I did last time. The approach I chose was the Gerson Therapy, which I did intensively for two years to make sure I was really clear." But five years later, when Ginny found herself overcome with fatigue she went back to the Marsden for scans and was totally unprepared for the news she received.

"I had tumours in my brain, lungs, spleen and stomach. I was expected to live around six months."

Ginny was put on steroids immediately which were a horrific experience. "I started to bloat and everything swelled up. I got a huge moon face and felt very self-conscious."

Several bouts of radiotherapy later, Ginny was told the tumours had not responded so she decided to take a different route. "In the end I opted for naturopathic treatment with Etienne Callebout. He is a qualified medical doctor, homeopath and specialist in alternative treatments for cancer. He admitted he hadn’t treated anyone with my level of cancer before but said he would give it a go. I signed up for the whole shebang."

Ginny’s regime consisted of a combination of diet, juices, coffee enemas and a high level of supplementation. The diet is based on as much organic produce as possible and excludes anything processed, sugar, dairy, wheat, tea, coffee or alcohol. She also took 122 pills a day. "Everything was specially selected for my particular cancer. Dr Callebout’s philosophy for me was one of detoxification, excellent nutrition , supplementation to boost immune response plus the metabolic therapy of B-17 (laetrile) and enzymes which break down the tumours."

She had a CT scan around four months later which showed that all the tumours had either reduced significantly or disappeared altogether. "The hospital took credit for the brain tumours (radiotherapy often takes a while to kick in and they claim the previous scan was done too early to show results), but they were flabbergasted by the reduction in the other areas where I had had no conventional treatment. My last scan, in November 2002 showed that everything had gone, bar a small abnormality in my spleen. I am continuing on my rigorous regime, but am slowly edging back into the world."

When I look back at the pictures of me that appeared in icon, I shudder. I was bloated with steroids, almost bald and wearing an eye patch to deal with effects of the brain tumour.

Open quotesPeople with cancer are really willing to look inside, to make attitude changes and be ruthlessly honest with themselvesClose quotes

 

It seems like a lifetime ago and much has happened since. I am still healthy (as far as I know), and a recent MRI scan showed that my brain was in perfectly good shape. I do yoga, take long walks and I have just moved out of London to a cottage in the countryside, fulfilling a long-held dream. My professional life has also been influenced by having cancer. I have expanded my previous work as a coach and facilitator to include coaching people with cancer who want to work with the whole mind/body/spirit aspect of their disease, and I am loving it. People with cancer don’t mess around. They are really willing to look inside, to make attitude changes and be ruthlessly honest with themselves.

 

On a day to day level, I try to eat a good diet (though I have to say I have been doing chocolate lately and know that has to stop). I still juice every other day, take handfuls of supplements and do a coffee enema a few times a week (I love ’em!). I know that I have been incredibly blessed to recover from Stage IV melanoma and know that my health must always be my utmost priority, but it is the background music to my life not the main melody.

There have been many blessings. Cancer has changed me, and I think for the better. I take things more slowly. I make time for myself and my loved ones. I am more tolerant and accepting of my own and others’ frailties and shortcomings. I am embracing life with all its peaks and troughs as something quite fine rather than a collection of mountains to climb and boxes to be ticked.

My experience has been that there is life after cancer, and it’s really pretty good.

For details of Ginny’s coaching work, email her on ginnyf@tiscali.co.uk or telephone 01483 201020.

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