Julia Cordys cancer busting formula

Julia Cordys cancer busting formula

Julia’s cancer-busting formula:

  • Acupuncture

  • Healing

  • Homeopathy (arnica for surgery)

  • Bristol Cancer Help Centre

  • Kairos Therapy

  • Nutritional Therapist/Metabolic Typing

  • Astragalus and Echinacea tinctures

  • Books by Jane Plant and Chris Woollams

  • Great friends and laughter!

Now taking :

  • Multi-vit/mineral (particularly high in anti-oxidants)

  • COQ10

  • Complete Vit E (from icon)

  • Vit D3 (from icon) also brilliant for the nails!

  • Fish oil

  • Health Aid Livercare for detox help

  • Vit B12 (when she hasn’t had meat or eggs for a while)

Julia Cordy’s story should encourage all those women diagnosed as HER2 positive, approaching seven years free from breast cancer for Somerset’s spirited survivor.

’They say that life begins at 40, but for me it was 50’ says Julia Cordy from Somerset. She marked that milestone birthday five years after contracting an aggressive form of breast cancer. Celebrating with a dream holiday riding horseback through Chilean Patagonia, Julia (an environmental health officer) then came home, and met Dave, her dream man. She’d been single for nine years all through her cancer journey.  Julia originally thought she would combat cancer with alternative medicine alone, but then concluded her best chance lay in a combined orthodox and complementary approach. Identifying stress at work as a contributory factor to the cancer, Julia reassessed her emotions to become less of a ’bottler-upper’ and more ’someone who can, when necessary, say no’. ’I’ve been far happier since I was ill than I was before’ she says ’probably than I ever was before. You can put it down to personal growth, but I just feel more content in myself.’


’At 45, I was beginning to feel at the end of my professional tether. As an environmental health officer specialising in pollution, I’d lost my line manager and was therefore at the frontline of every stressful decision and aggrieved complainant. I had palpitations and had begun to feel tearful, but it had to get to that stage before I got any help at work, despite asking 6 months earlier in my yearly appraisal. I always expected to be fine, after all, I was into personal growth, was active and ate healthily on an almost entirely vegetarian diet. I’m still of the opinion that prolonged stress tipped the cancer into action, but that the dairy habit I’d developed at the time (eating cheese virtually every day) then stimulated its growth.

’I discovered the lump by sheer fluke. I was sitting on my bed, with an itch under my right armpit. I leaned forward slightly to scratch it with my right thumb and felt a small, round lump. I’d certainly not found it in the standard self-examination you’re supposed to do. I thought ’Oh dear, I wonder’ 3 or 4 years earlier I’d read an article in the Ecologist magazine on alternative cancer approaches, and I remembered it saying that if you take a high dose of Pancreatin and get a headache you have pre-cancerous cells.  I’d tried it at the time you can buy it in Holland and Barrett and had no reaction. This time round I got the most excruciating headache.

’It was just before Christmas in 2001 when my GP rightly referred me for a biopsy and ultrasound, though he said he was sure there wasn’t anything sinister. I was seen on January 2nd when again, the biopsy staff weren’t too worried. I was surprised to find the clinic offered same day results, when I’d expected a further anxious 10 day wait.  When I went back in the afternoon I was told at once ’It’s a good job we did investigate. It is cancer.’ I can best describe how I felt as resigned. I thought ’Ok, let’s get on with it.’ I said to the clinic doctor ’I don’t suppose you’re into alternative treatments, are you?’ ’Alternative? No!’ she said ’because I’ve seen people go down that particular road and come back with worsened disease. Complementary treatment to what we can offer, however is fine whatever you want to try.

’So I was booked in for surgery in just under a fortnight and went away to consider my options. I wasn’t at all terrified of wards or theatre because my mother had been in and out of hospital over the years for various things from when I was a child. She always seemed to quite like being in hospital! I think it probably rubbed off on me. I prepared by going for acupuncture with the woman who had always treated me. I saw a homeopath for some high dose arnica for the op and also phoned the Bristol Cancer Help Centre. They gave me the name and number of an holistic doctor who basically confirmed what I’d been told by the clinic consultant and the acupuncturist that, I was best off taking a two-pronged, orthodox and complementary approach to treatment. She advised me on supplements but to cut down on anti-oxidants during chemo, which at that time were thought to counter its effects. One of my work colleagues is a healer who sees auras. When I told her my diagnosis, her eyes went straight to the lump, and I knew she could see for herself. So she gave me some healing, which I appreciated, and continued during most of my treatments.’

By the time I got to surgery, I was ready. ’OK!’ I thought ’Bring it on.’ The operation went smoothly: I had no bruising at all; my healer came the same day and my acupuncturist the day afterwards. I was told to expect four or five days in hospital but they discharged me after two. On the whole I was actually quite glad to be single as I went through cancer, as I didn’t have to watch a partner coping with me being ill. And I did have the most brilliant support from friends, which was lucky as when they said I could go home, I didn’t feel quite ready. That was the one time I was less than happy to be on my own. A friend tided me over until my sister arrived to stay.

’The only wobble I had throughout my cancer journey was when I went back for the results and the registrar told me I had a grade 3 cancer, which I later found out was Her2-positive, which meant it was faster growing and also oestrogen receptive. I knew this wasn’t good news and I reacted, rather unfairly, to the registrar who in my eyes, and on that particular day, looked about 12 and far too young to be delivering such news! On the plus side, the Yeovil District Hospital has a good clinical trials section. I made an appointment and once I’d seen them and started chemo, I felt fine again. After some thought, I agreed to go on a trial involving four doses of standard 5FU, Epirubicin and Cyclophosphomide, followed by four doses of Taxotere. The Taxotere is normally used for secondaries or recurrence. My chemo was scheduled three weekly over six months.
’Initially, on diagnosis, I was angry because I had a healthy diet and active lifestyle, and thought ’What else was I supposed to do?’  I went vegan immediately, which may not be that good as you really have to supplement with vitamin B12, so soon reverted to eating eggs and fish again. I still keep off the dairy but since meeting my partner Dave, I do occasionally eat chicken or lamb but only organic. I have definitely lapsed as he keeps buying me chocolate, (though it is Green and Blacks dark!) and I do now drink a little alcohol again. Although I stayed angry, my following reaction was Oh dear, cancer, but great - no work for six months! I was actually off work for 11 months in the end but I think that reaction shows just how stressed I had become.

’My mood was so buoyant that I did ask a friend if I was in denial. She said No. You’re fighting! I decided to tell everybody at work, upfront, what was wrong. I felt that was easier and no one had to whisper behind their hands Oh, God! Have you heard? I was surprised how many people then said Oh a friend of mine had this 10, 8, 12 years ago. I found that really positive. Before my surgery, I’d raided W H Smith and the library for any relevant book I could get my hands on and Jane Plant also gave me wonderful inspiration. My closest friend, Pauline, was travelling in New Zealand for three months when I was diagnosed, but we were keeping in touch by e-mail. She asked which was great - if I wanted her to come back a little early, and instead of lying No, of course not! I said Yes, please. She didn’t make it for the operation, but she was home in time to come with me to my first chemo.  I had the most wonderful support from all my friends. I met Pauline and 2 others, Ann and Maggie in a walking group a couple of years earlier. We all just hit it off and went walking and on holidays together and spent a lot of our time laughing! Maggie brought me in nourishing soup when I was in hospital and Ann, who works at the hospital used to drop in when she could during my chemo sessions. I think laughter is vitally important I watched funny films and absolutely cracked up laughing at Billy Conolly videos!

’The chemo really wasn’t bad at all. In one book I read, I think it might have been Jane Plant, said she got really sick with it, and by the third bout, she was even nauseous beforehand, so it had to be psychological. Her consultant said How are you imagining this treatment? She said As poison. And he then advised her to think of it as clear, sparkling, healing fluid. I thought that was so good that I did it right from the start, and to be honest I hardly ever took an anti-sickness tablet. My aromatherapist had said:  You aren’t ill. It’s just one little portion of your body that’s ill So I held that thought in my head. Often it was quite jolly to read and chat with the nurses and others in the room. For a couple of days, yes, I’d feel as if I had a bit of a hangover with a bit of an odd taste in my mouth. I’d be like a reluctant child pushing food around the plate until I discovered avocado salad! I was warned that the Taxotere could have worse side effects than my earlier chemo, but after the first dose I thought they’d given me water because it didn’t seem to affect me at all. I did zonk out on the third day, but once I’d put my feet up and had a snooze, I was fine again. There was no bone-weary fatigue.

’I didn’t lose my hair, because in Yeovil they use an ice cap and it worked for me after the first chemo, when I went a bit thin on top. That’s because my head is quite flat at the top so the standard cap didn’t fit perfectly. So then the wonderful chemo nurse made me into an Easter egg, pulling the cap down and fastening it with a bandage under my chin and a big bow on top!  I gather the cap works on the refrigerator principle. It can be a bit uncomfortable where the pressure touches your head and around your forehead. They put it on about 20 minutes before you start the chemo and it restricts all the blood vessels in the head so the drugs don’t reach the hair follicles.

’After my first round of treatment I was booked on a residential course at Bristol. I admit I was slightly apprehensive, thinking Oh, God! Is everybody going to be ill? I don’t want to be amongst a load of miserable people, when I don’t actually feel ill myself. But it wasn’t like that at all. Mostly the course confirmed what I was already doing, but what was new and so helpful that I carried on doing it daily for about two years was the visualisation. I imagined piranhas going all round my body and into my organs literally eating up any stray cancer. I used to do another when I was out walking the dog (and still do occasionally). If I’m walking into the wind I do a really big breath in, imagining it going round my body healing, then I turn my head to the side and breathe out and let the wind take all the rubbish away behind me.

’Instead of going back to work as some people do, I was so pleased to be off that I made loads of visits to places I wanted to see, with Pauline. With Ann and Maggie, I set off to walk the Liberty Trail over 2 days, 28 miles from Ham Hill to Lyme Regis. The only reason I didn’t complete the second day was because I pulled a muscle in my backside! The whole 11 months I just made sure I enjoyed myself and was un-stressed. Just before going back to work, I went on a walking holiday with Pauline and Andrew, another friend, in the Alpajarras mountains in southern Spain.

In complementary terms, other than regular Acupuncture, perhaps the key therapy I had was Shen, which is now also known in the UK as Kairos a form that allows the therapist to work more intuitively. (  www.kairostherapy.com       www.SHENTherapy.info ) It’s an American-born therapy I’d first tried about 15 years ago at the place I went for acupuncture. I remembered it had left me feeling a lot better. It’s a little like Reiki, but when you lie down the therapist has one hand underneath the body and one on top, either touching or away from the body. It works on the chakras and energy centres, to which different emotions relate. The body’s reaction to pain, whether physical or emotional, is to contract. If you get angry, for instance, the solar plexus tightens up and contracts. Anxiety brings butterflies to your stomach, perhaps causing IBS or digestion problems in the longer term. The concept is that if you don’t resolve negative emotion, the body holds on to it, and often, however much talking you do, or counselling you have, it still doesn’t release. I knew I was angry and resentful at how the stress had built up in me and nobody at work did anything about it until I was virtually at the cracking up stage. I thought that this was what had caused or certainly contributed to - my cancer, because we know what prolonged stress can do to your cortisol and hormone levels. I’d read Brandon Bayes’ book The Journey and tried her method, but it didn’t work for me. I knew I needed to release the deep-seated tensions. If you heal your life, then the body can follow. At the beginning of my Kairos journey, I went three days running: the first treatment relaxed me completely, but on the second day, when I should, ideally, have been letting go, I was focusing on how I had to get rid of my anger and resentment and began to get a pain in my left shoulder. On the third day, I visualised my then boss, grabbing him by the lapels and asking him why hadn’t he done something earlier to resolve the office issue? I had such a pain in my shoulder that I told the therapist we’d have to stop so I could move my arm. He then moved his top hand to my left shoulder and the pain went - instantly. It felt like a weight literally lifting off me, and I went home on a complete high. The result had been brilliant and the anger and resentment have not recurred.

’I continued for more sessions and realising what a powerful therapy it is, I then decided I wanted to study Kairos myself, and whilst waiting for a course to come up, I also took two Reiki courses one and two. I’ve been seeing Kairos clients now for over four years, treating them for anything from bereavement to poor self esteem, backache (my 20 year chronic backache went after Kairos) to the trauma of past abuse. I’m sure it helped me deal positively with my own position. Even as I was getting better, I knew I didn’t want to go back to my old job full time. It was agreed I could do a four day week and having a three day weekend makes so much difference!  I no longer bottle things up. It must be a childhood legacy that I used to struggle on regardless. Now I say I’m not going to do that because of whatever! More subtly, when something went wrong before, I would berate myself for days, asking myself how I could have been so stupid? I’m now much more laid back: on a weekend away in Barcelona I realised that I’d left my Tamoxifen at home on the bed, forgetting to put it in my suitcase. Instead of going off into a negative spin, I thought Oh well. Let’s just find out if I can get it over here. I’d brought the prescription with me, but on being directed to a pharmacist round the corner, I found I could purchase it!

’With my particular form of cancer, I was so lucky that, thanks to a hospital trial I got to have Herceptin, testing its effects on early cancer. At that time, you would normally not get it until the disease was advanced if at all. The way it worked was that you either got allocated Herceptin for one year, two years or not at all. I had it for two years, which meant that the Macmillan unit at Yeovil Hospital was my home from home, as I continued with the Herceptin infusion every three weeks over the entire period. In 2004, I went off for a month’s tour round New Zealand, but we just accepted that one of the doses would be a bit delayed.  I had a brilliant holiday, backpacking round the South Island, and finishing by staying for a few days with an old penfriend on the North Island. I even managed to take in a skydive while there!

’Of course I would rather not have had cancer, but having had it has changed my life for the better. I’m grateful that it got me time away from the job where I was so stressed and unhappy, yet too enmeshed to find my own way out. Now I feel generally more at ease, happier and more confident. In the back of my mind there is the thought that cancer could come back, but I keep my healthy lifestyle and stay off dairy foods. Passing the five year mark is, psychologically a milestone, though I didn’t think of it as any all clear. I’ve just gone on to yearly instead of six monthly check-ups. I make sure I enjoy life and do all the travelling I love.

’In the past, possibly part of my problem was that I have always been very independent, so meeting Dave for whom I’ve been happy to give a good part of it up is really significant. We got together through the Internet and hit it off from our first meeting. We have so many shared interests and most importantly, laugh lots! I’m a dreadful giggler and it just wouldn’t work if we didn’t have laughter! He can even horse ride! The only interests that are different is that he climbs mountains (I’ll just stick to the hills) and I’m a dancer and sadly, I’ve had to accept that he just won’t make one! We’re both active people and went skiing this year. Dave is a regular, but for me, the last time I went was when I was in my 30’s but I came back in one piece, just! We share a love of travelling and are planning that our next big trip will be to Antarctica. I’d classify my life now as very good  - no, excellent!’

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