In this post I give an in-detail account of my father’s full recovery from pancreatic cancer. I hope that by reading this, people having similar experiences will gain encouragement and awareness. There are alternatives out there, and – no matter how things may seem – there is always hope.
It was on a Sunday night, the 5th September 2004 when my dad called to tell us that there was something wrong with him.
We were still recovering from my 40th birthday celebration from the day before and – although everybody enjoyed a brilliant party with friends who had traveled from abroad – I couldn’t help but feel uneasy; as if something unpleasant was about to happen.
Then, later in the evening my dad called. His voice didn’t sound like is usual self but alarmed: “I’m in hospital”, my dad explained “my eyes are yellow and my blood sugar is extremely high. The doctors want to keep me in hospital to find out what’s wrong with me. I’ll keep you updated”.
In anxious anticipation we all awaited the results of the medical tests. Finally, 3 days later, my dad had the first diagnose: “Patrizia,” he said. “I have some bad news; the doctors found a malignant tumour in my pancreas. There is nothing we can do about this other than accept it. Don’t worry about coming over, there is not much you can do for me here. It’s more important that the children go to school. Come over during half term”. As he spoke these words to me, I remember walking down Camden Road in Tunbridge Wells, sobbing and for once not caring about the people around me seeing me in such a state. It wasn’t just what he said, it was the way he said it. He tried to be positive, even laughed to keep me calm and confident.
Everybody who suddenly finds themselves in a situation like this with a loved one knows what a shock this is. The first thought that comes to mind is to help as much as possible, to be there and to carry out thorough research. It can only be described as a state of panic mixed with a desperate attempt to stay calm and act at the same time. It gives you a sense of power in a seemingly powerless situation.
Somehow my then-husband, William, and I had to work out how this could be done; our son Christopher had started secondary, our daughter Vanessa was still in primary school.
The plan was for us to drive back to Germany the following weekend (we had just spent our summer holiday there the week before) and for William to leave Vanessa and myself with my parents in Germany whilst he was to return home with Chris so he wouldn’t miss his first days at secondary school.
Everybody tried to come to terms with a new reality. How could this be, we asked ourselves. My dad was always so strong and in control. His lifestyle was healthier than that of many others; my mother’s food was always fresh and home cooked. He also did a lot of physical work such as playing tennis on a regular basis and looking after his garden. I had only one memory of him ever falling ill, with a slight fever. I must have been 12 years old.
Right from the start I felt that I would end up taking the situation mostly into my own hands, although it seemed totally insurmountable at the time. When looking back it is quite fascinating how a natural support network evolved, with me putting all my efforts in to have everybody on board, contributing naturally.
Everybody around me was there to assist as best as they could in their own way; My brother Markus explained to me how suppressed issues or unfinished business were the root cause of most illnesses, which at the time I found hard to believe. He began to look into the connections between emotional issues and disease long before, when his wife was diagnosed with a deadly form of Leukemia in 1990. She is still alive today.
My youngest brother Matthias was helping out in every way he could, simply by supporting us.
All of my friends and my parents’ friends were there. Neighbours would come and give valuable information.
It felt like there was a network of connections where everybody’s support was immensely important.
Everybody involved, including the doctors, were playing their essential part. The best of their abilities had to be used to bring about the best outcome.
Added to the stress were endless phone calls from people trying to sell us their products or recommending some kind of treatment to us. In times like these you have to be extra careful to distinguish between people who truly have your best interests at heart and those who are only interested in making a profit from a dire situation.
At the time the only alternative method of healing I knew was Homeopathy. Inside me was a deep, intuitive knowing that Homeopathy would be the right treatment to use. But how did I know this was really it, and what type of homeopathic remedy would it be? Every now and then my mind started doubting, putting into question what my intuition was telling me; how could I be sure that this was the way to go? Yet, a deep inner knowing kept reassuring me. It was often hard to stand by it, especially when critical doctors or some of my father’s friends would carefully try to tell me I was delusional.
During my dad’s 6 week stay at one of Germany’s top hospitals, specialised in pancreatic tumours, I did a vast amount of research into understanding the development of this cancer. Every doctor we spoke to warned us about what to expect once this type of illness had spread, (the chance of survival was 3%) and what could be done to extend his life.
One doctor advised that he undergo mild chemo combined with an intravenous Vitamin C supplement. Another doctor suggested 4 weeks of intensive chemo- and radiotherapy followed by a Whipple operation. The anthrophosophical hospitals offered a treatment which combined chemo, mistletoe, music and art therapy. When I asked one of the consultants at the anthrophosophical hospitals whether they had a treatment specifically designed for the individual to tackle the root causes of the cancer, I was told that their approach was to apply mistletoe therapy. Whilst I didn’t doubt that the mistletoe therapy was a brilliant remedy for certain things, in this case it was too unspecific.
What I knew right from the start and still needed to find was a renowned medical doctor, who was also trained in Homeopathy. Anybody who knows my dad knows how academic and skeptical he is, especially when entering the fields of science. He would not follow somebody’s advice, unless they were properly trained, qualified and whose expertise he highly respected. But how would I find that kind of medical/holistic doctor and what type of homeopathic treatment could it possibly be I felt would be the one?
2 weeks into my dad’s hospital stay William rang me up from England to tell me about a call he had received from our friend Ulrike Holzer, who was studying at Eastbourne college to become a Homeopath. They were learning about the ‘Plussing Method’, which is a homeopathic approach to cancer treatment. The moment I heard about it, I knew that I had found what I was looking for. What a relief that was, the first solution was offered to me. You can only imagine the relief and gratitude I felt towards Ulrike and the Higher Forces working behind the scenes.
If I could advise the readers of this article, I would recommend investigating the multitude of available cancer treatments. Of course everybody is free to take the chemotherapy route if they feel it is right for them. However, there are hundreds of alternatives you may have never even heard of, which might be perfectly suited for you. Or you might consider a combination of both; chemo and holistic treatment. Make sure you learn to tell apart those which are genuine and effective and those devised by people who prey on desperate patients. It was my dad’s consultant who also advised us to consider alternative healing methods. On the day my dad checked out of hospital, he told us: ‘Consider treatments other nations use. The Chinese, for instance, don’t use chemotherapy. Watch out for charlatans though’.
Whatever you decide to do – and I can’t stress this enough – make sure you find out the root cause of the illness and make the appropriate lifestyle changes. A top consultant, fully trained in both medicine and Homeopathy, later explained to my dad; ‘you have to change something about your lifestyle because it is exactly this which has made you ill in the first place’.
During the 6-week hospital stay, my father underwent a 6 hour Whipple operation, a very common procedure in cases of pancreatic cancer. It was a day of incredible tension, because we had no idea what the doctors would find. We could only hope that the operation would turn out fine. Finally, in the late afternoon, I got hold of the surgeon and was told that the operation had been unsuccessful because the tumour had grown around the aorta, which made it too risky to operate. Later, when all the relevant tests had been carried out, the doctors told us that the the entire pancreas was inflamed around the tumour and that nothing more could be done.
By the time my dad was released from hospital the second solution was found; I got in touch with one of Germany’s top consultants; Dr. Uwe Friedrich! His expertise was just what I had been looking for; not only was he specialised in 3 medical fields, on top of that he had been a Homeopath for 20 years. He advised against chemotherapy. “It does not cure the illness”, the consultant told my dad, “and it actually weakens your immune system. It can help in cases of Leukemia and Non Hodgkin Lymphoma, not really in yours”. He then referred him to a colleague of his, Dr. Wacker, also trained in Homeopathy. The advantage here was that he lived closer to my dad’s home town.
Dr. Wacker was the one who started the Plussing Method; after arranging a meeting with him to discuss my dad’s case. He agreed that using Plussing would be the right treatment. He simply said: “Of course I can follow that programme with your dad, if he is happy for me to do so?!”
You see, during these times of extreme challenges, I had to somehow work around my dad’s mind set. I knew that he would resist for this kind of treatment to work, unless it was introduced and applied to him by a qualified doctor he respected. Years after his recovery, I revealed to him the story behind the discovery of Plussing, how Ulli informed and explained everything to me and how I was connected to these highly trained medical/holistic doctors.
There are many reasons as to why my dad healed from such a malignant tumour, one was his strong will to live. He would often say; “I am not ready to die yet but if I have to, then I have to accept it. Somehow I feel my time isn’t up”! Another important aspect were the times when he went into a chapel during his retreat and suddenly felt an overwhelming deep inner peace. People I spoke to, who had felt that kind of peace during a severe illness, recovered in most cases. My dad also began to reflect on his past to see a link between that and the tumour. My mother’s constant support and unconditional love, which also went into the food she prepared for him, was a huge healing factor, not be dismissed.
Vanessa was with me for the entire 2 months we stayed in Germany, showing endless patience for an 8 year old girl. Her presence gave me strength and hope. William and Chris came to visit once during half term. It was a time of incredible learning and inevitably the pathway to my own healing practice today.
Eventually it was time for my daughter and me to return to England and trust in the future. We had done all we could. Now fate would take its course.
Whilst my dad was accurately applying the Plussing Method daily, he wrote his will and finished all the building work he was having done on his house. It was the one thing he’d never got round to doing – a loft conversion. It was very unusual for everybody to see huge cranes appearing on my parents’ tiny road to start 3 months of building work, my dad constantly supervising and even helping out when he could, rather than playing the victim.
At the end of March 2005, 1 day before my dad was due to have another CT scan, a camera team filming a documentary about Homeopathy and its effects, had arranged to use my dad as an important case study for their programme. They could not believe their eyes as the building works were still ongoing at the time of their arrival.
At the end of the day my dad asked the director: “what if tomorrow they find that the tumour has spread? You can’t possibly use me in your documentary to explain to people how healing Homeopathy is”. The director replied: “We will decide then what to do”.
The next day, just before my dad went in for his CT scan, a doctor asked him whether he was using chemo and my dad said: “No, Homeopathy'” The doctor walked off saying; “this will never heal such a severe tumour”. During the CT scan no tumour was found. The team of doctors was so perplexed that they began to wonder whether their CT scanner had broken.
We couldn’t believe it. Weeks of anxiety and concern, hope, tears and tension. What about the time when we went to see my dad on the day after his operation? The surgeon took my brother Matthias to one side to tell him that my dad had a maximum of 1 year to live and we should enjoy every day.
2 weeks after my dad was given the all clear, the director of the film crew called “we need to come and see you again, some bits of the film footage isn’t right”. You can imagine how thrilled the entire crew was when they found out about my dad’s recovery. This time my dad was able to share the results of the diagnose during the interview.
Some people believed that it wasn’t a tumour after all, others were full of admiration for all the effort and work I had put into this. Ulrike said to me; “you were pulling all the strings in this incredibly stressful time, without putting any pressure on your dad or forcing him into using what you thought would help him. You gave him a choice and put him in touch with the right people.”
Oh yes, all of this is true, and still it has to be said that there is no way I could have done any of this without the support and input of the people who were with us.