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 that there are alternatives, and that no matter how things may seem, there is 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 celebrations from the day before and although the party had been brilliant, with friends who had travelled especially from abroad, I couldn’t help but feel uneasy, as if something unpleasant was about to happen.
‘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 on Wednesday my dad called. “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, 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 it is and 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 and 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.
Everybody around me was there to assist as best as they could in their own way; My brother Markus explained to me how suppressed emotions 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 Leukaemia in 1990. She is still alive today.
My youngest brother Matthias was helping out simply by supporting us.
All of my friends and my parents’ friends were there. Neighbours would come and give valuable information.
It felt like a network of connections where everybody’s support was immensely important.
Everybody involved, including the doctors, was playing their essential part and the best of their abilities had to be used to bring about the best outcome.
Then there were the 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 very careful to distinguish between people who truly have your best interests at heart and those who are only interested in your money.
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? My mind was constantly doubting how I knew that this was the way to go whilst a deep inner knowing kept reassuring me. It was often hard to stand by it especially when critical doctors or some of my fathers friends would carefully try to tell me I was delusional.
During my dad’s 6 week stay at one of Germany’s top pancreatic cancer hospitals 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 antroposophical hospitals offered a treatment which combined Chemo, mistletoe, music and art therapy. When I asked one of the consultants at the antroposophical hospitals whether they had a treatment specifically designed for the individual and to tackle the root causes of the cancer, I was told that the mistletoe therapy would cover all of that. Whilst I didn’t doubt that the mistletoe therapy was a brilliant remedy for certain things, in this case it was too unspecific.
2 weeks into my dads 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.
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 which you may have never even heard of which might be perfectly suited to 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 dads 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 Homoepathy, later said 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’.
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, and 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 I had found and got in touch with a top consultant, also an experienced Homeopath. He advised against Chemotherapy. “It does not cure the illness”, the consultant told my dad, “and it actually weakens your immune system”. He then referred him to a doctor (also trained in Homeopathy) closer to my dads home town who would start the treatment that eventually saved his life.
I have to mention at this point that this doctor did not immediately apply the Plussing method. It was only after I decided with all my courage to walk into his practise one day, carrying the book in my hand, holding it in front of him and asking: ‘Could you please apply this on my dad’? He simply said: ‘Of course I can, if he is happy to follow the programme!’
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.
Now it was time for my daughter and me to return to England and trust in the future. We had done all we could and now fate would take its course.
Whilst my dad was 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 feeling sorry for himself.
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 can be done’.
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 away saying; ‘this will never heal a tumour as severe as this’. 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.
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.