Yes to Life is inspired by a vision of a different way of responding to cancer. We support integrative cancer care which allows individuals to ally standard care with the best of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
This blog aims to share any information the Yes to Life team discovers along the way that we think would be beneficial for our supporters to read.
Today's blog from our Founder Robin Daly examines very closely the role of the 'scientist' in medical outcomes
Science is defined as ‘systematic knowledge of the
physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation’.
Sounds straightforward enough, but in the hands of humans with complex and
poorly perceived motivations it can become translated into a dystopian but
powerful worldview that makes little sense, but that has the power to harm very
Ideally a scientist has an endlessly enquiring mind
and is always convinced of how little he knows and how much more there is to be
found out. In practice, however, the stance of science is all too often
they used to think they knew
but they were wrong
now we know
This is a perpetual state of arrogance and
ignorance, driven by a deep unacknowledged fear of the unknown and the
uncertainties of life. While this is a fear shared by most humans, often
science is used as a particularly effective shield to provide the illusion of
security. In medicine, for example, this can manifest as the brilliant surgeon,
supremely confident in his or her abilities and knowledge, who sweeps around
the ward devastating one vulnerable patient after another, due to his or her
utter disconnectedness from the realities of being human.
And as for ‘what’ is known, this tends to be what
was taught to them at an early age, and that they will often cling to for dear
life, against all the odds, often for a lifetime. Continuous Professional
Development is an attempt to counter this destructive inertia, and I’m sure it
has helped somewhat, but it is a very far cry from being driven to learn by
burning intellectual curiosity. There’s a lot of truth in the commonly quoted
observation that the real controlling factor over the rate of change in
medicine is the working lifespan of doctors - you have to wait for one lot to
die for any substantial new scientific view to be embraced.
Einstein - by anyone’s standards a ‘proper’
scientist - described this tragic state of affairs: “In the temple of science
are many mansions, and various indeed are they that dwell therein and the
motives that have led them thither. Many take to science out of a joyful sense of
superior intellectual power; science is their own special sport to which they
look for vivid experience and the satisfaction of ambition; many others are to
be found in the temple who have offered the products of their brains on this
altar for purely utilitarian purposes. Were an angel of the Lord to come and
drive all the people belonging to these two categories out of the temple, the
assemblage would be seriously depleted, but there would still be some men, of
both present and past times, left inside.”1
More sinister than these very ‘human’ tendencies
towards security, ambition, wealth and power are the forces that use them to
their advantage. Here I am referring to business. Corporations have a very
different raison d’être to medicine. They are there, first and foremost, to
make money, not to save lives and not to make people healthy. If you
manufacture patented pharmaceutical drugs, then you want the medical world to
stay right on message with a credo that goes something like:
oa drug is the
answer to most health issues
odrugs are safe and
unpatentable product is dangerous quackery
oit is enormously
expensive to make drugs so they have to cost an awful lot
odrugs that are out
of patent are of no interest or use - newer is always better
othere are no
simple, cheap solutions
and so on. Corporations have a very clear and
well-documented understanding of the lack of true scientists in medicine (those
rare beings who are more interested in what’s true than in their own comfort or
advantage) and they use it mercilessly to maximise sales. Most doctors still
believe that pharmaceuticals have little or no influence on prescribing habits,
but science shows otherwise. Professor Peter Gotzsche2 in his
shocking exposé of the pharmaceutical industry - Deadly Medicines and Organised
Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare - makes clear the morally
bankrupt methods and deadly consequences that characterise the business of
medicine. Pharmaceutical corporations are using any and every method they
believe they can get away with to keep medics ‘on message’, to keep them, at
the very least, buying, and preferably endorsing and promoting their products.
Using the tried and tested twin prongs of fear and desire, they incentivise
medical staff looking for power, wealth, recognition and status and encourage
fear of exclusion, ridicule, and loss of status for the sin of non-conformity.
This is hardly the ideal climate for genuine scientific progress. But then
business cares little for progress, only for profit.
To give just one small personal experience of the
consequences of this situation: You would reasonably hope that the leading
surgeon at a top London hospital would have achieved that status through his
skills, his scientific rigour and his consequential ‘cutting edge’ knowledge.
Following the amputation of my daughter’s leg due to a recurrence of cancer, he
had her on ‘the latest’ in pain management for such situations - Oxycontin. My
daughter then experienced marked symptoms, between doses and during the period
when the dose was being reduced. We had no idea if these were symptoms of
cancer or of treatment. So we asked the ‘expert’, who breezily responded that
it couldn’t be the medication as, despite being an opiate, it didn’t have any
side effects or withdrawal symptoms.
A little while later, out of desperation to help
our daughter, we consulted the internet. All you needed to do was to pop the
word ‘Oxycontin’ into Google and ‘boom’ - there it was: reams of posts and
articles from people about the exact, unacknowledged side-effects my daughter
How could a top surgeon have got it so wrong? How
could someone clearly so intelligent act in such a blind and stupid way? Well
it all came out in the news eventually: the pharmaceutical sales reps had been
instructed to simply tell the medics that it had no side effects. That’s
literally all it took! No science required. The profession was so thoroughly
‘on message’ that scientific scrutiny and the interests of patients had long
ago been dispensed with. This is a small example of the sort of dystopian
‘science’ I referred to at the outset.
Of course it has always been thus. What is fairly
new is our ability, as the public, to check up on what is going on, via the
internet. Doctors have up to now enjoyed unjustified levels of public trust,
but fortunately the days of carte blanch acceptance of their ‘expertise’ is
waning and their real allegiances are increasingly exposed. If doctors don’t
start changing their ways very soon, experiences such the one I described
above, or bogus dietary advice based upon zero training or knowledge’ will have
them languishing at the bottom end of the ‘trust tables’ along with bankers and
politicians. Blandly pronouncing that there is ‘no evidence’ for anything that
they don’t understand or that isn’t a drug, as a way to justify ridiculing and
dismissing it makes them look increasingly stupid to a public often better
informed about the evidence than they are.
Tragically the charity sector all too often lines
up dutifully behind business interests as well. Simplistic health messages and
‘health myths’ that are winners for the food and pharmaceutical industries
become fixed charity dogma, propelled forward by the imperatives of industry’s
bottom line, long after any shred of science that once supported the initiative
has evaporated. And then we have to endure the painful process of damage
limitation: an ‘authoritative’ organisation that is supposed to have the public
interest at its heart - but that has allowed itself to become ridiculous by
dogmatically adhering to superceded ‘scientific truths’ - desperately
scrabbling around for ingenious ways to refresh their dogma without losing too
much face. It’s embarrassing, and the health cost paid by the public for this
kind of ‘science’ is appalling. Tragically, you see evidence of this
malaise in many of the major charities, and you only need to look to their
sources of funding and at which industries they habitually recruit their top
executives from, to understand why.
Successive governments - also prey to the allure of
almost limitless money and power exuding from industry, not to mention the
threats to take their riches elsewhere if they suffer too much scrutiny or
regulation - have been cripplingly slow to realise that to entrust the progress
of healthcare to business is a fool’s game, since business has no intention to
make us well. It profits from our disease, and if halting the progress of
science is what it takes to make more money, that’s what will be happening. We
urgently need a UK ‘Bernie Sanders’ to start telling it like it is, and
to finally dispel the one massive and self-evident healthcare myth - that
corporations care about our health and well-being. They never have, and asking
them to is a clear case of putting the fox in charge of the hens.
1 Address at Physical
Society, Berlin (1918), for Max Planck’s 60th birthday
Part Two – Jordan’s
Journey - Entering the tunnel
It lands on your door stop
like a meteorite - here it is aletter from the cancer centre
for my 18 year old son. At first the awkwardness, then the pain and then summoning up the strength to face
this journey is beyond immense and that's forjust me.
What must it really be like
for those who tread this splintered path?
The truth is until we do, we will never know because those who do are
the most courageous, humble and caring people and they are the ones who
actually end up carrying you.
I ashamedly could not go to
the first appointment with Jordan to the cancer centre. I stayed at home on
Valium, petrified, in tears, with a fear that if I should go, I would break
down like some wreck while my child got battered by the news he was to receive.
That day he had a series of
questions and tests then a pat on the back and a cancer sentence given to
him. No formal diagnoses just we know
you have cancer just not sure which type yet.
I remember Jordan coming home
shutting himself into a dark bedroom and going to bed. I stood outside his door feeling sick and not
even knowing what to say or how to give him hope - any hope.
Nothing from this moment on
made sense. Bombarded with information, but nothing to offer him but the
standard cancer treatment. No choice, no
real explanations just information and leafletswhich may as well have been in Japanese. Your brain can simply not take in any
information - your child has cancer. How on earth do you function? Well let me
tell you - YOU DON'T. You forget how
good it feels to be alive, you put one foot in front of the other but it's not
Jordan’s now admitted to
hospital as his pain in no longer controllable at home. A very pleasant member of the pain team comes
to visit Jordan but just dosed him up on morphine. Ahh the worlds a shiny, happy place. Chemo
starts in a couple of days.My baby boy gets hooked up to his
poison - he instantly goes yellow, transparent and ill. His
taste changes, he feels sick. His eyes can't bear light so much so he has to
wear glasses. His bones and muscles ache and sleep becomes his only escape. How
can this be happening - not my boy - none of this makes sense and why should
it. The chemo flows through his veins,
this poison that is so strong the nurses are protected from head to toe. If it
touched your skin it would burn a hole so imagine what it does to your insides.
Like a fire destroying
everything in its path apart from the cancer. Jordan is desperately ill after
his first round of chemo. Absolutely nothing helps subside his sickness, he in
such a bad way. After still feeling like this after 5 days they decide that
this is not a normal sickness but possibly a blockage. The tumour had bled, haemorrhaged
causing the tumour to block his bowel. Jordan now needed life-saving surgery.
So here's the best bit. The
oncologist tells me he has a great chance of not making the operation and he
now has very few white blood cells otherwise known as neutropenic and that he
would have no defences to fight an infection.
In other words the surgeon is telling me without the operation the
obstruction will kill him.
Jordan wanted the operation
so we were booked in with Dr Shanker who is a sarcoma specialist and apparently
eats sarcomas for breakfast. At last, a
glimpse of some hope in this crazy world we were all living in.
Four hours of walking up and
down Tottenham Court Road in a daze with a girlfriend of mine and then I am
called by one of the consultants. Jordan was in recovery, the tumour had been
removed and there was no spread of the disease to other organs and as far as
the human eye could see no more cancer.
We had reached theshore. My amazing, lovely boy was on the road to
recovery to be a fit healthy 18 year old and if anyone can beat this Jordan
In my time as a fitness trainer & nutritionist, I’ve seen and heard some crazy things regarding weight
loss. Somewhere along the way we seem to have forgotten about health. When it comes to making change, people’s thinking and resulting actions have become totally messed up. I scratch my head at how the fitness industry is slowly but surely screwing up simple science which always has and always will get results and replacing it with crazy methods that only make you suffer and ultimately leave you with negative results. It doesn’t make sense. Food and health are my two main passions, so I decided to combine my knowledge of the two and create some easy to follow recipe books for those of you interested in making real change and achieving real results. When I’m not training my clients in the gym, I’m always thinking up new recipes and usually posting them on Instagram!
RECIPE: GINGER & BLUEBERRY COOKIES
A study by The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Centre stated that ginger can cause extraordinary effects with prostate cancer. The findings suggest that regularly consuming ginger as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle might help prevent cancer from even taking root in the first place. It certainly won’t hurt — the root is also renowned for its ability to treat inflammation and nausea and is an essential part of an overall holistic living strategy. Blueberries are one of the world’s most powerful antioxidants, constantly eliminating the free radicals in your body that can lead to formation of some cancers. The positive results of multiple studies have found that regular consumption of blueberries lowers your risk of cancers of the breast, colon, bladder, lung, esophagus, skin, and small intestine.
Makes 6 cookies
150g ground almonds
2 tbsp ground ginger
1tsp baking soda
3 tbsp of pure maple syrup
Handful of blueberries
Zest of a lemon
Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until dough is formed.
Place baking paper on a baking tray. Break up the dough into six evenly sized balls and press ball down on baking tray into cookie circles.
Bake in the oven on a medium/high heat for 10-15 mins and allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes before tucking in!
It wasn’t cancer this time
but the ride is not dissimilar. When I
was diagnosed with cancer 11 years ago I initially had no physical symptoms
other than losing my voice (cancer of the larynx) and after the initial shock,
I felt a tremendous energy and felt more alive than I had done for years. Although saying that, I could still be
floored at times thinking of my little son and whether I would live to see him
grow up. With this illness, an autoimmune
condition causing vasculitis and nerve damage, I was initially so physically
ill it was more a matter of just getting through each day. But that’s just the beginning of any chronic
illness then come the stages of loss identified by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross of
denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance. Not really experienced as stages but emotions
that come and go in no particular order and like a roller coaster gradually lose
strength and impact.
Sadness, anger, fear,
anxiety – often our habitual reaction to these emotions is resistance, we push
them away which drives our thinking and behavior. We may try to distract
ourselves by getting busy or we worry and ruminate over things. For example, angry thoughts about why the
doctor didn’t diagnose us earlier or fear and uncertainty about illness and the
future. We may find ourselves searching
for answers on the internet or getting caught up in frightening thoughts about
the future rather than being with what’s actually present. But, these normal, human habitual tactics of
avoidance or elaboration fuel the feelings and emotions, so it becomes a vicious
cycle as seen below. Tension is part of
the body’s fight-flight response to stress and in this state of readiness to
run or fight, there is no energy for healing.
The Cycle of Suffering
What we learn in
mindfulness is that as soon as we notice this happening, whether that is
immediately or after some time, is to drop into the body and notice what we are
actually experiencing. We may become
aware of tension, holding and resistance and can simply bring awareness to this
and breath with it, allowing it to soften on the outbreath, maybe even saying
the words “softening, opening’ to ourselves or hold it gently in
awareness. We may become aware of
sensations in the throat, chest or belly and experience feelings of sadness or
fear and hold this too in awareness, a compassionate, friendly awareness that
allows what is already there to be experienced.
Sometimes, we can be surprised at what is really beneath it all and at
how quickly it passes, if we allow it to be fully experienced rather than pushed
For example, not so long
ago I found myself feeling anger towards my GP, this is what I wrote in my
“Noticing angry thoughts towards my GP. Why
didn't you listen over the last few years when I complained about xxx and xxxx?
Noticing these angry thoughts, I realise I don't want to carry anger so I drop
into my body and there is a big well of sadness. I am finding it difficult today, the pain,
the confusion with medication and reordering, the confusion over my diagnosis
and now some problem with my blood test results necessitating an emergency call
with the doctor. I feel sad and alone.”
How surely gravity’s law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of even the strongest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.
each stone, blossom, child –
is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we belong to
for some empty freedom.
If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.
Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.
So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God’s heart;
they have never left him.
This is what the things teach us:
patiently trusting our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
from the Book of Hours 11, 16 translated byAnita Burrows and Joanna May
However painful these
feelings maybe I can feel the physical sensations in my body, I am alive, whereas
with depression it feels more akin to flat lining, shut off from everything, my
body and life itself. I find it a challenging
state to be in. I don’t remember
depression when I was living with a diagnosis of cancer but the months before
Christmas I was stuck in depression or more of a ‘fed-up’ state and it felt like getting through a murky, horrid,
unending, lifeless stuckness. I was dragging
myself around, getting through the day and then just wanting to blank out in
front of the TV. Perhaps this state was
an avoidance of underlying painful feelings.
I tried to open to it, to let it be, to not take it personally but it was
difficult and I did begin to catch myself in “I am depressed, I am boring, I am
bored with my life, why do I feel like this’?
I did my best to notice these thoughts and just let them pass rather
than getting caught on the old hooks. I
even had little reminders from teachers I revere on post it notes to remind me,
like this one from Pema Chodron:-
how to observe our experience in a friendly way rather than identifying with
it, resisting it or rejecting it”
I was reducing
the steroids and the pain killers that I am on and my mood state may have been due
to this. My lovely acupuncturist said “I
am giving you heart for what you are going through, be kind to yourself”. It is something we do need reminding of, okay
this is a difficult time but we can bring kindness to ourselves, it’s alright
for a while to curl up in front of the fire or TV and remember that this too
will pass. It has been a difficult year,
I have also been grieving the loss of my beloved dachshund, Saxon, who was like
a first child to me. Here we are getting
prepared for a sponsored walk for Yes to Life back in January 2008.
I was very
fortunate to go on a week’s silent retreat in early December which was exactly
what I needed as it turned out. It was with
teachers I love and admire, Vidyamala Birch who set up Breathworks and Colette
Power. The first morning Colette led a
meditation bringing loving kindness towards the difficult. It was something like – we all suffer, we
avoid, avoid, avoid and then end up in overwhelm. Can we be present with the difficult and the
painful like when we are with a friend who is suffering. We know what to do, to listen, to be there,
to try to understand and empathize to know what we might offer for comfort –
touch hand on the heart or belly where we feel emotions, words ‘Clare its okay,
you’re alright. After this 30 minute practice we then went into the main temple
for a long silent sit. As soon as we
started in silence, sadness flowed out of and through me and I felt immense
compassion and gratitude toward the teachers I have been guided by – Thich Nhat
Hanh, Pema Chodron, Tara Brach, Vidyamala.
So, maybe I
had been supressing, pushing away and ignoring painful feelings which had led
to a sense of dullness, in my practice and my life, because I was shutting off
part of my experience. I needed the
guidance of these teachers to bring a delicate, receptive and focused awareness
to my experience and to “imbue the breath with tenderness”. Many of us over-effort to gain insight or have
a better experience and here I was learning about soft effort. I noticed that what arose in my meditation
practice, hardly seemed to want to be seen, it comes, I focus my attention on
it and it disappears just as quickly.
It’s like a scared child coming into a room, if you pay attention to it,
it runs out but if you hold a kind, gentle space it may feel safe to enter. Again the words of Pema Chodron ring in my
head – “let go of the idea of fruition”.
Reflecting back, maybe my formal practice during this time had been
focusing on the pain and tension in my chest and wanting to soften and open to the
feeling but in an over-effortful way, wanting to release feelings, wanting to
change my experience rather than accepting it as it was.
and wounds are only healed when we touch them with compassion
end of the retreat, we practised loving kindness meditations when you bring to
mind a friend, remembering times together and times you have supported each
other and all the struggles or anxieties they may have and send them good
wishes. Then come back to yourself and
send the same good wishes, compassionate feelings toward yourself. Then broadening out to include people around
you, in your home and community and out beyond into the country and the
world. This can be a very powerful
practice and certainly my experience was just that – I felt the pain and
suffering of the refugees and people in prison and hospitals. What I found interesting was that I then
began experiencing joy and aliveness.
Maybe I had really shut myself off in my own small world of “my
suffering” – my story of feeling low and feeling shame and coming off steroids
etc etc. The isolating container of
the “story of me”. The practice opened
me back out to feel the joy of being alive and connection with others.
The mind is
its own place, and of itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.
-Milton, Paradise Lost
So here’s what I need to remember and maybe these
are good tips for life and for the start of 2017. We are going to travel the rollercoaster but
by being aware of the experience we can ride it rather than be thrown about by
1.Compassion, compassion, compassion –
When you notice it is a difficult moment, bring your attention into the body –
are you aware of any tension in your shoulders or back, how’s your
breathing? This is a moment of
suffering, what’s in your experience (thoughts, feelings, sensations) being
curious as to what’s here, maybe placing a hand on your heart or where you are
feeling pain or tension and acknowledging whatever is there and holding it in
2.Connection – remembering that
everyone struggles and suffers in their lives and that there are likely to be
many people suffering in the same way. You
are not alone. Keep yourself open to
feeling connected maybe even by ensuring that you see your friends and family
rather than cocooning yourself.
of good experiences - it can be really beneficial to us, in practice and daily
life, to take in the good and to build inner resources so that we can cope when
life is difficult. So when we notice a
pleasant or enjoyable moment, to really savour it and allow it time to be felt
and to settle into the body whether it’s feeling relaxed, feeling cared about,
feeling grateful or any other positive experience.
Laughing Heart (Charles Bukowski)
Your life is your life,don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
Be on the watch.There are ways
There is a light somewhere.
It may not be much light butit beats the darkness.
Be on the watch.
The gods will offer you chances.
Know them.take them.
You can’t beat death butyou can beat death in life, sometimes.
And the more often you learn to do it, the more light
there will be.
Your life is your life.
Know it while you have it.
You are marvellous the gods wait to delightin you.
At our last Outsmart Cancer
workshop, these courgette fritters were a hot favourite, and they are totally
delicious and both gluten dairy free.
Ingredients (to make 4 fritters):
1 large courgette
½ onion, peeled
2 large cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1tsp baking powder
40g gram flour( for gluten free)
or plain flour
1/2 tsp dried coriander
1. Grate the courgette and onion
using a food processor or mandolin; put it in a bowl. Press the garlic into the
mixture. Sprinkle salt over the vegetables and leave for at least 15 mins to
extract the liquid.
2. Drain using a fine sieve to
remove as much liquid as possible.
3. Return the veg to a dry bowl
and add the flour, coriander and black pepper.
4. Mix well. Form into balls and
flatter into patties
5. Heat oil and fry the fritters
gently for 5 minutes on each side.
6. Serve with a large side salad
for a delicious lunch for two, or a yoghurt dip with grated cucumber as a
Jenny Phillips is a qualified nutritionist and author of Eat
to Outsmart Cancer. Find out more at www.InspiredNutrition.co.uk
Artists inspire us all to look beyond the veil of cultural and linguistic
limitations. Human consciousness is evolving; the artificial boundaries
between art and science are rapidly being erased. Using the imagination
and tapping into mystical, magical themes, the Visionary Artist transcends this
physical world, opening a doorway into other realms we all recognise.
latest mystical, more esoteric artworks are a reflection of the Spiritual
Awakening I had whilst on my journey through Cancer. My eyes were opened to the
more esoteric and sacred meaning of art and how it has been used since time
immemorial to illustrate this phenomenon.
realised art awakens the soul and illuminates the spiritual path of each person
by providing access to the highest mystic truths. It provides a bridge between
the material, creativity and spirituality.
helps us recognise and integrate ALL wisdom paths that expand consciousness and
provide personal contact with the Divine. When I paint my visionary artwork, I often
find I have channelled the images from somewhere else! The Spiritual journey
isn’t ‘owned’ by any one religious faction or cult - it is an Al-chemical
process experienced by the Soul of every individual.
Gustav Jung said:
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no
matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become
enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness
of the Soul can only be learned through experience, and self- examination so
‘Go within; and discover who you are, why your feel the way you do, and what
actions you intend to take to alter your life’s path. Your EMOTIONS ARE the key
I live in the beautiful
New Forest, nestled in the South of England, so I am very close to the
coast, but also a stone’s throw away from the forest where ponies roam free. I
started painting at a very young age. I
would walk along the beach, pick up stones then take them home and make them
into characters with paint. My friends all liked them and soon I was making
them as little gifts. I would sit for hours and paint anything and everything.
No surprise my favourite subject at school was Art, and I just continued on
into adult life, painting just for pleasure. I was asked by friends and family
to paint their pets, and in my first job, I was always the one making banners
for the baby showers, or farewell messages to hang above the desks of
colleagues at work on special occasions. Commissions for Pet Portraits
increased, I began to paint Wild Animals but often dipped my toe into the world
How life changed when my daughter was diagnosed with Leukaemia
married in 1984, and had my first child, a little girl in 1985. My second child
was born in 1987, a little boy, but in 1989 life changed when my daughter was
diagnosed with Leukaemia at the tender age of 4.
years, she was in and out of hospital receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy
and our priorities changed. In 1991, the doctors performed a lumbar puncture to
find out if the cancer had gone, but sadly my daughter (aged 6 now) had
relapsed and the cancer had spread to her brain and spine, so her chances of
survival were very much reduced.
We were told, the only hope was for her to have a Bone Marrow Transplant, so we
were all tested to see if any of us matched.
Miraculously, my little son (her brother) who was 4 was a perfect match,
and the doctors prepared them both for the transplant in
1992. My amazing son saved my daughter’s life and words
cannot convey the gratitude and love I feel for them both.
traumatic 8 months in isolation, my beautiful daughter eventually began to show
signs of recovery despite many setbacks. I am pleased to say she did survive and
went onto live a full and happy life well into her early 20’s. She went abroad
on two conservation projects and even sky dived for charity putting all her
childhood trauma behind her. She is one of the longest surviving Bone Marrow
Transplant children in the U.K and life returned to ‘normal’ for a while.
all the stress took its toll on my health and I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer
in 2010. After 2 cycles of chemotherapy
and surgery plus invaluable advice from amazing people in holistic and
alternative medicine, I am still here to tell the tale.
the chemotherapy and radiotherapy my daughter received as a child left its
legacy. On December 6th 2011, she
collapsed from a sudden and devastating stroke which has left her disabled.
Despite all the odds, she managed to survive again and today she is walking and
talking. Stroke is a known late effect of cancer treatment, something few
people like to acknowledge or talk about.
If that wasn’t enough, in 2013, my husband was diagnosed with Oesophageal
Cancer. Unfortunately he didn’t
survive. He died on 6th December 2013, two years to the day that our
daughter had her stroke.
Life has been exceptionally difficult at times, but I can honestly say, Art and
painting has kept me sane.
90’s, as my daughter was recovering from her bone marrow transplant, I was
asked to create 3 CD covers for the hard rock/blues guitarist, Bernie Marsden
his band The Snakes. He was one of the original core members in the band
Whitesnake and wrote the hit song “Here I Go Again” and co-wrote “Fool For Your
Loving” along with many others. Hampshire
Brewery commissioned me to design beer bottle labels, winning them the Camra
Award for that year and in 2002, I won the overall first prize for ‘Paint a
Wildlife Subject’ at the Business Design Centre, London.
joined Marwell International Art Society in Hampshire and the Society for the
Art of Imagination, exhibiting at a number of prestigious galleries around the
world including: the Mall Gallery in London, H.R. Giger Museum in Gruyere,
Switzerland, Renaze in France and recently in October 2015, the Ecomusée du
Fier Monde in Montreal, Canada. I continue to exhibit in local
galleries in and around Hampshire and Dorset UK when I can.