I thought it might be useful to get a perspective on disease from the most important person in the process. I have asked one of my clients to write about her journey.

‘I am writing this because I hope that there will be something here that will help someone else. I have tried to steer away from the details of my cancer, but instead highlight the things that turned out to be the most important parts of my journey.

When I got the diagnosis of cancer it was a bombshell. This is not something that happens to me. I didn’t smoke, I wasn’t overweight (much), and I ate pretty well (though a certain person, whose name begins with ‘C”, disagreed). It took a long time for the diagnosis to sink in. I was being pressured to make a decision about surgery and chemo and other things. I felt I was being pushed. My husband is a GP and he was very clear that I needed to follow the conventional path. Everything was being decided for me.

A couple of days later, I was looking at the sunset. It was something that I previously took for granted, but in the days following the diagnosis, everything was different. As I watched the sun go down, it occurred to me that this was the most important decision of my life. When we redecorated our home, we got references, we asked questions, and we looked at samples of work. We wanted the best for our home. Yet here I was, with a far more important decision, being asked to trust others to make the decision for me. How did I know I was getting the best decision? Apparently I was being “difficult”.

I started researching. I wanted to know what treatments were available, what the treatments did to the body, what were the success rates, how had other people fared …. questions, questions, questions. All the while I was being pressured to undergo conventional treatment. I was told that time was of the essence. I figured that if THE cancer (not MY cancer, I didn’t own it) had been growing away silently for a few years, a week wasn’t going to make much difference.

I spoke to everyone I could think of. There were so many “I don’t knows” or contradictory statements. I was confused.

It was a Wednesday morning and I was at the hairdresser’s. I aimlessly flicked through a magazine and it opened at a page with an article, written by a naturopath. It sparked something in me. I went home, researched the website and made the phone call. He said that he could see me that evening.

That evening we sat on a balcony outside his rooms and I blurted out question after question. He answered each of them in a measured and complete way, giving me different viewpoints, statistics and laying out various possibilities. He did not push natural medicine ahead of conventional medicine. He encouraged me to explore certain aspects with my oncologist. I went home and slept well.

When I awoke the next day, I had so many more questions, all of which he answered. We went through my tests. We did more tests. He explained them so that I could understand what was going on in my body. He explained the various theories on the causes of cancer. He mapped out how the treatments worked and what treatments would work together and what wouldn’t.

I remember asking him what he would do in my situation. He told me that he would not answer that question and that it was my decision to make. His job was to answer all my questions, so that I had all the information that I needed to make the decision. I made my decision. I was going to take the natural medicine route, to work with my body, giving it everything it needed. My body was going to heal itself. As you can imagine my husband, family and friends were overjoyed…..not! Yet I cannot stress how important this decision was. It was my life and my decision. I kept control. I had not given it to someone else.

One thing that Clive made very clear to me was this had to be like a religion, everything had to be done to specifications. The cancer was to be given no opportunity, no quarter, no mercy. I stuck to my regime religiously. It was not easy, but oh so worth it.

We had some low points on the journey and I do not want to gloss over these. We changed strategies a couple of times. These changes were fully discussed with me and I made the final decision. Clive didn’t have all the answers, but he left no stone unturned in finding them.

Looking back, we did so much: diet, nutrients, emotional work, controlled exercise, ridding the house of toxins, sleep hygiene, sunshine, affirmations, stress release, earthing, massage, kinesiology, energy medicine, meditation, water and juicing. I had to re learn how to cook, what to cook and how to cook it.

People asked me why I choose the path of natural medicine and not conventional medicine. I say it was a hard decision, particularly because my husband is a GP. Here are my reasons:

• I was being offered a combination of surgery and chemo. Many of the studies I read indicated that surgery could actually assist the cancer to spread. The success rate for chemo was shown as 2.1% in one of the studies I looked at (Clive did say that it was more successful in some types of cancer than others).

• Chemo doesn’t just destroy cancer cells. It destroys all cells, including the cells of your immune system. I wanted my body to have reserves to fight the cancer into the future.

• I didn’t like being treated as a widget: one size fits all. I am “me” and I want a “me” solution. From the tests, I could see so many things that were wrong with my body. I decided to fix them and let the body heal itself, rather than “slash and burn”.

• I wanted to work with someone who was still looking for answers, someone who was passionate, committed and whom I felt comfortable with. Clive has asked me to leave the gooey bits out and I have, but I cannot stress how important it was for me to have someone who let me stay in control, who was always there, who answered my 100s of questions and who supported me 110%.

• I believed that if given a chance, my body would heal itself and we gave it every chance.

• I wanted a holistic approach. As it turned out, I had some emotional baggage, which we dealt with and I believe that was a big part of my healing journey.

The other question that I get asked is whether I would do anything differently if given the chance. Yes! Yes! Yes! I would have listened to my body more, paid it more attention and avoided the whole cancer thing. Though having said that, the cancer (not my cancer) has allowed me to look at the world in a whole new way, a better way. Now I enjoy each and every day.

I still stick to a pretty strict regime, but as I have discovered ”life is to be lived and enjoyed”. I do believe that things happen for a reason: my getting cancer, the magazine in the hairdresser, meeting the people I met, my decision, my journey and finding the right person to work with. I am not saying that my decision is right for you.

I am saying that you should make YOUR own decision, based on what is going on in your body and your life.

I am not doing the Big C any more!”

Note: Clive is not a doctor. His qualifications are in natural medicine. His postgraduate work is in cancer nutrition.