Back in the cooling oven

So I’m back in my cooling oven*. And this time I know I skated closer to the edge. It’s a surreal feeling. Many feelings really. A whole spectrum of them. Anger, gratitude, relief, guilt, fear, uncertainty, amazement, shock, humility, joy, peace.

And that’s just the ones I can name.

With my tumour markers now back down in the normal range, I am emerging in a bit of a daze. I have learned so much. My mind has been stretched once again and yes, it will never regain its original dimensions. It can’t.

Because as my friend Eleanor says, the scales have fallen from my eyes.

I can now see more of the truth of it. Not the whole of it. Not by a long shot. But more of the reality. That yes, western medicine is important. And I am grateful for it. But I have now emerged from the trance state of fear that would previously have prevented me from seeking an alternative. I have been forced to really. After all, stage 3B, stage 4, metastases, the dreaded recurrence… western medicine calls it incurable. Manageable yes, but incurable. And that’s not good enough for me. Not when I know there is hope. So I have been forced to find another way using the best of both worlds. And I am grateful that this time I did.

The body can heal if we give it the chance. If we eat right, think right, feel right, live right, do the right things. And I have learned that I must change the way I live if I want to keep on being well again. This precious immune system of mine is the only chance I’ve got and I need to learn how to love and look after it. In the choices I make. In the situations I find myself in. How I choose to work. What I put in my mouth. In all sorts of ways.

There is hope. But to find it we need to shift our focus. Instead of looking just for that magic ‘cure’ outside of us, we need to also start looking inward.


*When making glass products, molten glass is heated to high temperatures (of up to 1,575 °C) to mould and shape it. Once shaped, it must then be transferred into a ‘cooling oven’. This is because it will crack if taken straight from the fiery furnace to room temperature. And this is a beautiful metaphor for all trauma, and in particular cancer. In experiencing something as extreme as coming face to face with your own mortality, it is wise to find a place to rest for a while before moving straight back to ‘normal’ life.

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