"I found something beautiful to be thankful for every single day."
One morning I awoke to find a small, red rash on my back. It was itchy, like a spider bite. I even thought I had brushed up against a little stinging caterpillar. Six months later, the still undiagnosed rash had turned into large red welts and had spread to my legs, arms and torso. A dozen biopsies eventually confirmed the rash was actually a widespread and very rare cancer: Primary peripheral cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, unspecified.
“Not a good one to have”, said my Oncologist. The prognosis was a 16% 5 year survival rate and an average lifespan for sufferers of 36 months. My first reaction was to rush madly from doctor to doctor, naturopath to naturopath, herbalist to herbalist, trying to find someone who could cure this rare and difficult-to-treat disease. But no one I consulted had even heard of it, even some of the doctors! I then embarked on a series of industrial strength chemo regimes, both I.V. and oral, as well as extensive radiation for the growing numbers of lesions spreading over my body. They were now big, open and ugly!
Eventually, in a less than stable emotional state, I found myself talking, between sobs, to Gary Martin at Living Valley Springs. I was a mess, mainly because no one in the alternative medical field could help me. I did, though, have a strong sense of faith in my oncologist at Royal Brisbane Hospital. However, I seriously needed to do something and do it quickly about my shattered emotional state.This is where Gary Martin and his team at Living Valley Springs helped me tremendously. Firstly, Gary helped me calm down. Then, after a few meetings, he invited me to do a ten-day retreat that would give me the tools to help support me during my treatment. I accepted eagerly and turned up on the first day, convinced that something good would come of all this. And it did!
I learnt so much during that stay at LVS: about diet, exercise and important lifestyle reforms. I also learnt about teeth (yes I had some old root canals and amalgam fillings removed) and most importantly about positive thinking. Gary and his team’s enthusiasm rubbed off on me. I became determined to stay positive through whatever treatments I chose to do. I remembered the advice, “Accept the diagnosis. Reject the prognosis”! And that’s what I did.
The positive effects of that single retreat at LVS stayed with me through the next gruelling 3 years of treatment. This included more heavy chemo, (which eventually stopped working) and finally when all other options were exhausted, a bone marrow transplant. This was an awful time, but remembering all the positivity I’d learned at LVS, I found something beautiful to be thankful for every single day.
It has been almost two years now since my bone marrow transplant. I am still in remission and feeling stronger every day. Not a day goes by where I don’t thank everyone who helped me for this wondrous, awesome miracle called life. I will never forget the way that Gary took me in and the way his staff looked after not only me but also the hundreds of others who have been to LVS. Gary, thanks mate… Words cant express my gratitude!