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The Rock-itt : November 2011
Welcome to the final instalment of a story about Julie Knox, a courageous woman who is taking on the fight against the dreaded disease breast cancer, which began in 2009. In Julie’s last story, she took us through her next challenge of brain surgery, follow-up radiation therapy and weeks of rehabilitation when the cancer travelled to her brain. Now join us as Julie, now cancer free, celebrates each day. While I have been writing this story I have noticed how many tim es I have had lifesaving treatment just in time. The first time was when I felt the need to examine my breast, which unfortunately I did not do often enough, and the lum p was discovered. If I had left it much longer the outcome may have been very different. The next time was when I had the melanoma in my leg cut out just in time. When they discovered the brain lesion they needed to wait for the pathology to determine if it was from the melanoma or from the breast cancer. Then there was the time when I got to the emergency department just before I had the seizure and they discovered the brain lesion. I do not like to think what may have happened if I had the seizure at home. Some people may call it luck, but I believe that I am being watched over and guided each step of the way. My next hurdle was whole brain radiation and all the possibilities were again pointed out to us. There was some planning to be done because a mask had to be made to keep my head very still during the treatment. With the help of a mild sedation I managed to finish the ten treatments but became unwell again as the treatment continued. I was so nauseous that I could not eat or drink and was admitted to hospital a few tim es to be rehydrated. The brain radiation can affect people in many different ways and for me it interrupted the capacity for m e to eat. I was repulsed by food and could not even put it in my mouth. The doctors were saying that it should pass after a couple of months but the weight was dropping off me at an alarming rate so that 5 months after the radiation I had lost 15 kilos. I was put on steroids and am feeling hungry now and very slowly attempting to eat. I am feeling stronger and we are feeling optimistic about the future and know that there is further treatment available to me if I need it and choose to have it. Medical science is also progressing in leaps and bounds. In March my daughters organised a 60th birthday family get together for me at a lovely venue very close to where we live so that I did not have to travel far. It was a lovely day and Ed and I really appreciated how far everyone travelled to be there. The family travelled from Port Macquarie, Brisbane, Woolgoolga, Murwillumbah, the Gold Coast and Sydney. Our five children and twelve grandchildren were all there together which very rarely happens these days. In many articles that I have read about cancer the emphasis is on a healthy lifestyle, i.e. no smoking, plenty of exercise and nutritious eating and I have always been very aware of this and stayed very fit. I also believe, however, that stress is a factor in causing cancer and many other diseases, especially prolonged stress over many years. I have discussed this with many of my support group friends and they all agree that it is very upsetting when some people assume that cancer is brought on because of an unhealthy or negligent lifestyle. Many factors contribute to this awful disease. Even before I was diagnosed I had always regularly visited my chiropractor and have seen naturopaths and had acupuncture. These last 2 years I have researched more alternative treatments, many of them have had much success at treating cancer. I have found that the healing benefits of herbs are not recognised enough and decided to include many herbs in my ongoing treatment. My Fight with Breast Cancer A serialised true account of one woman’s struggle to beat the odds By Julie Knox