Bee Happy

About a year ago I went to the Pyrenees with my husband for a walk to try and digest the bad ‘cancer’ news.  On our journey we passed a stand at the side of the road selling bee products.  We always try and find good quality honey, but this man had lots of other bee products, including Royal Jelly and fresh bee pollen.  He was a lovely man, who was passionate about all things bee-related, and was clearly a bit a star in the bee world as there were several media cuttings around the stand.  My lasting impression was someone very kind, and other worldly, happy in his bee world.  I duly took the pollen each morning, for energy and for my digestion, a large tablespoon taken with a teaspoon of honey.  I also took a tiny amount of Royal Jelly on the tip of my tongue, to keep me strong for the impending treatment.

close up of bee on purple flower
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Bee products appeared in my life again, after my exorcism (see previous blog), Madame Dargelos told me to go and see Mr Pont for some Propolis, another bee product, to complete the treatment.  I kept the small handwritten note, and decided to make the trip when I was in the area.  Months passed by, and then after an invitation to a book club, I remembered Madame Dargelos’s recommendation.  I dug out the crumpled piece of paper which had been tidied away, and then called Monsieur Pont for an appointment.  He seemed quite irritable, and I had to repeat myself several times to make myself understood.

The day arrived, and I was slightly apprehensive, partly because I wasn’t sure I would be able to follow his directions I’d hastily scribbled down.  Miraculously I arrived, on time, to a typical French house in the middle of a small hamlet.  I knocked at the door and was invited into the front room of his house, with a roaring fire, and a motionless dog in its basket.  Monsieur Pont was an elderly sprightly man with twinkling eyes.  He explained that he gave everyone a half hour appointment so he could explain what the product is and its benefits.  He also had a list of tariffs pinned to his wall, with old franc equivalents alongside the euro amount.  I explained my situation and he asked me how many chemotherapy sessions I’d had.  Apparently 12 is relatively low, so I should only take the Propolis (a by product of the hive with bee saliva mixed with alcohol) for two months only.  It would help to bring my red blood count up, and strengthen my immune system.  He then began to show me a large book of letters received from his clients over the years, with miracle results for various maladies, including cancer.

Before I left he asked whether Madame Dargelos had told me his age. I said ‘no’, so he asked me to guess…..always tricky – I said ‘definitely over 80′ – his eyes sparkled and he replied ’94’.  I asked what his secret was, he said it was the Propolis.  Over 80 years old, your body needs more strength, so he’s taken it morning and night for 14 years.  I wondered who he was passing his knowledge onto, as I feared it would be lost for future generations.  It also reminded me about the importance of bees in the world, not only are they pollinators, but apparently healers too.

Monsieur Pont gave me a warm handshake, after asking me to write my name, village and phone number down.  ‘It’s so I know who is calling’ – the phone had rung at least four times whilst I was there, people wanting his advice and appointments, some of whom included local doctors, another apparent norm in this corner of France.  I left with my bag of bee products with a warm feeling – this really is a magical part of the world.

Lean on Me

When I first had my cancer diagnosis I was gutted.  I remember so clearly driving back from hospital with my husband and actually wanting to just drive off the road.  It sounds dramatic, and it was, I had no idea how I was going to deal with this news.  Then I looked at the man next to me, who I love so much, and life seemed worth fighting for.  What I didn’t expect, was for my friends and family to rally round to such an incredible degree.  You are going through this horrible experience on your own, but at the same time, you are being lifted by your team, all of whom have a particular role in your new-found state.   Going through my treatment, I would call on each one for their particular expertise.  At the beginning, I wanted to give something back in return as I was so grateful, but in fact what’s important is to accept the kindness of others, and know that you will do the same for someone else when it’s they go through something horrible.  Each friend is important, but your core team will be there for you, each, in turns out, with a specific role.

backlit dawn foggy friendship
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The StraightShooter Survivor

She’s already been through the treatment, and she tells it like it is.  It’s the person you call for practical advice from the moment you first find out, to the recovery period.  She doesn’t hold back, and will tell you all the gory details, preparing you for the realities of what you’re about to go through.  In my case, this was my friend Chloe, who was always at the other end of the line

The Dynamo

Immensely practical, this friend will come to your side to organise your day-to-day routine.  Cooking great batches of healthy food for the freezer, making freshly squeezed juices, cleaning the house, and making sure you get exercise every single day, even when you hate the idea.  My sister Ruth fulfilled this role – she was like a magic fairy, coming in to sort me out.

The Healer Expert

Your expert friend, who not only understands conventional medicine, but also food as a medicine.  I was really strict with my diet from the moment I found out, but not in a bonkers way.  Everything Andrea told me to do, I followed, but she wasn’t draconian about it.  Andrea’s basic rules are: eat hot foods during chemo and cold during radiotherapy; cut out alcohol, sugar, wheat, dairy and eat very little meat; and always put a Japanese pickled apricot in your belly button before chemo!

The Visionary

A couple of days after finding out about my cancer diagnosis, Clare drove up to see me.  She has tons of positive energy and knows me well.  She looked at every area of my life, where toxicity could have occurred – food, lifestyle, thoughts – and helped me vision a future for myself to help me get better.  Combatting cancer isn’t just about taking the medicine, it’s about reviewing your life, and taking steps to be healthy in all sorts of ways.

What struck me when going through this process was how kind people are, and for me the lesson was to accept that kindness, without having to return anything.  Your friends and family are there to support you, and you will do the same for them whenever you are needed.  They will all fulfil a different role, and your relationship will never be the same again, it will be stronger having been through this together.  There may also be a couple of people who let you down – this happened to me, and I was angry they weren’t there for me – but now I just keep them at a distance, it’s fine, but I know who my true friends are.

Aloe Vera Magic

Halfway into my chemotherapy, when I was feeling particularly grim, I decided to make an appearance at a village funeral.  It was a lovely community event and a tribute fitting to the lovely man who had died.  I had to leave early because of the cold, but my husband stayed on for a little bit longer.

Whilst there, a lady who owns an exotic garden not far away and a real pillar of the community came up to my husband and said ‘I know your wife is ill with breast cancer please come and see me, I may have a cure.’

I was intrigued, but exhausted by the whole process.  I felt like I was near death towards the end of my chemotherapy treatment, and my morale was very low.  I couldn’t stop thinking about her offer to help, and so when I was well enough and the chemotherapy was over, we went to visit Marie Christine at the local exotic garden.

She sat us down and first of all told me I should eat the new shoots of bamboo as they come through the earth.  Boil them in salted water for about ten minutes, peel and then eat with vinaigrette.  We already had bamboo in the garden, so this wasn’t a problem.  The small shoots tasted a bit like artichoke hearts and are apparently full of calcium, so are great for repairing the damage done to your bones during the chemotherapy treatment.  I also enjoyed, what became, my morning ritual of picking bamboo shoots poking through the ground each morning.

aloe vera blur cactus close up
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Marie Christine then explained that there was an actual cure for cancer, discovered by Father Romano Zago whilst living in some of Brazil’s poorest communities.  After making his discovery he wanted to share it as widely as possible.  He later worked with an Italian oncologist to test the reaction in a study of 450 patients – the results were positive in most cases, although not in all.  What did I have to lose?  As I was in the middle of treatment, I decided to wait until the chemotherapy and radiotherapy were over.  The recipe is very simple:

  • Half a kilo of organic honey
  • 45-50ml of cognac or whisky (apparently other spirits work too, just not wine or beer)
  • 350gm of aloe vera leaves – the spiky leaved variety

Put all the ingredients in a blender, blitz and then leave in a jar in the fridge.  Take a large spoonful before breakfast, lunch and dinner until the jar is finished (usually 10 days).  If there are no results, repeat the process again after 5-10 days.

You can find more information in the book Cancer Can be Cured by Romano Zago – I am skipping through the finer details and there’s lots of information on the internet.

So, I made up the mixture, using a plant she gave me, along with honey from our beehives, mixed with Armagnac, the local spirit.  I diligently took a spoonful (for about a week) before each meal, but the effect was so powerful, I felt drunk pretty much all the time.  I’d spent the previous six months eating very carefully, being pretty nauseous and without alcohol, so this potion was a little bit too much for my system to take.  I do get it though – cleaning out toxins in the body, so self-healing kicks in.  Now I am stronger, I will try it again, perhaps as a post New Year detox.

My advice:  it’s probably worth a go, but don’t do it if you are feeling fragile, as it really packs a punch.

Aloe Vera is an amazing plant – I would always use the gel from its leaves to take away the burns on my breast and chest area, or put it on the scars where the port had been under my skin.  Just cut the tip of the leaf, split it at the side, and take out the gel.  It seems to work, and is a nice contrast to conventional treatment.  There’s something really soulful about taking a leaf from a plant growing on your terrace, and using it as a cure, or just a balm throughout this process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnetic Energy

When something bad happens in your life, sometimes strange coincidences start to happen, it’s as if the universe kicks in to support you.  One of the odd things that happened to me (amongst the many) was the work of a diviner who had previously tested for water in our well.  We hadn’t seen him for at least five years, when my husband had called him on behalf of our neighbour to find the location of the underground water pipes in his old house.   My husband mentioned that I had cancer, and he  immediately asked for my full name as he was part of a healing group, he could heal remotely.  He added that the reason for cancer is usually geopathic stress (negative energy lines in the earth), or bad spirits attaching themselves to the body.  In my case it was geopathic stress (thankfully), and apparently our bed was in the wrong place.  We had to move it, and call him to check it was in the right place.  But how would he know?  Well with remote viewing of course…

chain gold cone pendulum
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So we moved the bed.  The large kingsize bed was now squeezed into the corner of the bedroom.  I was in the middle of my chemotherapy, so it wasn’t very convenient to say the least.  We both climbed over each other in the middle of the night, hoping that this was not going to be a long term solution to our problem.  We duly called the diviner three days later and he confirmed the bed was in a healthy place.  He would come round to fix our energy problem in the next few days.

Sometime later, the diviner arrived with a pendulum, several charts, and a baton of crushed scallop shells.  He confirmed that the section of the bedroom I had been sleeping in was the cause of the cancer, as the pendulum swung like crazy over one of his charts.  He was going to redirect the negative energy out of the house, into the garden area, and then neutralise the bad energy by burying the crushed scallop shells in a particular spot in the garden.  He then went from room to room, checking the energy, the fridge, our mobile phones, the electricity meter and the water supply.  Everything was neutralised with special symbols, incantations and shells positioned in various places!

seashells in a bag
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Has it made a difference?  Well the idea of bad energy doesn’t surprise me – I can often get that feeling when entering a house whether it has a good or bad vibe.  Did it cause my cancer?  It may have contributed, but I think it’s a whole collection of things which I am now addressing.  Do I believe in prayer?  Yes I do, and I am grateful for any help I have in this corner of rural France.  The fact that this man is in a healing group, and will come all the way to our house to try and help us really restores my faith in humanity and that’s a great thing.

 

 

Teen Spirit

It was very hard for me to come to terms with having chemotherapy, it seemed so counterintuitive that something which killed healthy cells in my body was going to cure me.  Finally I managed to process it, by imagining it being a factory reset of the body – cleaning it out and rebuilding it post-treatment.  I wanted to remember a time when I felt vital, strong, relaxed and happy, in order to revive these feelings in my body, and to help the healing process. Looking back, it was my teenage years and early twenties when I felt joyous and hopeful, as I had not suffered any major shocks, I had very little stress, and life felt full of possibilities.  I had put a series of photos on my desk of my loved ones, and I included a picture of myself, at the age of 19, laughing, suntanned, and with sparkling eyes – it seemed to be a good image to focus on.

pexels-photo-761963.jpegI was also conscious of the fact that I had stopped listening to music so much.  I used to love dancing, and I had fantastic recall of lyrics.  My music collection had disappeared due to the transfer from vinyl, cassettes, CDS and now downloads.  Then my stepson Jamie got me set up on Spotify.  As soon as a band or singer from my youth, popped into my head I would search for it, and then sing along in the car (especially during my long journeys to and from hospital).  It immediately made me feel uplifted and would usually connect me to a happy memory or feeling.

Exploring this further, I thought about my clothes, and how I had neglected my appearance in recent years – being more practical than fun.  I didn’t go crazy, but if something caught my eye, I didn’t immediately search for reasons why I shouldn’t buy it, but instead, thought ‘why not’.  This was especially useful when I had lost my hair, and was not looking my best, I actually started to take more pride in my appearance – wearing make-up and maybe a cool pair of shoes, or something sparkly.  It really helped and it’s something I’m going to continue doing.

Smell is also meant to be the most important sense for evoking memories.  After starting chemo I read an article in a magazine with Juliette Binoche, who said her favourite perfume was Anaïs Anaïs by Cacharel.  This is the perfume I always wore when I was a teenager, so a couple of weeks later when I happened to see it in a duty free shop, I put a little on my wrist to remember its smell.  I was immediately transported back to my youthful self, and so I now spray a little on my inner wrist each morning to get me through the day!

Another thing, I felt was lacking in my life, was laughter, real belly laughter when you feel completely alive.  It was winter, and I was going to be spending a lot of time in the house, so I found comedies online from my youth, such as Alan Partridge and current stand-ups, such as Ricky Gervais.  There is something incredible about really laughing, it completely lifts you out of your current state and your body feels so relaxed afterwards – teeming with positive happy cells!

I also stopped focussing so much on the news and world events.  In the run up to my diagnosis, there had been frequent terrorist attacks, Brexit and the inauguration of Donald Trump.  I needed to feel that life was worth living, and so just stopped tuning in so much to the bad stuff.  It’s not that I don’t care, but if I can’t do anything to change what’s happening, I feel powerless – in reality I can only try and change the environment around me, and by constantly watching the news, it was a huge distraction from what really mattered.

Oddly enough, after instinctively trying to tap in to my inner teenager, I read something similar in Deepak Chopra’s The Healing Self: Supercharge Your Immune System.  He describes an experiment by Harvard professor Ellen Langer, who put seventy year old men in a sort of time capsule – wearing the clothes from their youth, and listening to music from the same period – recreating that environment actually made them healthier and more youthful on a physical level.

Later on in the book, Deepak Chopra suggests ways to cope with a delayed flight, in terms of reducing your stress levels.  As I’d downloaded the book in the airport, whilst facing a three hour delay – I thought ‘yes, I’m on the right track.’

 

 

Maori Healers

Whilst going through my treatment, I couldn’t help asking myself, why had this happened to me?  It’s probably a whole host of factors, or just simple bad luck.  However I wondered whether I had buried emotional shocks in the body, which had somehow contributed.  As an English person, I was only too aware that I had been brought up to repress my emotions – anger, sadness, frustration – you name it – I was always uncomfortable vocalising my feelings, from a young age.

When I saw through a website called www.littlefrenchretreat.com that a group of well-known Maori Healers were visiting a small village in South West France as part of a global tour, I wanted to find out more.   The basic idea of Maori healing is to remove the physical, emotional and spiritual blocks in the body.  If you hold onto these energies it can create disease.  The Maori Healers are guided instinctively and use a method of deep body massage work to release these blocks.  You can find out more on this link: www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/native-affairs–maori-healer

I booked my session with Sandrine Ruchoux who was co-ordinating the sessions in France, and then turned up to the beautiful village of Astaffort.  I had already seen on video clips that rather than it being a one on one session, you would be treated with others in an open space.  I was a little apprehensive, afraid that I would be screaming and crying in front of a bunch of strangers.  When I entered the room, there was music playing, and the atmosphere was uplifting, despite the groans!  When it was my turn, Sandrine asked me to lie down on a massage table, while she shook my legs vigorously, presumably to get my body energised.  She then sat on my back, to straighten my spine and pelvis.

atarangi

Atarangi, the lady who I’d seen on the video clip, came over to me and gently asked me what she could do for me.  I told her I’d had breast cancer, and was afraid that I had emotional blocks in my body which may have contributed.  She began work immediately, kneading my buttocks, and moving down to my thighs.  The massage work was intense, and hurt  but nothing like the agonising pain when she reached my calf muscles.  I swore and screamed out, as she dug her fingers into my muscles.  I said ‘I didn’t expect to feel pain in my legs’.  Atarangi explained that old emotional pain is stored in the calf muscles.  I then lay on my back, whilst she started working on my front,  always focussing on the areas which needed the most attention.  When she put her hands onto my belly, silent tears streamed down the sides of my face.  Her hands then made a very quick and intense movement into my belly, almost like jump starting a car.  At the end of the session, she cupped my head lightly and whispered a prayer, and the treatment was over.  Throughout my healing she had also been guiding the others, as to what they should do with their clients, so it felt like a very supportive environment.

At first I felt a little shell shocked, as I sat on the sofa watching the others, drinking a glass of water with a blanket wrapped around me.  I definitely felt lighter, but it was really the days following in which I really felt a difference.  My body felt readjusted, and I felt more ‘in the flow’ in my every day life – little coincidences, kind gestures, and just a feeling of being where I should be.

You can follow Maori Healers on their Facebook site.  I’ve recommended them to a good friend of mine in the UK when they visit Brighton, so I am hoping it will have a positive effect on her too.

 

The Fire Prayer

I first heard about the Fire Prayer Healers in South West France when our builder told my husband a story about his nephew.  He’d put his hand in scorching hot potato puree, and his mother had rushed him to the Fire Prayer Healer to stop the burning.  The following day his hand was perfectly normal apparently.    I was fascinated by this story, and I wanted to know more.  I spoke to friends and neighbours, who told me that in emergencies sometimes hospitals in the area would call Fire Prayer Healers, who would come and work directly with the patient or on the phone.  It never occurred to me that I would need their help too.

fire-orange-emergency-burning.jpgAt the beginning of my cancer treatment, I asked the hospital nurse if there was anything I could do to help with my healing – expecting advice on diet or creams for example.  The nurse produced a list of local healers, one of whom lived very close to my house.  All the healers had a list of their specialities – mine was a Magnetiseur (energy healer) and Fire Prayer Healer.  I was so surprised.

After my chemotherapy treatment, I thought radiotherapy would be ‘a walk in the park’.  I hadn’t really thought about what was in store, as I was just so relieved to be out of chemo.  The radiologist told me that I might have some slight burning to the skin, but after three weeks, the burning was severe, with blisters appearing under my arm.  I called the Fire Prayer Healer for an appointment.  I arrived at her very simple cabin, next to a rural road, opposite a heating fuel supplier.  The room had a simple massage bed, a chair, and the walls were covered in crucifixes and angels.  I laid down on the bed, and she gently massaged my solar plexus, and then put her hand on the burnt area on my breast and underarm.  From time to time she would shake her hand to remove the heat.  She whispered a prayer and then made small signs on my skin with her finger.

I went to my radiology appointment the following day and the radiologist remarked that my skin looked much better.  I told her I’d been to see a healer the previous day.  She smiled and said ‘Aah, la magique….’