Update 30 July 2014
It's been awhile since I've updated and that's because I've been on an emotional roller-coaster. I had surgery on 1 April and the cancer, although localised, was more extensive than expected, so I ended up having to stay 3 nights in the hospital.
In May I had a Pet-CT scan which showed no evidence of disease.
In July I had a consultation with my breast surgeon and we found a recurrence - two, possibly 3 tumours on the scar tissue.
I was gutted to say the least. I had such high hopes for the surgery and the GcMAF working. Obviously it didn't, and I felt such a failure.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I went to Germany to consult a practitioner, Florian Schilling, who has a reputation for being one of the best in terms of tumour analysis. He conducted a series of tests and they showed that some of the markers of inflammation (e.g. IL-6 and TGF beta) were very elevated. Also, there was evidence that doing oxidative therapies (like high dose Vitamin C or chemotherapy or radiotherapy) would create resistance in the cancer cells.
His recommendations are to do a programme of curcumin infusions to bring the inflammation down and will help re-balance the immune system.
This is what I intend to do. I will probably be going to a day-clinic in Frankfurt (PraxisKlinik Siebenhuner) which comes highly-recommended. It is much cheaper than Hallwang. However, a course of 10 curcumin infusions will cost Euro1,900. So if you can donate, every penny is welcome!
Thank you for all your donations to date. They have got me this far. If you are able to donate, thank you from the bottom of my heart - every penny is wisely-spent!
Update 3 March 2014
Surgery has been rescheduled as I caught a cold the week after I returned!
Update 24 Feb 2014
I got back from the clinic on Saturday 22 Feb 2014. I had a good immune system response to the GcMAF treatment, measured by the doctor, and imaged using ultrasound scan. There was also some shrinkage. Nevertheless, the amazing thing is that growth has been stopped or slowed down, and I am now chockful of immune-system treatment, and have shown a response, which should help to control the cancer for surgery and post-surgery.
Thank you for your help.
I have spent Euro3000 on treatments for two weeks and approx Euro1200 on accommodation, flights and food for the two weeks.
Update 15 Feb 2014
I have been at the GcMAF clinic since Monday for treatments, under the care of Prof Marco Ruggiero, MD.
I was due to return to London today, Sat 15 Feb, but have had to change my plans. In order to measure how effective the GcMAF treatment has been, I have to allow for 7 days - so the doctor has strongly recommended I stay until Monday, and if I show a good response, to stay another week.
He has also recommended I get independent verification of the efficacy of the treatments via ultrasound measurements from my radiologist in the UK.
I wish I could say more ... I was made to sign a non-disclosure agreement so that I can't talk in detail about the treatments on all forms of social media - this includes e-mail. This I find rather frustrating. However, some details of the treatment are available on the GcMAF.eu site.
I did speak to a number of patients at the clinic and they all said that they only started experiencing physiological changes in week 2.
A huge chunk of the funding has been provided by the Magnay family, so I am very very grateful to all of them.
Lausanne, as per all Swiss cities, is faintingly expensive. I have also had to rebook my flights because of the change in plans and this has incurred additional costs.
So I am currently staying in a youth hostel, and cooking my own food, to save money. Last week, I was sharing expenses with another patient at the cinic. So your money is being carefully-spent, and I am very grateful for this opportunity to have these very ground-breaking treatments.
Thank you for reading this.
God bless you all, Rona
Update 8 Feb 2014
Dear All, I have had to make a change to the treatments and the treatment schedule.
I am due to have surgery at the end of Feb/early March for a local recurrence.
I need to get the cancer under control before surgery so that I have a viable treatment alternative post-surgery. The only way to do this is to get shrinkage of the tumour through a treatment - that will show the treatment is working. It is no use waiting until after surgery because I will have nothing to treat against and won't know if it's working or not.
Because timing is so critical, I am off to the GcMAF treatment centre in Switzerland on 9 Feb 2014.
The practitioners at the centre use a treatment called GcMAF to stimulate the immune system to fight the cancer cells. Tumour shrinkage of 25% is not unknown, for the first week. More amazingly, they will refund the fees if there is no shrinkage.
The cost is Euro3000 per week, the recommendation is to stay for 3 weeks, but I will be staying one week, and hopefully be able to continue the treatments on my return home. The cost of flights and food and accommodation are not included, so I've booked a budget hotel.
I am very grateful that your donations are enabling me to do this, and at such notice.
I will keep you up-to-date on the treatments and improvements.
Best wishes and love, Rona
From Alison: Why I'm fundraising for Rona
Hi, my name is Alison Kelly. I'm fundraising for Rona who has breast cancer.
Last year, Rona suffered nerve damage and a paralysed arm as a result of a mastectomy. Because of that she is currently unable to undertake treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which would jeopardise the healing of her nerves.
Her safest and most effective options at the moment are a cancer vaccine and antibody treatment at a German cancer clinic.
Rona enjoys playing the piano and continuing to do so is a source of joy to her. She would like to live cancer-free and be able to use her arm normally. Rona works full-time because she's determined to lead as normal a life a possible.
Rona's been a good friend to me and has helped raise money in the past for the breast cancer charity, The Haven.
This is my way of helping her in return
Please donate and help Rona beat cancer. She's walked the cancer journey for two years, and with your help, she can see it off for good.
In May 2013, I had a mastectomy. I woke up after surgery and found I couldn't move my left arm.
Through a freak accident, my brachial plexus nerve was damaged during surgery, resulting in paralysis of the arm.
Overnight, my life was turned upside down. Activities that people with two arms take for granted, were now beyond me. I could only type with my right hand. I couldn't even tie my shoe laces. And I lost the ability to play the piano.
This was a devastating blow to me, and for my healing journey that started two years earlier with a diagnosis of breast cancer.
During those two years, I tried nearly every anti-cancer complementary therapy in the UK but with limited success.
Finally, this year, faced with no option but surgery, I went to a German cancer clinic (Hallwang Oncology clinic) to get the best surgical outcome. I received two treatments there: an antibody treatment called Removab and trans-arterial chemoembolisation (TACE).
The treatments were successful and I returned home, full of optimism.
The mastectomy and any post-operative treatment were supposed to have drawn a line after years of trying to cure myself of the cancer. However, because of the nerve damage, the treatment path is no longer clear.
In July 2013 I had surgery to correct the nerve paralysis, and my arm is gradually improving.
However, because nerves heal very, very slowly, it can take up to two years to heal properly. Any post-operative treatment like chemotherapy or radiotherapy would damage the nerves and stop improvement in my arm.
So here's the dilemma I'm facing: I still require treatment to mop up stray cancer cells but the orthodox option is toxic to nerves. I don't want the cancer to get the better of me, but I don't want to lose the use of my arm through orthodox treatment.
Fortunately, there are safer options.
The German cancer clinic I went to earlier this year has cutting-edge treatments that will help my immune system fight the cancer and also speed up the recovery of my nerves. The main treaments are a cancer vaccine and an antibody treatment, called Removab (more details below).
These treatments are not toxic to nerves. Unfortunately, they are not available in the UK.
I've started playing the piano again, but the memory of those nightmarish months when my arm was paralysed still remain.
I am anxious to get on with anti-cancer treatments that will help get rid of the cancer, yet give me a good quality of life.
There is a sense of urgency as I'm already facing another bout of surgery to remove a local recurrence.
Please would you donate and help me in my desire to live, and live well, cancer-free and with an arm that I can continue to use normally?
The cost of the treatments are approximately GBP£26,000 for a three-week course of antibody treatment, infusions, accommodation and the vaccine. My main priority is the cancer vaccine which costs Euro8,000 as the tumour sample has a shelf-life.
Earlier this year, I spent my life savings and took out a loan to pay for the treatments I had in Germany. This appeal and your donations are the only way I can afford this live-saving treatment.
Thank you for donating and helping me. The sooner I can get to Germany, the faster I can beat this cancer.
All your contributions are greatly appreciated and will make a difference.
Please pass this page onto anyone you think can help.
The treatments offered in Hallwang Oncology Clinic are personalised. The cost estimate I have received from them is subject to change depending on what happens during the stay there. The costs are therefore approximate. The costs are based on a 21-treatment cycle, with two days added on for contingency. All costs include German VAT at 19%.
To save money, I will be staying outside the clinic, only staying in the clinic on the days I require Removab, or require close monitoring.
The cancer vaccine will cost approx. Euro8,100
Removab: 3 courses of Removab, 3 special antibody blood tests and 9 infusions, 21 days accommodation in the apartments plus 3-days in-house room at the clinic will cost Euro 16,000
Treatments for the nerve damage = Euro 2,000
Accommodation for extra two days will cost Euro155
Transport to and from the clinic to Stuttgart airport costs Euro360
Airfare costs Euro250
Supplements to continue treatment back home will cost approx Euro 1200
Sub-total = approx. Euro28,065
10% contingency = Euro2,806
TOTAL = Euro30871 = approx. GBP26,000
THE CANCER CLINIC
Hallwang Private Oncology Clinic is located in the Black Forest region of Germany. It is one of the clinics in Germany offering cutting-edge treatments not available in any other part of the world. It is an integrative oncology clinic, which means that it uses both conventional as well as non-orthodox treatments to cure cancer effectively yet as gently as possible. The head oncologist, Dr Kopic, is recognised as one of the best oncologists in a private clinic in Germany.
Removab antibody treatment
Removab is a three-in-one antibody treatment that will stimulate my immune system to recognise the cancer cells and attack them.
Cancer cells are covered with a type of receptor called EpCam; Removab has the key that locks onto EpCam receptor. Once it locks onto the EpCam receptor, it triggers an alert to the body's T-cells, macrophages, and Natural Killer cells, and these cells go on the rampage and attack the cancer cells.
As it has side-effects, Removab is given in a course of three doses, at weekly intervals to allow the body to adjust in between.
Dendritic Cell Cancer Vaccine
The vaccine will be created from a tumour sample that I sent to the clinic after surgery, and a blood sample. So it is a personalised vaccine, made from my own cancer cells, which makes it very effective in helping my body recognise the cancer cells and attack them.
Infusions and other treatments
The clinic believe in helping the body to heal by using vitamins and botanical preparations administered intravenously.
Some specialist infusions to stimulate nerve healing and regrowth include – alpha lipoic acid, glutathione, zinc , selenium and magnesium, Pro Neuroplus (an omega 3/6 fatty acid emulsion), methylcobalamin (an active form of vitamin B12) and amino acid complexes given as infusions – together with fresh cell therapies to stimulate nerve cell growth and tissue repair. These would be complemented by several doses of a growth factor to push white cell production, as this also produces more of stem cells, which then respond to the fresh cell growth factors.
WHY YES TO LIFE?
I've chosen Yes To Life, a cancer charity, because they are experts in administering similar funds for people who are seeking treatment in overseas cancer clinics.
The money you donate goes straight to Yes To Life who will ensure that the money you donate will only be spent on treatments at the German cancer clinic, or associated costs and follow-up - not on holidays or clothes!
Any surplus funds will be used for further treatments or supplements. Nothing will be wasted and will everything will help keep me alive and healthy.
If, by any chance, I am unable to use up the funds (e.g. through death), then the money will go to Yes To Life who will use it to fund and subsidise consultations, treatments and supplements for other people.
GiftAid and Tax Relief
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity.
When you donate to my JustGiving fund, please remember to indicate whether or not you are a British tax payer. This allows Yes To Life to benefit from GiftAid contributed by the government. This GiftAid is used to help other people with subsidies for consultations, supplements and treatments. So you will not only be helping me, you will be helping many other people who are trying to heal themselves of cancer.
And more good news - if you are a British tax payer, you will be able to claim tax relief on your contribution from HMRC via your annual tax return.