We are raising funds to send our Mum for life extending, hopefully saving, treatment. Here is her story:
My name Kate Wadlow. I live in Staffordshire with my husband of over 30 years, Malcolm, and the youngest of our three lovely daughters, Emily. She is 15 and her sisters, Heather and Sophie, are 23 and 21. We're a small family, so we are very close.
I'm an outdoor person, and love walking, cycling, swimming and gardening. I had always considered myself pretty fit. We eat home cooked food, from fresh ingredients and never eat ready meals, so I thought my diet was pretty healthy too. I've never smoked and drink very little alcohol. I certainly didn't look or feel like a candidate for cancer. Still don't!
My world was turned upside down in March 2014 when a lump in my left breast, which I found purely by chance, turned out out be triple negative breast cancer. I hadn't felt ill or had any symptoms so it was a huge shock. This form of cancer doesn't respond to any of the usual targeted treatments because it is not hormone driven as most breast cancers are. In other words, conventional medicine has fewer treatments to offer. I had a left mastectomy and lymph node clearance, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Three years passed by without a recurrence so I thought I was cured. It was such an aggressive cancer I thought if it was still there I would have known about it. Wrong!!
I had been dismissed from my employment in estate management after I informed my employer that I had cancer. This resulted in a 50% drop in household income, so we were struggling. I thought it unlikely that I'd find employment again so I set up as a self-employed gardener. Very different from surveying - and how I loved it!
Then in spring 2016 I started to get pains in my arm. Cancer recurrence was eventually diagnosed in January 2017. It has spread to my lungs and spine, a lymph node in my neck, and encases the main artery in my arm. I've now lost the use of my left hand so can no longer do my gardening round. This diagnosis was devastating: an aggressive (Grade 3) Stage IV cancer. Care offered by the NHS is palliative - 89% of patients with this diagnosis die within 12 months.
I have other ideas! I want to live to see my grandchildren; I don't want my husband to be alone for his long awaited retirement; I don't want my youngest daughter to experience the loss of a parent at such an important stage in her personal development and schooling. Malcolm knows only too well what that's like, as it happened to him. My 89 year old Mum only has me to care for her. Our small family doesn't have an army of relations to rally round if I die. And actually, I LOVE LIFE and say a big YES to making it happen.
To this end I'd like to start by having mistletoe treatment at the Camphill Wellbeing Centre in Aberdeen, followed by further treatment at a specialist cancer clinic abroad. Mistletoe treatment is one of a number of effective therapies not available on the NHS.
My daughters aim to raise money for these treatments and also for YES TO LIFE because we believe so strongly that we need to raise awareness that there are other options for cancer treatment after the NHS has run out. I also believe my recurrence may not have happened if I had been better informed after the initial diagnosis.
Please donate. Help me get to the Camphill Wellbeing Centre and help Yes To Life.