“I'm not saying the drugs are bad, they are necessary. But it is vital to look at the 'whole person', and some life style changes could be made which would even help them work better. My kids have their mum and every day is a good day.” — Jill Simmons
When Jill Simmons learned that she had breast cancer, she became one of the fortunate women who fall victim to the disease but who then recover. After her recovery, Jill felt that a celebration party was needed. The party became an annual event for anyone touched by cancer, held every October in the County room, premises that were kindly donated by Essex County Council, at the Shire Hall in Chelmsford, Essex.
2006 was the third event and, says Jill, the best so far, supported by 95 guests, all wearing pink!
“Many close friendships are made with your journey with cancer. This is the kind of event that supports the newly diagnosed and also those many years down the line,” said Jill, following on this year‘s event on 4 October 2006.
Speakers and performers who attended included delegations from M&S bra dept, the Macmillan Cancer Trust, and Essex Air Ambulance. Jill expressed a hearty thank you to all who came along, and epecially thanked Lauren (pictured left), Jills' (then 10-year-old) daughter and her (then nine-year-old) friend Ellie Carey, both pupils at Collingwood School in South Woodham Ferrers, who wanted to help and add to the afternoon. They choreographed and performed a dance from the show Chicago. Said Jill: “Both girls simply love to dance and sing and understand that breast cancer is something all should be aware of.”
Update—August 4, 2014
Jill no longer holds the parties at Chelmsford. She writes: "I am over 16 years post cancer now, no longer do the tea party because the Shire Hall needed payment for the hall so I had to stop.
"I am very well, my daughter has just turned 18 this year, something back in the day I did not think I would see. I still try to help people who are going through treatments, nothing much seems to have changed in the chemo/radium world of oncologists, no mention of diet is ever discussed still.
"It does still amaze and makes me a little cross at why so many thousands of lovely ladies raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for 'cancer research'?
"Why are they not researching fresh and raw organic good food/supplement nutrient ? along side treatments? and on its own? I truly believe it's because they cant make any money from food, however prescription drugs do make them extremely wealthy. Why is there no nutrition advice when undergoing any cancer treatment.
"I guess I am one very lucky lady who listened to someone that shared that 'you are what you eat'."
The Realities exposed
In a candid interview with newsmedianews editor Keith Harris, Jill puts voice to her thoughts …
Q: How did you feel/react when you learned you had breast cancer - what were your thoughts when the news sank in?
Jill: Firstly I did not find a lump! I only had an odd rash, my doctor said it was eczema and prescribed cream, I returned two more times with a cracked nipple. Still she thought it was nothing. Then one afternoon I watched a TV programme with Gloria Honeyford who mentioned that her mother had been misdiagnosed with eczema and then died with cancer.....I had a cold shiver up my back. I knew this was what I had and then returned and demanded a referral.
The waiting is just awful. They make you wait weeks for each result. On the mammogram, mine looked like specks of chalk dust, they never used the words 'cancer' — only 'abnormal cells'. I had many tests, then a biopsy which revealed a bad infection. From these tests they then said there was no need for chemo or radium and that a full mastectomy was required, so I went ahead and had a reconstruction.
Yes, you go to a very sad place and are left just hanging on to the doctor’s every word. People are odd to you, some cry, some tell you great comfort stories and some completely ignore you. Mostly you find out who is a good friend at this time, people mirror your mood, so I was strong for them. I was a single mum with my youngest daughter only two and my son seven. My thoughts were: “I would not see them grow up”.
I kept happy for them, but every night I was in a scary place when they went to bed.
Q:. What treatment did you receive?
Jill: I had a full mastectomy with reconstruction (a muscle from my back brought to the front and an implant placed) and I was recovering very well, when I thought how strange it was the cancer doctor had not followed up with an appointment. Many phones calls later I finally got to see him five weeks after surgery. He then looked at my lab notes for the first time.....and saw the cancer result. It showed a very aggressive cancer in the middle of it and six months of Chemotherapy, plus 28 days of radium treatments would be necessary and that really the lymph nodes should have been tested/removed, but that could not be done now because of the reconstruction.
Q: What effect did you see this having on yourself and on your family?
Jill: I told both my children in a childlike way that I had a sore boob and that I would be having medicine to make me better, also that my hair might fall out, but I would wear a wig. My son thought this would be great fun and asked if it would be a Marge Simpson one ... we laughed and I said I would try and get one. I showed them and explained the operation, because they are not stupid children and I felt they would be more worried if I never told them. The sickness was awful to begin with and I thought I would die, but they found I could only take injection/drip meds and found a sickness tablet that worked better. My son was at school and my daughter came with me for treatments. They actually bought some new toys for her to play with from funds donated at the chemo session at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford. It was great that she came with me—it was easier to pass the time and other patients loved to see her play.
Q: How was your illness resolved?
Jill: My cancer was 'oestrogen positive', this means it feeds on oestrogen, well that's what they said. A drug called Tomoxifen was prescribed, this takes your oestrogen away. I felt awful on this type of drug, many side effects included eye sight loss, hot flushes, weight gain and aches and pains all over … menopause was happening early. A few other drugs were tried, but I felt so unwell with them I decided to come off them after 9/18 months. I found out, while in America, lots of information about diet and supplements for immune support. I changed my diet completely. I found out the food is only as good as the soil, not sprayed with pesticides—it must be fresh and ripened on the vine. It also needs to be eaten mostly raw to keep the vital nutrients.
Many people think by steaming or drinking the veg water that you get the nutrients, but the fact is any form of heat destroys many of the essential nutrients, so we no longer get these in our diets. We don't get a varied enough diet, so good supplements and good water are vital. Many herbs are missing from our modem day diet,. which is why our bodies do not have good immune systems. The digestion enzymes are missing and so we don't digest the food as well.
Some 95% of cancers are a nutritional problem. I can't understand why the NHS does not implement this to all patients., If you have a heart attack or diabetes, then you’re given nutrition advice throughout. In all my five years of treatments I saw five different oncologists — not one ever asked me: ‘Jill, what did you eat today?' They only gave me drugs ... how can this be?
The answer is simple. The doctors are not trained in nutrition and they are are not allowed to mention it. The funds are not there for a dietitian nurse within cancer treatments … how crazy is that?
People should be given the information — then its a question of choice. I'm not saying the drugs are bad, they are necessary. But it is vital to look at the 'whole person', and some life style changes could be made which would even help them work better.
I now understand. I never got cancer because of my own oestrogen, I got it because my immune system did not work. I took complete control of things with Mother Nature’s help.
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