My name is Hannah Bradley. I am 28 years old and in February 2011 my world took a dramatic turn, when, out of the blue, I had a major seizure in the middle of the night.
I lost consciousness and was rushed to hospital so don't remember much about the two months that followed apart from seeing many doctors, having constant headaches and a number of seizures. To my complete horror, I was diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumour called Anaplastic Astrocytoma. My whole world was turned upside down. I was confused and scared of all the unanswered questions that lay before me- why was this happening to ME? What did the future hold? Will I be okay?
On 1 of April 2011 I decided to have surgery and underwent a grueling six and a half hour operation. For nearly three hours of this operation I was awake. To my relief the results of the operation were fairly successful and the surgeon managed to remove most of the tumour. Waiting for the results was one of the most harrowing periods for me and my partner; I had to wait for the results of the biopsy for a few weeks while trying to remain positive throughout. However, the news was not good and our world was rocked once more as the results showed a Grade III tumour.
My whole world suddenly fell apart again and that very moment I did not how to go on. I knew I had to carry on and from somewhere I didn't know existed within me, I found some bravery and started to have next course of treatment, which was a six-week course of radiotherapy. The radiotherapy went well for the first few weeks but my fears were confirmed when my hair started to fall out. As I hope you will understand this was REALLY difficult for me as I loved my hair and without it I felt horrible and ugly. To top things off I was still having seizers and lost my independence with losing my driving licence.
Although it was hard I remained hopeful that the six weeks after the radiotherapy would help and I could go onto to live a normal life but again the results of next MRI were not good. There were still remnants of this aggressive tumour.
At this point my treatment options where very limited and my life expectancy was not very long.
Luckily I was able to take part in a phase 2 clinical trial in Texas, USA. This treatment is not available via the NHS so we had to raise a considerable amount of money. This was truly an incredible time and once again I was filled with hope as so many people came to my aid to support me by raising money and donating what they had.
I started treatment in January 2012. Thankfully it has been successful in shrinking the tumour. My desire to beat this disease led me to make a number other lifestyle changes. One of the biggest changes has been dietary; specifically cutting out most sugars from my diet. This involved me learning how to cook, which in itself was a huge challenge because I hated cooking with a passion. Over time I started experimenting with different foods and became more and more adventurous and dare I say it, I even started to enjoy coming up with new healthy recipes.
I quickly learned that the exclusive food of cancer is sugar, so I quickly embraced this and cut out almost completely starchy carbohydrates and refined sugars by incorporating a sugar free/starch free food plan. The idea being that this diet would feed my body, mind and starve the cancer into submission. I have also learnt that this type of diet is good for blood sugar regulation, body composition and is consistent with the way that our ancestors ate thousands of years ago.
Thankfully along with the other treatment, this strategy has worked for me and I am now trying to help others who are fighting against this horrible disease.
After months of experimentation and with the help of a couple of great cooks, I have learned to make delicious and nutritious healthy meals and this is why I decided to write my own book, The Team Hannah Cookbook. It is my contribution to helping and inspiring others to eat a better diet. I would hope you can enjoy these recipes and make them part of your diet.
This book will show you how easy it is to cut out the carbs and still eat "normally." I now believe that dieting and counting calories doesn't work. Low carb is the way forward.
You will find in my book great low carbohydrate recipes for - Breakfasts, Breads & Pastries, Starters, Salads, Mains, Desserts, Treats