I have Ovarian Cancer, for the second time. In the doctors' books, when Ovarian Cancer comes back, it's not good news. It means, according to them, that cancer will come back again and again until it kills you. They are here to buy me time, with the best quality of life possible. According to statistics, I have slim chances to be alive in 36 months.
When my Oncologist announced that my cancer has returned, just 9 months after the end of my first round of chemo (CarboTaxol), I felt alone. I felt betrayed. I felt angry. I was just 33 years old! I need at least 36 more years! Not 36 months!
My approach changed. I started reading about the disease, the treatments, and why they fail. It didn't take me long to understand that while chemotherapy is an efficient momentary solution, it does not cure cancer. It destroys cancerous cells in the body, but it does not teach the immune system to do its job and destroy the cancerous cells on its own. Therefore, with the type of cancer I have, cancer will just keep coming back a few months after the end of each chemo round. In addition to that, the body gradually creates resistance to Carboplatin, which is the main chemo drug used to treat Ovarian Cancer.
Therefore, the key is to work on the immune system, so that it can do the job on its own. That's when I started to read about immunotherapy. The idea is to manipulate the immune system into recognising the cancerous cells, and destroy them. While immunotherapy is in its early days when it comes to Ovarian Cancer, It has proven to be effective in very aggressive types of cancers, such as melanomas or lung cancer.
It just made sense to me, so I decided to refuse the classic second line treatment, and find a treatment I truly believed in. Needless to say that my doctors in London were initially sceptical. I first spent countless hours on www.clinicaltrials.gov to understand what clinical trials were available to me. Then, I was referred to a Cancer-Immunology specialist in Lausanne, Switzerland, who is conducting a phase I clinical trial that seemed promising.
Today I am at the end of my 3rd month of treatment in Lausanne, and while it is still early days to draw conclusions, my tumours markers have shrunk by 200 points since the beginning of the treatment (which is an excellent sign), and I feel fantastic compared to how I felt during my first round of chemo with CarboTaxol. The side effects are present for 24 hours after the treatment and then I am back to myself.
Sure, I travel to Switzerland 3 times a month, which is tiring, but well worth it. I put some music in my ears, and I dance my way through the treatment. I feel in control, I feel positive, and I feel myself healing. I am happy with my medical choices, but I know that it is equally thanks to my positive attitude, and the spiritual work I am doing in parallel, that I am on my path to healing.
I have taken myself out of the statistics, and I am urging you, fellow cancer survivors, to take control, find your cure, and take yourself out of the statistics as well!