My name is Carol, I’m 45 and I have a recurring parotid gland tumour.
The first tumour was removed but cells were left and a subsequent tumour regrew over the last few years. The density of the tumour precludes biopsy so the status of the tumour has always been unknown. The only indicators of malignancy (cancer) have been the change in shape and consistency of the growth, measured by MRI scans. It’s an anxious wait between scans hoping that the growth will be halted, hoping that the shape stays distinct (fuzziness indicates cancerous growth). The uncertainty weighs heavily on me from time to time and following the diagnosis I felt almost hopeless for a while that I couldn’t escape this unsightly mass in my neck which I hated.
But then I remembered a book I read by Michael Marmot called Status Syndrome. I’d recommend everyone to read this book. A medical doctor, Marmot spent decades collecting data from the civil services and researching the ideas of status and hierarchies. To condense a very interesting research history into a soundbite, does it a disservice but essentially he found that control is a key indicator of health. The more control you have (or take) of your life, the better your health outcomes are likely to be. It seemed worth a try!
So I took control. I cut out all animal products, processed sugars, caffeine and alcohol for one month as an experiment and found that physically, mentally and even spiritually, I felt an entirely different person. Calmer, more capable, empowered and healthy. Properly, fabulously healthy.
My recent MRI results are in. The tumour growth has halted and the shape hasn’t changed. The environment in my body is no longer conducive to tumour growth it seems. This may not last over time but, for now, it’s stabilised.
I’m not suggesting that my lifestyle changed has caused the tumour growth to stop. I can’t imply causation from the two factors. I can say that I grew a tumour under my old regime and currently, it has stopped growing under my new regime. And that’s pretty powerful for me. Is it taking control of my health that’s created a positive outcome for my health? Is it increased immune system support? Is it the power of positive thinking? Is it chance and the tumour had reached it’s potential anyway. I don’t know. I can’t answer any of these things.
I can say I took control of my life, my health and my relationship with the ugly swelling in my neck and I can tell you I feel bloody marvellous as a result and I want to share how good it feels.