27. Sunday Roast Post

It only struck me as I named this post how synchronous were my thoughts with the Christchurch Food Festival, which is a lovely community event running in our local town this week. We went down yesterday just before the rain hit and really enjoyed wandering amongst the, generally, good quality foodie tents and soaking up the ambience. It was lovely and a pleasant change from hospital and resting.

My last post generated quite a few blog comments and emails about food and diet, so rather than try and answer people separately I thought it would be easier to do a Sunday Roast Post. I’d like to clear up a few things before we get started lest you think I have turned into some paragon of virtue who spends her hours perusing a wide selection of lettuce leaves as she sips green tea. Oh no. I still have a taste for and thoroughly enjoy the odd glass of Chardonnay and yesterday had a totally decadent slice of Banoffee cheesecake.

I did manage several weeks as a replicant bunny, straight after the visit to the herbalist, but being so strict was beginning to take away the little bit of enjoyment I was managing to have in amongst the hospital trips; I found that mealtimes were becoming something almost to dread so I am slightly more relaxed in my approach than I was, but still pretty vigilant. I have chosen to follow a very low carb diet with a lot more veg than meat because that is what suits me. I don’t like the effect that carbs have on my body and I don’t miss them in the slightest – to me they are just fillers for the real stuff. But that is moving away from what I really want to say. This post has been the hardest of any of them to write – it would be so easy to get up on any number of the soapboxes I have lined up here, but I don’t want to do that as they are mine and I am very protective of them. You have to find your own. This whole blog is about my own voyage of discovery, and going through your own voyage is what will strengthen and empower you as it has done me. Having said that I am of course happy to share specifics if asked.

It matters a huge amount to me that the food I put into my body is as good as it could possibly be. I constantly bear in mind a conversation with Swamiji many years ago when the whole obesity/food quality crisis was just beginning. Her thought was that our bodies are not satisfied with nutritionally deficient food and thus they crave more. If the vegetables we eat are grown from suspect or GM seeds on mineral deficient soil with the aid of fertilizers, or in the case of animals, reared in a horrible great shed with no daylight, fresh air or proper food, how can they possibly in turn be doing us any good? One of the biggest causes of cancer is toxins, so quality of food is of paramount importance. Whoops, one of the soapboxes crept out there!

But truly, this is a journey for anyone facing serious illness. Those of you who have asked questions need to go off and do your own research. Trust me, it is empowering, and power is one thing you lack when you are very ill. If you have an underlying medical problem, especially if it is chronic, become your own expert. The wonderful thing about the internet is that you can do all your own research without moving from your home or paying people a fortune for their advice, although of course sometimes it is good to go and talk to a professional in your chosen area of research. Find others who are struggling with the same condition and learn from them. Research the treatments that have helped them and come to your own conclusions then push it further. I go by the rule of three, which I discovered in astrology but I am sure exists elsewhere – once I have read something three times in different places I give it that bit more credence and follow it with more interest (as long as it isn’t just copied and pasted from the same source). And make sure it is up to date. I scared the life out of myself that first morning in hospital by following old links to mantle cell lymphoma. Even two years ago it was considered incurable with a very short life expectancy, but new research from earlier this year shows that my regime may hold the possibility of a cure. Check, check, check your data, and don’t base your knowledge on biased, Big Pharma funded scientific trials or clever marketing. It is only by talking to people and reading that you get to amass your own arsenal.

I am incredibly lucky in that I have several people around me that I trust implicitly with my wellbeing. They have loved and supported me through the hardest times in my life and they have absolutely been there for me in these last few, very trying months. Find your own support team. Appreciate and listen to the ones are in it for the long haul – they are the diamonds.

I think it is also really important to be flexible and move on from things that are no longer appropriate or don’t work. It doesn’t matter how far you go down a particular route – what matters is that you have been open enough to explore it. I have decided not to pursue the Oxygen Therapy as I noticed some changes in my body I wasn’t happy about. I am also taking a break from the Ayurveda for a while as I don’t feel it is appropriate right now, but either of these are open to review in the future. What matters is that you constantly question and push and keep your own agenda in mind.

Here’s a recent example (promise no soapboxes). The chemotherapy is taking its toll on the condition of my skin, which is now very dry and looking like it should belong to someone a lot older than me. I take Omega oils every day as well as vitamin A and D drops, add Jojoba oil to the bath and regularly moisturise my skin, but it isn’t enough. We were in our very favourite local health food shop yesterday and asked for some advice. The manager recommended coconut oil, which I remember using on my hair years ago…really weird stuff. She said it is better than vitamin E (which is what I went in planning to buy) and given that you can use one massive tub for lots of things we thought we would give it a go. I don’t want to venture into strange territory here, but you can cook with it, smear it on your skin and eat the stuff, all from the same pot if you are hygienic about it. The possibilities are endless. I also added a few chunks to my bath, which of course immediately dissolved and created a lovely oily mess but the results were amazing and I am (at the moment!) a convert.

So go forth! Explore, read, listen and constantly question, with an open mind and an open heart. You will find many things that work and quite a few that don’t, but it will be more than worth the effort.

Be well,

Margaret xx


About Margaret Cahill

After diagnosis of Mantle Cell Lymphoma in 2013, I started this blog to stay in touch with friends, family, and and an ever increasing network of lovely people who sent me healing. The readership increased and I ended up blogging for all I was worth to try and stay sane through the chemotherapy and stem cell transplant. Then after I went into remission (thankfully) I was enjoying the writing so much that I have carried on, and the blog seems to have become a bit of a resource for people, which is lovely. The original year of blogs have now been made into a book, Under Cover of Darkness: How I Blogged my Way Through Mantle Cell Lymphoma. It fills in a lot of the gaps between the blogs, and the tone falls somewhere between graveyard humour and explicit details of chemo treatments. I do hope you enjoy it :-) Mxx
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9 Responses to 27. Sunday Roast Post

  1. matrixdavis says:

    Hi Margaret,

    Thanks for that lovely [and powerful] statement! It’s filled with wisdom…. It reminds me of Caroline Casey’s aphorism, ‘Believe nothing, entertain possibilities’. Then too there is the T.S. Eliot line: ‘We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.

    Blessings to you in your journey of exploration back to good health!




    • Ah thanks for your kind words Martin. I am coming to see that all of this is about the wisdom we uncover within ourselves – that is where the true growth takes place and from where it all becomes much more meaningful.


  2. Ronnie Smith says:

    Hi Margaret – I read your blog with great interest and I was talking to someone at the weekend who has just beaten cancer and she suggested I mix a teaspoon of ground turmeric, a teaspoon of whole black or coloured peppercorns mixed with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and ground this all together and add to your cooking every day – it not only makes the food taste good but apparently it fights cancer. Also I invested in a Brita Fill & Go water bottle with filter discs. It is BPA free. I bought mine in Tesco and it had £5 off so cost £10 which isnt too expensive and it comes with a months worth of discs. I use coconut oil based shower gel which is soap free and you can get it in the Body Shop. It leaves my skin soft and smooth but I must admit my skin seems fine at the moment apart from very dry hands and feet but I larther them with the cream the hospital gave me.

    I expect you know all this but I just thought I would share it with you.

    I also invested in a slow cooker – as you know I have difficulty in eating but I must tell you that I know the tumor has shrunk as I can now enjoy semi solid food and cooking it in the slow cooker makes it soft enough for me to swallow after obviously a lot of chewing. The first meal I had I wanted to cry as it was such a good feeling to be able to actually eat once again. Cant wait to tell the oncologist next Monday when I see her.

    Anyway I had better finish my ramblings and I wish you all the best and you are in my prayers for a speedy recovery. Keep fighting girl.

    Ronnie xx


  3. Sue J says:

    Hello Margaret,
    Thankyou for yet another offering. I’ve sent your Sunday Roast piece on to V. W’s. Hopefully they’ll meet you here/anywhere one day.
    I am attracted to your Swamiji’s sentiments re causes for over-eating, and there are other Psychology Wizards who seek to uncover the deeper Black Magic to our individual unheathy food choices. Yes there is more than a little truth in all they say, but so often we’ll eat such foods, not even necessarily for any feel-good factor but just because we like the taste!
    Even after a spectacularly wholesome meal, chocolate, the classic culinary ‘adulterer’ can lead one astray. I’ve just had such a meal and followed it up with three chocolates, and only stopped because there wasn’t a fourth to be had….I am left with the feel-bad factor, but I loved the taste.
    Despite all that, I am reading the comments re the anti-carcinogenic foods with great interest, will save it all and pass it on.
    Love Sue xxx.


  4. Sue J says:

    A STOP PRESS PS. Several days later. Have been listening to this morning’s Womans Hour – One of the ‘features’ concerned diet and cancer. Given my defective Saucepan-Man hearing I picked up the following:
    Someone named Sheila Dillon (?) was arguing the importance of diet in cancer and the general lack of knowledge among significant personnel through from Dieticians to Consultants, and if I heard correctly, she will be talking on tonight’s Food Programme (Radio 4) which will be devoted to the effect of diet on cancer.
    She gives very useful info (reinforcement for you; by now you must be an expert) and cites cases of in effect ‘cured’ cancer patients< my word, including her own sister, still alive and free of a particularly invasive cancer after 18 years.
    Sheila advocates, among other foods,vegetable sproutings, turmeric, and berries.
    Having re-read my previous comment re simply liking the taste being another powerful reason for eating harmful food, I found myself reacting,like one of my nephews ' So?……..What's your point? What are we supposed to do about that then?'
    Hypnosis? Aversion therapy?….but only after two chocolates or one large glass of wine. Any other suggestions beyond self-control?
    Love Sue xxxxxxxx


  5. Sue – fabulous! Thank you so much for this. It is 12.30pm on Sunday 19th May. I have shared it on Facebook. Haven’t found the solution to the willpower yet :-) I think there has to be an element of treating yourself when you are facing such things as cancer, but how far to go? That is the toughie for those of us that like wine and chocolate!
    Margaret xxx


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  7. Carlton says:

    Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this blog loading? I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.


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