my journey to health and well being via exotic destinations

Contemplating the next 5 years of living with cancer



Detail from the Temple of Heaven complex in Beijing

It’s been over a week since the All Clear. After so much anxiety in the build up to the scans, its hard not feel the come down from the high in the following days.  People say ‘You must be so happy that it’s over’ and I feel very curmudgeonly saying, ‘I am thrilled, of course, but it’s now only four and half years until I can say I’m in remission’.

Because the truth is that it’s far from over, and the first two years according to Dr Miah, whom I saw yesterday, are particularly crucial. Contrary to the Prof she advises a chest x-ray every three months, not least to try and keep the anxiety under control – all that endless waiting for a date every six months causes a lot of weight loss as we know (I have put on 1kg – probably due to the alcohol I have allowing myself during the social whirl that is London!).

She says I can have it in Singapore and send them the results, especially if there’s any doubt.

Another tranquil scene to get me back in the Zen zone - Kyoto in cherry blossom

Another tranquil scene to get me back in the Zen zone – Kyoto in cherry blossom

Strangely in the last few weeks, since I came back to London, my leg has been ultra sensitive and tingly, and I am of course still feeling very tired, even after 2 Vit B12 jabs. I am now taking a daily general Vit B supplement as well. But back to the leg: again Dr Miah says this is quite normal: 3 months after radiotherapy, the leg is beginning to repair itself from the shock; also the new nerves are growing, post the operative trauma. But she says that any fibrosis, or hardening of the tissue, that sets in now will be permanent so it is crucial to continue with the yoga, Pilates and stretching. It will take 2 years for the healing to be complete. She is nevertheless pleased with my current mobility and ‘look’ of my splendid calf! It’s evenly tanned as well, so from the front looks quite normal.

All this leads to much introspection as you can imagine. Again, people ask whether I think my drastic actions in giving up red meat, dairy, drinking very modestly, having acupuncture and consulting Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners, and taking up yoga and meditating on a regular basis, have contributed to my good news.

The answer is I have no idea – it could be down to luck and I could have had the same results without doing any of the above. What we do know from research, however, is that taking control of your illness makes a huge difference to survival rates. And if that is a fact, then I shall be continuing to be a pain in the ass to have to dinner or stay (at least I’m not boiling up the witches’ brew any longer, but taking the lingzhi – ganoderma lucidium mushroom spores – in tablet form).

And in order to share my new-found recipe for life with other people living with cancer, Dr Fi and I begin work this weekend on a website to give practical advice on well-being. This will include all my simple and delicious cancer-friendly food, as well as advice from the Doc. Will keep you posted and let you know when it’s up and running.

I never get tired of the hills 'from whence cometh my help':  those awesome Dents du Midi

I never get tired of the hills ‘from whence cometh my help’: those awesome Dents du Midi

Author: vickyunwin

I am a writer and traveller. Our darling daughter Louise died on 2 March 2011, aged 21 ( and I started writing as therapy. We never know how long we have on this earth, so I live for every November 2013 I was diagnosed and operated on for a malignant soft tissue sarcoma in the calf, followed by 6.5 weeks of radiotherapy, so am embarking on a different kind of journey which you can follow here. I also have another site with my blueprint for health and well-being.

4 thoughts on “Contemplating the next 5 years of living with cancer

  1. Yes yes yes, taking control and not being defined by what life throws us has to be the way to go. The way you deal with Louise death, living every day with the loss and embracing all her friends and the life she would be living – but not being defined negatively – this has to be right, but takes a strong woman to actually DO. I salute you Vicky. X

    From Adela’s iPhone


  2. Vicky, you are absolutely correct, of course, taking control of an illness, or any situation really, is what helps us survive and not just feel like a feather blowing in the wind at the mercy of the universe. We shall all benefit from your new wisdom and I look forward to your BLOG and ultimately your book. All love and keep on truckin’ for us all. Bonnie

  3. Thank you dear Sis…Dr Fi and I about to start work!

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