Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Melanoma update: Treatment and Diet

Hi friends,

Yesterday marked eight weeks since my big melanoma surgery.

Life is mostly back to normal now, bar the odd blood test, physiotherapy appointment, meet-up with my oncologist and immunotherapy infusion. This week felt like a busy one since I had all four of those appointments to fit around my kids' new school term and activities.

Today the kids went to their one-day school for the first time and they LOVED it. I was blown away by how excited they were when I picked them up, especially the girls. It sounds like they learned things and had a fun day, so I'm grateful for that answer to prayer.

While my children were at their one-day school, I had a physiotherapy appointment and then my second immunotherapy infusion. Both these appointments took place at the same private cancer treatment centre.

I'm incredibly grateful to the charity PINC&STEEL for funding my physiotherapy today, because I received massage of my surgical site as well as laser treatment, which both worked to smooth and soften the area amazingly. I can't believe how different it feels after just one treatment. And my shoulder hurts less too, because the scar tissue isn't pulling quite as tightly. Long may that last.
Surgical scar after massage and laser treatment.
Immediately after my physiotherapy appointment, I received my second Keytruda immunotherapy infusion. I was able to pay for this week's infusion with insurance money, which came through last week. Praise the Lord!

My blood test earlier in the week showed that one of my liver counts was slightly raised, so please pray for my liver - and my entire body - that I don't suffer negative side effects to the treatment. It wasn't elevated enough to discontinue my treatment, but I'm sure my oncologist will be watching it. 

While I was receiving my infusion, I ate about half a giant salad. I started eating these a few days ago, when we were holidaying at the beach. I got the recipe for it from Chris Wark's cancer-fighting protocol. It worked for him and he was Stage 3C like me, so I'm happy to try it too. Today's salad was a mix of a store-bought and home-grown vegetables, topped with a homemade superfoods dressing and a few raw almonds that I had soaked for 36 hours and then dehydrated to make them crunchy again. 

For the next 90 days I'll be eating/drinking raw fruit and vegetables 99% of the time. 
At the moment this raw vegan diet looks like a superfoods smoothie in the morning and one or two giant salads later in the day. Chris Wark recommends drinking a smoothie for breakfast, then eating two big salads for lunch and dinner, and drinking as much fresh vegetable juice as you can around that. However, finding the time to prepare and eat just one ginormous salad is tricky, let alone two. 

Surprisingly, I haven't been getting hungry with eating all plant-based, so maybe one big salad a day will be enough for me. Fresh fruit and vegetables don't seem to work up my appetite. 

I'm going to be borrowing a juicer from my friend, Michele, so that I can start incorporating raw juice too, although I'm not quite sure where I'm going to set that up in my tiny kitchen, or how I'm going to keep on top of the juicing and cleaning up. 

That's a problem for another day. 

After the 90-day raw period, I'll slowly reintroduce cooked vegetables and pulses, and possibly fish. I'm still trying to figure it all out so, if you've done Chris's protocol, please send me your tips and tricks. 

While we were on holiday last week, I also read Jane McLelland's book, How to Starve Cancer Without Starving Yourself. Jane's story fascinated me. She managed to heal herself from stage 4 cervical cancer (and then metastatic lung cancer and then radiotherapy-caused leukemia) by a combination of diet, exercise, surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and off-label drugs. She used the off-label drugs to block her cancer's ability to feed itself along the glucose, glutamine and fatty-acid pathways and then she delivered the killing blow to her weakened cancer cells with chemotherapy and high-dose IV vitamin C taken in conjunction with NSAIDS. (This is a very quick/incomplete summary of what she did, so if you're interested in finding out more about Jane's story and protocol, I recommend reading her book.) 

I'm doing a little bit of Jane's protocol, but after speaking with my oncologist this week, have decided not to do all of it while I'm receiving my immunotherapy treatment, as many of the off-label drugs Jane McLelland recommends can have side effects on internal organs, and I'm already treading a fine line there with my current treatment. 

It's good to have Jane's protocol up my sleeve, however, in case the Keytruda doesn't work for me. 

I believe that's all my news for now. Thank you for your continued love, support and prayers. We have been carried through by so many people, and I can't imagine doing this without the help of others and their prayers.

Love Emma


  1. Go Emma! I'm so glad you're finding ways to supplement the surgical and medical treatment, it must be good to know there's something you can take control of. The diet sounds challenging but worth it! You are worth it. Keep up the good work, you've come so far already! I pray you'll continue to be blessed with all the courage and stamina, rest and joy that you need to get through this next bit. You're awesome.

    1. (Whoops, I posted my content as Unknown. Sharon K here.)

    2. Thanks Sharon! I was wondering who had left such an encouraging message. Hi!

  2. My sister has been on special drugs for her melanoma level 3 and finishes in August. Thankful hers was on her back, gosh you have been through a lot and that is one mighty big scar..I had a melonoma removed from my back with a 12 cm scar last year mine was level 2. Regardless of scars having found it and removed is live saving. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Kathy, Brisbane

    1. Thank you Kathy. I hope that you and your sister are healing up well!


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