Grace Gawler blog – cancer survival

There is nothing quite as compelling as a personal story well told – Listen to stories from Rev Ian Mavor and Deirdre Hanna on this week’s Navigating the Cancer Maze- Voice America internet radio:
http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2125/navigating-the-cancer-maze

Surviving cancer at all costs often dominates the world of a cancer patient. In the alternative medicine movement in particular; blogs and websites – little if any attention is given to the “failure” factor – not popular on these sites for obvious reasons. Just imagine someone trying to sell you a “Cure for Cancer” – potions, tea, supplements and dietary regimens; if there was an “out-clause” – errr if this doesn’t work for you…here is what to do!!! It somewhat destroys the ‘faith factor’ doesn’t it.

Cancer counsellors, cancer entrepreneurs, cancer authors must be more responsible and address the issue of what to do, what strategies to employ just incase things don’t work out as hoped for – the possibility or probability of not making it through cancer or some other life threatening challenges is real for many people. Denial and avoidance are not useful ways of dealing with a truth that will – at sometime confront. Let’s face it we are all going to go at some time! Most of the people who have died in the past 12 months that I know have not been cancer patients! There have been heart attacks, accidents and other unexpected life events. So Death – the great adventure is something we all need to be prepared for….as many have said – dealing with death fees up more energy for living. This is especially important if you have been diagnosed with a life challenging illness.

This week on Navigating the Cancer Maze I interviewed Rev Dr Ian Mavor and Deirdre Hanna from Hopewell Centre on Australia’s Gold Coast. http://www.hopewell.org.au/ http://www.paradisekids.org.au/ I chose to interview this couple because they do not give lips service -they know what it is like to work at the coalface of life’s big issues ….end of life experience, grief and loss with adults and children. Their work is important and they reach many – but their concept could reach further into our society. Of course their work goes far beyond cancer. How we all deal with grief, loss, shock, betrayals etc can form the substrate of who we present to the world. I believe, and many would agree, that the way we learn to deal with life’s big issues can significantly affect health in all manner of ways.

So Paradise kids is a creative and compassionate vehicle for children to talk about, share and acknowledge how they feel about the loss and grief they have incurred whether through death in a family, divorce etc … Click here to donate to and Support Paradise Kids

Navigating the Cancer Maze Voice America Grace GawlerThis interview is highly recommended as the subject is often avoided.

Navigating the Cancer Maze The most important issue we can address – death; the great adventure

January 18, 2013

Today on Navigating the Cancer Maze we are going to talk about one of the most if not THE most difficult issues for discussion for cancer patients, families and friends of cancer patients. This an episode to bookmark for if and ever you are faced with helping someone with an end of life experience. Talking about palliative care, grief, loss and death is often seen as an unpalatable subject for cancer patients who want to be pro active with searching for the “cure”. But the reality is not everyone makes it through the journey of cancer and one thing is certain; we all must die at some time. What can be done to prepare? How can dealing with death free up energy for living? Rev Dr Ian Mavor and his wife Deirdre Hanna have chosen one of the most challenging vocations. Hospice, palliative care and helping people through loss and grief is their daily menu. Together they founded the Hopewell Centre and Paradise kids on Australia’s Gold Coast. www.hopewell.org.au              www.paradisekids.org.au

About

Rev. Dr Ian  Mavor

Rev. Dr Ian Mavor, OAM, FACE A Uniting Church Minister, much of Ian’s professional life has been in specialist roles. Co-Founder Rev Dr Ian Mavorand Executive Director Ian serves as Executive Director of Hopewell Hospice Services Inc which includes Hopewell Hospice, Paradise Kids, the Living Well Centre and the Hopewell College of Transformative Education. He is a member of the Health Community Council-Gold Coast Health District and a member of the State Council of Palliative Care Queensland. In 2002, Ian was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) “For service to the community through a range of church, social welfare, education and health groups”. http://www.hopewell.org.au

About 

Deirdre  Hanna

Deirdre Hanna is founding President and Executive Director of Children’s Services (Paradise Kids) and Spiritual Care. Deirdre’s Deirdre Hanna Paradise kidsbackground includes Bachelor of Theology (B.Th), Certificate in Transpersonal Psychotherapy and Counselling; Doctoral Student, University of Creation Spirituality; Multi-Disciplinary Certificate in Hospice Care, St Christopher’s London; Certificate in Mindfulness Meditation, Massachusetts Medical School Mind-Body Stress Reduction Clinic; Certificate in Spiritual Retreat Leading and Direction. Diploma of Nutrition and Dietetics; Diploma in Swedish Massage. Zonta Gold Coaster of the Year, (1994) Winston Churchill Memorial Fellow 1995 (Spiritual Care for Cancer Patients), The City of Gold Coast Women at Work wonderful 20th Century Gold Coast Women Award, Gold Coast Bulletin Community Service Medal, 2007; Member of the Churchill Fellows Association; Princeton Global Network. http://www.paradisekids.org.au

The Grace Gawler Institute is supported by:

Southbank Domains and Professional Web Hosting

hosted by http://southbankdomains.com/hosting &

Talk Tel Internet – VoIP Online Phone Service

Grace Gawler Institute’s Services, Events and the Launch of Grace Pink

Today the theme of this blog is to let readers know what we are doing at the Grace Gawler Institute for Integrated Cancer Solutions and to invite my Gold Coast subscribers to our March 2 Hope Island fundraiser. Every day we recieve calls from cancer patients who are confused and frightened about what they need to do to get the best results after a diagnosis. Many have tried only alternative medicine and find themselves in dire straits with tumours increasing in size and seemingly no options left; while others are experiencing a recurrence of a previous cancer and may be seeking treatments overseas.

Unfortunately, we mainly see or connect with  patients with advanced cancer because when they were diagnosed, they did not know that any organisation such as ours existed to help them navigate the increasing complex cancer maze. They were not aware of the importance of psycho-oncology or how collaborative medicine could them to fine tune treatment strategies and get all treating practitioners communicating with each other for the patient’s benefit. By the time they reach our Institute, many patients are already finacially exhausted, especially by long term use of expensive alternative medicine supplements. In order to help them, we subsidise their consultations and find innovative ways of referring them into the public system for treatments. We turn no one away and each week we consult with a few patients at no charge. This means that fundraising functions like the one below are very important to us to keep our services active. We receive no Government funding and have limited corporate funding at the moment.

Ways you can support our work: A small amount donated by many, can make a real difference. If you can’t join us for our fundraising evening – you might like to consider a donation to The Grace Gawler Institute  (tax deductible for amounts over $2 for Australian donors) receipts provided. We are a registered non-profit health promotion charity located on Queensland’s Gold Coast. You can also support programs for women with cancer by purchasing on line in my  just released e-Book 23 Feb 2012 Survivors Secrets – A woman’s guide: Strategies for surviving life-challenging illness. All proceeds from this purchase  support our women with cancer programs for 2012.
To buy online ( $9.99 AUD)                    click link to our Bookstore:

                   Our event 2 March 2012: Hope Island Gold Coast:
                   Book online for this “Grace Pink Event”  Click here

 
Tickets will be mailed immediately upon booking or you can… Purchase tickets directly from Grace (07 5577 2997) or from The Hope Island Deli ( address above). All proceeds go directly to support the work of the Grace Gawler Institute’s programs for women with cancer in 2012. Our institute maintains low overheads and admin costs with a high service delivery to patients.

For subscribers who have been enquiring about booking for our one day Survive & Thrive workshops: Please note our new workshop dates have been listed on the website.

 

 

Grace Gawler Institute's Services, Events and the Launch of Grace Pink

Today the theme of this blog is to let readers know what we are doing at the Grace Gawler Institute for Integrated Cancer Solutions and to invite my Gold Coast subscribers to our March 2 Hope Island fundraiser. Every day we recieve calls from cancer patients who are confused and frightened about what they need to do to get the best results after a diagnosis. Many have tried only alternative medicine and find themselves in dire straits with tumours increasing in size and seemingly no options left; while others are experiencing a recurrence of a previous cancer and may be seeking treatments overseas.

Unfortunately, we mainly see or connect with  patients with advanced cancer because when they were diagnosed, they did not know that any organisation such as ours existed to help them navigate the increasing complex cancer maze. They were not aware of the importance of psycho-oncology or how collaborative medicine could them to fine tune treatment strategies and get all treating practitioners communicating with each other for the patient’s benefit. By the time they reach our Institute, many patients are already finacially exhausted, especially by long term use of expensive alternative medicine supplements. In order to help them, we subsidise their consultations and find innovative ways of referring them into the public system for treatments. We turn no one away and each week we consult with a few patients at no charge. This means that fundraising functions like the one below are very important to us to keep our services active. We receive no Government funding and have limited corporate funding at the moment.

Ways you can support our work: A small amount donated by many, can make a real difference. If you can’t join us for our fundraising evening – you might like to consider a donation to The Grace Gawler Institute  (tax deductible for amounts over $2 for Australian donors) receipts provided. We are a registered non-profit health promotion charity located on Queensland’s Gold Coast. You can also support programs for women with cancer by purchasing on line in my  just released e-Book 23 Feb 2012 Survivors Secrets – A woman’s guide: Strategies for surviving life-challenging illness. All proceeds from this purchase  support our women with cancer programs for 2012.
To buy online ( $9.99 AUD)                    click link to our Bookstore:

                   Our event 2 March 2012: Hope Island Gold Coast:
                   Book online for this “Grace Pink Event”  Click here

 
Tickets will be mailed immediately upon booking or you can… Purchase tickets directly from Grace (07 5577 2997) or from The Hope Island Deli ( address above). All proceeds go directly to support the work of the Grace Gawler Institute’s programs for women with cancer in 2012. Our institute maintains low overheads and admin costs with a high service delivery to patients.

For subscribers who have been enquiring about booking for our one day Survive & Thrive workshops: Please note our new workshop dates have been listed on the website.

 

 

Why a brave mum said no to chemotherapy – Adelaide Now: Grace Gawler comments

My Institute has found it a challenge to get articles published about the dangers of exclusive use of alternative medicine in treating cancer; an alarming and growing trend in Australia! So when I saw the article “Why a brave mum said no to chemotherapy” in ‘Adelaide Now’ a mainstream newspaper – I was rather shocked. I have seen a lot of ovarian cancer during my career – I am yet to see anyone recover without conventional treatments and complementary approaches combined and I am amazed that anyone would recommend mothers to not have chemotherapy!  Today cancer medicine both here and overseas has many excellent treatments for ovarian cancers especially new anitibody treatments. I have supported many women who were smitten with alt/med then faced the hard yards of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I know many long term survivors.

As an educator in cancer medicine and a qualified naturopath working with cancer patients for almost 4 decades… and as one who on a daily basis sees the advantages of the synergy of complementary and conventional medicine versus the disadvantage of cancer patient’s alt med choices – I believe the article and associated blog (mumsnothavingchemo.com) to be highly misleading and a misuse of the author’s position as a journalist.

Get the facts right for others that follow

I believe in free speech – but free speech must act both ways with right of reply accepted for healthy debate. I became concerned when I wrote a polite and balanced comment below the above mentioned online article in the ‘comments box’. Within minutes of pressing the submit button however – the box had vanished. I then wrote to the editor of the Adelaide paper in a letter to the Editor. Silence! Continue reading “Why a brave mum said no to chemotherapy – Adelaide Now: Grace Gawler comments”

Beating the Silence Again Grace Gawler

In 2007 Katherine Kizilos wrote a feature article for the Age newspaper Melbourne. The article begins…” She survived her husband’s illness only to fall prey herself to disease but Katherine Kizilos finds that Grace Gawler used the experience to launch a new life.”Gawler is a name familiar to those who want

Photo : The Mebourne Age

to believe the human spirit conquers disease. Ian Gawler lost his leg to bone cancer but not his life and with wife Grace established in 1981 Australia’s first cancer support service, the Gawler Foundation. CLICK HERE TO READ FULL ARTICLE

My life has had a theme of  issues pertaining to silence – holding silence where appropriate, and breaking silence when essential!

My book Women of Silence (1994) was the first to open doors of communication surrounding breast cancer and emotional recovery – a little spoken of issue in those days; it formed the basis of breast cancer support groups in Australia.
Katherine Kizilos’ 2007 article  after more than 2 decades of silence was the first article to publicly raise the the issue of Ian Gawler’s remission from cancer being in some way associated with tuberculosis – a very important scientific connection to make in the interest of cancer patients. An opportunity to discuss this important topic resurfaced in 2010 when the (MJA) Medical Journal of Australia published my refute letter in response to an incorrect version of Ian’s recovery story that appeared in the MJA in December 2008, under the title “True Stories”. But then – more silence…. with most newspaper medical reporters refusing to comment, with one exception! Continue reading “Beating the Silence Again Grace Gawler”

Out on a Limb – Desperate Times call for Desperate Measures Grace Gawler Appeals

The Eagles Syndrome Appeal: Gawler Family Member

It is a tragedy when a family member is ill  and requires treatment that cannot sourced locally and needs substantial funds to pay for it overseas. I see this situation often in my practice and understand the difficulties faced by  many of my patients; even more so since my own 21 surgical procedures – a personal journey I began in 1997.  In 2002 my survival necessitated seeking an overseas solution if I wanted a life. My illness (the result of a complication following routine surgery) devastated my already compromised finances and I found myself in my fifties relaunching my career and owning nothing!  Now that my son needs help; I cannot afford his surgery, so I decided that the most creative way of raising funds was through my ‘self-published’ book sales – a win-win for everyone. My son requires life-saving surgery in Los Angeles – delaying his treatment could severely compromise his life – the longer his medical situation is left unattended, the more challenging his surgery will be.    

To support  this cause – Please visit the Resources/Bookstore page at :
http://gracegawler.com/Institute/?page_id=1892
We are trying to raise $60,000 through book sales
Please send this blog link to friends in your address book….. Together – I sure we can make this happen!

Apologies to regular blog subscribers for my lack of correspondence during the past few months; a personal and imperative family issue has been occupying much of my time – hence the subject of this blog.  Trying to raise funds whilst respecting my son’s privacy has not been easy & we have tried many obvious avenues including many requests to his father – all without success. So – as time is ticking by for this beautiful young man  –  as the heading implies, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Some Background: D lives with me and has done so for 29 out of his 31 years –  he entered this world at Yarra Junction, Victoria on a stormy August night in 1980 into a life that held severe health challenges.  He remains my greatest teacher. Although D is no stranger to pain, watching his deterioration as he bravely manages the affects of Eagles Syndrome is a distressing daily event and so ironic, given my vocation is helping others.  I continue to support in every other way I can. Surgery has a high chance of success, but the longer the condition is left – the greater the risks. D needs some action soon.

As a child, Specialists said D would never be able to hear. As with Ian Gawler, whom I married when he had a 2 week prognosis; harnessing the same tenacity, I doggedly pursued healing options for D utilising the best of complementary and mainstream medicine. D can now hear without aid and he has achieved many amazing things. I am very proud of him.
Following my own recovery, I had been hoping to take a ‘breather’ from health related dramas – but it seems the universe has other ideas! About a year ago D began to be investigated for a stiff neck and jaw clicking.

Xray of Eagles Syndrome - note 2 long bony styloid processes (pointing towards spine)

The outcome – he was diagnosed with Eagles syndrome – a rare condition involving calcification, thickening and lengthening of the styloid process (a pointed piece of bone that extends down from the human skull, just below the ear.) See Xray left. As you can imagine these extended bones create havoc.

A normal styloid process length is approximately 2–3 cm and serves as an anchor point for several muscles associated with the tongue and larynx and other facial structures. Eagles Syndrome is diagnosed if the overall Styloid length in excess of 3 cm. In D’s case both styloid processes are grossly elongated … 6.5 cm and 5 cm! This excessive length has caused havoc with jaw and facial nerves and shoulder spasm; but not only is it painful, the growing styloid processes have already caused severe compression of both jugular veins. Continue reading “Out on a Limb – Desperate Times call for Desperate Measures Grace Gawler Appeals”