Penny Brohn UK

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Manny’s Story

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Manny shares his story of how integrative and complementary therapies are helping him to enjoy a better quality of life.

I have a young son, Rabbie, who loves playing Lego with me, a strong supportive wife, Katy, who I love spending time with, and I have terminal bowel cancer. It doesn’t matter how many times I say these words, or see them written down, they don’t get any easier. If you are reading this and have cancer, please know I am living through it with you and that you are not alone.

Cancer can be a lonely place. It sucks your energy and your ability to face the future. Time that could be spent enjoying life with family or friends is taken up with hospital trips, intense treatment regimes and slow recovery periods. And even if you have time, you are often unable to enjoy it through the nausea of treatment drugs or the sharp edges of unmanageable pain. My diagnosis took me back to when my mother had cancer. Her cancer journey consisted solely of medical treatment. Penny Brohn UK showed us there is so much more help available.

Learning to live well

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There is so much more to cancer than hospital trips. You can fight it, but what has really helped me is learning to live with it and living as well as I can.

Having already had pioneering surgery I was told that my cancer had returned and I was put on intensive chemotherapy which was made more difficult by lockdown.

We contacted Penny Brohn UK in spring 2020. From the first conversation we decided to stop thinking about cancer as a race to the finish line and started to see it as a journey that we have at least some control over.

Exploring integrative and complementary therapies

Online sessions with specialist nutritionists helped me reintroduce fresh fruit and vegetables and some much-missed Pakistani dishes to my diet. Quick ideas, like adding seeds to porridge or eating ‘rainbow plates’ really helped.

The dietary changes were great, giving me more energy, but I was still taking a cocktail of painkillers and often felt too nauseous to eat and too exhausted to play with Rabbie or talk to Katy. It was the follow up one-to-one sessions with a trained specialist in cancer support that gave us the transformational moment of clarity we desperately needed.

We were told about a whole range of integrative and complementary therapies, designed to sit alongside ongoing primary care. Our Penny Brohn UK integrative doctor was kind, generous with her time and completely focused on finding effective ways to help manage my pain. She knew that was the key to me being able to enjoy a better quality of life.

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“There will be ups and downs. However, there is lots of support out there to help you have longer ups and shorter downs.”

Manny

I received complementary pain management therapies, including acupuncture, to target my pain and nausea. It has completely changed my approach to pain, helping me significantly reduce the amount of painkillers I take. The day after my first acupuncture session we went to Alton Towers with our friends – I loved it and stayed on the rides into the evening, long after Katy, Rabbie and our friends were ready to go home.

Building strength

The knock-on effects of reduced nausea and getting my pain under control is that I have a better appetite and diet. I am enjoying food again, which means I have more energy and stamina.

Manny Case Study

“Watching Manny playing with Rabbie again is amazing. Who knows what the future holds, we’re just enjoying the time we have now as a family.”

Katy, Manny’s wife

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