Persephone Arbour's story-Extract from a letter sent by Persephone, a 'veteran' of breast cancer, to Mary, newly diagnosed with the disease.
‘When I was diagnosed, my first reaction - in shock - was "I have no future." Suddenly I had no idea of future at all - no sense of direction - no plans. I sat in my doctor's surgery in tears and asked him, "If it was you what would you do?" He said, "I would have surgery and would go to the Gawler Inundation [a complementary cancer support centre in Australia set up by Ian Gawler after he had been given two weeks to live eighteen years ago]..." I learned about diets and why, not just what. So, I came back to Perth very well informed, rested and clearer. I had already decided that surgery was absolutely OK, because my obviously misfunctioning immune system did not need to cope with recalcitrant cells in a lump! However, I also . . . did nut see the point of nuking this body either... I was sixty-one...that makes a difference. I think I knew that quality of my life was more important than quantity . . . Here I am (now) hale and hearty with a clean record. I do have a tremendous respect for this disease. I understand what it can do, how it can lie dormant somewhere and - bingo - take oil again. So I treat this body much better than I used to. I am much more conscious, though no fanatical, about what, goes into it! I am more sensitive to what I need in terms of a stress-free environment. I make sure that I sleep enough. I take antioxidants and vitamin N There were twenty-one women in (my) group - and without exception they were all, including me, "Doers and Copers".... Learn to be selfish, find out what you need to stay relaxed, happy and fulfilled.'