Anita was on holiday in Switzerland when she first noticed the lump in June. She’d felt something wasn’t “quite right” with her body for the last few years.
She was feeling tired, with increased headaches and inflamed joints, and was finding her wounds slow to heal. In a bid to improve, she decided to cut back on sugar and simple carbs to see if that would make a difference.
Once back at home in Kawhia, she followed up with her doctor and was finally diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of September. She then came to the Cancer Society’s Lions Lodge to be nearer to cancer treatment at Waikato Hospital.
“It’s beautiful here. I was blown away when I came,” says Anita.
“The staff and the people staying here are amazing and it’s so nice to talk to people about their journeys. I was not expecting this level of support.”
While at the Lodge, Anita often sets up a table in front of the courtyard. The table is regularly strewn with arts and crafts supplies as she is a keen artist and has been using her downtime to create calendars, Christmas decorations, cards and even a display piece for her father’s sailing medals.
“It’s great to be able to do this here as when I get home, I have to toss up between art, fishing and the farm. I live on a lifestyle block and have a house cow so I make my own butter and cheese, and grow my own food.”
Anita switched to a more strict ketogenic lifestyle and regular fasting once she was diagnosed with cancer, and follows the work of Dr. Matthew Phillips, a metabolic neurologist at Waikato Hospital.
“It’s fascinating what Matt’s doing. It can be very overwhelming when you get hit by a diagnosis and it's challenging sifting through ‘opinions’ versus ‘facts’. I’m glad I had a bit of time between my diagnosis and when my treatments started to process and research what was right for me.
"Being diagnosed with cancer is a great motivator to make radical lifestyle changes and I’ve also been given tools to address mineral and vitamin deficiencies I hadn’t been aware of earlier. Even though I have cancer, I feel healthier now due to the changes I’ve made.”
The Lodge is only possible thanks to the generosity of the community. If you'd like to make a donation towards the Lodge and its facilities, you can do so here.
For more information on Dr. Matthew Phillip’s research, please visit here.