Such a lot has happened since I last posted about my first visit to the Hallwang Clinic.
At the end of the first week back I started a funding campaign as I don’t know how long this treatment will need to continue for and if it goes on for much longer than the minimum 3 months We will definitely run out of money! I know I’m improving all the time but it is the poor start position that might mean I need the treatment for longer than the minimum period.
Amazingly, within a few days people had given me thousands of pounds and I know there are some fund raising events being organised. I have been humbled by the generosity of people, many I know but many I don’t. If you can help, please donate by clicking here.
I have posted an update on the funding page so it is now ahead of this blog so I thought I’d bring it up to date, I also put smaller bits of information on a facebook page, give it a like and you’ll receive updates from both the blog and the funding page on my progress.
About a week and a half after getting back from the Hallwang clinic I suddenly started feeling better. I also noticed that a couple of lumps on my body (which had been appearing since about December 2016) had got smaller and at least one had disappeared completely. I’d been told that it would be 4 to 6 weeks before the treatment kicked in, so was surprised to start feeling better so soon. I saw my NHS oncologist on the Thursday before flying to Germany on the Saturday, happily he was really supportive and was also surprised at how many of the lumps that he had examined in January had disappeared. He didn’t fully agree with the treatment plan but was at least interested, I have heard from some patients at the Hallwang that on their return the NHS refuses to treat, scan or even examine them, which seems appalling and is probably illegal.
My improvement continued and I returned to the Hallwang clinic in early April feeling much better. We stayed for a couple of days in Freudenstadt, the local town, and I managed to get out and have a meal or two and the odd beer. I was still very weak though and couldn’t go very far from the hotel we were staying in. After 2 days of treatment we stayed near Stuttgart airport for a night and again I managed to have a wander around and a meal. From not being able to get very far from my house, living on ice cream and soup, and having to make myself eat as I knew if I didn’t I would die, this was a major step forward and in just 3 weeks. My cough had almost gone as well
Lumps continued to disappear and get smaller, one in my stomach was the size of a tennis ball in late March and was probably what was preventing me eating properly, it was definitely getting smaller. At the same time I was feeling better by the day and eating more and more, I seemed hungry all the time. My body was obviously working so hard I needed to keep it fuelled.
We’ve just returned from our third visit to the Hallwang and again stayed in Freudenstadt for Monday night before heading to the clinic on Tuesday Morning. This really brought it home to me how much I’d improved; we had a good walk round the market square, which might not sound much but it is the biggest in Germany, and explored a bit further; I ate a full meal and had a couple of beers. 3 weeks earlier I couldn’t get more than 100 yards from the hotel and struggled with the meals I’d had, yet still considered that an improvement from my condition during the first visit.
Our visit to the Hallwang went well apart from encountering an Australian patient who seemed to think he was the only person there. Quite why Australians complain about “whinging poms” given this guys attitude is unbelievable. The Hallwang has a large room where all the patients sit to have their various treatments and infusions and usually it is quite quiet although some people do have conversations with each other; introducing ourselves and swapping useful information and anecdotes, but generally it is quiet and people respect each other’s desire for quiet and privacy. Not this guy!
When I arrived for my treatment he was complaining to the staff about his treatment, he’d apparently been there a couple of weeks and had picked up an infection. I wasn’t really interested but he continued complaining at the top of his voice and also started moaning about how much money it was costing him and he thought they should compensate him for the infection. After hearing the story three times, it transpired that he had spent a few days in the local hospital and may have picked it up there.
Eventually he settled down for his treatment, but the peace didn’t last long, he produced his mobile phone and proceeded to speak to about 5 relatives on skype, one after the other, and told them about how badly he was being treated, how much it was costing him, etc etc. After this he recorded a video on his mobile, talking about how badly …. you get the picture. After that he started playing random videos on his mobile at full volume. His partner was with him the whole time but I’m not sure he actually spoke to her for the whole morning.
Normally this sort of thing wouldn’t really bother me but going to the Hallwang is a voluntary thing and pretty much everyone there is struggling to afford it. The room was pretty full and one of the people who had to listen to his serial, droning moaning is someone that has sold everything they have to be there and relies entirely on other people’s generosity to continue receiving treatment, she is faced with raising almost £20,000 between each visit in order to be able to return for treatment. If the whinging Aussie isn’t happy with his treatment, he can always go elsewhere.
Somebody engaged him in conversation and he said he was from Melbourne, a quick search on google for “Melbourne cancer hallwang” identified him and gave me his story. He is in a pretty bad way, as everyone at the Hallwang is, and is seeking a last chance miracle cure, as everyone at the Hallwang is, however it transpires that the money for his treatment has come from his partner not him. He has a gofundme campaign as most patients at the Hallwang do, but doesn’t seem to have raised much. This might have something to do with the poor way he has approached the funding and also the fact that, according to one of his droning videos, he doesn’t see the need to thank his donors.
I could continue writing about him and his antics over two days but I would then be as boring as him. I could have confronted him about the noise he was making, etc., but I am so chilled at the moment I couldn’t be bothered. There is also the issue that you cannot explain to an arsehole that he is an arsehole, if he understood what being an arsehole is he wouldn’t be one. Hopefully he will have left before we have to return again.
We had decided that as we had most of day to travel back to Stuttgart airport we’d try out the train journey from Dornstetten, which is just up the road from the clinic. What a difference to the taxi journey from the airport! Our driver turned into a bit of a maniac and at times was weaving through traffic and reaching speeds over 160kph (100mph) – I don’t need that sort of stress. The train journey was brilliant; nice and relaxing and only took a couple of hours, it was also 90 euros cheaper than the taxi. It is now our transport of choice as the station at the airport is right underneath the terminals.
We got the train back from Manchester (long walk from Terminal 3) to York and I walked back home from York station. According to Helen’s FitBit; during the day we had covered 4.5 miles on foot, this would have been impossible for me a few weeks ago. I feel so good at the moment that I’m really hopeful of recovering fully. I doubt I’ll ever be clear but with preventative action I should be able to hold off the return for a few years, hopefully the treatment I am having in Germany will by then be considered standard in the UK. If this is the case, it truly will be a miracle I have experienced.