I loved staying at the Hufeland Klinik and meeting such wonderful people but when I received my new timetable for the second week, on the Friday evening I was very disappointed. I had come to the Hufeland Klinik for photo dynamic therapy and localised hyperthermia with low dose chemo. I found that my schedule for next week was full of treatments that I can get in England. Reflexology, massage and infusions, I had also been booked to have fever therapy which I did not want. It was the weekend and no doctors were available, so I had no time to see anybody to discuss my treatments or that I was only staying for 2 weeks. My stay was about to get a lot shorter than originally expected.
My last weekend at the Hufeland Klinik was great. I loved being with my new friends and we had formed a bond that probably can’t be developed that quickly in normal day life. We had seen each other’s blood, talked about toilet habits and wind but at the same time our conversations were intimate and deep. We said goodbye to Kelli who was from Illinois and it seemed so sad to say goodbye so quickly after only just getting to know her. She had stayed for 6 weeks and her tumour markers had gone down a little so that was good news. Kelli had been through a rough time in her life and I felt a lot of compassion for her. She had received a double mastectomy and 3 years later the cancer had returned to her spine, her personal and emotional life was so sad to hear. I wish her all the best and will keep her in my prayers.
Spending time with Aeesha, Helen and Royanne was wonderful and memorable. I will never forget our walk in the park, we all appreciated the beauty of nature and the trees just starting to bloom. When you are diagnosed with cancer you experience everything to the maximum! Fear, anxiety, sadness but you also experience the greatest love from people and the greatest appreciation for life! The beauty of nature comes alive and life is acknowledged as a precious gift. We played in the park like children and found a labyrinth which we followed. We then amused ourselves on the small obstacle course, we also discovered a huge chess board with pieces all intact. Helen and I played chess and people watched us in the park, we were too occupied in having fun and being in the moment to care what people thought of us. I will treasure my last weekend with these three wonderful human beings and I hope one day I will meet them all again!
On the Monday evening I found another lump under my arm! This frightened and shocked me! I knew I had to leave the klinik and receive treatment from Dr Vogl as soon as possible. I had heard of his great successes and I needed immediate treatment. The Hufeland Klinik was too slow and at least 6 weeks’ therapy is needed to see any difference. This would cost £25,000 and I didn’t even have half of that amount of money so I had to spend what I had wisely. This money had been given to me by an amazing, loving, compassionate friend and I have been overwhelmed by the help and love I have received on this journey. Dr Vogl made an appointment for me to have localised chemotherapy on Wednesday in Frankfurt. So now it was time to pack my bags and move on. I hate goodbyes so I couldn’t say goodbye to my new friends, I just left a present outside their bedroom doors and hoped that one day I will see them again.
Being in the big city of Frankfurt was daunting on my own! I felt lost, alone and extremely vulnerable and I cried thinking about the wonderful friendships I had left behind. I couldn’t speak the language and the difference between Bad Mergentheim and Frankfurt was worlds apart! I left my hotel room at 11am Wednesday morning. This hotel is near the equivalent of London’s Soho I walk past sex shops and a lady smoking crack in the middle of the street. I felt extremely scared and anxious! I get lost along the way but eventually find the hospital after about an hour. Dr Vogls clinic is in the basement of a medical university along the river’s edge. His waiting room is full of certificates, he seems to have received certificates and awards from all over the world. I sit down in the waiting room and hear two gentleman speaking English. I feel safe hearing the English accent and I’m eager to talk to them. I used to be quite shy, but having cancer has made me somewhat fearless. I start talking to them, Charles has throat cancer, this is his second time with Dr Vogl. His first treatment reduced his tumour by 10%. In England they have said to him that he needs a vocal box. Charles is determined this isn’t going to happen. He tells me the same story as I have heard time and time again in this last week, he had cancer 3 years ago and had the conventional treatment of chemo and radiation and now it has returned. While he goes for his treatment I speak to his friend Patrick who at 66 is studying for a degree in the Arts, he used to be an English teacher at a college in London, we have an interesting conversation and then after 2 hours it is my turn for treatment. I am escorted into a little room and told to take all my clothes off and put a hospital gown on and then go for an MRI scan. After the scan I’m led to the operating table. I have a pain killer and anti-sickness infusion put into my arm. I tell him to use the right arm as my left arm seems to have lost its vein after all the infusions at the Hufeland Klinik. At least its prepared me for this operation and boosted my immune system a little. A local anaesthetic is put into my groin area; this is very painful. He then inserts a tube up into my body and injects chemo into the breast and armpit area. The whole procedure takes around 20-30 mins and it’s not a very nice experience. Afterwards I feel immense burning inside me and I start to feel a little high from the morphine. I am put into a recovery room. After an hour the burning stops. I can hear Charles in the recovery room. “How are you Charles?” I shout out. “Is that Vanessa?” he asks and then we talk about diet and herbs whilst in the ward, I’m oblivious of the other people as we chat. I can’t see him as we have curtains around each of our beds. I then have the audacity to invite myself out to dinner with them. I am the last one in the recovery room. Charles and Patrick come back to see me and talk about going for an Indian and a beer. So there I am with a drip in my arm, lying in bed with a hospital gown on talking to two strange men by my bedside and going out with them for a curry and a beer in a strange city that I have no clue about! Fearless!!!! These two men are friendly and harmless and very kind and I feel comfortable with them, I suppose the cancer bonds people in a strange way.
Charles and Patrick treat me to an Indian and a beer and then walk me half way back to the hotel. Both me and Charles are feeling tired and in pain after the operation. I’m glad I met them and I will stay in contact, as I will with all the people I have met on this Germany experience. Over the next two days I stay in my hotel room watching films and feeling ill. Preparing for my travel home. I have no idea what my next move is, only time will tell and I’m hoping for some divine inspiration…