My Dad, Dave is an amazing man. Before he was diagnosed, he was healthy, fit and an ‘old school’ barber as well as a fantastic golfer. Some of his customers wouldn’t even need a haircut, they would just go in for a chat because he is so much fun to talk to. His love of great food equals his love for Liverpool Football Club. He’s been there for me through everything. He’s a Dad who loves the fun bits of having kids. He would take us out for meals, to football matches and my big brother and I always have said we wouldn’t swap him - even for David Beckham. He visited me all the way through my time at University in Cardiff and he’s just wonderful company. We trained and ran the Cardiff half marathon together and my Dad was amazing - he did it in under two hours! We would run the Camel Trail in the mornings, and while I was silently muttering, Dad would say “hello” to everyone we passed, so I had to say a cheery hello to them too, whilst struggling to catch my breath.

 

The diagnosis

 

I found out Dad had cancer just after I started working at Spiezia Organics in early November 2015. I was travelling home from London on the train. I knew Dad had been for a test at the hospital, but it still came out of the blue when my Uncle called and told me the news. My response was “no he hasn’t!” My Uncle hadn’t realised I was alone on the train while he summoned the courage to tell me. I had to drive from Bodmin to Newquay to get home and I still can’t remember the journey home.

 

The good news is that the doctors caught it early. Dad had a tumour around his sinus area with symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo and general tiredness. The consultants were positive from the beginning, but made him aware that the course of treatment he would have to go through would be very intensive, as they could not operate. 

 

The treatment

 

Treatment began within a month, starting with chemotherapy for three months. Dad went into hospital for four or five days initially to have his first lot and then he had to take a small canister home with him, which continued the treatment at home. After three months, in January 2016 he began radiotherapywhich involved seven weeks of radiation treatment every working day, so 35 sessions in total. Crazy!

 

At this point my Dad’s health was deteriorating rapidly. At one point I didn’t even recognise him when I went into the hospital. I used to visit him on Mondays when he had a chemotherapy session in the hospital alongside his radiotherapy.  When I walked up to his chair I had to look twice, as the little old man in the bed looked nothing like my Dad.

 

This is the point when the magic of our organic balms began to work. I used to sit in the Sunrise Centre at the Royal Cornwall Hospital and see people come in for their radiotherapy treatment and I saw their skin was red raw, breaking and dry. Dad had been told this might happen to him. As he was having treatment on his neck and face, it was going to be very visible.

 

Soothing the burns 

 

The doctors prescribed a cooling gel which he told me it just disappeared into his skin without helping his skin condition.  As I worked at Spiezia Organics, I knew that the organic balms we were making would probably be helpful, so I took Dad a Skin Solve with Calendula Balm and a Sore Skin Balm with Propolis and told him to apply them at least twice a day to any affected areas. The Propolis was for the sore areas for a slightly more concentrated treatment. As his dietician nurse had quoted “he was a dream patient” so I knew he would stick to this routine.

 

Throughout the radiation treatment the balms protected Dad’s skin so that it never dried out, or became sore. From his brows down to his neck area he had a very brown, leathery look to his skin, but the skin itself was not red or sore. Five weeks into his treatment, a nurse actually asked him what he was using because she could not believe how well his skin was dealing with the intensive radiotherapy treatments.

 

Dad finished his treatment in April and on my advice has continued to use the balms and he spread the word in the Sunrise Centre as much as he could. His throat muscles stopped working so he couldn’t eat properly at one point, but he did manage to avoid the sore and visibly breaking skin which would have added to his distress and discomfort. At a time of intense stress, emotional and physical turmoil, it was simply one less thing to cope with. This was hugely helpful to all of us as we cared for Dad during his treatment and his recovery afterwards.

 

Six months since his treatment finished my Dad is doing really well. His hair has come back - slightly curlier, he’s back to a healthy weight and slowly getting back to his normal love of fine food. We’re waiting for the results of a biopsy to see if he is clear of cancer. In a situation where you feel so helpless, being able to make his life a tiny bit easier was really great. 

 

I really hope you have enjoyed reading my story and if it can help one person going through such an awful time it is worth it!  

Olivia xXx

 

If you know anyone who is going through this treatment, please give these balms a try. I’m more than happy to answer anyone’s questions. We’d also like to let you know about the charity that Spiezia Organics supports the Made for Life Foundation that offers complimentary therapy and emotional support for those going through cancer and their carers. www.madeforlife.org.

 

You can contact Olivia at [email protected]