A mum of three has opted to go down the herbal route with her cancer treatment after being diagnosed for a second time in five years.
Becky Webber, who lives in Gunnislake, was first diagnosed with bowel cancer four-and-a-half years ago but she beat it after an operation on her colon – anddid not need chemotherapy or radiation at the time.
Since than she has been having regular scans to ensure the cancer has not returned. Her last ‘all clear’ scan was in October last year.
In February she suffered a miscarriage at 49 years old which led to an infection and led doctors to discover the heartbreaking news that her cancer had returned.
Now the 50-year-old – who was born in Devon – has a cancerous tumour growing towards her hip bone but has opted not to go through the “ordeal” of chemotherapy or any surgery, instead favouring a more holistic approach.
But she says these natural methods, practitioners and supplements all come at a high cost and are out of the reach with her income and so she is asking for help.
The mum-of-three described chemotherapy as “poison” and says she will do it if given no other choice but right now she thinks herbal treatments could shrink her tumour and she doesn’t feel strong enough to pursue anything invasive.
“My mum had cancer when I was six and was given two years to live and saw the same herbalist I’m seeing now and she is still alive,” she said.
“I think it’s so much to do with your mindset as well and knowing you can do it. From years of studying nutrition and health I believe that if you have a healthy immune system you can fight cancers off often without even knowing it.”
Because her tumour is currently slow-growing she says her decision to try natural remedies is not been a “blind faced decision” but one she is confident in having found relief from the pain only by using herbal medicines.
“There’s this taboo on offering natural treatments for cancer,” she said. “I love the NHS and they have saved my life but they don’t even offer you any alternative options which is a shame so I have got to do this on my own.
“I love my children so much and they need me so I have got to do this. I’m a fighter, my whole life has been difficult but whatever it is in me that’s keeping on I just cant believe it. I’m obviously stronger than I ever thought I was.”
Becky has also lost her most recent job because she has been unable to work since March.
Her diagnosis leaves her experiencing constant pain and difficulty walking and she says the benefits she receives will not cover her rent plus all her living expenses.
She has moved five times in the past eight years and says without help with funding she could be forced to leave yet another home where she hopes to undertake her healing journey.
“Lot’s of people say ‘oh you’re going to die’ and there is a lot of negativity out there but I’m not going into it completely green. I could go and have chemotherapy tomorrow but something in me says I’m not ready for that and if I lose my home on top that will just be awful.
“I’m really respectful and I try not to judge anyone. If good friends of mine make a decision I might not agree with, then I trust them and if it feels right for them that’s their choice,” she said. “We all should have choice.
“It’s the hardest thing for me to share this and ask for help. I’ve always been fiercely independent and I felt embarrassed and ashamed but the response so far has been ‘why didn’t you ask for help earlier?’.
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“The last move almost killed me,” she said. “I’m sorting things through the house in case I do have to move because I can’t pay my rent but I’m knackered all the time because of the cancer. Moving would be incredibly stressful.”
Her ex-mother-in-law, Wendy Webber – who started the fundraiser – described her daughter-in-law as one of the most loving people she knows.
She said: “She has always been ready to give to others even when she has had very little, and it has been hard for her to receive for herself. Now it is her turn.
“She knows she can turn her life around, but needs support at this time. We are setting the goal of 15,000 pounds – which will cover 500 a month to ensure she can stay in her home for the next six months, repair her car and 9,000 pounds for treatment costs.
Her daughter Maya, 18, is currently living with her father but describes her mum as the most beautiful and loving person she will ever know.
“It breaks my heart that I can’t give her everything she needs right now,” she said. “But she’s such an incredibly strong and hopeful woman, and has raised me to be the same.
“So I have all the hope and the faith that she will get through this hard time. She just needs a bit of support to get through this, any contribution, big or small is so appreciated.”
Becky added: “I still find gratitude every day for something, even just the sun coming up. When you face mortality you notice some things so much more and that’s important. That means something and I will never give hope.”
The fundraiser has currently raised over £2,500 of its £15,000 target. You can donate to Becky here.
NHS advice on herbal treatments
The NHS describes herbal medicines as those with active ingredients made from plant parts, such as leaves, roots or flowers.
But it does warn that being “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean they’re safe for you to take.
According to the NHS website – just like conventional medicines – herbal medicines will have an effect on the body, and can be potentially harmful if not used correctly.
They should therefore be used with the same care and respect as conventional medicines and doctors should always be consulted about any herbal medicines you’re taking.
For more NHS information on the use of herbal medicines click here.