Cancer: My Journey Thus Far

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First of all I would like to apologise to all my dear ones who did not have this news. As you can imagine this last period of time has been very busy. I have been to a seemingly endless marathon of medical appointments each with more shocking news than the last. It has been a personal crisis, a turning point: the kind of which necessitates an appraisal of ones attitudes, beliefs, hopes and dreams. Life is short.

I have received a diagnosis of stage four colorectal cancer with one primary tumour in my colon and four small tumours in my liver. I have been managing very well, with the support of my family. I am happy to be home in Sydney, soaking up the winter sunshine and eating a pile of vegetables.

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The last six months have been quite exhausting but now, post crisis, I am feeling positive and optimistic. I have had five cycles of chemotherapy so far. I tried out fasting whilst on the chemo and I had an excellent response as far as tumour shrinkage and reduced side effects. Article here:

https://news.usc.edu/63669/fasting-triggers-stem-cell-regeneration-of-damaged-old-immune-system/

I feel fortunate to be surrounded by really great natural health professionals and medical doctors and nurses. The below photo is of myself and my new mate Megan in the hospital chemo ward.

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These little guys are called T Cells. They are responsible for destroying nasties in the body including cancer cells. I’ve been visualising an army of them coursing through my blood stream reaching every one of my cells. My immune system is strong and healthy again.

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I have been busking to raise money for the treatment and have experienced an outpouring of well wishes, kind gestures and heart felt support from complete strangers. I was a little rusty at the time as had not had the energy to practice for many months and I was just so relieved to be playing again!

It is a very moving experience to mingle with the public under these circumstances. Everybody is affected by cancer at some stage in their lives, we are not alone as we have each other. A kind stranger left this note in my case one day:

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My beautiful friend Suwindi has offered to run a fundraising campaign for me throughout August and September to help pay for my expenses.

https://chuffed.org/project/eliza-jaye-cancer-treatment

I chose to have IVF egg harvesting as the chemo is damaging my fertility. I have had numerous MRIs and CTs paid for independently. Specialists appointments are often partly paid for by the NHS but there is a gap. I attended a 5 day workshop at the Quest for life centre ‘Living Mindfully With Cancer’ which has been an incredibly useful resourceHospital fees, blood tests, anaesthetists.. Oh.. it just adds up and suddenly you’re in thousands of dollars debt!

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Some of you may have been wondering what I’ve done with my van. Well.. I shipped it to Australia! I can see it every day in my parents car port. Dad and I have done some carpentry on it and it is running sweetly and purring like a kitten. I just can’t wait to get back on the road and have more adventures! Tasmania is my next intended destination where I plan to get my forthcoming album mastered with an engineer I’m keen to work with there.

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The show I did in the UK last December was a great success. I bid farewell to my beautiful friends, colleagues and supporters and had a really fun night. Half of my adult life has been spent in the UK and it was difficult to leave. Equally I feel that I have made the right decision. I now have two little nieces in Australia to play auntie to and I can make up for lost time with my dear mum and dad.

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Please feel free to leave messages at the bottom of this post and follow my blog if you would like to keep up to date. I am being very careful to manage my stress levels at this fragile time and apologise if I am unable to respond. I am thinking of you all with much affection.

Eliza xx

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My Cancer Treatment Fundraiser

Hello dear hearts. I have received a diagnosis of stage four colorectal cancer. I am in good hands but accumulating significant debt. Please help me to raise funds for my treatment. Click the below link for more details and to donate:

https://chuffed.org/project/eliza-jaye-cancer-treatment

My beautiful friend Suwindi has offered to run this campaign for me throughout August, September and October to help raise funds for my cancer treatment. Cancer is an expensive hobby!!

My treatment and costs thus far have involved:

  • Colonoscopy, Hospital fees, blood tests, anaesthetist. Paid for independently.
  • IVF egg harvesting (as the chemo is damaging my fertility). Hospital fees, blood tests, anaesthetist. Paid for independently.
  • I have had numerous MRIs and CTs paid for independently.
  • I have a liver surgeon, colorectal surgeon, radiation oncologist and chemo oncologist all of who’s appointments are paid for partly by the NHS but there is a gap. I pay approximately half.
  • I have undertaken three months of chemotherapy, paid for by NHS.
  • I attended a residential program ‘Living Mindfully With Cancer’ at the Quest For Life Centre, which has been an incredibly useful resource as regards my mental health. Paid for independently.
  • I have a naturopath/osteopath and nutritionist who has expertise in the area of cancer prevention and treatment which I pay for independently.
  • I had an infected tooth removed as the combination of dental infection and chemotherapy have a detrimental effect on the immune system. Paid for independently.

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As there are multiple issues to contend with in my case there is no set procedure. My team of oncologists and surgeons are advising me as to the best course of action as events occur. Recently my CT showed that the liver tumours are no longer stable but are growing and so we are looking to schedule liver surgery as a matter of urgency. My rectal surgeon has advised that they may want to perform both surgeries at the same time so that the primary tumour is not creating further metasteses in my liver. He is scheduling theatre within the next two weeks.

My forthcoming treatment will most likely involve:

  • Liver surgery to resect the tumours + Rectal surgery to remove the primary tumour (this will be a combined opperation involving two surgeons, 2/3 of my liver being removed, a section of my colon removed and a temporary stoma created)
  • A period of months to heal and recover from surgery.
  • Three months chemotherapy to ‘mop up’ residual cancer cells.
  • Two-three months to heal and recover from chemo.
  • Rectal surgery to reverse temporary stoma.
  • A period of months to heal and recover from temporary stoma reversal.

These procedures are paid for by the NHS and extra costs will become apparent as treatment progresses. Throughout this period I will need finance for further MRIs and CTs and some funds to pay for a carer when my family are not available. I am looking at probably another year of hard work to get things under control and hopefully I will achieve remission at the end of it.

My specialists have advised that there is a very high likelihood of recurrence after achieving remission and so my life post treatment will need to be as stress free as possible. It is not advised that I return to work with autistic children or partake in any intense touring with my music.

We are trying to raise £20000 to cover the expenses that have already occurred and for the forthcoming treatment ahead as well as a trip away upon treatment completion. We have added a contingency so that I can rest and recuperate after treatment completion and so that I have an opportunity to engage further alternative and medical options as they become available. This will hopefully include access to a new immunotherapy option for metastatic colorectal cancer which is currently in clinical trials and showing promising success rates for complete cure in the long term.

What you can do to help:

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The last six months have been quite exhausting but now, post crisis, I am feeling positive and optimistic.

File 14-06-2018, 13 46 27

I feel fortunate to be surrounded by really great natural health professionals and medical doctors and nurses. The below photo is of myself and my new mate Megan in the hospital chemo ward.

IMG_5005

I have been busking to raise money for the treatment and have experienced an outpouring of well wishes, kind gestures and heart felt support from complete strangers. I am so relieved to be playing again!

It is a very moving experience to mingle with the public under these circumstances. Everybody is affected by cancer at some stage in their lives, we are not alone as we have each other. A kind stranger left this note in my case one day:

IMG_4955

The show I did in the UK last December was a great success. I bid farewell to my beautiful friends, colleagues and supporters and had a really fun night. Half of my adult life has been spent in the UK.

Farewell Gig Med

Image Chris Sheffield

I am thinking of you all with much affection.

Eliza xx

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European Busking Adventure

It is the last day of my busking tour of Germany, Austria, Poland and The Netherlands. I am in my van making coconut and coliflour curry and reflecting on what has been a epic adventure. Ive met so many people, seen old friends and made new ones and made plenty of cash along the way. In fact I have succeeded in funding the entire trip from the proceeds of busking. What a pleasure it has been! Here are the highlights:

Heidelberg Germany 🇩🇪 

This photo is taken on the foot bridge over the river in the old city. Your technically not supposed to play there but who’s looking?! Look up to the right and you will see Heidleburgh castle.

Bella my travelling companion and I found a forrest park up at the top of the mountain.

And drank beer..

And then hit the streets again the next day.

I had a small problem with my violin so found a local violin maker. He advised me that my violin was absolutely fine but I had an issue with my technique.. haha!

Vienna Austria 🇦🇹 


I found an easy park up by the Danube river. It was only a short train ride from the centre of the city where I played mostly in Stadtpark.

The ambiance of the park complemented the classical violin and I was pleased to find that the public were very appreciative. Vienna is the seat of classical music but it is geared to tourist prices. I provided the experience without the price tag!

Here is the monument to Strauss in Stadtpark which I frequented.

I did manage to find one affordable chamber concert in the beautiful old St Anna’s Church. https://events.wien.info/en/4sg/concerts-at-st-anna-church/

Krakow Poland 🇵🇱 

Krakow is a city steeped in history and beauty. The Jewish Quarter is one of my favourite places that I visited on my travels. It was a hot sunny day and I took an hour out of my sightseeing agenda to entertain the locals at The Florian Gate.



I travelled to Poland specifically to visit my dear friend Suwindi. We used to perform in a comedy gospel choir together in Sydney many years ago! She now lives on a homatherapy eco village in the Tatra Mountains close to Krakow. I had the pleasure of spending a week living in their community. What a special place and community it is! You can see what its all about here: https://agnihotra.pl/en/


Amsterdam Netherlands 🇳🇱 

Risksmuseum has a reputation for having the best acoustics in Amsterdam! They are indeed pretty special. I took a break from the classical set and had a jam with Rafa playing ‘Seven Nations Army’ White Stripes.

And of course I had to catch some time to see the famous Dutch Oils.

Haarlem, half an hour west from Amsterdam, is a great spot for busking. It is a bit more quiet than its neighbour but has a lively centre square where there are restaurants, cafes and shops frequented by the locals and tourists. I met Zeb and we teamed up for some audio and visual entertainment of contact ball and juggling set to violin.

And a final snap of me in my van. Do I look happy?!

Catch you soon 😀

Eliza

 

 

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Busking Under A Waxing Moon

It is so nice to be back with my kindred spirits around a fire. The moon waxing high in the chilly night sky. I took the opportunity to show everybody the classical violin pieces I’ve been brushing up for busking. I plan to hit the road to Holland and Germany in August busking with my violin and my new record.

Bela Bartok – Romanian Folk Dances – Yehudi Menuhin

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Images by fellow traveller artist Johnny Jan Simunic.

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Recording Harp and Drums in Beautiful West Wales

Back in the land of song wrapping up final bits for the new record. Three tracks from the album are already placed with BMG Publishing and things are sounding great! I am looking forward to getting everything in the bag & moving on to mix.

I booked a beautiful recording studio in West Wales called Mwnci. It sits in a secluded woodland area on a river and comes with wood cabin, log fire accommodation. Time to lush it up yo! We started with drums courtesy of the very talented Yotin. I have A new track which employs full size pedal harp and vocal. As it is so sparse and exposed both parts needed to be recorded beautifully (thank you Joe and Jethro) and the right performance captured. Luckily Wales is also the land of harp! I found Elin online and we hit it off immediately.

Thanks guys Its been a blast!!

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Self portrait by Yoyo

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Joe and Steve the studio pushkins.

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Chao for now Eliza x

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Guerilla Mechanics

My front wheel spring has snapped leaving the wheel arches only 2 inches off the tires. I’m glad we caught it & I wont be doing 60mph along the motorway when it finally goes! My mate, mechanic & fellow traveller has offered to do the job THANKS BOB! In the mean time I am stranded & forced to spend time with my new midi foot controller.. Oh, the joy of midi possibilities! The world is my oyster! Check the joyous expression.. 😉P1000050P1000051P1000056A couple of days later – Job done! Phew!

On the road again on my way to Southampton to play one of my favourite south coast music venues The Art House. Chichester Castle appears on the horizon.. blink & you’ll miss it..

Catch you again soon..

 

Eliza x

 

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Where There’s a Will.. 

Loving my full body wetsuit whilst bathing in the English channel. Its spring time but the water is still only 10 degrees..

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Get the kettle on to warm up & then get stuck into some van recording..

Like The Artist formerly known as Prince said ‘Sometimes it Snows in April’. Indeed it does! This was filmed on Brighton sea front only days after his passing..

Have a great day!

Eliza

 

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