Preston businesswoman Julie Gyi tells NATALIE WALKER how a diagnosis of cancer inspired her to set up a blog to help other people by detailing her battle against the illness, and attempts to raise money for treament abroad
It is a terrifying prospect being diagnosed with cancer, but unfortunately one which is shared by too many.
Preston business woman Julie Gyi was diagnosed with cancer in January and her only hope now is lifesaving dendritic cell therapy (immunotherapy) in Duderstadt in Germany, which costs £100,000.
In her desire to support others who are in a similar position, the 59-year-old, who owns therapy centre Ceragem, in Preston, shares her innermost thoughts and fears as she battles stage four cancer in her blog - Simply Sarcoma - in a bid to support others and to raise funds.
Julie, who lives in Thornton Cleveleys, near Blackpool,says: “Life is truly wonderful. I honestly believe that.
“But sometimes life can completely knock the wind out of your sails and turn you upside down.
“It was in Chorley Hospital on January 12 2016 that my life changed forever.
“I was told: ‘So we can confirm the lump is sarcoma. The type you have is leiomyosarcoma, a soft tissue sarcoma.’
“Cancer. Diagnosis. Tumour. Hospice. Treatment. Wow, how had this happened? And more importantly, how was I going to tell everyone, especially my three boys. I’ve been relatively healthy for years. Five a day, tick. Gallons of water a day. Tick. I run Ceragem, a wellness centre in Preston, I give advice to people who are on the road to recovery every day. Yes I give the advice, it wasn’t supposed to happen to me.
“I was suddenly surrounded by negative thoughts. When did it start this highly-charged emotional response to the hint, to the sniff of, to the word cancer? We fear it, we dread it. It strikes at the very primeval core of us.
“Everywhere you turn cancer images and words are there. The marketing is prolific. Images of wastage. Images of my father. We all have at least one image of our own.
“It was then I decided that I was going to meet it head on. I’ve always been feisty. Ask my three gorgeous boys. Ask my mum. Ask the customers of Ceragem. The C word wasn’t going to stop me.
“The months that followed were relentless.
“The surgery was the worst.”
Julie’s son, Daniel Gyi, 27, says: “Mum has always been the strong one in our family.
“When things go sideways, she’s always been there to make things right.
“She’s always been the most resilient, the most defiant in the face of hard times, of which there have been many.
“An inspiration to me and my two brothers growing up.
“Since her diagnosis late last year we’ve tried everything, contacted everyone, met with the top oncologists.
“‘Nothing more we can do for you,’ say the NHS.
“We’re running out of options, fast.
“Private immunotherapy treatment abroad – a promising and exciting new field of study in to cancer treatment, and the last real hope of giving us many more precious hours, days, months, years, with our amazing Mum.
“She has dedicated over a decade of her life to helping others, running her wellbeing business in Preston.
“Her eagerness to give and love selflessly is reflected in the remarkable support we’ve received so far. Truly overwhelming.
“Sitting at Mum’s bedside whilst her health deteriorates and hearing the extreme pain she’s suffering through the night is heart breaking.
If anyone deserves to beat cancer, it’s mum.”
EXTRACTS FROM JULIE’S BLOG
‘Surgeon popped in to say good morning. The only familiar face. I wasn’t up for talking to them all. They were like a tornado. I felt sick and shocked.
Final question. “Will you consent to having photos during surgery?”
“What without lip gloss?”
No one laughed or even smiled, unusually nor did I.
Curtains hurriedly drawn back. They turned to my son and told him to go. But I want him here. He can’t stay. But I want him to stay. He disappeared after a brief but very tender hug.
I’m alone. Very lonely.”
“Following the surgery to remove the tumour from my calf, I’d never felt better.
“I worked hard to regain my mobility, my independence and my freedom.
“I changed my entire life and schedule. I turned into the juicing queen and changed my lifestyle to heal my body.
“Fast forward 10 months and those worst fears came true. It’s back. It’s stage 4. It’s angry. And it has spread. As if it wasn’t enough for it to be rare in the first place. There is nothing the NHS can do. But there is ground-breaking immunotherapy cancer treatment in Europe. It has yielded incredible results, but it’s incredibly expensive. My three sons, Matt, Dan and Mike and brother Craig have become my absolute dream team; researching oncologists across the world to understand what options are out there and starting a fund-raising campaign to make it happen.
“Since my boys have started fundraising for my treatment, I’ve been blown away by the generosity and well wishes of so many people.
“When people come together it makes my heart sing.
“I’ve cried most days reading the support and well wishes of people I know, and people I don’t know, who are all so supportive in their love and hope for the next stage of my journey.
“I know Germany will be tough. But i know I have the love, support and dedication of my amazing family and friends, and my new friends who are following my blog."
To donate click here https://www.youcaring.com/juliegyi-782134
To view Julie's blog click here https://www.facebook.com/juliescancerfund/