In bowing to the great god science, we often lose sight of the fact that strength, positivity and hope are tools every bit as powerful and worthy of our attention.

From beginning to end, the story of Gwen Hackett, a 73 year old from Frankston, Victoria, prompts us to peer a little closer at our own coping mechanisms, our standards of fortitude and the possibility of the apparently miraculous available to all of us when the right attitude is in place.

Gwen is the owner of the beautiful Karingal Health Shop in Frankston which stocks health foods and crystal and gemstone jewellery including items sold by Blue Turtles.

Gwen’s life took an unexpected turn in 2010 and led to the delivery of news, which would not surprisingly fill most of us with horror. In late May Gwen was experiencing nausea and vomiting and after seeking medical advice it was decided to perform a colonoscopy – a procedure that involves inserting a fibre optic tube fitted with a tiny camera into the large intestine. The procedure uncovered the presence of a bowel blockage and only two days after that first operation Gwen underwent surgery resulting in the removal of part of her bowel.

Following this operation the news couldn’t have been more hopeless. Gwen had bowel cancer and furthermore it had spread to both her stomach and liver. The oncologist explained to Gwen that her condition was incurable and her cancer terminal. The oncologist suggested the oral chemotherapy drug, Xeloda, but could offer scant hope along with the medication; Gwen listened to all she was told, understanding every implication but reluctant to accept the drug recommended.

Gwen’s calm reception of all this news is the first part which marks her story as exceptional. Hers wasn’t the bitter resignation of hopelessness – rather it was the positive celebration of a life that had been long and happy. When I happened to call her shortly after her diagnosis the message was clear; this would possibly be the last of our business communications. Gwen was ready to let go.

Gwen’s only regret amongst her otherwise incredible fortitude in preparing to relinquish life was that she would be missing her son’s wedding in three months time.  Her very next thought changed everything – “I’m going to beat this!”

Gwen’s amazing resolve led her to start researching her condition. One piece of information was clear and unambiguous – once cancer has spread to the liver the condition is terminal.

In delving further, her search led her to investigate the alternative medicine approaches to cancer as well as the conventional. Under the alternative umbrella she discovered that one recurring area of belief was that cancer appears to occur more often in the type of individuals who neglect their own requirements in order to meet the needs of others around them, including friends and family. Gwen didn’t recognise this description as relevant to herself until her own children pointed out that this was exactly what she did; in doing so she never asked for help from others and bottled up stress and anxieties inside to save troubling anybody.

Further research took Gwen into the area of integrative medicine – the practice by which patient and practitioner work in collaboration, drawing on the expertise offered by both conventional and complimentary or alternative medicine to devise a therapy program suited to the individual’s needs.

One of the doctors involved in this field, Dr Lorna Hargreaves, advised Gwen to take the previously prescribed chemotherapy drug but in doing so to envisage golden, healing light entering her body. The concept was one which Gwen fully embraced, having always believed in the power of the mind and she added this to her fighting arsenal alongside her remarkable ‘I WILL beat this’ determination.

And so Gwen commenced the taking of Xeloda and although she lost a great deal of weight she oddly enough experienced none of the terrible symptoms so often associated with chemotherapy.

To the amazement of the medical professionals, Gwen’s CEA levels began to fall. (Carcinoembryonic Antigen level or CEA is what doctors use to determine the progression of cancer.)

A month after what I had assumed to be my last ever conversation with Gwen, I spoke to a member of Gwen’s staff and was stunned to hear that Gwen was on the road to recovery.

At the time of writing, only months after she was told the devastating news that her death from advanced, incurable cancer was imminent, the tumours in Gwen’s liver have shrunk considerably and the swelling has all but disappeared, with CEA levels dropping back to normal. In her own words she ‘feels great’. She continues to take very small doses of Xeloda along with a variety of natural remedies and is progressing extremely well.

Needless to say Gwen’s oncologist is both amazed and somewhat flummoxed at this 73 year old flying in the face of medical science.

Gwen has no doubt as to why she has survived where so many before her have not. She believed with all her heart that she could succeed and applied the power of positive thinking towards that goal. Her situation forced her to seek help from others, previously such an alien concept to her, and her thoughts and prayers were focused on herself for a change.

Gwen’s story is a remarkable one but furthermore it serves to illustrate a much overlooked point – that what on first glance appears to be miraculous is actually nothing more than the utilization of innate healing powers present in each and every one of us. Gwen was deemed lost but she used the power of mind and soul to manifest their desire to survive and survive is what she did.

Today Gwen is working on not worrying so much and admits she finds this a challenge. Gwen’s story is one of such triumph and inspiration that I feel anyone reading this will join with me in thanking Gwen for showing all of us the exceptional powers we have within us to turn the most hopeless of situations into something positive – a miracle available to all.

3 Comments for this entry

Jenny Glover
December 3rd, 2010 on 4:11 pm

Good for you Gwen – what a powerful mind you have and now you can teach others the power of faith and belief and the importance of honoring their own needs as no 1 priority. Have a wonderful Christmas and new year.
In awe

Thora Daniel
December 3rd, 2010 on 6:53 pm

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with negativity and uninspired information, I would like to say THANKYOU for sharing in an inspiring womans journey.

Irene Quinn
December 3rd, 2010 on 11:28 pm

Thank you for sharing your story with us and reminding us of the power that was given to each and every one of us. I know you will be an inspiration to a very special father of 3 loving sons and their families. I thank God for your recovery and the recovery of all whom you inspire.
God bless you at Christmas and always

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"Buying from Blue Turtles is always a pleasure - opening all those drawers at the Gift Fair to see the hidden treasures inside – because you know you’ll only see the good stuff. Each stone is chosen aesthetically, set with heavy silver and finished beautifully... you don’t get bumpy edges, join marks that haven’t been polished out, left over tarnished sections or stones hanging out the back of a setting. The attention to detail is obvious from the moment you look at any piece. It’s well priced, especially for the quality of the stones and the amount of silver used. You get prompt and efficient service, always with a smile!"

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