A cancer diagnosis is not an instant death sentence.

It is a “Wake-up call” to change your life in a positive way, and to appreciate those you love and who love you.

Phil Cooper October 2017


I found that before I could start to survive cancer, I had to accept and survive the diagnosis. This was May 2017.

My first and most important help was, and still is, my lovely wife Susan. I also discovered a book which I saw somebody reading on a train. It is called “Radical Remission” Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, by Kelly A. Turner, Ph.D.

Dr. Turner has researched what ways people use to survive cancer for many years, and has concluded that nine key factors are common to most survivors. She put them in her book in no specific order, but I have listed them in an order that is important to me:

• Have strong reasons for living;
• Follow my intuition;
• Take control of my health;
• Radically change my diet;
• Use herbs and supplements;
• Embrace social support;
• Deepen my spiritual connection;
• Release my suppressed emotions;
• Increase my positive emotions.

26th April 2016, about a year before my cancer diagnosis, I gained possibly my strongest reason for living – the birth of my grandson, Logan. I held him, one day old, a tiny baby. I knew then that I wanted to see him grow up and hoped I would. Both granddads were quite emotional that day. I have many strong reasons for living, they all have names: Logan, Susan, Matthew, John, Glenda and many more. Others are now passed away like parents and grandparents, but I still share memories with those who remember them.

Next, following my intuition or ‘gut instinct’, if I listen to what my body is trying to tell me. I spent a lot of time on the computer, trying to learn all I could about Peritoneal Mesothelioma. Some things ‘sounded right’, others did not. For some people, intuition comes via dreams or brainwaves. For me, it came over the telephone: the same day as I got my diagnosis, I had a call from Susan’s brother who told me he had started taking turmeric to help prevent cancer. This awoke something in my brain and I started taking turmeric as well. Several months later, my Oncologist and GP strongly hinted that the turmeric had slowed the cancer growth.

By following my intuition, I took control of my health. I have decided not to have chemo for my own reasons, with the support of my family. Of course, I will take advice from medical professionals, but I will take responsibility for my own body and the decisions I make.

An early decision was to radically change my diet. I successfully cut out processed meat and sugar. When the Doctor gave me a low residue / low fibre diet after a stay in hospital for a blocked intestine, I found it straightforward to follow. This diet has kept me stable for a few months now. I also use supplements that I feel will give me the nutrients I may be lacking.

We are all experiencing the next factor in the list: embracing social support – that’s why we are here today, thanks to HASAG! I have had excellent support from HASAG, Mesothelioma UK, St Wilfrid’s Hospice, my GP, the local hospital and especially my wife.

Deepening My Spiritual Connection:

One change I made early on whilst sharing my life with cancer was to go back to attending Church. I was brought up Church of England, but drifted away although I never lost my core beliefs. I now attend Church regularly, not the nearest to me, but this one is right for me – ‘intuition’ again! This has helped me to understand what I believe, and as a bonus, I am no longer afraid of dying when the time comes. Although I want to delay it for as long as possible!

Releasing Suppressed Emotions:

This is something I have always had difficulty with, not so much releasing as giving in to them, so it is more controlling my emotions – I can cry ‘at the drop of a hat’. Sometimes, just thinking about my sister Glenda’s Motor Neurone Disease or my father’s death when I was only nine. I do not get emotional about my own cancer, I just ‘get on with it’.

Increase Positive Emotions:

As I said before, “Just get on with it!” Do what is necessary to relieve the pain and keep my digestive system on track. At the same time enjoy life each day! Talking of keeping on track, I am still actively involved with model railways, both Club and personal. I have had to give up volunteering on the full size lines due to physical restraints, but I still visit as a passenger, with the great advantage that I can take my grandson – good for his education!

I hope that this has shown in a positive light how I am coping with my cancer. This strategy seems to work for me, and I am mostly enjoying my life at present.

If anyone is interested, I can let you know the details of the “Radical Remission” book. I ordered it online from WHSmith and collected from the store at around £10.00

Phil Cooper, March 2018.