Treatment Update

On Tuesday 11Jan  I  received my fourth chemo treatment. That was preceded by a review of my third cycle with my oncologist, Richard Sullivan, now Head of  Auckland DHB Cancer & Blood.

The review was encouraging.

Over the break (and the course of my third cycle) my health and fitness have improved significantly and the discomfort from metasteses has abated further to the point where it is now virtually non-existent (I am aware of sensations in a few areas which I now know is cancer but these too are abating). Further, blood test results  confirm that  I am in good health and that my immune system is bouncing back well from chemo treatment. They also provide further supporting evidence for what my body is telling me – that  damage caused by metasteses in my bones are healing.

The break at our place on the Kina Peninsula in the Tasman Bay (which Maureen and I shared with our three adult chidren and two of their partners, and subsequently with our close friends, Lawrence and Diane Zwimpfer) provided us a great opportunity to catch up with reading on diet, psychoneuroimmunology and exercise and apply the new skills and tools we  learned at the Ian Gawler Foundation in these areas.

My own reading  and experience is providing me with increasing confidence that this “integrative” approach to treating  cancer offers me significantly better prospects for life quality and extension (and even a hope of  ‘healing’ my disease or at least being able to live with and manage it) than by relying on medical treatment alone.

The next step in my treatment  is a CAT scan next week to add information that will enable  a more definitive review of my progress. That will be undertaken by my radiologist Trevor Fitzjohn (see mention of Trevor in my earlier posts).

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12 Responses

  1. Warrick Procter says:


    That is fantastic!

    I look daily for your blog updates and really appreciate such news.

    It seems that every day you are becoming better equipped for the road you are travelling.

    Has this progress meant that your game of Croquet has improved? Ones hopes not…

    Hugs all round and best wishes,

  2. Phyl says:

    Hi Rob,
    All sounds so very positive…as of course you always are…hope we might catch up this weekend if you are back in Wellington. Just a short catch up to see for ourselves how good you look. Might even have a little look at the cricket while we are down. Will give you a call.Love to all

  3. Linley Taylor says:

    Dear Rob

    We have met only once, I believe, at the Kina Olympics a couple of years ago, since when we have moved from the peninsula into Nelson

    However, we share many mutual friends, from whom we have learnt details of your situation. I feel compelled to share our concern for you faced with this huge burden, and want to convey our wishes for strength and courage for you and your family going forward on this journey.

    But we also offer thanks for the exceptionally positive and factual approach you have to your diagnosis… It is difficult to express to you how helpful and encouraging it is to hear such a positive, factual and hopeful account of your experience.

    This is not at all, obviously, to diminish the seriousness of the situation, but to underscore the fact that, having received the diagnosis, there is no need to lead a [in your words,] a ‘cancer-centric’ life.

    Your blog is nothing short of inspiring.

    Good luck, many encouraging wishes, and hope to see you at the Olympics this year

    Linley Taylor

  4. Martin L says:

    Hi Rob

    Libby and I are really pleased to read of your encouraging progress. This is great news! I’m sure the break with family and friends at Kina Peninsular made a significant contribution to your recovery.


  5. Lisa Turner says:

    Great to hear from Mum and Dad that you are looking great and really positive. If I had known that I would have sent Jake in with them to test your fitness!!

    Aunt, would love to catch up for a hug and chat when you have time and of course will bring Olivia in for a cuddle xx

    Thinking of you all always

    Lisa, Eric Jake and Olivia xx

  6. Paul & Sandra says:

    Sounds very positive Rob. Keep up with the good progress. Happy New Year. Hope to see you Friday week.

  7. diane zwimpfer says:

    Dear all readers of Rob’s blog. I thought I might give some information from a different perspective – my own! For those people who haven’t seen Rob lately I just want to say that Rob’s optimism and resilience are not just words on a page. Rob looks fantastic! He is sticking to the recommended diet, and looks glowingly healthy. I think he looks younger, as he has released himself from a lot of work commitments and practices healthy mental and physical health regimes that put us all to shame. In fact, those close to him are starting to emulate him; we are drinking our beetroot juice daily and saying, we want to look and sound as young and healthy as Rob. So we are all taking genuine strength and optimism from what we see is happening with Rob.

  8. Amy Hickman says:

    Dear Rob

    I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer on 3 December 2010. I too have secondary cancer in my bones (right hip, pelvis and upper back). It was a pain in my hip which led to the discovery of breast cancer in my right breast. I had been breast feeding my little boy and had thought the heaviness in my breast was due to milk production. I had had a breast check at the doctors in March 2010 so when I was told that the pain in my hip was due to secondary cancer I didn’t even think of breast cancer.

    I had a mastectomy on 21 December 2010 and am currently on hormone therapy treatment. I’ll start radiation treatment in the next couple of weeks.

    Like you, I am positive that I can manage this disease. I have much to live/fight for – two small children aged 3 and 1/2 and 21 months and a lovely husband.

    I have been looking at the Gawler Institute’s programme and am currently reading Ian Gawler’s book ‘You Can Beat Cancer’. I too believe that we need to take a holistic approach when dealing with cancer.

    I will continue to check up on your progress via your blog and send you positive healing thoughts.


  9. clare & yong says:

    awesome news rob……..a fantastic way to bring in the new year………let the good news continue !!!!

  10. Rachel Brown says:

    Hi Rob,

    just came across this blog while researching ovarian cancer, which i lost my Mum too nearly 5years ago and then established the NZ gynae cancer foundation.

    What a great blog you write, and its such a fantastic way for others to feel in touch with you and yet not feel they are intruding. I love your positivity and that you are determined to learn about your disease. There are so many good things cancer brings, not that we want it, but when it happens, the connectedness with family and friends is such that you may not have had that any other way, at least thats what we found.

    best wishes and I’ll pop in from time to time and read the updates! Good things happen, and no reason why they cant happen to you!


  11. Marion Hulen says:


    We just received the letter from Maureen and were so sorry to hear about your cancer. We are encouraged to hear that the treatments are going so well. I wish that we weren’t so far away but it is great that you have this blog and we can keep up to date that way. Congratulations to Emma on her upcoming marriage. We will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

    Marion and Harry Hulen

  12. William Peet says:

    Hi Rob

    Having just found your blog after our return from the islands, we just wanted to echo the comments of others regarding our support for you and Maureen. While it is impossible to understand what it must be like, sharing your experiences via a blog takes bravery and demonstrates the quality of the person you are. And great to see the improvements you’re making.

    The “integrative” approach to living is definitely the way to go. Though beetroot juice may just be a step to far…

    Kia kaha and take care

    William & Gabrielle

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