Our long term survivors…
embraced the Grace Gawler Institute’s intelligent science-based approach to cancer recovery. The patients whose stories you will read below, were guided through the complex cancer maze supported by our Survivorship Care Plan. The Plan involved a personalised and trusted relationship with the their cancer navigator.
We observed that our survivors were often seekers of ‘out of the box’ or innovative approaches, but did not know how to self-navigate though the cancer maze. Our Survivorship Care Plan provided them with the perfect partnership; self-empowerment combined with knowledge and experienced guidance.
Authentic Stories: All our patient stories are medically verifiable. To protect patient privacy, names and photos are omitted. Some patients had long and difficult journeys and ultimately succumbed to their illness. To honour their tenacity, even though they are no longer with us, we are currently constructing a special page where their stories can live on.
Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer – diagnosed April 2020
Yvonne – Adelaide, South Australia.
When I was diagnosed with stage 3 Ovarian Cancer in late 2020, I knew I needed to take immediate action and find specialized help. But where? Throughout my initial surgery and subsequent chemotherapy, I felt I was in very good hands, but it soon became clear to me that each stage of treatment takes place in isolation, with little collaboration, ongoing planning, or support, between practitioners.
I ‘found’ Grace while still having chemotherapy. I joined a Survivorship Care Plan that provided weekly check-ins and video consultations. Since then, Grace has informed, coordinated services, guided, and supported me. She recommended and organised genomic testing which has pointed the way forward in terms of nutrition, medication, and treatments suitable for me as an individual.
Grace is fully attuned to the ‘whole person’ – her decades of knowledge and experience have equipped her to not only help one manage their cancer journey, but to recognize and suggest potential treatment options for related health issues. I believe Graces’ approach has set me on the road to recovery far more quickly and effectively than I could ever have achieved on my own.
I’ve been in remission since April 2021; I’m feeling well, positive, and fully optimistic for a long and purposeful future. I’m confident that with Graces’ ongoing help and support, I can continue my path to complete wellness.
Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer – diagnosed April 2021 – mastectomy
Judith – Melbourne, Victoria
In April 2021, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. To say I was shocked is an understatement. I was convinced that my healthy, vegan lifestyle of many years would protect me from cancer. I was able to make arrangements for a mastectomy but that was about all. I had no idea what to expect after the operation and no idea of how to go about choosing an oncologist.
Luckily for me, I stumbled across Grace Gawler’s website and was able to have a Zoom meeting with her about a week before surgery. It was amazing the difference it made to the way I felt about my future. Grace, with her knowledge and experience, was able to bring a feeling of calm and control to a situation which until then had felt like I was walking through a nightmare. She supported my choice to have a mastectomy and gave information and advice about the operation which increased my feelings of control.
After the operation, Grace suggested various genomic tests which might identify the best path forward. She was also able to direct me to an amazing oncologist who understands the person as well as the disease.
I would sincerely recommend Grace to anyone who is going through the cancer maze. It can be a very lonely and confronting journey and sometimes one with which even family members can’t really identify. But Grace Gawler can; she’s been there, done that and she understands the emotions as well as the disease.
Judith Sept 2021
Judith update: October 2021
An extremely important part of my recovery has been the weekly video Survivorship Care Plan sessions I have with Grace.
Recurrent TNBC (Triple Negative Breast Cancer) BRCA2 mutation
Alison – NSW – Diagnosed 2016 – double mastectomy – various chemotherapies and radiotherapy – Became a GGI Navigated Patient in Sept 2020
Recurrent TNBC with a BRCA2 mutation was a confronting diagnosis and the standard treatments for TNBC patients did not work for me. Searching for alternative treatments on the internet and elsewhere wasted my time, energy and money.
But instead of giving up hope and living the rest of my life in fear, fortunately I found Grace Gawler !
With decades of experience and a vast knowledge of treatments in Australia and internationally, Grace sorts fact from fiction and leaves no stone unturned to find evidenced-based therapies for me.
The pandemic has stopped me from pursuing any overseas options, but in the meantime, Grace told me about a state-of-the-art and minimally invasive stereotactic radiotherapy treatment in Perth to deal with a liver metastasis.
Knowledge is power so Grace’s advice and support, every step of the way, empowers me in my oncology consultations. Like the rest of my family, I’m very grateful for Grace’s ongoing commitment to help me.
She cares about me as a person, not just a patient and has made an incredible difference in my LIFE.
ALISON M – July 2021
Irene – Primary Peritoneal Cancer – Diagnosed 2017 – updated 23 April 2021
Irene, Qld, 2017 – written by Irene’s husband – Joe
In 2017 my wife was diagnosed with Primary Peritoneal cancer where the treatment was the same as Ovarian cancer. After the operation and first lot of Chemo therapy my wife had ongoing intravenous Chemo based preventative injections. After about 8 months her CA125 count started to climb to above 30. At this point she had to start the chemo sessions again. I was aware of the success of the Japan immunotherapy treatment which worked for my niece’s partner who had breast cancer and was running out of options in Australia. We decided that ongoing chemo was not going to work for very long so I contacted Grace at the Grace Gawler Institute to access the treatment ASAP. Grace responded quickly and explained and organised the start of the treatment process some 6 weeks later.
Metastatic Ovarian Cancer
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis 1990. 2021 resolved. Minimal residual ovarian cancer 2021
Anna F – Sydney NSW, Australia
When I was first diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, I was not at all concerned, we had found it early and I had complete faith in the medical team that I had supporting me. I was sure that I would get treatment and life would go back to normal.
Well, none of that happened. My first round of Chemo resulted in an anaphylactic response, so we were sent home and told to come back in a week for a different treatment. While the other chemos were not as severe, I continue to be challenged by the treatment and I was horribly unwell on it. But I persevered and completed 8 months of it. At that stage I hoped it was the end of it. Unfortunately, at a follow up appointment 6 months later I was told that it was visible again. So, we moved onto a large surgery to scrap out my insides and internal chemo wash during it, followed by another 6 months of chemo. It did not take long before we had that conversation again, after three months it was visible again.
Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma – base of tongue and lymph node – A minimally invasive approach.
Diagnosed 2019 – still in Remission 2021
Lawrence – Northern NSW, Australia. Contacted Grace Gawler Institute. Nov 2019
Here’s what Lawrence had to say about his experience being navigated by the Grace Gawler Institute….
“Although I was the patient, my journey was a joint partnership with my wife.
In October 2019, I discovered a lump in my neck. This came as a great shock as I had been
living a very healthy lifestyle and I felt fitter than I had felt for many years. I got the shocking
news that I had Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
The referring radiologist’s recommendations of a biopsy, surgery and a possible neck
dissection, followed up by chemo-radiation therapy just didn’t feel right, as the potential side
effects sounded horrific. It scared the hell out of me.
My wife and I were desperately searching Dr Google for alternative cures, and while
researching nutrition, stumbled upon the Grace Gawler Institute. It felt like a good fit for us, and we sent an email straight away.
Undifferentiated Pleomorphic Soft Tissue Sarcoma with Metastases – diagnosed 2014
2021 moving towards Remission
Wayne R – Busselton, West Australia, contacted us in Dec 2019
My name is Wayne and I have been wrestling with soft tissue sarcoma for 6 years, Large primary tumour in the thigh with secondary large abdominal tumour.
Initially following mainstream treatment options (chemo, radiotherapy, surgery) I respectfully passed up on the proposed surgery and was referred to palliative care.
Our Long Term Survivors tell their Stories:
Metastatic squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) –
Diagnosed 2010 – 2021 still in Remission
Alan M. Gold Coast. Long Term Survivor – left sinus spread to scalp and facial nerves in 2010.
One year before my cancer diagnosis I had constant headaches, but all standard diagnostic tests were normal. Then I developed numbness throughout my left scalp that spread to my tongue nose and then mouth. An MRI found a meningioma, but they thought that it was benign and nothing to do with my symptoms. A biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma in behind my eye and surrounding structures. Pathology performed on my tissue called it a secondary or metastatic SCC cancer, but no primary lesion was found.
Advanced metastatic squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
Diagnosed 2013 – Still in remission 2021
Robert – Perth, WA. Long Term Survivor – salivary gland with lung metastases – 2013.
My original diagnosis in 2013 showed a parotid tumour. I had a neck dissection diagnosed with SCC with mets in lung. PET CT showed avid nodules. The prognosis was poor. Grace Gawler, from the Grace Gawler Institute, organised for me to visit Japan for immune therapy in September 2015 after previous surgery, chemotherapy and radiation failed to halt progression of my metastases. Remarkably I only went once and the benefit was huge.
Metastatic squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – orbit and optic nerve (SCC)
Diagnosed 2016 – still in Remission 2021
John, Sydney, NSW. Long Term Survivor.
A high profile NSW man, contacted the Grace Gawler Institute just two days before his scheduled surgery at a reputable Sydney hospital. They were about remove his eye socket & upper facial quadrant. He was extremely distressed knowing he faced a rigorous 5 month recovery affecting his quality of life. Given the urgency of his situation, within hours of his Skype call, Grace consulted her international medical network for a second opinion. Before long his scans & reports were sent to renowned eye cancer experts in Germany & Japan. A lengthy dialogue with many email exchanges followed.
Metastatic prostate cancer:
Diagnosed 2011 – still in Remission 2021
Pete – Qld
I was 43 when diagnosed with prostate cancer. At the time of diagnosis, my PSA was over 100. The cancer had already metastasised from my prostate; several lymph nodes were involved and there were spots detected in my ribs. I was told that control and not cure was the objective and that because of my age; the cancer was overly aggressive. Life changed dramatically that day. Advanced metastatic gallbladder cancer Janet – Queensland. Long Term Survivor Janet’s husband –”I feel so lucky that I clicked onto Grace’s name whilst doing a google search on behalf of my wife, Janet, who was diagnosed with advanced metastatic gallbladder cancer. * When I clicked onto her website, I immediately related to the mantra of ‘navigating the cancer maze’! That was exactly what Janet and I needed. Grace immediately gave us new HOPE, VISION & DIRECTION that we were sadly lacking at that stage of our journey! Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) locally advanced – both breasts.
Diagnosed 2016 – still in Remission 2021
Diagnosed 2014 – still in Remission 2021
Advanced metastatic gallbladder cancer
Janet – Queensland. Long Term Survivor
Janet’s husband –”I feel so lucky that I clicked onto Grace’s name whilst doing a google search on behalf of my wife, Janet, who was diagnosed with advanced metastatic gallbladder cancer. * When I clicked onto her website, I immediately related to the mantra of ‘navigating the cancer maze’! That was exactly what Janet and I needed. Grace immediately gave us new HOPE, VISION & DIRECTION that we were sadly lacking at that stage of our journey!
Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) locally advanced – both breasts.
Sandra B. NSW. Long Term Survivor – Long term remission from 2014.
I was shocked when diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer – a high grade carcinoma with lymph node involvement. The doctors said that my cancer was locally advanced with several lumps evident on scans throughout my breast. I had only found one lump which I ignored for several months before seeking help. When further suspicious nodes were found I began to lose hope. I was lucky they said as my cancer had not metastasised anywhere else in my body it was localised in the breast and lower nodes. I was told that these types of tumours (TNBC) are often chemo resistant and there were no guarantees that even with radical treatment that I would be OK. Despondent with my poor prognosis, I was even more fearful when many doctors said that because I was young, 40 years old, my cancer was likely to be extremely aggressive and fast growing. There were no hormone treatments.
Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) locally advanced.
Diagnosed 2015 – still in Remission 2021
Alexa M. Victoria. Long Term Survivor. 2015
Early in 2015 at 54 years of age I underwent a lumpectomy and chose not to have follow up treatment. My breast lump was relatively small, and surgeons said they had performed a wide excision and although they recommended, I follow up with either chemotherapy alone or radiotherapy or both to be sure. Under the microscope my small lump was a triple negative breast cancer. A positive thinker, I’d always had an ethic of following natural and lifestyle medicine and I was prepared to take the risk of getting on with my life and leaving cancer behind me.
I travelled overseas for a holiday, but although I did not mention to anyone, nagging fears began to plague me; fears about the cancer coming back. Those fears caused me to decide whilst I was in Europe that I would undergo a course of treatment at a German Cancer clinic where I had a few treatments including whole body hyperthermia to help prevent a recurrence. I took supplements prescribed by a naturopath and German doctor. I thought little about breast cancer when I returned to Australia.
Advanced Micro Papillary Breast Cancer with Bone Metastases.
Diagnosed 2014 – still in Remission November 2021
Marianne, NSW. Long Term Survivor
Grace is the light in a sea of darkness for me. An angel brought into my life, she guided me through the complex process of obtaining effective cancer treatments overseas! Having been diagnosed in February 2014 with breast cancer, and having taken a number of alternative treatments working on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level, I was given the all clear. However, in November 2016, I was diagnosed with a huge tumour in my breast which metastasised extensively into my bones.
Invasive Breast Carcinoma – Triple Positive
Diagnosed 2014 – still in Remission 2021
Marnie, Queensland 2014 – Early stage Breast Cancer:
“I had the good fortune to find Grace Gawler and Dr Bruce Whelan through Grace’s book “Women of Silence” that was recommended to me by a friend shortly after my breast cancer diagnosis in September 2014.
Breast Cancer: To our best knowledge:
Diagnosed 2015 – still in Remission 2021
Fairlie South Australia – Breast Cancer
Grace is the “missing link” in the complex world of multi-disciplinary cancer management and treatment. Her ability to see the whole landscape of treatment and care options both nationally and internationally is unparalleled! As someone with a recent breast cancer diagnosis, she has been invaluable in assisting me with unpacking and interpreting the myriad of differing opinion that is out there.
Advanced breast cancer – hormone positive – stage IV (Male) lung metastases.
Diagnosed 2006 – tumours dormant in 2021
Mark. Brisbane. Long Term Survivor
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. I had a mastectomy and chemo. My cancer came back in 16 lymph nodes and both lungs. Australia had nothing new or promising to offer. They just gave me time and said I had a hard road ahead of me.
So my wife started a Google search and came across Grace’s website. We joined a Survive & Thrive Cancer Navigation Plan in 2014.
With Grace’s Cancer Navigation Service, Grace collaborates with various overseas doctors on our behalf, advising and monitoring all treatments in great detail and consistency.
Diagnosed 2002 – many recurrences – low grade to high grade 2021
Carol. New Zealand – Long Term Survivor.
Grace saved my mums life. She read the medical files, had a Skype session with us, told us who could help, forwarded all files and a summary to those doctors, and kept in relatively good contact along the way. Mums stage 4 cancer is now barely visible. Best of all she’s alive after NZ doctors said she had 3 months maybe a few more to live. That was back in 2017. Thank you. Carol’s Daughter.
NOTE: Carol has survived using a combination of treatments including proton beam, cell based immune therapy and other targeted treatments.
Ovarian cancer – liver and peritoneal metastases
Diagnosed 2015 – still in remission 2021
Rachel. Queensland, Australia – Long Term Survivor
Email update from Rachel: Just letting you know I had PET/CT scan and results yesterday and I am all clear. I have No cancer! Many, many thanks for all your care of me and support over the past year and a bit and throughout my cancer journey. You gave us direction, courage, hope and lots of good paths to follow especially sending us to Japan and recommending a new oncologist and surgeon. My husband and I are so very grateful. We can’t thank you enough.
Rachel’s Story: In January 2016 liver metastases were diagnosed along with multiple peritoneal nodes.
Hepatocellular Carcinoma – advanced primary liver cancer
Diagnosed 2017 – Long Term Survivor
My name is Gary, I was diagnosed with severe advanced liver cancer in 2017 of this year. I was given a year to live – probably less. Knowing I was in trouble I started checking around. Fortunately after combing the internet I came across a cancer navigator. Never heard of one of those but it was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me.
Advanced (local spread) Rectal Adenocarcinoma.
Diagnosed 2017 – still in Remission.
I cannot recommend Grace highly enough. Because of her, I’m now cancer-free. I was diagnosed last December, and didn’t know what to do. Luckily I found Grace, and I signed up for a cancer navigation package. I was totally opposed to having medical treatment, but she convinced me that that was the right way to go.
Nodal Marginal Zone Non-Hodgkins lymphoma stage IV.
Diagnosed 2017 – still in Remission 2021
Karen. Darwin- Long Term Survivor – Oct 2017.
In October 2017, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Nodal Marginal Zone Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A mouthful I know! My NHL is one of over 40 different types of lymphoma. Mine is a very rare one and there is currently no treatment available for me. I am on what the Doctor’s call a ‘watch and wait’, with my Haematologist checking me every 4 months for symptoms. This means that I wait until it gets worse and I start to display symptoms then they will do chemotherapy treatment.