"I could just sit there and feel normal"
Freyja found her local Brain Tumour Support Group by accident.
At the age of just 28, she had lost her husband to a rare form of abdominal cancer and less than a year later was then diagnosed with a brain tumour.
She had gone to her local library to get some financial advice and happened to see a sign that said there was a Brain Tumour Support Group taking place upstairs. She just walked in and sat down.
“It was amazing,” she said. “For the first time in a long time, I could just sit there and feel normal. Everyone was so welcoming and open. There were no barriers.”
Freyja has now been a member of our Cornwall Support Group for two years and has made firm friends. She recently launched Wholesome World, an app aimed at helping brain tumour and cancer patients access recipes, nutritional information and lifestyle resources.
This wasn’t some crazy business idea - in fact Freyja isn’t making any money from this project yet - but rather the culmination of a long and painful journey.
Freyja’s husband started the research for what he hoped would be a book, several years ago when he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He died in 2014, just two months after they were married.
A year later, Freyja was diagnosed with a brain tumour after suffering dizzy spells, walking into doors and blacking out several times. An MRI scan showed what looked like a big black hole in her brain – an oligodendroglioma.
After surgery and several rounds of radio- and chemo-therapy, she worked hard at relearning to talk, getting her memory working and doing activities that she used to love, like surfing and running.
During this time, she found good nutrition really helped and she became interested in the work of Dr David Servan-Schreiber – a doctor, a celebrated psychiatrist and neuroscientist, who died of a brain tumour in 2011. His mission was to tell people that by making a few simple lifestyle changes they would have a far better chance of staying well.
“It helped me feel positive between doctors’ appointments and I wanted to pass this knowledge on to other cancer and brain tumour patients,” said Freyja. “I also wanted to use some of the research that my husband had done.”
Freyja’s Wholesome World app features recipes with details about how each ingredient helps cancer patients and also has a library of lifestyle and medical resources.
Today, Freyja has been given the “all clear”, but will need scans every six months for the rest of her life and is still focused on maintaining a healthy life. “My husband was given the ‘all clear’ three times before he died,” said Freyja. “I still suffer from fatigue and I don’t think I interact with people in what most would call a normal way.” This is why her Brain Tumour Support Group became such an important part of her life.
“Having somewhere I can go and be with others like me is so important,” said Freyja. “With friends and family, you worry about upsetting people, but with my Support Group, I don’t have to worry about that. There is no need to hold back – everyone is in the same boat.”
Wholesome World is a collection of recipes, nutritional information and lifestyle resources from medical research to nutritional, physical and mental health, as well as maintaining a stress-free and happy lifestyle. All of the recipes and information on the app are specifically designed for patients recovering from cancer and for families helping loved ones through cancer treatments, however, anyone can use the app for a healthier and more nutritious lifestyle.
The app will enable you to:
– save your favourite meals
– create a shopping list
– link to ingredients
– see nutritional information for every recipe
– find lifestyle and healthcare information
– share with family and friends
See more at www.wholesomeworld.com
Read more about how we help
Brain Tumour Support offers support to brain tumour patients and their families in a variety of ways - support sessions and groups, one-to-one, counselling, telephone and on-line support.