Hi there, my name is Amanda Moss
and I'm an artist and one of the founders of Corsica Studios in London. I'm a creative, generous person full of fun and I have dedicated my whole life to the arts and to encouraging other people to express their creative talents .
Unfortunately last year I was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer and I am now facing a serious battle to try and overcome this disease. My best hope seems to lie in a combination of treaments offered by a clinic in Germany and I'm now trying to raise enough money to pay for this as unfortunately these treatments are not available in the UK.
If you'd like to help me fight this condition then your support would be so much appreciated and if you feel able to contribute in some way - either by donating something towards my treatment costs or just by sharing my story then that could make a real difference to my situation.So, what happened?
I live a very healthy lifestyle and I like to think that I take good care of myself but in April 2016 I started to feel unwell. I had begun to notice some extra weight around my middle but I just put this down to some stubborn belly-fat that wouldn't be shifted. How wrong I was...
I went to see my GP who immediately referred me for an ultrasound scan. The results came back quickly and were not good - they had detected a large mass in my pelvic area. At this stage there was no way of telling whether this was serious or not but obviously I began to fear the worst. An operation was scheduled immediately, the growth was removed and we hoped for the best.
Unfortunately the results came back and were not good. The surgeon informed me that the tumour they had removed was malignant and that I now had ovarian cancer. Not only that - I had a rarer form of the disease called a mucinous carcinoma of the ovary that had no specific treatment regime. The surgeon thought that he had removed everything and had caught it just in time but unfortunately the cancer had already spread to other areas in my abdomen and I was informed that I was now at stage 3A.What treatment is on offer?
The generally recognised treatment on offer for ovarian cancer is a course of chemotherapy and success rates for this are accepted as being 50/50 at best. Since there is no specific treatment protocol for the type of cancer that I have, all I can be offered is this standard chemo regime which has an even lower success outcome for my type of disease.
So this was the choice I now faced - undergo chemotherapy with all the unpleasant side-effects that this entailed and knowing full well that there was a very limited chance of success - or look for an alternative treatment route that would be less damaging to my immune system and have a less toxic impact on my body .The Oncology team themselves told me that they would fully understand if I chose not to have chemotherapy as the odds of it being successful were so low. What to do next?
Having already seen my father go through a conventional treatment program of chemo and radiotherapy three years previously and witnessing the terrible side effects that he experienced, I was determined to explore alternatives. With such a poor prognosis what did I have to lose?
I immediately began to research the condition and what my options were. I came across many reports of people who had chosen not to have chemo and who had also taken other routes and I quickly discovered that there are lots and lots of alternative treatment options out there but most are only available abroad.
Clinics in Mexico, Switzerland and Germany - amongst other places - are pioneering new approaches and methods and all could provide treatments that would be much less toxic and potentially more successful than the standard chemotherapy that I was being offered.
After much research I decided to take an Integrative approach to my treatment where the focus is multi faceted. There is an emphasis on changing diet and concentrating on nutrition to boost the immune system and then on combining lower doses of chemotherapy with numerous supplements and less toxic agents to manage the cancer progression. It is important to try and defeat the cancer with a strong and healthy immune system in place - something that would be totally wiped out if I went through conventional chemo.
Immediately after my operation my cancer markers went back to normal - which was great news - but over the next few months they slowly began to rise again suggesting that the disease was returning much more quickly than had been expected.
With no time to waste, at the end of last year I decided to come to a clinic in Germany for a week to take some tests and begin treatments. Thankfully we had some funds put aside for a rainy day which we were able to use for this initial round and the results were immediately encouraging. Having been on a strict nutritional program since my operation in May 2016 and after just one week of initial treaments my markers dropped back to a much more acceptable range. Something seemed to be working!
This was only the very first stage of treatment however and we still needed to wait for more test results to come back before working out what to do next. Unfortunately over Xmas I began to feel unwell again and tests in the New Year confirmed that the disease was progressing once more.
I now needed to start the full treatment program before things escalated further and as a result I have had to come back to Germany and commence the next round of treatments. This is where it gets scary...
The various supplements and treatments that I have been taking in the UK have been costing almost £1,500 a month
- a figure that we can just about afford to keep up with by cutting back on pretty much everything non-essential.
However, the treatments I need in Germany amount to over €7,000 a week
and it is likely that I will need to be based here for at least 6-8 weeks
for this round of treatment. On top of this there are accomodation, food and travel costs for my partner and myself. My family and close friends have already helped to cover the intial costs but it will shortly be impossible for us to cover the ongoing costs without some help very soon.
The Doctors here have told me that we do have time to fight the condition but our best chance of preventing the disease progressing is if we can go through as much of the program as possible and we're really hoping that we can raise enough money to fund the entire course. I may well have to come back at a later date for a second, further course of treatment so I'm really hoping to raise enough money to also cover for this eventuality, should it arise.
I know that each of us has our own hardships, difficulties and tragedies to face and the last thing that I want to do is add to that. Unfortunately I have to act now and ask for your help before my condition worsens as once our funds run out, the treatment stops.
My partner and I have dedicated over twenty years of our lives to creating spaces where people can come together and enjoy art and music, where they can dance, celebrate, enjoy life and fall in love. It has been an incredibly tough but rewarding journey and we have sacrificed much and given everything in our lives to make it happen. It is time now to ask if you can give something back to help us in facing our biggest challenge yet.
Each and every donation will help me get one step further to reaching my target and securing the treatment I need. I totally understand if donating isn't possible though and that's ok too - times are hard for lots of us and we all have our own struggles. If you can't donate then at the very least sharing this message may help spread awareness and help bring attention to this terrible condition that I and so many other women have to face.Thanks for taking the time to read my story and for any help or support that you can offer.