I have been feeling really rotten for the last few months – and I just have not been able to work it out. As I have Stage 4 Cancer, I am on many different medications, such as Tamoxifen (which we all know is vile!), Herceptin, Bisphosphonates, Statins, and Metformin to name a few. I also take a lot of carefully selected supplements to help counteract the side effects of all these drugs. When you have to take a lot of medication, it can deplete you in other essential nutrients that you would normally take for granted. So when it comes to feeling rubbish, sometimes it is difficult to work out what is making you feel that way.

Numerous blood tests and investigative processes later and I am still in the dark. But, a word of caution, when it comes to blood tests it is easy to think that if your bloods come back perfectly fine (like mine always do) that you are well. But that is not the case. When I was diagnosed in 2001 with metastisised breast cancer my bloods had been perfectly fine and all within normal ranges. (Granted they hadn’t tested for Vitamin D which was extremely low – but that is whole nother story and rant!!)

Last week I had a light bulb moment! I think I know what this ghastly malaise could be. Apart from feeling a complete weakling and tired all the time, I have been having really intense gastrointestinal problems, know as GERD: – bloating, reflux, swelling, stomach pains, runny tummy, nausea and even nasty full throttle vomiting – all for no reason. Whilst wracking my brains and going for all these endless check-ups, I suddenly remembered that, for the first time in nearly 5 years, I had not been taking my Melatonin for the last 3 months, simply because I had run out and hadn’t got my act together to order it online in the US and have it sent to my darling cousin in New York who then sends it back to the UK with whoever happens to be crossing the pond next. (Yes – so annoying that you cannot buy it here or even have it sent here from the States).

Now, most people know that Melatonin is a hormone most often associated with the sleep cycle and people use it to help get over jet-lag. But recent studies have showed that it is effective in treating a whole lot more disorders, illnesses and diseases. One of them of course is Cancer. I have been taking Melatonin since I was diagnosed, because I had seen compelling clinical evidence that it might also have positive effects on our immune system and even slow the development of cancer cells. Now, a new study of melatonin and cancer research shows that the hormone is not only reducing the side effects of chemotherapy but might also be effective at eliminating cancer cells.

So that is the original reason as to why I have been taking it for 5 years, since my diagnosis. And, of course, the add-on benefits of that is that it helps greatly with my sleep. So, now you know that melatonin can be useful for people with cancer. But whilst researching more into melatonin I have also discovered that it is now being called “The Fountain of Youth” and may slow the signs of ageing, and not only that, it can be used to treat depression. Again – this is a whole subject in itself.

So, what else can this wonder drug (not really a drug – it is a hormone) do to help my gastro-problems? Well, I had no idea until recently, but studies have shown that although it is a hormone found in the brain that it is also found at levels hundreds of times higher in the gut. In trials, patients with GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) found that their symptoms were relieved and became asymptomatic much faster using melatonin than patients who used a PPI such as Omeprazole. This is a revelation to me, and you can imagine, I have been on the blower to my cousin harassing her to find someone coming over to the UK as soon as possible, so that I can resume my daily dose of 20mg melatonin. I have heard that you can get it prescribed over here – but how hard that is, I don’t know yet. That’s my next mission.

As with my previous article on “Off Label Medications” this seems to be another drug that may be an inexpensive and very effective cancer treatment. It is a natural substance that cannot be patented, therefore Big Pharma is not interested as the earning potential for their industry is small, if anything at all. Grrrrrrrr!!! Follow me on FB: cancerismyteacher