Book Review: To Kaisa - Life, Love & Complementary Health Care by Michael Vincent
This lovely book is a shining tribute to Kaisa lovingly written by her husband, the
author. Kaisa, born in Finland in 1944, was a woman of huge spirit, wit and exceptionally
mischievous humour. A person who lived life to the full, she came to the UK during
the 1960s, lived in London, Suffolk, emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1990s,
and moved to Somerset during the latter part of the 1990s. The book is illustrated
by her artist husband.
The book makes riveting reading because it chronicles honestly Kaisa's eighteen year
struggle and methods of treatment for a variety of cancers, beginning with breast
cancer in 1983, for which she received radiotherapy treatment. The book chronicles
how, the victim of misdiagnosis, patronization and being treated like a naughty child,
Kaisa gradually assembled a huge amount of knowledge, with the help of the Bristol
Cancer Help Centre, regarding complementary self-help treatments, including nutritional
and herbal medicine, relaxation, visualization and meditation, which enabled her
to remain in remission from 1983 to 1996.
Following a recurrence of breast cancer in 1996, a dispute with the oncology team
at Norfolk hospital, a transfer to the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, and a residential
week at the Bristol Cancer Help Centre, Kaisa embarked upon a combined orthodox and
complementary treatment approach, undergoing chemotherapy and a mastectomy in 1998.
It was her attitude and approach to her treatment, and how she interacted with the
medical team and her friends and family, however, that is so intriguing about this
book. Having read that negative expectations can severely undercut the patient's
ability to maintain hope, Kaisa was strong-willed and independent, attending cancer
treatment clinics by herself, keeping her illness rather private and not revealing
the true extent of her pain and suffering, steering clear of 'negative' people. Lung
cancer was diagnosed in 1999 and treated with chemotherapy in 2000 which was only
partially successful, followed by the devastating diagnosis of multiple brain tumours
in 2001. She sadly died on 2nd April 2001.
Kaisa's approach to her treatment was underpinned by a determined search for knowledge
and the answers to questions. Over many years she became exceptionally knowledgeable
about wild flowers and herbs and their healing properties. She created a herb garden
in an allotment, creating many remedies for colds, headaches, stomach problems and
the like. She also shared her knowledge with many others as well as applying it in
her efforts to cope with cancer.
She was also attracted to spiritual healing, used homeopathy and vitamin and mineral
supplements, in an attempt to strengthen her immune system. I am very moved that
one of the publications she referred to regarding vitamins and mineral supplements
was my book which originated from the Cancer and Nutrition database which I compiled
for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre during the early 1990s.
To Kaisa details her regime of nutritional and mineral supplements, herbal remedies,
as well as her dietary advice (vegetables, salads and fruits, much of it eaten raw)
as well as her favourite detoxification regime.
Other complementary therapies used to great advantage included counselling, reflexology,
aromatherapy, acupressure, shiatsu, crystal healing and meditation.
Although it is a great sadness that Kaisa died, it has also been a time of grief
for her loving husband, who has chosen to channel some of his energies to putting
together this book as a tribute to Kaisa, as well as a help to others who may be
living with cancer.
The author has stated that all proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated
to complementary health care.
1. Simonton, Simonton and Creighton. Getting Well Again. Bantam Books. 1978.
2. Goodman Sandra. Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the Art. Positive Health Publications