Rockpool Publishing

Discovering the Joy of Living through a journey with cancer

The irony of a radio broadcaster being diagnosed with throat cancer wasn’t lost on author Barry Eaton, but it proved to be another chance for Eaton to test his spiritual beliefs, as he tells Verandah Magazine. His latest book, The Joy of Living, is written as a roadmap for cancer sufferers and their families.

My life changed drastically the day my ear nose and throat doctor informed me that what I naively thought was just something caught in my throat, was actually a cancerous throat tumour. Immediate surgery was the next step and “perhaps that may solve the problem”. The very word cancer is enough to send a chill up anyone’s spine, let alone when it comes in a medical diagnosis.

The burning question for me was: what next? Would surgery solve the problem or was this the start of interminable medical treatments?

Surgery did not remove all the cancer cells, and to top it off a biopsy of my thyroid also showed signs of cancer and would have to come out. Good grief, more surgery! Then following that, I faced the daunting prospect of radiotherapy, or even chemotherapy, to kill those recalcitrant cells.

The big dilemma – would I go mainstream or alternative? More lost sleep, and a decision only I could make. One thing I knew intuitively was that I would survive the ordeal – somehow. My ticket to the afterlife would not be stamped just yet.

Over the years I had chosen the holistic approach, preferring alternative procedures when health problems arose. Of course there are times when we all need to visit a doctor, and take prescription medicines. Now with my thyroid gone I faced a lifetime of taking Thyroxine tablets to provide the hormone not being naturally generated by my body.

As a general rule I prefer treatments like acupuncture, osteopathy, bush flower essences, natural medicine and spiritual healing. So I was faced with the biggest health decision of my life.

During deep meditation I received explicit instructions from my master guide whose wisdom has played an invaluable role in my life. Spirit wanted me to combine mainstream and alternative therapy and afterwards write a book about my experience. The story would help alleviate fear and inspire people to take a positive role in their healing.

My decision made, I agreed to radiotherapy, following my guide’s recommendation. I refused chemotherapy. I could then open myself up to the full range of holistic solutions and trust that my footsteps would be led in the right direction. They were.

My family was surprised, fearing that I would reject mainstream medicine, and end up as another disastrous statistic.

Synchronistically, one-by- one, a variety of therapeutic support options dropped into my lap. A healer friend offered regular energy clearing to offset the effects of radiotherapy; a very talented hypnotherapist guest from my radio program , RadioOutThere, prepared me for the thirty five hospital treatments I was facing, and I was loaned a crystal bed from John of God’s healing centre in Brazil, which I had visited in 2008.

Since being introduced to the rune stones over 25 years ago I have found them an invaluable way of tapping into my inner wisdom. Each message I received from the runes during the course of my treatment proved uncannily accurate. They clarified some of my inner turmoil and helped me understand what was happening at the time.

My friends and family gave me widespread support. My partner Anne who co-wrote ‘The Joy of Living’ from her perspective, was a vital and loving part of my journey. My son Matt provided me with the backup I needed most in the early stages. Matt has written his thoughts in The Joy of Living about the way events unfolded. I also appreciated a local congregation praying for my wellbeing, even though they didn’t know me.

When I anxiously started radiotherapy, fortunately I was emotionally and spiritually prepared. The specialist radiation staff at Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital was caring and supportive throughout the whole process.

Yes, I did face challenging times, but combining mainstream and holistic practices worked exceptionally well for me, and four years down the track I am still cancer free. Looking back, my life has changed in ways I wouldn’t have expected, and I’m a better person for the whole experience.

I believe it’s important to take some personal responsibility in challenging times like this. To collapse into fear is not the answer, nor is it always enough to simply expect one form of therapy to provide all the answers.

Barry Eaton is the author of The Joy of Living: Postponing the Afterlife (Rockpool Publishing $29.99), now available where all good books are sold and online at

Barry Eaton - Verandah Magazine – 05 May, 2017