That Headless Chicken is one tough rooster
Kiwi musician Grant Fell has just learnt he is cancer-free and has been enjoying a few beers to celebrate.
And both he and his wife, Rachael Churchward, are adamant his success is a result of a strict diet eliminating sugar and carbohydrates.
With the help of their oncologist, they say they integrated a weekly chemotherapy dose with a ketogenic diet - that forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates - which included consuming frankincense, turmeric and sea cucumber.
The former bass player in 90s alt-pop band Headless Chickens and co-editor of fashion magazine Black now plans to publish a book about his journey.
‘‘Just to share the knowledge that I’ve learned – it might help some other people,’’ he said.
News of Fell’s glioblastoma – a cancerous brain tumour – rocked the music and fashion community in 2015.
They rallied behind him, raising $11,000 from a fundraiser at Ponsonby pub Golden Dawn, and $40,000 from a Givealittle page.
It’s been two and a half weeks since Fell learned his cancer was in remission. He’s spent some of those days enjoying a few beers in the sun while listening to his favourite soul/funk music.
But mostly, he’s been learning to walk again and letting the news sink in.
‘‘There were many times when I thought I wouldn’t make it,’’ he said.
‘‘More recently I was preparing to go into palliative care because I was so hard to look after. I thought my life was going to end and I thought I’d go into a home to make it easier for my wife.’’
Churchward spent days and nights researching and caring for Fell while measuring his fat and protein intake.
‘‘It’s made me stronger – I’m pretty strong anyway – but it’s made me realise that I can actually do a lot more than I thought I could,’’ she said.
New Zealand Music Foundation general manager Peter Dickens said Fell’s ‘‘innovative and brave approach’’ to his health was typical of his creative knack – a legacy that continued after his involvement with the Headless Chickens.
The foundation provides emergency assistance to Kiwi musicians and their families.
‘‘The contribution that Headless Chickens made to NZ music can’t be overstated,’’ Dickens said.
‘‘What a lot of people don’t know about Grant was that he also directed their music videos, so his influence stretches far beyond guitar playing, it is his whole approach to his creative efforts and his efforts in music.’’
It’s expected to be another two years before Fell is back, fully functioning.
Headless Chickens frontman Grant Fell, seen here with wife Rachael Churchward, says a diet high in fats and low in carbohydrates helped him beat cancer.