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During my recovery, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, where the thyroid is underactive and is another explanation for all my tiredness and lack of energy.  So more pills to be taken each day, to add to the rest!  Honestly, I’d rattle if you shook me.

I was back at work 4 weeks after the surgery, whereas most of the ladies in the DIEP Flap group seem to be taking 6-8 weeks off work, but I’ve always coped better when distracted and busy. 

Now as I’m writing this, just over 2 months after surgery, all my wounds have healed, there’s no pain, and the swelling in my tummy is subsiding. 

Eventually my tummy will be flat – definitely an upside to the DIEP Flap as you get a tummy tuck as part of the process!  It’s good to look on the bright side!  I’ll need to have a Phase 2 procedure in a few months to tidy things up a bit and make the breasts more even, but it will be a walk in the park compared to Phase 1. 

If I look at how much my life has changed before and after cancer, it’s like a total transformation, I will never ever be the same again. 

And in many ways, it has saved my life. I don’t take anything for granted any more.  I feel so grateful, every single day, for all the many blessings in my life, and so many wonderful things have happened to me since I said goodbye to my old self.  

Of course, I am covered in scars, have no sensation in my breasts, have been catapulted into early menopause, gained a ton of weight, and am riddled with aches and pains!  

But all of that pales into insignificance, when you consider the alternative.  I’m alive, I’m loved, I’m surrounded by friends and family all the time (where I had felt quite alone and sorry for myself before cancer). I’m spending lots of time with my 8-year-old son, making memories and seeing him grow into the most wonderful, funny, infuriating, cheeky, loving, talented young man, who understands so much more than I ever would have thought possible. 

As in all things, perspective is king – by focusing on the positives, I’ve never been happier and the universe is being extremely good to me.”

It’s as if it knows that cancer is a big enough beast for any human being to deal with, and you are only ever given as much as you can cope with. 

Have a question for Emma? Write to us at readers@gulfnews.com

This is a weekly blog by Emma Rymer. Emma is a long-time UAE resident, employed in a private sector firm. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and was cleared by the doctors as completely cancer-free in early 2018. She writes this weekly blog in the hope that other women or men going through the same process can find strength and resilience from her journey. Emma lives in Dubai with her family.