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I have been overwhelmed with the support and love that has come my way, from my family to my employers to the mums in my son’s school class, to the PINK Ladies.  My husband has been incredible, he’s much more patient with me these days, just letting me be me and handle it my way.  My employer has allowed me to work part time after my mastectomy, so I could get my strength and energy levels back and spend more time doing things for me. 

When people tell me how strong I am, I keep thinking of everyone else going through the same thing and worse, with such grace and humour, always finding time to support others in the same boat, and I am in such awe of them and feel so grateful.  My advice to everyone – with cancer or cancer free - is simply to enjoy the good days (there are so many), ride out the tough ones and then shake them off, and live your life with purpose.  Do not waste a single minute on negative thoughts, or lying on the couch feeling sorry for yourself.

A lot of people do survive breast cancer, so there’s every reason to hope for the best, and fight it with everything you have.

Assuming I’m one of the lucky ones, I really feel that this gave me the kick in the backside that I needed to stop prioritising career advancement and money over family and living a more balanced life.  It’s never too late to make those changes, and if it weren’t for cancer I would probably have continued to be a workaholic and be missing out on all the wonderful experiences of being a mum, wife, daughter, friend, etc.  Which is why I say that in fact cancer saved my life, rather than ended it. 

Whenever I think back to my cancer journey, I still get very emotional.  Only last night I watched a show on ITV called ‘The Real Full Monty – Ladies Night’ where a group of British celebrity women bared their breasts at a packed theatre in Sheffield to raise awareness of breast cancer and the importance of checking yourself.  I cried like a baby throughout the entire show, but the tears that fall whenever I relive my journey are incredibly cleansing and only serve to reaffirm how fortunate I feel to be here now talking about my experience.

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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.