Just wrapping up my immunotherapy infusions, about 2 years after diagnosis and starting treatment! Image Credit: Supplied

Back to my post-surgery diagnosis, and more processing of bad news.  I bounced back quickly, there was no point obsessing about statistics. I had to stay positive and I was incredibly lucky to have so many options for treatment available to me, which would help to prevent the unthinkable from happening. 

Another PINK Lady who would later succumb to the illness sent me a lovely handmade note with her driver that day, as she was also on oral chemo and wanted to reassure me that it was OK and that I would be fine. 

Such a wonderful person, I feel so lucky to have had her in my life at that point in time when I needed to hear what she had to say. 

Emma - "At the races with some of the beautiful Pink Ladies"

Radiotherapy was tougher than I expected it to be, I think for me the hardest thing has been the fatigue, which is cumulative.  After three months of chemo, and a double surgery, a month of radiation continues to tire out the body and my emotions were all over the place. 

I was so grateful for the wonderful radiology technicians who gave me all kinds of emotional therapy as well, making me laugh and cry at the same time, as I got to know them over the course of my daily visits. 

I suffered from quite bad burns as my skin is naturally very fair, but it soon healed of course. 

Then I started my 3-weekly course of immunotherapy, which doesn’t really have any side effects but over time it started to take its toll on my heart, and at one of my Echo exams, the cardiologist confirmed muscle weakness and a leaking valve, for which I’d need to take more medication. 

Cancer is truly the gift that keeps on giving!

Luckily the meds have got me back on track, and it also addressed the extreme tiredness I had been feeling, so that was a relief, as I really thought I was going crazy needing to take afternoon naps every day! 

Last summer I decided that what I really needed was a complete body and mind detox, so my husband treated me for my birthday to a week’s stay at a resort in Thailand where I fasted for 5 ½ days and had daily sessions of yoga, meditation, massages and all kinds of alternative healing therapies. 

I was on my own for the first time and really embraced the solitude.  It was the best thing I could have ever done for myself, and I came back not only thinner, but also more energised, relaxed and centred than I had been in years. 

And I had let go of all fears and angst, it’s as if I had hit the reset button.  This is what I felt gave me the strength to enter my next surgery, which would turn out to be the biggest thing I have done in my life.

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.