T U M O U R // F R E E

It’s a strange feeling knowing that there’s a tumour in your body. You immediately want it out. Cut it out. Zap it out. Fry it dry. You’ll do anything to get it out there and then. It’s as if you’re possessed by some kind of demon that takes over your every thought. It’s like an exorcism of sorts where you’ll swear on oath, on every form of higher power known to you and your belief to evict the demon within. In my case the elaborate exorcism ritual has been in the form of chemo.

So Monday was the day we found out whether this crude exorcism has been doing it’s job. It had been a long anxious wait for this day  which would be a great indicator of my progress, and would more importantly give me an answer at last. Sunday was indeed a sweaty sleepless night with all possible scenarios running through my mind as to what the ultrasound scan would reveal. I was just praying to the universe that it hadn’t grown! That’s all I hoped for.

Surprisingly I was very calm on Monday morning. Mum was there by my side on the day at the Imaging Centre, taking deep breathes for the both of us as we watched with anticipation as the specialist scanned the lubed up culprits.

The result : NO sign of the small tumour anymore. The little devil that so distinctively presented itself on the ultrasound monitor less than 2.5 months ago, was GONE.

9 weeks of chemo and I was TUMOUR FREE!!! I should have cried, but I didn’t.

I couldn’t really fathom what was on the screen, which was nothing, as last time there was a clear black mass which I guess I had expected to see again. I felt quite numb, almost apprehensive. I’ve had a few low blows so seeing that this was the first amazing result, I was a bit hesitant to accept it was actually real!

I had been manifesting this result and had imagined I’d be screaming with elation and crying tears of pure joy, but there was actually none of that. I was too emotionally exhausted from not just Sunday nights sleepless night, but I guess also from a culmination of the previous few months unanswered questions and that underlying anxiety that lingered more often than I’d like to admit. And in hindsight perhaps I was scared to really get excited out of fear that I’d get the call saying “Sorry we go it wrong”. The Cheshire cat like smile on my specialist’s face should have triggered some kind of outrageous reaction from me, but instead I just took it all in with the deepest exhale and feelings of pure gratitude and relief. And yeah, I’ll admit a bit of disbelief too.

The fact that I’m TUMOUR FREE  is bloody AMAZING!! I’m beyond stoked and feeling so ecstatic. However it doesn’t mean that I am Cancer Free. There is still the chance that there are cancerous cells in the breast area surrounding my tumour/s and of course the lymph nodes. The final test to confirm whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes can only be done whilst I’m under a general anesthetic and cut open which will be during my next surgery. They will inject a blue ink into the area and if the ink spreads up into my sentinal and or other nodes, then that indicates that the cancer is present. These will then be removed to prevent the cancer from traveling through the rest of my body. If this is the case the I’ll also need radiation after this surgery. If there is NO sign of cancerous cells in the lymph nodes then I’ll be able to by pass radiation. Because I’m having a double mastectomy any cancerous cells surrounding the areas where my tumours were, will all be cleared when the whole breast tissue is removed.

Another massive relief is to finally have some answers regarding my double mastectomy and reconstruction. I’m so so so relieved to know that I can have reconstruction at the same time as the double mastectomy meaning that I can wake up and have implants and not have to wait for a second surgery for this procedure. I was so scared that my surgeon would tell me that I need to have a double mastectomy and then radiation before reconstruction. I know boobs or hair or eyelashes don’t define me as a person or woman, but it doesn’t mean I want to wake up without them. I’m so amazed at all those strong powerful women who decide that reconstruction surgery isn’t necessary for them. But I choose boobs! And I’m proud to say it.

Listening to my very confident and comforting Breast & Plastic Surgeon describe the two different options for surgery provided me with such relief and reassurance as what I thought would be a barbaric surgery, is in fact something less brutal than I had thought. Sure it’s going to be confronting and emotional, tight and painful, and yes ‘draining’ in more ways than one, but at least there will be some ‘perks’ to this whole breast cancer debacle in the form of some sweet C cup Ta-Ta’s.

What’s so fascinating is that less than a month prior to being diagnosed I had sat on a beautiful beach in Thailand feeling so content with life & love, with my heart bursting with gratitude thinking there has to be some kind of adversity that I’m going to be faced with in life, because one can’t simply be this fortunate. I’ve always been pretty in tune with my gut, so perhaps this was it’s way of revealing a warning of what was soon to come.

At the time of the tumours discovery I felt tainted, dirty, guilty, contaminated. I felt like I’d done something wrong, or brought this on in some way. However, my logical mind was able to rationalize this thought and eradicate it pretty quickly. I’ve never once said or thought “Why me?” but rather just accepted that it’s one of those times when you just get dealt a pretty shitty card, something that can’t be controlled no matter how many times you want to curse, blaspheme and or cry.

The one very powerful thing that I have realized that I can control in this whole cancer conundrum is my reaction to this not so fabulous circumstance.  A beautiful friend of mine sent me this quote by an unknown author  which I continually draw strength & inspiration from:

No matter what somebody does to you or what life throws up, you can choose your response. Jesus called it turning the other cheek, Buddhists practice it by reacting to good and bad with equanimity, and the ancient Jews saw it as a case of never laying blame on others for the way you feel. Blame is epidemic nowadays, but you need to understand it’s as pointless as getting angry about the weather.
In this life, you control nothing but yourself.
If you can overcome your impulse to blame and choose your reaction instead… a magnificent life presents itself where you are the master of every decision you make. Controlling impulse….is the hardest test in life, but ultimately, my darling, it will set you free.

– Author unknown

I choose happiness. I choose hope. And above all I choose a magnificent, malignant -free life.


2 thoughts on “T U M O U R // F R E E

  1. Hi Emma
    My name Is Cheryl, i’am Scotty Sheppards mum, also a close friend of Mike & Sarah’s
    I saw Sarah yesterday and as always I asked about you, she told me you were doing so well and also to follow your blog which I have just finished reading, people like yourself never cease to amaze me with your strength,determination and pure grit, & love for life.
    Stay strong and keep on fighting, you will beat this insidious disease.
    You have many wonderful friends that are fighting this disease with you every minute of the day.
    I have travelled down this path with my closest friend who had ovarian cancer, it’s just as hard for loved ones going through this with you.
    Thinking of you always
    Cheryl Sheppard


    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Your words of support and encouragement are humbling and appreciated beyond belief. Thanks for following up with Sary – she has passed on your well wishes and it just means so much to me. You’re right in saying that the disease is hard for loved ones too. It almost feels easier being on this side of the disease as I know myself and I know that i’ll be fine but for family and friends it’s a toguh battle just as much as it is for me.
      It’s so nice reading your comment so thanks again and hope to see you one day.
      Hugs xx


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