At this exact time, precisely 1 year ago, I was in floods of tears. I had just finished a calming yoga practice and was busy was getting ready to head in to London's Royal Marsden Hospital.
I arrived at the hospital at 11am, where a nurse helped me to change out of my clothes and into my white and blue hospital robe (it's amazing the bizarre details your mind remembers at times of intense stress). I then signed, what felt like a million, signatures for various medical workers, on a never ending stream of consent forms. I sat, tense, on the edge of a hospital bed, as the surgical assistant bent down in front of me, eyes at chest-level and blue marker pen in her hand. She proceeded to draw a large collection of thick lines across/around/over my entire chest. .....Then we waited.... playing multiple games of 20-Questions to 'take my mind off things'. At 2:25pm, the doctors came to collect me
...I walked through a long corridor, down in a lift, then up to the surgery door...and then I lost it. I sobbed. Big, fat tears of fear. It all felt overwhelmingly real. I lay on the surgeon's table, tears still streaming down my face, pretending to 'be brave', feeling the cooling sensation in my left arm as the anesthetic worked it's way up through my veins...I counted, as requested, 1, 2, 3 ...
... I woke up 5 hours later in the hospital recovery room. And that was it, the double mastectomy surgery that I had been thinking/worrying/talking/dreaming about for the last year was all over.
So, here I am. 365 days later...and I feel amazing! My recovery was tough, but I got through it. I had a few glitches along the way, but everything seems to have generally settled and sorted itself out... and with my surgeon claiming my result/recovery to be in his, quote, "top 20", well, I gotta be happy with that! Thanks, Doc!
Since September 13th 2016, I have healed and recovered, being forced to learn just how important it is to slow down and listen to your body. I found a new sense of patience, self compassion and appreciation for myself and my body that I have never had before. As someone who lived with eating disorders for over a decade, my relationship with my body has always been one of practicality or distain. So this new found sense love is one I am cherishing ...and is one I hope you allow yourself to feel for your body too. I've always believed that there is definitely a silver lining to every cloud, and mine (apart from my fabulous new boobs, of course!) is the effect this surgery has had on my view of myself and how strong I can be when needed.
As well as these 'self' lessons, my life has moved forward in leaps and bounds. Since healing, I have successfully and carefully rebuilt my own yoga practice to almost 100%, I resumed teaching yoga which is what makes me happy in my heart, I started my 'Yoga for People Living with Cancer' teaching training, I finally finished my 3 year qualification as a Naturopathic Nutritionist, I completed my Pole Fitness teacher training... and, the biggest news of all, I have made the HUGE decision to leave London soon, my home for the last 7.5 years, and thus, I am moving to ...Bali! Yes, Bali!! ...I can't divulge the details/purpose of this move just yet, but will spill the beans asap, promise!
Isn't it incredible just how much your life can change in a mere 8,760 hours ... ;)
So, a big fat thank you to every single one of you for your ample love and support throughout this last year. It's been a roller coaster, but looking back, I would not have changed a thing. My decision to have this surgery, based on my faulty BRCA1 diagnosis, was 100% the right one for me. I have absolutely loved hearing from women, just like me, around the world who have been using my blog as a support throughout their own surgery processes. I am truly honoured to have been part of all of your journeys.
So, one year on, and the blog is OFFICAILLY back...and it's here to stay! Now my qualifications are all finished, so I have more time, and my life is growing in new and exciting directions... well, be prepared for much greater regularity with my blog posts. I am excited to write about all things life/yoga/travel/nutrition/wellness.... so feel free to send me any blog requests you have and I'll see what I can do for ya! xx
Thanks for reading! We'll chat again really soon, promise!
Luv, Emma xx
(& Frankie, the dog!)