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I choose to dance in this raging storm

It’s been nearly three months since I last wrote to you all and I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. I’ve found it really hard to put pen to paper and to find the words to share how I’m feeling and what I’m experiencing.

Since my diagnosis in November 2021 my life has changed beyond comparison. I’ve been so moved by the kindness of my family and friends near and far, and of complete strangers. I’m so grateful for all the wonderful, supportive messages I’ve received, as they have l really helped me through some very tough times.

Life pre-cancer was very different and I can’t help but feel at times I’m now watching from the side lines, as my main role is to raise my children and stay alive. It’s definitely been a stark reminder to me that there is a lot more to life than material things or the job that you might hold. I now realise that life is about so much more than this.

I’m pleased to share that I’ve now finished the chemo. I’m so glad. As time went on and I had more rounds of treatment it became progressively harder to bounce back, both mentally and physically. I felt at times it was taking my soul and all my good bits. I couldn’t read books for some reason and felt very little enjoyment out of the things that normally fill me with happiness, energy and positivity. I’m lucky that EVERY day my family reminded me what to keep going for and that helped me make sense of it all.

I make a purposeful choice every day to remain positive, but I’m not going to lie, there have been moments I’ve felt completely broken. Seeing a recent picture of myself resulted in me crying into the night, as I felt my face had changed so much. I wasn’t crying due to vanity, but because the way I look at the moment reminds me so much that life is so very different to how it was.

All of that said, I’ve focused on spending time with my friends and family making some lovely memories. I hope to continue to do so for a very long time. My most favourite times recently have been country walks, sea swims and eating good food (at any given opportunity).

I recently had the opportunity to speak to someone quite special - a woman in the US who is an amazing person. Something she said to me gave me so much comfort, so I wanted to share it.

Always remember you are eternal, you are infinite. This is a moment in time, but always and forever you are and always will be eternal’.

This really resonated with me and made me feel so much better about everything.

Unfortunately, in February like many others our house went down with Covid. One by one we all ended up testing positive. It immediately put a stop to my birthday celebrations, but worst of all, it put a stop to the scan I had been waiting for.

I had my scan about a week later than planned, which felt like an eternity. I’m sure any cancer patient will tell you that it’s a big deal getting scans and a nail biting time waiting to find out results. I received the good news following the scan that the tumours have responded well to the treatment so far. Unfortunately it’s now shown up in my sternum, but this is not something to panic too much about according to my consultant.

So it’s been a real rollercoaster few months for me, but every day I choose to dance in this raging storm.

I’m waiting to hear the next steps and in the meantime I’m continuing with immunotherapy treatment which is much less harsh than the chemo, so hopefully I’ll be in good health and smiling through it all.

I haven’t been able to dedicate much time to the India & Rar community recently, but I’m looking forward to spending the next few weeks working out a plan to bring it back to life and give me something positive to focus on again.

I also thought I’d share a few things that have helped me remain strong and positive even on the hardest days.

Eight tips for tough days

  • Accepting that some days you just can’t be everything for everyone. After my chemo I accepted help from my mum and she would come and take Remy out and I literally lay on the sofa and watched Netflix. Something I would NEVER normally do as I don’t like sitting on the sofa during the day (I have a subconscious rule that this is for evening time only).

  • Getting out in nature. Even if it’s for 10 minutes fresh air and being outdoors is the best tonic. I’d stick on a podcast and stomp.

  • Organise catch ups with friends. Not being able to drive has been one of the hardest things to accept as my independence vanished, but organising to see different friends each week makes such a huge difference.

  • Plan fun things for the future. We’ve planned two holidays for this summer and a U.K. break. A day ticket to a festival, a gig in London and a girly trip are all on the horizon.

  • Choose FUN and lots of it. For us that is swimming at the weekend with the boys, skating trips to the skate park, beach trips or whatever makes you smile.

  • Date nights. Admittedly these are few and far between for us but we have a date in the diary coming up.

  • Listening to uplifting music and dancing around the kitchen We often do a Friday night kitchen disco with the kids (yes, a glass of wine is included for the adults), and the boys absolutely love it.

  • Creating new habits. More to come on this, but little tweaks and doing them every day can lead to great things. I find this really encourages a positive mindset. I find goal setting can induce anxiety, but I love just introducing little habits that make you feel like you’re improving your life! This is something I’ve always done without actually realising. I find the control so empowering.

I hope you find these lessons useful, they have really helped me and I know they will continue to do so.

Sending so much love to everyone, and the world in these troubled times.

Amber XX

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