Friend of AllClear, Avril, was previously diagnosed with cancer. After overcoming active treatment and her fears for the future, she launched a centralised information site for others living with cancer: Cancer Central. We are delighted to introduce her first guest blog below: Finding happiness after cancer…
There I was, emotionally battered and bruised at the end of active treatment.
One stone heavier with one boob and bald (attractive). I needed to escape; to hide from what had just happened and to celebrate what I felt was the start of a new life. My mind was racing, plans were big.
Inspired by Around the World in 80 Days, I was ready to tour but my body wasn’t. I didn’t have enough stamina to walk to the local shops and back – how on earth was I going to travel?
I booked a long weekend getaway with my parents to Windsor. Not too far in the car, but enough to feel I was escaping.
We booked a celebration meal in a lovely restaurant for the Saturday night and visited the castle. While the days were not action packed, I felt achievement. I felt freedom and I was seeing daily progress in strength.
Not being afraid to plan big
This was my chance to plan something special.
I targeted January for my big trip with a dear friend, eight months after active treatment finished. An action-packed extravaganza to Asia: starting in Hong Kong, a cruise to Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea and finishing in China for Chinese New Year.
My stamina was ready, and we giggled all the way to the airport. I think we were mainly laughing at our ridiculous amount of luggage…We needed to pack for -10 to +25 degrees plus evening wear – can you imagine!
It’s natural to be nervous
My Mum reminded me to pack my Tamoxifen and Osteoporosis tablets in hand luggage just in case my suitcase went on its own holiday elsewhere.
I hadn’t thought of this before, I didn’t need to.
Then the nerves set in. How was I going to take the tablets with the time change? Will I get through security with my prosthesis boob? How will my skin react to the Philippines sun post-chemo? I shared my nervousness with my friend and she helped me through it.
You don’t have to be alone, no worry is too small and talking about it, so your travel buddy knows, is both reassuring and relaxing.
A new beginning
I took my Tamoxifen before bed like normal but as the time was ahead, I waited till the following evening so that I didn’t have too much in my system. I found big bottles of water to take my weekly Alendronic acid. The security didn’t even pick up my fake boob and my sun tan lotion worked as normal usual.
Turns out I didn’t need to be afraid after all. How on earth was I going to travel? With a sensible plan and a great travel buddy.
Enjoying every moment
Don’t forget to take a moment on holiday to remind yourself how well you are doing, both physically and emotionally. Remember all you have accomplished to get here and enjoy every moment. It took me a while to find it, but there is happiness after cancer.