Three tears slid down my right cheek to pool on my chin before continuing down my throat to where my breast used to be.

I held one hand on my heart and the other on my stomach as my yoga instructor told us our stomach is our core and knows the truth. What is it telling you? I contracted my throat, holding in the sob trying to break free. I’m going to be okay. Not now, maybe not for some time, but I’m going to be okay. My chin wobbles, my throat aches and the tears flow, but I hold this truth in the centre of my being.


After such a depressing experience with rehab, I came home in an obsessive frenzy. I would have to manage my own recovery. Irritated as I am, I’ve also had much fun doing research, looking at timetables, preparing an Excel plan. Running, hospital gym therapy, belly dancing, yoga, pilates and of course, swimming. During radiotherapy, I booked a swim holiday in October, and am freaking out about if I’ll be able to manage the distances so am pushing myself more than I should. Additionally I’m learning Luxembourgish to try to stimulate my brain. I’ve unplugged my TV and put it in the spare room, I have lilies filling the space instead, and I’ve deleted all the games from my phone…except my brain training one.

I’ve set up all my follow up appointments – eyes, teeth, heart, gynaecologist, surgeon, ENT, so many things to check after treatment. I have no idea what kind of damage treatment has caused to my body, but I squint more than I used to.

I will set up counselling next, this is something I don’t know how to manage myself.

I’m exhausted, but enjoying the planning and the challenge. I finally feel like I have some control after months of none. Frustrated by how long it seems recovery will take me…

And then I went to yoga. My arms ached from disuse and the swim I had just done. I couldn’t maintain a downward facing dog and I’ve never been able to do vinyasa but the question was posed: what is the one thing I want to get out of practice today? My brain churned with goals…strength, flexibility, recovery, progress…how do I focus on just one? Then the instructor suggested peace…acceptance…understanding, and the tears started to flow. I’m so focussed on my physical progress, because that’s the piece I understand and can plan and track, but I have no idea how to recover. How to accept, how to be gentle with myself, how to acknowledge this is going to take time. And I realised, as she placed her hands on my tight shoulders and reminded me to breathe deeply, just how tightly I’ve been holding myself, as though, if I let go for a moment I will scream into the night and explode into a million pieces. I’ve been holding myself together with every fibre of my being for the last year that I no longer know how to let go, to release, to accept to find peace.

So here I am, sitting on my balcony in the dark, letting my tears flow, practicing unclenching my jaw and being still. Maybe it will help.

Distance swum since last post: 1.3km
Distance swum to date: 6.9km
Distance to go: 193.1km

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