My name is Sarah. I am 33 years old, married, and I live with my husband and our chocolate Labrador in the Cotswolds (UK).

I was born and raised in Southampton with my sister and two brothers. I was an outgoing, creative and imaginative child within my family, but I was very shy elsewhere, including at school. I did well academically and I really enjoyed writing stories, drawing, making music (including playing the piano and drums) and the theatre.

I went to Sussex University to study Economics whilst working part time as a telephone debt collector in a bank. Once I graduated, I moved back to Southampton and continued working in Banking whilst completing my second degree in Financial Services. I then spent a few years in London, before moving to Bristol where I started my first ‘managerial’ role in banking whilst starting my Master’s Degree. Now I live near Tetbury, in the Cotswolds.

 

When I was 28 years old, I attended a hospital appointment to check a lump in my left breast. My GP thought it was just a cyst, because it felt like one, plus I was young, a healthy weight and a non-smoker. But after 3 hours of tests I was told “you have cancer”. It was Stage 2 – it had not spread to the lymph glands or the rest of the body. It was hormone positive (oestrogen and progesterone) and herceptin-negative. So I did 6 months of chemotherapy, followed by a mastectomy and hormone-blocking medication. It was an awful year, but the Doctors said “we got it all, there is no evidence of disease”. So I spent the next 2 years having 4 reconstructive surgeries.

But in 2015, just weeks after my final surgery, I started to get back pain and after more tests, I was told “we’re very sorry but the cancer has appeared in the spine, it is now stage 4, it is no longer curable”. I completed 20 rounds of radiotherapy and changed hormone-blocking medications twice. But the cancer continued to grow, spreading to other parts of my spine, to my hip and to my liver.

Since I was no longer curable (according to medicine), I decided to spend my time researching ways that I could help myself to feel well. I gained so much hope from what I was reading and watching, and I finally felt able to take control of my own life and my own health. Since then, I have continued to evolve my thinking, and learn to really enjoy my life. Now my focus is on living joyfully regardless of my health status.

 

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