Happy Fourth Anniversary to my Bone Marrow Cancer.

Posted on November 15, 2021

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HAPPY FOURTH ANNIVERSARY to me and my bone marrow cancer!!!! This tribute is especially for you:
Without you, I would never have evolved into the person I am today. You showed me what it’s like to hit rock bottom and be in a place so dark and frightening, i didn’t think I would ever have the courage to stand again.

But you also forced me to take a long, hard look at myself and ask, “What kind of future do you want together? Do you want to stay a victim? Or re-write the narrative?”

The London haematology nurse, Sarah said to us, “Your life is going to change Asha. But you can go onto lead a relatively normal life after treatment.” In her cold-bored-unsympathetic-parrot-like voice.
Fuck that Sarah. My life has changed many times over in four years – but certainly not in the way you would ever imagine.

Cancer, you may have knocked me off my feet, but you have given me so much damn inspiration to re-define how to really live. Becoming amphibious as scuba instructor and now drying out on land as a qualified yoga instructor. I continue to make nutrition and wellbeing my new career.

Without you I would never have admitted I was a functioning alcoholic for the last 20 years. Tonight I will raise a tonic water to you for going cold-turkey and sticking at sobriety from the day of my diagnosis and appreciating this liberation.

I have stuffed so much into the last four years including finding a home and putting down roots during a health pandemic.

I’ve scaled a dormant volcano at altitude in Guatemala and sat at its summit and watched its neighbour erupting. Lived and worked on an additional two continents, learned to sail, bounced across the Caribbean diving its waters, setting a new free dive PB, travelled through Central America, ticked off the Panama Canal, seen hump backs and giant eagle rays breach, swam in Jellyfish Lake in Micronesia, glided with a whale shark and pelagic mantas, had a submarine ride to 200m and met some incredible people in Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Palau, The Philippines and established a base in Thailand.

How long it has taken me to find somewhere I feel we fit. In a culture so close to my Indian roots, where family and tradition are interwoven; where cooking and eating together are the lifeblood of communities, where local people are kind to single, childless women like me. Where there are amazing doctors to help me. Where I feel safe walking the streets day or night. Where festivals light up the sky and temples. The Buddhist chanting so close to the sounds of Sanskrit bajans I learned as a child. And to land in Chiang Mai, a city that feels like a village, yet so rich in history and creativity – home to coffee, yoga and some brilliantly talented and inspiring Thai friends.

It’s not been an easy four years. You made me cry every single day for the first year as I grieved my old hedonistic TV lifestyle. You took it away in the blink of an eye without even asking. I battled. But you pulled me away kicking and screaming. I didn’t want change. I lost my identity, I didn’t know who I was anymore or where I was headed. The future looked cold and empty. I was terrified. It was like being part of an abusive relationship I couldn’t remove myself from. Frozen, in pain and numb.

But now….through the ups and downs I have found an inner strength…some kind of resolve. Acceptance. My life is full of colour and warmth even in the hardest of times. And I’m ready to show you that I will keep excelling in absolutely everything I do because I am no longer in the dark, and I am once again standing tall, no longer afraid. I’m ready for what comes next.

You might have control over my blood but you will never ever take away my willpower, creativity or determination.
Cheers for the rollercoaster four years – you’ve prepared me well. I am now rewriting the narrative! A x

Posted in: Asia