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You have seen my descent. Now watch my rising

It‘s been awhile since I last wrote a blog. But it‘s time to bring this thing to life again. What has been happening since my last post? Great many things! I was a little scared to write again when life started to go well for me, as if I was afraid that I might somehow jinx it if I publicly talked about it.

The second chemotherapy I underwent, thankfully worked! Then I had surgery on February 7th – 2017, where the tumour in my liver as well as part of the liver were removed and the tumours in my peritoneum were scraped. I spent three nights in an ICU before being moved to a general surgical ward at the hospital. In total I spent around 2 weeks in hospital recovering before was allowed to go home. I now have one seriously impressive scar that goes all the way from my chest to navel. Proof that I’m a survivor.

I‘m glad that I can now proudly share that I have indeed been cancer free since that surgery, or for nearly year and a half now. It‘s pretty remarkable considering only a year before the surgery, I was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer and told that it was “possibly terminal“.  My surgeon and my oncologist did a great job and I‘ll be forever thankful to them and all the staff at the hospital that took care of me the time I was forced to spend there. But now I‘m on the road to recovery.

During the first few months of my recovery I spent some time at a rehabilitation centre called Heilsustofnun NLFI in Hveragerði, where I underwent a rehabilitation program which including exercise, walks, healthy-clean eating, as well as some spa treatments, physiotherapy as well as psychotherapy.

In the autumn last year I started my second phase of rehabilitation when I enrolled into political science graduate courses at the University Iceland. My lack of focus and poor memory was driving me crazy. My brain was in a fog caused by chemo and trauma. I needed to find my way out of this fog and feel sharp again. What better way to exercise the brain then to study something challenging. I chose political science because it’s a topic that has always interested me. I have found a great deal of difference in my memory and focus since I started my courses in end of August last year and now that I have completed my second set of final exams this beginning of May. I can‘t complain about my grades, they were quite good all considering how hard it was at the beginning when I walked out of class and couldn’t remember anything that had been discussed.

Now I am about to embark onto the third phase of my rehabilitation, where I will be focusing on my physical and mental health. Tomorrow morning I‘ll by flying to Paris, where I will be spending couple of days with a friend, before taking a train down to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, a town close to the border of Spain. There I will start my journey, the Camino de Santiago or the way of saint James. The walk from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela is 791 km long. I have no idea if I will be able to complete it, but I will start the walk and do my best. If you want you can watch my journey trough my Instagram and my Instagram story. I will try to keep it updated as well as this blog during my journey of recovery. I still got long way ahead of me. It’s not as if as soon as you get all clear from the doctor that the battle is over and you are fully recovered. Cancer, chemotherapy and surgery have ravaged my body. Not to mention the psychological trauma that I am now dealing with as a result. One step at a time I am building myself up, physically and mentally. You have seen my descent. Now watch my rising.

Happy 2017!

Yesterday was the last day of the worst year of my life. Hopefully it will stay the worst year of my life. Hopefully my life can only get better from here on. Of course there were some good moments. Like when my father and brother married their significant others, when we moved into our cosy little house in the lovely town of Hveragerði and of course the day when I married the love of my life. The highlight of this Christmas and New Years Eve was having my lovely husband by my side. Something I had dreamt of for many years…since before we even met.

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in January last year I was diagnosed with a stage 4 primary peritoneal cancer and spent the whole of the year 2016 fighting that cancer, going trough 2 different chemo therapies, 6 rounds each therapy, I fought the system long and hard so I could marry my love and I lost a dear friend. 

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“Happy New Year!  Happy New Year! May we all have our hopes, our will to try. If we don’t we might as well lay down and die” sings the iconic pop group Abba. These words could not ring more truer to me than on the beginning of this new year 2017. I won’t give up my fight. I won’t lay down and die. All I have got to kick off this new year is hope and I will take my hope and ride it all the way. I have so much to offer and I am only just beginning to realise how much.

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Tomorrow I have a blood test and a CT scan and on 4th of January I will see my doctor and then I will know more how things stand for me right now and what I have to deal with this year and what I need to do to continue my fight. I swear this year I will eat better, take better care of myself, write and read more. These are my New Years resolutions.

0O7B9451_3Happy New Year everyone! May all of our dreams come true  this year and may we never lose hope or the will to try.

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you for the support I received last year, both financial and emotional. You helped making a difficult year more bearable. ♥

May justice always prevail!

IMG_8141To all my foreign friends who might be confused by all the media circus that has been surrounding me and Ravi for the past week or so. Here is the full story: On April 1st me and Ravi applied for marriage licence.

In the light of my cancer diagnoses in the beginning of this year, we came to realise that chemotherapy could possibly make me infertile. Therefor we were in a sudden rush to get Ravi to Iceland as swiftly as possible so we could freeze embryos. But to be able to freeze embryos, we had to be married first. However two days before the day we had chosen for our marriage, which was my mothers birthday April 7th, the Icelandic bureaucracy put a stop to our marriage plans, stating that Ravi’s bachelorhood certificate wasn’t valid because it didn’t look like some divorce papers from south India that they had been recently given. It did not matter to them that Ravi’s paper was stamped by all valid authorities in India, including the Uttarakhand district court, Magistrates court in Delhi, the ministry of External affairs in India and the Indian Embassy in Iceland. We were lucky however that the IVF clinic sympathized with our situation and gave us permission to freeze embryos so that I could start my chemotherapy as quickly as possible, just as long as we would be married when the embryos would be implanted.

Following the decision of the Icelandic bureaucracy (Sýslumaðurinn í Reykjavík), we decided to challenge their decision, quoting Icelandic marriage law where it says that if one or both persons getting married are seriously ill, no extra paperwork should be required. With this we handed in a medical certificate from my doctor to back it up. However it took them more than 3 months to answer us and when we finally received their answer they denied us once again to marry. But now time was of the essence, because Ravi’s temporary work and resident permit were about to expire, which meant that he would have to return to India and stay there for 6 months while his application for his temporary work and resident permit was once again approved. That meant that for these 6 months he would not be able to be with me or come to me if anything would have happened, for example if my health would have taken a turn for the worst, he’d be stuck in India.

Desperate times require desperate measures. The injustice we were being dealt was too obvious to ignore. We knew we had the right papers, we were not about to give up, so we took it to the media. Straight away help started pouring in. One of the people offering their assistance was a great legal mind that saw the obvious miss justice in all of this and that Ravi’s papers were more than valid. He helped us sue the decision again and this time he took it straight to the Iceland’s Ministry of Internal affairs. The Ministry of Internal affairs did not only overrule the decision of the Sýslumaðurinn í Reykjavík, thus allowing us now finally to marry, but as well promised to reconsider their work process when it comes to evaluating foreign papers in situations such as these. So the victory we have been able to push trough with our persistence, will not only affect us Ravi, but many other in similar position that will follow. May justice always prevail!

Holding up with the Gharwali Hindu tradition that one can not celebrate any festivities within a year from a close relatives death, Ravi’s father in this case, who passed away from cancer in December last year. Our wedding ceremony which will take place this upcoming week, will be a simple low-key ceremony and there will be no proper wedding party celebrated until next year. Hopefully then my health will have improved.

Thank you everybody for your help, strength and support during this battle. It was greatly appreciated.

It’s been a while…

I know it’s been a while since I last posted a blog. I will explain what has been going on as many things have happened since I last wrote a blog post.

I had made plans to write post around certain topics and had prepared them to some extend, but after my 3rd chemo (I have so far now had 5), I travelled north to stay with my father and to attend a 60th birthday party of a friend and neighbour who also is fighting cancer. I think the journey back and forth and the party, although they very pleasant, proofed to be a bit too much for me. I became ill when I came home with fever and ended up in hospital with an IV drip and antibiotics being pumped into my veins.

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The very next day I came from the hospital, we moved places. We had been staying in a rented flat in the centre of Reykjavík, but my mother suggested we would should buy together a flat so that I would have a secure home during my health struggle. However, as I am a patient and Ravi is a foreigner, only my mother was able to go through a credit approval for a loan. We realised early on that we could not afford to live in the Reykjavík area, so we looked for a home outside the city and found one in the wonderful town of Hveragerði, approximately 30 minutes drive from the city. Because I had just been discharged from the hospital I was not allowed to do anything or help with the moving. Not that I had any energy to do so. But it frustrated me that I was not able to help. It frustrates me immensely that my body can not keep up with my mind. My mind wants to do so many things, but my physical capacity is greatly restricted and it is driving me crazy.

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Hveragerði

Just as I was getting better I had my 4th chemo. The first week afterwards was tough as per usual, but the weeks that followed were much better. I could feel that the change of location was proofing to be beneficial for me. I was feeling happy in my new home, but lacking the motivation to write again. I had a CT scan during these days and met with my doctor the following week, who told me that the cancer had stopped growing, which is a very good thing as it stops growing before it starts shrinking.  I was also given a blood transfusion as I have been severely lacking blood for months, which could not be improved with B12 shots or Iron tablets. I am very thankful to those people who gave that blood and to anyone who ever has. It really changed my energy levels. I felt as if I had been living like a zombie for a long time.

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Me and Ravi drove north that same day, after my blood transfusion. We had been invited to my fathers and his girlfriends birthday party, which turned out to be a surprise wedding. I knew this all along of course because I had to ask my doctor to postpone my chemotherapy for a week so I could participate in the wedding.

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My family @ my fathers wedding

After the 5th chemo I got the flue again and was feeling quite under the weather for a while. Once I started to feel a little better I became very busy again. I had an interview with a newspaper journalist and participated in a group discussion about what it’s like being a patient, with the national radio, whilst preparing for my brothers wedding which is taking place this weekend. My interview will be in the Sunday paper of the Morgunblaðið newspaper and I will let you know later when the radio discussion will be aired.