Times of Oman
Here is how an Oman resident is determined to fight cancer
November 11, 2017 | 8:24 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan/gautam@timesofoman.com
Emily, though, is unafraid of the challenges facing her: she will face them with her head held high, and with little fear.
 
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Muscat: “It just shows that anyone can get it, it can be luck of the draw, and that there might be things that you are not aware of.”

Those were the words of Emily Shotter, who, like many of Oman’s expat residents, calls the Sultanate her home. Last Thursday, Emily was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that attacks the white blood cells, or lymphocytes, in the bloodstream.

Emily, though, is unafraid of the challenges facing her: she will face them with her head held high, and with little fear.

“It is now very important for me to be mentally strong and stay the course,” said Emily, speaking to Times of Oman.



“I am a strong person, and my friends would almost certainly describe me that way. I am also very positive, and that is very important, not just in terms of beating the cancer itself, but also in terms of your attitude towards what you can do and what you can achieve.

“It’s just about balance: enjoy life, but do make sure you are healthy, as well,” she added.

“Cancer is something that can be very lonely at times, so I would advise people who are in a situation similar to mine to keep their friends around them, because I have really appreciated the love and support given to me. No amount of support is too big or small. I want to thank everybody who has offered me advice and constructive help; both friends and family.”

Cancer treatment and diagnosis, though, can be a physically, emotionally, and financially draining process: a fact Emily is fully aware of. “Time off from work is going to be an issue for me, as is continually flying to and from the UK multiple times to see an oncologist, to do more tests, and then to begin treatment,” she said. “I am very much going to stay in Oman; I have a job that I love, I have a life that I love, I have a home here, cats that I adore, and so I would rather be based here, but travel to the UK when I need to for consultations and treatment. If I am going to need long-term treatment, then I will look to see if it can be done in Oman.

“I’m here on my own, so if I am not working, there is obviously no money coming in,” added Emily. “My mum was very shocked and incredibly worried. She is about 80 years old, has only partial sight, and also has problems with her balance, so giving her a shock like that was difficult. But she has been very supportive, and she is helping in any way that she can. I need to go and see an oncologist to get a full diagnosis, because there is a chance this may have spread to my liver, as well.”

Although follicular lymphoma has no cure, Emily has taken that in stride, as well, and is fully determined to live her life to the fullest.

“There isn’t a cure for follicular lymphoma, but it is very treatable, especially in its early stages, and people can live for decades with this kind of cancer, because it is slow growing,” she said. “It’s about your attitude and making sure that you are monitored. I don’t feel 100 per cent well, but I do feel okay, physically, and I am sure I have many years of life left, as long as I do the right things. If I go to regular consultations, eat right and look after myself, I should be okay.

“Strangely, I wasn’t shocked when I was diagnosed with cancer, because the way the doctor spoke to me, and the look on his face, gave me an indication that there was something wrong, and I started Googling my symptoms – which is something you should never do, by the way – so although cancer was in the back of my head, it was more of an unpleasant surprise,” added Emily. “I have had an amazing amount of moral and emotional support from my friends, and my colleagues at work have been absolutely fantastic in keeping me grounded, and have told me that they are there for me if I need them.”

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