I wanted to be like Emma - the kind of patient who inspires other women or at the very least doesn’t dishearten them, the kind that passes through each stage of her treatment not necessarily smoothly, but steadily and valiantly. Yet eight weeks after my operation, with another four weeks to wait before I started my radiotherapy treatment, my body felt alien and I was overcome with self-pity. How much of this was due to my illness and how much was due to my disablement? My arm and hand were still paralysed. I had what the medics call ‘finger drop’ as well as ‘wrist drop.’