The sea told me I had cancer. I wholeheartedly believe this to be true.
I was a teacher in Kent at the time and in my October half term break I headed back to Devon to see my family. I met with a good friend for a long overdue surf; I had lived away for many years and the beach had lost its place in my life- a concept that just baffles me now! After the trip I returned to Kent and was struggling to teach as I couldn’t hear anything! Since the surf, I had water in my ears that just wouldn’t budge. After a week of being a deaf drama teacher (not a good combination) I went to see my GP. The doctor picked up lymph nodes in my neck and booked me in for an ultrasound.
Fast forward two weeks and I could hear again! But the biopsy at the ultrasound had detected cancer that had started to spread. I had no other symptoms and there would have been no reason for me to go to the doctors. The cancer would have continued to spread.
I was booked in for an emergency operation a week later followed by two rounds of radioactive iodine treatment and an additional operation. For the next few years, I was living in survival mode. I was proving to everyone I was ‘OK’ by working too hard and living too fast. Inevitably, this resulted in a crash which happened to coincide with lockdown.
I moved back to Devon, and this is when my recovery truly began. The main source of which being the sea. I was drawn back to the water. This started with swims and then progressed on to surfs. The sea enabled me to heal and strengthen my body and mind. As cliché as this sounds, it allowed me to find and reconnect with myself again.
My life choices and decisions that followed have been guided by my want and need to be by the sea. This has led me to living in beautiful Wales, pursuing passions, and living out my dreams. The sea has continued to be my support, challenger, and place of sanctuary. When I am away, I feel an ache to be back here. Since moving to Swansea, I have met some beautiful souls in the water, and I am thankful every day for the life I am now living.
Words by Emily Davies