Kim Simplis Barrow talks Chemotherapy, recovery and meeting Prince Harry.
Photographed by JC Cuellar – www.jccuellar.com
How do you feel after completing your 6th and final chemotherapy session?
I couldn’t help but feel a sense of relief that I actually made it through chemotherapy. The entire time, I was receiving treatment I just kept thinking about going back to my normal life. And while it was a great milestone to achieve, my last chemotherapy infusion didn’t mark the end of my journey with breast cancer. I am now about to embark on another leg filled with surgeries, radiation and more surgeries. I’m still adjusting to life as a breast cancer survivor. I know it will be a lot like the life I had before, but I know some things will be a new kind of normal. There are so many questions that I still have about adjusting to this ‘new normal’ life, like how to fight the lingering fatigue? And what to eat to help prevent a breast cancer recurrence? My body has been through an enormous assault and the recovery is no small feat. My doctors have told me that I’m not going to just get back to normal right away, especially since I’ve been hit while I was down so many times during the chemotherapy. Right now the two biggest side-effects I’m facing from the chemotherapy are fatigue and the well dubbed “chemo brain”, which consists of memory deficits and the inability to focus.
What was it like meeting Prince Harry and what did he think of Belize?
Prince Harry said in an interview with Janelle Chanona that ‘He was most impressed with the people of Belize, and he was really happy to be here!’ One the night of the street party, he wore a traditional Guayabera shirt that was gifted to him when he arrived. I thought it was very classy of him. He talked with locals who came out to greet him, danced with the cultural performers, tasted the local cuisine including the local liquor and beer, and even stopped to talk to children. I was extremely pleased to have been able to accompany my husband Dean in welcoming Prince Harry to Belize. It was lovely meeting him, especially because he was so easy-going and down-to-earth, he was very engaging and interested in finding out more about Belize. I am very happy he took some time to meet with some of the children with special needs. He had lunch with several of them at the Xunantunich Mayan temple and was given a Mayan calendar by a vision impaired child, while a child with Brittle Bones presented him with our 2012 Inspiration Calendar, which features artwork from children with special needs and is produced by the Special Envoy Office. It was wonderful that he had the opportunity to learn a bit about the advocacy that we do here in Belize on behalf of children with special needs. To top it all off, he said that he wants to plan another trip to Belize!