At age 34, with a BMI of 29 that places me at overweight but not
quite obese yet, I have always expected that the disease that would
eventually get me to be high blood pressure or stroke. Maybe a heart
After all, high blood pressure
runs in the maternal side of my family, and my Dad suffered from two
strokes over a period of two years, the second of which severely
Although I have always
been quite healthy, with excellent blood pressure and other vitals, I
did sense that with hitting my 30s, the stress of work and taking care
of my disabled Dad, my health was starting to slip. But again, I was
still more concerned with heart attacks or strokes. Never cancer.
And there, I said it. Cancer.
age 34, just about a month after my birthday, on 24 March 2017, I was
informed that I have breast cancer. My actual official diagnosis was
actually the day after when I went to see my Breast Specialist for
the test reports. My appointment with her for the diagnosis was actually
scheduled for the following week after a series of tests, but she was
kind enough to give me a call to go in, on a Saturday no less, once she knew the results as she
wanted to give me my diagnosis as soon as possible, and discuss
You know it's something
deep shit when a doctor from a busy public restructured hospital wants
to see you as soon as possible. Although I was and still am deeply
appreciative to have been referred to her. More about her in later posts.
it has only been about a week after my diagnosis, it feels like time
kind of just expanded. Like it's already been a month rather just seven
days. There is so much to research, so much to learn, so much to
unlearn. Everything I knew about myself, about my own health, my habits, my lifestyle
and my own body has to be taken apart and reconstructed. I feel like my brain had never worked harder than the past week, trying to process all the information I have been given or found, into puzzle pieces that fits together into a big picture.
And yet, I know, with such pristine clarity, that this is not the hardest part at all. The hardest part is actually remembering that I have cancer. I still
feel pretty much myself, nothing seems to have change. Except every
time I look at my breasts in the mirror, the poor leftie that now looks different from the cancer and the biopsy.
I guess this is the one thing that is the most profound to me thus far. That I have cancer, CANCER, and yet, everything else around me is still the same. And that I still feel the same. Although I know soon, I will probably not feel like myself for quite a while. Which really saddens me and is why I feel that remembering I have cancer is the hardest part for me. Because regardless of the difficult times I have been through, especially in recent years, I have always love being me. This is not a narsiccist thing, but just the fact of enjoying who and what I am, and what I have. My love ones, my friends, the joys and pleasures in my life, the senses and abilities given to me. These has always given me such incredible happiness. I hate to think that I will start feeling differently, because of whatever treatment or procedure I have to go through
That said, I made up my mind from the day I decided to go see the GP and was told that there was definitely something wrong, that I had to be positive. That being positive is part of the formula to winning this battle, and that positivity kill cancer cells. I guess I somehow managed to lull myself into this consistent state of joviality, and taking each step with cheer and humour. I mean, of course, there were tears. And there will be tears to come. This is big; but it does not mean I shouldn't at least try to go through this experience with a little more laughter and fun.
And of course, I am very grateful that I won't be doing this alone. I did not really keep
it a big secret, because I know that support is the most important
thing anyone going through something like this needs. From the day I
decided not to ignore the signs anymore, I told all the friends I talk to on a daily basis, which is more than a handful because I am such talkative person, and also the immediate colleagues from my department whom I am really close to. The people who I know won't kick me into a long kang if it turns out to be a benign lump. I did not tell my Mother until much later, but that's another story for another time. This post is getting long enough as it is.
After getting my
diagnosis, I decided that rather than letting the gossip mill dissipate the wrong grains of information and creating all sorts of weird misunderstandings, I wanted to be the one to manage how this gets out. So I started telling more people. Friends whom I haven't met and/or talked to in a while, colleagues who are also good friends, colleagues who I work closely with and may be affected if I have to take a prolonged leave of absence, etc etc. I also started sharing my experience with some female relatives, especially those who are younger and may not even think to do self-examinations. At this point, I figured that if my experience can encourage even one person to be more vigilant, it will really make all this worthwhile. Yeah, I know, I am saintly like that. ;)
Although I have to say, it has been a very exhausting endeavour, the telling and going through the
entire recounting of discovery to diagnosis and the options that I have
so many times. Not bragging here, but I really do have a lot of friends.
=) But it is still something I wanted to do. Simply because I
know these people care about me, and I want them to know about this
life-changing thing that is happening to me right now.
As the days go by, I also realise that the other thing I really wanted to do, is to blog about it. Blogging has always
been something that holds a place in my heart. Although I have been
really bogged down with the other things in my life for the past couple of years, I have never forgotten
about this space of mine. Where I poured myself into for a better part
of my life. Whenever I felt stressed out or really down, I would pull
out some old posts and feel better after reading them, knowing that life
is constructed of many up and down moments, and that unhappiness never
Hopefully, I will get to that day
soon, when I am able to read back on these posts about my experience
with cancer, and feel that sense of peace knowing that I have made it
For now, all I shall stay positive and continue pushing forward!