In the Eighties
In the eighties, there was not much talk of breast self examination and although I heard a faint call for BSE, one night on Wednesday April 19, 1989 I thought I’ll try doing BSE to see if I can feel anything. I did not realize that this ‘main2’ act is the beginning of an unexpected journey. To my utter shock, I FELT a lump. Waiting for the sun to rise the next day was indeed very slow, for it is always too slow for those who wait…
Together with my husband I rushed to see a doctor at the Hospital. Yes, he confirmed there was a lump.
He gave various options of finding out the status of the lump. We sought a second opinion and went back to the first surgeon. I was admitted the next day and had surgery performed on the 3rd day I discovered the lump. It was malignant. I journeyed through surgery, 25 sessions of radiation therapy and a full 8 course chemotherapy – all not without being challenged by fear, anxiety, grief, depression etc. However, I focused my attention on the light at the end of the tunnel and knew that I must be strong to help my husband, my sons and the entire host of relatives and friends who were helping me as I went through the cancer journey. I persevered with hope, spirituality and faith and, trotted on and emerged from the tunnel with stronger determination that I should embrace life with greater passion. And it was also during those times when I was feeling lost and isolated that I felt the need for women to talk to survivors who will be able to stand testimony to alleviate anxiety and eradicate myths and misconceptions regarding breast cancer. I made up my mind to become one such testimony, and so today, together with fellow survivors, I stand with them to tell a story – that there is recovery for cancer, and with proper medical treatment, one can be restored to health and emotional wholeness. When I discovered the lump, I did not wait nor forget its presence. I immediately sought medical advice, diligently followed and completed treatment.
There is no special diet for cancer patients but like all other people, we have to lead a healthy lifestyle. Cancer patient do not need to avoid chicken, certain fish, certain meat, certain vegetable, and so on. By the time the list ends, there will be no food to eat, except to live on sunshine and fresh air. And is there sunshine and fresh air nowadays? So eat in moderation all kinds of everything.
Please pass the message to anyone you know who has journeyed through the Cancer path. Come out to society – to share experiences and help those going through this process of emotional upheaval, to act as brakes to smoothen out the ride for them.