Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

To many people, Cally may be a kind, friendly and bubbly girl, but little do they know that Cally is also a breast cancer survivor.

Two years ago, Cally was diagnosed with a two-centimeter-sized malignant tumour on her breast. Overwhelmed with the idea of the disease and drowned by the misconception of cancer, Cally kept it to herself for over a year. Not even her closest family members, her mum and siblings, knew about her cancer. Cally refused treatment. She was afraid that the cancer treatment itself would worsen her condition and kill her. Instead, she restricted her diet to vegetarian food hoping that it would exterminate the cancer cells. This is one of the common myths of cancer.

One year later, her tumour had grown to seven centimeters. At that point of time, she knew that she had no choice but to seek medical treatment. She came to Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital and bravely started her treatment with chemotherapy. After six courses of chemotherapy, her tumour took a turn for the better, as it shrank back to two centimeters. Then, Cally underwent radiotherapy treatment and the results were more than encouraging.

Today, Cally is one of the volunteers in Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital’s Cancer Support Group. Like all of the volunteers in the Support Group, Cally is determined to share her experience to educate other cancer patients. She believes that many people, like her, are clouded by the false belief about cancer and its treatment. ‘Cancer is not a death sentence and chemotherapy will not kill you.’ Cally is saddened by the fact that many cancer patients are discouraged and defeated by misguided perception and the stigma of cancer. After what she has gone through, she strongly believes that everyone should courageously seek immediate medical consultation and treatment for better result. Running away from your problems only drive you further from its solution.

To Cally, no one should go through battling cancer alone. ‘There is no shame in battling cancer.’ Cally admitted that she was once afraid that other people might judge her because of her cancer. Before she started her first treatment, Cally courageously opened up to her family and friends. Since then, her relationship with her family has grown stronger. Cally has also learnt to be more expressive instead of keeping all her problems to herself.

“I should have trusted medical treatment,” confessed Cally. In Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital, all oncologists and physicians are salary-based. The patient’s best interest is always their first priority. They do not earn more money if they see more patients nor if the patient undergoes the treatments recommended. There is absolutely no reason for any oncologist or physicians to suggest treatment if it is not the best solution. Cally also shared that the environment in Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital is much different. “The doctors, nurses and staff here are all so friendly, homely, and loving which makes me feel more at home,” said Cally.

‘Cancer will change your life but doesn’t mean entirely in a bad way.’ Cally said, that this bad patch has made her more positive. It has brought her closer to her family and she has even made new friends in the hospital.

She wants to take this opportunity to thank her mum and family for taking care of her. Furthermore, she wants to especially express her gratitude to Dr Fabian. According to her, Dr Fabian – gentle, honest and warm, has helped her to overcome her fear and prejudice towards cancer treatment. Last but not the least, Cally also wants to extend her appreciation to nurses Shikin, Yeoh, Chua and Mira, radiographers Andrew and Roslan, and staff Bee Wah, Francis, Kasturee and Sanisah, and also many other new friends in Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

written by Clement Long, Community Relations