This year, I have been chosen as one of the ambassadors for the StanChart Marathon Singapore (SCMS) and I will be running the Full Marathon (42.195km) – to raise funds to help cancer victims and survivors.
I have chosen this meaningful cause, because a few loved ones – who are close to me – have been diagnosed with cancer in recent years. These include my mum, my grandpa, my uncle as well as a close family friend.
Brain cancer in 2014
My mum was diagnosed with Grade 4 brain cancer in August 2014.
The diagnosis had caught us all by total and complete surprise. This is because Mum has always known to be a very healthy eater. For example, she usually chooses vegetables and the soupy options when she eats out, and when we prepare food at home, she likes her dishes plain – with few additives and seasonings. And she never drinks or smokes either.
I don’t know how she developed brain cancer. But when the doctor told us that it was Grade 4 brain cancer, my whole world immediately came crashing down.
How could this have possibly happened to my mother? I was in a total and complete sense of disbelief at the time.
We stayed by her side
Since her diagnosis, our lives have been completely changed. We were by her side when she was wheeled in for the operation and watched her closely as she subsequently recovered in the hospital for the few days following that.
During the days after her operation, I still remember that she was very weak – and she even struggled to do basic daily functions such as eating, getting up and walking. So it was such as relief when she was discharged from hospital.
But that had been far from the end of our ordeal.
Harsh chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions
Following her discharge, we dutifully accompanied Mum to the hospital five times a week for her radiotherapy treatment for six weeks. This was quickly followed by six months of her doing her chemotherapy treatments. (During her radiotherapy, she had also undergone chemotherapy too).
The radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments were extremely taxing, and taking a tough toll on her body. They left her extremely weak and nauseated and she could barely eat. It was a painstaking task for us just to try and get food into her stomach and convince her to eat something – because the treatments were making her lose her appetite.
So we tried our best to feed her – to make sure that she was getting all the nutrients that her body needed, to recover.
She was also vomiting a lot during those dark days and we also tried to minimise taking her out as much as possible, so that she would not catch any germs. This was because the chemotherapy drug weakens the immune system, making it highly susceptible for mum to catch germs.
During those days, we began to worry a lot about her. Was she getting enough nutrients? Would she be okay? How was her body coping with the harsh treatments? Would this finally be the end of her ordeal or would her cancer recur? It was very hard not only on my mother, but on my dad and myself.
Cancer may be in remission but ordeal far from over
In April 2015, my mother’s chemo treatment was finally over, much to our family’s utmost relief.
But today it is far from the end of her ordeal though. According to her oncologist, she still has a 0.7cm residue lump left inside her brain. The doctors are monitoring this closely as they are not sure whether it is a cancerous growth, a scar left from her operation, or something else.
We are hoping for the best though. And we are fervently keeping our fingers crossed – that her cancer will not come back with a vengeance. This is because the oncologist has told us that Mum’s type of cancer has a very high recurrence rate – but then again, maybe she might buck the trend.
Please help to relieve the sufferings of cancer victims like my mother. Help cancer victims and sufferers, and contribute to the research of the prevention of cancer by donating to my SCMS cause at http://www.giveasia.org/movement/cancer_is_a_marathon_by_pris_chew
No donation is too small to help cancer patients and survivors. So please give a little.