Ms Kate Wong, a 75-year-old breast cancer survivor and a dragon boater of the Pink Spartans dragon boat team cancer support group, shares about her brush with cancer and how she transformed the ordeal into opportunity.
- When were you diagnosed and at what age?
I was diagnosed on 14 Jan 2002. I was 61 then.
- What was your first reaction when you were told that you had cancer?
I was a kindergarten school principal when I got the news. Naturally, I was a bit shock as I was so busy in my education career and wasn’t aware of cancer and its symptoms.
Fortunately, I was diagnosed at the first stage. It was by chance during a mammogram when a surgeon discovered that I had lumps in my breasts.
A one-hour biopsy examination revealed that I had aggressive breast cancer. Though the cancer was in its first stage, I decided to undergo a mastectomy surgery, which is the surgical removal of the entire breast. I thought it was better to lose my breast than to lose my life.
After the surgery, I went through four cycles of chemo, and then five years of hormonal therapy.
- What are the things you are able to do now as a result for winning the battle against cancer?
I think cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me.
It helped me decide to quit my stressful job to stop and smell for the roses. It gave me the opportunity to meet other cancer survivors and take up fulfilling activities such dragon boating with the Pink Spartans, an activity I am still active in.
There is life after breast cancer. Personally, I enjoyed the camaraderie of meeting and befriending other cancer survivors. It also motivated me to exercise via gymming and swimming. Today, I am still physically healthy and swim twice a week.
All these happened only after my cancer.
I am very thankful to the staff of National Cancer Centre Singapore. The doctors, nurses and support group helped me a lot.
Join her and thousands of other survivors to raise awareness and support for the cancer research at http://tinyurl.com/zn6kqyd.