Being in the soccer team when I was in secondary school, I wouldn’t say that I was a popular kid but rather I felt comfortable and welcomed in school. I wasn’t a marvelous student back then, in fact I would usually get kicked out of class and I devoted most of my time to playing soccer.
Unfortunately those carefree moments came to an end when the doctor told me that I was diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer when I was 15. At that point of time in life, I wasn’t sure of how I was supposed to feel. The only thing I could think of was “My life is over.” I couldn’t play soccer anymore. I was afraid that everyone was going to judge me. And I was a constant reminder of being ‘useless’.
But right now, I can tell you that going through this battle has been one of my greatest achievements, which also helped me change my perspective in life in a way that I could never imagine.
Throughout that year, I went through 4 months of Chemotherapy yet I continued to attend school whenever I could as it was the year of my O’ Levels Examination. There was no doubt that chemotherapy was one of the most torturing processes that I had to go through and there were even times where I felt so upset that I just wanted to pluck the drip needle out of my hand and give up. I tried so hard to prevent my hair from dropping and refused to shave it off even when patches of holes were visible on my head. In the end, when I was recovering from a chemo session, I unconsciously agreed to let my mum shave off my hair and there I was, bald. It was difficult for me at first as I was a girl going through puberty and like every other girl at that age, looks mattered the most. I wore a beanie to school and avoided eye contact with everyone. I felt so ashamed that I never bothered to look myself in the mirror and could not bring myself to take any photograph throughout that period. I even broke down in school once because I started to overthink. I also continued to attend my team’s national competition to support them whenever I felt better. It made me angry whenever I saw my teammates complain or whine about something minor. There I was, sitting at the side of the field hoping that one day I could get back on the field and run like you, and there you are complaining about the tiniest things like your toe hurts and you want to rest.
Half the time I was absent from school due to treatment, so my teachers and friends advised me to take my examinations the following year. But I still gave it a shot anyway, and I’m glad I did. I would have treatment for one week, recovery for the next week and the third week I would feel good enough to attend school before my next treatment session.
I would say that I have received the best support I could ever have during my battle and I am so thankful for that. My family definitely treated me like a princess, the nurses at my centre gave me the best care that I could ask for. My school and teachers tried their best to accommodate to my every need and my close friends where there for me 24/7 and even my school mates, whom I did not know, personally dropped me Facebook messages to give me encouragements. But at the end of the day, I believe that the only person who could give you enough courage to walk on would be no one but YOURSELF. I pushed myself to be positive, to ignore all the judgments and to substitute the pain with the success that I knew I could obtain for days to come. Though, of course you have to know your limits and not over stress yourself. Things that I did include sitting alone outside the staff room when I attended school to do assessments and asked any teachers that walked pass when I was doubt, taking my pills on time even though they made me feel like it was going to ‘block my brain’ and even the simplest things like forcing myself to eat my meals even though I knew that I was going to vomit them out afterwards. Life then really wasn’t easy, it was tiring, torturing and devastating but, I made it. Sadly, I didn’t get the score that I wanted for O Levels but still I was the luckiest person on earth to get into the course that i have been dreaming of since Sec 2.
Today, I’m 18 years old and I’m doing fine in my Polytechnic, I’m back on the field and, I am proud to say that I am a cancer survivor who is hoping to inspire more people who were in my situation. I don’t ask for much whenever I make wishes, the only thing I would ask for is to be HAPPY & HEALTHY because that’s the only thing that really matters.
For all the cancer patients going through the battle now, keep that fire of hope burning, persevere on and stay positive. Believe it or not, staying positive is a better medicine than therapy. Don’t let this tragic event ruin you, in fact take this as an opportunity to prove that you are indestructible. Not for anyone else, but yourself. GO ON AND KICK CANCER’S BUTT!! YOU CAN DO IT!
Cristalle Wang, 18