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The most heart-warming thing was the assurance that my job would still be there when I return.

When I was first diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma back in January 2007, I didn’t really read up about it. All I remembered was that I was working in Four Seasons Resort at Maldives back then, and there was one day where my neck was swelling so badly that my colleagues became very concerned. The next thing I knew, I was flown back to Germany where I was diagnosed with the cancer.

All this while I kept thinking: Tell me what to do to fight this. I didn’t think that I was going to die because I was happy with my life.

I underwent chemotherapy and radiation for a couple of weeks and during then I really felt like giving up. I lost about 15-20 kg at one go. What really kept me going was the love and support I had from my family, friends and especially my company. The Vice-President of Operations (Rooms Division) called me up weekly to check on my condition and my ex-General Manager emailed the entire company, and I received many letters and cards from colleagues all over the world, wishing me a speedy recovery. The most heart-warming thing was their assurance that my job would still be there when I return.

The doctor told me that I had a good survival rate and even though I fall sick more often due to my weaker immune system, I’m happy that I’m still alive. I was cleared of my cancer within the same year but had to go back for check-ups once every six months. Now that I’m working in Singapore, I go to NCCS for my check-ups.

Never neglect your health – go for regular check-ups, especially if your family has a history of cancer. What I take with me after this is a positive attitude; fight it, look forward and don’t let your head down, even when you feel that you can’t do it anymore.

Julian Pagel, 34

Assistant Executive Housekeeper, Four Seasons Hotel Singapore

Oct 2011

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