I was diagnosed with Nasopharyngeal Cancer in 2010. Just like anyone affected by cancer, I was initially shocked by the diagnosis but I learnt to accept and deal with what came after. It was a trying period, made only easier with love and support from my family and friends who formed a velcro-like attachment to me! In many aspects it was probably a lot harder on them… For this very reason, I refused to let my cancer be any more painful than it had to be on my loved ones and myself. My stubborn and determined personality had perhaps also (finally!) found its positive channel in my fight against cancer. I refused to be taken down just because I have ‘the Big C’.
During this journey, besides a great support system of family, friends and an employer that made a substantial difference in making it more bearable, good medical care was imperative. Medical professionals involved in the care for my condition helped to foster understanding, reassurance and instill in me a sense of ‘fighting a good fight’. Moving on after I completed my treatments, the fight continues through good lifestyle habits – running regularly and eating healthily. This forms a critical aspect towards my long-term recovery. I have also learnt to give myself a good break from what used to be a crazily hectic lifestyle. I’m still living life to the fullest as before, except it now involves committing more time to meaningful activities that I hope can help make a positive change, and putting me and my health at the forefront.
Until I was diagnosed with cancer, I never really thought about the role of cancer research. I had the same type of cancer that my grandmother had more than 10 years ago. I could recall her radiation treatment was less sophisticated back then, sadly resulting in severe side effects and a large degree of post-treatment suffering. My treatment, on the contrary, was relatively painless with minimal side effects. This was only possible with today’s technology derived from research and science that enabled the precision of administering my radiotherapy as compared to my grandmother’s.
From the knowledge that I gained during my journey, I now know and believe that research is a fundamental part of not just finding a cancer cure, but to also make cancer far less destructive. NCCS’ efforts and progress in this area plays such a big role in helping cancer patients in the long run, patients like myself who have greatly benefited from such progress. With ongoing quality research, my hope is that cancer can someday soon be relegated to the same way we treat a common flu and no longer be the killer disease we know of today.
Karen Wong, 38