Contributed by cancer survivor, Mr Kelvin Loh living in Singapore.
Living With Our Lives
My whole life changed after 19/09/2001, 12:30pm. I was being pushed into the operation theatre. I had to undergo an above knee amputation surgery. This is a date I will never forget. They found cancerous growth in soft tissue sarcoma on my right leg. I had gone too late for treatment, they were left with no choice but to remove my right leg in order to remove the cancer cells. I was only 24 years old. All of a sudden, my life ahead looked empty and devoid of hope. My life had changed completely. I had never expected myself to become a cancer patient.
Just when I needed most support and encouragement from people around me, my beloved girlfriend left me. Suddenly, I felt so lost again.
This was a double blow to me, striking so hard on my mind and heart that I felt totally useless. "Why are all these terrible things happening to me?" I asked myself. All kinds of thoughts pass through my mind and I had difficulty sleeping at night, as my head felt so heavy.
I knew that I had to be positive, but it proved really difficult as
I knew little about the disease and had to fight this battle alone.
I felt so alone. I did not know what to ask the doctor. To make things worse, I realised that, as an amputee, even after my disease has been cured, I will still be a cripple. I will always be different from others.
At present, I still can't access public transport easily because my artificial leg has not arrived yet. When I am troubled, all I can do is to stand by the windows and stare blankly at the sky. At the most, I will go down to the void deck. Unlike in the past, whenever I was troubled, I would take a long bus ride from one terminal to another to sort things out in my mind, after which I would feel better. Now it is different. I feel so stressed out, but I can't do anything about it. All I can do is to wait for time to pass. I surf a lot on the Internet, getting more information about my artificial leg and the type of cancer I was diagnosed with. That really helps to kill time and I learned a lot.
Luckily, I have a group of friends, colleagues and family members who
are very encouraging. My friends and colleagues will visit me
whenever they are free. We even go out. They will always ask me where I wanted to go and they would accompany me. It took a lot of courage for me to go out with all those strange eyes looking at me as if I was an alien from outer space, just because I was walking without a leg and on crutches.
It has been almost two months already, I still have not gotten my artificial leg but I have learnt a very valuable lesson in life. A lesson that not everyone will have to go through. Perhaps the few who have learnt this valuable lesson will understand:-
Life awaits you,
Life is not over after cancer,
Cherish our life for we only live once,
Spread the lesson we learned to others.
I should not lose hope,
For if I do,
I will be left alone.
I have learnt never to give up,
My will power is stronger now,
Once I fall,
I should stand up
Not sit down and wait.
Friends and family members are always there for you.
People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did.
But they will never forget how you made them feel.
And finally, never look back,
Always look forward to a better tomorrow.
For what we have gone through,
Is a priceless lesson learnt.
Follow-up : Sadly, Kelvin lost his battle against cancer in December 2003. His story and fighting spirit shall 'live on' to
inspire other cancer survivors to face the cancer challenge bravely and cherish each day till the end of their life journey.