Contributed by cancer survivor, Ms Yvonne Lim living in Singapore.
Life was really getting a little hard to bear when I found out that I had Lymphoma right after my mom went through a major heart operation. To make matters worse, I had just broken off with my boyfriend of two years and was extremely upset over it. I tried to fight back tears and just take things in stride and continue living my life. But it was difficult for a 23 year-old who had barely lived half her life.
Thankfully, I had the support of my family. We grew a lot closer as a result of this illness. Back then, I remembered spending a lot of time with my boyfriend and very little with my family. Now, I truly know how much they love me and the things that they will do for me just to make me feel comfortable.
I remember the things my dad did, making sure that my bed was ready, the air-conditioner was switched on and that my favourite 'Kenny G' music was playing when I came home to rest after every chemotherapy session. My mom would relentlessly make all kinds of fruit juice to cure that 'dry' sensation in my mouth and the agonizing stomach cramps that I usually have after the session.
I had few close friends. Little did I expect to find a 'group of my acquaintances' whom I thought was just happy-go-lucky and totally 'wacko' people, standing by me throughout my entire treatment. They would visit me at home and cheer me up with their jokes and craziness, they would invite me to their own gathering and chalets and these were the people who weren't even close to me before the illness! I remember spending Christmas with them. Even though I was slightly bald then, they didn't give a hoot about being seen with this weirdo!
I guess you might say that I understood and started to cherish more of my life, my family and my friends now. I don't think I will ever have realized this if I hadn't had this illness. It has been almost seven months since my remission. I always tell my friends 'God has given me a second life, a life that I will live more meaningfully'.
It seems so difficult to win sometimes
Your mind is weak but your heart lives by
When all you can feel is hurt and pain
Your unexpected friends are here to stay
The irony of life as it sometimes is
You never cherish what you have within your health,
your strength and of course your hair!
seem so insignificant when they always there
To say that having cancer is not all that bad
May seem cynical to some people out there
But I know I learnt a lot from this
To cherish my life and my unexpected friends out there