On April 18, I won the battle against colorectal cancer and surrendered myself to the Lord. It’s been almost 2 years 5 months since I was diagnosed with cancer.
Colorectal cancer mortality rates aren’t very encouraging and with the rarity of my case, doctors weren’t able to predict how long more do I have to live for the past two years. However, with each additional day, I took it as a chance to continue living boldly.
If I had the choice to press a reset button and redo everything over again, I would not change a thing, including my battle with cancer.
While it was certainly a tough journey, it did not dampen my spirits as I was constantly looking for opportunities to celebrate life. In 2017, I celebrated my 25th birthday by participating in Run for Hope and Terry Fox, while raising funds for National Cancer Centre Research Fund. As my birthday fell right smacked in the middle of two runs that support cancer research, I wanted to celebrate life by running 10km in both races.
One thing that I have learnt in my journey is that you remember the moments that you spend with your family members and friends, the time you lived for yourself and the boundaries you have pushed for yourself. I do hope that each and every one of you would be inspired to do the same as well.
While the countdown had started a while back, I started researching and finding out more about Advanced Care Planning (ACP). It does gets tiring at times, trying to settle all the admin documents, but ACP is something that I would encourage everybody to think about, while your mind is still lucid. Talk to your family members about ACP; let them know about your preferences, how you want to spend your last days and what to do with your assets.
Friends and family members knew that death was something that we cannot avoid and it will come knocking on our doors sooner or later. Many had asked if I was ready to leave, and if I had any last wishes or were there anything that I wanted to do before I passed on. However, I made peace and knew that when the time comes, I would go. I had no regrets because it had been almost 3 years of additional time on earth, and I’m thankful that I managed to spend the last few weeks and months with people that matters the most to me – my family.
As I was panting and struggling to catch my breath, I went for a short family holiday to Hanoi, Vietnam; about a month before I passed away. There were several times, I was afraid that I was going to die in a foreign country. Though I had my fears and it could be quite tiring at times, it was a nice trip and I did not regret going on the trip. Seeing all their happy faces, made me smile, as I knew that I would miss them when I passed on. One day they will have these happy moments to look back on as they mourn for my passing. I hope that while they will mourn for my passing, they will have the strength to continue to live their lives to the fullest and to live boldly.
I did not want to spend the last few days lying in the hospital bed while waiting to meet my new friend (Death). Some might say that I hid the state of my health pretty well, but rather it provided me comfort.
Right to the last moment, I’m glad that I had the choice to decide how I wanted to finish the race; and not have it stripped away from me. I passed away at home, in the comfort of my bed surrounded with my family and close friends.
I’m not sure how many people have been following my journey as I battled colorectal cancer, or how many people have loved ones that are battling cancer too. As I bid my final goodbye ; to the fellow cancer patients out there, do not give up the fight and live boldly. Cancer should not dictate the way we live our lives. To those that have loved ones battling cancer, do not give up hope, it’s definitely not an easy battle but just know that you are not alone in this battle.
In time to come, my family members whom I left behind would share about how to cope when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer and what happens should they pass on.