14 November 2007
I was found to have breast cancer in 1998, following my discovery of a lump during a regular breast examination.
Nobody else in my family has cancer. I was completely shocked to hear the results. I kept thinking, "Where did I go wrong? How could I have gotten this when I exercise regularly and eat carefully?"
My family had a hard time coping with the idea that my lifespan might not be as long as they expected. They felt I was too young to be getting breast cancer.
I had to undergo a mastectomy, 12 cycles of chemotherapy followed by several weeks of radiotherapy and a drug called tamoxifen. The treatment caused a lot of side effects - appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea alternating with constipation, mood swings, ulcers, infection, etc.
I was fortunate to be able to resume work, and I was advised by my oncologist to only stay home on bad days. This really helped me to get back to my normal routine, as much as possible. I'm still working as a manager in public affairs in a corporate company, and count myself fortunate that I can do so.
My experience has shown me that the one thing that really matters is how we want to live life, not for how long.