by Christopher Liew
As we are living in the 20th century, cancer stands out at the rate of 20% of the total death toll worldwide. At a staggering 57% of cancer cases, and 65% of cancer deaths worldwide, approximate of 5.3 million deaths by cancer a year. Through Facebook, we came across a brave cancer survivor , Jennifer Teh Yin Li , age 28, a survivor of a 3rd stage germ cell tumor/ Yolk sac tumor. Diagnosed with a 3rd stage ovarian cancer (a tumor weighing about 4.5kg to 4.8kg), it requires a lot of positive energy and bravery to face the truth. With this, we have interviewed Jennifer about it.
From left to right, after chemo, during chemo, chemo ended
How do you feel when you first found out that you’re diagnosed with Ovarian cancer?
To be honest, when I know about the growth in my ovary from my doctor, my tears immediately rolled down my face. My first thought was ‘ I won’t be able to have kids anymore’. That dream was shattered because the doctor said that my ovary will be removed. And when the lab test report showed that the cyst is cancerous, my dream shattered again when I think of the days of my life will be ending sooner. I won’t be able to get married, have kids, take care of my parents~ What’s worst is that my parents are old already. How can parents send their kids “off”, you know? A funeral for children! That thought was so devastating that I started crying in my room thinking about it.
How do you accept the fact that you’re diagnosed with ovarian cancer?
My family is clean of malign illnesses. No connection with the BIG C! Therefore, it’s very hard for me to accept this diagnosis at an early stage which delayed my doctor consultation and check ups in the hospital until it got bigger and worse. It was on the night of Christmas eve, I experienced this lower abdominal pain on my lower abdomen.. So painful that I couldn’t talk or walk.. I just kept on perspiring… It was then that I got admitted to the hospital and went for an ultra scan and X-ray. (for your info I was working in Singapore at that time).
What or who influenced/motivate you to continue to fight on hard and strong?
I told my boyfriend about it and he shared that it wasn’t right to even to think this way. He wants me to promise that I will fight this battle. How can I give up when everyone around me hasn’t even given up their hope? The battle has just started.
So, I went to google all the inspirational stories about cancer survivors and how they managed to overcome all the obstacles and won the big C war! I “absorbed” all these positive juice from them! I wanna get cured. I wanna fight for my survival not only for myself, but for my mom and my dad and for my love ones. I always believed that things happened for a reason and I know, I should continue to believe this during this down time! God only gives what you can handle. If he puts you through this shit, he’ll help you get over it ! What really kept me going was the support from my family and friends! My mom cooked and brought me hot food every morning! That already made me felt as if I was in heaven! Hahaha! And what make me look forward to my recovery. Other than that, I looked through my old photos. I used to join marathons, participate in charity events, volunteering job, travel around and diving in the free ocean… I want to be this fun again! I want to have this meaningful life again! So, I need to make sure I recover!! I just can’t wait!
How do you feel when you’re undergoing chemotherapy?
It’s a total nightmare to stay in the hospital for 10 days. With tubes and IV drip attached, it’s hard for me to move around. Especially from day 3 onwards, my body will feel very weak and sometimes, I can’t stand straight. I’d feel dizzy so i’m glad my mom was there to assist me in moving around.. Feeding me and also to shower me. I felt quite helpless at that time. If it wasn’t for my mom, I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to go through this.
The side effects would be enduring the tingling and numbness in my fingers and feet, metal taste / weird tastebud, tinnitus, sprained wrist feeling, lethargic, hair loss (anywhere that has hair growth! Which includes of my eyebrow and eyelashes!), nausea,… I don’t remember much now… it’s been a while…
After winning the fight with cancer, what do you think about cancer?
Cancer is like a new definition of a second chance in life. At least it came knocking not too early, not too late and it is present with solutions. It gave life a new definition and made you start over.
When life gives you something that makes you feel afraid, that’s when life gives you a chance to be BRAVE!
Your largest fear carries your GREATEST GROWTH!
It will always seem impossible until it is done!
You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life! Feel like one and think like one, it’ll help you to understand better.
Shout out to the public?
Despite all the struggles, even I, myself find it hard to believe how I actually managed to make it through! But my advice is, do try your best and have faith. People said problems that can be solved using money is not a problem at all! I do agree with that! if you compare that with a sudden misfortune like an accident in which you don’t have a choice or second chance, will that make you feel any better when you’re dealing with the current stress in hand? YES,IT WILL. Just be happy and take one step at a time and breathe ~ There’re so many beautiful reasons to be happy!
by Christopher Liew