The response received after the release of AXA’s sponsored video for National Cancer Society has been overwhelming. Mei Sze posted the video and article on her blog and Facebook page on Thursday and encouraging messages have been coming my way non stop since the posting. I’m glad that the video and article are making an impact even though I wasn’t expecting anything when I signed up for it. In fact, I didn’t know what I was signing up for when I got the email and SMS from Mei Sze one fine day.
No one asked me why I had decided to be featured in the video. Was it obvious? Or it’s just a no-brainer to take part in the project?
A lot of the messages that poured in had these common words: strong, inspiring, bubbly, keep smiling, recover soon. I’m more than pleased and delighted to receive so much love and support from all walks of my life: high school, college and workplace.
But let’s get down to business and talk about why I decided to put myself out there. Trust me, it was so awkward speaking to the camera; I don’t know how Mei Sze and the production crew made me look so fluent in the video.
I want young people to realize that critical illness can hit anyone so get covered as early as you can.
I’m blessed and thankful that my mom bought me medical card since young because my late dad fell ill and left us without medical coverage when I was 5. Because I’m accustomed to paying for insurance once I started working, I upgraded myself to a wholesome insurance coverage some time last year (though I can’t use it yet; another story later). I cannot imagine going through cancer treatment or any critical illness at all, without an insurance coverage. Cancer treatment has cost me more than RM65,000 so far and I’m not even halfway through my chemotherapy. At 25 years old, it’d be amazing if I can afford cancer treatment myself. I can’t even buy any medical insurance anymore for life because of my newly diagnosed critical illness. You can never predict life, so get covered as soon as you can, even with a low medical coverage.
I want young people to realize that you’re not immortal.
Before the diagnosis, I felt pain a little here and there. You can read about my Big-C symptoms. Generally, I felt normal and looked healthy. Little did I expect that there’s a cancerous tumor growing inside me, measuring as big as my fist. I’m lucky that my job required me to go for a medical check up and that the GP insisted I meet a gastroenterology specialist. And that for some reason the gastroenterology specialist insisted me to do a colonoscopy. If either of them dismissed me because I was too young to be at risk for anything major, I may not have the chance to fight Big-C when I still have the upper hand. I’m already at Stage 3; I can’t imagine going through this when it has advanced to Stage 4. So if there’s any pain or abnormality at all, go see a doctor and have it checked thoroughly even though you’re young. Do not let any doctor tell you that you’re too young for anything. I’m 25 and I got a 50 years old man’s disease. You’d be thankful for discovering anything at early stage even though any diagnosis at all sounds scary.
I want young people to realize life’s not as bad when you look around you.
I have this quote that I love stuck to the wall in my room: It’s not Happy People who are Thankful. It’s Thankful People who are Happy. I got this quote from Kleenex when I redeemed a free sample online. This came way before my diagnosis and it constantly reminds me that I’m not in the worst position even when I’m diagnose with Stage 3 Colon Cancer at the age of 25 (clinically I’m actually 24 before my birthday 24th of this month). During my treatment, I’ve met newly wed battling rare cancer, new mother battling cancer recurrence, Indonesian patient flying in for treatment and lots more. I think I’m luckier than them and I’m thankful that I have the support system to help me through this battle. So before ranting on social media and thinking that life’s unfair, realize that life can be way way worse.
I really do feel lucky even though many may not agree with me at the moment. I feel I have left my mark at every stage of my life so far and I’m proud of that. I’m not ready to leave and I don’t believe the Big-C will defeat me anytime soon. I feel I have a mission to complete with this battle that I’m going through. Perhaps I’m the representative of my generation and circle of friends to make people realize how precious life is and not to take life for granted. I’m still learning about life and its wonders. My mom thinks I’m not serious enough about my medical condition and I have to agree with her many times. But nevertheless, let’s learn and grow together.
Please allow me to highlight some messages that I want to remember for a long time more to go because I know they will give me strength when I need it.
Love from people I met during high school years:
Love from people I met during college years:
Love from people I met during work life:
Love from the amazing and beautiful Mei Sze:
Lastly, please go to AXA’s page to share the message out because every share means RM1 donation by AXA for National Cancer Society. I don’t get paid for this engagement. I don’t have any insurance coverage with AXA too. I just want this journey to not be all about me. It’s a journey for all.
Pledge and share here: https://110cancercare.com/app/ncsm-pledge/index.html
Thank you for your support!