I’ve been itching to write about something that comes to my mind every time someone says this to me when my Big-C story comes into the picture: “You’re so strong.”
Firstly, I’d take credit for that. Yes, I think I’m pretty strong for taking in Big-C into my life and walking out from the battle feeling like a completely normal human being who actually likes to brag a little about that adventure I went through.
Secondly, I’d like to give credit to the people and circumstances that I’ve been through to help put perspective to where the strength came from.
For the most part of my life, I was raised by a single mother. I lost my father to a sudden illness at the age of five. Since then, my mom has been raising four children on her own, sending all four to obtain bachelor’s degree when she herself never completed primary school. I think that’s enough to summarize how much I learned from my mom about being strong.
Besides that, the major colon surgery that left a 5-inch scar on my tummy was not my first surgery. I think this played a major part. I only realized this when a friend told me how scared for life she is for a minor key-hole surgery she’d undergo. She reminded me how afraid I was when I had to go through a minor day surgery many years back. I was so afraid then that the doctor was asking me why I was crying so much before any diagnosis was even made. 😂 So yes, my prior experience being wheeled into an operating theater helped prepare me.
On the bed this morning, I thought about the scar on my abdomen. I recalled being wheeled into the operating theater. I marveled at the fact that my surgeon cut open my abdomen, cut my colon, reattached my colon, and put all my organs back in place before stitching me up. Isn’t it amazing? How did human become so smart? If not for the surgery, the tumor may continue to grow inside my colon, causing my colon to burst inside me at one point… But I’m still here exactly one year later. Without the tumor. With a scar that says, “I survived a major surgery.” Thank you, Doctor! #throwback #26Jan2016 #surgeryanniversary #coloncancer #survivor #sharestrength
Moreover, I was lucky to have talked to several people who believed that I could just cut off the cancerous tumour from my body and be done with it. Good thing doctor did not diagnose me at Stage 3 from the beginning and convinced all us non-medical humans that I was likely to be at the early stage so that I could take Big-C treatment one at a time too.
Lastly, I truly believe that strength comes in various forms. It’s easy to see it on a once-in-a-lifetime battle like mine. But don’t forget the many silent, unnoticed and everyday battles that many people go through: living with depression, growing up in a broken family, having special needs sibling, battling weight issue, yearning for recognition, raising a family, and the list continues.
Yes, I feel that raising a family is harder than going through cancer. Even as I was going through the dreaded cancer treatment, a voice within me just kept telling me that there’d be one thing more difficult than battling the Big-C; and it’s motherhood.
Happy Mothers’ Day to my strong mama and all strong mamas in the world.