Recently, I attended a talk organized by The Laureate Signature, a wellness center that offers genetic profiling test, among other things. Mei Sze talked at the event as a special guest. She spoke about her cancer story, from pre-diagnosis to treatment and new norm after cancer.
Frankly, that was my first time hearing her talk about her cancer story in person after meeting her for 1.5 years now. I have to say that the sharing was heartfelt. Ah the clingy Big-C that stays on your mind all day even after it leaves your body. So much feels.
Anyway, after the talk, a few people approached me (knowing that I’m a young survivor myself). I just want to remember how different each of them was, to remind myself how differently challenged everyone’s life can be.
The first person I spoke to quit her job to care for her mom who survived colon cancer. Besides her ailing mother, she’s worried about her risk of developing cancer at young age because generally, doctor advises offspring of cancer patients to be screened 10 years younger. This just reminds me that my children need to be screened at 15 years old. Gulp.
The second person I spoke to was a psychology student. He only had one question for me about feeling helplessness during cancer. Here’s the thing: I didn’t feel helpless at all during cancer treatment. As I dug my cancer diagnosis stories from my brain log, I realized I was super rationale. No clue how I did it. I somehow pulled myself and my medical plan together in a jiffy. Let me just admire how cool I was in Jan 2016. LOL. And be reminded how common helplessness is amongst new critical illness patients.
The third person I spoke to just lost his dad to cancer. He actually spotted me from one of my hospital visits in PPUM; why was I not surprised for standing out among the elderly patients who flood the oncology clinic? Frankly, I’ve always found it difficult to respond to bad news. Surviving cancer didn’t seem to equip me with heightened compassion and empathy. Definitely something I need to work on. Someone give me tuition and enlightenment in this area, please.
The fourth person I spoke to was undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer. Oh my God, he looked so good! Made me feel bad for looking like I’ve been electrocuted by lightning when I was on chemotherapy 😂. He was very chirpy. His wife was very chirpy. They were #relationshipgoal despite the adversity they were facing! Ah I want to remember them for the good times shared that afternoon.
I expected to learn a thing or two about nutrigenomic but I left with so much more.
There are really a lot of different stories in every person’s life. Opening up about yourself and opening your ears to others do wonders for everyone. #sharestrength indeed.