2017 Year in Review

I’ve never written any year in review post before on this 2.5-year-old blog but let’s do it for 2017 because my memory is failing me year by year. I need this blog post to journal my growth and milestones over the years.

Let’s start with #2017bestnine that summarizes the most liked Instagram posts I have on @kyension!

Looking at this collage, 2017 was a year of celebrating cancer survivorship and living in the moment during travels — cancer anniversaries, young cancer survivorhood, loving random commute, loving random staircase, loving a wedding trip, loving a swimming pool and hunting random sakura tree.

While this collage identified the events that my Instagram followers liked most, it didn’t capture all the essence of 2017 according to yours truly. So here’s my list.

Survived 1st Year Anniversaries of All Cancer Milestones
My 26th birthday hi-tea.

1 year after diagnosis, 1 year after surgery and 1 year after completing chemotherapy. Actually, if my drug study is of much significance, I’ve hit 1 year of being a human guinea pig too.

Physically, I’ve done so much better in 2017 than 2016. Emotionally, I always wondered if surviving cancer is actually harder than treating cancer because I’ve experienced more emotional meltdowns in 2017, after I’ve completed all treatments, vs 2016 when I was going through treatments. I’m glad I ended 2017 in a better emotional state than a couple of low points of the year. And I think I’d manage better in 2018. Praying for another year of health.

p/s Did I mention how proud I am at my core for not tearing during trapeze 1 year after being slaughtered? 😊

Travelled Almost Every Month

In 2015, I did 2 major (read: expensive) travels to Hong Kong 6D5N and Perth 7D7N; which at that point in time, I felt so much pain for my wallet. In 2016, I didn’t have the privilege to do any major travel and even had to burn 1 flight ticket; I felt impatient to travel again once I was well. Did that justify why I travelled almost every month in 2017? 😆

I had my first bikini beach holiday in Club Med and finally understood why people love beach holiday. I had my first solo trip ever at Taipei and realized how persistent (read: stubborn) I can be. I learned to keep an open-mind at new places from the overwhelming Phnom Penh trip and underwhelming Bali trip. I also experienced the thrill of last-minute holiday via Ho Chi Minh trip (and Taipei actually).

2017 was a good year of growing through many budget travels. I’m not sure if 2018 will be a year of 1 major travel or many budget travels so let’s see. But I’d be sure to enjoy all the travels I get to make this year.

Hiked 10 Times / 54km
Source: MapMyFitness 2017 Year In Review

I can’t decide if that’s a lot or very little because when I scroll through my hiking blog entries, the list looks pathetic; I only blogged about Taman Botani Shah Alam, Bukit Sapu Tangan, Kota Damansara and Bukit Dinding. Also, MapMyFitness is telling me I only burned through 7 slices of pizza via hikes I tracked.

No surprise that I actually wanted to hike a lot more after I recovered from my surgery but #excuses happened. For the least, I crossed all the hiking trails I wanted to explore from my (short) list! Time to make a new list.

Dear 2018, I need to hike more, especially to waterfalls because they are so fun.

Published 40 Blog Posts

Not sure how I did 53 blog posts in 2016 but I thought 40 blog posts in 2017 was remarkable! Especially because by the end of 2017, I even had to resort to doing a weekly blog challenge with Khai from Khai On The Go in order to keep the blog alive.

As expected, the blog posts that made a difference to my blog traffic in 2017 were all about hiking:

  1. Hiking at Kota Damansara (Top 3)
  2. Hiking at Bukit Sapu Tangan (Top 9)
  3. Hiking at Taman Botani Negara Shah Alam (Top 10)

Regardless, I always enjoy reading back all my posts because they bring me back in time. (Trivia: My first blog was titled Time Letter). In 2018, I hope to write more about Fitness to motivate myself to move more, Travel to memorialize the experiences made and #sharestrength to journal the turbulence and triumphs of surviving cancer.

Lent My Stories To Inspire Others

Frankly, cancer made my voice louder. I’ve always been a person who likes to talk (thus the existence of a blog to exhaust my word count). But with cancer in the picture, I gained a superpower called “power to inspire” when I talk and share about things.

  • In July, I urged World Vision volunteers of 30-Hour Famine to continue volunteering while we can because it is a privilege that we do not know when it’d be taken away from us for better or worse.
  • In Sept, I honored young friends lost to cancer at Relay for Life and hoped for a cancer-free world.
  • In Nov, I talked about how everyone has their own stories of strength on a Humans of Kuala Lumpur post.
  • In Dec, Sin Chew Daily repurposed the story posted by Humans of KL on a physical newspaper.

I hope my stories continue to have a purpose to encourage others whenever they’re needed.

Read 1 Book

This is embarrassing but it’s an achievement in my book. I’ve always been a magazine and short story person before mobile internet became a thing. I lost track of the number of books I’ve abandoned halfway or left untouched on my shelf. Completing 300+ pages of Elon Musk’s biography intrigued me to learn about the way of life and way of work of other icons through biography books.

Also, I suspect it’s not just biography book that I should read but biography e-book because that’s my first e-book and the first book I completed in many years.

I’m currently reading a 400-page e-book about genetics. Already slowed down a lot at a quarter mark but I hope to speed up when I commute to work again. I hope I can laugh at myself with a sense of pride when I see this milestone in the future.

2017 was quite meaningful, wasn’t it? I stepped into 2017 not thinking much about what lies ahead in life after cancer — about living full-time in the real world instead of the hospital. I am glad I can step into 2018 with better clarity about the demons and angels in me and life. Just keep me healthy and happy, 2018.

Happy New Year and thank you for staying around!

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