Su, a breast cancer survivor, wearing the Alsou Dress.
“When I was diagnosed with stage 2, breast cancer 7 years ago, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it, even when I went for an operation. How could it be possible when I led a healthy lifestyle? I had a good family with two healthy young daughters and no work related stress.
What broke me was when the doctor told me I had to receive chemotherapy treatments. That was the first time I had tears in my eyes. This sounds a little ridiculous but as a lady, I want to look beautiful! It was very difficult for me to grasp the idea of losing all of my hair. After consulting many different doctors, even ones in Singapore, they confirmed that the only way I could be treated was through chemotherapy. I couldn’t deny it any longer; I just had to face it.
Typically with chemotherapy, hair starts falling out two weeks after the first injection. I took the plunge and shaved my entire head. When I got home, my youngest daughter who was 7 years old at the time took one look at me and started crying at my new appearance. This broke my heart, I felt like an alien in my own home. From then on, my daughters slept with their father while I slept alone. As a family, we slept this way until my treatment was completed. On the bright side, I found a beautiful wig, which gave me a hairstyle I've never had!
I tried to turn negativity into positivity. I found God through this challenging period and I thank Jesus for being by my side through this entire experience. Supportive people surrounded me, from my husband who accompanied me for all the treatments and sat beside me while I was put on drips, to my boss who generously offered financial support. He issued me a check and told me to buy whatever I needed with the money to ease things for me. I also had the support from my friends at the Pink Ribbon Foundation. There is always someone there to support you when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom.
I recovered, but towards the end of the 5 year “danger period”, I was diagnosed with Thyroid complications. I was prepared for another round of fighting – I’d beaten cancer once, I could do it again! Luckily for me, it turned out to be not cancerous, and went away with medication after about a year. I am completely healed now and I live by the tagline, ‘never be a victim, and always be a fighter!’” - Su
Moei Ho, a breast cancer survivor wearing the Laverne Dress.
“I first noticed the lumps on my breasts in mid 2008 but refused the use of any western medicine. Instead, I opted for traditional Chinese medicine to try to cure it. But with no progress, I realized it couldn’t be delayed any longer and went for an operation in November 2008. My breast cancer was at stage 3.
I remembered asking God, “Why does it have to be me? What have I done in the past to deserve this cancer? Was I a terrible person?"
The chemotherapy sessions took the most out of me. I was in terrible shape, physically, mentally and emotionally. It made my body very weak and I lost most of my appetite. This was amplified by the ulcers that had formed in my mouth due to the treatment as well as lack of sleep.
What helped me the most with overcoming this bleak period of my life was the encouragement from my friends and family. They constantly told me that I have to face this instead of giving up and that I have to stay strong. There were still many more things I wanted to do with my life and I couldn’t die just yet!
Every morning during my cancer period (and even now), I would wake up early to exercise at the nearby park, whether it’s doing chi gong or to climb the hill. I love the feeling of the morning sun when it hits my skin; it instantly lifts my mood even during bad days. I do take an enjoyment from climbing hills despite the path being difficult at times. For instance, it could be too steep but I see it as a reflection on life. If the road gets tough, you shouldn’t give up, you should persevere and try to overcome the obstacle presented in front of you.
I was originally a tailor who sewed uniforms. But because of this cancer, I had to eat mostly organic food, which led me to the decision of opening my own organic food store! Because of this, I could also help people facing similar problems by becoming their one-stop shop and source for healthy food! 6 years have gone by since I’ve beaten breast cancer and I’m glad I survived It.” – Moei Ho
Visit Moei Ho’s organic food store:
Billion Organic Home, 42G Lorong Haruan 5/2, Oakland Commerce Square, 70200 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan.
Casey, a breast cancer survivor, wearing the Andie Dress.
"My name is Casey Chu, and I am 27 years old. I discovered a lump on my right breast in April of last year. Cancer was the last thing on my mind. I was young, and supposed to be at the peak of my life. In fact, I consulted three different doctors and all three of them told me that the chance of getting breast cancer at my age is very low, and it was probably just swelling.
I took a scan because my family has a history of breast cancer, and the tests confirmed it. Cancer, at 26.
Upon receiving the news, my mum broke down crying, and my brother tried to console me by urging me to bawl and let it all out. I remembered asking myself, what's the point of crying? My cancer would still be there even if I did.
Chemotherapy was difficult. I would just vomit uncontrollably for the next three days after each session. The physical pain was incredible, and I don't wish that upon anyone.
Emotionally, it was no walk in the park either. Twice, I broke down crying. The first time was when my mum wept because she couldn't accept the fact that her child had cancer. She prayed and begged God to take her instead of me, and my heart just broke. I understood her anguish, though. I can't imagine seeing her suffer from cancer, too.
The second time I broke down was when my doctor advised me to take half a year off from work to rest. Something as innocuous as that, and yet I wept! I suppose it was the apparent finality of it - like this is it, i'm not even useful to society anymore. I simply couldn't accept the fact that I could not go to work!
It's been a few months since I officially beat cancer. However, even though it's in remission, I know that there's a possibility that it could come back to bite me again. So I've vowed to enjoy my life each and every single day - there's no bigger incentive to do so than having stared cancer down. First step: I've already made travel plans for next year!" - Casey
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in women. It is caused by a genetic abnormality of uncontrolled growth of breast cells. In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, throughout the whole of October we will be interviewing breast cancer patients and survivors to share their inspiring stories of strength.
“I was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer at 38 years old after discovering a lump on my breast. At the time, there was only one type of treatment available, which was Radiotherapy. I had to undergo 12 sessions of radiotherapy, with each session taking place every few days. Many people who discover they have cancer immediately dive into negative thoughts of dying, or how many months they have to live. I on the other hand decided to stay positive because all I wanted to do was beat cancer as I had a family to take care of. I never told them then, as I didn’t want them to worry about me – this will be the first time most of them will have heard of this! I've only told my mother-in-law because she was diagnosed with breast cancer too. I did my best to help her with household chores like cooking, and to support her in times of need even though I was suffering from cancer myself. After completing the initial treatments, I underwent regular check-ups in my first year followed by a check-up in my 5thyear, 10th year etc. I have since beaten breast cancer.” – Jenny
Sherlyn with Jenny and Maggie.