As I draft this post, it is almost 6 months since I got the news from Dr. Tay. Needless to add, the focus during this period had been the treatment to fight this cancer.
Being a cancer statistic creates lots of changes in a person. After getting over the initial shock that the worst that could happen had happened, when the reality finally sink in, the will to fight and live on will strive forward.
When Dr. Tay informed me about my cancer, I was shocked, a bit sad and scared but I was never once frustrated, angry, disgusted, hopeless nor lost the will to fight it. Thinking that I might die soon did not once entered my mind then or now.
The first noble act I did to fight this battle was kick in with my ‘Kiasi” attitude. I quit smoking there and then with immediate effect. I recalled what was on my mind was “I just want to live”.
The wonderful support from my wife, my friends and family especially during those early days helped me a lot in my quest to fight this all the way. I certainly admit that if I do not have my wife with me now, my will to fight this battle might not be as determined. This past 6 months, she had not only been caring for me, but she had been very supportive and had push me all the way to fight this war.
Cancer is not a death sentence nor a punishment. It is the creation of an environment that requires the person affected to either decide whether he wants to live or die. The outcome depends solely on this decision. To survive, the person must accept the fact that certain strict regimented changes must be strictly adhere too in their life ahead. Old habits must change, lifestyle that become so comfortable for a lifetime must and likely be altered forever. Food that was once “heaven” food are likely to be taboo from now on. Reduced sugar and salt in the taste department is the norm. Important to note that most food which are supposedly meant to be good for prevention of cancer are either very sour or bitter. I guess it is God’s punishment for not taking control of your diet when the choice was there.
I always enjoy eating and like what they say, all “Singaporeans loves eating and they enjoy their food” since other than filling up their tummy, there isn’t any other interesting activities to past the time. Cutting back on the food I love will be tough but in order to live I need to make this huge sacrifice. For more than 3/4 of my life, I had my fair share of such food, so a change now should not be too much to ask. But whether I can totally forgo meat become a 100% vegetarian is a decision I am not ready yet to commit until the time comes for a firm decision.
Exercising is not something I partake regularly in the past. I don’t play any sports nor do I do any form of exercise or running. All I know is I walk a lot. But from now I would need to dedicate time to exercising my body and mind. From what I had read so far, regular exercise helps to prevent colon cancer. Exercising keeps the colon active and this helps to ensure that waste do not linger in the colon for long and therefore less chance to become entangled with the colon lining.
Meditation is meant to be good for the body & mind. Lately, I been contemplating doing some form of meditation like Yoga. I might consider taking some lessons at the community centre and start doing yoga lessons. Once my stoma is reversed, I am seriously considering to do that.
Eating more fruits and vegetables should not be a problem for me in the future. Although I had never been a green advocate, since my cancer, I had actually started eating much more than my usual supply of fruits and vege on a daily basis. How my colon will cope in the future with the roughage is something I would only know later when my Ileostomy is reversed.
In the past, I used to sleep very late, at times as late as 2am in the morning. Since my cancer, I had started to sleep earlier and at times I even put in more than 8 hours of sleep per night. Sleeping is very important during this period when I am going through my chemo treatments. But even after the chemo treatments are all over, having sufficient sleep and allowing my body to rest will be crucial in my on-going journey ahead to ensure I remain cancer-free. I sleep much earlier now and wake up earlier too. It felt good. I look forward to each weekend when I can get up early and then go opposite to have my breakfast and walk around the wet and dry market and look at what the little stores are selling. This had become a weekly weekend morning activity for me.
Smoking is definitely a “No No”. The occasional alcohol in moderation is fine. God might probably “close an eye” once a while but fortunately for me, I can do without a hard liquor. An occasional beer is fine for me. Never was I ever a fan of Vodka, Gin, Whiskey or Brandy.
Eating well and proper, having sufficient rest, doing regularly exercises, relaxing the mind, living a clean and stress-free life, taking more fiber and less meat…. All these are important ‘To Do” list of items but at the end of the day, it all down to one word.. Patience.
Rome was not built in one day, nor can I expect my cancer that had gotten the courage to run wild in my body to suddenly close shop, pack up and jump ship. It took my cancer so long to finally had the guts to create havoc in my body, likewise it would now take time for it to agreed to a truce. I would need to maintain a discipline regime to ensure I do not encourage it’s return for the next time round would be more painful and stressful then the first.