Cancer is one of the most common and one of the most dreaded words of this century! We think we can escape this deadly disease by being a little cautious about our lifestyle and nutrition. But the shocking thing about cancer is, you never know whom, when and how it can attack anyone! Even the people with healthiest of lifestyles are seen to be affected by cancer.
This post is by my dear friend Cielo Superticioso, from thecancervoice.net. Cielo is the author of Cancer Voice Asia. She started blogging in August 2017 where the only desire is to share her experiences as a cancer survivor until she becomes more committed and determined to start a campaign to strengthen the cancer awareness. This campaign aims to make the cancer voice heard in Asia, especially in Vietnam. And so it continues, The Cancer Voice officially launched in 2018, reaching out Vietnamese to strengthen the education of cancer. Read the story of this braveheart’s life to know how she survived her battle against cancer.
My Cancer Journey
Hello, world! I am glad to share again my story as a Leiomyosarcoma survivor. If you see me as a strong woman today, I was the opposite 3 years ago and even more years before I was diagnosed with cancer.
I may say that I used to be a timid girl, grew up like a lady with low self-esteem and developed into a more anxious person.
But today, I love being the strong me that I am today. I can hold my head up high and confidently say that I am proud of how far I’ve come.
Here is another fact which is not a secret to many of us, most people see what’s on the outside. Some of them are amazed at how resilient I am (even myself is amazed how could I do that even until today). But, there are still some days that I don’t feel great, even after cancer.
It was 2nd February 2016 when I underwent cancer surgery. I was 29 years old, in a month, I was turning 30. Before I can celebrate my birthday, my doctor Tung Luong Minh, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, declared my final biopsy was a Leiomyosarcoma, Grade 2, tumor size was 2.607 cm and me was in need to have immediate radiation therapy to complete my treatment.
I was in total shock and speechless when the doctor delivered the bad news to me. As my doctor continued to explain that my cancer is a rare disease that no one knows much about it even its causes.
I never heard the word sarcoma in my entire life. I was all alone when I visited my doctor and left his clinic sobbing quietly.
Due to too many expenses, I spent during my surgery, I decided to go back home to the Philippines. But before I was able to get my treatment, I went to Hong Kong for 2 weeks.
My doctor was anxious because I was supposed to prioritize my treatment than traveling. I am lucky that my doctor allowed me but reminded me not to delay my radiation therapy. He was too kind to remind me even I was in Hong Kong already, trying to find myself and peace of mind in another foreign country.
In Hong Kong, I lived my days as if I had no cancer ever. It was great! It was the first official execution of living life to the fullest and in the present moment.
How My Cancer Change Me?
I’ve been in remission for 3 years and 4 months. My radiation therapy ended last 10th June 2016. I could never be happier when I finally finished my treatment. I was so ready to continue my life, being alive and healthy again.
But what happened after my treatment was the opposite in how I used to daydream. My sudden excitement died down. I went back to Ho Chi Minh empty and clueless. I stayed away from the friends I used to chat, hang out and see. I never told anyone that I was back home. I was treating my wound due to too much radiation that burnt my skin after my cancer treatment.
I was anxious and started to feel depressed without knowing that I was suffering PTSD. I passed through this stage for 5 months but in these months of feel being in a dark isolated world, I was struggling to leave.
I was crying uncontrollably and I was being misunderstood by few people why I was being too emotional without any reason at all.
In fact, I didn’t understand myself as well. It just made me feel so guilty after some people tried to pull their selves away from me or cut me out from their life.
And then I thought, I have been battling with myself that I need to win against my dark thoughts and comflicting emotions.
Meditation helped me to relax my anxious mind and get out through these. It took time for me to be able to meditate effectively. Again, another struggle how could I make this work for me.
With patience, consistency and persistence – I was able to make meditation as a habit that gradually took me out from a dark and isolated space.
Until today, meditation has contributed to my daily hustle. Although people may see me strong and full of energy – but I am not that all the time.
Being strong isn’t always that easy or fun; yet, a great reward is waiting in the long run with a glass of red wine. Cheers!