[ Musings ]

The five-year survival rate of Cancer

NOTE: This is not going to be a happy or lively or lovely post. If you’re not in the mood to face the tough realities of life, you will be better off reading this, this and this. If you wish to continue, this post will start with the next sentence that follows.


This is a memo by a business partner of mine:

The five-year survival rate is a term used in medicine for estimating the prognosis of a particular disease. Five-year relative survival rates are more commonly cited in cancer statistics. The stat. given to me was 99%. My mom on the other hand wasn’t so lucky. She had a 3.8% chance of making it to 5 years…. She didn’t make it into the survivor pool in the end.

I remember checking these stats daily 5 years ago. I would wonder what would happen to me if i were unlucky enough to fall into that group.

It was an emotional roller coaster….and i was an unwilling rider. One moment i would be so convinced that I could be cured. Then the next moment i was absolutely certain that it’s time for me to meet my maker.

But i was lucky to have friends and family who were so supportive. My mom was there every single step of the way. She was there when i was so stoned from the cytotoxic chemicals that were supposed to cure my illness. She was there when all my hair fell. She was there when they couldn’t find any more veins that were suitable to be used for the IV port because they had used them all the previous day.

I made a promise to myself that i would keep my family safe and happy when i got well. Like in all awesome movie plots, promises have to be tested….Thoroughly.

My mom was diagnosed in Jan 2012. I kept my promise. I was there for her chemo therapy sessions. I was there when she was in pain. I was there with her at the hospital. And i was there beside her when she passed on.

We fought really hard for one year. Everyone gave their best. And we really did have a great time together.

Today’s the 8th of august 2013. I was diagnosed exactly 5 years ago on this day. I’ve seen and felt a lot of things in the last 5 years. I had to come face to face with cancer twice before finally understanding the true value of friends and family.

We like to behave like we’ll be around forever. But the truth is that we don’t have as much time as we think. And you certainly don’t have to get diagnosed with cancer before you start appreciating the people and things around you.

To whoever out there reading this. Please give your loved ones the care and concern they well deserve.

If your friends or family members are fighting cancer, be there for them. You won’t believe how important your care is to them.

For those who have lost family members from cancer. Stay strong and positive. Live well and MOVE BRAVELY FORWARD >>>

At the end of the day we only get one shot in this life. Make it count.

– Goh Wei Jia

Wei Jia’s memo really made me think about my relationship with my own family. What’s more worth:

a) A healthy family whom you were never close to

b) A close knitted family fighting to stay together?

Both’s a blessing and tragedy at the same time.



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