Materia Medica Malaysiana

January 29, 2007

Cancer survivors provide empathy, strength to other patients

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 9:43 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: As she was being wheeled into the operating room for her second cancer surgery, Goh Siew Fan made a promise to God.
“I promised that if I am cured, I would quit my job to be a full-time volunteer working with cancer patients,” she said in a strong voice, that belied her slight stature.
The former teacher was sharing her experiences as a cancer survivor during the National Cancer Council’s (Makna) annual volunteer appreciation get-together at the International Youth Centre.
The gutsy lady hopes to educate the public on the importance of early detection, and lend her ear to other cancer patients.
“Most patients don’t want sympathy, they want empathy and I can help them. I’ve been there myself, twice,” she said.
Five years after she successfully battled ovarian cancer, she was diagnosed with cancer of the rectum.
She still has to wait one agonising year before her doctors declare her free of cancer.
“I hope by the end of this year, I’ll be given a clean bill of health. Then, I can really concentrate on helping people during my ‘bonus years’,” she said.
Jacob P.C. Mathews said he didn’t see his cancer diagnosis as a death sentence. For him it was a wake-up call.
Months away from his retirement in 1998 he was diagnosed with Malignant Fibrous Histeocytoma, a cancer of the soft tissue, in his right leg.
“At first it was like the end of the world. I was very active and I didn’t see it coming,” said the 63-year-old retired teacher. He has coached athletics and cricket since 1973.
Mathews said he became more and more mindful of others in the same situation.
In 2005 he became a volunteer after discovering that his children were contributing monthly to Makna.
“I felt as an ex-cancer patient that my words could encourage others to live on,” he said.
Kamarulbahrain Shaharudin’s wife was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in 2004.
The 42-year-old factory technician gave up his job of 22 years to support and look after his wife.
“The doctor gave my wife a 30 per cent chance to live. I didn’t want to leave her alone with her thoughts,” he said.
Every morning Kamarulbahrain, who now operates a bicycle shop in Kulim, Kedah, and his wife cycle 24 kilometres to keep her mind off her illness and build her strength.
Against all expectations Rosmawati Mohd Yusof is improving. Surprised doctors said her cancer is down to stage two.
“My wife is a model for other cancer patients,” Kamarulbahrain said proudly.
During the event, Makna president Datuk Mohd Farid Ariffin presented certificates of appreciation to 44 volunteers, and awards to two outstanding volunteers.
The Volunteer Leadership award went to Mathews, who also got a Special Recognition Award along with Goh.

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