I haven’t been very active socially for about a month already. Not that I am anti-social in any sense. I am just inactive on my personal Facebook. Being busy with work is one, being under the weather no thanks to the repeated visit of haze is two and then there is always all the lovely weddings and the birth of a few babies among my friends in the last stretch of the year that just makes my heart filled to the brim with a kind of tender nostalgia.
But perhaps deep down there is also another reason that had just put this working mom on some kind of an emotional rollercoaster of late.
Last month an ex-colleague posted an update of her profile picture. I admire her posting an update because I am one of those lazy FB-ians who hardly ever have anything interesting to update or share on my FB and yet I find great joy in reading what others share about their lives, on a weekly basis when I am free which usually means my private me-time in the bathroom – the only place in the little apartment we live that is absolutely free of one of my kids demanding a piece of me.
Anyway, the black and white photo shows this friend in her much thinner body frame flashing a courageous smile on her beautiful face and donning a fashionable scarf on her newly bald head, holding the hand of her devoted husband who couldn’t hide a tinge of sadness from the corner of his eyes despite his loving and assuring smile
I didn’t want to say the wrong thing before I found out what happened but reading the first few comments from her family members and friends on FB just confirmed my fear: that she was battling a cancer. A few exchange of emails later, I discovered that she was battling breast cancer, the same type that my mother has survived and conquered a few years ago.
In spite of her circumstances, she chooses to fight tooth and nail against her cancer for the love of her kids and the faithful support and love from her husband. While her cancer is discovered at a much earlier stage than my mother, she has undergone mastectomy and is currently having chemo treatment to remove the cancerous cells once and for all.
All of these brought back a flood of memories not too long ago of how as a family we supported my mom’s battle with cancer like an army of faithful soldiers – my father slept through all the night on the hospital chair next to her bed with each hospitalization; my siblings and I scoured through all the miracle anti-cancer medicines and herbal plants that could cure her; and I was with her through most of her chemotherapy sessions at the hospital just to extend support and prayer for her as the medicines were being administered into her body.
Today mom is enjoying a clean bill of health and enjoying her life to fullest without any regrets. And as we rejoice with her celebrating the precious gift of life and love that God has since given her again, somewhere inside me there is a nagging thought that I could likely be candidate of this eventuality, because one in every 19 women in Malaysia has Breast Cancer and I have 3 breast cancer survivors within my family. May be not now but our life is in God’s hand, and sometimes God bends us in order that our lives glorify Him through healing.
All these have led me thinking of the what-ifs. Would it take a serious illness like the big C to make us take a pause from all the hectic activities we take upon in our lives? When facing a life threatening disease will we rather spend more time with our loved ones, to just make each moment count and smell the flowers along our path rather than getting upset and over-worried over our finances and politics? Would people forgive one another for angers of yesteryears or would they continue to hold on to trivial grudges? What lifestyle choice could we make now that would make us less prone to such random diseases?
While I do not have the answers to all these, I want to make each moment count with my family. I want to start make that healthy choice and take the step forward in starting my walk in the park more regularly because I could just be the one with the big C some years down the road. Much as I know that I would fight nail and tooth on it, I just don’t want to look back on these days and regret that I haven’t done anything to make each day count.
This being the month of October, let’s wear pink and donate to breast cancer foundations in support of a wider Breast Cancer Awareness in Malaysia. Beyond that, let’s live well physically, emotionally and spiritually.
May we celebrate the beauty of life and be blessed with good health always!