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Dealing with cancer

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Yesterday, my colleague shared with me that his mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. I was shocked to hear this news but really didn’t know how best to advise him. So I thought the only thing I could do was to listen to his story.

Apparently, my colleague’s mum went for a diagnosis after feeling a lump in her breast two months ago. The preliminary tests revealed that she had breast cancer in the early stage. However, recent tests showed that the cancerous cells had spread aggressively and doctor advised that surgery was needed. Thereafter, she would also need to go for chemotherapy.

Understandably, my colleague’s mum is now feeling very depressed. After all, being diagnosed with a late stage cancer illness can be daunting. When a person is at this phase of her life, there are a lot of uncertainties and fear. It doesn’t help that my colleague’s father is a small-time business owner and needs to travel frequently. Thus, during this difficult time, his mother lacks the emotional support from her husband.

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Being the eldest son, my colleague is the pillar of support for his family. The mother is a full-time house-wife. He has two younger brothers who are still schooling and one of them is studying in Australia. My colleague is currently pursuing a part-time degree and with his current income, he shared that he is struggling financially himself. Thus, his father is considered the sole-breadwinner for the family.

At the moment, my colleague is having a dilemma. He wants to take no pay leave to take care of his mother for the next 6 months because the chemotherapy session requires at least 5 months of treatment. However, as he is still on job probation (he just joined my company), he is unsure whether his application will be approved.

He confided with me that if his no pay leave is not approved, he may have to resign. But on the other hand, he needs the income due to his financial situation. Therefore, he felt lost. I could only advised him to check the HR policies and to work out something feasible with his supervisor. I wished him all the best.

Whenever I hear of such stories, it never fail to stir up inner emotions within me. This is because cancer can occur to anyone and very often, there are no symptoms at all. Another thing about this illness is that even though a person’s family don’t have a history of cancer, it does not mean that he will not get cancer. In fact, according to Singapore Cancer Society, “about two in five people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetimes”.

To prevent cancer, the best strategy is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Health is wealth and our best asset is our health. On this note, I am glad that I have achieved one of my resolutions set for 2016 by signing up for a gym membership near my office. Since January this year, I have been working out on the gym at least twice every week during lunch time.

Since the start of my gym regime, I feel less lethargic at work and fell sick less often. My next goal is to improve my diet and take more fruits and vegetables. I am also going for my annual health screening in a couple of weeks. At the age of 36, health screening is necessary. Studies has shown that through early detection, treatment of cancer would be more effective.

Life is fragile and unpredictable. No one can say for sure whether he would be struck with a critical illness in the future. As a wealth builder, I have bought term and whole life insurances covering myself for critical illnesses. For me, it is a form of responsibility to my wife and children. I don’t want my family financial situation to be affected in the event of me suffering from critically or terminal illnesses.

My family is my everything and I will do my utmost best to protect them.

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8 Comments

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  1. A sad story to hear of your colleague. You did the right thing by hearing him out. Much as you like to help out, there is nothing you can do about it. Tragedy can strike anytime. Worst thing a person can have, is being struck at the wrong period of life, just like your colleague. Poor thing, he is on probation, at best his manager or supervisor can work out, is giving him constant leave which is likely to impact his probation.
    The best I can contribute to your post is a quote from Lee Wei Ling;

    ‘ there are many things in life which we have no choice in election, but what we can do, is how we want to react to it.’

    We can react positively or we can let it consume us.

  2. Some certain cancer like breast, NPC is genetic. Agreed. If we know any of our parents or grandparent have them; we have prepared and later react to it.

    Quote: ‘there are many things in life which we have no choice in election, but what we can do, is how we want to react to it.’

  3. May I ask which health screening u go for? What’s the price like?

  4. Hi Kelvin,

    I am going for a basic health screening package offered by my company and will be adding on some more addition tests.
    Depending on your needs, a comprehensive package for males would be $500 to $700.

    Regards,
    Gerald
    http://www.sgwealthbuilder.com

  5. noted with thanks

  6. Hey Kelvin,

    I read your friend’s predicament with much sympathy. As much as i agree with that financial protection is crucial if one cares for his loved ones, i would like to add on that cancer is a disease that most of the time is preventable. A healthy lifestyle – exercise regularly, good emotion management, sleep adequately and the right diets will keep you away from that suffering.

    I hope more people will be able to take good care of their health in the process of pursuing wealth. After all, we are all mortal. When we come to this world, we bring nothing here; and when we leave this world, we take away nothing too.

  7. To Jer

    I too have a friend, diagnosed with cancer and after a year of remission, is currently lying in a hospital, comatose. He lives a good life; smoke-less and alcohol free and exercise regularly yet striken with that dreaded disease even though doctors say it is preventable. He is only 58. I agree with your wholistic living in all that we do, including divinity.

    When we come to this world with nothing, we ought to leave with nothing including cancer.

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