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.
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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SG Wealth Builder