It’s funny how life works.
One minute, you’re in your element and the next, you’re at the mercy of your creator. I learned this the hard way.
You see, my wife has stage 3 cancer. Shocker, right?
We always hear people say that so and so has cancer, or a loved one passed away because of it, but seldom do we think that it could happen to someone close or someone dear to us.
But that’s exactly what happened.
My wife and I met way back in 2008. I remember seeing her for the first time at a friend’s party and boy did she blow me away.
She was a beauty and I had to woo her for one full year before she finally agreed to date me.
We walked down the aisle 4 years later to tie the knot and swore to love and cherish each other for the rest of our lives.
I was offered a job at a respectable MNC not long after that and we moved to a luxurious condominium smack right in the heart of the city.
My wife even started getting a steady stream of clients for her interior design works. We made a pact to travel the world at least once a year, and that we did.
Over the next few years, the walls of our home were decorated with pictures of our travels together. Life was good.
CANCER CAME KNOCKING
What started out as an annual health check ended up as a nightmare. At first, we told ourselves that it was probably just a hiccup in the check-up as she had just had her period.
But my wife’s level for CA125 (a cancer marker) was way off the charts. I remember my wife rolling about in bed the night before the gynaecological screening.
She tried very hard not to let me see her cry. We laid in bed hugging each other wordlessly that night.
During the ultrasound the next day, the doctor found a solid mass in her left ovary.
Our world came crashing down.
I remember asking the doctor, “We can still grow old together right?”
Everything else came as a blur after that. We had to schedule a surgery to remove the solid mass and then wait for the biopsy result.
The only problem was, the surgeon on duty was on leave and we would have to wait for another 3 more days before he came back.
We were presented with the option of having another surgeon to operate on my wife, but we stuck with the first one because he came in highly recommended.
THE SURGERY & BIOPSY
It was an agonizing wait. My wife, being a very private person did not want to spill the beans to her parents.
They won’t be able to take it, she told me through her bloodshot eyes. We did, however, turn to our close friends and two of them started praying for us.
Now as I look back, I’m glad we opened up to them. Their physical, emotional and spiritual support really encouraged and empowered us. It made me realize how much love there can be in this world.
That morning, right before surgery, our friends came. We all held hands and prayed in the hospital room before the nurses came to prepare my wife for surgery.
As she was wheeled away, a sense of peace suddenly transcended upon me. It was hard to explain, but I had faith that she would come out in one piece.
And lo and behold, she did.
All was not well though. The biopsy result came back and revealed that she had stage 3 cancer.
My wife literally burst into tears in the doctor’s office upon hearing the news. The survival rate for stage 3 ovarian cancer was 50% at most.
The good news was the mass had been successfully removed and my wife was considered young. She was in her mid-thirties and the doctor assured us that her chances of recovery were a lot higher.
KNOCK AND THE DOOR WILL BE OPENED
The battle plan was laid out.
My wife was to undergo 5 sessions of radiotherapy followed by 6 rounds of targeted chemotherapy.
The whole process would take around 8 to 10 months, so we had no choice but to break down the news to our parents.
Surprisingly, they took it very well. They even took turns to fly over and prepared healthy tonics and food for my wife. My wife joked that she had never felt so pampered before.
Oh, there were many nights of tears and frustrations. Some nights we just cried with each other, other nights, one of us would hide in the bathroom to shed tears while the other pretended not to hear.
There would even be days of anger when we would scream out of frustration and ask why this had to happen, only to be followed by prayers for forgiveness. We cried so much we had to hide our swollen and puffy eyes behind glasses.
I took many days of unpaid leave to accompany my wife to the hospital. My superior was extremely kind and compassionate and even allowed me to work from home.
At the hospital, we met all kinds of people. Some were jovial and upbeat, while others were downright depressing.
We mingled with the ones who emitted positive vibes and tried to encourage those who were in despair.
Throughout the whole process, my wife had to depend on steroids to suppress her nausea. Some days after the chemo, she would be fine and active, on other days, she would spend the whole day, retching in the bathroom.
Well, 10 months have passed since that fateful day when we found out about the cancer.
Valentine’s day marked the last day of her chemotherapy and we celebrated it by watching her favorite movie on our couch while sipping pomegranate juice.
A WHOLE NEW BEGINNING
I realize now how short life can be and that we should all appreciate one another while we still can.
We went for a final scan and met with the doctor for a review late last month. She was given an all clear by the doctor. I remember not being able to speak for one whole morning after receiving the good news. God is truly good.
My wife told me that she plans to quit her job and dedicate her time to charity from now on. I agree with her wholeheartedly, there are many others out there who need all the support and encouragement that they can get.
And as I write this, I remember a little poem that I came across as a child. I hope this poem will inspire you as it inspired me:
So brief a time we have to stay
Along this dear familiar way
It seems to me we should be kind
To those whose lives touch yours and mine
The hands that serve us, who may know
How soon the long, long way must go
And might we not their faults forgive
And make them happy while they live?
So many faults in life there are
We need not go to seek them far
But time is short and you and I
Might let the little faults go by
And seek for what is true and fine
In those whose lives touch yours and mine
And give them joy in every way
So why not friend, begin today?
For more stories like this, read: I Battled Breast Cancer: Story of A Survivor and My friend was Diagnosed with Stage Two Cancer — How it Changed My View on Life.