Overcoming the Odds
Battling cancer is a trying experience, but with the right help and support from those around us, we come out stronger. Cancer survivor Ms Aye shares her moving story with us.
Cancer survivor stories always inspire us. Three patients from Raffles Cancer Centre share their experience of overcoming the odds and their personal lessons from the disease in our Singapore Cancer Survivor Stories Series on theAsianparent.
Singapore Cancer Survivor Stories Part 1:
I thought I was pregnant, then I found out it was a tumour.
Newly-wed Ms Aye Phyu San Myint Than, 25, first noticed something was amiss in early 2008 when her menstruation stopped and she was displaying pregnancy-like symptoms. She had been trying for a child but to no avail. These symptoms worried her so that she went to her gynaecologist in Myanmar who did an ultrasound for her.
As the gynaecologist noticed a growth in her uterus, she was advised to do a dilatation and curettage (D&C) in order to diagnose the pathology of the tumour. It turned out to be a molar pregnancy, an anomalous pregnancy related growth that is pre-cancerous in nature.
The news of the tumour in her uterus shocked her. “I was crying and so afraid of what this all meant. My mother was also shocked as she has never heard of this disease before. We have no family history of cancer and none of our friends have ever had the same disease.”
Between March and May 2008, Ms Aye saw her oncologist in Myanmar for three sessions of D&C to determine if it was in any way cancerous. After that, she underwent four cycles of chemotherapy. Rather than reducing in size, the size of the tumour gradually increased until it was 4 cm in diameter.
“This was a very difficult time for me. I vomited a lot and bled through the vagina. Although it was not painful, I felt very uncomfortable. I also lost 10 pounds. We were then referred by our neighbour to seek treatment in Raffles Hospital.”
The treatment at Raffles
The difference in treatment was something that surprised the family. Unlike the simple injection administered in Myanmar, Ms Aye had to be admitted to the hospital for a day and given two infusions. The next morning, she was given more medications.
“I could feel the side effects. I felt nauseous, lost my appetite and had constipation. I also lost hair just before I went for my second cycle and by the end of my second cycle, almost all my hair had dropped off.”
“I wasn’t too worried though as the nurses and doctors had all warned me about the side effects. In fact, I was very glad when I got the results after treatment - my baseline hormone has dropped by more than 50% from 1800 to 300 in just one cycle!”
The speed by which she is seeing results in the treatment surprised her. By September 2008, after six cycles of treatment in Raffles Hospital, the size of the tumour has been brought down further to 2 cm in diameter.
Ms Aye looked totally like a new person when she recently came back for her check up. Sporting a spunky new hairdo, she has also gained 30 pounds. In her latest review, the doctors have given her the all clear sign.
“I am so thankful to everybody in Raffles Hospital, especially the doctors and nurses for their care and treatment. I am looking forward to the future where my husband and I can carry our baby and its all thanks to the treatment in Raffles.”
This article on Singapore Cancer Survivor Stories is provided by Raffles Medical Group.