Some of the major challenges I faced when I had cancer was having a poor appetite and coping with my schoolwork. I lost my appetite during the days of chemotherapy treatments. Despite being hungry, I skipped all my meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even food that I usually like tasted weird to me. I abstained from eating and drank fruit juices and milk instead. It took about a day or two after the treatment before I started eating again.
As I had very low immunity at that time, I had to stop schoolingl. I either stayed at home or at the hospital. In fact, I spent more than 30% of the time in KKH, either for chemotherapy or for treatment of infection. I requested my teachers to give me my school assignments to keep me occupied. Though I would like to continue with my studies, I could not. The drugs made me very tired and restless, and I just couldn't concentrate. To distract me from my pain and discomfort, I turned to computer games, and I would play for hours.
I was absent from school for almost a year, from end August 2007 to end of July 2008. Thus, I did not sit for PSLE in 2008. Instead, I took my PSLE in 2009. Thankfully, I scored very well and was accepted by my dream school.
I was nervous when I first went back to school. After all, I had not been to school for about a year. As I was in touch with my friends through the internet, I did not feel too distant from them. It took only a few days for me to settle down. I have to thank my teachers and friends for being there for me, and for their help and encouragement. I don't really have any concrete plans for the future. I suppose I will just complete my studies before I consider what to do next. I love writing though. Maybe I want to be an author... I applied to take French as my third language in Secondary One next year. I find it a fascinating language. Hopefully, I will like it.
All the people around me helped me keep going. My parents stayed with me when I was going through chemotherapy – despite having to juggle between the hospital and office. My grandparents, sister, aunt and uncle took care of me when I was at home while my parents were working. My teachers visited me often, and kept me updated of the happenings in school. I communicated with my classmates via MSN, SMS and emails. The social workers from CCF talked to me often and introduced me to many games and videos.
"Ganbatte" is a Japanese word. It means "加油!" or "Hold out, persevere, do your best" . Of course, it is unfortunate to be a cancer patient, but it is not the end of the world. Instead of asking "why me", take this opportunity to "discover" yourself. Like me, I realised that I have a flair for writing and blogskins. I started pursuing my interests.