The HEALTH : May 2019 - Page 23

MAy, 2019 | Th e HealtH WOmen Cancer didn’t get the best of her 32-year old ovarian cancer survivor Jennifer Teh yin Li shares her tale on how she beat cancer and ways she coped with chemotherapy “i was diagnosed with cancer at 28. The symptoms – abdominal pains, first arrived end of December. it was a mild kind of pain so i didn’t think much of it. Th en it became worst, sharp pain till i couldn’t even stand up to walk. i was residing in Singapore during that period of time so i told my partner to send me to the clinic. Unfortunately, it was on Christ- mas day so all the clinics were closed. We managed to get to a hospital where i was x-rayed and placed on drips.” Jennifer Teh, better known as Jenn, also explained that no one in her family has a history of battling cancer. Jennifer and her partner, ng Hau Yang. Cyst the size of a basketball Jenn was then informed that her scans revealed a basketball-sized mass weigh- ing 4.8kg in one of her ovaries. She was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer. She was told to proceed with surgery the very next day. “i told the doctor in Singapore that i did not want to proceed with the surgery and instead wanted to make a call to my parents. if i proceeded with the surgery there, i would not have my parents by my side. My mother told me to go back to Malaysia and get a second opinion.” in Malaysia, the doctors confi rmed that it is a mass and set her surgery date. “it was originally just supposed to be three to four hours procedure but it ended up lasting eight hours,” Jenn tells. “When i woke up post-surgery, the pain rushed through me – it was a 24cm inci- sion. Th ey basically removed a cyst which was attached to my ovary and it was as big as a basketball.” “Th e doctor told me that they would have to remove the aff ected ovary. Th is of course made me teared up. i thought how when the ovary was still healthy and intact, i didn’t have the thoughts of get- ting married and having a baby. But now when they tell me they want to remove it, there’s a twinge of sadness. however they did keep the other ovary intact, telling me it is still possible for me to have kids in the future.” Riding the chemo wave Three weeks after her surgery, Jenn started on four cycles of chemotherapy, with each cycle lasting 10 days. Prior to chemo, she had to do a lung test because the chemo drugs would aff ect her lungs. Th e chemotherapy treatment regimen Jenn feels the need to share her experience as a way to inspire others battling cancer to not give up. required her to be on three types of drugs, via iV for 24 hours each time. “Chemo causes constipation. Th e very action of emptying out my bowels would be so diffi cult and painful because of my wound. So whenever the doctors would tell me to head to the washroom, it was a dilemma because of the pain. however at times, the doctors did provide me with laxatives and i upped my banana and papaya intake for a smoother bowel movement.” “it was not only that. i suff ered from joint pains, hair fall, tingling sensations on my fi ngers, and tinnitus. Sometimes i would unconsciously lose control of my movement – a few plates were broken,” Jenn laments. Outpour of love I was diagnosed with cancer at 28. The symptoms – abdominal pains, fi rst arrived end of December. It was a mild kind of pain so I didn’t think much of it. Then it became worst, sharp pain till I couldn’t even stand up to walk. I was residing in Singapore during that period of time so I told my partner to send me to the clinic. Unfortunately, it was on Christmas day so all the clinics were closed. We managed to get to a hospital where I was x-rayed and placed on drips.” Jenn’s partner, Ng hau Yang is a diving instructor. Th ey had just been together for six months when she was diagnosed. She tried to convince him that they ought to go separate ways because she was appre- hensive of him seeing her bald and bloated. “instead, he shaved his head bald,” she smiles. “Caregivers play such a crucial role. her mom stayed beside her every night. Th e nurses said the reason why she recovered so well was because her mom was always there beside her, ensuring all her medica- tions were taken on time,” says hau Yang supportively. Spreading love and creating hope Jenn now live cancer-free following the success of her treatment. She started a Facebook page “Jenn’s life After Cancer #spreadlovecreatehope” to document her journey with ovarian cancer and was determined to be a listening ear to others in the same boat. — Th e Health 23