Friday, July 23, 2010

Take Charge Of Your Health Yourself : Survivor's Message


Winning the fight against breast cancer. (report by

Singapore. Ms Suriani Kasim, 39, known a Sue to her loyal fans, is a veteran DJ who talks about her battle with breast cancer as part of a new movement, Caring It Forward, by the National Healthcare Group, aimed at encouraging people to take charge of their own health.

Radio presenter Suriani Kassim radiates good cheer and optimim but her demeanour belies the heart of a survivor.

From 2008 to last year, Sue, 39, as she is known to devoted fans, battled Stage 2 breast cancer and came out tops.

The initiative was rolled out earlier this week as part of NHG's 10th anniversary celebration. Other ambassadors include Mr Raymond Anthony Fernando, 60, a social activist who ha spent 35 years caring for his mentally ill wife, and Ms Dee Dee Mahmood, 36, a fitness trainer who fought obesity when she was younger.

Ms Suriani's woes began in March of 2008, when she found a lump in her left breast.

"When I gave birth to my first son, my gynaecologist told me that the structure of my breasts was very lumpy, so I didn't think anything of it."

Now she is part of the National Healthcare Group's (NHG) new caring It Forward movement, where selected ambassadors come forward with their own tales of survival. The idea is to encourage people to take charge of their own health.

But by June, the lump had become a solid mass, and she had it checked at KK (Kandang Kerbau) Women's and Children's Hospital Singapore (KKH).

When she was told she had Stage 2 breast cancer, the shock was overwhelming.

"I couldn't hear what the doctor was saying. The tears were just streaming down my face. I just kept thinking : Why me? "

Offered a choice of treatment options, she decided on a mastectomy. One and a half weeks later, she went under the knife. The operation took eight hours. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments followed. {blogger's comment: if only she knew about , perhaps she need not suffered the mastectomy}

Throughout the ordeal, her 43-year-old husband - a project engineer at a moulding company - was her pillar of strength. "He is my best buddy. We decided from the very start that we were going to get through this together."

It was not easy on him though. About a week after Ms Suriani's mastectomy, Mr Abdul Ghani Bujang's father was also diagnosed with cancer.

"It must have been really tough taking care of two sufferers at once. But he tried to show his strong side. I think he knew that I was depending on him," she says.

Her two boys, aged six and 11, also handled the situation bravely.

"My younger son laughed when he saw his mummy with no hair. he puts his toy fireman's hat on my head."

"My older son was more afraid - I think he understood that he might lose his mother. We tried to explain what we could."

As chemotherapy dragged on, there were points when she felt like giving up.

"Your tongue feels burnt, you can't swallow properly, your whole body hurts and itches like crazy," she says.

The Muslim lady found solace in her religion.
"Praying helped me talk to God. I began to see that life is full of flaws, and that I must endure all of them."

Another source of emotional support came from her listeners, who wrote in asking about her during her absence from the air. "It was important for me, knowing that there were people out there who cared for me," she says.

When she finally returned to work in November 2008, eight months after her diagnosis, and told the world her secret, the letters began pouring in.

"Some listeners wrote to me about their own experiences with cancer. Others had family members who were suffering," she recalled.
"I learnt that I wasn't alone."

So she decided to speak out against cancer. She attends support meetings at KKH, where she helps counsel fellow sufferers. And now, she is an ambassador for this new Caring It Forward movement.

Her message for women in the same boat? Understand your body and you illness so that you can make informed choices. {Blogger suggestion to all new reader to check out this website , for your personal health} "Women need to take charge. They have to learn more about cervical and breast cancer."

"I didn't think it would happen to me, but it did. So do your pap smears and self-examinations often,"
she advises.

Her ordeal has giver her a new outlook on life.

"No matter how things go, now I know there's always a positive side to them."

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