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I Want To Live

By Hoe Hong Ming

can still remember it vividly. The moment I received


my diagnosis. It was a terrible moment, about two
weeks ago. When I saw the doctors face, I saw pity in
his gentle eyes. I feared the worst. I read the reports.
Alas! My fears were confirmed. It was like a death
sentence, only worse. I thought about all the sufferings
and torment I had to endure. Suddenly, it all felt too
overwhelming. I broke down. I hated myself. I hated the
doctor. I hated everything. I have done nothing wrong in
my life. Why me? Why not somebody else? There are
worse people than me? Why am I the one who receives
the worst punishment of all?
It was a terrible thing called pancreatic cancer. I
put my hand on the area above my stomach. There it
was. A lump of solid mass three centimetres across. It
was a tumour, the doctor called it. It was no tumour. It
was a spell, a curse, a terrible mark of the end, there,
like a parasite, growing and multiplying somewhere
inside my body. I cannot remove it without bringing
damaging my body. But if I do not remove it quickly, I
will die. Painfully. It was already stage 3 out of 4 stages.
Death was closing in. The time of my life was in
countdown. The doctor tried to help me. He said there
were five ways to cure my sickness. Five! So much
suffering to endure for a man of forty years old. I felt
weak. I wanted to die. I just wanted to dream myself
into a better life and never return. For a moment, I saw
myself, happy, with no cancer. I felt so happy. It was like
on top of the world. No, it was even higher.
The doctor called me. Cruelly, I was pulled
back into reality.
Time for surgery, he told me.

Fighting for an impossible win


The first surgery was not considered successful
as the doctors did not manage to remove the tumour
completely for fear of damaging the other internal
organs. The survival rate is only thirty per cent. Can I
be the lucky thirty per cent?
I underwent another surgery. And another. And
another. And another I had lost count of the number
of surgeries I had undergone. About ten times at least.
Of course I could not feel anything during the surgery
as the doctors gave anaesthetics before the surgery.
But soon the side effects began to take a toll on my
health. Often I felt terrible pain at the spot where they
operate on me. Not even aspirins could relieve the pain
and I squirmed and turned in my bed painfully for a few
sleepless nights before the pain finally receded. I felt
tired and weak all the time. I felt helpless and useless. I
could not even lift my hand. The bed was the place
where I stay and will stay if I did not get well soon.
Life if boring, painful and harsh at that time.
Then came the radiotherapy and chemotherapy
sessions. I was given anaesthetics again and I did not
feel anything during these sessions. But the side effects
continued to batter my fragile body. I vomited all the
time. All my hair fell. There was more pain. More

agony. More sufferings. My skin becomes red, dry,


tender, and itchy. I bleed easily. I had to take a lot of
pills at one go. Sometimes the pills got stuck in my
throat and I coughed until my throat sore. Sometimes I
vomited the pills and had to take the pills again. I was
too weak and tired to move. I sleep most of the time,
bearing with the pain. Life was like a living hell.
Sometimes I thought it will be better if I just die
than to endure all these torments. Death seemed too
good a thing for me at that time. It was a useless fight.
It was impossible to win.

Angels gave me hope


Although my conditions were terrible, there
were people who did not give up on me. They did not
leave me, unlike my dearest friends who laughed with
me when I am well but were nowhere to be seen when I
needed them. My family and the kind doctor always
stayed with me. They gave me moral support and
strong encouragement when I felt emotional. They
make me smile and laugh heartily when I felt down.
They were like hopeful sunshine piercing through the
clouds of despair. Together, they brought hope and
happiness during my worst times. They were angels,
and they still are, because they selflessly sacrificed and
cared so much more for somebody else and not for
themselves.
They made me believe that there was hope.
They made me believe that I can be cured.
They made me believe in myself.
My family were my angels. They never left me.
Every time I needed them, they will be there. Still, they
never satisfied each and every one of my wishes even
if I had my fits of rage or flew into tantrums. For
example, if I wanted some water, they would ask me to
get up, pour the water, drink it and then wash the cup.
They tried to act as if I was normal and not at all a
cancer patient. Initially I felt angry and disappointed.
But as time passed I knew their intentions were good.
They wanted me to be independent and be able to live
a better life on my own even if I was inflicted with a
dreadful disease. But I knew deeply inside them they
were all terribly worried for me.
Besides that, they were always willing to talk to
me. Although they were all very busy, but they still
managed to extract some time to listen to me. And they
are really good listeners. I thanked them very much for
letting to release my sadness, anger, disappointment
and misery that I had accumulated in my heart for such
a long time. I can still remember at one night, I blacked
out due to the immense pain which was a side effect of
the treatment I underwent. When I came to, I found my
family all beside me. I could never describe how
comforting and touched I felt at that time. It was a
beautiful moment. I was dying, but they did not give up
any hope. When I looked at them, their warm eyes filled
me unlimited strength and will. I immediately knew what
I must do.
I swore I will live on, because I knew although I
was just one of the billions of human on earth, I was
important and meaningful.

I will survive, because there were many angels


watching over me.