What’s next after cancer and treatment? That is the question that patients such as myself are always asked by family and friends. Though I can’t speak for all cancer patients but that thought continues to swirl around throughout the time when I was undergoing treatments. I always remember my gynaecologist said to me is that “life must go on”. That motto stayed with me till now.
With all the post treatment tests and medical appointments, I was eagerly waiting to hear the good news from the doctors’ to declare that treatment was successful. The auspicious date is 20 January 2008. It was such a huge relief for me. But I couldn’t escape from visiting the doctors’ so easily. The next 2 years are critical for any cancer patient post diagnosis/treatment. The cancer could relapse within this period. Hence, every quarter for the next 12 months was essential to monitor my progress. I diligently followed the scheduled and performed all the necessary scans. Each appointment when scans and PAP Smears are done, I was waiting in trepidation for the results. It was two thumbs up each time. What a HUGE sigh of relief!
After all the daily visits to radiation and medical appointments, I decided to reward my mum, sister and myself by going for a 5 day vacation to Hanoi. The getaway is my way to say thank you to my family for the unconditional support and looking after me throughout the treatment. Yep, the three ladies was going to have a good time exploring the sites and streets of city.
I returned to work after the vacation after 2.5 months. My then employer was very understanding of my situation to grant me the time off. I was ever so grateful to them. Returning to work was a way a distraction away from what I had to endure over the last few months. It wasn’t too long before I was travelling around Asia. It may sound crazy to some people to throw myself back into a hectic schedule but this was my normality. Well at least I am living to one of my nicknames, Crazy Chris.
I plodded along with work over the next few months. Along the way, I had several in-depth discussions with close friends about my experience. Going through a life changing incident, I keep coming back on the question of “what’s next?”. Whilst having coffee with a dear friend one afternoon in June 2009, he suggested for me to quit work and take some time off. Do what I want to do. One of my passions is travelling. I always love to do is to see what the world has to offer and smell the roses. Later that evening, I was thinking about the conversation and contemplating the idea of quitting work to fulfill this dream. By the early afternoon of the following day, I chatted to my boss and shared my plans with him. He supported me with my idea 100% and accepted my decision to resign from my post. The plan is stop work by end of 2009 and the first half of 2010 was ME time.
If you are curious, here was my travel itinerary for 2010:
26 January to 13 February 2010 – India with 2 other friends
20 February to 1 June 2010 – I was travelling alone around 10 countries in Eastern Europe, Austria. Italy was added to the list where my mum joined me for 3 weeks.
Yeah to me! If you must ask, I had a remarkable, fabulous, fantastic time experiencing the people and cultures.