It’s Great Being A Woman

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’ve just passed the six-month mark since my mastectomy. Though I still wake up with some tightness where I had my surgery, I am 95 percent able to do everything I used to do, and I am so grateful for that!

These past six months, I have met women who have gone through different types of cancers and other life-threatening illnesses and incidents. I am amazed by the two things that unite all of us — the love for life and the spirit to “get over it and carry on”. There is no patience for moping or self-pity of any sort!

My buddy Joyce (left), who had a heart issue last year, is one of the most positive and funny women in the world.

I have also met men who have gone through surgeries for different things — while some of them are positive and have made healthy changes to their lives, I cannot say the men share the same joie de vivre I have experienced with the women.

It’s as if having a second chance at life has unleashed all their creativity and sense of fun. We compare scars like war veterans (except for the part where we collapse in giggles over games of “show me yours and I’ll show you mine”). We swop recipes for healthy, cancer-busting meals (and then some other recipes for “midnight comfort foods”). We encourage each other to live healthier — exercise, drink birds’ nest, take breaks from work, manage stress. We boost each other’s egos — my friends make me smile by telling me they never would have guessed I had a mastectomy because my breasts now look like an absolutely normal pair (from the outside, at least).

Maybe it’s just how God made women. Maybe we just have look-on-the-bright-side DNA. Maybe it’s our inbuilt survival instinct — we have to be our best, strongest self or how can we look after our children who need us?

Whatever it is, I know it’s great to be a woman. We are as strong as we are gentle. We are as intuitive as we are intelligent. We get to have babies, and our babies will always love us no matter how old they grow.

I’m blessed to have a husband who totally spoils me, who is my best friend, who laughs at my jokes and who makes me laugh till I snort rice grains out my nose. I’m blessed with children who know when to hug me when I’m down, who kiss me on my nose “till your chest gets better, Mommy”, who tell me jokes and get the punchline all wrong. It’s truly a wife’s and mother’s privilege.

My good friend’s mother, Aunty Mag, used to be a radiologist. When she visited me in hospital, she said to me, “You know, it seems terrible now, but breast cancer is one of the best cancers to have. Because when you catch it early it is in a part of your body that can be removed. If it’s colon cancer or stomach cancer, it’s far more terrible.”

In the bigger scheme of things, she is absolutely right. I didn’t even need chemotherapy or radiotherapy after my mastectomy. It’s great being a woman.

Post-script: Great Eastern is running a pledge campaign titled “It’s Great To Be A Woman”. Make your pledge at http://www.itsgreattobeawoman.com or click here! (You can vote for my pledge too – search “Threezframe”). For every pledge Great Eastern will make a donation to the Breast Cancer Foundation towards research and support for breast cancer patients. Let’s make it 20,000 pledges!