She stays strong for her family

She has bought everything, including breast forms, bras, wigs and special shampoos, from Can-Care.

With a laugh full of life, Mrs Theresa Tok, 60, says: "You could say most of my wardrobe is from there.

"I buy everything from there because it is a one-stop shop for all that I need. The people there are my friends and I am so glad to have found them."

Mrs Tok's breast cancer is in remission, but she remembers the day she learnt of it.

It was 2011. Mrs Tok's daughter had excitedly burst into her room, wearing a smile as bright as the new engagement ring she had on.

Mrs Tok was happy for her daughter, but she had to hide all other emotions. Just hours earlier, she was told she had stage three breast cancer.

"I was happy for her and I tried to be brave that night although I was still processing how I had cancer," says Mrs Tok, a marketing manager.

"It was a roller coaster of a day."

Cancer has always been a black shroud that hangs over her family.

She shares with The New Paper on Sunday that many of her family members had died of the disease, including her father, brother and uncle.

DIAGNOSIS

Mrs Tok's brother had died of cancer just eight months before she was told of her own diagnosis.

She says: "When my doctor told me he did not have good news, I broke into tears, stunned. I had just sent my brother off, and then I get diagnosed."

In the two weeks leading up to her mastectomy, one question pervaded every single thought she had: "Why me?"

It turned into a fear that she says is difficult to describe.

"It is very hard to accept. I was so scared. I would think, 'Am I going to survive? Would I die too?'" says Mrs Tok.

She went through her mastectomy on June 26, 2011.

For the next eight months, she endured chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

"I remember telling myself that I will live. I will live, because my daughter is getting married, because I want to see my son graduate from university, because I want to see my grandchildren," she says firmly.

"I have cancer, so what? I was going to defeat it - I was not about to let it defeat me."

The treatment caused her appearance to change and she looked for products that would allow her to live the life she always had.

Her daughter, who works in the healthcare industry, told her about Can-Care, back in 2011. She has been a regular customer ever since.

As soon as she completed her treatment in March 2012, Mrs Tok went straight back to work. Aside from taking pills, she has not required any more treatments since then.

Mrs Tok recently passed the five-year mark since her diagnosis - an occasion many consider a milestone as it means the chance of a relapse is low, essentially "defeating" the disease.

"With faith and loved ones, and with inner strength, cancer can be conquered.

"I saw my daughter get married and my son graduate from university. I am beyond my first grandchild - the second one is on the way," says Mrs Tok in a voice brimming with joy.

"Cancer is not a death sentence as long as you remain positive."


This article was first published on MONTH DAY, 2016.
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