COMBATING CRITICAL ILLNESSES - Cover Story
Story of An Ailing Son
Teck Seong was barely two years into his first job as a management trainee when doctors found a brain stem glioma, a highly aggressive tumour growing beneath his skull.
It all started off with a slight immobility on the left side of his face, but he had shrugged it off as signs of stress and lack of sleep.
Intolerable headaches followed and he found it hard to control the left side of his body. Worried, he underwent some tests, including MRI and CT scans. And as his pay was only enough to sustain his living costs in the city - he was thrown into financial distress when he received the bad news.
Surgery was out of the question as the tumour was in an extremely sensitive location. So for three long months, he underwent radiation therapy five times a week, with chemotherapy simultaneously.
As he was helpless, his retired parents had to withdraw their retirement funds to pay for his treatment. They even sold off their beloved home in Ipoh and moved into a small apartment in the city so that they could take care of their ailing son.
Medical bills piled up, but there’s nothing Teck Seong could do about it. Bedridden, he was filled with guilt and remorse, as he became an even bigger burden to his aging parents, which was not what he had set out to do in the first place.
Story of a Determined Mother
Fauziah was 35 when she was first diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. As a mother of two young children, and a housewife with no medical coverage, the illness had caught her completely off-guard and left the family in a state of unparalleled fear.
Fauziah’s husband, the sole breadwinner of the family, struggled to cope with her skyrocketing medical bills. Family goals were sacrificed, tuition classes stopped, the children’s education fund drained and house re-financed – all to generate funds for her 15 months of extensive chemotherapy and six weeks of painstaking radiation.
The nightmare didn’t end there. She was forced to go for a double mastectomy and a lymph node removal soon after, which not only left a massive impact on her physically, but also cast the family into a deeper financial distress.
Despite the pain and suffering that she had to endure, Fauziah knew that she and her husband had to stay strong and keep the fight going. The battle has yet to be won, and not only for her - but for the sake of her two young children.