November 2015 – March 2016
Being at home was simply wonderful. I couldn’t help but feel relieved. I managed to smile for the first time in a long time.
I still had some physical pain here and there but I was managing. I had a physiotherapy coming to help me loosen my muscle. My mum consistently reminded me to exercise. There were times where I felt very lazy. Sometimes I felt like I’d never be able to walk like before then I’d break down. As always my mum was there for me, firmly telling me I had to pick myself up, it was gonna be hard but I could do it. So I did.
I didn’t just want to do nothing all day so I asked my mum to buy me an adult colouring book. I started colouring. It was strange, but all those colours did not only brighten my book but also my days.
Then I asked my mum if she was interested in making pouches. She was. I started painting in fabrics, mostly abstract as it was what I loved best. I had forgotten how amazing doing arts was, I used to do this when I was in high school and simply forgot about it. Picking up a brush, mixing colours, stroking my brush from side to side – it was a wonderful feeling.
I couldn’t sit to paint very long as it would give me a sharp pain in my back, so I would stop and lie in bed for a while. When the pain subsided, I would continue. My mum even put a desk for me to paint in the bedroom so that it would be easier for me to lie down in bed whenever I felt tired.
After painting, I would dry the fabric and my mum would start stitching them up into a pretty pouch.
While doing all that, every 2 weeks I would take my oral chemo pills. The side effects were headache and nausea. I would feel sick after taking the pills but only for 2-3 days. When I was better, I would return to my pouch-making.
A few people started asking if they could purchase my pouch. I was extremely happy that they were supporting me. They were very patient too as I told them I could only do the pouches according to my slow pace. Every pouch sold made me very happy, I didn’t feel useless anymore. I felt appreciated. I am forever grateful to those who purchased and supported my work (you know who you are!).
I started going out here and there with my mum. Of course I always used a mask over my mouth and nose as I was still doing chemo. The first time I went to the supermarket, I was overwhelmed. I found it challenging to walk “normally” I kept glancing at other people, seeing how they walk. I kept reminding myself: shoulders down, chest out, walk slow. I was in for 5 minutes and asked my dad to take me out as I was so confused that my head started spinning. It was rather shocking that going out after being isolated for so long could have that kind of affect on me.
Despite everything, I was finally quite happy. I realised being miserable wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I needed to fight.