“I was one of the lucky ones who got a job right after graduation. Things were going well and my career felt rewarding. Eventually, I became the head of my division. I even got a scholarship to pursue masters in Australia. At that moment, it felt like nothing could go wrong here on out but unfortunately, I was wrong. While I was studying in Australia, I got really sick and lost around 16 kgs in just a few months. Health services were expensive so I avoided making repeated visits to the doctor. The medicines they gave me provided temporary relief but the symptoms came back.

When the strongest dosage of antibiotics failed to cure me, my doctors started to get worried. They ordered CT scans and I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma; a form of cancer where the body’s white blood cells don’t die on time which causes them to multiply vigorously and spread all over the body. Treatment would cost me a fortune but I could not leave the country and come back home as my studies would be affected. After the first chemotherapy session, I began to lose my hair. I remember writing my exam wearing a hat. My teachers knew that I was sick so they left fruits on my desk and even hugged me when I left the exam hall.

After 6 cycles of chemotherapy, I am now doing much better. I am in remission now, which means that although I am not as sick as before, cancer could come back. This is a crucial period of recovery for me and I am supposed to make my health my top priority.

I do have a few regrets in life. Before moving to Australia, I prioritized work over everything else. I never visited my sister when she was studying in college because after graduation things moved so fast and I found myself in unimaginable situations. Life is not only about money, time and career. We are so focused on these things that we forget to truly live and be with people who matter. And usually, by the time we realize it, all we can do is wish we could have done things differently.

My advice to people is that it is important to prioritise our health. Have regular check-ups and take care of your health by exercising and eating healthy.”

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