Yasmine, Indonesia

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Life is A Battle

I was 18 years old when diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. Before that, I just finished my first year of college. Being an active freshman made me forget the pain until in my final semester exam period, I realized that I lost my appetite and vomited frequently.

So that during my semester break, I went back to my hometown. That was far away from my college location. I went there by train. In the middle of the trip, I vomited everything I had eaten earlier. Right after arriving at my destination, I was hospitalized. There, doctors found a tumor in my tummy and said that it must be removed as soon as possible. And I did the surgery just days after that.

After some rest, I was allowed to go back home. But, I didn’t feel well and went to see the doctors again. They found other tumors located in my intestine which also needed to be removed. Days after that, I did my second surgery.

I went back home and planned to have chemotherapy. But then, something wrong happened (again). I couldn’t swallow properly just like before the surgery. It shouldn’t have been happening though because the tumors in my tummy had already been removed.

My parents worried so much they started making plans to take me to a better hospital abroad. We planned to go to Singapore, but I was first checked again in a bigger hospital in my home city. The doctors there were shocked because the tumors were continuing to spread to my stomach but they couldn’t do surgery anymore since I had been operated on twice in a month. They suggested that indeed it was better for me to go to Singapore.

In Singapore the doctors diagnosed me with Burkitt’s Lymphoma and did the chemotherapy right after that. I had to do eight cycles of chemo. When I finished my first cycle, I already got my appetite back and asked for food from my doctors and nurses. This was a big step, as since the first surgery, I couldn’t really eat or swallow anything, and even drinking water made me suffer. I had lost 15 kg. So after two months of having been unable to stomach any food, it was wonderful news for me, my family, and my medical team that I felt so hungry. And indeed, CT scan results showed that tumors in my stomach were getting smaller.


I finished my eight cycles of chemotherapy in about five months. I couldn’t go to college in that condition so I had one semester’s leave. I fought with cancer when I missed studying in the class. I missed everything then. But, I remember my parents that always stayed beside me since the first day. “I have to be as healthy as before. I don’t want to make them sad”, I thought. Many reasons made me stronger. I have to win. I have to get it over. I kept telling myself those words. And after five months of fighting, the doctors told me that the tumors were completely gone!

It may be painful, it may be miserable. I may lose moments, my body parts, and much more. I may think slower than before, I may become more forgetful. But I believe it will be worth it in the end. These experiences tell me not to give up easily. They teach me to appreciate time. They tell me that this is an extension of life from God. This is my extra time. I have to use it more wisely than before.

This is for everyone that is currently struggling with cancer, keep believing. Never give up. Never stop. There is a rainbow waiting for you after the storm.