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Drawing strength from tragedy

Cecilia Tan
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Medhatter.sg

Living Life Large Because No One Is Getting Out Alive

When I first met Rose in 2007, she was spritely and energetic and never failed to get into a fervent argument to defend those close to her heart. And that was one big heart she had. Apart from a long list of friends, she had high profile acquaintances that included veteran actors like Damien Lau, Michelle Reis, Chage and Aska, and George Lam.

Indeed, it was hard to imagine she had undergone several chemotherapy sessions and was on the cusp of beating breast cancer through a mastectomy.

Fast toward to 2012, it was harder to imagine what she was going through when, after her battle with breast cancer, she was diagnosed with leukemia.

Cecilia Tan shares the story of her dear friend, Rose who bravely fought back when struck with a double cancer whammy.

Despite a diagnosis of Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2012, Rose continued her active lifestyle of qigong classes, overseas travel, karaoke and dinner gatherings. There was rarely any mention of her illness, nor did we ever feel obliged to treat her differently.

To a large extent, she kept her spirits up and was even able to carry on working on assignments that spanned from managing her idol’s social media channels to sorting out the accounts at her friend’s agency.

While undergoing intensive chemotherapy, there were periods when she had to be home bound as her immune system was severely weakened leaving her susceptible to infections.

Unlike most cancer patients, she didn’t restrict herself to any special diet but instead enjoyed favourite dishes like fried hokkien mee, claypot rice, orh-nee, fried and roast chicken, along with sake.

Instead of drawing strength from friends, she provided mental support, often encouraging us to view life positively.

I remember a period when I had to work through several twelve-hour days in a row and was starting to feel a little too sorry for myself, she consoled me without a tinge of condescension.

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