Choo Mei Sze, 30

Shape (Malaysia) - - Live Healthy -

TIPS “CAN­CER PA­TIENTS AND SUR­VIVORS SHOULD IN­CLUDE EX­ER­CISE IN THEIR ROU­TINE. IT’S IM­POR­TANT TO LET THE OXY­GEN IN, BUILD STRENGTH AND EN­DURANCE TO PRE­VENT RE­LAPSE. START OFF SLOW WHILE YOU'RE RE­COV­ER­ING. I BE­GAN WITH SLOW WALKS, AND THEN GRAD­U­ALLY BUILT MY MO­MEN­TUM. TRUST ME, YOU'LL LOVE IT!”

host, em­cee and youth am­bas­sador for the Na­tional Can­cer So­ci­ety of Malaysia

THE CRI­SIS

“I was at the peak of my ca­reer as I was com­plet­ing my PhD, host­ing re­al­ity web sto­ries, em­cee­ing for events and run­ning a so­cial me­dia busi­ness when I found out that I had can­cer. I was di­ag­nosed with col­orec­tal can­cer at just 27. Col­orec­tal can­cer nor­mally oc­curs in peo­ple older than 50 years old, and I do not have a ge­netic his­tory of can­cer. I was to­tally an out­lier.”

THE CHANGE

“I had con­stant fa­tigue which I at­trib­uted to my busy sched­ule. I also had di­ar­rhoea once a month which I thought was due to a very sen­si­tive stom­ach. Noth­ing out of the or­di­nary at all ex­cept for the last bout of di­ar­rhoea which lasted for three weeks. I met two doc­tors, was given tons of med­i­ca­tion, but noth­ing seems to work. Then, my dad in­sisted that I go for a colonoscopy which my gas­troen­terol­o­gist also told me wasn’t needed. But due to my dad’s in­sis­tence,I went for it, and found out I had a can­cer­ous tu­mour in my rec­tum. Know­ing that, all that I thought of was how to solve the prob­lem, and find a way to do it.”

THE CURE

“I had to wear a colostomy bag for two weeks af­ter the surgery. It was the most chal­leng­ing time in my life be­cause I re­ally didn’t know how to deal with the sud­den changes. But re­gard­less of the count­less ma­jor break­downs, I knew that it was not the time to quit or get car­ried away by the prob­lem. I told my­self that I was go­ing to wake up the next day stronger than I was on the day I broke down. With that motto in my mind, I sought to im­prove my body day by day. I be­gan with baby steps by tak­ing slow walks, and then walk­ing along with my dog. This pro­gressed to jog­ging and run­ning. To­day, I ex­er­cise for a min­i­mum of four times a week, do­ing all kinds of in­tense work­outs; run­ning, swim­ming and Fly­cy­cle classes. I’ve also started with kick­box­ing. I am happy to say that my body is a lot stronger now than it was be­fore I had can­cer. But don’t get me wrong. Pre­vi­ously, I did ev­ery­thing right in terms of health. I didn’t smoke or drink, ate as clean as I pos­si­bly could, and had my rest days. The only thing I didn’t do was ex­er­cise, which I should have done when I was healthy.”

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