Hilton Chung 27 Lymphoma Recoverer

"It happened just as I started my first year at universityíK"

I remember it happening just when I started university. I developed a high temperature and doctors at the student clinic advised me to take a detailed blood examination. I was told that I had either lymphoma or lupus. When the results of the blood examination finally came back a month later, they confirmed that I was in fact suffering from lymphomaíK I then spent the following six months in chemotherapy and endured both hair loss and vomit. But things got worse and all of that was not nearly as devastating as my relapse of the disease.

 

"I was ready to return to school the next year when relapse of the cancer stuck againíK"

After a year of treatment, I recovered and was ready for school again until I came down with a high fever again. My cancer was back. This time I could barely take the blow and was on the verge of giving up. It was my brother's words that gave me courage to receive the autologus stem cell transportation. He said, "You've worried about the family ever since you were a kid and now there's just one little step left. After the operation, you can finish your university education and then your life will be your own!"

 

"During the same year of my operation, I insisted on continuing my studies and was successfully advanced to second-year universityíK"

Throughout my stay at the hospital, I managed to keep up with all my homework with the help of my classmates, and applied to the university for special permission to sit the examinations. Permission was granted and as a result, I was able to finish my freshmen year.

 

"Before the disease struck, I studied law for the sake of making money. As soon as I recovered, however, one of the first things I did was change my majoríK"

My family life had never been harmonious, but I always tried my best to be a moderator between family members, and the pressure from it all was often stifling. Even when I chose to pursue legal studies in university, it was with the hope of making a lot of money as a lawyer so that I could settle the disputes of my family. After I recovered from blood cancer, I changed my major to sociology and promised myself not to waste any more time on petty or material things.

 

"It wasn't until after my recovery that I became aware that water without a bitter aftertaste was so incredibly deliciousíK"

I used to think I had the power to control my destiny. What I realize now is that nothing is more precious than life and that life has a way of taking its own course. My motto: Learn to cherish what you have and rejoice at living out every minute, every day.

There is one experience I will never forget. I took a lot of steroids for treatment, and it made drinking water a nightmare. For a whole year, the mere sight of water turned my stomach. Then one day at the dormitory, I sipped a glass of water while chatting with my friends when I suddenly realized that it did not taste bitter anymore! I was so happy that I cried with my friends. How sweet water is, what a blessing, and yet so many of us take it for granted.

 

"If I could run the Hong Kong Blood Cancer Foundation, I would..."

I knew some patients who did not want to leave the hospital to go home. Why? Patients undergoing chemotherapy are very weak and fragile, so if their family conditions are bad, home could be scary. My roommate in the hospital was a housewife, her family had to sleep on wooden planks and no one could do the housework for her, so going home for her was more of a burden than a relief.

Therefore, I think there should be different kinds of help for different patients. For example, helping to arrange for the services of domestic helpers would be very helpful. Patients are too weak to clean their beds, they need help in eating nutritious meals and they need someone take care of the children. Of course, the best solution would be a rehabilitation centre that provides a place for patients to rest between treatments, but a more practical solution is to provide patients with transportation between the hospital and their homes.