“When tired, take a break. But, never give up. “
Azhyiana, was diagnosed with liver cancer when she was just 11. She has successfully defeated her disease. She is a full-time Nurse and a Freelance Model.
“I was diagnosed with liver cancer when I was 11. My stomach was distended making me look like a month pregnant associated with pain and discomfort.”
“My journey of cancer was a rollercoaster of negative and hopeful emotions. I was scared, sad, confused with a glimpse of hope.
1998, I was 11 when I was diagnosed with the liver tumor (cancer) stage 2 progressing to 3. Without any further knowledge of what cancer was, I researched. Back then were encyclopedia and Webster dictionary – I found out the answer, but it was still vague for me and instead of making me feel better, I got more scared. Seeing my mom crying while talking to the pediatrician was my only trusted resource. Crying parent = am I dying? That time, I knew I had to pray – harder.
I didn’t ask to be saved from the disease. Instead, I prayed over and over to Him to watch over my family and take care of them. To give them good health and happiness.
The time has come – I had an 8-hour surgery. Dissected a part of my left liver. Stayed 2 weeks at the hospital for recovery and another month at home while learning how to walk normal again. Then 6 months of chemotherapy to kill the cysts surrounding the tumor.
I lost my hair and went bald. My face was rounder from the medication. I had to wear a hat to cover it and the big scar on my belly made me so insecure about myself and had experienced some bullying at school for having no hair. My mom advised me to wear a wig, but I never did. I said, “I’m fine.”
For a long time, my self-esteem was low. I didn’t feel the normal cause of the big scar I have on my belly. I stopped school for a year and when I came back, I saw my friends graduating before my eyes and I was left out. I felt outcasted. But, life has to move forward and I just learned to cope with it as days went by.
Dealing with cancer while going through it and after I went through it wasn’t that easy. It could pull you down emotionally, physically and mentally. Support groups and people who had been through the same journey helped me a lot to cope with everything. But, of course, it has to start from within. The willingness to survive, to fight, to hope that there’s more to live for, my family and my goals. I was 11, but my mind was determined to live way longer than that. I haven’t lived life yet.”
Motivation to fight cancer
“It was funny, but my motivation then was my dream house with a pool in the backyard. I’ve always loved the water and I was a kid! I was 11! I haven’t really lived life! So I told myself, I need to survive because I need to have that house with a pool so my family and I can live there and just swim whenever we want to! Well, we kind of have that now, I helped my parents get a house. But the pool isn’t in the backyard, it’s in the community. Works enough for me. “
“Stopping school and being away from my friends was the hardest part of my journey. I couldn’t really mingle with the same crowd I would usually hang out with since my immune system was low and susceptible to any disease.”
Message to other cancer patients
“Never give up. If there’s hope, no matter how tiny it is, never hesitate to grab that opportunity to go for it. It’s not easy, it will never be. But always try to fight for your life because sometimes, it can surprise us to see how many people will support us and will fight for us too. There’s a lot in life to love. The living is so wonderful. Just find that one thing you aspire the most or person you hold dearly and use that as an inspiration to fight for survival. And lastly, pray. Pray and never lose hope.”