News

'It took a while to 
sink in, but I didn't cry'

After spotting a big lump near her left collarbone, Ms Siti Faizah Abdul Latiff, went to the hospital for a test.

Before that, she had read up on the possible causes of the lump. But her worst fears were confirmed in August 2013 when she was diagnosed with stage two lymphoma.

"I was crushed. But I remember the news took a while to sink in and I didn't cry," she said.

The 30-year-old civil servant went through her first cycle of chemotherapy within a month and completed eight cycles.

Each treatment session, she said, was about five hours long and she had to take about four types of medication.

Many side effects came with the treatment including hair loss, weakness and a 20kg weight gain due to water retention.

As a result, she became frustrated and her morale dipped.

Her last chemotherapy cycle was last February, after which she has been going for routine check-ups.

PILLAR OF SUPPORT

She relied heavily on her then-fiance, Mr Muhammad Nurfarhan Mislam, as her pillar of support through the tough period.

As a distraction, Ms Siti Faizah also threw herself into preparations for their wedding last November.

Her illness worried both their families as the big day approached.

For Mr Muhammad Nurfarhan, his grandmother had urged him to rethink his decision to marry her.

Ms Siti Faizah added: "One of my aunts had also asked if he was going to leave me since I was sick."

But the pair fought through it together, even going ahead with a 21km run at the Standard Chartered Marathon last month.

"I was breathless through most of the run, but he held my hand all the way and it felt like a major accomplishment when I finished," she said.

She continues to maintain an active lifestyle with activities such as yoga, zumba and kickboxing. She also goes for runs on weekends.

"The most important thing is to remain positive. There is always that fear that it will come back, but I try not to think about it," she said.