I am not sure when she discovered the cancer. But to me, something changed forever in 1993 on the day she told me she was going to the hospital for a small surgery. She was 43.
The days that followed the surgery in 1993 are somewhat blurred in my memory. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy and radiotherapy in Malaysia.
That year, I started secondary school. With a new environment and new friends, let’s just say I was busy getting myself acquainted with the new surroundings. The days of ‘boiling phone porridge’ and trying to find my social place in a big school distracted me a lot from what was going on at home.
It was also the year I moved home from my maternal grandparents’. She refused initially, as there was no one at home to care for me while she was at work. But I begged, and she finally relented when I told her how much I wanted to live with her. So, in 1993, she’d go to work in the morning and I’d have the house all to myself, blasting the speakers with Michael Jackson’s and Mariah Carey’s CD. I’d fix my own lunch and leave for school either on the school or public bus. I was 13.