Patricia de Silva has a huge appetite for life. While her weekdays are consumed by work, weekends see this mum of two whipping up new dishes for her daughters, walking their pet dogs Peanut and Gizmo, and unwinding with friends over food and music.
Her happy, carefree life today is a stark contrast to the emotional turmoil she was going through in August 2013. Shortly after discovering a small lump on her chest, she was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Centre Singapore, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Singapore.
It was a cruel twist of fate for Patricia and her family, as just a year earlier, her husband had died of cancer. She recalls, “I was devastated – not because I was diagnosed with this disease, but because my family was struck by cancer twice in just two years.”
Foremost on her mind was to seek treatment immediately and make a full recovery as soon as possible. “I didn’t want my children to lose another parent to cancer,” she explains.
Not letting go of the freedom to live her life
“When my husband was battling cancer, he tried his best to lead a very healthy lifestyle, giving up much of what he enjoyed. As a result, he became depressed. And I think that’s how he succumbed to the disease. Seeing how he had suffered, I wasn’t going to let cancer win again,” says Patricia.
While she had to take a break from work during her cancer treatment, this feisty lady didn’t give up her favourite food and activities, and continued to live life to the full during that period. She also wasn’t uncomfortable with letting others know she had cancer and was determined to fight the disease head-on. Before she could lose her hair from cancer treatment, she decided to shave it all off. In a way, she showed cancer who’s boss.
“The worst things in life don’t always have to mean the end of the world. To fight cancer, you must be positive,” she says.
Confidence to focus on herself 100%
“I think I got back on my feet almost immediately because I continued to live my normal life, even during cancer treatment. I also didn’t have to worry about the cost of chemotherapy treatment as I had insurance,” says Patricia.
However, she never thought much about financial protection before her own family’s cancer ordeal: “I always saw it as an extra, redundant cost when I was younger. However, if I hadn’t had insurance coverage, I’d have had to dig into my savings to cover my treatment costs as well as my daily living expenses when I wasn’t working.
“I was able to focus completely on getting better because I wasn’t worried about my finances. It’s one of the things that helped me to overcome cancer,” she says.
“Having a good protection plan allows you to seek the best medical treatment possible without financial stress. The last thing a sick person needs is fear about not having money to support themselves during treatment,” she says.
Can’t figure out what protection plans to get? Read our handy guide to choosing an insurance plan that meets your needs or speak to a financial adviser.