Last year I signed up as a volunteer respondent for a clinical study on immune response in cancer patients and survivors after receiving COVID-19 vaccine. I need to get my blood drawn several times during the yearlong clinical study.
Last week, I had my blood drawn again, after I answered a questionnaire. The questions, apart from COVID-19 related, included questions on emotional state of respondents. Emotional meltdowns are one of the side effects of chemotherapy. The side effects did not go away immediately after one finish chemotherapy, but would take six months and two years.
After I was done at University of Malaya Medical Centre Clinical Oncology Clinic, I saw a fresh orange juice vending machine and I suddenly craved for orange juice. Last time I had sweet oranges from the same vending machine, so I was hopeful it would be as sweet. That day, however, it was a little sour, as if it’s matching my mood. I felt very nostalgic and after reflecting on my answers to the questions.
Life is like a basket of oranges. You don’t know what kind of fruit you’re going to get. Sometimes it’s sweet. Sometimes it’s sour. Sometimes it’s bitter.
Often times, no one plans to cry. I didn’t plan to cry either. Tears come unexpectedly.
Back then about 20 years ago after a bitter divorce, I didn’t want to live. And I thought it would be nice to spend my final moments in a place with beautiful scenery. So, I went to some place beautiful in another continent.
But during the trip, I realised that I did not actually want to die. I just didn’t want to live. My heart just needed some consolation. I wanted to hear someone tell me that I could live and that I must keep on living.
And right at that moment, the sound of azan started playing on my phone, as if it was the answer to my prayer.
“You can live. You must get through this.”
It gave me the solace I needed.
They say one sees flashbacks of the best moments in their life for a moment before they die. I think that would be one of those moments.
Sometimes, life is like driving a car on a highway. It’s good that you stick to your lane, but you shouldn’t only look forward. You should look aside from time to time.
Indeed, life is full of surprises. You can’t be sure of anything in life.
But one thing for sure, I will pull myself together. I can live. I must get through this. Think, whatever it is, think of happy thoughts. Think of things that make me happy.
And look aside as I look forward to the rest of my life.