Kim Christian and her mother, Doris
“My sister Zoe, an actress and dancer, moved back from Australia to Singapore in 2007 after being diagnosed with stage four breast cancer at the age of 43. Zoe stayed with me and my husband, Rodney, in our home in Marsiling. Then, three months after Zoe started her cancer treatment, I was also diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. I was 38.
For mum, it was really difficult. She had two of us to look after. She went through such a hard time. Zoe needed a lot more attention and mum would spend nights with her, nursing her and helping her with every little thing.
My sister and I both had chemotherapy, but I was the only one who lost my hair. I have always been into looking good and being fit, and I loved my hair, so this was hard.
So when I knew I was going to lose my hair, I had a hair cutting ceremony. It was a big deal to me. Mum was there for the shaving of my head. She made it light-hearted… we had a little laugh together, and she made me feel comfortable and beautiful.
Even when chemo took away my hair, and I had no eyelashes or eyebrows she would say, ‘Wow, look at you! You could have been walking around with no hair all this time, because you still look lovely.’ All this came from mum’s heart. And because she believed it, she made me believe it too.
When I was tired from the treatments, mum would put me on her lap, stroke my head and tell me to rest. Sometimes, that was all I needed, a hug from mum. I would fall asleep on her lap, and when I woke up mum would be there, looking right at me, smiling. I knew then, that I was comforted and safe. She would say, ‘You are going to be okay my ponna mole’ (meaning precious daughter in Malayalam).
It was often the little things that showed me that mum was there for me, like stocking my fridge with my favourite brand of milk, or making my favourite childhood meal. She gave me strength and helped me to see the good through the hardship. She was positive and showed me I still had my family and my heart.
Sometimes, when I felt that I had lost everything, and I just wanted to go into a cave and hide – mum would remind me there is so much beauty in nature. She would tell me, ‘There is a reason for everything that happens in our lives.’
I survived breast cancer. Zoe did not.
But my mum and I both feel, in some way, that I was meant to go through this journey with Zoe. I was never scared for my own mortality. In a way, I felt I had been given the cancer to help Zoe through her journey, to hold her hand, and let her know I understood what she was going through.
I would want everyone to meet my mum, even just once… because she is the gentlest, most amazing and big-hearted woman.
I want her to know that she is my heart – and that I am inspired by her. Like her, I also
try to reach out to others. I try to help them, even if they are strangers. My ability to feel comfortable enough to reach out and encourage others comes from all that my mother has
done for me.”
Kim will be celebrating an important milestone in August – seven years of being cancer-free.