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The hospital is not an unfamiliar place for Mdm Tuminah, who has been working as an administrative assistant in one for many years. But in 2015, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she never saw a hospital the same way again.

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Mdm Tuminah (left) with 2 sons. 

 

In October 2015, Mdm Tuminah was performing a breast self-examination when she discovered a lump on the left breast. A later consult confirmed the unexpected. She had developed Stage 2 breast cancer. She was in shock when she heard the news as she has always been healthy and active, participating in Zumba, Bokwa and brisk walking.

To treat the cancer, she had to endure an intensive, five-times-a-week, 25 cycles of radiotherapy. Inevitably, Mdm Tuminah could no longer participate in her usual activities during the treatment. The side effects from the treatment also affected her work-life as she could not comfortably go about her usual administrative tasks. The physical aspect of her work was aggravating the upper left part of her body where she had undergone surgery to remove the lymph nodes. She faced challenges as she had to cope with work routines during post-treatment.

Aside from the physical challenges she faced in her daily work routines, there was also a fair share of emotional and psychological disruptions. Upon her transfer to light-duty at work, Mdm Tuminah faced some discrimination from few of her colleagues. Fortunately, she had colleagues who showed sympathy and supported her.

About a year later, realising that she needed more help, Mdm Tuminah approached her physiotherapist who then connected her to Singapore Cancer Society (SCS). Mdm Tuminah was immediately motivated by the love and support shown to her by the SCS team. The programme provided by SCS Cancer Rehabilation Centre provided a holistic care journey for her in terms of physical and mental health. Following a stable recovery, Mdm Tuminah was introduced to the SCS Return to Work Programme to manage her current work role.

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Mdm Tuminah under rehabilitation programme.

 

Mdm Tuminah said, “The SCS Return to Work Programme is an avenue for patients to reintegrate into the workforce seamlessly. The therapy sessions prepared me mentally. I was advised on how to manage and balance work demands. It also built my self-confidence to have open discussions with my manager regarding my health and workload. I felt less stressed by work-related issues. I am so thankful for the SCS team that made my journey better.”

Today, Mdm Tuminah performs all the same administrative tasks in the wards as she did before her cancer journey and continues to be a part of the SCS Return to Work Programme.

 

“Be positive because life is very short. Enjoy it while you can. Move forward to go and get help if you need it.” - Mdm Tuminah

 

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Mdm Tuminah with her son at the gym.

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Tuminah and husband on a cycling session

 

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Article contributed by volunteer writer Zera Te

Learn more about SCS Cancer Rehabilitation Services and the Return to Work programme: https://bit.ly/rehabscs 

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