Breast cancer: Back to an active life after chemotherapy and surgery

Breast cancer survivor Lim Loo See, 55, with her daughter Charmian Yeo, a 26-year-old student.
Breast cancer survivor Lim Loo See, 55, with her daughter Charmian Yeo, a 26-year-old student.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

When Madam Lim Loo See, 55, discovered in 2014 that she had breast cancer, she was devastated.

The legal executive had found a lump in her breast that seemed to be growing, so she had a mammogram and ultrasound.

The doctor said the results were highly suspicious, so she did a biopsy.

She recalls her shock and how her mind "went blank" when she was told she had cancer.

A Buddhist, she said: "I have a deep faith; it kept me strong."

Fortunately, the biopsy showed it was a HER2-positive malignancy, which means she was suitable for targeted therapy.

Her oncologist, Dr See Hui Ti, suggested shrinking the tumour with chemotherapy and the cancer drug Herceptin, before surgery.

She did this and could feel that the tumour had shrunk after three cycles. After a few more sessions, the lump could not be felt at all.

She would usually sleep during the three-hour sessions, and suffered no side effects.

She had surgery in October 2014 to remove any remnants and to make sure she was free of the cancer. After a few more sessions of stronger chemotherapy, which left her tired and her stomach bloated, she was done with treatment.

During her treatment, her boss and colleagues at the law firm where she worked were all very supportive, taking over most of her work and telling her to stay at home and rest if she was not feeling well. Her family's support played an important role in her recovery too.

By January, her life was back to normal. She was not only back to work full-time, but was also doing weekly sessions of Zumba, a Latin American fitness dance, at the Braddell Heights community centre.

Salma Khalik


Find out more about cancer and how to fight it on ST's Fighting Cancer microsite.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2016, with the headline 'Back to an active life after chemotherapy and surgery'. Print Edition | Subscribe