SINGAPORE - Racked by pain from illness in the last year and a half in secondary school, Sherry Lim Xuan Ying had to miss most of her lessons.
For days on end, she suffered severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, as well as excruciating gastric pains, putting in doubt whether she would be well enough to take the O-level examinations last year.
She not only persevered with her studies but, with the support of her family and school, also managed to score A1s in all her seven subjects in the O-level exams. She received her results on Monday (Jan 13), one of 24,409 students to do so.
It has been a difficult couple of years for Sherry, now 17.
In mid-2018, her Secondary 3 year at Crescent Girls' School, she started experiencing the headaches and gastric pain that were to keep her away from school and exams.
Last year, Sherry was diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension, a rare and incurable condition resulting from fluid in the nervous system, causing high pressure around the brain and spinal cord, resulting in headaches, blurred vision and other issues.
She was simultaneously diagnosed with eosinophilic oesophatitis, a gastrointestinal illness that triggered her gastric pains, particularly when she consumed dairy products.
She had to rest at home most of the time, but was determined that she wanted to take the O-level exams together with her peers.
Once a week, Sherry went to school, where her teachers guided her on the lessons she missed.
But it was tough going.
Sherry said she would not have been able to carry on without the help and encouragement of her physics teacher Tan Tze Yong and her classmates.
Her father, a freelancer, would take her to the games arcade to de-stress.
Sherry, who is on long-term medication, said she is interested in helping others who are also suffering from the same illnesses as her. To this end, she is looking to pursue a course in either pharmaceutical science or medicinal chemistry at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and hopes to become a pharmacist.
The journey has not been easy, but Sherry is focused on the positive.
She said: "If you are facing hardship, just don't give up. Going through it will enable you to become a better person."