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Breast cancer cannot wipe the smile off my face

While everyone was welcoming a fresh new year on New Year’s Eve, I was so confused when I knew that I was undergoing a serious illness. However, I was still happy to enjoy a Tết holiday full of smiles with my family, relatives and parties with friends so that this happiness would motivate me to overcome that rough time.

On the 20th of December, 2012 (morning on the lunar calendar), before returning home for Tết, Huong went to the doctor when the left of my breast appeared to have a small lump. After some tests, including X-rays and biopsies, the doctor told me that I had a malignant tumour and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I heard a buzzing in my ears and couldn’t hear anything else. Tears fell down and I couldn’t stand crying on the way home.

But by the time I met my friends that night, I still smiled happily. This is the photo taken at that night, the day I received the result showing that I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

While everyone was welcoming a fresh new year on New Year Eve, I was so confused when I knew that I was undergoing a serious illness. However, I was still happy to enjoy a Tết holiday full of smiles with my family, relatives and parties with friends so that this happiness would motivate me to overcome that rough time.  My friends and family didn’t know that I was sick, I wanted them to enjoy a great Tết holiday so I was always keeping my smile!

I had never tried short hair before and I was proud of my long hair. On the 15th of January, before starting the treatment, I decided to have my hair cut! Watching my hair fall down and sink to the ground, my heart raised an unbelievable sadness within, imagining that someday I will lose all my hair because of the treatment’s side effects. I won’t be able to braid my hair or comb it anymore. Despite being depressed, I still smiled at the barber and took this picture in order to not to forget that memorable moment!

Now, I’m accustomed to my short hair and I also like both shampooing and standing in front of the mirror to look at myself. After I finish using the shampoo, I ponder about the hairstyles for each stage of my hair’s growth (and I’m trying to use gel to see if it expresses my characteristics or matches with my bright face.)

One beautiful afternoon, I was so excited to apply make-up to hang out and eat ice cream with my friends. I wore my beloved wig to gain confidence and be ready for an amazing time. Currently, I get used to my short hair and find myself just as I was back in the day. I’m beautiful even if I lost my hair.

Before the illness, I often underestimated my health. I hope you will take care of yourself – don’t undervalue your well-being. And the most important thing is that you should always be optimistic and happy, then the magic will come and you’ll reign victorious.

The story about Nguyen Thi Huong

PhotographerĐinh Thi Thu Hoa (1986)

Writer: Van Hong Trang (1993)