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It is a New Year… 2009. The Year 2009 is indeed a special year for me. This year I will celebrate my 20th Anniversary since I was diagnosed to have Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia way back in 1989. Yes, I am well now under the medical term Permanent Remission or to be more precise a state where there is a non-existence of Philadelphia chromosome or in layman’s term, cure!

When I was first diagnosed, the average life expectancy for patient with leukaemia was 3-5 years without a Bone marrow transplant and perhaps longer years ahead with a Bone Marrow transplant. However, bone marrow transplant only has a 70:30 chances of success… 30% chances of failure or death.

Although I had various Graft Versus Host Diseases (a state of conflict between the existing cells in the body with the new marrow) after the bone marrow transplant and a relapse 5 years later which forced me to underwent a Post-Bone Marrow treatment, I have been well since. I am even an active marathon runner now.

Even though this year 2009 is a special year to me, I expect this year to be a very challenging year. This year, I look forward to publish my past experience, the painful moment living with cancer and my struggles in life with health, family and business. I felt so numb and emotionless when Doctor Nik Isahak first broke the news of the diagnosis in 1989. I was admitted and had missed school for a few months before the Lower Certificate of Education exam. The numbness disappeared the day I was discharged from Hospital. I went home and went through emotional cycles of sadness and disappointments with myself and the circle of people surrounding me. The emotional cycle evolved into anger with a drastic change in behaviour. I rebelled against everybody from family, teachers, friends and even girlfriends. I skipped school, pick up smoking, drinking, womanise and became notorious. Nothing else matters. I could not care less of what has become of me… after all, I will die in 3 years… who cares… and so I thought. The emotional cycle continues until a wake-up call… the day I woke up and make the best out of leukaemia. Since then, I expedited my studies and graduated from UK at the age of 20 and began my career at a Mechant bank before pursuing my dream as an entrepreneur.

2009 is also the recession cycle which is a tough year for business especially in automotive. However, in anticipation of the recession, I had established the Fasfik chain of workshop. In 1998 recession, almost all industries were badly affected except for 2 sectors that survived well in the downturn, namely, the food and restaurants and second was the car service centres. I survived the last recession through my small authorised Proton Edar service centre. Car sales suffered badly and my little workshop paid for my car and housing loan instalments. I trust this year will be tough if not as bad as the 1998 recession.

I will also attempt to beat my best 42km marathon timing of 5hours and 46 minutes as a motivation to keep healthy. I ran the Ambank International 42km Marathon last year. 5 hours 45mins is nothing great but given my past medical history, I never imagine completing even a 10km run. In attempted my first marathon in 2007. That was my first 42km TRAIL marathon in Salisbury, London which I completed in 9 hours. The same year, I ran the Singapore Standard Chartered marathon in 7 hours and 20 mins. Last year timing during the Ambank International marathon was so far my best timing.

Holidays and travelling is abstained as a resolution to be prudent given the recession year. HAPPY NEW YEAR everybody…….

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