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Interview with Rosaline

Breast cancer is the number one most frequent cancers affecting women in Singapore today.

Thankfully, medical advancements have enabled doctors who effectively treat breast cancer using radiotherapy. Radiotherapy does have its unwanted side effects, especially on the skin. Skin conditions such as eczema or Dermatitis can develop or worsen after radiotherapy. Using state of the art equipment, we are able to manage and treat these skin conditions. Let’s have a look.

Specific wavelengths of light can stimulate the regeneration of skin cells and reduce inflammation. The ATP38 is a device that harnesses this property of light. Ms. Rosaline Lee is a breast cancer survivor who experiences serious eczema flare up after radiotherapy. She was excited to share her experience with the ATP38.

Rosaline: I went through a very bad stage because I was formerly a breast cancer patient. Having gone through that was a really terrible part of my life. But follow up with the radiotherapy, it got worse. So it didn’t get better. It aggravated my eczema, which I had gotten it in my 30s. And now I’m ready in my 40s. So can you imagine me having to go through the breast cancer cut, having to go through chemo, having to go through radiotherapy, and now it has gotten worse with my skin condition.

So it was really a very bad stage or bad phase of my life.

Kelvin: Yes, we definitely can only try to empathise with how you’ve felt during that point in time. But how would you say it affected your life?

Rosaline: Being a woman, I want to look pretty. But this eczema condition has really brought… so called, I would say “shame” into my life. Because I need to meet people. I’m a childcare principal, I meet students, I meet parents, I meet teachers. And people who see me, they would come and ask me, “What happened to you”, “How are you…”,”Are you okay or not?” “Have you sought medical help or something?”

Each time the question is being asked, each time I felt that I’m being cut apart because it’s really painful to have to keep repeating myself that, “Oh, I’m going to treatment, don’t worry about me. I’m fine.”

Kelvin: And what sort of treatments were you actually exploring at that time?

Rosaline: Initially I was referred to a dermatologist. So to me…wow, hospital, you know. Dermatologist should be okay, right? So I went to him with a small patch here that protrudes out. And then he said, “Oh, it should be fine”. And he gave me pills to consume, creams to apply…different boxes of creams for different areas. And the worst part was it didn’t get better. I think one or two weeks later, it was like, “my goodness me!” From one patch to become one entire forehead. Then I’m at my wits end already, what should I do? you know. Yeah, that’s when I started seeking help.

Kelvin: When you refer to the right help, are you referring to The Spa-Lon?

Rosaline: Yeah, of course. Definitely. Because personally, I visit Spas very often. I go to four different spas at different times of the year. So The Spa-Lon is one I’ve visited for more than 10 years. And the first choice, the first thing that came to my mind was The Spa-Lon. I called up the manager and then she said, “Come, come, Rosaline, we have this eczema programme, just come.” “Believe in us and then you’ll be cured”. And before I knew it, I just spun off in the cab because I know that, you know, I’m going to get cured there.

Kelvin: We are very grateful for your confidence in the treatment and your persistence, but I’m sure that, you know, it took some time. And during this period of time, could you describe your emotions, were there any challenges that you faced?

Rosaline: You know, each time I see people, not only I feel being cut, beat by beat on my flesh, I feel like digging a hole on the ground and just be like an ostrich and put it down, you know, and don’t see anybody else just shut off from the world. Because that was how I felt. I really felt the horrible because of the treatment process, the worst part is when there was flaky skin and it kept dropping non-stop. And this time round it seemed to get worse. And people around me said: “Hey, you okay or not?” “Should you seek another help so that you can really recover?”  So that was the time when just say, “Oh, leave me alone, leave me alone.” “Don’t come near me. I just wanted to be alone.”

Kelvin: Despite all that, you persisted with the treatment and I think right now we can all agree that your skin looks fantastic. How would you describe… how you feel at this point. Having gone through breast cancer to such a serious eczema. How do you feel now?

Rosaline: Maybe I just do this pose… “Unspeakable joy!” I’m too delighted and exhilarated because now I can be a normal person and I’m really glad I can be one now.

Kelvin: Is there anything you’d like to say to people that might be suffering from similar conditions as yourself?

Rosaline: Persevere and never give up. Because when you go to the right source, there’s a time that you get the best help.


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