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Stories of Inner Strength

Stories of
Inner Strength

Maslindah's Story

Finding Strength Through Adversity

Maslindah Sain led an active life, playing netball, taking long walks and volunteering within her community. Thus, her diagnosis of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer in 2020 was met with disbelief by those who knew her. Her faith, resilience and the support of her family kept her motivated through her challenging treatment journey. Maslindah has now been in remission for over 2 years and has emerged stronger than before to enjoy life to the fullest with her husband, three sons and 2-year-old grandson.

Maslindah Sain
1. How did you react to your diagnosis of TNBC? Had you heard of it before?

I had never heard about Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. On the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer, a lot was going on in my mind. I was sad, scared, worried but I had to act cool for my family.

2. How did you prepare for treatment?

Before treatment began, I did some research about TNBC, I read about other cancer patients’ journeys, I met with family and friends and told them about my condition. I continued to exercise to get my body ready for the treatment. I shaved my hair too. My kids they took turns, the first one cut a bit here, then the 2nd one, then the 3rd one, then finally my husband. I watched the GI Jane movie...Demi Moore with that hair. At that point, I attended boot camp. So I just told myself that I’m an army girl so it’s ok for me to shave my hair.

3. Tell us about your treatment journey.

I went through a lot of tests from mammogram to ultrasound, blood test, biopsy, CT scan, bone scan and genetic test. The genetic test results came back BRCA1 positive. 16 sessions of chemo, long hours of surgery and 25 sessions of radiation therapy. It was a tiring journey.

4. What was your most challenging experience?

The first four sessions of chemo were the most challenging experience. I was sick, tired, I lost my appetite, food and drinks were tasteless, I had ulcers in my mouth and I hated the way I smelled too. I almost wanted to stop treatment but my family begged me not to. After surgery, I had to sleep upright for more than a month and I really felt uncomfortable.

5. What are some of the things that you did to stay positive?

I prayed a lot. I read Quran just to keep myself occupied. I also went for brisk walks with my friends. My very first walk after my surgery was 11km. I used to always be the first few in front. But then I was the last person. I told myself, it’s ok, this is just the start, just like a baby. Babies can’t really walk properly. I did a few more brisk walks and I got better. I didn’t give up after that walk. It helped me get better fast.

Maslindah Sain
6. How did you manage the financial aspects of treatment?

I have a full time job with good medical coverage. I have my own personal insurance for critical illness. My siblings, friends and my colleagues contributed some funds and this helped to pay for transportation to hospitals, for food since we had to order food almost every day and for other needs.

Maslindah Sain
7. Who or what was the biggest source of support for you?

My husband and my sons. They took turn to accompany me to hospital and attend to all my needs. Also, I was grateful for my extended family.

Quote If you have no struggles, you’ll have no strength. Quote
8. It takes strength and resilience to fight TNBC. What gave you this inner strength?If you have no struggles, you’ll have no strength. I trust that a calm mind brings inner strength. My faith kept me calm and gave me this inner strength.
9. How has your lifestyle changed since you’ve been in remission?

Nothing much in terms of my busy schedule. But personally, I am so much happier now. I embrace my imperfections and use them to help others. In terms of physical exercise, I’m trying to do more. Because I did a lot before surgery and treatment. I totally stopped for 2 years. Then I started to put on weight. This year I start to really exercise. I bought a kettlebell, dumbbells and I also have bicycle at home.

10. Are you still able to do the things you did before?

Yes I can, but with limitations. I have lost half my strength and stamina. I can no longer do push ups and sit ups. I can’t carry as much weight as before. But these are just physical, I am stronger from inside.

11. What’s your advice to women facing TNBC?

You don’t have to be afraid. IT IS a scary moment when you are diagnosed with TNBC. Some will be in a stage of denial as why this could still happen to them despite taking good care of themselves. But we need to accept that there are events we cannot control. Have faith and believe that things happened for a reason. You will eventually know your inner strength and come out stronger.

12. How do you feel you’ve emerged stronger from TNBC?

I feel blessed. TNBC is a gift for me and it changed me in so many ways. I just need to take the negative as something positive.

Maslindah Sain

Share your ‘I Can’ story

Have you been diagnosed with TNBC and chose to forge ahead on your own terms? Do you have a loved one who turned to face TNBC head-on? As a caregiver, do you have tips and stories of encouragement for other caregivers?

Share your story to help empower others living with TNBC.

Remember that there is power in the community, others with a TNBC diagnosis could feel supported and inspired by understanding how you are taking on TNBC.

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