KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12, 2016:

Surintan Ramanaidoo, 26, was diagnosed with stage two cancer (lymphoma) and was on the brink of stage three cancer in December 2014. He was totally devastated.

A positron emission tomography (PET) scan revealed that he had a tumour in his chest and neck.

He had always had a healthy lifestyle and was active in outdoor activities. Hence, his world came crashing down on him when told the bad news by doctors after a routine check-up at a hospital.

But Surintan recovered from his initial shock and has gone on to defy the odds with his strong will to survive.

He has gone on to become an inspiration to others by climbing Mount Kinabalu, accompanied by a mountain guide.

In an interview with The Rakyat Post, the Electrical and Electronics engineering graduate said he was determined to stay active despite his treatment and to keep his cancer at bay.

Narrating his experiences, he said he encountered many complications during the chemotherapy treatment. At one point, he was even struggling to walk.

He lost 20kg and was very weak as chemotherapy literally kills all the cells in the body, both the good and bad.

“I couldn’t move my body without feeling pain and sleep didn’t come easy. Even when I was sleeping, I couldn’t sleep soundly.

“To make matters worse, I had chemo burns (chemotherapy drug infiltrates into the tissue around the veins) on my hand. I could hardly lift up my hand.”

After completing his chemotherapy treatments in August last year, he was recommended by doctors to go for radiotherapy.

During that time, he began to walk briskly. It was a challenging time as he was panting away after walking even 100 metres.

But slowly he recovered his strength and Surintan started jungle trekking at the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) regularly.

“I wanted to prove to myself, and especially to my parents, that I was not weak and they didn’t have to worry about their only son any more.”

That is why he chose the ultimate challenge — climbing Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Malaysia and one of the highest in Southeast Asia.

The hiking was especially hard when he started his journey to the peak at 2am.

The temperature was two degrees Celsius. His face felt numb and he could not feel his fingers in the breeze.

“But when I finally reached the summit, I was overwhelmed by my feelings.

“Never was I prouder of myself. My long journey in treating my cancer flashed before me, how my family had sacrificed so much for me, how my extended family and friends had given me encouragement, the suffering that I’d been through.

“The view from the peak was worth it.”

Surintan described his experience in battling cancer as being very difficult, with many things to deal with.

His experiences have given him a different perspective in facing challenges in life.

When there is an issue, there was no point in crying over a spilled milk, he says.

People should always go for the next plan of action, he added,

“Learn from the failures and strive to become a better person.”

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