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Wednesday August 8, 2007
By LOONG MENG YEE
PETALING JAYA: Award-winning actress Azean Irdawaty has played many roles – the haughty Datin, the suffering HIV-positive patient and, recently, guardian of a mythical tiger.
Her latest, however, is neither for the big screen nor about chasing an award.
Diagnosed with breast cancer, Azean is now facing her biggest challenge – living the pain of chemotherapy, worrying about her finances and the cruel fate of losing her beauty.
“This is by far my biggest challenge. The adverse effect of chemotherapy is excruciating: you can even feel the heat coming out of your eyes, your ears and your mouth.
“During these times, I can only pray to God to give me strength because a day seems so far away,” said Azean recently.
She said she expected “something like this” because she has had a painful growing lump on her left breast for many years.
Azean said she will be “a rock” in dealing with the disease. She wants to beat it and see her three children journey on in life. But there are moments of fearfulness. Doctors have stopped her from working until December.
“No work means no income. My two girls are still in high school and college. And I still need to find another RM120,000 for the rest of my treatment,” said Azean, who completed her second chemotherapy session recently.
“I need a special type of drug called Herceptin, costing RM96,000 for a year’s supply, because I have C-ERB2 hormone, which increases the risk of recurrence.”
Zapping the cancer cells has left Azean nearly bald. The tresses have long gone.
“I am not the type to lament and ask ‘Why me?’ Perhaps I had overworked myself and this is God’s way of insisting that I rest.
“As for losing my hair, bah, it will grow back,” said Azean, who even attended the recent 20th Malaysian Film Festival.
For those who pray for her recovery, Azean said: “Don’t cry for me, Malaysia. Instead, send me positive energy. Let’s tell this cancer to go to hell!”
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