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Life in all its wonder

Shayal Devi
Friday, September 08, 2017

A FEW days after leaving her job and travelling to New Zealand for what she assumed was a simple spine surgery, Vika Fong Toy received news that turned her world upside down.

Sharing her story with The Fiji Times during Bushells Fiji's Biggest Morning Tea in Nadi a few weeks ago, Mrs Toy says she was left speechless after a meeting with a medical specialist.

"You have stage four kidney cancer," her neurologist told her after tests were conducted.

Angry and shocked because she considered herself exceptionally healthy, she could do nothing but ask how long she had to live. One year was not the answer she expected.

"The next thing I looked across and my husband was crying silently and I thought, 'okay Vika, you've got to get over your drama, there's no further reason to be angry or hostile'," the 46-year-old recalled.

"The second thing I asked was how much treatment was going to cost because everything that was going to go on from here would be costly.

"The third thing was what are you going to do for me because I can't do anything and I'm sitting in front of an expert so what's your role?"

The mother-of-three ended up being treated by six specialists who kept to the treatment plan.

"I'm just so thankful that I was in a place that could help me. My husband and I went back to the apartment and then he called all our family.

"They left their jobs and came down and I think it's important when you receive such news, you're surrounded by people.

"In the Pacific way, these relatives and friends came across with messages saying 'don't you worry' and 'everything's going to be okay' and it's just that vitality and the wonderful personalities that are very calming."

She says although the shock wore off during the early stages, she shocked herself by the way she behaved.

"It is so important for me to be able to tell people that at the end of the day, it's your mind," she said.

"It's always going to be your mind that's going to take care of everything.

"It gives you the willpower and it's all about being aware of what's happening to you and being informative and being grateful. We did not want for anything because everyone was too good to us.

"I was always secure. I went in the theatre to have my spine surgery because the tumour had gone into my spine.

"They had to put in two 12-centimetre rods to stabilise my spine because when I'm going to go through radiation, it might crack my spine.

"I did not feel I had cancer even until now. I just had my fifth chemo cycle a few weeks ago.

"I'm just getting over the symptoms and I look at life so differently now, in a slow motion way that you appreciate everything."

Originally from Rotuma, Mrs Toy says her mother and father are from Pepjei and Malha'a respectively.

"I only just retired last year. I worked for the Tanoa Group of Hotels and my last posting was as the food and beverage operations manager.

"I was there for 14 years and here I am on another chapter of my life, probably at a slower pace as what I'm accustomed to and I am looking forward to doing a whole lot of things I wanted to do but never gave time to and readjusting my life and getting my priorities in order."

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