Optimism – humans’ greatest strength.
I am Bronson, and I am optimistic about tomorrow.
Growing up in a middle-class family, without having to worry about basic necessities and education, I consider myself blessed.
Having graduated from Singapore Management University armed with a degree and no student loans, life would seem to be treating me well.
If you told me all of that three years ago, I would have called you crazy.
I grew up having Eczema as a child.
While there is no cure, it is not a life threatening disease, and as a result, you do not hear too much reports about it.
In fact, most children will outgrow this disease as they head into adulthood.
Unfortunately, I was not part of the majority.
Three years ago, I had a sudden flare-up of my Eczema.
What started out as a small patch at my back quickly grew and spread throughout my body within a matter of weeks.
Have you ever seen a Sphinx cat?
Its skin is all wrinkly and not very attractive looking right?
That was how I looked like.
A long drawn three year battle costing thousands of dollars left me physically and mentally drained.
My parents too were exasperated and at their wits’ end.
The sense of hopelessness compelled me to try an alternative form of treatment backed by pseudoscience.
Ultimately, tens of thousands of dollars and efforts to abstain entirely off seafood and gluten proved useless.
Reverting back to traditional Western medicine, the specialist told me that the only remaining line of treatment to try were immunosuppressants.
There were two options – one amounts to $4 a day and required me to go back for weekly blood tests to ensure my kidneys and liver were still functioning well.
The other was a biological drug, while having the same success rate as the aforementioned drug, but has no risk to my organs.
However, the latter costs $2000 a month.
I was in a dilemma – risk organ failure or to putt a huge financial strain on my dad, who is the sole bread winner of the family.
While my dad claims that he has the ability to afford treatment, I could not place such a burden on him, especially at an age where he has to save up for retirement.
Likewise, I do not want to risk organ failure, and having to burden my parents with large medical expenses (I had no critical illness coverage).
How do you make a choice in which either way, you still lose?
Thankfully, the universe heard my cries and I did not have to make a decision.
Slowly, my usual medication started working.
Fast forward to today while I am still not 100% back to what I was, I am a far cry from the wrinkly Sphinx cat.
Looking back, the journey was tough not only for myself, but for my parents as well.
Financially, thousands of dollars were spent and I am thankful that my parents were able to cope with that setback.
I was very lucky that I did not need to make a decision of treatment then, but I cannot take that for granted.
For a lifelong disease such as Eczema, a sudden flare might occur again later in life, and I might be at the same crossroads having the make the same decisions.
Through these few years, I have learnt the importance of not taking life for granted, and to start planning early.
Life could have been much worse for myself and my family, and I have my lucky stars to thank.
Life may throw us lemons at any point in time, and the least we can do is to be prepared for it.
No one should be denied the best possible treatment because we cannot afford it.
No one should be denied the best possible treatment for fear of being a burden to their family.
My job now is to ensure that no child will have to make a choice between their own health and their parents’ financial stability.
I’m now in a position to give my clients both, without compromising the other.
Today, I am optimistic about tomorrow.
And with the right planning, you can be too.