Thuy Muoi
Thuy Muoi
Jul 19 · 4 min read

Today is Day 1000 since my fight with lung cancer

I woke up this morning in my new apartment in downtown LA, started my blender with roasted sweet potato, coconut, and mango. There are about 20 emails in my inbox, and a few messages from acquaintances. I respond to a few urgent ones, finish up my smoothies and drive to work. Sara Ma welcomed be with a few jokes about barn houses and checked with me about our lab hiking plan this weekend. I have a big proposal to finish up for Peter Kuhn and a meeting with Adolescent and Young Adults Los Angeles today.

It’s the 1000th time I woke up since my fight with lung cancer — I had 1000 chances to make a difference for myself and others, 1000 stories, and 1000 happiness.

I still remember vividly the morning I woke up on [Day 0] — I was waiting for my first cancer drug to arrive while trying to manage the pain with Tylenol. I got a call from CVS Specialty to pick up my bottle of Tarceva — which feel like a lifesaver to me at that time. I tried to get a hold with USC Fertility to understand my option of egg freezing — they finally get back to me that it’s do-able if I can delay my treatment for two weeks. Despite the severe pain, I am willing to consider that option. I emailed my oncologist, Dr. Nieva, and he asked me to call him right away. He was at the airport, boarding for his plane, but he wants to make sure I can make the decision with the best knowledge.

I made thousands of hard decisions in my life — it was still the hardest — the decision to start the treatment to save my life — and forgo the dream of having kids.

I took my first pill of Tarceva two hours before my dinner. I also started my blog post as a diary for myself — without knowing that it has become an announcement to the world about my cancer.

1000 days ago …

The dream of having kids was not the only dream I have to forgo.

I started working on the new idea for my next venture after coming back to Vietnam in July. I got a few angels committed to write personal checks. In fact, I got admitted to ER while I was on a business development trip in Hanoi. When I knew that I have to deal with cancer, I have to meet each investors and give them reason why I cannot take their money.

I just got a place in Saigon where I called it “home” with the room and the bed customized for myself, a helper to cook my favorite meals everyday, and a few closed friends that I considered as family. When I made the decision to move back to the US for treatment, we sat together for the last lunch — without a word, we all know that this is our last time.

Packing my entire life in Vietnam into 2 languages within 10 days while try to figure out what would be ahead, no job, no home, and without a whole lot of support network — the picture was pretty dark indeed.

I woke up on [Day 0] on a sofa bed in my family’s living room, barely can eat much — pretty much anything I eat came from a blender, but it was not my choice. I don’t have anything to look forward excepting praying for the drug to work somehow. I don’t have any knowledge about cancer except it will lead to my death in the most painful way. Physically, I was painful — mentally, I was confused than ever.

But, I was one of the lucky one … There are 400 people got diagnosed with cancer everyday in Vietnam. Not many of them get a chance to come to the US for treatments, and more importantly, insurance to cover medical bills.

I lived a thousand days to “pay it forward”

From volunteering at cancer research lab to maintaining the trail for hikers, starting a non-profit to asking for donations from strangers, big or small — I do every day wholeheartedly.

I feel lucky to wake up, simple as that, whether it’s on a comfortable bed in my penthouse or on a sleeping pad in a campground. Every morning is another chance for me to love, and to give.

I rarely celebrate anything extravagantly, but once I do — I wanna make sure it’s remarkable. So here it is, 1000th day of survival and my 26th hike of this year — 12 miles round trip to Mirror Lake in Mt Whitney.

Mirror Lake on Mt Whitney Trail

USC, July 10th, 2019

Salt-on-Earth

The journey of an immigrant, an entrepreneur, and a cancer fighter

Thuy Muoi

Written by

Thuy Muoi

“It is not about making your products special, but about making users feel special using your products”

Salt-on-Earth

The journey of an immigrant, an entrepreneur, and a cancer fighter

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade