KUALA LUMPUR: "I have never cried so much in my life."
This was stated by Lee Chong Wei at a press conference today on his recent battle with early stage nose cancer.
The 36-year-old former World No 1 returned to Malaysia two weeks ago after undergoing medical treatment for more than two months in Taiwan.
In his first public appearance at the Academy Badminton Malaysia in Bukit Kiara today, Chong Wei revealed about his struggles during the difficult period.
After undergoing 33 sessions of ‘Proton therapy’, Chong Wei lost nearly five kilogrammes.
"In the past, I managed to come back from an ankle injury and also an eight-month doping suspension but this was the biggest battle of my life.
"I don't know why God chose me to go through this but I have never cried so much in my life.
"I went to Taiwan and was treated by seven doctors, four of whom are my fans. The biggest challenge was I had to eat or I would not have made it through the treatment.
"However, after three weeks of Proton therapy, I found it so hard to eat and my wife (Wong Mew Choo) who had to feed me, cried every time.
"My neck had a scar from the treatment and that was why I stayed away from people. I also had no energy to talk.
"But badminton means the world to me and I really want to get back on court. If my family had a choice, they want me to quit but I also know that they are my biggest source of support," said Chong Wei, who assured that he has no intention of hanging up his racquet just yet.
The three-time Olympic silver medallist explained that he first knew of his condition after the Indonesia Open in July.
"I didn't feel well after the tournament and went to get myself checked at the Gleneagles Medical Centre. When I knew I had cancer, I couldn't stop crying for nearly a week.
"After getting a second opinion at the Sunway Medical Centre, I decided to fly to Taiwan because they are known to have the latest technology in cancer treatment," added Chong Wei.
News of Chong Wei’s cancer problem first broke when he skipped training for a week after returning from the Indonesia Open.
Chong Wei then pulled out of the World Championships in Nanjing, China and the Asian Games in Indonesia.
On whether he considered retiring, Chong Wei said: "Not really. I must thank BAM, my fans and family who constantly checked on me.
"In fact, the doctors who are my friends, wanted to see me on court again and that kept me going.
“The weeks of treatment were the hardest for me and I wouldn't want to go back there."
Chong Wei, who has started weight training, indicated that the All England in March could be his first tournament but it is subject to his condition.
"I can't say how I will feel once I get back on court and I will listen to my doctors' advice. If everything is okay, I should return to court training next month," added Chong Wei.