Pop singer Elyana yearns to release a new single. The 31-year-old revealed that she has received various offers from composers and singers whom she admires. But something is holding Elyana back.
“I’m afraid that I can’t give my full commitment. Can I really work well with other people due to my health condition? Because I know that I’m prone to having OK and not-OK days,” she said frankly, during an interview at Putrajaya.
“What will happen on the not-OK days when I have to work? I don’t want to be a burden to anyone.”
Elyana has Stage 4 lymphoma cancer. But, at a recent music showcase organised by local radio station Suria, the singer put on a brave face and assured the media she is doing fine, keeping busy as mum to six-year-old Cinta Sumayyah.
“I’m helping her get ready for Standard One next year. When I have more time, I’ll do more singing engagements such as this. I do what I can to ‘cari makan’ (make money).”
Giving her all
Elyana’s singing career began when she was just 14. The Selangor-born artiste modelled her image after pop punk princess Avril Lavigne and made waves with songs like Kalis Rindu and Kau Atau Aku.
The bubbly singer has also acted in TV shows like Dunia Baru and starred in Dain Said’s unreleased film Dukun. After releasing four albums, she took a break from showbiz in 2010 to focus on raising a family with husband Khairul Anuar Hussin. In 2012, Elyana announced she was making a comeback. However, the comeback never materialised.
It was the same year Elyana was diagnosed with cancer. “The doctor told me that I had one year to live if I didn’t start chemotherapy right away,” she shared.
Elyana described going through chemotherapy as “painful”. She lost her hair and would end up spending most of her time in bed after a session.
“Thankfully, I managed to surpass the doctor’s expectations,” she added with a smile.
However, Elyana kept mum about her illness. Then in 2017, she made her long-awaited return to the music scene as a contestant on Astro’s singing competition Gegar Vaganza Season Four.
“The production team didn’t know I was sick. During Gegar Vaganza, I was going back and forth from the studio to the hospital a lot. I was in pain and I had to sit most of the time during production. I couldn’t walk much.”
In week five of the competition, she gave an emotional performance of Yuni Shara’s Sepi but it was not enough to keep her in the running to win the RM100,000 cash prize.
During her elimination, host Nabil Ahmad asked if Elyana would like to say a few words. After thanking her fans and family, she finally revealed her health condition. “To those with cancer, I’m a Stage 4 cancer patient and I’m still standing here. I want to say that we can do anything as long as we’re strong,” she said on the show.
After the announcement on Gegar Vaganza, Elyana received positive feedback from members of the public. Surrounding herself with positivity and prayers from fans helped lift her mood.
“A lot of strangers called, offering to help. Someone even wanted to take me to China for medical treatment. Fans wanted to give me money. I said I don’t need it because my insurance policy is helping to cover my medical expenses. I was really touched.”
Unfortunately, some also accused Elyana of trying to gain sympathy and money with her plight.
“I am choosing to ignore negativity,” she simply said on the matter. Elyana admitted there are days when she can’t help but feel down.
“If you have to know, it’s not like I’m just sitting at home feeling happy or having a relaxing time.
“Most of the time, I’m lying down because of the pain. Today, I’m like this (cheerful) because I took painkillers. I got an injection last night as well. The nerves in my leg hurt.”
Earlier this month, Elyana experienced another blow. “I found out that I was two months pregnant. I was very happy because I have always wanted to have more children.”
Unfortunately, Elyana’s health condition meant that she was not able to carry on with the pregnancy. At her doctor’s advice and after seeking an Ustaz’s opinion, Elyana made the difficult decision to terminate her pregnancy.
“My daughter knew that I was pregnant. She even gave (the baby) a name. I thought I was going to be strong enough to carry the baby but it was not meant to be. It’s sad but I can’t do anything about it.”
Elyana looks to her daughter Cinta as another source of strength. “She knows that I have cancer. She checks on me all the time and asks if I’m hurting today. When I’m down, she understands.”
Her daughter is also one of the reasons Elyana has stopped going for chemotherapy sessions opting instead to down up to 80 pills a day. “For now, I don’t want to continue chemotherapy. I don’t want to hurt myself. I need to take care of my daughter. She doesn’t have any siblings and I’m the only one there for her while her dad is working.”
Having dealt with the disease for six years now, Elyana has come to accept her fate. This is the main reason why she chose to be on Gegar Vaganza despite being in pain almost all the time.
“I thought about how, for as long as I’ve been in showbiz, I do not have a nice performance video to leave behind. I believe I could give that to my fans through Gegar Vaganza. They can remember me as a singer who was dressed beautifully on a nice stage. I want them to have nice memories of me.”
She added that she also did the show for her mum: “I want her to remember her daughter as a singer who had the chance to perform on TV.”
One can’t help but feel sad upon hearing Elyana’s stories but the singer doesn’t want people to feel bad on her behalf. When she feels down or things get too much for her, Elyana’s remedy is to get out of the house.
She explained: “I’ll take a shower, get dressed, put on makeup and tell myself to get out of the house. Don’t just sit at home. When I look at my bed, I feel like I’m going to get sick again. I just need to get up and get going.”
Constantly moving forward is how Elyana – in her own way – is winning the daily battle.