It has been a year since Park So Dam was announced to have cancer, but the South Korean actress is nothing but happy and grateful for the current status of her health.
News of Park So Dam's condition made rounds online on Dec. 14, 2021, after her agency Artist Company confirmed via Soompi that the actress was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer.
A year later, on Jan. 17, 2023, Park So Dam gave updates on her health and her upcoming film Phantom in another interview with the portal.
"I’ve recovered my health and I feel thankful these days that I can meet lots of people and greet them with my own voice," the 31-year-old actress said.
Park So Dam went on to reveal that while she's still undergoing the side effects of her disease, particularly hormonal imbalance and low energy, her mind is filled only with happiness because her condition has improved.
She continued, "Although I’ve gotten a lot better, my skin has been a mess due to hormone imbalances. While going to pilates five or six times a week, I’m rediscovering my body’s flow. While my stamina has not fully returned to what it used to be, if I think about this time last year, I can only think about how happy I am."
The actress considers it a feat, as it was a far cry from her health condition while filming Phantom.
Park So Dam said that during those times, she mistakenly believed the "signal" her body was sending to be mere "burnout" and "a mental issue." She also revealed being "afraid to go on set" and being "apologetic" to director Lee Hae Young and her co-stars because of it.
According to The Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the most common signs of thyroid cancer is an unusual lump in the neck, fatigue, and persistent cough not caused by colds.
Other possible symptoms are neck pain, trouble swallowing, breathing problems, and voice changes, with the last one almost affecting Park So Dam's deliverables for the Phantom.
“While waiting for my biopsy results, I did my voice recordings for Phantom," she continued. "I was in a bad state, to the point where I almost lost my voice, so if I was just a little bit late, I almost would’ve been unable to do the recordings."
Despite everything, the actress learned a valuable lesson in life—to put time and energy into herself as well.
She said, "My past self only moved forward for my projects, without investing any time in myself. I didn’t think about how human Park So Dam could live healthily.”
One way the actress began giving back to herself is by going on a solo trip that lasted for over a month.
“I went with the mindset ‘The plan is having no plan,’ but I’m thankfully good at driving so I was able to go here and there. It was fascinating that foreigners recognized me. I began thinking that I’d have to live better in the future," she said.
Meanwhile, her new film Phantom is set in 1933 when Korea was under Japanese occupation. Park So Dam plays the role of Yuriko who, despite being a Korean, became the secretary of the Givernment-General political affairs chief.
She and four other individuals are suspected to be "Phantom" spies of the Japanese government and will then be hunted down by Japanese security forces. The film premiered in Korea on Jan. 18.