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My Dad’s Fight Against Cancer And His Last Moments With Us

April 18, 2016 at 9:16 pm

My dad on his birthday celebration in 2011, a year after his surgery. He looked so good then.

It’s almost 2 months now since my dad has passed away. I thought I’ll write about his fight against cancer, and his last moments with us.

After my dad had his liver surgery to remove the cancer tumour in May 2010, he had been doing pretty well. Almost every 9 to 15 months, he had to go back to do TACE when there were other tumors found in his liver, he recovered well from TACE, never had any side effect, and usually was up and about the following day.

Early 2015, he was told there were little pimple like cysts found in more part of his liver, and he had to start another treatment. He started on Nexavar, an oral chemo drug. That was about the same time we started him on Naturally Plus Product to help fight the cancer.

He was doing alright initially, and then the side effects kicked in. Dryness of the hand and foot (which caused cracked skin), constant visit to the toilet due to frequent bowel movements, loss of appetite, increased thyroid level, hair loss. He was always having stomach discomfort, and overall because he wasn’t eating much, he became physically weaker, however, he was alert and mobile.

As Nexavar was not helping him much with controlling the cancer marker reading, by end of 2015, Dr requested him to switch to Inlyta. Although the cancer marker was improving, the side effect was immediate. He got tired easily, became weaker, started getting water retention on the leg which caused discomfort. Second week into Inlyta, he became extremely weak. We were in Japan on a holiday; my sister, who was his main caretaker, was messaging us and telling us he was getting weaker, had difficulty in walking, getting diarrhea, feeling nauseous and his blood pressure was very low. Making us all worried and wondered if we should cut short our trip.

We decided to stop Inlyta.

Although he slowly built back his energy, the damage was already done. We almost couldn’t make it for our family trip to Bali because of his condition. He made the decision to go ahead although he had to be on wheelchair due to his swollen legs caused by fluid retention, a symptom of thyroid.

We had a blast in Bali, spent Christmas there, all 15 of us! Dad although on wheelchair, was alert, watching over the younger kids at the pool and (literally) roaring at them when they misbehaved. He was also beginning to walk more.

When we came back from Bali, he was admitted for a couple of days because of cellulitis on his legs, nothing major, but just to be on antibiotic.

Almost every weekend, we were at my sister’s place, spending time with him. We were also planning to rent a villa for Chinese New Year so we could all be together for 2 to 3 days. I tried to have lunch with him on work days too, and on one such occasion, he actually said he didn’t know how long more he had. I almost cried.

Middle of January this year, as he was regaining his strength and getting better, he decided to go back on Inlyta to control the cancer. Again, all the side effect came back, and he got weaker than the last round. He was admitted again to drain the fluid which was accumulating in his abdomen. After that, his health went down hill even after we stopped Inlyta.

From being able to sit up on his own, he had to be lifted; he spent most of his time sleeping and he was in a lot of pain, always asking about the next dose of pain killer just after eating the current dose.

On Chinese New Year day, he was having so much difficulty staying up for the tea ceremony and family shot. It was his last.

My dad during the Chinese New Year Tea Ceremony

Feb 12th, 5th day of Chinese New Year, I was taking a blood test at the clinic because I was running a fever since 1st day of Chinese New Year, my sister called and told us to rush to her place. My dad was showing signs of his body shutting down. Hospice who was providing him support told my sister so when she called them and let them hear the way he was breathing (differently).

We got to their house around 9:30pm. Dad was breathing differently, as if labored, he acknowledged my arrival, but didn’t speak to me. All my siblings were there at his bedside. When my sister asked if he wanted ice cream, he actually looped his pointer and thumb together, indicating ‘little bit’. We fed him a little ice cream to cool him down. We changed him, and then left the room thinking he would need his rest.

My sister went to check on him slightly after 10pm. Her loud shout roused us out of our drowsy state. All of us rushed to the room to see what had happened, and saw him took his last big breath. He left, with all of us by his side.

The last few weeks of his life, he has brought the family together like never before. To know that he’s no longer in pain, and he would be reunited with my mom lessen the grief a little, but we all miss him deeply.

A strict boss and a man full of principal and integrity, he spent 3 quarter of his life working in the bank and then at the church right till the last few weeks of his life. We don’t know how many lives he’d touched or affected until we speak to the people who came to pay their last respect.

I’d never said I love him before (nor did he), the last hug I gave him which he received awkwardly was when he sent me off at the airport to further my studies; and now I’ll never have the chance again.

Loudao, we all miss you ok?

Naturally Plus Super Lutein and Izumio – My Experience

March 1, 2016 at 3:15 pm

My dad was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2010, he had half his liver removed and did a couple of TACE and was doing great. Beginning of last year, he was told TACE no longer worked for him and he needed to start oral chemo drug (Nexavar).

After hearing about all the great things Super Lutein and Izumio can do (from the Super Lutein and Izumio Resource Group), we were hopeful and we started our father on the product March last year.

I was interested in the business myself, but I’m the sort who needs to know the product works before I can promote.

We bought 2 years supply and spent RM9403. We wanted to believe in what the product could do, we wanted to be the success story and hence were willing to spend the money.

From 3 caps of Super Lutein + 2, 3 packs of Izumio up to 15~20 caps of Super Lutein + 5 packs of Izumio, we didn’t see improvement in my father. The cancer marker continued to climb higher. What‘s more, he hated taking the supplements, he wasn’t looking forward to ‘Izumio or Super Lutein’ time.

His health was deteriorating gradually overtime, so, maybe, Super Lutein and Izumio were helping to slow down the process. I don’t know.

However, if you’d read some of the success stories, or miracles the product can do, i.e. healing cancer solely on the product, curing eczema, improving eyesight, and helping with any ailments imaginable; we have high expectations.

Some people in the Super Lutein and Izumio Resource Group wanted to know how my dad was doing, and I shared the updates. Bad for business I guess, for I have no good news to tell, it was always ‘my dad’s cancer marker is going up after x-packs, x-capsules per day‘. Eventually, my dad requested to stop Super Lutein (too many capsules to take) and continued only with Izumio. We let him decide.

I shared some of my own experience in using the Super Lutein and Izumio Resource group as well, but no success stories too.

I had a very bad rash behind my ear from an allergy reaction, I was told applying Izumio on that area will help. It didn’t work for me. The rash stayed with me for almost 2 months before it went away on its own.

I got a very bad burn on my forearm, I was told applying Izumio on the burn will help. It didn’t work for me.

I took Super Lutein for overall well being, but every time I took it, I got a migraine attack. It may well be a healing process, but I got an attack and I just shared my experience.

I was told taking Izumio will cure sore throat and flu, it didn’t help the girls or me, but propolis spray did wonders.

I guess I was not a good user experience example for marketing and business. While everyone in the group was sharing success stories, I had none.

2 weeks ago, my dad lost his fight with cancer.

I got booted out from the Super Lutein and Izumio Resource Group, not sure if it was not long before my father passed away or soon after. The intention of removing me from the group was perhaps to prevent me from sharing my father’s deteriorating health and his passing.

I suppose MLM group, Product group, only wants you to hear the good things, positive feedback and the success stories; but shun frank but unfavourable feedback or failure stories of the product.

In my opinion, do not believe and take everything you read for granted, be your own judge.

Disclaimer : This is totally based on my experience. I’m not against the product, I’m still a consumer, and belief there’s some health benefit to be gained.

Freakish Accident

January 7, 2016 at 9:25 pm

Thank Goodness everything is fine now, but I’ll let Zaria share with you the incident, while I share the photos.

I was out buying groceries for our family and then came back to the Villa seeing her like this!
(photo taken by my BIL)

My BIL claimed she didn’t even cry, and didn’t even complained it was painful. She washed her lips with tap water to get rid of the blood, and just waited for us to come back since we took the car (and the driver). She only started crying when she saw me.

We were brought to BIMC, by our host from the Villa, a hospital mainly to cater to expats. The lady doctor was very gentle and patient, I watched her lips being stitched up (3 stitches!) while trying to calm her. I was traumatized, and I still get goose bumps thinking about it.
This was right after her stitches.

My nephew too had to had 2 stitches at his temple. What a way to start a holiday!

A day after the stitching, her lips just looked like she had a very bad blister, which is normal.

11 days after the accident, just a faint line on the lip.

Thank goodness both my nephew and her are fine now.

Year End Holidays Planning

November 3, 2015 at 3:05 pm

School holidays are coming, have you planned for your holidays yet?

We’d not gone on a holiday this year, except for the short weekend trips here and there, all because of the project I was working on which had me working many nights and weekends. Now that the school holidays are coming, it’s time for a long break!

We have a Bali and Japan trip coming, and there’s lots of planning to do, especially for the Japan trip.

I think I overbought the books.

After googling, contemplating, checking out travelling books, talking to CPWong who’s a Japan travel expert, we’d decided to visit Kyushu this round. Still there’s lots of research to do, as in how we’ll be travelling around this Southern Island, what are the places of interest to visit, and where to stay for the night.

Once we know our itinerary, we have to book the accommodation. Since the exchange rate is not in our favour, we had to compare hotel rates from various hotel sites before making the booking.

In 2013 when we took our first Japan holiday, our accommodation was around USD200/night for 2 adults and 2 children. This round, with more time to do research, we are able to cut down to USD120/night on average for 2 adults and 2 children in Kyushu! Good deal eh?

I found HotelsCombined to be extremely helpful in comparing hotel room rates from different booking sites (agoda.com, booking.com, etc), and listing the best deals out.

We managed to get really good deals for Bali too, only RM350/night for a nice family room.

Can’t wait to see all these.

Photo credit: Rakuten

Photo credit: thousandwonders.com

Photo credit: japan-guide.com

Photo credit: guide.travel.co.jp

Photo credit: balichartercars.com

Haze and All The Declared ‘Holidays’

October 21, 2015 at 4:52 pm

The haze has been really bad, and the government has been declaring school closure day after day after day.

Good thing is the girls have finished their exams and so they are having lots of fun at home (creating chaos for the mother).

Here is Zaria’s writing about the haze and the holidays she’s getting.

I thought it was funny.

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I think she’s my favourite author.

Pulau Sembilan

September 18, 2015 at 1:18 pm

We’d not heard about Pulau Sembilan (九岛屿) until our friend recommended the place to us. This is a small island just South of Pangkor, which is popular among scuba divers and anglers, and only recently the island started getting overnight visitors. Overnight trips are organised by a couple of operators, and for the trip we made, we went with 9 Island Agency (环岛旅游业).

The overnight tour was RM280/adult and RM200/kid, accommodation is in a tent, and all meals included, i.e. 2 breakfast, 2 lunches, 1 tea, 1 steamboat dinner and 1 bbq supper. We’d never been on a camping trip as a family before, hence we thought this would be a good opportunity for us to try out camping.

The meeting point for the tour was Bagan Sungai Burung, Bagan Datoh (巴眼拿督双武隆渔村) at 7:30am. The day before, we were already spending the night in Teluk Intan, at 6am, we started our drive to Bagan Sungai Buring, which still took us about 1hr (if from KL, it’ll be around 3hr +).

We were given a simple breakfast, and then got ready to leave for the island, which was a 30min ride away on a speedboat.

The side of the island we arrived at had a long strip of beach. A couple of tour operators have set up facilities here and ours was the biggest set up, which could accommodate around 200+ people. The facilities included a main shaded communal area where meals are served, and then next to it, clusters of tents were closely laid out in rows sheltered by zinc roof, and then between the clusters of tents, the toilet cubicles.

As we were the first boat to arrive the island for the day, we got to choose our tents first. We took 2 x 2 person tents on the 1st row closest to the sea, and not too far from the toilets. It’s no glamping, as the tents are basic, and we were given a straw mat and 2 pillows for each tent. ‘House keeping’ was done by a couple of people tilting the tents to shake off any sand (actually that barely got rid of the sand), and hastily wiping the mats with rags (which were not washed or changed the whole time we watched them ‘clean’ the tents).

I had to pick out the sand, wipe and air the mats before I allowed anyone in the tent; the pillows were so disgusting, we didn’t want to use them. We were told to bring along sleeping bags, and so that was where we slept on.

This is where we slept for the night (see how close the tents were packed).

And this is our view, check out how close we were to the sea.

Despite the basic facilities, we were taken good care and well fed by the operator. The island itself is also very beautiful, with clean sandy beach, and clear blue sea. Girls immediately changed and got busy swimming and exploring the beach.

And for me, I just took it easy.

A simple buffet lunch (seafood mixed rice) was served early. After a short rest, we were then brought out to sea to snorkel (part of the package). Unfortunately, the water around the common snorkeling spot was murky on that day, so we got back to the main island.

Then tea was served, eat as much as you can – red bean soup, prawn pancakes and some teochew cake. Red bean soup and prawn pancakes were so so so so good.

We walked further down to the island, passing 2 more tour operators (accommodate is all tents), where we were told the rocky coast is a good spot for snorkeling too.

Those who went ahead of us, somehow managed to find a squid (and caught it) and also a sea cucumber, and was showing off to us.

This side of the island is more picturesque.

(the show off)

The girls and I swam around, and did find school of fishes among the rocks.

There were lots of barnacles and sea creatures clinging on the rocks and we spotted crabs too.

Don’t know what they are, but we thought they looked like some aliens from sci-fi movies.

Before an early dinner, there were long queues at the toilets, everybody wanted to shower after a whole day of fun. Toilets are basic here, each cubicle has a toilet bowl and next to it a big container of water with a dipper. Water supply comes from the mainland, brought in by the operator in boats. It can get quite disgusting after many people have used it, as some uncivilised folks left sanitary pads, used toilet paper, plastic containers and bags behind after them, even though there were dustbins right outside the toilet cubicles.

We had steamboat for dinner (eat as much as you can) before sunset.

After dinner, we took a stroll and saw many tiny fishes washed ashore.

They were still alive, but when we brought them back to the sea, they got washed up to the shore again, as if they were not able to swim against the current.

After it turned dark, at around 8pm, we started combing the shore, in search of Bioluminescent Phyto Plankton (蓝眼泪), the highlight of the trip. The girls spotted the first one, tiny blue luminous dot, then another, and another. Everyone got excited seeing the shore sprinkled with more and more blue luminance dust, although they were not bright enough to be photographed. (Click here to see how a beach looks like with bioluminescent phyto plankton.)

A BBQ seafood supper and karaoke came after this. We decided to go back to our tents to sleep instead. With the tents so closely packed, it wasn’t easy to sleep as we could hear our neighbours talking, laughing, whistling. Moreover, it was a hot night with no breeze. Some people actually decided to lay their mats on the beach and slept there.

At around 4am it started pouring, some rain actually splattered into our tents and made it more difficult to sleep, and people around us were waking up too for the same reason. By 5am, most people were up and about, waiting for the rain to stop, good thing was it did, before breakfast.

Boatloads of new tourists started arriving, and some people started leaving. We decided to take our time.

Found this on the beach, and wonder if the little spots were the bioluminescent phyto plankton.

Before noon, we left the island, and back to Bagan Sungai Burung, Bagan Datoh (巴眼拿督双武隆渔村), and got fed again, our last meal which is part of the deal, a seafood lunch at Hai Yong Seafood Restaurant 洋海鲜餐馆 ; extremely good. In fact, we have no complaints about the food served, every meal was pretty good and the serving generous.

A short tour around Bagan Sungai Burung, Bagan Datoh (巴眼拿督双武隆渔村) later, it was time for us to head on home.

A Stop Over Trip – Sitiawan

August 28, 2015 at 5:41 pm

In June, the girls have a week of holidays, and despite the crazy schedule at work, we managed to plan for a weekend holidays to Perak.

We signed up a 2D1N package to Pulau Sembilan, and because we had to be at the Bagan Sungai Burong (双武隆渔村) by 7:30am to leave for Pulau Sembilan, we decided to spend the night in Teluk Intan, which is around 1hr away from Bagan Sungai Burong.

We decided to spend the afternoon in Sitiawan, as it seemed to be a nicer town to explore compared to Teluk Intan. My BIL is from Sitiawan, a couple of whatapps later, he told us where to have lunch and which gong pian is good.

Both my BIL and sister recommended lunch at Lido Restaurant (52, Jalan Dua, Taman Sitiawan Maju, 32000 Sitiawan).

This ugly looking plate of fried fish was so good, ok?

The oyster egg was delicious! I’d not eaten oyster egg this nice in Malaysia.

After lunch, we searched for the gong pian that my BIL recommended. Actually there were a few he recommended, but searching for the one near the ‘yellow’ old Courts Mammoth building was the easiest, i.e. Sitiawan Cheong Cia Gong Pian (曾家福州光饼) (12, Jalan Tok Perdana, 32000 Sitiawan)

By the time we arrived, that batch was sold out and they were going to make a new batch which will be available in 2hours time. We told them we came from KL, and asked if they have a piece or 2 to let us try. They did!
It was still warm, very crispy with a very flavourful onion filling. It was so good!

Guess what? The hubs decided to stay and watch them make the next batch. O.o The owner Mr Cheong, is more than happy to let us watch and photograph him, since it’ll be free ‘advertisement’ for him.

Gong Pian/Gong Piah/Kong Piah/Kompia is a traditional Fuchow biscuit baked in an earthen oven, it can be plain, savoury or sweetish. Cheong Cia’s has only one flavour, which is the onion Gong Pian. We saw them mixed equal amount of chop shallots and lard for the filling. No wonder it’s so fragrant, and crispy!

The dough stuffed with the filling was then flattened into disc, and stuck to the earthen oven to bake.

Once they were done, they were ‘scooped’ out, and ready to be sold.

2hrs after the previous batch was sold out, the next batch of gong pian was ready, and the crowd started forming.

We spent so much time watching the gong pian making that we didn’t have much time left. Out went our plan to visit the near by Teluk Batik, supposedly a beautiful beach.

We headed towards Teluk Intan instead, and checked into our hotel, Yew Boutique Hotel for the night. There’s nothing boutique about the place, but the facilities are still quite new, and rooms are clean and comfy.

Favourite Authors By Zaria

August 18, 2015 at 10:18 pm

July and August have been extremely busy for me, hence the lack of posting.

Zaria has turned into a bookworm this year, always holding a book whenever she’s not playing or watching TV; even at the mall! At times after we made a visit to the bookshop and she got her a new book, she would be reading it while walking with us in the mall, totally absorbed in her own world.

There are a couple of authors she likes, and always asks us to buy her books by them, or tries to borrow it from library. I asked her to write about the reasons she finds these authors’ writing interesting, and here is what she’s captured.

Mind her spelling, although I think she summarised the reasons pretty well.

America From A Child’s View

June 26, 2015 at 1:02 pm

After every trip to US, I’ll share with the girls what I’d eaten, where I’d been, the people I’d met etc etc, and also go through with them some of the photos I’d snapped.

This is Zaria’s perception of US based on collective information.

Quite accurate I guess.

PS. In Houston particularly, there’s not many pedestrians. Sometimes when my colleagues and I walked to a restaurant, we had to do a 100m dash to cross the road as the roads are very wide and no cars were expecting any pedestrians.

Alpheretta and Atlanta 2015

June 5, 2015 at 5:05 pm

After Paris, it was a week of intensive meeting in Alpheretta, Georgia. Most of the days, we woke up before sun rise and then done for the day only in the night, it was a productive week though.

One of the highlight of the trip is the extended weekend stay, where I’d be meeting my friend from college days whom I’d not met for more than 20years.

These are some memories captured for the trip.

♥Hotel – Courtyard Atlanta Alpheretta♥

We stayed at Courtyard Atlanta Alpheretta by Marriott. It’s near to the office, and at the surrounding area, there are lots of restaurants within walking distant.

Room is spacious and clean.

I like the verandah that came with my room, overlooking the swimming pool. Although it was too cold to hang out at the verandah, it offered a nice view.

I spent almost every morning at the gymn as I woke up almost 5am daily (caused by jetlag) and hence did a morning yoga before breakfast.

I like the complimentary breakfast. We got to choose one item from the menu, and a drink. It’s better than a buffet with the same food served over and over again.

The best is the complimentary use of the washing machine and dryer in the hotel, detergent included.

♥Restaurants and Food♥

Office Food
Hmm.. we got catered food daily, and I didn’t really like them. The worse of the lot, the food served on Tacos Tuesday.
Taco shell with a bit of every thing… eeeyucks, especially the blobs of beans….

A gourmet burger restaurant, the food in Burgerfi was so good, out of 5 lunches we ate there twice.

Chicken Apple Dog was good.

But their Vegefi Burger was even better. Didn’t taste vegetarian at all, don’t know how they made it, but it was juicy and flavourful.

Onion rings were good, but the portion is so big, after 2 rings, the rest just tasted greasy.

Papadeux was another restaurant that we went twice. Just to get some seafood.

First dinner, I had the salmon, it was really good.

2nd dinner, I had the Alaskan King Crab, oh well, the crab wasn’t as nice as Japanese snow crab, the flash tougher, and less sweet compared to snow crab. It was just for the experience.

Ghion Cultural Hall

It was Valentine’s day and most restaurants were full. So we found an Ethopian Restaurant which is quite highly rated to dine. Ghion Cultural Hall it was.

It’s a weird place. From a shabby entrance, we had to go through a dodgy hallway before entering a brightly lit hall which is the restaurant.

I have never tasted Ethopian food, so I can’t tell if it’s authentic, but I didn’t like the food. We ordered a chicken and an egg dish with some special rice flour pancakes. It was like a curry dish, spicy but with very little flavour, more like a peppery kind of spicy.

We had the coffee as well, and it came with an incense burner, I don’t know if it enhanced the flavour of the coffee, but it was more like a ‘show’ for us.

Pho Dai Loi
The best meal we’d eaten during this trip is probably Pho Dai Loi in Atlanta, during our extended stay. It was so good we went back twice, although it was quite a distant away.

It’s a canteen like eatery, brightly lit, simple deco, no fuss kind of place.

But the food was good, so far whatever we tried, they were all good.

♥The Extended Stay – Holiday♥
The fun part of the trip besides our stopover in Paris, is the extended stay. Sally, Lesley and I spent a good weekend together. We moved to down town Atlanta for our stay, and we put up at Country Inn & Suites By Carlson.

We went to the North Georgia Outlet Mall for shopping. And this is what it looks like when 3 women spent the weekend together.

It was so cold, and temperature was below 0C that when we went downtown in the evening for a ‘tour’, we didn’t even want to get down of the car.

On Valentine’s Day, which we three spent together, we decided to have a picnic lunch. Went to Wholefoods Market to get some stuff, and then head to Piedmont Park.

Sunny day, but oh so cold. We sat on benches, and had our lunch, slightly shivering.

The park is beautiful though.

Too bad it was so cold, or we could have stayed there longer.

Because of the cold weather, there’s not much we could do outdoor, hence it was more shopping. Went to an upscale shopping mall, Lenox Square Mall. We experienced the bad traffic which Atlanta is famous for, so bad, a few kilometers took us more than an hour to cover.

Heard so much about Athleta, I was glad there was a store there for me to grab a couple of yoga pants.

Best part of the weekend was that I was able to catch up with my friend, and also got to know my colleague better. It was a good weekend spent together, eating, chatting. Don’t know when we can do this again.

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