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?

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.

Temper Cancer

April 2, 2015 at 10:50 am

The little one has been extremely difficult, even though she gave us her promise, she still has tantrums and fit of anger triggered by the smallest thing.

Me: You know, you really should control your temper.
Zaria : I try to ma, but sometimes I cannot control it
Me: What you have is like a temper cancer you know. We try to help you but if it doesn’t work, we’ll have to send you to Monfort Boy School, they are like a hospital for all the temper cancer patient
Zaria : Then when can I come back?
Me: Until you are fully healed from temper cancer, and you can control your temper so you don’t get angry so easily
Zaria : But cancer cannot be cured right?
o.O”

Anyone has any suggestion on how to cure Temper Cancer?

We try to speak to her nicely, it doesn’t work.
Taking away privileges, it doesn’t work.
Punishing her, it doesn’t work.
We kept telling her we all love her, she knows it, and starts feeling sorry and sobs, but then it’s easily forgotten, and next day, the cycle repeats.
She’s only like this at home, at school, she’s always conceding, no teachers have ever complained about her except that she day dreams sometimes.

I just hope this is a phase she’s going through, and it’ll be over soon.

My Promise – By Zaria

March 24, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Zaria has been extremely difficult the last week, using foul language, spiting in her sister’s tea just because her sister made tea without telling her (they always brew tea together), using her sharp tongue to talk back, sometimes even telling us she wished we weren’t her family, she wished she was an orphan etc etc.

This little sweetie pie has a sweet sweet sugary filling, but sometimes her temper gets the better of her. After a few ‘counselling’ sessions we had with her, she decided to write us her promise or her ode to her family.

(She even signed it in red to indicate she’s serious).

Sweet Sweet Zaria, we all love you very much, and hope you will be able to control your temper, and outgrown this episode in life, and we hope you will keep all these promises you made to your family.

Make Believe Cafe

September 30, 2014 at 10:48 am

Zaria made nice cup of coffee for me at the hotel when we were holidaying in Kelantan, since then, we’d made her the barrista at home.

She’s responsible to make coffee or tea for me daily in the afternoon, and she took this job seriously, she sets up the timer and ensures the coffee or tea is brewed only for 2 mins. Sometimes she makes hot chocolate for Zara or tea for hubs as well.

She said we should open a cafe since she likes my cakes, biscuits and cooking and she imagines herself to be the barista at the cafe. And what would the role of her sister be? Popsicle maker since Zara has made a couple of flavourful popsicles like this Ribena passion fruit popsicle.

So this is her plan all drawn up and written down.

(The hubs’ role is to take photos of customers according to her).

DIY Chinese Traditional Lanterns 制作中秋节传统灯笼

September 7, 2014 at 11:11 pm

The girls’ school has a lantern making competition, and being the sporting parents that we are, we decided to join in by making traditional lanterns.

After googling, checking out a friend’s father’s DIY lanterns photos on FB, buying the materials (i.e. cellophane paper, craft wire), our dining area was turned into a work shop. The hubs and I did the wire shaping, the girls drew and cut out the designs they wanted to stick on the lanterns, and I glued on the cellophane paper. The whole of last weekend was spent on this.

Zara wanted a rabbit shaped lantern, while Zaria who didn’t really care had a cuboctahedron shaped lantern just because we had a frame from an old lantern to follow.

I wasn’t good at smoothing out the cellophane paper. Sunning it didn’t work, and I was told I should blow it with a hot hair dryer after gluing on to smoothen it. Maybe next year.

But at least it’s functional!

After all the gluing was done I hung it to dry, the evening sun actually casted a beautiful shadow of the lantern on the ground.

In the night we tried lighting them up, and the girls were pretty happy with the results.

Did we win? The results will be out coming Friday, but it’s unlikely that we will as I’d seen the ones submitted by the others, and they were way more creative, or beautifully done than ours. Oh well, at least we did try.

Happy Mid Autumn Festival Everyone!

Coppelia: Full Length Ballet Performance this July 6 & 7, 2013

June 30, 2013 at 6:03 pm

I used to do ballet till Grade 6, I had to quit because I was using the wrong muscles (and never got corrected, alas), and as it got tougher, I just wasn’t able to do what I was supposed to do. I’d always love ballet, the poise, the gracefulness of it all. The girls, however, thought ballet is too girlish, and although I’d asked them many times, they didn’t want to take up ballet.

We were given this opportunity to view a rehearsal for Coppelia, which is a full length ballet performance that will be staged coming weekend, I thought it’ll be a great time to expose the girls to ballet.

A little about Coppelia, Per Wiki :
Coppélia concerns an inventor, Dr Coppelius, who has made a life-size dancing doll. It is so lifelike that Franz, a village swain, becomes infatuated with it and sets aside his true heart’s desire, Swanhilde. She shows him his folly by dressing as the doll, pretending to make it come to life and ultimately saving him from an untimely end at the hands of the inventor.

This comical and romantic ballet was first staged in 1870 in Paris.

Jointly organized by Danceworks Production, Malaysia and Ena Ballet Studio Company, Japan, this full length ballet performance will be staged on July 6th and 7th, at Istana Budaya, Kuala Lumpur.

Participants of the performance include 50 dancers from Japan, USA, Australia, Romania, Germany and Malaysia. Lead ballet dancers include: Connor Walsh, Principal Dancer, Houston Ballet, USA; Ena Hirose, Co-Artistic Director, Ena Ballet Studio Company, Japan; and Mark Brinkley, Former Senior Artist of The Australian Ballet. And it’s choreographed by Malaysian Jie Choong Wan-Chin, Artistic Director, Danceworks Production, Malaysia and Resident Choreographer, Ena Ballet Studio Company.

Mark Brinkley, who will be Dr Coppelius in the performance, gave us a brief introduction to the acts and casts.

An hour at the rehearsal, we watched a few dance scenes which were beautifully put together. The girls suddenly realised ballet isn’t just about pink tutu.

Jie Choong Wan-Chin, the Choreographer, briefing the casts

Connor Walsh as Franz and Ena Hirose as Swanhilder

Ena Hirose with her former students (most of them are professional dancers now) from Ena Ballet Studio Company

Now, both the girls and I, can’t wait to watch the actual performance!

Details on the timing and ticket prices are per below :
Tickets are priced at RM 50, 90, 120, 160 and 200 (with a RM 3 surcharge per ticket)
Tickets can be purchased from: ticket2u.biz (Tel: 03-414 78600)
Istana Budaya Office (03- 4026 5558)
Timings: July 6, 2013 (Sat) (8.30pm) & July 7 (Sunday) (3.00pm)
For more information, please visit: danceworks2013.org

Malaysia Haze

June 28, 2013 at 4:51 pm

The last couple of days, all we Malaysians (and Singaporeans) talked about was the haze! Facebook friends including myself were reporting on API, where to get masks, what was the visibility outside, how the haze was affecting us (itchy skin/eyes, smokey, choking feeling etc).

People were wearing masks, and my girls out of fun, put on theirs as well.

The girls didn’t go to school for 3 days, and were locked up together with me in the study, with ironiser and aircon turned on and doors and windows all shut. Pity them as they are the outdoor type who likes to cycle and runaround at the park.

I made them write about the haze when we were under house arrest, reluctantly they did (hence the sloppy writing) or they won’t get to use the iPad or start their playing session.

Now that the skies are clear and blue, and the fluffy clouds are back, we hope we’d seen the last of the haze.

When Did You Last Kiss Your Parents?

June 11, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Out of the blue, Zaria asked, “How come you don’t kiss your parents anymore?”

Can you remember last kissing your parents? I don’t think I’d ever done it? My dad although a little better than my in-laws who totally don’t do physical contact, would limit his affection to holding hands, patting the girls head, putting his arms around the girls when they share a joke or secret.

So I explained our parents come from an older time, where showing affection through kissing is not common. “Long long time ago, parents kissing children in Chinese family is not common. That’s why we don’t kiss our parents, and show our love in different ways.”

Zara asked cheekily, “So you were from prehistoric time?”

Zaria added on, “So it was Mommy and Daddy B.C.?” o.O”

I asked, “Do you know what is B.C.?”

Zaria replied, “That means one hundred million years ago!” o.O”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ . ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, can you remember the last time you kiss your parents?

Maidless And Busy Days Are Over

March 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm

After 24 days without a helper, with many broken promises from our Agent, and many missed datelines, our new helper Minerva finally arrived on Feb 29th.

In the beginning, with Minerva’s arrival, my schedule was still in a chaos.

1) I had to finish the 4 photobooks that I’d ordered via groupon by March 12th.

2) My boss had asked for the impossible to happen, which is to roll out the tool that I’m responsible for to China within 2months (when in normal circumstances, minimum 3 months lead time is required).

3) Zara was having her first exams in March, and I had to revise with her.

4) Daddy was away for almost 2 weeks.

In between working, I would be training Minerva and chauffeuring the kids. After work, I’ll be doing revision with Zara. And then when the girls were off to beds, I would be completing whatever work that wasn’t completed for the day, and then worked on the photobook.

For as long as 2 weeks, my average sleeping time was 2am!

My crazy schedule is finally over.

Zara’s exams are over, and the girls now have a week of school holidays, so no more revision and chauffeuring required!
Minerva is starting to understand our schedule and work.
Photobooks are done and submitted for printing.
The stake holder responsible for China roll out has agreed to a deployment in June, giving us more time to work on things.
And Daddy is back (not that it helped, because he caught the flu bug and all he’s been doing around is sleep since he got back).

The biggest pay off for all the hard work? Zara scored 100% for her Chinese! Yee Har!

You’ll be seeing more posts after this.

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