Recording My Dad’s Surgery (Battling Cancer)

March 24, 2010 at 4:37 pm

11th March, Thursday
My brother flew down to Singapore with dad as dad has to do some more test at the hospital and to get himself admitted.

I’m not sure if it’s normal procedure, but for dad’s surgery, he had to do an ECG, Stress Test, CT-scan on the heart to see if he’s strong enough to go through the surgery. All these he did on 5th March when my sister and I went to Singapore with him. His risk was 5%.

My brother sms-ed us sometime in the afternoon informing us that dad has done a ct-scan on the heart artery, and the results wasn’t very good. His calcium deposit on the arteries was high. Increasing his risk. They were in the midst of talking to Dr KC Tan, the very famous liver surgeon, who’ll be performing dad’s surgery.

30mins later, my brother informed us that dad was all set for surgery. Dr KC Tan said due to the size of my dad’s tumor, the risk of him waiting longer to do the surgery after fixing his heart problem (3~6mths) is higher than doing the surgery the following day.

In the evening, my BIL drove 2 of my sisters, my nephews and me to Singapore. We arrived after 9pm, where my dad has already been warded, we had a short chat and left early so he could rest and be prepared for the big day.

My youngest sis stayed with my dad in the hospital, and each of us went back to our own accomodation.

12th March, Friday
All of us arrived early at the hospital. They started to sedate dad at about 10am +, we told him we would wait for him outside and asked him to be strong. He was already in a daze when he was wheeled into the operating theatre.

The doctor told us the surgery will be at 12pm and would take about 4hrs, and we can do our own things and come back by 4pm.

So off we went, having lunch and shopping around Orchard.

We got back at 3:30pm, and at 4pm, Dr Tan came out and told us the surgery was a success, dad didn’t loose much blood, and he’s in stable condition. There were also other satelite tumors found around the main tumor, and one of them was already leaking, as a pool of blood was found in the abdoment when they cut him up. It was good that he didn’t wait any longer to do the surgery, because if the tumor ruptured, it’ll be an emergency surgery.

4pm +, Dr Gong, the assistant surgeon came out and showed us the left lobe of the liver that was removed from my dad. It’s almost the size of a placenta.

I have some photos here, and if are interested to take a look (just for knowledge), just click on the links. Take note they are not a pretty sight.

Photo 1 : This is the size of what was cut out, and the main tumor can be seen right in the middle (lighter colour).
Photo 2 : The white bit is where it separates the left and the right lobe.
Photo 3: Another shot from another angle.
Photo 4: The super ugly satelite tumors can be seen clearly.
Photo 5 : Dr Gong actually sliced up the liver to show us what healthy liver and tumor looked like.

By 5pm+, my dad was wheeled out and brought straight to the liver unit ICU. He was still and will continue to be sadeted until the next morning. We were only allowed to see him through the glass panel, as he’s still very vulnerable.

The sight of him with all the tubes and machine beeping nearby, was rather heart breaking.
Dad in ICU

That evening, knowing his surgery is successful, and he’s in stable condition, we went to celebrate. We had dinner at Jumbo at Eastcoast, after sending my eldest sister off to the airport (she was going to Hong Kong 2 days later).

13th March, Saturday
I stayed the night at my BIL’s niece’s place, and at 6am+, we left for the hospital. They have removed the sedation from dad, and he was waking up when we arrived.

They actually have to strap him down, worrying he might just pull out all the tubes and gadgets that were attached to him when he’s awake.

Besides having a slightly high blood pressure, he was slowly coming to his senses. He told us he could remember nothing about the operation. His last memory was him being put on the stretcher, and then waking up now in the ICU.

He was not talking much, as he said he still felt sleepy, but we tried to keep him awake by talking to him etc.

By 11am+, he was out of ICU and transferred to the normal ward. My brother stayed till 1pm before he left for the airport for his flight home (he was going to New York a day later). The rest of us, just hung around the hospital accompanying dad. Luckily there’s TV and there’s broadband, so we were kept entertained.

Dad was slowly more alert, and chi-chatted to us a bit. He was still not able to eat anything, but solely depended on drips.

In the night, my youngest sis stayed the night at the hospital, and I went to my friend, SK’s house to stay.

14th March, Sunday
My dad could only have clear diet. I boiled him some ABC soup before I left for the hospital.

I took over my sister’s shift, and she was free to do her own things (but most of the time she remained in the hospital).

The nurses helped my dad to stand up for a couple of times, but he was complaining he felt dizzy, so he only walked till the door, and then had to turn back to rest. The nurses claimed the morphine might have caused that. He was spending most of his time seated however, and only lied down to take naps or to sleep.

His appetite wasn’t very good, eating (soup only) and drinking a little only.

15th March, Monday
Dr said he could start on soft diet, so I boiled some porridge for him. The hospital provided pretty good food actually, mashed potato with chopped fish, minced beef, etc, so it has been decided that I no longer needed to cook for him, and he’d just take the hospital food.

He could stand longer and even walked in the room withoug feeling dizzy. In the afternoon, the nurse decided to take him out for a walk. He’s definitely back to his normal self when he asked, “Does my hair look good?” before we left the room.

Dad walking

16th March, Tuesday
Still on soft diet, but eating more.

I came in about noon time to relieve my sister. We ate cold food which I packed from the coffee shops near my friend’s place, and also whatever dad couldn’t finish.

Dad was doing well, walking more, and the nurses actually had to tell him to slow down his pace. He complained no pain, but just said the stitches were a bit tight.

They also removed the catheter, so he had to go to the toilet to pee.

17th March, Wednesday
Still on soft diet and the nurses and doctors were closely monitoring his bowel movement. No bowel movement, no discharge. That was the order.

Dad went to the toilet a couple of times, but always came out disappointed.

We bought prune juice, got him papayas, and more fruit juice to try to help him.

When I left for the day, there was still no sign of the poop. Dad was getting a bit anxious.

18th March, Thursday
I sms-ed my sister in the morning, and she said dad has done his poop. He was sooo happy, he was declaring victory when he came out of the toilet.

So when I got in to the hospital, he was all ready to be discharged.

I settled all remaining hospital bills, and then waited till 2pm, our check in time at the service appartment.

We moved to a service appartment on Grange Road called Hotel Alternatives. They have a couple of units in Lucky Tower. Tey partitioned each condo units to several rooms, and let everyone share the common kitchen. We had a 2 Bedroom unit, and it’s actually the living and dining room of the condo. The toilet was the powder room. 🙁

It’s reasonably priced ($270/unit), and we thought we were going to stay for 7 nights, that’s why we settled for this. Boy, the thin plywood wall made the slightest sound audible, being a light sleeper, I didn’t have any good sleep while we were there.

That evening, the girls arrived with Daddy. They were so happy to see me after a week. Both was clinging on to me all the time.

19th March, Friday
My brother and his family arrived. Dad was feeling so much better, but he complained about the bed in the ‘hotel’ being too low, and difficult for him to get in and out of bed.

20th March, Saturday
Dad went for his follow up in the hospital, and requested the doctor to allow him to go home earlier. Instead of staying in Singapore for another 7 nights, he was given the green light to leave, since he was recovering well.

So it was decided that he will follow my brother home on Sunday, 20th March.

We were left with the problem of getting our money back for the other 3 nights that we would not be staying in the ‘hotel’, since we paid them up front in cash!

I will write about girls’ time in Singapore next. As for my dad, he’s now staying home and recovering well. He’s however, complaining that he’s very bored, and trying to get us to allow him to go back to work at his book shop.

We thought he should at least have a 30days confinement period, but I think he’s winning, next week I heard, my BIL will be sending him to the book shop to work half day.

感激 – Battling Liver Cancer

March 11, 2010 at 2:54 pm

We brought our father to Asia Centre For Liver Diseases & Transplantation located at Gleneagles Hospital Singapore for another round of diagnosis last weekend. It has finally decided that, it’s best he does a surgery, for these reasons :

1) His tumor is only on the left lobe, other part of his liver and organs are clean

2) His liver function is normal based on the blood test, meaning the other part of his liver is in good condition

3) His tumor is too big to be removed or killed by chemo, if he were to go for chemo, he’ll have to do many rounds to reduce the size.

His surgery will be tomorrow. Hope all will be well.

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

I’m so touched by a few, who’d shown me so much compasion since they knew about my father’s condition.

Dinah, who helped me made the appointment with her BIL during Chinese New Year.

C, my neighbour, dropped by with books; one by Dr Wu, who has fought and won his cancer battle through a change of diet and lifestyle; and another book on negative ion and its benefit.
C also offered to take care of the girls and have them stay with her, if I needed to be away.

K, also my neighbour, in the midst of moving, dropped by with recipe books for cancer patients which she has to dig in her packed boxes.

Books from C and K

SK, who’ll be giving me a place to stay, and her kitchen to use next week when my dad is in the hospital.

I’m most touched by Lisa, who is herself battling cancer with spunk. When she knew about my father, she started sending me all the long sms-es with information on things that I can do, or get for my father to help him, based on her own experience and what she knows. She said, “Fighting cancer is like a crash course.. getting a new degree.. in the shortest time.”

I thank her for giving me the cheat sheet.

And what touched me most was her dropping by my house yesterday with these for my dad.
Leaflet on Dr Rath’s Program.
3 bottles of Mangosteen juice (high in anti oxidant)
A box of Maharishi Amrit Kalash Mak 4 & 5 (also high on anti oxidant)
Lisa's gifts to my dad

I didn’t get to see her, because I was out with the girls.

She also gave 2 Chinese style bags for the girls.
Girls' bags from Lisa

The girls were so happy to see those, and immediately started using them. See what they used them for?
Girls' bags from Lisa

*bow humbly* Thank you Lisa, C, K, SK, Dinah. I’m so touched by your compasion, your help and your friendship.

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

Girls’ prayers for my dad now became something like this,
Zara : “Hope Ah Kong’s operation will not be painful. And he will get better after that, then he can play with me.”
Zaria : “Hope the doctor wash the knife clean clean clean for Ah Kong’s operation. And after that Ah Kong will not have diarhea any more.”

Shocking News

February 23, 2010 at 10:28 am

It’s more than 10 days since I last updated. I’d been busy with work (3 Shanghainese colleagues off for the New Year, so I have to back them up) and due to some family matters, I’d been feeling a big sluggish (in blogging). Now it’s time to be back.

So what happened during the Chinese New Year (CNY)? Photos will be coming, but here is to share something that affected me lots during these last 10 days.

7th Feb, my dad got his yearly check up results, and my sis (whom my father lives with) sms-ed us and informed us that his liver readings were not very good.

8th Feb, another sms-ed came in to inform us that my father has a very bad bout of diarhea and is in the midst of being sent to the doctor’s. I went to the doctor’s to see him, he was on drips, very tired and pale looking, just spoke to me a little and went back to sleep. My BIL updated me on what happened, i.e.

My dad had roti canai for breakfast (why so soon after he has his blood test results and supposed to be watching his diet, I don’t know), and drank up the whole bowl of fish curry. He then drove from Briekfields to PJ State to do his banking, and right after he parked his car, he had the urge to purge. He wanted to go to the nearest toilet, but when he got out of the car, he just felt so dizzy, he slumped on the the floor. A couple of attempts later, he gave up. Got back to the car when he felt he was strong enough, and drove to Pudu (He was being stupid! He could have fainted half way driving and had an accident), and on his journey, purged in the car. Upon arriving at Pudu, he just spent the rest of his time in the office toilet. His colleague then called my sis, and soon after my BIL came by to pick him up from the office and sent him to the doctor’s, where he was found to be very dehydrated, and his blood pressure very low.

When my dad’s blood pressure was back to normal, he complained the right side of his upper abdomen being very painful. So painful he was cringing when he got up, or when he lied down, he only felt comfortable being at a certain position. The doctor claimed it might be caused by the gas in the stomach.

He was discharged the same day. A couple of days after, he still complained about his upper abdomen being very painful. On 12th Feb (the last day of work before CNY for most people), my BIL brought him to do an ultrasound, and that’s when the shocking news came. The radiologist found a 14cm growth on his liver! No specialists were available to diagnose what this meant, so everybody’s mood was a bit gloomy over the CNY period.

I was especially worried when I saw him on 1st day of CNY with his very greenish, yellowish complexion. But luckily, 2nd day onwards, some pink returned to his face.

On 17th Feb when the doctors are back to work, he saw his first liver specialist, Dr. Ryan Ponnudurai. A CT scan was done, and the growth is actually around 14~16cm on the left lobe of his liver.

On 18th Feb, he went to see a 2nd specialist, Dr. MV Kudva, also a liver spealist. The options given were more or less the same.

1. Surgery to remove the growth, but because of his age and the size of the growth, it’s not recommended.
2. Chemotheraphy, Dr. MV Kudva said the best chemo option is to do TACE – Transarterial chemoembolization, a procedure in which the blood supply to a tumor is blocked (embolized) and chemotherapy is administered directly into the tumor.
His other chemo option is to take chemo drug in pill form.
3. Do nothing and hope for the best.

My dad, being the funny sort, asked me, “What if I go for option 2, and my hair fall off?” As though that’s the most important thing to him!

He’s kind of decided on option 2, now we are getting another round of check on all his tests and scans by the radiologist, Dr. Asokan R. Nair, and to see if he can have TACE done on him. It’s likely that he’ll be doing it in UMMC, because Dr. Asokan will be recommending another radiologist (a professor) from UM to do it for him.

He’s still driving himself around, going to work, to church etc. He stops eating out, and on a control diet now, while waiting.

For someone who’s rather healthy all this while, this is all hard news for him and us. I’d lost a couple of days sleep, worried about him, worried about myself (I was told I had fatty liver the last round I did my check up).

The girls, not knowing what really is happening, is praying in the night, Zaria will say something like this, “Jesus, please help my Ah Kong to be better, so that he don’t have diarhea and go on drips.”

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