Monday, November 30, 2009

The roads ahead......

My sleep was interrupted at around 3 o'clock in the morning. The sudden and sharp tearing pains woke me up ! It can not be, because I took my pain killer before I went to bed, and the pain killer is supposed to last for 12 hours. In order not to make thing any more difficult for myself, I took another tablet of pain killer and waited for the soothing effect to sink it. I finally went back to sleep again at around 5 o'clock in the morning. Finally, I have a few hours of good sleep and woke up at around 9:00AM. But the pains came back again.

I did not get up from the wrong side of the bed this morning. But I woke up this morning with extremely foul mood and unbearable pains. I told myself, I must control my emotions in order not to make thing difficult for people surrounding me. I tried to bear with the discomforts associated with the pains, and finally, I guess the best strategy to counter this discomfort is to pop in another pain killer. But somehow, today seemed to be an odd day out. The pain pain killer doesn't seemed to work effectively. Well, I guess I will have to bear with it for the time being. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better for me.

I had been reading and trying to make a decision on whether to go for Cryosurgery with Argon Helium Knife and Iodine Seed Knife therapy. Well, the more I read, the more confused and indecisive I became. Well, I had been through so many type of treatment protocols during the past 12 months or so, and all these treatment have effectively control the cancer activities in my body, but the end result does not seemed to meet my expectation of elimination of the tumors and cancer cells. In a way, I feared the new treatment protocols may failed to meet my expectation again. I am so fed-up of living in daily pains and discomforts, and I really do not wish to see this negative aspects of life being prolong unnecessarily. Like it or not, I am at this juncture of my journey where I have to make another major treatment decision, and I do not have the luxury to procrastinate but to make quick decision. I pray that the Almighty can grace me with the wisdom to make the right decision again this time.

I was recommended to go through a combination of four types of treatment therapies :

  • Cryosurgery with Argon Helium Knife
  • Iodine Seed Knife Therapy
  • Immunotherapy, and
  • Vascular Interventional Therapy

These treatment protocols are not available in Malaysia. The hospital that has the facilities to perform this treatments is Fuda Cancer Hospital located in Guangzhou, China. I was advised by the hospital to stay there for a minimum of 30 days for the treatments to be performed. I know, this kind of treatments is going to be expensive, but I have faith that, when the time comes, the good Lord will make the necessary provisions.

Although, my present Oncologist does not recommend I go through these therapies, but honestly, beyond these new treatment protocols, I really do not have much options left. I am getting very fed-up with all the daily pains and discomforts. I can still cope with the pains and discomforts, but emotionally speaking, I am really not what I used to be, I am getting weaker and weaker to the point of giving up and breaking down. I do not want my family members to be burdened with my degrading state of emotional well being. And I really do not want to see the quality of my existence slowly degrading with each passing day.

I guess, there are really no other options but to commit myself to these new treatment protocols. Hopefully, after these treatments, my present Oncologist can take over from these treatment protocols and work out a maintenance strategy to improve and prolong the quality of my existence.

An annonymous person send me this song by Maria Carey – There is A Hero. I like this song, I think I will think of myself as a hero in this journey against cancer, and with the blessing of the Almighty, I shall emerge vitorious. Here goes the lyrics of the song :


There's a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don't have to be afraid
Of what you are
There's an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know
Will melt away

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you
It's a long road
When you face the world alone
No one reaches out a hand
For you to hold
You can find love
If you search within yourself
And the emptiness you felt
Will disappear

Lord knows
Dreams are hard to follow
But don't let anyone
Tear them away
Hold on
There will be tomorrow
In time
You'll find the way

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

From the eyes of a deluded mind....

The past few days had been a mentally exhaustive exercise for me. I research through the Internet and read up a lot of materials on Cryosurgery to assess its relevant as another option in fighting cancer. Yesterday, I forwarded my CT scan images and medical report to the hospital for them to assess my condition on the suitability of cryotherapy as a treatment for me. The hospital should be able to revert to me on the duration of admission, treatments protocols, and the total costs involved by end of next week. At the moment, although, financially I am almost at the brink of disaster, but this is the least of my worry now, I know, when the time comes, the good Lord will provide. So, I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will be an affordable and curative exercise for me.

Looking back, this whole “journey” I gone through has been a real adventure of enlightenments. As much as I was negatively affected by the emotional and physical disturbances, but I also acquired new skills and beginning to appreciate the habitat I am in in a different way. I self taught myself in Chinese calligraphy to smooth my trouble minds, and I also took up photography as a hobby to practice patience.

Over the period of the past 12 months, I took more than a thousand photographs. I am still learning to sharpen my skills. The followings are some of the pictures which I had taken :

"At the airshow TUDM 2009"
"The Middle Finger Salute"
"Famous Taiping Cendul"
"Bukit Tinggi"
"Taiping Lake Gardens"
"The Twins"
"the Orchid"

"The Thinking Monkey"
"The Eagle"
"The Butterfle"
"The Trinity"
Garden Flower"

Monday, November 23, 2009

Moving on.............

Sometimes, I asked myself, what does it take to beat the nasty Cancer ? I had been on this journey of enlightenment for more than a years, spend substantial financial resources, emotional reservation, and physical endurances to fight these nasty mutant cells. Looking back and taking stock of current situation, I am still at where I started. The tumor is still at its originally diagnosed size, and the CA19.9 marker is still out of the normal range. I guess, I am still no where near the victory mark. The only encouraging sign is, the cancer has not metastasized, and I am still standing on my two feet plotting strategy in my attempt to defeat those unwelcome invaders. I guess, the answer I am seeking lies within me.......

It is a very frustrating period for me, and emotionally, at times, I am almost at breaking point. However, I told myself, I had gone thus far, surrendering now is not an option. I will keep fighting till my last “drop of blood”. I honestly do not know how long I can go living with this state of anxieties, fears, and uncertainties. The only thing I can do now is to have faith in the doctors and medical team that attended to my treatment regime.

I have been praying to the Almighty for miracles, but frankly, I do not think the Almighty is capable to heal me. Well, my fellow Christian brothers and sisters may accused me of having lack of faith in the Almighty, but the truth of the matter is, I got to believe in facts not fallacies. So far, this Almighty fella has shown no capability to heal, he failed. It is now up to me to mentally prepare myself to be physically and mentally fit to fight this battle on my own. I must continue to remain strong and positive in my ability to make informed decisions and to keep fighting against all odds. I pray that the Almighty will not let me lose hope in the sacredness of life.

So far all the treatment protocols did not produced the desired result. I am disappointed, but like it or not, I got to move on with life, and manage my expectations from here. To stay positive, I need to move out from this cocoon of trapping myself in fearing failed treatment protocols. I need to have faith in the medical team to keep my cancer at bay and become a survivor to lead a normal active life.

I know, the journey ahead is not going to be any more easier than I first started. I did not bargained to put myself into this precarious situation. Believe me, it is not easy living in fear of the unknowns, but the cruelty of life is such, sometimes, like it or not, when you are at the receiving end, you got to stay even stronger to get out from the mess. For better or for worst, I need to stay calm and rational about every decision I am going to make, and I need to summon all my courage to instill a semblance of bravery into me to journey on.

A the end of the day, I may win, or I may lose this battle along this treacherous journey, but I want to be put on record that, I fought a good fight, and I had made all possible attempts to complete this journey. So, place a yellow ribbon on your desk to cheer me on..........

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In search of another option ?

I had been off medication since the completion of my radiotherapy in June 2009. My last visit to my regular Oncologist indicated that my CA19.9 marker has risen, and I agreed with the good doctor that I will be going for another CT scan to do positional review in first week of January 2010. After which I will have to decide, in consultation with the doctor, whether to proceed with another protocol of Chemotherapy.

I take note that my previous treatments protocols of IV chemotherapy, oral chemotherapy, and 3D Conformal therapy, and B17 alternative treatment did not produce the desired results. While waiting for my monthly check-up and the incoming CT Scan, I decided to try out Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM). I visited the Traditional Chinese Medicines section of Tung Shin hospital to seek the alternative treatment. The Oncologist who attended to me is Prof Zhao Tiang Yong. Today is my second weekly visit to Prof Zhao office. Prof Zhao has prescribed a combination of herbs to be boiled ( with given instruction of how to prepare the dicotion). The dicotion is to be taken twice a day.

"The Prescription"
"The Herbs Medication"

I guess, as it is, I am almost running out of option to combat my existing health problem. As a sane man, I do have my fear and anxieties facing this state of uncertainty. Over the next few weeks, I have to seriously reconsider all options and make an informed decision on my next course of action.

I also did my own research on the Internet and found another option of using Cryotherapy to combat advanced stage cancer. Cryosurgery treatment is available at Fuda Cancer Hospital in Guangzhou, China. My brief research in Internet indicated that Cryotherapy is the application of liquid nitrogen using cryoprobe to target at the tumor to induce extreme cold to destroy the abnormal cancer issues. I will have to consult the doctor on the viability of this new option on my next scheduled appointment.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Jesus Christ is my only hope for healing ?

I received an anonymous comment relating to my recent posting of “another disappointing day again...”

I am sorry I am not able to publish this Anonymous reader's comment in my blog. However, I do hope this anonymous reader, being a righteous Christian, can use his real name in future comments so that I can communicate with him as a Christian. In summary, the followings are some “advises”given by this “anonymous reader” :

  • Do not go for Chemotherapy
  • Do not use my nickname “Dalai Baru” as it is unchristian
  • Jesus Christ is my only hope for healing

Honestly, I would like to sincerely thank Anonymous for his advises. As much as I am over anxious in seeking healing for my current medical condition, I also need to be logical in my next step of action.

With regards to Chemotherapy, my take on this medical option is simple. I beeed through 7 rounds of intravenous chemotherapy and many months of oral chemotherapy. The experiences are horrible and at times humiliating. I also realized that, cancer is not just a normal chronic illness, but a horrible terminal illness. If I can do away with chemotherapies, I will avoid it at all costs. But, I am not a professional medical personnel competent in cancer cure, therefore, I will have to rely on qualified medical professional such as Oncologists or doctors for the advise on the best possible option that I can adopt to recover my health. I can not be that irresponsible to rely on the advises of people who are not qualify to offer medical and treatment advises. If my doctors advised me to go for Chemotherapy again as the next best option, then it is the necessary evil to adopt. I do hope, people who are not well versed or qualified in cancer treatments to refrained from offering inappropriate dangerous advises and insensitive comments.

I know, at the end of the day, I may not win this battle against cancer, BUT, at least, modern medicines can improve the quality of my daily existence in whatever number of days I am left with.

With regards to the usages of my nickname of “Dalai Baru” in my posting, I would like to emphasize again that, I had been using this nickname for years. If using this nickname is being perceived as “unchristian” or offensive to some Christians, then so be it. I do hope, these Christians, in their eagerness to portray themselves as super Christians of righteousness, they can refraied from imposing their narrow minded religious interpretations on others. It is a sin to live life as a hypocrites. For those Christians who still think that “Dalai Baru” as a nickname is unchristian, I would like to seek their understanding and interpretation of the term “Dalai Baru” first, before they go around criticizing other people's unchristianness. What next, do I have to discard my Chinese name and adopt a Christian name in order to be sounds like a Christian and looks like a Christians ? May the Almighty bless those misguided Christians to have basic respect for their own cultural roots, and be enlightened to be more knowledgeable and open minded.

I may not be feeling well, but I am not sicked in mind. I thank the Almighty for blessing me with a sound mind to see the hypocritness of some misguided minds. May the Almighty forgive them for their inapropriate insensitivities of their narrowmindedness.

Now, coming back to religiosity. Is Jesus Christ my only hope to secure cure and recovery of my health ? Prayer gave me hope and gave me a sense of direction, but beyond that, I got to be responsible for my own welfare. Honestly, in my quiet times and in the privacy of my dwelling, I had been praying to the Almighty for his blessing and grace. As much as I want to be spiritual about it, but I also need to be logical and rational about this whole medical fiasco I am in. As much as I want to have faith in the mighty Jesus Christ as my healer, I also need to have faith in modern medicines, the doctors, and medical personnel who attend to my treatments. I hope this position of mine will not be challenged by Anonymous as being having lack of faith in the mighty Jesus Christ.

May the Almighty bless all those people with the sensitivity, grace, and wisdom with qualified knowledge to offer qualified medical advises.

Praise the Lord !

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Another disappointing day again......

I had been having my monthly blood test for tumor marker for the previous 12 months. Yesterday was no exception. I went to the hospital laboratory in the morning for my blood sample to be taken, and made arrangement with the laboratory technician to have the result ready for my monthly consultation with the doctor this afternoon.

As usual, I was a bit anxious about the blood test result. I do really want to see some reduction in the CA19.9 cancer marker reading. I was a bit disappointed that the reading for the CA19.9 Cancer marker has gone up again compared to the previous month's reading. Well, I guess, over the previous 12 months, I had been through so many disappointments in term of my treatment outcomes. So, one more disappointment is not going break me. I will just have to take it in my stride and hope for the best.

I discussed with the good doctor that, most likely, if the situation does not improve by January 2010, I will have to go for another computer tomography scan to do a positional review, and seriously consider the option of another regime of chemotherapy. The doctor has recommended that the next round of chemotherapy may involve a combination of Germcitabine and Avastin. I told the doctor my reservation of using Germcitabine as the main formula, because previously, I been through seven rounds of chemotherapy using Germcitabine, and it doesn't seemed to work in bringing down the cancer marker readings and tumor size. However, I will leave the option open and cross the bridge when the time come. At the moment, my main concern is to increase my weight and prepare my body in good physical condition during the next two months, so that I can withstand another assault of chemo drugs in the event that this course of action is unavoidable.

As much as I want to maintain my positive outlook, but I also need to accept the reality of the current situation. For a start, I know, the pains and discomforts are getting more frequents and I will have to increase the dosages of pain killers to manage and minimize my pains and discomforts so that the quality of my daily existence is not eroded. Whatever it is, I got to keep myself busy so that I will not unnecessarily lapsed into too much negative thoughts and anxieties. More than 12 months have passed, but I realized, he journey of my recovery of health has just began ! Metaphorically speaking, for better or for worst, I already dug my trenches, I will fight this battle with all my determinations. I pray that he Almighty can grant me the strength, wisdom, and grace to fight and overcome all those nasty cancer cells in my body.

Physically, I noticed, my body has been significantly weakened due to all those treatment protocols and lack of nutritions resulting from lack of appetites. Emotionally, I realized, people surrounding me has been treating me DIFFERENTLY, as seemed that I may drop dead suddenly, or perhaps, may be, I am over sensitive in this aspect.

I had been trying very hard to arrest my declining weight by forcing myself to eat as much as I can. Luckily, my weight has been stabilized over the previous one month or so. My immediate objective is to attempt to increase my body weight over the next two months to prepare myself for next round of treatment protocol.

I also told my loved ones that, although, I am not feeling well, but I do not want to be treated like a sicked person. I really do not want to be a burden to anybody, and emotionally, it is also very stressful for me to be in a state of awareness that I attracted all these unwelcome attentions. Those thoughts, attitudes, and perception of cancer by people surrounding me can, at times, prevent me from wanting to live my life as it is. Life must go on, as NORMALLY as possible.

I went through a period of, from shock to fear, from fear to acceptance, and finally from acceptance to adaptation.. Emotionally speaking, I had been through so much roller coaster rides dealing with the treatment regimes, with people surrounding me, and with the priorities of my life. Suddenly I begin to realize, life is indeed precious to me. I am beginning to appreciate the little things in my habitat. As much as I want to live my life to the fullest for the day, I also begin to look forward to the next day. And I really appreciate the opportunity to smell the flowers, and even enjoy the chirping sounds of the birds in my garden. Life is indeed beautiful ! Perhaps, the Almighty in his wisdom put me into this predicament in order to enlighten me to focus my life into this new perspective. The finality of life may seemed to be near, but I still have a choice of how I want to live my life, how I want to be remembered, how I can make this world a better place for all, and how I want to inspire others in the same predicament as me to live a better life than me.

Well, the journey ahead is going to be very challenging, but I know, it is going to be very interesting and enlightening as well. I shall emerged from this journey stronger and a better man.

Praise the Lord !

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A trip down memory lane......

I was persuaded by my ex-classmate, Muzzafar, to visit my old school in Taiping. Muzz and I were classmates at SMK King Edward VII School in 1977 & 1978. Together with my Kampungmate, Chee, we traveled back to Taiping on Oct 28th 2009. Chee is a younger brother of another of my classmate. He is a successful abstract artist and owned a studio in Kota Damansara. I used to joked with him that, one piece of his painting can fetch the price of an apartment in uptown Kuala Lumpur.

We left Subang Jaya at around 11:00AM and reached Taiping at around 2:30PM, Checked into my usual Panorama Hotel to freshen up before we proceed to our next event of the day..

For our “tea break”, we went to have a bowl of our regular Jemeema's cendul – those unforgettable and distinctive taste and fragrance ice cold dessert ! We actually also plan to savor the Malay Assam Laksa near the cendul store, but luck was not on our side. The mobile Assam Laksa store was not there on that day.

After finishing our delicious cendul, Chee suggested that there is another good Laksa store near the Pokok Assam's police station. We drove there to satiate our urge for the spicy and sourish noodle.

After finishing the laksa, on our way to pick up our car to go back to the hotel, I notice a very run down single storey wooden building diagonally across the police station. I remembered, in my younger days, this run down building used to be a clinic offering free medical care to the village folks. The building used to be in green colour. My late mother used to use bicycle to ferry to the clinic to seek medical care whenever I am not feeling well. The building is now in such a neglected state, what a waste.

We went back to the hotel at around 6;00pm and decided to have dinner at the hotel at around 8:00pm. After that, we adjourned to the nearby mamak coffee shop to have the tarik and roti canai. We called it a day slightly after mid night.

The next day, after having a light breakfast at the mamak coffee shop, we went to the school at around 7:30AM.
We were welcomed by the school principal, the parents teachers association members, and some members of the old boys association. After signing the guest book and some chit chat at the principal's office, we were ushered to the assembly ground where the “Majlis colours Day” were held.

After speeches by the principal, the president of the parents teachers association, and the president of the old boys association, I presented my speech also. While I was on the rostrum looking at the students assembled in the field, I suddenly realized, more than 30 years ago, I was also standing at the same spot looking out to the podium wondering where I would be in the years to come. Well, it looks like I had went round the globe and back to my alma mater to seek acknowledgement that, at least I completed a loop in my journey of seeking enlightenment.

The following was my speech :

Good morning to the honorable emcee, the respectable principal of SMK King Edward VII, Mr. Yahya Bin Liman, the worthy YDP of PTA, Tuan Haji Ali Akhbar, the honorable President of the Old Edwardian Association, Taiping, Mr. Mohaideen, senior assistants, teachers and beloved students.

I would like to extend my appreciation on the willingness of the Colours Day Celebration Committee to invite me to this meaningful event. I would also want to congratulate the school administrators and all the SMK King Edward VII committee for successfully continuing the Colours Day tradition annually. This event is really significant to all the students who have contributed in upholding the good name of the school in the co-curriculum fields involving sports, games and uniform unit at the district, state and national level.

My fellow young tigers,
Colours Day is a very prestigious event which is held only by certain elite premier schools in our country. As far as my knowledge is concerned, SMK King Edward VII Taiping is the only school in the district of Larut Matang and Selama which successfully celebrates the event every year.
Here, I would like to congratulate those students who are awarded with the Full Colour Award and Half Colour Award for their excellent achievement in the co-curriculum activities. I wish that the accomplishment attained will motivate other students to put more efforts towards the success in the co-curriculum fields they engaged in.

Ladies and gentlemen,
In his speech just now, the Principal did explained about the success accomplished by the students in the domain of sports, games, uniform unit and societies. We are so proud that the good name of this school is highlighted at both state and national level. It is undeniable that SMK King Edward VII is a premier school that is not only well-known in the Larut Matang and Selama District but also in the Perak state. SMK King Edward VII is a warrior and champion in the sport like rugby, and the great name of the school is enough to frighten the opponents in any competition. May this tradition of excellence remain in the coming years.

My fellow young tigers,
Let me digress a bit, about a year ago, I was diagnosed with advanced stage Cancer of the Pancreas. The doctor has quietly told me that I had less than 6 months of sands left in my hour glass. When the carpet was suddenly pulled from under my feet, I was alone and in despair, but the Tiger spirits within me fought back and roared. Today, more than 12 months later, I am still standing in front of all you living my life to the fullest. You know why ? Because we are all Tigers. The road ahead maybe difficult, but a true tiger will never quit, always fight back with dignity and pride to overcome life's obstacles and adversaries.

Under the shadow of this great name, SMK King Edward VII, you are privileged to be given opportunities to acquire a sound educational and character building foundation. I believe, this acquired foundation shall prepare you to be Greater Than Before, and shall stand you in good stead in the years ahead to bring glories to the school and to yourselves.

Before I end my speech, I would like to take this opportunity to wish good luck to all the SPM and STPM candidates. For the form 3 students who have just finished their PMR, I wish that all of you may pass the tough exam with flying colours.

I would also like to advise all the students to balance their involvement in the co-curriculum activities by not neglecting their academics. There is no easy path to success. Every dream and success requires efforts and high fighting spirit.

Last but not least, , I launch the Colours Day Celebration today.

Thank you.

After the speeches, certificates and colours were presented to the students who excelled in sports and co-curriculum activities.

After the ending of the Colours Day ceremony, I was invited to officially launch the new scout den. In my younger days, I was an active scout in the school. So, I was more than happy to officiate the new scout den.

After completing the “business” in the school, we went to another famous cendul store in Taiping – Ansari Cendul, to have another bowl of cendul before we hit the road to go back to Subang Jaya.

To Muzz, Eng Hong, Alex, Siva, and Mohaideen, thank you very much for making trip to Taiping memorable for me.

Magni Nominis Umbra, I shall be Greater Than Before..............