Jan – Apr 2015

Dad, I felt that you gave me good luck to win good prizes at lucky draw. The day before CNY hamper draw, I chose Eiffel Tower keychain in gold colour and the next day lucky no 6 won XO Brandy in fragile Eiffel Tower… During CNY lunch party draw, I won 1st prize – 1N stay at Raffles Hotel… Aunt LH said Goat Luck will follow together with Good Fortune and Good Health! 谢谢你!

Mid-Nov last year, Mum went for radiation therapy for 1 month at NCC and she got to know of the concert ‘Hope 50 – Together As One’ that is organised by S’pore Cancer Society. She requested for 14 tkts at the booth at NCC and I went online to request another 4 tkts. We went to watch the concert on 16 Jan at The Star Theatre. In addition, we got stickers for the closed door event (dinner buffet, games and activities such as face painting, Cartoon Caricature) before the concert.

Mum said she has not been to Penang for many years so we went to Penang in Jan. We flew by Jetstar and stayed 2N at Four Points by Sheraton Penang (private beach with plentiful of seashells) and 1N at G Hotel Gurney. Upon arrival at Penang, we meet my ex-colleague, Annie for lunch at Real Food Sonnentor, Straits Quay and explored Armenian Street Got Talent where I did Henna. 2nd day, we took bus 101 and went to Little Penang Street Market that is nearby E&O Hotel. We had late lunch at Passion Heart Nellcis at 83 Muntri St (nearby Camera Museum) and also ordered yummy CNY goodies such as pineapple tarts. We had late dinner at the hawker centre nearby Four Points by Sheraton Penang. 3rd day, we booked car rental with driver to bring us on a day tour around Penang to attractions such as Peranakan Museum, Penang Time Tunnel, Kek Lok Si and Penang Hill. While waiting for the delivery of pineapple tarts, we had Happy hour at Tree Bar, G Hotel. We had vegetarian meals at Idealite, Gurney Plaza and did our last minute shopping before our flights back home.

CNY is in Feb, a month of makan and gathering. You still remember my tall friend, HX? She got tickets to watch Chingay Parade so I went with her (hopefully can get tkts to watch NDP as this year is SG50, fingers crossed…) As usual, we always support Papa in the RC makan so we went for CNY makan and won lucky draw 4th prize – a bicycle that is a hint to us to keep fit haha… L1 and L2 gave us a surprise as both of them were back from LA for CNY gathering and we took photos as most of us were present. I had special order at dept CNY 素 lunch cum lohei @ Tung Lok, The Central.

Salad Day

V Day cum Reunion Dinner

CNY Day 2

Chingay 2015

K2 had 1 week term holiday in March thus we went to Sibu, Sarawak to visit relatives. We took Air Asia night flight to KL and stayed 1N at Tune Hotel klia2. The next morning, we walk to Klia2 for our flight to Sibu and had our breakfast (mee siam and nasi lemak) at the cafe, departure hall. Upon arrival at SBW airport, ‘wow’ is the word to describe as it is refurbish and air-condition (a mini version of KCH airport). Hopefully there will be direct flights from SIN – SBW… Our nephews and nieces have grown taller and K2 is only few years older than the oldest nephew and niece so he’s thinking if they call him ‘kor kor’ or ‘uncle’ haha… We also meet up with Macik Nona and her family, Macik Nona made yummy snacks… YE jie jie’s sister made yummy kueh lapis of different flavours and I almost eat all the kueh lapis. 1st and 2nd Aunt bought makan such as Kampua noodles, white and black pepper seeds, white pepper powder for us to bring back. 3rd day, we had local food such as Kampua mee, Kompia for breakfast before our flight to KL. Upon arrival at KL airport, we check-in our luggages for our flight back home and had late lunch @ The Gateway. Home sweet home…

Apt / Htl

Klia2

Mr & Mrs Teow recommended us the makan @ Putian, Hougang so we went there again for K2 bday makan (yummy yam and spot K2 fave fish in the photo below). Staycation @ Raffles Hotel, I use the 1N lucky draw voucher and requested complimentary bday cake for Papa. Service very gd, there’s a butler who brought us to our Courtyard suite and also gave N1 and N2 a surprise – visor cap for the kids. We walk to Raffles City and had Korean dinner @ Bibigo. The next morning, we had A-la-carte and buffet breakfast and explored the hotel that has many antique Chinese vases and furnitures.

K2 bday makan

Korean cuisine

Raffles Hotel

Breakfast

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A week of tears

12th May is Mother’s Day. On that day, Dad told us his wishes for Mum, K1 and K2. He’s of sound mind and his wish is to remove coop lope and stay in hospice. At night, Papa and Mama drop-by our house to cut Mother’s Day cake. After that, Mum and K1 went to chalet @ Aranda Country Club for awhile to cut another Mother’s Day cake with Papa, Mama, Xinmin ge ge & family. N1 and N2 are wearing the dinosaur pyjamas.

Mother's Day

14th May, Mum woke K1 @ 5am and both of us listened to Dad’s wishes such as K2 to give thank you speech when Dad’s not around. After breakfast, we meet Aunt LH @ Clinic D, NCC. Dr Tang was on leave so Dr Choo helped to arrange Dad’s admission into SGH. Dad was dehydrated and was given iv drip to replenish the fluids in his body. In addition, Dad wants to remove the coop lope as there’s leakage from coop lope. While Dad is waiting for the ward @ NCC, we go Kopitam to eat lunch. After lunch, we buy mashed potatoes and hot chocolate drink for Dad. K2 stay to accompany Dad @ NCC while Mum, Aunt LH & K1 go to Chinatown Point & China Square Central. We buy seaweed paste, water chestnut drink, egg mayo and tuna sandwiches/wraps, assorted fruits and brown rice porridge. At about 6+pm, the ward is ready so Mum and nurse accompany Dad to the ward from NCC to SGH by ambulance. Mr & Mrs Teow, K1 & K2 meet Dad & Mum at the ward after register Dad’s admission. We leave SGH at about 8pm and head to Tiong Bahru hawker centre for our dinner cum supper.

15th – 16th May, relatives took turns to visit Dad at SGH. Thank you very much for their care and concern 🙂

17th May, K1 & K2 go to SGH to bring Dad home. In the evening, Aunt H drop-by our house and we eat bee hoon, mee goreng and yi mian. There are jelly with soursop dessert, pandan cake and tiramisu.

Why is Dad suddenly telling us his wishes? At first, we are upset and do not support Dad’s decision to stay in hospice. After much consideration, we decide to go along with Dad’s wish to stay in hospice. Dad does not want to trouble us to look after him as we might not be able to cope to care for him when he feels frail.

Bad news on Dad’s illness

Few hours ago, Dr Tan and nurse Sellam from HCA Hospice came to check on Dad’s illness. Recently, Dad did not look energetic and he gets tired very easily. He loses weight again, now his weight is 38kg. This week, he either feels nausea or vomit after eating his meals. Upon seeing bony Dad, Dr Tan suggests Dad to sleep on hospital bed and air mattress which nurse Sellam could help to order. Dr Tan estimates that Dad has about few weeks to live. Dr Tan suggests to get someone to chat with Dad to find out if there’s anything that Dad wants to do or what’s Dad worry about? Now his life is shorten from 6 months to few weeks. We need time to accept the fact, to be strong and to handle the matter with faith and courage.

Me: Dad is looking forward to his birthday chalet in June. Hope he’s still around to celebrate his birthday.

Nurse Sellam: Let’s pray…

Cancer ~ A time bomb

Some people are fortunate to  be diagnosed with cancer at an early stage. They either undergo surgery or chemo and are declared cancer-free.

Some people are unfortunate to be diagnosed with cancer at an advanced stage. The chemo treatment is not suitable for some of them and they must face the fact that they will probably leave their loved ones.

Some people are unfortunate to be diagnosed with cancer twice or cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body. Cancer is a time bomb which could shorten a cancer patient’s life very quickly.

During the first 3 months of being a caregiver, I complained to Mum my frustrations looking after Dad. Mum’s advice ~ In March this year, doctor estimated that Dad has about 6 months to live. We have no idea how long Dad is going to live. Don’t have any regrets after Dad is gone. There are 3 options ~ 1st option is to continue being a caregiver on wkdays and work part-time on wkends. 2nd option is Mum take unpaid leave and I go find a full-time job (the salary must be enough to pay for house, household & living expenses etc). 3rd option is to use part of my salary from full-time job to pay for a maid to look after Dad. At the moment, I choose the 1st option as I have booked my driving lessons on wkdays. I hope to pass the practical driving test and get my driving licence so that I could be Dad’s chauffeur.

Time is precious. No matter how busy a person is, he/she must find time to spend quality time with loved ones. After a person is gone, happy memories shall be in one’s mind.

New coop lope

20th Apr, K2 changed the dressing of coop lope for Dad. The stitch of coop lope dislodged. K2 email to check with Dr Tang and Dr Tang’s reply ~ Dad to go to walk-in clinic at NCC to get the coop lope re-stitch.

22nd Apr, Aunt Helen & K1 went with Dad to walk-in clinic at NCC. Uncle Lark gave us a ride there. After waiting for about 2 hours, Dr Oh re-stitch the coop lope for Dad and nurse helps to put the dressing of coop lope. We took taxi and had lunch at a coffeeshop near our house, then we walked home. In the evening, Dad received a call from Nurse Wong of Clinic D, NCC. She called to inform Dr Tang’s advice ~ Dad to insert a new coop lope on 24th Apr. The current coop lope is too far out.

24th Apr, K1 went with Dad for blood test at NCC. Mr & Mrs Teow met us at SGH. We waited for about 3 hours for the blood test results. The doctors need to ensure that Dad is in a stable condition before doing the coop lope procedure for Dad. While Dad was in the operating theatre, we went to Chinatown and had liang tofu with mee pok for lunch (dessert ice kachang). After lunch, we went to Daiso, Chinatown Point. We bought water chestnut drink and curry bun for Dad to eat. We were thankful that Dr Tang requested the coop lope procedure to be done outpatient as Dad prefers not to stay in hospital if possible.

25th Apr, Dad felt pain as the dressing for new coop lope was very tight. Nurse Sellam came with another nurse who’s working at a polyclinic and currently on industrial attachment. Nurse Sellam said Dad could eat panadol to relieve the pain of the new coop lope.

28th Apr, we went to watch Marvels Iron Man 3 at GV, Tampines Mall (TM). We plan to eat early dinner then go watch movie. Papa gave us a ride to TM. Dad felt cold and wore his jacket. At Kopitiam, Dad felt nausea (Mum bought sour plum for Dad to eat) and drank a cup of hot milo. Perhaps Dad is hungry before we leave house, but he did not tell us. After a while, Dad felt better and we bought mashed potatoes for him. Before we go watch movie, Dad requested to buy mashed potatoes & fries so that he could eat while watching movie. The aircon at cinema is too cold for Dad, thus Mum & Dad go home before the movie ends. Mum said Dad felt better after taking a nap at home.

 

Doctors and Nurse

Last week, I went to library to borrow the following books by Dr Ang and Parkway Cancer Centre (PCC):

1)Awakening the appetite (simple recipes for cancer patients)

2)Doctor, I Have Cancer. Can You Help Me?

3)Stories of Hope from the Cancer Clinic

Books 2 and 3 are stories of cancer patients who had consulted Dr Ang and other doctors at PCC. Some of them recover from cancer while some of them lost the battle to cancer. After reading books 2 and 3, Mum & I felt hopeful on Dad’s cancer.

On 12th March, we (my family & Aunt LH) went to see Dr Ang for 2nd opinion on Dad’s cancer. There are many patients waiting to see Dr Ang. We waited for about 3 hours to see Dr Ang. After telling Dr Ang about Dad’s condition, we asked him if there’s any other treatments for Dad.

Dr Ang: Mr Kwek still needs to go for chemo. If Dad is his patient, he would not recommend to insert coop loop to drain fluids that contain proteins. Lost of nutrients make a patient lose weight.

We: How high is the success rate that Dad recover?

Dr Ang: It’s very hard to say. Mr Kwek’s cancer is of unknown origin, if we use the right chemo medicine, his rate is 60% to recover. If Mr Kwek wants to do chemo, pls proceed outside to take blood test (costs about S$500) and tomorrow he starts his chemo treatment.

We: How much is the cost of chemo treatment? If Dad don’t want to do chemo, is there any other options?

Dr Ang: Very expensive (about S$7000 for 1 cycle). If Mr Kwek don’t do chemo, WAIT TO DIE…

HOW CAN A DOCTOR SAY THAT IN FRONT OF A PATIENT???

Dr Ang is not warmly. Instead, he is blunt as he does not care about a patient’s feeling. After seeing Dr Ang in person, he’s like a different person. The stories of his cancer patients gave us hope but his words shatter our hopes. It’s disappointing that he’s a doctor who cares only about money and NOT a patient’s feeling.

Today, Dr Boon & nurse Sellam come to our house to check on Dad’s condition. Both of them are affectionate and have smiles on their faces which brighten up Dad’s day. They asked if Dad knows about his illness and how’s Dad feeling. Most importantly, Dad must be OPTIMISTIC…

Nurse Sellam teaches K1 to change the urine bag of coop loop and advises to change it every week.

KK: Nurse, last Friday you told Dad that it’s alright to go out with the coop loop. This week (Monday till Wednesday), Dad went to market with either Mum or me.

Nurse Sellam: That’s good. Mr Kwek overcomes his fear of strangers seeing him with coop loop.

Dad told Dr Boon about yesterday’s issue with Dr Ang. Dr Boon told Dad to forget the unhappy issue.

KK: Dr Boon, Dad wants to go Sibu to visit his relatives but feels inconvenient to go there with coop loop.

Dr Boon: Mr Kwek, your daughter says you want to go Sibu to visit relatives but feel inconvenient to go there with coop loop.

Dad: Yes, my relatives are there. I miss the festive mood of firecrackers and fireworks.

Dr Boon: We shall discuss with Dr Tang during the next consultation as now you can still walk. She would advise if it’s possible to bring Mr Kwek overseas.

Option 1: Mr Kwek could travel overseas for few days with the coop loop.

Option 2: Mr Kwek could remove the coop loop then travel overseas. But if his condition deters, he needs to insert coop loop again.

Dr Boon: Is Mr Kwek taking any TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)?

KK: No but we’re planning to bring Dad to see doctor of TCM so that Dad could have more energy and strength.

Dr Boon: Please inform Dr Tang on the TCM that Mr Kwek is going to take.

Dr Tan (Surgeon), Dr Tang (Oncologist), Dr Boon and nurse Sellam are professional doctors and nurse who care about a patient’s well-being and encourage a patient to be optimistic.

Good news? Bad news?

After 3 cycles of chemo, Dad went for CT scan on 25 Feb. Today, we (Dad & Mum, Mr & Mrs Teow, K1, K2) went to see Dr Tang. She told us the CT scan results which show lots of fluids in Dad’s stomach. ‘Charlie’ cells did not respond well to chemo and cause the fluids to multiply in Dad’s stomach. She suggested to stop chemo because chemo does not help to improve Dad’s condition. In addition, she said it’s not advisable to do operation. Instead, she suggested to insert a tube to drain the fluids out from Dad’s stomach so that Dad don’t feel bloated in his stomach and could have better appetite to eat his meals.

In Dec 2012, Dad’s weight was 55kg. On 28 Feb, Dad’s weight is 50.8kg.

After being a temp caregiver for 2 months, I started to feel bored staying at home and missed my work-life balance. So, I went online to browse the jobs search websites and sent my resume. Yesterday, I received a call and went down for interview. I thought the person-in-charge will contact me to let me know if I’m hired. To my surprise, he asked when can I start work? Tomorrow is my 1st day of work, hope I get along well with my new colleagues and we’re able to work together as a team. Jia you 🙂