Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Day +118

I am fine today. Now continue my Pizza story…

I will persuade 10 patients in the ward to try Pizza when their white blood count is lowest. Since the white blood count will surely pick up when it reaches the lowest level, so my Pizza is guaranteed to work for all of them. If three of them believe my “testimony” and then each of them convinced another three to believe it, I will have at least 13 (1+3+9) members in my network with 13 testimonies. If these 13 members go out again with each of them convinced another three and so on, both the testimony and network will grow quickly.

Oh now I see Business! Profit! Money! With my testimony, why not setup a Pizza company and market it under Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) structure. Suddenly I find myself a new job :-) Another thing, instead of calling it Domino Pizza, I should called it Doremon Pizza and priced it RM150 per large pizza :-) To make it look more natural and healthy and different from Domino Pizza, just sprinkle the topping with spirulina, chorella, olive oil, potassium salt…

Wake up, David! Oh sorry, I am dreaming. If you are just happen selling products similar to Doremon Pizza, I am not dreaming about you, I am dreaming about “him” only. If you still suspect that I am talking about you, just remember that “you” are always “you”, “him” is always “him”, and how can you be “you” and also “him” at the same time? So it is impossible I am talking about you.

Please don’t believe the story above and I also declare here seriously that neither Domino Pizza nor Doremon Pizza or whatever Pizza could bring whatever benefits as I mentioned above. In fact I did purchase 2 large Domino Pizzas last Friday for dinner upon Daniel’s request. He said we did not eat Pizza for many months already, so I agreed. My wife and I ate two slices each, but Joseph and Daniel ate four slices each. I am surprised they managed to finish a whole large Pizza in a single meal. No Pizza is allowed in the next two months, although it is not fair to my wife and me because we ate 2 slices each only.

See you next post :-)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Day +117

My Blood Count Today:
Red Blood Count (RBC) = 113(Normal 130-180)
Platelet = 99(Normal 150-450)
White Blood Count (WBC) = 4.2(Normal 4 - 11)
Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) = 2.604 (Normal 1.5 - 8.0)
Potassium = 4.6(Normal 3.5 - 5.2)

I went to do my follow-up today. The blood count result show very encouraging improvement. Finally, the white blood count reached normal level while platelet and red blood count also increased significantly.

The next follow-up will be two weeks later. The doctor also cut down the ciclosporin (prevent GVHD) dosage from 100mg per day to 75mg per day.

What did I do to make the white blood count improve so well? Eating Pizza :-) And listen (or read) carefully; the Pizza must be of large size thick thrust with Aloha Chicken topping from Domino. After months of low white blood count, I just eat two slices on last Friday as dinner and my white blood count increased to normal level today. Unbelievable! Now I know that Pizza is better than Neupogen, a growth factor which promotes the growth of white cells. A large Pizza costs about RM15 (after discount) while a dose of growth factor Neupogen costs RM260. Furthermore, unlike Neupogen, Pizza is not drug; it is a natural nutritious food which does not cause any size effect.

Since Pizza is natural food, it is not subjected to the control of Food and Drug Administration (FDA). No troublesome process such as clinical trial is required in releasing Pizza as nutritious product. Therefore, you can eat as much as you can. It is impossible it would cause you any harm because it is just natural food.

Oh Yes, it strengthened my immune system magically. My blood report is the proof. And since weak immune system is the root cause of all diseases, Pizza is effective for all diseases. It even boost your IQ, EQ and whatever Q that ever exists in this earth. Furthermore, it also made you look 10 years younger, slimmer, sleep better, energetic… One stone kills all birds. Oh no, that stone also kills all animals, from mouse to lion king and yes, it also kills all sea creatures from “sotong”(squid) to giant blue whale :-) One stone kills everything! Ha! Ha!

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Day +116

I am fine today.

I was very happy to be able to attend the church service this morning after four months of absence due to bone marrow transplant. My church was celebrating its 9th anniversary in the service. I was delightful to see many new faces attending the service. This means the church is growing :-)

Even though I put on 3M N95 mask all the time, many church members took photograph with me. The church also organized a potluck lunch after the service. Pastor said that our church is blessed with many “烹饪高手“(Master Cooks) who always prepared very delicious dishes. On the other hand, it is also blessed with many “master eaters” who are at least as gluttonous as me, if not more as me. Our guest speaker, in his message, said that a good church is a church with members who are united under all circumstances. I believe eating must be one of the circumstances even he did not mention it explicitly. So the unity was demonstrated immediately with so many members enjoying the food. Ya, I like this church. With so much delicious food to enjoy, how could I dislike it?

However, I could not enjoy the food this time because I still don’t know how to eat with the mask on. Please teach me if you know so that I will not miss those delicious foods again. I dared not took off the mask because I heard coughing here and there. Furthermore, my youngest son, Aaron, is having fever. So I had to leave earlier with my wife and Aaron, leaving behind my maid and the rest of the children to enjoy the food.

On the way home, we stopped by a bakery shop to buy some bread for lunch. In order to make sure that the breads were fresh, we only purchase those breads that were still hot or just came out from oven.

I had bread for lunch only and remembering those delicious foods that I missed, I am very hungry now . Got to check if the dinner is ready…

See you next post :-)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Day +115

I am fine today. Now continue my story at UH…

It was coincidence that my eldest sister came from Kuching, Sarawak on that night. She is a government school teacher teaching in Chinese primary school and she took half-paid leave to come here. I thanked God that she came at the best time because I needed most help during fever. My wife was about seven and half months pregnant at that time, so she could not stayed in the hospital overnight to take care of me. Since the nurses have to look after many patients, to have someone to lend a hand during fever is really helpful. She stayed in the hospital day and night to take care of me.

On 6 March 2006 (Day 15), my creatinine level in the blood reached 165 µmole/L, which is way above the normal level of 121 µmole/L. This reading serves as an alarm that my kidney function was degrading. Because of this, the doctor replaced the anti-fungus drug Amphoteracin B with Cancidas which has much fewer side effects compared to Amphoteracin B. I did not have to be given sleeping drugs before receiving it and it took only one hour to complete a dose. The creatinine level also dropped to normal level after a few days. However, the drug was not without side effect. The biggest side effect was it made me poorer because it was so expensive. The first dose which was called loading dose cost me RM1000 and the subsequent dose cost RM785 each.

I was discharged on 13 March 2006 (Day 22) and I stayed in the ward for 27 days. I managed to compete the very long novel “天龙八部”(The Demi Gods and Semi Devils) by Jinyong (金庸). During the period I was also given intravenous antibiotic called Tazocin, a few platelets and red blood transfusion, potassium infusion and other drugs. I also experienced water retention which made my stomach looked like a pregnant woman :-(

Since then, I never stopp taking anti-fungus medication until now. Initially I was given expensive drug called Sporanox in liquid form. After the bone marrow transplant, I take a less expensive and less effective Sporanox pill.

See you next post :-)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Day +114

I am fine today. Now continue my story at UH…

On Day 12, my blood’s creatinine level rose to 137 µmole/L. The normal range should be somewhere between 50 and 121 µmole/L. Creatinine is a chemical waste produced from muscle metabolism. The kidney filtered it out from the blood stream and disposes it through urine. A high level of creatinine in blood indicates that the kidney is not functioning properly. The high level of creatinine level in my blood showed that my kidney function had been affected by Amphoteracin B.

I experienced fever on 4 March 2006 (Day 13). This was within my expectation because based on my experience, fever would normally occur on someday between Day 13 and Day 16. In the evening on that day when I just about to feel the “heat of fever”, I complained to one of the nurses who came to administer drug to me, “Susahlah saya berdemam lagi” (It is unfortunate for me to have fever again). The nurse was so kind to offer me a more isolated room which was partitioned for two beds with a common access door. Each partition has its own attached bath room and more importantly, patient could limit the visitors to avoid visitor-carried infection.

The ward supposed to limit the number of visitors because many patients were having very low immunity. Thus unhealthy visitors can easily spread diseases to the patients in the ward. Considering the risk of infection of myself and other patients, I declined many visitors during my chemotherapy. However, I was once “amazed” to see a total of 15 visitors coming to the ward at the same time to visit a patient. Due to reasons unknown to me, the ward failed to limit the number of visitors even though the staffs tried to do it.

After the nurse put me to sleep to receive Amphoteracin B at about 8:30pm, they moved me and all my belongings to the isolated room.

See you next post :-)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Day +113

I am fine today. Now continue my story at UH…

After a worry-full night, I returned to the same operation table and felt even more worried to find out that the same radiologist was going to fix the line for me. “How come she becomes her own teacher today? How could she learn from herself?” but I dared not question her. The only thing that I could do was to pray, to recite Bible verses and to shiver harder.

The PICC line was successfully inserted only after three attempts. This added another two holes on my right arm :-( The radiologist encountered the same problem while trying to fix the PICC head. After many attempts, another radiologist came to help, but failed to insert the head either. Finally, a more experienced radiologist took over the procedure. Fortunately, she managed to push in the head in the end. A half an hour procedure took one and half hour to finish. What a procedure!

When I returned to the ward, I raised both arms proudly to show the nurses the new and old PICC lines. Indeed I was the only one who had two PICC lines at that time. The old PICC line on my left arm would only be removed if the new one could perform well. I encountered many patients experienced inflammation, leaking and blocked or punctured PICC line just a few days after the line was fixed. The line had to be removed if patients experienced these problems. Fortunately, the new PICC line worked well and the left PICC line was removed on 3 March 2006 (Day 12) after serving me for about 3 months.

See you next post :-)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Day +112

I am fine today. Now continue my story at UH…

Just after I was admitted to the ward, I informed the hematologist who treated me in Kuching that I was infected with Aspergillus fungus. He warned me that the treatment could be tedious and my PICC line might need to be removed as part of the treatment. As mentioned in my Day +57 blog, this PICC was installed on my left arm after much difficulty during my first chemotherapy in NMSC, Kuching. The removal was necessary in case the fungus infection was caused by fungus growing in the PICC line.

After a few days I received the warning, the chief hematologist in UH “demanded” my PICC line be removed. The appointment to install a new PICC line was fixed on the afternoon of 1 March 2006 (Day 10). I was very nervous to go through this procedure due to my bad experience while installing the first PICC. I was shivering, praying and reciting Bible verses on the operation table while the radiologist inserting the line into my right arm. I experienced great pain initially. The radiologist said the pain could be due to blood clot in the vein. And I believed that the clot might be resulted from the failed attempt to fix the PICC line on my right arm during my first chemotherapy.

In the end, the radiologist managed to put the PICC line in place. When I was just about to feel relieved, the radiologist told me she experienced difficulty to fix PICC head into my arm. She said my skin became very tough after chemotherapy. The procedure was finally abandoned after many attempts, even with different types of head. She said she will ask her teacher to fix the line for me early in the morning the next day. Only then I realized that the radiologist was a student who was learning to fix the PICC line :-(

See you next post :-)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Day +111

I am fine today. I would like to continue sharing my third chemotherapy experience at UH.

My chemotherapy was completed in the morning of 24 February 2005 (Day 5) and as usual, I had to wait for the blood count to drop and then pick up again before I could be discharged. Since it is almost impossible to avoid fever when the white blood count dropped to a level almost equal to zero, we always tell people that we were “waiting for fever” after completing the chemo drug.

A CT scan was performed on Day 8 to check the condition of my chest and abdominal region. This scan was necessary to check whether my lung and other organs such as kidney and intestines were infected with fungus. I was asked to fast after the breakfast. The doctor set up an intravenous line on my hand for the injection of a solution into my vein. According to the nurse, the PICC could not be used for this purpose because the solution was too thick to be administered through the PICC and it might block the PICC line. Just before the scan was carried out, the nurse asked me to drink a glass of yellowish solution. I was happy because I thought the nurse “belanja” (treats) me with nice orange juice, but I was nearly vomit on the spot as the drink tasted like iodine solution. :-( In the end, they asked me to lie down on a table-like structure, hold my breath, and then let a big noisy rotating cylinder run across it. When I returned to the ward, I vomited and experienced stomach upset. Of course, I had no appetite to eat any food on that day.

It was very fortunate that the CT scan result showed no sign of fungus infection; or else I might need to be treated with Amphoteracin B for three months.

The doctor also started to give Neupogen (growth factor) injection to me on Day 8, hoping that it would stimulate my bone marrow to produce white blood cells faster.

See you next post :-)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Day +110

I am fine today. I would like to continue sharing my third chemotherapy experience at UH.

I developed fever, cold and chill on 16, February 2006, one day after I received Amphoteracin B. The nurse told me this could be due to reaction to the drug and it should be alright if the fever did not persist.

I planned to enjoy reading a novel called “天龙八部”(The Demi Gods and Semi Devils), which is written by Jinyong (金庸). This novel is very long, but I could not make much progress because I was sleepy all day long.

My third round of chemotherapy started on 20, February 2006 (Day 1). The first two rounds of chemotherapy were called induction chemotherapy. If a patient managed to enter complete remission after the induction chemotherapy, he/she will be given a few rounds of consolidation chemotherapies which uses two types of drug called VP16(Etopside) and Ara-C over a duration of four days. VP16 was given once a day and each dose took one hour to finish, while Ara-C was given twice a day with each dose took three hours to finish.

During the first 4 days of chemotherapy, I was very busy receiving different types of drug. You might think that those who were busy should be the nurses, not me because they had to prepare and administer drug to me. Yes, I supposed to relax but I worried bubbles generated within the plastic tube would go into my vein which would result bubbles in my blood stream. These bubbles might be generated when the drug reacted with the plastic. So I had to “jaga” (monitor) all tubes that were connected to my PICC. If I spotted bubbles inside them, I would knock them off immediately before they went into my vein. I am now as good as the nurse in knocking off the bubbles :-)

See you next post :-)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Day +109

The doctor told me that the blood culture of blood sample taken on 23rd, January 2006 grew a type of fungus called Aspergillus. They were going to give me a type of drug called Amphoteracine B for four to six weeks. The drug could cause reactions such as chill, cold and fever. I was given a test dose in the afternoon to see if I could “tahan” (stand) the drug and I passed the test.

The first real dose of Amphoteracin B started at 8:00pm. The nurse mixed the drug in a 500ml normal saline solution. The resulting solution was yellowish in color and it was covered with a black envelop to prevent exposure to light. The solution was then administered to the patient intravenously through a flow control machine. The nurse would adjust the flow to 30ml per hour first. The speed was then gradually increased to a maximum of 100ml per hour if there was no reaction. They found out that I could tolerate the maximum speed, so it took about 5 to 6 hours to complete a dose of the drug.

The nurse gave two type of “sleeping” drugs called Pethidine and Phenergen through injection before giving Amphoteracin B. These two drugs made me relax instantly and sleep quickly. An auntie who was taking care of her daughter next to my bed told me how powerful these “sleeping” drugs are. She said a patient who received the drugs would fall to sleep before she counted to 10. One night, she complained that she could not sleep. “Ask the nurse to give you Pethidine and Phenergen and let me count for you this time.” I advised her :-)

See you next post.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Day +108

I am fine today. I would like to continue sharing with you my treatment at UH.

As mentioned on my blog Day +91, I was discharged from the hematology ward after second chemotherapy on 1st, February 2006. The doctor did my third Bone Marrow Aspiration (BMA) on 16, February 2006 and scheduled to start the third chemotherapy on 16th, February 2006.

It was important for me to hand over my work to other staffs to make sure that the software development project that we were embarking on will continue smoothly. Therefore I went to work occasionally while waiting for the next round of chemotherapy to start.

While I was busy in the office on the morning of 15, February 2006, the clerk of the hematology ward called me and informed me that the doctor would like to admit me to the ward immediately. I could sense that something was wrong because they used to delay the admission for chemotherapy due to unavailability of bed, but now they wanted to admit me earlier. Why couldn’t they just wait for one day? Anyway, I am a good guy (?), I just “obeyed”, stopped my work, packed my stuffs and went to hospital immediately.

See you next post.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Day +107

I am fine today.

I received a call from the car workshop owner asking me to collect my car today. He said he managed to buy an engine from a different source. This enables me to get my car back earlier than expected.

The total cost of this repair and related expenses is about RM2650. The breakdown is as follow:

1. Daihatsu 1000cc second hand engine -------RM1600
2. Workmanship -----------------------------------RM 300
3. Service (timing belt, engine oil etc..)--------RM 400
4. Update the Car Registration Card ------------RM 350
--------------------------------------------------------RM 2650

The Daihatsu 1000cc engine is more expensive because it is rare. The total cost of replacing an engine can be kept below RM2000 for a more popular car.

Even though I have to pay quite an amount of money to get the car back, I am still happy. Why should I be happy after losing money? The reason is very simple. I just have to be happy to prevent myself from losing more. If I am sad, I not only lose money but also lose happiness, and losing happiness might in turn cause a dent on my heath to make me a big loser. So happiness stops me from losing more.

If you still think that there is no reason for me to be happy. Then think about my medical fee. The government paid for me more than RM100, 000 medical fees until now. Subtracting RM2650 from RM100, 000, I still gain RM97, 350. So there is no reason for me not to be happy given that the amount that I gain is much more compared to what I lose.

If you still think that my reason is not logical. Then listen to what Bible tells us, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Matthew 6:27

See you next post and wish you happy always :-)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Day +106

I am fine today.

My wife is a government school teacher teaching in Chinese primary school. Due to my sickness, she applied for half-paid leaves from January 2006 until she gave birth to Aaron in the middle of April 2006. The government servants here are entitled for six months of half-paid leaves under certain circumstances. After the two months full-paid maternity leaves from middle of April to the middle of June 2006, she finished off the balanced half-paid leaves entitlement and then applied for unpaid leaves. With this, she takes one year leave and only needs to teach when the school opens in January 2007.

She still received her full salary and allowances even though she is on half-paid or un-paid leaves until now. This means the government is overpaying her. A few days ago, she received a notice from her school that required her to pay back the overpaid amount to the government. The total amount that she owed the government is about RM16400. The proposed pay-back consists of a one-off payment of RM9600, with the balance of RM6800 to be deducted from her next year salary.

I am “amazed” to know that the education department needs almost one year to adjust her salary. It is just like an old car that needs one year to stop after applying the brake. Who know a transplant will fix the problem?

See you next post :-)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Day +105

I am fine today.

The towing truck driver who towed my car to Puchong on Sunday is a young Malay guy. I followed the truck to come back to Puchong. The driver talked a lot on the way.

At one point of his talking, he said that he could not see any future for himself. I responded to him that with those “hak istimewa Melayu” (Malay Special Rights), he should have a bright future. He said those “hak istimewa Melayu” is “politicians talk”, he benefits nothing from it. He told me his understanding of the special rights should be in the form of reduced school fees for his children, half toll fee, half price of sugar and other stuffs. “As a Chinese, what kind of special rights do you see I received from Government?” he asked. What he said is quite true. A few rich one “hijacked” much of the goodies to make them richer, and many poor one remains poor. So the New Economy Policy becomes a tool for the rich one to marginalize the poor one, and then blame other races of marginalizing them :-( After enjoying the goodies, their appetite increased and wanted more, from 30% to 60% of equity.

Our prime minister promised that he would listen to the truth from the people, but when someone spoke the truth, he quickly dismissed it as “irresponsible”.

The truck driver told me that he is extremely “kecewa” (disappointed) with the Government just before he shake hand and said goodbye to me. I am also extremely “kecewa” to accept the empty promise given by the government to implement a “clean, incorruptible, trustworthy, accountable, just, efficient, competent, people-oriented administration prepared to listen to the truth from the people”.

Many of us feel “kecewa” and helpless with this situation. Who know a transplant will fix the problem?

See you next post :-)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Day +104

I am fine today.

My brother and I went to see the workshop owner yesterday to discuss the best way to fix the car. The owner said overhauling the engine would cost about RM3000 while replacing the engine costs RM2800. The second hand Daihatsu Charade engine is imported from Japan and there is no guarantee it will performance well. The other alternative is to sell the car and get a new one. The owner called his friend who is doing second hand car business and found out that the car costs less than RM3000. He recommended me to change the engine. His friend who is importing second hand car engine from Japan has one unit of Daihatsu engine left.

I called the workshop owner this morning to ask him to replace the car engine for me. Unfortunately, the engine was sold out. So we have to wait for the next shipment of car engine from Japan after Hari Raya and Deepavali holiday.

My old car, 1.3L Proton Wira also encountered overheat problem a few years ago due to leaking of the cooling tank. The car stopped automatically before the engine was damaged due to overheat. It is a pity that Daihatsu does not implement this feature.

I am not the only one who encountered this problem. My second sister in Sarawak also has an old Daihatsu car. She told me she changed the car engine twice due to overheating :-( But the cost of replacing the engine there is a lot cheaper.

I went for bone marrow transplant and my car will be going for engine transplant. Two transplants in four months :-)

See you next post :-)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Day +103

My Blood Count Today:
Red Blood Count (RBC) = 104(Normal 130-180)
Platelet = 85(Normal 150-450)
White Blood Count (WBC) = 2.8(Normal 4 - 11)
Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) = 1.624 (Normal 1.5 - 8.0)
Potassium = 4.4(Normal 3.5 - 5.2)
Magnesium = 0.78(Normal 0.65 - 1.05)

I did my follow-up today. There is a very good increase of platelet. Apart from this, the ANC and the magnesium level also indicate some improvement.

Back to my experience yesterday...

The time passed very slowly while waiting for the highway mechanics to come. In order to kill time, I started to count the airplanes that were flying over me. But there were too few of them to keep me busy, so I switched to count vehicles on the highway and soon found out that it was boring as well. In the end I repeatedly sang the following song with full volume.

Count Your Blessings(数算主恩)

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

In Chinese,

主的恩典 样样都要数

Comparing to hospitalization, it is a great blessing to be able to stay at the side of the highway with a broken car, counting airplanes and vehicles, and sing hymn freely.

Finally the car was towed to a workshop in Puchong and I reached home at 10:30am. According to the mechanics, the engine of the car has to be either overhauled or replaced.

See you next post :-)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Day +102

I am fine today.

My mother-in-law is going back to Sarikei, Sarawak today. I waked up at 4:30am this morning to send her to airport. My brother advised me to call a taxi service rather than sending her by myself, but I worried she don’t know how to handle the boarding procedure.

When we were about 10km from the airport, this old car “死火给我看”(dead fire? Oh no, broke down). The first thing in my mind at that time was how to get my mother-in-law to airport in time. It would be too late to ask my brother or nephew to send her to airport. After many attempts, I managed to stop a taxi to send her to airport at 5:30am. I just prayed that she could find her way into the right airplane. My intention to go home quickly to continue my sweet dream after sending her off the boarding gate was spoiled :-(

The next thing was how to get this car back to Puchong. The insurance company that I called said that the insurance did not cover towing service, but they could help to arrange it for me. I asked them to check the price of towing service for me. At the same time I called the highway mechanics for assistance.

The mechanics showed up at 7:00am only. After some troubleshooting, they noticed that my car’s cooling tank was dry. The engine was thus overheated and jammed. They said they could do nothing to help me. This old car cheated me because the temperature meter always shows that the temperature is within the normal range. This is what we called “false negative”, and it is a very dangerous syndrome. Comparing to human body, it is similar to serious infection without fever and other symptoms. No treatment can be done before it is too late because the body does not realize that something is wrong. On the other hand, “false positive” syndrome causes unnecessary treatment and medication. Please do not curse the fever again because it is a wonderful temperature meter God designed for us.

To be continued next post :-)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Day +101

I am fine today.

A young man who is 25 years old came to my house today. I met him in the Popular Bookshop on Tuesday. He was looking for some basic guitar lesson material. I asked him if he is interested in learning classical guitar music, he said, “Yes” However, further conversation showed that he did not know how to distinguish various styles of guitar playing. What he needs is some very basic guitar playing technique and theory books. Since he could not find any suitable books at the bookshop, I invited him to come to my house to have a look at the material that I have.

I briefed and demonstrated to him some basic technique of guitar playing, copied him an instructional folk guitar instructional CD and also lent him a folk guitar book.

He told me he was just separated from his girl friend after eight years of dating. They were staying together for a long time and planned to get married next year. The man is very interested in playing guitar but his girl friend “ordered” him not to pursue this interest, so he “obeyed”. He is now free to pursue his interest.

The girl complained that the man did not care for her as much as before. So she left him and got a new boy friend after 12 days. The man is still puzzled how the girl managed to give up this relationship so easily. He was interested to know how I went through the ordeal of my disease. I told him my faith in God provided me great strength in facing many challenges in life, including this disease.

After a long sharing, I told him to remember three things:
1. He is alive and young.
2. It is fortunate that the girl left her now, not after their marriage and having children.
3. Severe whatever contact with the girl. Don’t think that if they cannot become lovers, they still can be friend.

Hopefully he will recover very soon from his ordeal.

See you next post :-)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Day +100

I am fine today. The time passed very fast. This is the 100th day after the infusion of my sister’s stem cell. I thank God for blessing me with health, peace and joy everyday.

My sons Joseph and Daniel started to get their test papers back. Their performance is still below expectation though it shows some improvement over the last exam. Daniels scores between 45% and 90%, while Joseph scores between 36.5% and 85%. When I questioned Joseph why he got 36.5% only, he told me someone in his class got even lower mark than him. So instead of telling me the reason he scored low mark, he told me he is not that bad and I should be happy with the result because some of his classmates scored lower mark than him :-( With this “比上不足,比下有余”(I am not too bad after all) attitude, he is happy and enjoying life all the time no matter what mark he scored :-)

They were very happy when I rewarded them with computer game coupons for scoring 80% or more in their exam.

See you next post :-)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Day +99

I am fine today.

On day +97, I said I ate four oranges, one apple and one pear that day. My wife read the blog immediately after I posted it. At the same time she also noticed that I took two oranges from the kitchen. She knew that this was the third and fourth oranges that I am going to eat on that day. She advised me not to eat them because she worried eating so many fruits suddenly might cause diarrhea. I told her I must eat these two oranges because I already told everyone I ate four on that day. In other words, I would be lying if I did not eat four oranges. She asked, “What if I modified your blog to say that you eat ten oranges?” Knowing that she does not know how to modify my blog, I said I would eat whatever amount she mentioned :-) Finally, she let me enjoy the two oranges and my stomach tolerated very well with the fruits that I ate :-)

Next time if I wanted to eat something such as KFC, MacDonald or Pizza, I just write in the bog and post it first. Then asked my wife to read the blog and said to her, “Please buy these foods for me. If I do not eat them, I would be lying to everyone.” She will surely buy the food for me :-)

See you next post.

Day +98 (11 October 2006)

I am fine today, but my internet connection is not fine.

The broadband internet service that I am subscribing started to slow down in the morning. It became very slow in the afternoon, and almost came to a halt in the evening. It took me more than 15 minutes to display the internet service provider home page. So the broadband became narrowband and then proceed to became “emptyband” :-( There was no way for me to update my blog without the internet connection.

I called the technical support and they kept me waiting on the line for about 15 minutes. They know that those who call them must be very angry firstly because their internet access does not work, and secondly they have to wait for a long time to speak to a technical support staff. And after that they have to wait for a few days to get their problem rectified. So the service provider feeds them with some soothing music through the telephone line, and regularly broadcast a message saying that “Your call is important...” I think what they actually mean is “Your money is important...” because they still charge you the same monthly subscribing fee no matter how many days the internet access is out of service :-(

See you next post :-)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Day +97

I am fine today.

My eldest boy told me yesterday that today is a holiday. We asked him what holiday it is. He said he did not know. I thought it is a special holiday for their school only. But when I saw my smart nephew did not go to work this morning, I suspected it should be a public holiday. So I asked him why he did not go to work. He said today is a holiday. “What holiday?” I asked. He said, “Don’t know”. Finally I understand the most important thing to them (and may be many other people) is today is holiday, not why today is holiday :-)

I searched from the internet and found out today is holiday to celebrate Nuzul Al Qur’an or “Day of the descent of the Koran”.

I brought my two boys to Popular Bookshop in IOI mall to buy some story books in the morning. It is a pity that there is no public library in Puchong, or else it is a lot more economical to borrow story books from the library.

The doctor said I can eat raw fruit now. I ate four oranges, one apple and one pear today. I have one big Sarawak pineapple and some mangoes for tomorrow :-)

See you next post :-)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Day +96

My Blood Count Today:
Red Blood Count (RBC) = 104(Normal 130-180)
Platelet = 71(Normal 150-450)
White Blood Count (WBC) = 2.7(Normal 4 - 11)
Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) = 1.35 (Normal 1.5 - 8.0)
Potassium = 4.3(Normal 3.5 - 5.2)

I went to UH to do my first follow-up in the “G Clinic” today. The blood result is more or less the same compared to last week result.

The Cytogenetic Analysis for the bone marrow sample taken on Day +21 confirmed that the last pair chromosome of my blood is “XX”, no longer “XY”. Therefore, I am carrying a female blood now :-). This also confirmed that the transplant is successful. Cytogenetic Analysis for bone marrow sample taken on Day +84 will be known a few weeks later. Doctor said to me, “You are a girl now.” However, please do not worry, I am still a man, the transplant only affects my blood system.

Someone might think that my next baby must be a girl. Because the chromosome of my blood is “XX’”, and the chromosome of my wife’s blood is also “XX”, so no matter how we combine them, the resulting chromosome is still “XX”, which means a girl. However, this is not true as the fertilization is a business of combining a male sperm and a female egg, not combination of bloods. Since my sperm still carries chromosome “X” or “Y”, and my wife’s egg carries chromosome “X”, the possible combination will still be as usual, that is “XX” or “XY”.

Doctors at “G Clinic” start to see patients at 2:00pm every Monday. They see bone marrow transplant patients only on each Monday. I went to the hospital as early as 10:00am to draw blood samples for analysis. This is to make sure that the blood result can be ready by 2:00pm. After seeing doctor, I reached home at about 4:00pm. Each follow-up will take at least 6 hours.

See you next post :-)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Day +95

I am fine today.

I would like to show you how I look like now. The first photo was taken just before I was diagnosed with AML while I was enjoying holiday in Sarawak. The second one is taken today. Who do you think I look like now? POW :-(

POW stands for Prisoner Of War, just in case you don't know. A free POW I am now :-))

See you next post :-)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Day +94

I am fine today.

Back to the video I mentioned yesterday regarding children learning. The speaker said many parents wish to learn from her on how to teach their children because her 4 children managed to enter university at ages between 9 to 12 years old. Many parents thought that the speaker possesses some secrete recipes on how to teach her children to learn. Acquiring the secrete recipe and teach their children step by step according to the secrete recipe, just like cooking “Nasi Lemak” (Coconut Rice) according to its recipe, their children will become as brilliant as the speaker’s.

Even though the title of the video in Chinese contained the word “秘诀” (Secrete), the speaker talked about principle. And the principle is “Each child is different and they are created in the image of God. We have to respect them.” Since each child is unique, there is no way we can develop a recipe of smart learning that works for every children. Further to this, we have to be extra cautious when some speakers or authors provide secrete recipes or equations that promise wisdom, health, happy life and wealth. They will tell you, “Now just follow these. Step 1 … Step 2 … Step 3… then you will be billionaire!” Human are not computers that can be controlled by computer program (step by step instructions) to produce desirable tasks. Therefore talking about principle is lot more practical than talking recipes.

The speaker is a chemist and her husband is a doctor. They could make a great fortune by writing books that provide secrete recipes on children learning. But they both become preacher and tell everyone human are created in the image of God, and the Bible is human operation manual. This means human have to live their life according to those principles recorded in the Bible.

See you next post :-)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Day +93

I am fine today. Let me continue to talk about children learning.

My wife and two of my sisters are primary Chinese school teachers. They all believed that the Chinese school children are given too much extra workbooks other than the one specified by the education department. Teachers have to rush in order to complete these workbooks. This leaves teachers less time to drill the children on the subjects sufficiently. Of course some children can handle this, but many other children cannot. The intention to let them learn more is good, but in the end they learn nothing :-) Learning nothing is still not a big problem, losing interest in learning and self confidence is surely a big issue for our children. The big and heavy school bag is a burden, going to school is a burden, doing exercises is a burden, exam is a burden… What a burden to be a student!

The other problem that Chinese school faced is big class. Due to limited number of Chinese school, it is very common to squeeze in more than 50 children into a class. And we know that each child is different and the way they learn varies very much too. So there is no way to teach such as big group of children effectively.

I watched a series of video in Chinese called “The Key to Successful Children Education” The video can be streamed from here. The speakers have four children who entered university at ages between 9 to 12 years old. She said parents have to respect the way their children learn. When they failed to learn well, it is parents’ responsibility to find out how they learn. In other words, if our children do not learn well, it is not because they are stupid, it is parents’ problem of not being able to discover how they learn.

See you next post :-).

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Day +92

I am fine today.

The children’s exam was over yesterday. They requested me to let them relax last night by watching movie and playing computer games. There were stressful during the exam, not because they wanted to study hard in order to get good result, but they were “oppressed” by their parents to study :-( They did not care about the exam at all; to the extent that they did not even know what subjects would be tested the next day :-(

Nowadays, parents are more stressful than their children during their children exam’s time. Most of them wanted their children to get better position in the class. But getting a better position does not mean much to me, the important thing is whether the children managed to absorb what they are taught at school. It is not a problem if they understand the subjects taught at school fairly and yet get very bad position in the class.

This is the first time I spend so much effort to teach my children to study, and I am quite surprised to find out that they are actually have very little understanding on some of the subjects they learned in school. This not only causes them to lost interest in the subjects, but also lost self confidence in studying. No wonder they told me they are suffering at school everyday :-( I believe a lot of school children are facing the same problem.

See you next post :-)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Day +91

I am fine today. I would like to continue sharing my second chemotherapy’s experience in UH.

The Chinese New Year (CNY) was just around the corner. Every patient wished they could recover fast enough to be discharged at least on the New Year Eve on 28, January 2006. It would be my chemo day 20 on the New Year Eve, but the blood test on day 19 showed that my white blood count was only 0.5. Therefore, there was no chance for me to celebrate the New Year with my family.

There was a very generous discharge on the New Year Eve. I remembered doctor visited bed by bed and told those patients who were fit enough to go home, “You can go home.” These patients would then be greatly delighted and started to pack their personal stuffs while their family member handled their discharge procedure. When the doctor passed by my bed, he said, “This one, no need to say!” :-(

One female patient who stayed within the same cubicle cried because the doctor did not discharged her. She wished to celebrate CNY with her family very much. Her mother who was always there to take care of her also cried. The mother cried not because she could not go home to celebrate CNY, but pitied her daughter.

I was quite happy when the assistant nurse passed me a CNY menu on the first day of CNY. This mean the hospital was providing special food to us during the CNY. But I was quite disappointed to find that my special order was never fulfilled. They still served every patient with ordinary food as usual :-( I wondered where the special food had gone.

Finally, I was discharged the 4th day of CNY, which is on 1st February, 2005. I stayed in the hospital for 24 days for this cycle of chemotherapy. I didn’t mind to miss the CNY because everyday is as good as New Year to me to be able to stay with my family member.

See you next post :-)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Day +90

I am fine today.

The hematology ward called me suddenly this morning, requesting me to go to the ward to draw blood sample for one of the researches the hematologists are doing. Even though my veins are "beautiful", the nurse failed to draw blood at the first attempt. After the needle was poked into the vein, she kept on adjusting the needle, but there was no blood flowing out through the needle. Fortunately, the second attempt to draw blood was quite smooth. She managed to draw 7 small tubes of blood sample in less than 10 minutes time.

I do not know exactly about the research, but I think it is related to predicting Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) after transplant. During my bone marrow transplant, the doctor in charge of this research seeking my consent to allow them to use my blood for this research. The only requirement from me is to allow them to draw blood a few times, at particular interval. I agreed to participate without much consideration. Hopefully, the research will enable doctors to predict the GVHD better in future to avoid severe post transplant GVHD complication.

See you next post :-)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Day +89

My Blood Count Today:
Red Blood Count (RBC) = 104(Normal 130-180)
Platelet = 69(Normal 150-450)
White Blood Count (WBC) = 2.4(Normal 4 - 11)
Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) = 1.32 (Normal 1.5 - 8.0)
Potassium = 4.4(Normal 3.5 - 5.2)
Magnesium = 0.7(Normal 0.65 - 1.05)

I went to UH to do my weekly follow-up this morning. Finally, the magnesium level increases to normal level after the transplant. There is a slight drop of white blood count from 2.7 to 2.4 while the platelet count remains. Hopefully, the platelet and white blood count will pick up soon.

The report for bone marrow aspiration (BMA) done on last Thursday shows that my bone marrow is healthy. There is 2% of blast (immature white blood cells) in the bone marrow. Blast cell below 5% is considered to be normal. There is a comment at the end of the report saying that there is no evidence of relapse of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Cancer patients are very sensitive to the word “relapse”. I am looking at the report while the doctor is reading it, and I am quite nervous to see the word “relapse” written in the report. The doctor covered the report after he had completed reading it. Just before I leave the room, I asked the doctor permission to read the report and I was greatly relieved to see the comment as “there is no evidence of relapse of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.” :-)

My next follow-up will no longer be in the hematology ward. The doctor arranged me to see them at the “G clinic”. This is another milestone for me because the doctor will only transfer a transplant patient to “G clinic” when the patient is getting better. However, I still need to do weekly follow-up. I hope the frequency of follow-up can be reduced very soon so that I do not need to go to hospital so often.

See you next post :-)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Day +88

I am fine. Just continue my story at UH.

The boil became bigger and the groin pain increased each day. Doctor warned me that when my white blood count started to pick up, the swelling on both sites would become bigger. He might need to call in a surgeon to poke a hole at the groin to release the pus if it grew too big. When he saw my white blood count started to pick up a few days later, he expected the swelling at the groin would became very big. The expectation is reasonable because more white cells are available now to fight with the bacteria which result in more dead cells to be deposited at the groin, making the swelling bigger. “Now the show begins”, he said to me just before he examined my groin. Fortunately, there was no show for him as the swelling at the groin did not get too big :-)

The blood culture for the blood sample taken on day 16 grew E. Coli bacteria. The same blood culture also grew fungus three weeks later, but nobody knew this at that time.

See you next post :-)