Sunday, December 31, 2006

Day +179

I am fine today.

I went to church in the morning and attended the Near Year countdown to 2007 organized by the church with my family. There was a dinner and testimonies sharing session before the countdown.

Everyone was allowed to have a 3 minutes sharing about the grace of God in Year 2006. Since I got so much to share, I ‘borrowed’ the 3 minutes from my wife. Apart from this, I also ‘borrowed’ 3 minutes from each of my 4 children. This increased my sharing time to a maximum of 18 minutes :-) One of the advantages of having lots of children :-)

I managed to enjoy the foods since I did not wear mask anymore.

I was sharing. It took about 22 minutes to complete the sharing. If I added the 3 minutes from my mother-in-law, I just exceeded my time by 1 minute :-)

My wife played piano for me while I was singing.

Due to internet infrastructure problem caused by earthquake in Taiwan, I am unable to upload the audio file of this sharing for you now. I will do it later.

See you next post :-)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Day +178

My red eyes problem is getting better today.

We celebrated Joseph 7 years old birthday tonight. This is the second time I celebrate my children birthday since my bone marrow transplant. The first one was Adriel’s birthday on 11 August 2006. At that time I was still ‘hiding’ inside the room while they celebrated her birthday. Anyway, they passed me a dish of spaghetti for me to enjoy inside the room.

The situation had improved very much this time. Not only I managed to attend the birthday celebration but I also purchased and prepared most of the foods and drinks.

My wife made him a cake while I fried chicken nuggets and French fries. In addition to this, I also cooked spaghetti and prepared the drink. Daniel said the spaghetti is very delicious :-)

I managed to complete the cooking in less than one and half hour time. I believe my mother-in-law needs to spend more than three hours to finish this much of cooking :-( This is because she is very ‘detail’ in preparing the food. For example, if she were to cut the sausages for spaghetti sauce, she will cut each of them longitudinally into four parts and then slides each part individually into smaller pieces. So she needs to slice a total of twenty parts of sausage one by one which will definitely take a lot of time to finish. In contrast, I am very ‘rough’. I cut each of the five sausages longitudinally into four parts first, then hold all the twenty parts together as one bunch and slice them at once. If the resulting pieces are not fine enough, just chop them again :-)

However, having the patient to do thing in such a detail manner is not always bad. For example, she has the patient to peel off the peanut skin one by one and then divide each of them into half using a knife. With this, she will definitely be able to spot any ‘bad’ or rotten peanuts and throw them away. The resulting skinless half-sized peanuts are guaranteed to be fresh. Even though she might expect me to eat the peanut piece (half-sized) by piece, I always enjoy her ‘hard work’ mouthful by mouthful. She must be ‘scolding’ me in her heart when she saw me pouring a mouthful of peanuts into my mouth :-)

Family photo taken during the birthday celeberation. Click to view a large one.

See you next post :-)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Day +177

My eyes condition worsens today. Both eyes become redder and turn sticky. And I also have the feeling that there is sand in my eyes.

I told my cell group members last night that I was using my wife’s eye drop. One of them quickly pointed out that it is not advisable to do this because the eye drop might be contaminated with bacteria. Sharing it might cause more problems to me. So I went to see doctor in a nearby clinic early this morning. I hope with the fresh eye drop and the eye ointment, my eyes condition will be improved very soon.

I purchased Christmas presents for Daniel, Joseph and Adriel at TESCO yesterday. I asked Daniel and Joseph to choose the presents that they want. Daniel wanted to have bicycle pump and Joseph selected the remote control car. You see, I, the servant have to always seek the approval of the bosses before buying presents for them, else they will be angry at me :-( I also chose a xylophone for Adriel.

Photo of the presents and apples. Click to get a larger view.

The bicycle pump worked very well. But to our disappointment, the remote control car is only half working :-( It managed to move forward most of the time but sometimes it just gave a very loud noise without any movement due to certain mechanical problems. And this was the problem, if it broke down totally I could just bring it to TESCO and demanded for a replacement. Now it worked intermittently. What if it worked perfectly when I show it to them? They might think that I am cheating :-( Finally, I got an idea. Why not ask the children to play the remote control car ‘fiercely’ until the problem becomes permanent? This would guarantee that it won’t work when I show it to them. And I tell you, it worked! Read carefully, not the car worked, but the idea worked :-) The problem became permanent.

I also discovered the 12 notes xylophone that I purchased for Adriel had a very soft and dull tone. It almost makes me sick and breathless listening to the tone.

What about the apples? Sigh! Eating this so called “4015 Red Delicious Washington Apple” is just like eating cotton :-( Not crispy at all.

So this afternoon, I brought the remote control car, xylophone and the apples to TESCO requesting for replacement. They agreed to replace the remote control car and the xylophone (I replaced it with a cheaper 8 notes xylophone which gives much brighter sound) but not the apples as their policy does not allow return of fresh product :-(

Now I have big headache, firstly because I lost money in buying this cotton-like apples which I hate most, secondly because I don’t know how to dispose these beautiful apples. If I simply throw them into the dustbin, my mother-in-law will definitely pick them up again. She is so thrifty (节俭) that sometimes she is even reluctant to throw away rotten foods, what more to say these fresh and beautiful looking apples? Sigh! Next time must be extra careful in buying apples.

See you next post :-)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Day +176

I have red eyes today, otherwise I am fine.

My wife started to go to school on Wednesday after one year of holiday. As our maid also went back for holiday, I am now house husband. There is no way for me to enjoy my life in the isolated room anymore. Fortunately, my mother-in-law is here to help us.

I sweeps and mops the floor everyday, cleans toys (for Aaron), prepares milk and reads stories for Adriel and takes care of Aaron. My mother-in-law is in charge of cooking and washing the clothes.

The most challenging thing to me is to take care of the children. They seems to have unlimited energy. Daniel and Joseph always live in their fantasy war games, running here and there in the house, making all sorts of weapon and bombing noises and even slamming the doors. Sweating me :-( I believe they are influenced very much by computer games.

They are reluctant to let Adriel to participate in the ‘war’ and this resulted in real war (fighting) sometimes because Adriel disturbs them. This added another burden to me as a ‘war mediator’ :-(

Last night, Adriel comes to sleep on my bed. After I prayed for her, she wanted to pray for me. After she finished praying for me, she forced me to pray for her again, and only after so many rounds of prayer, she fell asleep. It was already at 12:30am by then. Sweating me again :-(

In fact, she never prayed for me in her prayer. She prayed like this, “…We go to church. Eat lunch dinner. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.” Her prayer became shorter and shorter. In the end her prayer became “In Jesus name we pray, Amen” only.

See you next post :-)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Day +175

I am fine today.

On Christmas night, I promised my eldest son Daniel that I will treat him a dinner which he can choose to order anything he likes. Initially, he wanted to eat crab but he changed his mind later. He wanted to have a steamboat dinner. So I brought my family for a steamboat dinner tonight.

The standard steamboat set did not come with any crab. However, we can side order it at a cost of RM30 per kg. I told Daniel the price and let him decide whether to order it or not. He finally 'abandoned' his desire of eating crab because he felt that it is too expensive.

You see, nowadays, children are bosses and parents are servant. The parent-children roles of filial piety(孝顺) has reversed. Instead of children have to respect and honor (孝顺) parents, now parents have to respect and honor (孝顺) their children :-( No wonder many of us do not want to bear too many children because the more children we have, the more people we have to respect and honor(孝顺).

The photo below proves what I said. (老爸正在孝顺孩子们) .Click to get a larger view.

See you next post :-)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Day +174

I am fine today.

Christmas season this year is a lot better than last year. Not only am I able to attend Christmas events, our family also blessed with a large guava and a giant papaya.

With limited space, we manage to grow a guava tree and a papaya tree at the front and back yard of the house respectively. The guava tree bears only one fruit so far :-( and the papaya tree already produces quite a number of papayas :-).

Many people persuaded me to eat organic foods because they believe ‘food is medicine’ and cancers are caused by consuming polluted and processed foods. With this in mind, these two fruits are very valuable to me because they are certified (by me) to be 100% organic and they are also unprocessed :-) I hope they really become medicine to cure whatever diseases that I have.

Photo of the 0.8kg guava fruit. Eaten and fully digested :-) Click the photo to get a large view.

Photo of the 3kg papaya. Eaten by the family last night and I believe it is also digested by now :-) Click the photo to get a large view.

There is also a big and tall Mangga (jackfruit) tree in front of the house but it does not bear any fruits so far. If I were not mistaken, we in the 'kampung'(village) last time used to cut the trunk with a chopper to make it bear fruit. I don't know how it works. Most probably it serves as a warning to the tree, "Listen carefully, if you don't bear fruit again, I will cut you like this with greater 'power' until you fall down." Hopefully with this, it will bear a 50kg organic fruit next year Christmas so that I can invite you to a Mangga fest :-)

See you next post :-)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Day +173

I am well today.

Today is Christmas day, my family and I attended a Christmas celebration in our church. On the way back from the church, my eldest son, Daniel, ‘demanded’ me to bring him to a restaurant to eat crab. I told him it was too late (10:30pm) and we had to go home to rest. At the same time, I also promised him a dinner later which he can order anything he likes. But he wanted to eat crab immediately and was angry with my proposal. What a hot tempered and gluttonous boy! Like father like son :-(

It has been more than one year I could not bring my family for holiday or enjoy foods in restaurant. I hope my condition will be improved further that I can do this in the near future.

Last year on the same day, I flew back from Kuching after my holiday and first round of chemotherapy. I thank God that I am still alive today and not only that, there is one precious life (Aaron) added to my family :-)

Let me share with you my family photo taken today after the Christmas celebration. Click the picture to get a large one.

I thank all of you who supported me financially, morally and also through prayers, various form of encouragements and visits.

Merry Christmas to you again and may God bless you!

See you next post :-)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Day +172

I wish you Merry Christmas and a healthy, properous and joyful 2007!

Click 'Play' to enjoy the Christmas carol:-)

See you next post :-)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Day +171

I am fine today. Continue from yesterday...

Am I weaker after the transplant? If no, why couldn’t I loosen the screws on the wheel? Don’t worry, I believe I am as strong as before, or may be even stronger after the transplant. Few weeks ago I just effortlessly pull off the handle of the front right car door handle. And without this handle, there was no way to open this door to access to the driver seat. Every time, I need to go into the car through other doors and then open this door from inside. What a troublesome thing to do!

I am reluctant to fix a new handle because it costs more than RM100. The mechanic also face difficulty in finding a second hand handle for me. In the end he found a quick fix for me which costs RM0 :-) Now there is only one car in this world with this type of door handle. I think it deserves to be included in the Guinness World Record! What do you think?

The good handle on the front left door.

The modified handle on the front left door :-)

See you next post :-)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Day +170

I am fine today.

On Wednesday, I found one of the tyres of my old Daihatsu Charade (the one which underwent engine transplant not long ago) punctured. I tried to replace it with the spare tyre. When I wanted to take out the spare tyre under the bonnet, I was surprised to find out that it was soaking in the water. It looks like the rain water seeps into the bonnet and get retained there. As a result, a lot of fungus grows there. Luckily, I wore mask, else these fungus might ‘jumped’ into my nose and infected me.

There was not much air left in the spare tyre as well. However, it was far better than the punctured tyre which was totally flattened. I thought I could just fix it and then rush the car to the nearest workshop. I was very soon to found out that I did not have enough strength to unscrew any one of the 4 screws on the wheel. So I call the workshop mechanic to come to my house to fix the problem. They suggested me to replace all four tyres as they are trait of cracks on them. I believed the rubber was ‘dead’. No wonder the car jumped so seriously.

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Day +169

My Blood Count Today:
Red Blood Count (RBC) = 128(Normal 130-180)
Platelet = 124(Normal 150-150)
White Blood Count (WBC) = 4.4(Normal 4 - 11)

I am fine today.

I went to a nearby clinic to do a blood test this morning. It costs me RM35. With the white blood count increased to 4.4 now, I think I can attend some Christmas events, and even enjoy turkey :-) Turkey, turkey, I love you :-) But wait, where is the mouth watering roasted turkey??

Don't worry, it’s here :-)

In fact we can conveniently order a 4-6kg roasted Christmas turkey with stuffing and gravy from Victoria Station Restaurant at a price of more than RM200. I believe it costs less than RM100 if we roast it ourselves. A big saving, isn’t it? The more you roast, the more you save. If you cannot finish it, just call for my help. I am very obliged to help you save money by eating the turkey for you, so that you can roast more and thus save more :-)

If you don’t know how to roast a turkey, get the recipe here and start saving money today.

See you next post and Merry Christmas to you :-)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Day +168

I am fine today.

I upgraded my blog today to its latest version. The main benefit of this upgrade is the ability to label or to tag an article. As of today, I have completed 171 posts, and since l use the bone marrow transplant day as the title for each post, there is no way of predicting the content of each article through the title. However, l will continue to use the transplant day as the title because this blog was created mainly to share my transplant experience.

Now with the ability to label an article, the reader can choose to read on the interested category of articles by clicking the labels on the left. For example, if a reader just would like to know what had happened during my bone marrow transplant, he/she can click on the label Transplant, and all articles posted by me during the transplant will be shown.

I am now busy labeling the articles and l hope l can complete labeling all of them by this week.

See you next post :-)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Day +167

I am fine today, but my wife is not fine. She has red eyes and just see a doctor this afternoon. Continue from yesterday…

Part 4 of 4

We are now bean fans. Apart from soybean, we took green bean, red bean, black bean, long bean and French bean. I also took baked bean (Navy bean). We believe that these beans will help to normalize our blood counts.

One type of bean that we did not eat is Mr. Bean. However, like other beans, Mr. Bean is also good for health because he makes people laugh and you know, “Laughter is the best medicine” :-)

My wife does not like Mr. Bean, but I like him very much. Therefore, if I like to make my wife angry, I just act like Mr. Bean and then she will be very mad at me but laughing :-) I told her sometime that I am ‘Bean Ting’ :-) Just like beans are healthy food, I believe ‘Bean Ting’ is a healthy name too :-)

Just for your information, next Mr. Bean movie called Mr. Bean’s Holiday is to be released March, next year. I couldn’t wait to watch this movie and I am sure it will improve my health, and of course your health too :-)

With my friend permission, I would like to give a summary of his condition.

Disease: Myeloproliferative Disorder (MPD), with high white blood count
Diagnosed: End of 2002
Treatment: Oral Hydroxyurea for 3 years, started to have blood transfusion almost monthly from May 2005 until May 2006.
Alternative Therapy: Coffee Enema, started 10 April 2006 and showed good result on June 2006. No longer needs blood transfusion for 6 months after that.

Let us join our heart to pray for our dear brother, Mr. Teh (his name) that he will be completely healed from this disease.

See you next post :-)

Monday, December 18, 2006

Day +166

I am fine today. Continue from yesterday…

Part 3 of 4

Listening to her advice, my friend stopped taking Ensure Milk and started to make and drink fresh soy milk everyday. I told him that the Ensure Milk is made from soy protein isolate and enriched with many vitamins and minerals, not from cow milk. So the ‘hormone theory’ proposed by the lady cannot be established. While hormones did stimulate the bone marrow to produce bloods, the root cause of the blood disorder might not always be attributed to hormone problem.

In fact, soy protein isolate is good for health. The following paragraphs regarding soy protein isolate is taken from Wikipedia.

“Soy protein isolate is a highly refined or purified form of soy protein with a minimum protein content of 90% on a moisture-free basis. It is made from defatted soy flour which has had most of the non-protein components, fats and carbohydrates removed. Because of this, it has a neutral flavor and will cause less gas due to bacterial flatulence.

Soy protein isolate is used in health foods as it is a complete vegetable protein containing all the essential amino acids. Also, it has a very low fat content when compared to animal sources of protein. It is also claimed that soy protein isolate may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and help prevent osteoporosis, some cancers and menopausal symptoms.”

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Day +165

I am fine today. I did not attend church service this morning due to my low blood count. Continue from yesterday…

Part 2 of 4

Apart from the pain that we have to bear, the procedure is also very tedious. One has to cook the coffee, bring the temperature down to about body temperature, prepare distilled water, make sure that the apparatus used are clean and doing tidying-up works after the procedure. In addition, one has to prepare and consume considerable amount of fruit juice and take supplements supplied by the company during the program. My wife and I completed a 7-days program a few years ago.

This friend of mine is very persistent. He did coffee enema everyday. After one month, all his blood counts returned to normal level without even taking the prescribed drug. What an incredible result! I have seen so many failures on alternative medicine and natural therapy approaches or products, but this is the first case that looks so promising to me. So I am very eager to know the long term result of this approach.

I contacted my friend again a few days ago. Unfortunately, he told me his condition worsen and require blood transfusion again. Few months ago, he came to know that I am taking Ensure Milk through reading my blog, so he also took it. He told the lady who introduced him the detoxification and rejuvenation program about this, and the answer that he received was incredible (令我大开眼界)! Do you know what she said? “You have to stop taking Ensure Milk. While cow milk might be beneficial to others, but the hormone from cow milk is not good for your body especially in this case, your disease is caused by hormone”

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Day +164

I am fine today. I continue to tell story about my friends. The story about this friend is rather long, so I divide it into four parts.

Part 1 of 4

I met a friend in UH who had some kinds of blood disorder beginning this year. The disease causes proliferation of white blood cells. Doctor prescribed him the drug Hydroxyurea to control the disease. This drug could cause bone marrow toxicity and thus affects the blood cells production. Therefore, blood transfusion is needed on and off.

At one point of time, it looks like the disease could no longer be controlled by the drug. He then took products from a very well known international MLM company who promotes Nutritional Immunology. After consuming the products for 3 months, the condition remains.

He then switched to the approach advocated by a local MLM health company who promotes a body detoxification and rejuvenation program. It is no joke to undergo this program. One has to introduce coffee (a type of coffee supplied by the company) through the anus to the colon and then hold it for a few minutes before releasing it to the toilet. This procedure is called coffee enema, colon irrigation or colon hydrotherapy. With the coffee inside the colon, the stomach will ache like when we experience food poisoning.

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Day +163

I am fine today.

During my third chemotherapy, I met a man in his 40s who was admitted to the hematology ward due to fever. This man did his bone marrow transplant about two years ago as a treatment of aplastic anemia. It is a disease whereby the bone marrow fails to produce blood. This disease is caused by autoimmune disorder where the white blood cells attack the bone marrow. It can be treated by suppressing the body immune system through drug such as Ciclosporin (the drug that I am taking now to prevent GVHD). For more severe cases, bone marrow transplant is needed.

He was the first transplant patient that I met and was very enthusiastic in sharing his transplant experience with me, mostly talking on his unpleasant experience :-( One of his experiences that frightened me most is liver biopsy whereby some liver specimen is obtained by poking a needle through the chest. Initially, I thought every transplant patient have to go through this procedure. Fortunately, I find out later that most transplant patients do not need to do this. He needed liver biopsy because his liver did not function well due to GVHD, and thus doctor need to confirm the cause through liver biopsy.

We met quite often in the General Clinic while we were doing our follow-up. When we meet, he always likes to do head count, telling us who are ‘missing’ or so and so were doing follow-up with him, but now do not see them again. Some of my friends are very scared to talk with him :-(

He is very careful with the food that he eats. Even after two and half years after transplant, he never purchased pre-prepared food such as economic rice and uncooked food. When he wants to order food in the restaurant or food stall, he will stand there and instruct the cook how to prepare his meal. Basically, the requirement is to cook everything thoroughly and never add anything else such as soy sauce and chili or whatever seasoning to the cooked food. During last follow-up, he advised me not to take economic rice in the hospital, but at that time I already enjoyed my ‘big pack’ of economic rice with red fried sweet chicken with some vegetable. What else can I do? The food already goes into my stomach :-(

See you next post :-)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Day +162

I am fine today. Daniel started to have fever today while Joseph just recovered from fever a few days ago. It looks like the infection spread from Joseph to Daniel. Hopefully, Adriel and Aaron will escape from infection this time.

During last few follow-up, I met a patient in his late 20s from Tanjung Sepak who did his bone marrow transplant more than 5 years ago. He was diagnosed with Leukaemia while studying medicine in China. Then he came back from China to do chemotherapy in UH. Not long after that, he experienced a relapse and then went for bone marrow transplant.

Unfortunately, he suffered from chronic GVHD which makes him gasp even after some very little work such as walking. I realized that he is even unable to talk while walking. Because of GVHD, he still needs to do follow-up once a fortnight. So I met him every follow-up now.

His father is a fisherman who owns a fishing boat. Every evening he goes to the sea to catch fish and then comes back the next morning. I told him when I am getting better, I will go to Tanjung Sepak to follow his father to fish in the sea. He gladly accepted my suggestion. (Don’t know whether his father will allow me to go or not) He also promised to ‘belanja’ (treat) me fresh seafood steamboat :-) At the same time, I will also get good supply of super-fresh seafood :-)

See you next post :-)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Day +161

I am fine today.

This year, I made a lot of friends in UH. I met most of them in the hematology ward during chemotherapy. After the bone marrow transplant, I also befriended a few post-transplant patients who do follow-up in the same clinic.

Never in my life had I lost so many friends in a year. I was very glad to meet a girl who completed her third party (non-sibling) bone marrow transplant in Taiwan during my 27 November follow-up. We did chemotherapy and stayed next to each other in the hematology ward early this year. She came for her first follow-up in UH and was very enthusiastic in telling us what happened there. Last Thursday, I was very surprised to receive a call from a friend informing that the girl had passed away.

I asked doctor why the girl passed away. “GVHD?”, “No”. “Infection?”, “No”. “What else it could be?” I puzzled. “Why you want to know?” doctor asked. I said if I know the reason then I can be more careful to avoid the same problem, and if he don’t tell me the reason, I might not be able to sleep (don’t worry, I can sleep well). Doctor said, “No, no. Don’t worry, your case is different.”

Later someone told me her white blood count shot up to 200 when she admitted to UH early last week. I guess she was experiencing a relapse of the disease.

The Bible says that we are actually pilgrims of this world (2 Peter 2:11) and advises us to live our life wisely as what the Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”

See you next post :-)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Day +160

I am fine today.

My next follow-up is scheduled one month later. It supposes to be two weeks from yesterday, but because that Monday falls on Christmas holiday, and the following Monday is a New Year holiday, so the follow-up is scheduled one month later.

In fact, doctor asked me to go back one week later because my white blood count dropped a lot since last follow-up. He wanted to see the blood count one week later. I requested him to allow me to come back one month later. It is not because I am lazy to go for follow-up, but it is really too troublesome, time consuming and tiring to complete a follow-up. Yesterday, I left home at 10:00am and reached home at 5:00pm only. It took me 30 minutes just to get my car parked in UH :-(

After parking the car, I rushed to the hematology ward to ask the favor of the day care nurse there to take my blood sample. This is to make sure that the blood test results are ready at 2:00pm. Another option is to let the doctor takes blood sample at 2:00pm and waits for the result before seeing the doctor again.

I feel regret today for not accepting doctor’s advice to go back for follow-up next week. Who knows the white blood count will not drop further? Suddenly a great idea comes to my mind. Why not goes to a nearby clinic to do a blood count just before the Christmas? If the count is good, I can even attend some Christmas events and enjoy roasted turkey :-)

See you next post :-)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Day +159

My Blood Count Today:
Red Blood Count (RBC) = 117(Normal 130-180)
Platelet = 113(Normal 150-450)
White Blood Count (WBC) = 2.8(Normal 4 - 11)
Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) = 1.344 (Normal 1.5 - 8.0)
Potassium = 4.5(Normal 3.5 - 5.2)
Blood Pressure = 160/100 (Normal 120/80)

I went to UH to do my follow-up today. All blood counts dropped. The most notable one is the white blood count which dropped from 3.7 to 2.8. In other words, it dropped 23.4% :-( With ANC lower than 1.5, I am considered having neutropenia now, which means that the body resistance to infection is low. I believe I need to isolate myself (闭关练功) again :-( Furthermore, the blood pressure is also high, so doctor advised me to take Norvasc again :-(

One good news is that the cytogenetic result for bone marrow sample taken on Day +80 shows that my pair 23 chromosome remains to be XX. That means my sister’s stem cells engraved well and are producing blood.

The doctor wanted to cut down the anti-GVHD drug (Ciclosporin) as soon as possible because there is no sign of GVHD. This drug is immunosuppressive agent which suppresses one's immune system. By reducing the dosage, the immune system will not be suppressed too much so that it would attack Leukaemic cells in the body, if any left. It is just like we brought home a fierce dog (new immune system). Initially, we have to chained it because we worried it would attack someone (host organs) at home. Now the dog is a little bit tamer, we loosen it so that it would attack the thieves (Laukaemic cells). This effect is called Graft-Versus-Leukaemia.

Patients who are unfit for full transplant due to certain circumstances such as weak organs will be given mini transplant. The chemotherapy intensity before the infusion of stem cells is reduced for this type of transplant, and thus there might be more Leukaemic cells left in the body compared to full transplant. In spite of this, the mini transplant can be effective because the body relies on Graft-Versus-Leukaemia to terminate the remaining Leukaemic cells in the body.

See you next post :-)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Day +158

I am fine. I attended church service this morning.

Continue from yesterday…

In order to identify the suitable donor fast enough so that I could continue transplant immediately after my fourth round of chemotherapy. We decided to do HLA typing for the rest of the sibling at once.

While I was doing my third round of chemotherapy, Sie Ling went to UH to draw blood sample for HLA typing. My eldest sister, Sie Huong is staying in Kuching, she sent the blood samples to UH for typing through courier service. My third brother who is staying in Bintulu came back to Sibu to draw blood samples together with the rest of my brothers and sisters who are staying in Sibu and Bintangor.

Richard went back to Sibu on the 23, February and brought the blood samples of 5 of my brothers and sisters to UH on the next day. In order to catch the 9:00am flight, the lab who took the blood sample opens at 7:00am. The amount of blood sample from each individual is about 75ml to 100ml. But to play safe, my eldest sister said it would be better to draw 150ml of blood sample from each one. Unfortunately, the lab did not have test tubes large enough to hold 150ml of blood. It only has test tube with 50ml capacity. So three test tubes of blood sample are needed and everyone ‘kena cucuk’ (get poked) three times that day :-(

In fact, there is a type of needle with a plastic tube connected to it that would allow multiple test tubes of blood sample to be drawn through a single poking. The lab there did not have this type of needle.

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Day +157

I am fine today. Now continue to talk about my pre-transplant preparation and struggle.

Everyone in my family were guessing who’s HLA would match mine. We put a lot of hope on my youngest brother, Richard and fourth sister, Sie Ling. All three of us are staying near to each other in Puchong, Selangor while the rest of my brothers and sisters are staying in Sarawak.

Richard and I did the HLA typing first on 20th and 23th January respectively while I was doing my second round of chemotherapy in UH. Our idea is that if his HLA match mine, the rest do not need to do the typing. This would save us some money.

There are two places we could do the typing, one in UH which costs RM550 per person and the other one in Institute For Medical Research, Malaysia (IMR) which costs RM25 per person only. I was told that the IMR would need more time to produce the test result. In order to be fast, we decided to do the test in UH.

It was found out that Richard’s HLA does not match mine after three weeks we sent our blood sample for testing.

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Day +156

I am fine today. I would like to talk about my pre-transplant preparation and struggle.

As mentioned on my blog Day +130, I explained the reasons that made me so determined to go for transplant, even though it is a high risk procedure.

The type of transplant that I went through was called sibling (brothers or sisters) Allogeneic Transplant. The stem cells from a matching brothers or sisters are first collected. The recipient then goes through heavy chemotherapy to strike off his or her own stem cells. After this, the stem cell from the donor is infused into the recipient vein. These stem cells will find their way miraculously into the recipient bone marrow to manufacture blood.

In order to find a matching sibling, a type of test called Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) typing need to be done. There is a probability of 25% that a sibling’s HLA will match each other. In other words, I should find a match in every four brothers or sisters. Since I have 8 brothers and sisters, I was very confident that I could find at least one match.

HLA is a group of genes that encodes the cell-surface antigen-presenting proteins. Only siblings with matched HLA are donor candidates. This is to make sure that once the donor stem cells started to function in the recipient, it will produce the same cell-surface antigen as before, and this prevent the new antigen to start an immune response to attack the host (recepient) organs, a symptom called Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD).

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Day +155

I am fine today.

I attended my church cell group meeting tonight. Many attendees shared about changes in their life after becoming a Christian.

A lot of hot tempered ladies and gentlemen become ‘cold tempered’ or not so hot tampered than before. Apart from this, a few of them are once alcoholics who claimed to be able to drink a lot without getting drunk (千杯不醉、万杯不醉). Surprisingly after becoming Christians, they get drunk after one cup :-) This miraculous change in ‘alcohol intake capacity’ rescues them from alcohol addiction which indirectly saves them lots of money. Furthermore, this also postpone the date they would go to heaven to report to God because they are now not subjected to health risk attributed to indulgence in alcohol.

A new believer who just accepted Christ for 5 days said that he received 5 calls from friends tonight just before coming for the cell group. These friends told him that a table-full of wine was waiting for him to indulge with free of charge. But he chose to come to the cell group :-)

Actually I have alcohol drinking problem too, but fortunately it is unable to appreciate it rather than addiction to it. To me, to drink alcohol is no different than drinking Axe Brand Medicated Oil (斧标驱风油) as shown below :-(

See you next post :-)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Day +154

I am fine today.

I started to go to office to do some ‘low-tension’ work :-). Just go whenever I feel like to go, and come home whenever I feel like to come home. Just wear whatever I like to wear and do whatever I like to do. Jobs with deadline and pressure are strictly prohibited. It is just like parents pamper their sick children with all sorts of goodies. To put it in positive way, this is the advantages of getting sick (自我安慰) :-)

It is not bad to be given this type of privilege. I no longer need to jump here and there (like what my nephew does now :-)), trying to solve all problems and finish all works simultaneously like a superman. And I hope with this, I can relax and see thing more clearly and explore something that was once considered not workable or impossible. This is just like what a Chinese idiom says, ‘当局者迷,旁观者清’,which means the observers are able see better than the players during a chess match.

When we first started to work, we are really ‘doing the work’. We have full control of the work. After sometimes, more work and responsibilities are assigned to us, and we started to lose some control of the work. Sometimes later, more work and responsibilities are assigned to us, and we almost lose control of all the work. We work frantically in an effort to clear all the backlog of work in order to have a gasp. But it seems that the more we work, the more work flow in, like an unending stream of water. At last, we work not because we want to do the work, but the ‘work’ forces us to do it. Instead of we are ‘doing the work’, now ‘the work is doing us’ :-(

If you are in the above situation, do not be discouraged. Many people cannot find a job, and yet you have so much work to do. You are considered to be very lucky! Positive thinking again :-)

See you next post and happy working :-)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Day +153

I am fine today.

Let’s talk about food again. One type of Asian foods once we think unhealthy is now found to possess antioxidant properties about 10 times more effective than red wine and 150 times more potent than vitamin C. Look at the dish below and guess which food I am referring to.

To our surprise, the answer is dark soy sauce. Cheer! We no longer need to feel guilty of taking soy sauce again :-) It is 150 times better than vitamin C!

The researchers at National University of Singapore (NUS) fed 24 volunteers a single dose of 30 ml commercial dark soy sauce mixed with 200g plain boiled rice or 200g plain boiled rice mixed with food colouring (placebo). Blood and urine sample were taken before and after meals to measure the antioxidant activity, and they found out the soy souce possess very high antioxidant properties as mentioned.

Antioxidant protects human cells from damage by free radicals, which have been linked to the aging process as well as a range of ailments including Parkinson's disease, cancer and heart disease.

This means eating soy sauce can slow down aging, prevent Parkinson's disease, cancer and heart disease :-)

If you want to read more about this, click here and here.

See you next post and enjoy eating soy sauce :-)

Monday, December 04, 2006

Day +152

I am fine today.

The classical guitar concert that I attended yesterday was organized by KL Guitar Ensemble II (KLGE II) led by Simon Cheong. He also leads the Classical Guitar Society of Malaysia. A copy of the poster for this concert is as follow:

A ticket costs RM48. There are about 300 audience turned up for the event. The performers did quite well in their performance. Of course, if compared to Ana Vidovic’s performance which is close to perfection, lots of improvements are still needed. However, if compared to my lousy skill (半桶水), they are top performers.

Attending concert like this regularly enables a guitar player to appreciate better the correct tone and colour (not referring to the painting on the guitar, but the varieties of sounds that the classical guitar can produce) of classical guitar. Nowadays, everyone wish to be thin and slim. However, guitar players always try to produce rich, fat, full, deep and round tone, which can only be achieved through correct shape of right hand’s finger nail together with the correct way of plucking the guitar string. Unfortunately, due to ignorance and lack of guidance, I always produce thin, shallow, empty and sharp tone. That means my right hand technique is wrong. My friend, who learned classical guitar under Simon Cheong and passed his grade 8 classical guitar exam is now teaching me (FOC) the correct right hand technique. With this, I have to 'throw away' my old habit (乖乖ly), and start to learn from ‘kindergarten’ level again :-(

With my shaky right hand (already improved now) and wrong right hand technique, I got last position in my classical guitar competition organized by a online classical guitar forum in China :-( If I were not mistaken, there are 7 participants. Forum members voted for the pieces that participants had submitted, the one who got the most vote win. I got 3 votes, 3 other participants got 4 votes, the champion got 10 votes, 1st runner up got 7 votes, and the 2nd runner up got 6 votes.

I am not discouraged at all with the position. In fact I am very happy because "I have a life to get last position" :-)

See you next post :-)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Day +151

I am fine today. I attended Sunday worship this morning and then went to do some shopping on the way back. Joseph is having fever and headache, and Adriel and Aaron started to have running nose. So only Daniel and I went to the church.

Now continue from yesterday...

The audience has to wear formal attire and has to behave very gently in the classical music concert. If we attend a concert like this, we also need to know when we can clap our hands. A piece of music might be divided into many movements, and there is always a pause between movements. People will laugh at us if we clap our hands between movements. So if we don’t know the music well, clap hands only when everybody claps their hands (有样学样,不懂装懂) :-)

After the performance, she held an autograph session. Everybody asked her to sign on the program note as follow: (Click on the picture to have a larger view)

In fact, I missed two free classical guitar concerts by a Brazilian classical guitarist at KLPAC on 27 and 28 November, two consecutive days just before Ana Vidovic concert. My friends and I saw the poster at the KLPAC while attending Ana Vidovic convert. Nobody informed us about thsi concert. We joined The Classical Guitar Community during this concert, and we hope that the community will inform us all future classical guitar events, so that we don't miss any good concert especially those with free admission :-)

This is the best classical guitar concert I ever attend. Anyway, I only attended two classical guitar concerts including this one :-( I attended first classical guitar performance not long before I went for bone marrow transplant. It was performed by a young guitarist who is still studying a music course in US. We believe he still has a long journey to go before becoming a fine guitarist.

I will be attending another classical guitar concert tonight by a group of local classical guitarists called KL Classical Guitar Ensemble II :-)

I was admitted to Kuching General Hospital on 28 November last year due to Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, and I managed to enjoy a high standard classical guitar on 29 November this year. I praise God for his mercy and grace that sustain my life to enjoy many things in this world :-)

See you next post and may God bless you :-)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Day +150

I am fine today.

On Wednesday (29 November), I attend a classical guitar concert at Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC). The performer was called Ana Vidovic, a 27 years old Croatian. She has given over 1000 public performance since first taking stage in 1998. As we can see from her web site at, her upcoming performances already planned until March 2008.

There were more than 400 audience turned up in this concert. A ticket costs RM68. The performer played 8 famous classical guitar pieces as follow, arranged in the form (composer: piece name, followed by musical movements if any) :

1. Fernando Sor: Introduction, Theme & Variations on a Theme of Mozart Op. 9 (莫扎特魔笛变奏曲)
2. F. Monero Torroba: Suite Catellana
· Fandanguillo (1st Movement)
· Arada (2nd movement)
· Danza (3rd movement)
3. F. Monero Torroba: Sonatina
· Allegretto
· Adante
· Allegro
4. Isaac Albeniz: Austuria(Leyenda) (传说)
5. Manuel Ponce: Sontina Meridional
· Campo
· Copla
· Fiesta
6. St Jepan Sulek: The Troubadour’s Three
· Melancholy
· Sonnet
· Celebration
7. A. Barrios Mangore: La Catedral (大教堂)
· Preludio Saudade
· Andante Religioso
· Allegro Solemne
8. F. Tarrega: Recuerdos de la Alhambra (阿尔汗布拉宫的回忆)

Except The Troubadour’s Three which was composed by a Croatian called St Jepan Sulek, I am quite familiar with other pieces. I also have CD and scores for these pieces. The last piece is a wonderful piece composed by a Spanish composer called Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909) in remembrance of Alhambra. He is regarded as one of the most influential guitarists the world has ever known. He is also considered the father of the modern classical guitar.

Alhambra is an ancient mosque, palace and fortress complex of the Moorish monarchs of Granada, in southern Spain. It is now perserved as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. A picture of Alhambra is shown below (Courtesy of Wikipedia). Click on the picture to get a larger view.

If you never listen to the piece before, you can dowload it here and let me know if you like it. If you need other pieces, either in the form of audio file or score, I can share them with you.

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Day +149

I am fine today.

This afternoon, our Indonesian maid went home for holiday after working for us for about 3 years. She will come back to work on 11 January 2007. We have to pay for her return air ticket between KLIA and Bali, and we also promised to pay all her transportation fee over there. She said she needs to take another flight to reach her ‘kampung’ (rural village) over there. We do not object to her request, though there are cheaper means of transportation from Bali to her ‘kampung’. Of course she still enjoys full salary during the holiday.

The maid brought a lot of things back to Indonesia. The low cost flight service AirAsia weighted her hand luggage during check in and found out that it is overweight. She was forced to transfer some clothes to her check in luggage, and had to pay about RM100 overweight fee. According to my wife, AirAsia charged RM14 per kg of overweight luggage for flight between KLIA and Bali. What a lucrative income for them! The ticket price is about RM150, excluding miscellaneous charges. The overweight charge is equivalent to 66.7% of the ticket price. My brother, Richard, already warned me this new lucrative income generating measure by AirAsia a few days earlier. If you are a ‘powerful’ passenger who always carry heavy hand luggage, be aware about this, else it will definitely burn a hole in your wallet.

We are quite confident we can manage without the maid. My mother-in-law is now promoted to the ‘chief cook’. The girl who is sleeping with the maid since I was sick had been asked to sleep with my wife for the past few days. We also asked the two boys to involve in some house works such as sweeping floor, mopping floor, cleaning toilet and etc. A reward system is established to motivate them to do the work. For example, 5 points for sweeping floor, 3 points for cleaning a toilet and etc. I issue them reward coupon at the end of the day. They can redeem this coupon for ‘computer game time’ or purchase something they like.

See you next post :-)