Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day +210

I am fine today.

Today marks 7 months of my post bone marrow transplant. I am glad to be able to attend our company monthly meeting and annual lunch :-) Instead of talking about herbs and friends, I would like to take a break and share with you what I presented to my colleagues in the meeting.

“I am very glad to be able to talk to you again. Now I have more things to talk about life than software development. Life is good and to be alive is marvelous. It is indeed a miracle that I live. In fact, it is a miracle that you live too. Considering those billions processes that are running within you perfectly, how could you say that you live ‘naturally’? So we should not take life for granted, and in whatever challenges that you meet, no matter how tough they are, just remember that it is a blessing that you are alive to handle the problem.

During the past year, it was a tough job for you to make our to-be-launched software ‘defect free’. It was also a tough job for me to make myself ‘defect free’. This requires hope firstly; a hope that the ending is better than beginning and I believe this hope drove us forward with courage, endurance and patience.

However, there was a significant difference between you and me while going through this process. I had to do the job dangerously while there was no dangers involved in your case :-)

Lastly, I should say again, life is good. Based on what everyone presented this morning, we made good money from the software sales, we also made good progress on software development and most importantly, we shall now enjoy good foods together.

Thank you.”

A group photo of all staff in the company. Click the photo to get a larger view.

Lao Sheng (捞生).

See you next post :-)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Day +209

I am fine today. Continue from yesterday…

On Sunday, I also visited an AML friend who was doing his maintenance chemotherapy in UH. This man is very stubborn according to his wife, but very interesting to me. His wife complained to my eldest sister that he always think that he is the cleverest guy in the world and often scolds his wife stupid. :-(

His disease relapsed one year after completing his chemotherapy treatment. After this, he returned to UH to complete one cycle of chemotherapy and then ‘cabut diri’ (run away) from the remaining cycles of chemotherapy. When I first met him in UH early last year, he said, “Doctors warned me that I would relapse in 3 months time if I do not further my chemotherapy treatment. You see, I am still fine after 3 months.”

He told his wife he would like to fight the disease by his own. These include taking herbs and health products and practicing some alternative health approaches. He told me he even drank his own urine at one point of time. He never stops drinking Yantuo soup until now.

Unfortunately, these practices failed to keep his disease under control and he experienced 2nd relapse 8 months later. He said, “I surrender! I would do whatever doctors say now.” He is awaiting of bone marrow transplant but his brother whose HLA possibly match his is now working in Canada and the worse thing is that this brother told him that the appointment to draw blood for HLA typing there would take another 6 months time. This makes him really worry.

Based on my experience, the HLA typing can be done very quickly in UH (Not bad, Malaysia! :-)). “Why not ask your brother to come back here to do the HLA typing?” I asked. He said his brother said that he is subjected to heavy pressure there because he is handling a big project in Canada. They lost touch for almost 20 years and according to him, the bond of brotherhood is no longer there :-( What can be said?

So don’t exhaust our energy in our job until we forget the need to foster a closer relationship with family members and friends. We need each other.

See you next post :-)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Day +208

I am fine today. Now continue to talk about herbs…

While I was doing my third cycle of chemotherapy, my fourth sister photocopied a newspaper cutting to me. It told a story about a Leukaemia patient who became very weak certain days after receiving the first dose of chemo drug and his platelet count failed to rise. After drinking Yantuo soup, his platelet raised ‘beautifully’. The conclusion was Yantuo cured Leukaemia and saved his life.

I compared my platelet trend with his and found out that it is quite normal to have such trend. The platelet count was just about to increase at the time he took Yantuo. In other words, if he did not take Yantuo, the platelet count would still increase. Even if Yantuo did help to raise his platelet, how could he claim that Yantuo cured his Leukaemia? Treating Leukaemia is not as simple as maintaining good platelet count!

It can be difficult to cast doubt on this kind of testimony for someone who did not go through this kind of treatment. However, to my youngest sister, she just could not understand my explanation and insisted that I should drink Yantuo soup. She even went all the way to Bentong to bring home the leaves of a big Yantuo tree, dried it and kept it for me.

Due to my sister’s enthusiasm on this leave, I drank Yantuo soup everyday since 3rd cycle of chemotherapy, but the platelet trend was still the same as the previous two cycles of chemotherapy :-( Anyway, I must thank her for taking trouble to prepare the soup for me :-)

I stopped drinking it since the bone marrow transplant.

To be continue and see you next post :-)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Day +207

I am fine today. I attended church service this morning and in the afternoon, I rushed to UH to visit some friends. Now continue from yesterday…

What about herbs? I was introduced so many types of herb after I was diagnosed with this disease. If I was presented with convincing cases regarding the effectiveness of these herbs have on my disease, I shall not go for bone marrow transplant.

Many people claim that a plant called Rodgersia sambucifolia Hemsl (岩陀-Yantuo) cures Leukaemia. This was reported in various newspapers and magazines. I post photos of the leaves below. If you see trees with such leaves in your front or back yard, don't get rid of them. Many people are looking for them.

Raw Yantuo leaves. Click the picture to get a larger view.

Dry Yantuo Leaves. Click the picture to get a larger view.

After analyzing testimonials found in newspapers and magazines carefully, I failed to convince myself beyond reasonable doubt that it is in fact Yantuo that cures Leukaemia.

Please understand that I am not saying that they are not effective at all. What I can say is until now I am still not sure whether it works as claimed. I am still searching for convincing cases that prove that it works and I really hope that I could find one.

In fact, the main reason that I rush to hospital this afternoon is to ‘investigate’ a claim that a 73 year old patient who failed chemotherapy gain complete remission (cancer cells fall below 5%) after drinking Yantuo soup. Busy body me, isn’t it? :-)

I will continue to share with you my experience with herbs.

See you next post :-)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Day +206

I am fine today. Continue from yesterday…

Computer or no computer, does it matter? Many people suspected my disease was caused by my profession as a software developer. They believe computer produces electromagnetic field that causes cancer in human body. If this is true and substantiated with conclusive research reports, I would not mind to change profession and stop using computers and most importantly, I shall not go for bone marrow transplant.

I only met one patient whose profession was related to computer throughout my treatment in UH, but surprisingly, I met 6 school teachers who received treatment due to Leukaemia or Lymphoma in the same period of time :-( Apart from this, I also met students, housewives, clerks, lorry drivers and etc.

A colleague of my wife (teacher) was very worried when she heard that I was diagnosed with this disease. She is afraid of getting the same disease as I am because she is subjected to heavy pressure at work. If she came to know I met so many teachers who were diagnosed with blood diseases, she must ‘terpelanting’ (falls flat on the floor) :-(

With this, I hope those who work long hour in front of computer and are worried about of getting ‘infected’ by the computer the same disease that I was getting can “sit back, and relax” now :-) Teachers do not have to worry too much too; meeting so many teachers at that period of time might purely be a coincidence.

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Day +205

I am fine today. Continue from yesterday….

Meat or no meat, does it matter? Many people advised me not to eat meat after I had this disease. They said meat is not good for our health. They are influenced by some alternative health promoters who strictly prohibit their followers to consume meat with ‘great’ and unsubstantiated theories.

If giving up meat could guarantee a cure without bone marrow transplant, or at least achieve a long term survival rate equivalent to that of bone marrow transplant, I would be very happy to be a vegetarian. Everybody just follow what everybody said but where is the reputable scientific report and statistic?

Recalling what I had studied in Biology about human teeth and digestive system, I concluded that there should be no basis of claiming human as plant eater (herbivores). We have various types of teeth such as incisors, canines, and various types of molar for grinding, tearing and cutting foods. This shows that humans are omnivore who are both plant and meat eater. Why should we insist that we are now herbivores? Could God design our teeth wrongly?

I met a Hindu lady in her late 40s while doing chemotherapy in UH. She was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and in one occasion, we stayed in the same cubicle in the hematology ward. She had been a vegetarian for the past 40 over years and yet she still got this disease. Now her family forced her to eat meat :-(

Meat to no meat, no meat to meat is an example of extreme action some patients take to ‘combat’ their disease. After much pondering and as an omnivore by God’s design, the best bet to me is still a balanced diet :-)

To be continued ad see you next post :-)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Day +204

I am fine today. Continue from yesterday…

I met an Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) patient in UH during my 2nd cycle of chemotherapy in UH. He was a retired school headmaster. In one occasion, we stayed next to each other in the ward. He was a very socialable man who talked a lot. While other people addressed me as “Ting” or “David”, he insisted to address me “Mr. Ting” (陈先生). In return, I addressed him “Headmaster”(校长) :-)

He told me he was still the chairman of 18 forms Tai Chi Chun (18 式太极拳) Association of Federal Territory. He used to teach hundreds of students to practice Tai Chi Chun. Unfortunately, he was also diagnosed with Leukaemia.

This gave me a clearer picture on the exaggerated claims of certain practices has toward our health. Now if someone told me practicing Tai Chi Chun will make us disease free, stay 100% healthy, I will have a second thought of it. While these practices do bring certain benefits to our health, it is definitely an over-claim to say that they are panacea (万灵丹) to our health problem.

See you next post :-)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Day +203

I am fine today. Continue from yesterday…

During my third cycle of chemotherapy in UH, I met an Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) patient who failed to response to many rounds of chemotherapy in SJMC and UH. We befriended each other and in one occasion, we stayed next to each other in the ward.

He was a fan of a prominent Hong Kong male singer called Eason Chan (陈奕迅). The singer flied all the way from Hong Kong to support and encourage him during the last stage of his disease. This was reported on the front page of Sin Chew Daily and multiple pages on the entertainment session.

Someone introduced the family a Qi Gong master (气功大师) from Johore who claimed to cure many people from all sort of sickness, including cancers. They spent more than RM1000 for the Qi Gong master to come to the hospital. My friend’s mother told me later that the Qi Gong master demonstrated his ‘power’ by placing his finger tip on top of her head and made her spin. The Qi Gong master explained that the Leukaemia is caused by blocked Qi in the body and patient could practice Qi Gong to unblock the Qi to cure Leukaemia. He also helped ‘transmitted’ his Qi (运气) into my friend’s body in an attempt to unblock the Qi.

Further to this, this Qi Gong master asked my friend’s mother to phone him everyday to enable his Qi to be transmitted through the telephone line to her, and this Qi was then transferred to my friend through his mother. The call is not without cost, RM40 per call :-( This is really incredible to me!

I observed my friend's progress carefully, hoping that the Qi Gong master’s power would works as claimed, and my friend would be cured. If this happened, I will practice Qi gong and shall not go for transplant.

To my disapointment, this Qi Gong failed miserably on him and he passed away not long after I was discharged from my transplant. I wrote a short note about him on my blog Day +35.

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Day +202

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

At that time, I came across a Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) patient who failed to bring her disease under control after two bone marrow transplants. Her husband gave her large dose of LingZhi and Pollen from a MLM health food company. Since she was unable to swallow so many capsules, her husband opened the capsules, extracted the LingZhi powder to mix with water for her to drink. Then he ate all the empty capsules because they are too ‘expensive’ to throw away.

Coincidentally, someone introduced me a ‘magic’ Mangosteen Juice called Xango which is rich in Xanthones. The producer of the juice claimed that “Research shows Xanthones possess potent antioxidant properties that may help maintain intestinal health, strengthen the immune system, neutralize free radicals, help support cartilage and joint function, and promote a healthy seasonal respiratory system.*” You can read more about the product here.

The Xango agent encouraged me to try the juice but my question was, “How do I know it works?” He asked me to monitor my cancer cell count in my blood, but I told him after the chemotherapy, the blood count was normal. This means I could not see any improvement brought by Xango through the blood, if any. So I introduced the Xango agent to the husband of the CML patient that I mentioned above, hoping that the ‘magic’ juice could work as claimed.

That patient was very weak at that time, the Xango agent was so confident that the juice would work. He even asked the husband to “just sit back and relax!”

It was disheartening to learn that this juice, together with the LingZhi and Pollen failed miserably on her. She passed away not long later.

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Day +201

I am fine today.

Now I am back to office officially after 14 month break. My ability to work is ‘certified verbally’ by Dr. Gan and Dr. Alan Teh during last follow-up. If you still have doubt or worry whether I should work, I shall ask doctors to stamp the words ‘guaranteed to work’ on my forehead :-)

Joseph was just recovered from fever, but now Daniel and Adriel are having it. My wife ‘summoned’ me home at 5:30pm because she and my mother-in-law could not handle the situation at home.

I had to work hard at home; taking care of baby, supervised Joseph to do homework, involved in cooking dinner, and giving medicine to Daniel and Adriel. I had to perform all sort of tricks to make Adriel drinking the Paracetamol. These include claiming the drug as delicious ‘Ice Cream Medicine’, praising her a ‘Great Hero’, let her played the syringe, and finally, if everything did not work, ‘forced’ her to drink.

It was already midnight when I accomplished my works. Who says house wife’s life is better than office life? If you think that your wife is ‘enjoying’ her life at home, I urge you to repent immediately :-)

I hope this ‘hostile’ environment does not bring down the ‘shield’. Hostile, because I have to have close contacts with the two sick children, and ‘shield’, refers to my immune system ‘fortified’ with all the antivirus, antifungus and antibiotics that I take everyday.

See you next post :-)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Day +200

I am fine today.

I rested for about two months after the fourth cycle of chemotherapy before going for bone marrow transplant. During this waiting period, I occasionally wished that I could escape from the transplant. So I said to myself, if I could find a proven magic product or approach that could cure my disease, I would not go for transplant.

At that period, I was very alert of the alternative health approaches that other patients were trying, with the hope of identifying one that is useful for me. In other words, I hope to find one that is ‘powerful’ enough to ‘rescue’ me from bone marrow transplant.

The approaches that I came across includes Chinese Herbs, Qi Gong, health products such as LingZhi (灵芝), Xango Mangosteen Juice, Oncogen XP-180 and many others.

I read claims made on these products or approaches, studied scientific reports, talked to patients, observed their progress and pondered heavily on the effectiveness of these approaches.

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Day +199

I am fine today.

With so many negative comments received about UH, why I still do transplant in UH?

In fact, I initially planned to complete all remaining chemotherapies in UH then do bone marrow transplant in Subang Jaya Medical Centre (SJMC), the only private hospital that offers bone marrow transplant services in Malaysia. I was told the estimated cost of transplant in SJMC is about RM150,000. This is beyond the coverage of my medical insurance.

On the other hand, the government will bear all my transplant charges if I carried out transplant in UH. This is because my wife is a government servant and in Malaysia, all family members of a government servant enjoy medical coverage provided the treatment is done in government or semi-government hospital.

However, to me, the primary concern of choosing a transplant centre is its mortality rate, not the cost. Life is better than money, isn’t it? I was informed by my first haematologist in Kuching that the mortality rate of an allogeneic transplant is about 20% to 25%. This is consistent with what I read later. If the mortality rate of a transplant in UH falls within this range, there should be no reason not to do transplant here, considering the cost.

In order to find out this, my eldest sister accompanied me to see Dr. Alan Teh in SJMC. Many questions asked and answered. The most important one to me was the mortality rate of a transplant in UH and his answer fell within the above range. Since he is the visiting consultant to UH, I trust his answer and decided to do transplant in UH without further hesitation.

I was very ‘happy’ after the decision because one of the side effects of the transplant would be significantly reduced now. This side effect is called poverty. In fact, the insurance company ‘paid me to stay in hospital’. In the end, I earned money, the money that no one ever wished or dared to earn :-)

See you next post :-)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Day +198

I am fine today.

Grace commented on my yesterday blog that The Star reported a 17 year old boy called Wong Kim Yau had successfully undergone an unrelated bone marrow transplant in UH. You can read the news here.

We know each other since early last year. He completed his chemotherapy treatment earlier but experienced a relapse. After this, he had to complete another chemotherapy treatment before this bone marrow transplant.

The same team of haematologist did the transplant for me. They are team leader Dr. Gan, Dr. Bee and Dr. Harris. In addition, the heamatology unit also engaged Dr. Alan Teh as visiting consultant.

A big thank you to all of you, doctors.

See you next post :-)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Day +197

I am fine today.

"Ask David to dig his grave first before doing his bone marrow transplant in UH!" This was a warning message I received from a friend who was receiving treatment in Singapore while I was doing my third cycle of chemotherapy in UH. He was a Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) patient whom I met during my second cycle of chemotherapy in UH. As his condition worsened, he furthered his treatment in Singapore. Unfortunately, he could not make it eventually.

"What is the mortality rate of having bone marrow transplant here?" I asked one of the haematologists in UH. He answered bluntly, "50%." This means every two person who undergoes transplant, one will die. It was very likely that he was joking as we joke quite a lot, but this joke was really 'killing' me :-(

The messages that I received from many people were "Failure! Failure! Failure!" It is very funny that people tend to focus more on failure (negative) than success (positive). Apart from this, I had to face many negative comments about the doctors and facilities in UH. Someone who didn't really understand my disease even advised me not to go for transplant at all.

How did I shield myself from this negative environment? The very first thing to do was to relax and trust my Lord Jesus completely. Do whatever I could do and leave whatever that is beyond my control to Him. His is my pilot, it is definitely my wish to land safely, but if I ‘crashed’, I am very sure I would crash into heaven :-)

See you next post :-)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Day +196

I am fine today. Continue from yesterday…

About 2 months before the transplant, blood stem cells are collected from my third sister. Most of these stem cells reside in the bone marrow and there are only a small number of them ‘escaped’ into the blood stream (peripheral blood). As collecting stem cells from bone marrow is an invasive and painful procedure, peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs) become an excellent alternative.

In order to make sure that there are enough stem cells in the peripheral blood, the donor is given Neupogen injection twice per day over a period of four days. This stimulates the bone marrow to produce many stem cells so that they ‘flood’ the blood stream. During the stem cells collection, blood from the donor is drawn from one arm to a machine which filters out the stem cells. The blood is then returned to the body through the other arm. A typical collection took about 8 hours to complete, but the lab only took 2 hours to collect sufficient stem cells from my sister. I attributed this fast collection to her ‘heavy weight’ body which carries bigger number of stem cells. Who say big size is no good? :-)

If the lab fails to collect stem cells through the arm due to small veins or vague veins, they have to collect them from the groin which is more painful and inconvenient. In order to make her veins on the arm big and apparent, my sister came to my house everyday to do ‘weight lifting’ and ‘weight throwing’ using my daughter Adriel :-)

I really appreciate my sister’s determination in donating her stem cells to me. It is her stem cells that produce blood in my body now. In other words, we share the same blood. You see, how closely related are we?

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Day +195

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

We were very nervous to wait for the HLA typing result. The probability of finding a match in a sibling is 25%. Since I have 8 brothers and sisters, we should find two matches. However, we came to know earlier that a patient with 12 siblings failed to find a match. If I could not find a match, I have to find a non-sibling donor whose HLA type matches mine and this type of transplant is more complicated. The fact that this type of transplant has to be done abroad would also increase greatly my financial burden.

Everyone in the family was relieved when the HLA typing results showed that my third sister’s HLA type match mine. In fact, we least expect her to be the donor because she is ‘heavy weight’, having hypertension and stomach problem. In addition to this, she is very sleepy :-) I wrote about her sleepiness on my blog Day +20 :-)

Now we have to repent because we 'looked down' upon her initially:-( She is now my hero :-) And I praise God, the greatest hero in my heart, who provided the one and only and the best match for me :-)

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Day +194

I am fine today. Now back to talk about my pre-transplant preparation and struggle. Continue from my blog Day +158.

As explained in my blog Day +157, in order to find a suitable donor, all of my 8 brothers and sisters did a HLA typing. The test was done in UH and each test cost RM550. The total amount that I paid was 8 x RM550 + RM550 (myself) = RM4400.

I issued 3 cheques to UH on 21 January, 22 February and 23 February 2006 with a total amount of RM4400. Do you know what happened to the cheques? Not even cleared by now!

About 4 months after I issued the cheques, a man called Zakaria met my brother Richard in UH to discuss the payment. We did not know who he was. He took out the three cheques and suggested Richard to exchange them with cash. In order to encourage us to hand him cash, he said he would give us a discount of RM550. A ‘win-win’ solution, isn’t it? However, Richard declined. After this, they lose interest totally at the cheques until they ‘forgot’ to bank them in.

This thing corrupted people mind, corrupted the administration and then corrupted the nation. This is merely the tip of an iceberg (冰山一角). There were so many promises that these things will be ‘handled’ by the ‘top’, but the greatest ‘win-win’ deals are struck on the ‘top’. I looked at this as a top-down syndrome. The tremendous amount of effortless income generated through these deals make the ‘top’ too weak to handle themselves :-( Sigh! This is another Malaysia Boleh!

They returned the three cheques to me on 21 December 2006 and requested me to send them new one because they were expired. I will definitely pay them. However, how do I know next year this time they won’t return the new cheque again and ask me to issue another one?

Never mind-lah, be patient. I will just wait until they ‘beg’ me frantically for the cheque before issuing them a new one. This is to make sure that they will bank in this time before the 6 months expiry period.

See you next post :-)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Day +193

I am fine today.

My wife cooked very delicious Hainan Chicken Rice for dinner today using the organic kampung chicken that I purchased a few days ago. Five adults and two children managed to finish the 2kg chicken.

A photo of the chicken rice :-) Click to get a larger view.

See you next post :-)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Day +192

I am fine today.

I moved out from the isolated room to sleep in the master bed room together with my wife and children now. The once isolated room is no longer isolated anymore. It is now occupied by two of my nieces who came from Sarawak yesterday. They just completed their form six exams. They came here to work as temporary teachers in my wife’s school.

Their parents asked them to assist me in whatever ways they can to reduce my burden. These two nieces did not do much house work at home. Hopefully, they can pick up the house work as fast as possible so that I can go to work in the office as soon as possible. To me, working in office is a lot more enjoyable than doing house work.

I believe the happiest person to know that I shifted out from the isolated room is my nephew. This is because he had been ‘banned’ from using the commonly attached toilet since I came back from bone marrow transplant. Now the ‘ban’ is uplifted. He no longer needs to rush to up stair during the midnight to use the toilet there.

Very often, I heard very urgent footstep rushing up stair in the midnight which is followed almost immediately by the sound, “HeeHaa! HeeeHaaa! HeeeeHaaaa! …” Of course this sound is created by my nephew. It is not because he has difficulty in passing motion but because he tried very hard to clear mucus in his nose.

He has nasal sensitivity problem which resulted in a lot of mucus accumulates in his nose. In order to clear his nose, he has to suck in ‘tremendous’ amount of air and make use of this air to push out the mucus. I think it is more or less like how the airplane turbine work :-) The “Heee” sound is generated while he sucks in the air and “Haaa” sound is generated while he pushes it out.

With his using the toilet on the same floor as we sleep, we will soon have to bear this powerful, strong and noisy “HeeHaa” sounds in the midnight. Never mind-lah, just treat it as a ‘twine turbine airplane’ landing in the toilet :-)

See you next post :-)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Day +191

I am fine today.

My maid supposed to come back yesterday after almost 6 weeks of holiday. She called me in the yearly morning informing me that she was not coming. The only thing that I could say is “OK” in a gentle tone. What else can I say? “Not K” or simply ‘jump’ into the telephone and get transmitted there to teach her a lesson?

Nothing can change the fact that she decided not to come back no matter how I react. I could choose to react angrily or gently. Reacting angrily is definitely not good for my health. In fact, it doubles my losses (losses due to she did not come back + losses due to the negative effect of angriness bring to my health).

Richard said I should hold part of her salary to force her come back to work as promised. But if she has no interest to work anymore, coming back because of the unclaimed salary might cause more trouble than not.

How much do I lost? The returning air ticket (240) and holiday letter (RM70) cost me RM 310 only. If she comes back to work, she will get the salary for the 6 weeks holiday and she can claim all her traveling expenses in Indonesia.

How much do I gain? I do not need to pay her for the 6 weeks holiday (RM750) and all the traveling expenses in Indonesia (about RM400). So the total gain that I make is approximately RM1150. The net gain that I make is RM1150 – RM310 = RM840 :-) I win!

My career as a house husband has to be prolonged. My head is now ‘spinning’ thinking of those house works: cleaning, cooking, shopping, taking care of children and etc. Everyday is the same :-(

How I wish I could work quietly and comfortably in the office like you.

See you next post :-)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Day +190

I am fine today. Continue from yesterday...

The chicken seller also told me that his chicken sales increased by about 30% recently due to the exposure of the use of Beta-Agonist in pig farm. Many people including me dare not consume pork now. However, I am not so much influenced by this since I consume pork rarely even before the Beta-Agonist issue.

In order to find out more, I visited the pork seller stalls to see how they are doing. The situation there is really bad (惨不忍睹). Very few people purchase pork and the woman pork seller whom I bought pork occasionally with was not there. I wanted to ‘interview’ her about the effect of Beta-Agonist on their business and learned how to distinguish if the pork meat contains Beta-Agonist. You see, I am now tried to be as busy body as my eldest sister who always ask tons of questions (问到底) in order to understand something. Anyway, I am still at the beginning level. When I saw that the woman was not there, my interest of ‘interviewing’ pork sellers waned quickly.

This is not the case with my eldest sister, she would talk to anybody that she can find until she understand. Very often, she found out that she missed to understand something or forgot to ask some questions when she reached home. She will then come back again the next day to ask the questions :-) I see her as a busy body Kamikaze. (敢死队队员)

There was very little pork laid on the table. As what a busy body usually does, I stopped by the store to start evaluating the pork to see if Beta-Agonist was used even though I had no intention to buy it. My conclusion was that this pork still contains Beta-Agonist for two reasons: firstly, the fat meat was very thin and secondly the marble like structure on the meat was not apparent.

I asked my youngest brother Richard whether he still eat pork. “Why not, we have been eating it (together with Beta-Agonist) for so long. Why do we need to be afraid of it now?” he answered without any hesitation. Another Kamikaze in my family. This one is pork eater Kamikaze :-)

See you next post :-)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Day +189

I am fine today.

I went to the wet market early this morning to buy some chickens, ducks and fishes. This is the first time I went to wet market since my bone marrow transplant. Even though I wore mask rarely recently, I still wore mask when I visited the market because to my perception, this wet market is bacteria breeding ground.

After finish buying the fishes, I went to buy chickens. I asked the chicken seller whether his Kampung Chickens (菜园鸡) contain beta-agonist (长肉剂) residue. He answered quickly, “No, no, in fact it is organic.” Then he explained further why they are considered organic. The main reason is that these chickens are feed on natural foods and no drug like beta-agonist and antibiotics are used.

Apart from this, these chickens are reared for more than 100 days before they get pushed out to the market for sale, therefore no growth hormone is needed. In contrast, the normal chickens are only reared for 50 days. The Kampung Chickens (菜园鸡) costs RM10 per kg while the normal chicken cost only RM5.5 per kg. This translated to about RM5 per 50 days per kg, which means RM0.1 per day per kg. The super-organic chickens that my sisters used to send from Sarawak are reared for about 180 days. So 1kg of such chicken should costs 180xRM0.1 = RM18. This in fact is the price that they pay for the super-organic chickens there. With this, I can straight away tell what type of chickens that I get based on the price :-)

I discovered a new formula, clever me! I learned this self-praise attitude from Joseph, he always praise himself by saying, “Perfect!” after he finished a job, even if he screwed up the job. Like son like father (有其子必有其父) :-)

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Day +188

I am fine today. Continue from yesterday…

This half an hour disturbance caused me havoc. I had to speed up everything to the extent that I need to take bath while cooking the Beehon :-( How to achieve this? Simple :-) First, fry the ingredients, then pour in water and then quickly rush to the bath room to take bath. Rush back to kitchen before the water started to boil. You have about 2-3 minutes to take bath, anything longer than this might turn everything in the wok into charcoals :-)

I did not have chance to put on my cloth before I need to continue my cooking. Seeing me frying the Beehon naked, this busy body Joseph came and asked, “Baba, why you need to take off cloth to cook?”

After the cooking, I rushed to my sister’s house to borrow her car. There are two possible routes from my house to UH. One is through Jalan Puchong and the other through Federal Highway. I decided to use Jalan Puchong this time, but not long after driving, I encountered heavy traffic jam. Then I started to feel regret to choose this route and imagine how smooth the traffic is on the other route. I believe if I choose to use Federal Highway and hit a traffic jam there, I would also imagine how smooth the traffic is on Jalan Puchong. Whichever way I choose, I would always think that I make wrong decision when caught in a traffic jam. This type of thinking always makes me unhappy.

Rather than feeling sorry to choose the wrong route, why not assume that the traffic on the other route is much worse than this? This will definitely make us happy because we think that we are so clever and have made a damp good decision, even amidst a heavy traffic jam :-)

See you next post.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Day +187

My Blood Count Today:
Red Blood Count (RBC) = 126(Normal 130-180)
Platelet = 137(Normal 150-450)
White Blood Count (WBC) = 3.6(Normal 4 - 11)
Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) = 1.8 (Normal 1.5 - 8.0)

I went to UH to do my follow-up this morning. The white blood count dropped from 4.4 to 3.6. It looks like it is still fluctuating. The platelet and red blood count (Haemoglobin) have been increasing consistently over the past 4 months.

Doctor reduced my daily Ciclosporin (anti-GVHD) intake from 50mg to 25mg and my next follow-up will be one month later.

My wife went to work early in the morning and my maid is still having her holiday. So without me, my mother-in-law has to take care of baby Aaron, Adriel and Joseph. With this, it is very difficult for her to prepare lunch. So I volunteered to fry Singapore Style Beehon (星洲米粉) for lunch before going to hospital.

While I was busy preparing the ingredients for Beehon, the bank called me to inform me that my current account was overdrawn. I had to top it up immediately, but still be penalized RM50 for this. At that time, I just couldn’t figure out what caused the overdrawn, I always monitor the balance ‘properly’ before issuing cheques.

When I checked my account online, I only realized that four cheques that I issued to UH for CMV testing after my bone marrow transplant were only cleared on 5 January this year. These cheques were issued on 2 August, 7 August, 24 August and 29 September last year. Since they were issued so long ago, I already ‘lost track’ of them.

What took it more than four months just to clear a cheque? Sigh! This is Malaysia Boleh! Even receive money also lazy. What can we expect from them?

Anyway, this is how some of the government departments work. The UH medical team is excellent :-)

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Day +186

I am fine today. I would like to share with you again some of the content of my sharing during the New Year countdown.

There are two main things I would like to thank God, all of them due with life. The first thing is I am alive. I stayed in hospital on and off for a total of 150 days as a treatment of Leukemia since November 2005 until August 2006. These included four rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.

During the early stage of my bone marrow transplant, I noticed that my ward had wireless internet access. Without any delay, I setup this blog to inform family members and friends about my progress. My first post was one day before the infusion of my sister’s stem cells (actual transplant day or Day 0). In that post, I explained briefly the transplant procedure and risks that I was going to face. Upon reading my blog, one of my brother-in-laws told my eldest sister that my blog was not readable (不堪入目). I don’t know why it was not readable. Most probably he was so scared by the risks that I mentioned until he felt that those who read the blog will be in danger as well (连看的人也有危险):-)

The second thing that I would like to thank God is that a new life is born into my family. This baby boy who was born during my fourth round of chemotherapy is eight and half months old now. He is healthy and cute :-) Of course, parents will always see their own child the cutest in this world and to speak frankly, I am no exception :-)

A happy baby Aaron :-) Click on the photo to get a larger one.

See you next post :-)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Day +185

I am fine today.

I brought my family to Taman Bukit Jalil (Bukit Jalil Garden) this morning. It is a very big garden with children playgrounds, fish ponds, jogging tracks, themed houses and many other facilities. Due to my sickness, I am not able to bring my family to this garden for the pass one year.

It is the best garden nearby my house for jogging, family or group outdoor activities. I would like to share with you some of the photos taken this morning. As usual, you can click on the photos to get a larger view.

A family photo.

One of the children playgrounds.

Children are feeding the fishes. They generously gave all their honey stars (their breakfast) to the fishes. Sssh! Don't tell my mother-in-law.

There are numerous cat fishes in the ponds. What do you have in mind when you see these fishes? For gluttonous people like me, I always wonder how do they taste. Unfortunately, fishing is strictly prohibited there :-(

See you next post :-)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Day +184

I am fine today. My red eyes problem is completely cured. This shows that my immune system is working :-)

I appreciate and love life very much now and I believe this somehow influences my buying decision. You see, Life is too precious for me not to buying it or I just couldn't refrain myself from purchasing it.

May be eating these Life sauces can increase my life level. Something like this always happen in computer games :-)

Sandra, if you could not find this Life sauces in UK, I can send you some:-)

See you next post :-)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Day +183

I am fine today.

My wife and I noticed our Daithasu Charade started to produce “Gik, Gik” noise after we drove it for some distance. We could not figure out where did the noises came from. I worried the noise is coming from the transplanted engine due to overheat again. A few days before the old engine ‘melt down’ due to overheat last time, I heard such noises as well. This made me very nervous. If the engine gave me problem again, my wife and Daniel have to go to school using mountain bikes. Cheaper :-)

In order to avoid ‘The Melt Down 2’, I brought the car to the workshop this afternoon. I drove the car with one of the mechanics first for a short distance to let him hear the noise, and then leave the car at the workshop for them to check.

At about 6:00pm, I called the workshop owner. He told me he could not hear the noise, even after test drive the car on KESAS Highway for almost one hour together with the mechanic who heard the noise earlier. They also took turn to drive and ‘drive fast, drive slow’, but the engine behaves very well no matter what they did. This puzzled me. Could it be the workshop owner’s weight made the car ‘dare not’ produced the noise? He is a big heavy weight guy who is about double my size. If this is not the case, then the car was trying to hide the problem, just like when I wanted to bring Adriel to see doctor yesterday, she told me, “My ear is not painful. My ear is not smelly. Not need to see doctor.” But after she saw the doctor, she thought that I have to see doctor as well and keep on saying, “You have not see doctor, you must see doctor.”

In the end, I test drive with the heavy weight guy for a short distance and I am relieved to hear the noise again. He said, “Funny, funny! I definitely don't hear this just now.” Upon hearing the noise, he immediately pointed out that the noise came from the wire which connects the wheel to the speed meter. After applying some grease to it, the noise was gone :-) No charge :-)

Getting a right guy to service the car is important. An inexperienced mechanic might ‘open’ the car and do a lot of unnecessary works to fix the problem and then charge you a big sum of money for his on-the-job training.

See you next post :-)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Day +182

I am fine today. This is an extremely busy day.

I waked up at 5:30am this morning together with my wife and Daniel. After they went to school at 6:30am, I rushed to UH (University Hospital) to let the nurse drew my blood samples for a research. Actually, I could go anytime during office hour, but I rather go early to beat the traffic.

I reached home from UH at about 7:45am. Then I took my breakfast, swept and mopped the floor, clean the toys, then taking care of Aaron and Adriel while wrapping and labeling the books for Joseph.

I brought Adriel to see a doctor after Joseph went to school. She complained she had smelly and painful ear last night. I cleaned her outer ear using cotton bud and found smelly yellowish discharge on the cotton bud. The discharge was cleared after a few cleaning, but the girl insisted that there was still a little bit of them left in the ear and forced me to continue cleaning her ear. I cleaned her ear and showed her the clean cotton bud to prove that there was no discharge left in the year, but she disagreed. So I had to continue cleaning her right ear until she was satisfied with the cleaning :-( It was almost midnight by then, so I slept for about 5 hours only.

In the afternoon, I brought my wife to have her annual eyes examination at Optimax, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. At night, Daniel and I managed to finish wrapping and labeling all books. We worked until very late because there are too many books to wrap :-( No wonder, Daniel cried on Tuesday when I ‘commanded’ him to wrap all books, including Joseph’s. Fortunately, he helped me tonight; else I have to ‘cry’ also seeing the big piles of books to wrap.

Hopefully, as things settle down, I can relax more tomorrow.

See you next post :-)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Day +181

I am fine today. My wife and I are very busy preparing the two boys for school tomorrow.

As promised yesterday, I would like to share with you some of the content of my sharing during the New Year countdown.

The opening of the sharing is as follow:



I do not know how to translate it to English properly, but the meaning is roughly as follow:

It’s a miracle that I live

Life is not without miracles,
It is because I don’t see it as miracles,
Life is full of miracles,
But I asked, “Miracle! Where are you?”
Life is too natural, to the extent that I take it for granted.
Until one day, I was sick,
I realize in a sudden, that nature is in fact miracles.
It’s a miracle that I live.

The more I understand how our body works, the more I see how ‘supernatural’ our body is. There are millions of processes running miraculously in the body to sustain a life. If it is not miracle, what else can it be?

See you next post :-)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Day +180

I am fine today, but still with red eyes. I believe the problem will subside in a few days time.

I managed to upload the audio file of yesterday’s sharing. It is a 2.8MB mp3 file. The sharing was done in Chinese. If you know Chinese and would like to listen to the sharing, you can to download it here .

I will post some of the content of the sharing the next few days.

See you next post :-)