Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Day +238 : Appreciate Life - Part 1

I am fine today. I would like to share with you what I shared during the first day of Chinese New Year in my church. I will post the sharing audio and the original Chinese version for you tomorrow. I try my best to translate the first part of the sharing today.

Appreciate Life – Part 1

Last year today, I was receiving my chemotherapy treatment in hospital. This year today, I am here sharing with you. Where am I next year today? I wouldn’t know, but one thing that I am very sure is that my Lord Jesus leads me closely everyday. I would like to stress again: Life is good, it is a miracle that I live, and not only this, it is also a miracle that we all live. No one could live by himself or herself, it is God who sustains our life each and every tick of a second.

When I ponder about life, I see three types of people: someone wants life without life, someone has life don’t want life, and someone would like to take away other’s life

Someone wants life without life
We see many people struggling for their life in hospital; receiving intensive treatment just would like to extend their life a little bit further. Because they know without life, they lose everything. These includes: relationships, wealth, status etc. While we are still living, we should appreciate what we have. While interacting with people, we should be more tolerate, passion, soft, understanding, exercise self control and not too stubborn. Appreciate and enjoy the wonderful life that God bestow us.

Some has life don’t want life
More and more people tend to give up life after encountering certain degree of setbacks. This is because they valued non-life substances such as relationship, wealth, status more than their life. They would surely not give up their life if they could see that life is in fact a lot more valuable than all those things, and even praise God in difficult situation because they still possess the most valuable blessing from God – Life.

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Day +237

I am fine today, back to office after long Chinese New Year break.

A student came to interview me this afternoon regarding my cancer treatment experiences. She is doing a study called “The Underlying Causes of Cancer Kills: The perception towards the diagnosis of cancer influences the attitude of cancer patients on their care management and emotional well being.”

I post part of the interview here.

How much you know about cancer before your diagnosis?
In fact, I know very little about cancer, even at this moment. Before I was diagnosed with Leukaemia, I know generally cancer is a result of uncontrolled proliferation of cells in certain part of our body. My knowledge of cancer is still more or less the same now except I have a better understanding of different types of blood related cancers and their treatments: things such as a bone marrow transplant is in fact quite a common way to treat blood related diseases such as Leukeamia, Lymphoma and even anemia.

What did you feel when you were diagnosed with cancer?
I said to myself, “I found a new job!” I felt that I had a very important thing to do now; to encounter a challenge in life which is bigger than any that I met before. Accept the fact that I had this disease, face the challenge!

How did you regulate for your emotional well-being?
My Christianity faith gives me a very strong foundation in facing challenges in life. Trust the Lord all time and believe that He will lead me through whatever circumstances – even if I need to leave this world. The most important thing is to have hope and this hope can mean different thing to different people. To me, I have hope of eternal life – a life with my Lord Jesus in heaven where there is no sorrow and suffering. I am just a pilgrim of this world; my eternal home is heaven.

How is your care management in terms of pain, anxiety, lifestyle, etc?
Again trust the Lord, surrender everything to Him. Do whatever I could do and leave whatever beyond my control to God. Do not give ways to negative comments. As what I said in my Day +197 blog: “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 :-)”

What is your opinion towards cancer now? Does cancer kill? or it is cause by other factors?
Based on what I see throughout my treatment, the answer of this question can be ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Cancer does kill but in certain circumstances other factors such as emotional well being, attitude while receiving the treatment and arriving on right treatment decision are equal important to achieve successful treatment. For example, at one occasion, a mother whose daughter was diagnosed with blood cancer told me that her daughter was scared to death. On the other hand, I also see very positive individual failed the treatment.

See you next post :-)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Day +236

My Blood Count Today:
Red Blood Count (RBC) = 130(Normal 130-180)
Platelet = 160(Normal 150-450)
White Blood Count (WBC) = 7.8(Normal 4 - 11)
Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) = 6.474 (Normal 1.5 - 8.0)
Potassium = 3.3 (Normal 3.5 - 5.2)
Magnesium = 0.84 (Normal 0.65 - 1.05)
ALT = 137 (Normal < 51 )
AST = 42 (Normal < 41)

I am fine today.

I went to do my follow-up this morning. The white blood count doubled compared to last follow-up reading. I forgot to ask about the reason for this surge, but given that the ANC and platelet are also increased, this reading should be fine. The liver function was recovering too :-)

Since the GVHD is now under control, doctor cut down the steroid Prednisolone to 12 tablets (60mg) per day instead of 24 tablets (60mg). On the other hand, the Ciclosporin dosage has to be doubled. You see, this is how doctor manages a post-transplant patient: never over suppresses the immune system so that it misses the chance to clear up the leukaemic cells, but at the same time, has to prevent the immune system be too strong to attack the host organs.

With this incident, doctor predicted that I have to take anti-GVHD drug for a longer period of time.

Doctor also prescribed folic acid due to decreasing count of red blood cells in my blood. In addition to this, I was given Famotidine tablets to prevent stomach related complication such as heartburn or stomach ulcer.

My next follow-up will be two weeks later in the Monday’s afternoon General clinic.

See you next post :-)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Day +235

I am fine today.

My mouth-throat condition and rashes are getting better. Rashes almost disappear completely and they are not itchy at all now. However, my mouth is still white and dry. I also notice that my eyes sight is poorer than before as I experience difficulty in reading distant characters which I normally be able to read easily.

Anyway, life goes on as usual. I attended church service this morning and last night I attended another Chinese New Year dinner at one of our church member’s house :-) I am also getting busier to prepare the two boys for coming school exam.

I post some photos from the last night New Year dinner for you to enjoy :-)

Lao Sheng (捞生) together with the pastor and church elders.

The main dish for the night was Popiah. The ingredients for the Popiah came from different members.

Another popular foods for the night was rendang chicken.

See you next post :-)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Day +234

I am fine today.

We are born rich! After reading this post you should never complain that you are poor.

As mentioned earlier, the GVHD attacked my saliva glands and tear glands, making my mouth and eyes very dry. In order to moisturize my mouth, I have to rinse my mouth regularly with Biotene mouthwash which cost RM20.00 per 240ml. It is just like artificial saliva, but contains only 4 enzymes out of 10 enzymes found in our saliva. So it is considered to be an inferior product compared to the real saliva. The Vidisic ophthalmic gel and artificial tears that I use to moisturize my dry eyes are definitely less superior to the real tears too.

These are just two examples of vital substances that our body secretes to ensure our body functions adequately. There are countless other top quality substances our body produces every single tick of a second in sufficient amount to lubricate our body, to help defend infections, to digest food, to regulate our body’s functions such as maintaining temperature, minerals, fats, waters and etc.

Adding all those substances together make us more than a billionaire instantly. Bear in mind that I need to spend at least RM1500 per month in medication just to regulate a small part of my body’s function. If everything needs to be controlled externally – which is sure impossible to do – how much do I need to pay per month? If a substance produced by our body costs RM0.10 per day and our body produces a million of different substances, we are generating an income of RM100,000.00 per day!

One very important factor that empowers such tremendous earning capability of our body is our life. Life is wonderful! Life is great! Let us appreciate our life. No matter how much trouble we are experiencing now – poverty, relationship problem, sickness, and suffering - never think of give up life. We may be poor externally, but we are incredibly rich internally :-)

Let us thank God, for it is His grace that sustains our life every tick of a second, free of charge :-)

See you next post :-)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Day +233

I am fine today.

I believe my body is responding quite well to steroid Prednisolone in suppressing the GVHD. My mouth and throat is no longer painful tought they are still dry with white spots. The rashes on my body are significantly reduced and they become less itchy now. However, my eyes are still dry.

I hope my liver function will improve also. Anyway, this can only be confirmed with a blood test on the coming Monday. If the ALT and AST level drop, then it is very likely the GVHD is under control.

In the evening, my youngest brother Richard invited my family to have a steamboat dinner in his house. As usual, the steamboat ingredients included prawn and sotong (squid) which most people believe to be poisonous (很毒). As such, many people advised me not to touch those foods, and I swear I didn’t eat any of them tonight. But I must admit that I drank quite a lot of their essence because there are plenty of sotong and prawn found in the steamboat soup which I drank quite a lot :-)

If you are worried why I am so gluttonous and stubborn, don’t want to listen to people’s advice. Nothing much I can do :-( Perhaps, one way to reduce your worry is to trust the sotong and squid essence will in fact relieve my GVHD condition through the ‘以毒攻毒’ (Poison cures poison) principle :-)

See you next post :-)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Day +232

I am fine today.

"Lucky that you come today," doctor told me yesterday. This is because this GVHD comes very fierce :-( In this kind of situation, no one is superman. I thank God that I had made a right decision by calling my friend and listened to his advice to visit the hematologist yesterday. I thought I could 'tahan' (stand) until Monday's appointment. In fact, my eldest sister also keeps pushing me to see hematologist team in UH earlier.

The BMT nurses that I described my symptoms to in Day +230 did her job very well. She made an ad-hoc arrangement with the day care unit in the ward. When I came to the ward, the necessary document was already prepared :-)

I described my situation to some of the BMT nurses, they advised me to take care of my eyes carefully; else the cornea might be 'koyak' (torn).In order to protect my eyes, I apply Vidisic Ophthalmic gel at short interval now. In addition to this, I have to rinse my mouth regularly with Biotene mouthwash. It is an alcohol-free mouthwash that contains enzymes normally found in our saliva. I searched this mouthwash in 3 pharmacies in Puchong on Day +230 but none of them were selling it. Fortunately, the pharmacy in UH had stock.

The new medication that I am taking or applying is as follow (Click to view a large one):

From left to right are steroid Prednisolone, Vidisic Ophthalmic gel and Biotene mouthwash. I have to swallow 24 Prednisolone tablets a day; 12 in the morning and the remaining at night. I joked to my wife that the tablets are Viagra :-) "How do you know?" she asked. "It is blue in colour," I answered :-)

I post photos of my mouth-throat condition and rashes for references only. If you are not ready to see the condition, please avoid clicking the link.

A photo of mouth-throat condition is available here.

A photo of rashes is available here.

See you next post :-)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Day +231

My Blood Count Today:
Red Blood Count (RBC) = 126(Normal 130-180)
Platelet = 126(Normal 150-450)
White Blood Count (WBC) = 3.8(Normal 4 - 11)
Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) = 2.204 (Normal 1.5 - 8.0)
Potassium = 4.3(Normal 3.5 - 5.2)
ALT = 220(Normal <51 )
AST = 110(Normal < 41)

I am fine today.

I went to do non-routine checkup this morning in UH. The ALT and AST doubled compared to last follow-up’s reading. This means my liver function is degrading. Together with sore and dry mouth and throat, dry eyes and body rashes, doctor said that it is very likely I am having acute GVHD instead of chronic GVHD.

Doctor also performed a skin biopsy for me in the afternoon to confirm that the rashes are caused by GVHD. This is the first time I went through the procedure. Local anesthetic was given and then a small piece of skin was peeled off from my abdomen. I did not experience much pain throughout the procedure but it left four stitches on my abdomen to cover up the wound :-(

Doctor prescribed me a steroid tablet called Prednisolone to treat the GVHD. It is used to treat some inflammatory disease (reduces swelling) and at the same time also acts as an immunosuppressive agent to control GVHD. Since my throat is inflamed and I have GVHD, the drug is just like the stone that manages to kill two birds :-) (一石二鸟)

My next follow-up will still be next Monday. Since I need to be monitored more regularly from now on due to acute GVHD, I will be followed up in the day care unit in the hematology ward instead of the G clinic.

Will the condition getting worse? I do not know but doctor said that this condition is quite easy to treat :-) I just pray that what he said is true.

See you next post :-)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Day +230

I am still fine today, but not as fine as before.

It is no joke to have GVHD! The sign of GVHD on my body especially the mouth is getting more and more apparent each day. My whole mouth including the tongue turns white now. I have to moisturize my mouth with water from time to time because it is very dry. I also have mouth pain and sore throat especially while swallowing :-(

In addition to mouth problem, itchy rashes grows all over my body :-( And not only this, my eyes turned sticky and dry too :-( These are all signs of chronic GVHD.

Since today is still public holiday, I cannot go back to UH to see my doctor. I thought of seeing a doctor in a nearby clinic to at least temporarily relieve some of my symptoms like dry mouth, sticky eyes and itchy rashes so that I can bear the discomfort until my appointment on next Monday. When I was just about to enter the clinic, I suddenly had an idea of calling a friend who was battling chronic GVHD for 5 years. He strongly advised me to go back to UH tomorrow to let the doctor assess my situation. He said he experienced all what I am experiencing now. With this, I turned away from the clinic, bought an eye drop from Guardian, and then went home.

I later described my situation to a BMT nurse over the phone. She also advised me to go back to see doctor tomorrow. She is so good that she called me back again offering me many tips to relieve my discomfort :-)

See you next post :-)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Day +229

I am fine today.

On the first day of Chinese New Year last year, I was still doing chemotherapy in the hematology ward. On the same day this year, I felt that I should go back to the ward to visit patients even though I alreay don’t know most of them.

So yesterday evening, I went to hematology ward in UH, bringing a bag of Mandarin oranges, two packs of 3-in-1 oat and one bottle of chocolate sweets. Within an hour, I visited all patients in the ward, giving each of them a Madarin orange :-) Some of the patients smile while receiving the orange and a few Indian and Malay patients even wished me “Gong Xi Fa Cai”.

The 3-in-1 oat was reserved for the bone marrow transplant patients because they cannot eat fruits during transplant. However, the transplant patient had been discharged before the New Year. And you guess who did I give the ‘unhealthy’ chocolate sweets to? The nurses :-)

I told a few of the patients I was like them a year ago, receiving treatment in the ward during Chinese New Year. I tried my best to encourage some of them and in some occasions I also shared my treatment experience especially on bone marrow transplant with them.

I don’t know how the patients felt while seeing me, but I was definitely happier after the visit. I don’t know why. It may be due to the effect of “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”(施比受更为有福) Acts 20:35 :-)

See you next post :-)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Day +228

I am fine today.

My family and I went to the church to attend Sunday service this morning. This is the first time ever our church has conducted a service during Chinese New Year. Given that many people including the pastor's family went back to their home town to celebrate Chinese New Year, a turn up of about 30 people including the children is very encouraging :-)

I wish everyone of you a healthy and happy Chinese New Year! Click on the card to make the lanterns blink :-)

Wait until the word 'Play' appears and then click on it :-)

See you next post :-)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Day +227

I am fine today.

Like past years, my family and I celebrated Chinese New Year in Puchong, Selangor. I went to wet market at 5:00am this morning to do some shopping for New Year Eve Dinner. The hawkers in the market marked up the price of some New Year items incredibly. One kg of broccoli cost RM10.00 for example :-(. In hypermarket like TESCO, it cost less than RM4.00 per kg. Unfortunately, it is out of stock since yesterday. After comparing the price, I conclude that tremendous saving could be achieved if we shop in hypermarket instead of wet market.

I taught my nieces to cook the deep-fried sea food Tofu. They did the job very well :-) My wife told me the Tofu tasted better than the one that I cooked. 名师出高徒.( An accomplished disciple owes his accomplishment to his great teacher) :-)

A photo of the Tofu they cook :-)

I cooked pineapple pork rib this time.

The dish that my mother-in-law cook: very delicious dry shark fin. This dish is one of her specialties. We use the real shark fin. A handful of it cost RM50.00.

My family and my fourth sister’s family together with my two nieces and a nephew who is studying in UPM have Chinese New Year dinner together. My sister also prepared many dishes including mixed vegetables, stewed duck, sea cucumber soup, herb chicken, steam fish and etc.

This is a group photo that we take after the dinner.

Last year this time, I was staying in the hospital doing my chemotherapy. I am so glad and thankful to God that this time I am able to celebrate Chinese New Year with my family.

See you next post :-)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Day +226

I am fine today.

Before going for the bone marrow transplant, doctor warned me the possible side effects of a bone marrow transplant. “Quality of life may change,” she said. However she did not mention how it would change; better or worse.

Doctor spotted white spots in my mouth during my last follow-up (Day +222), which she attributed to graft versus host disease (GVHD). However, I failed to find these white spots when I checked my mouth through mirror at that time. Now my mouth is full of white spots and my taste buds begin to change as well. It is very difficult to explain how they change clearly. In summary, all foods taste a little bit bitter.

I don’t know how much it would change in future. My son Daniel once asked me why all unhealthy foods are delicious and healthy foods are not delicious, which I don’t have an answer yet. Now I just pray that my test buds will be reversed so that all healthy foods are delicious and unhealthy foods are not delicious. With this, I will crave for healthy foods naturally; no longer need to force myself to take healthy food :-) In the end, the quality of life do change; it becomes better:-)

Apart from white spots in the mouth, itchy rashes starts to appear on my body; another sign of GVHD I believe. I have to wait for the doctor to confirm this on my next follow-up on 26 February. In the mean time, I would just enjoy the delicious Chinese New Year dishes before they turn undelicious :-)

See you next post :-)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Day +225

I am fine today.

Our church organized a Chinese New Year potluck dinner yesterday. My family brought two dishes to the potluck. One was mixed vegetable salad and the other was deep-fried special seafood Tofu.

The delicous mixed vegetable salad was prepared by my mother-in-law.

The Tofu was cooked by me. A few attendees said that the Tofu was more delicious than the restaurant’s. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to taste it. When I started to eat after finished feeding my daughter Adriel, none left :-(

Some of the foods served at the potluck.After the potluck, I helped my wife to type her school test paper. Not like last time, the test paper nowadays uses a lot of diagrams. Neither one of us can draw well. As usual, I had to scan diagrams into the computer through a scanner.

The deadline for test paper submission is today. Thus, we had to complete the paper no matter how tired we are. At one point of time, I was almost fallen asleep on top on the scanner:-( By the time I got the test paper printed, it was already 1:00am in the morning.

Even though I was exhausted, it is still worth to do it because yesterday is Valentine’s Day :-) If my wife heard this, she will insist that everyday is Valentine’s Day in order to make me feel worthy to help her anytime :-)

See you next post :-)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Day +224

I am fine today.

Warning: It is too dangerous to forget what day is today. If you did, the consequences can be disastrous :-)

I wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day!

Wish you a Happy Valentine's Day!

Click 'Play' and choose the rose that you want :-)

See you next post :-)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Day +223

I am fine today.

I brought Aaron to see a child specialist this morning. He started to cough with phlegm few days ago and started to have fever lately. We gave him Paracetamol (Panadol) solution to reduce his body temperature. It worked quite well initially, but his fever recurs sooner and sooner. In addition to this, his cough is also getting worst.

The doctor said that his condition is not very good because he is experiencing whizzing cough and shortness of breadth. His lungs are infected by virus and may be bacteria. This causes the thickening of airways in the lungs. To treat this, she prescribed him antibiotic.

We had to nebulize him for 20 minutes to relieve his breathing difficulty and we need to give him another one tonight. The nebulizer directs the vaporized Combivent through a chamber to his nose. This made him cried for 20 minutes :-(

It all started with Adriel, and then Joseph (vomiting and diarrhea with fever) and now it is Aaron’s turn. We warned Daniel seriously to keep himself away from others and maintain a high level of hygiene; else he might end up with disease during the Chinese New Year :-( I have to ask my wife to issue the same warning to me so that I would be extra careful while taking care of them :-)

It is not easy to be in the family ‘disease season’; waking up midnight to feed the children medicine, lulling them to sleep, cleaning work after they vomit or having diarrhea etc. No matter how tired we are, we still feel that it is worth to do it. Why? Because they are our children and we feel that it is our noble duty to serve them :-)

I praise God to keep me alive to serve them :-)

See you next post :-)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Day +222

I am fine today.

I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who supported me and my family throughout the challenge of my life. The following card is for you. Do me a favour by filling in your name in the blank :-) If you need a larger card than this, just click on the card.

I wish to thank my churchmate Choon Lim for designing the card for me. He is a professional designer :-)

See you next post :-)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Day +221

I am fine today. Continued from yesterday…

Not only the maid’s identity changed, but her religion also changed from Christian to Muslim. Seeing me so surprised looking at the documents, the staff said, “Don’t worry. Everything is in order. You see, the passport is real; the immigration clearance is also real with proper stamp on it. If these documents are not real, how could we manage to get her new work permit with your name as employer?” Yes, everything was real. I knew something must be dreadfully wrong, but seeing those ‘real’ documents issued by government departments, what else could I say? Indonesia Boleh, and Malaysia pun Boleh! (Indonesia can do it, and Malaysia can do it too!)

Now I believe this is just a tip of the iceberg. Who know how many in the administration are making illegal legal and doing something illegal legally? Sigh!

After hearing the agency staff said that they can in fact convert tourist visa to proper working permit but I might not want to do it because I am a Christian (See Day +218), I came to the conclusion that it is impossible to do it legally. If I were to do this, same trick applied to my former maid has to be used. It will be cheaper and ‘legal’, but it is wrong :-( Considering this, I choose the service of another maid agency to bring my former maid’s relative here through proper channel.

See you next post :-)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Day +220

I am fine today. Continue from yesterday…

The agency supplied us with a temporary maid for three months. After that they persuaded us to accept another Christian maid who was still employed by someone. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the employer decided not to employ the maid even though the maid only worked for them for a few months.

How could the maid work for me while her official employer as stated in the work permit was someone else? I was a little bit puzzled, but the agency assured me everything was in order and promised me that they would change the maid’s employer to me officially as soon as possible.

About three months later, they asked me to go to their office to collect some documents. “Your maid is no longer AAA. Her name is now BBB Binti CCC!” one of the staffs said. While saying this, the staff passed me the maid’s new passport with her new name on it, ferry boarding pass, immigration clearance and the proper work permit. This gave me a shock! It was really beyond my expectation that this thing could happen.

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Day +219

I am fine today. Continue from yesterday…

The agency’s owner persuaded me to lodge a police report to say that the maid run away. She would then apply ‘run away’ insurance for me and back date it to an appropriate date so that a claim can be made. This would save us and the agency a big sum of money. After her continuous lobbying and assurance that it would be fine to do this, I agreed.

I regretted of accepting her proposal on the way home. It was definitely not right for me as a Christian to cheat the police and the insurance company. This is against the Bible teaching and my conscience, but the problem is that I already agreed to her proposal.

After discussing with my wife, I decided to back off from the proposal. I called the agency’s owner and apologized to her for changing my mind. However, she insisted that this should be the right way of doing thing. In the end I told her I am a Christian and it is against the Bible teaching and my conscience to do this. If I did what she proposed, I would have no peace within me and I surely couldn’t sleep anymore. Peaceful heart or money, which is more important?

After listening this, she changed her tune suddenly. She praised me and even said, “How I wish my daughter could find a husband like this.” :-) I slept peacefully that night even though I knew I had to pay more money to replace the maid :-)

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Day +218

I am fine today.

My former maid called me a few days ago to introduce one of her relatives to work for me. This relative of her worked here as a maid before. She also explained to me that her boy friend prevented her from coming here to fulfill her contract until July this year. Because of this, she found someone to replace her.

Now the question is how to bring her relative here? They are from Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) which is a very rural area. I called the former maid agency to enquire if there is anyway to let the maid come here through tourist visa and then later apply work permit for her. Initially, the agency staff said it is possible but based on her earlier experience with me in handling my first maid, she is afraid I might not want to do it because I am a Christian.

We got our first maid from the agency. This maid lost her zeal to work and pretended to be sick not long after working with us. Two times I brought her to hospital but doctor could not find anything wrong with her. Seeing her so weak and out of sympathy, we served her instead of she served us. You see, we fell prey to her trick and became her maid; a maid’s maid :-(

In the end we brought the maid back to the agency. Her trick was exposed instantly and of course, we did not want this maid anymore. What is the best way to handle this situation?

To be continued and see you next post :-)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Day +217

I am fine today.

During my post-transplant follow-up on Monday, I met a Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) patient who did his bone marrow transplant 7 years ago. He managed to have another two children after the bone marrow transplant.

This man is very sociable and talkative. I met him with another two post-transplant patients in the follow-up clinic. He told us to follow his footstep to ensure a successful bone marrow transplant like him. Then he advised us to drink a product from a MLM company which advocates nutritional immunology. It would cost us RM900 per month to consume the product with the recommended dosage.

“Do you drink the product?” I asked.

“No,” he answered.

He told me he wanted to use his CML treatment experience to help other patient. And I am very clear that this help is in the form of persuading patients to consume products from this MLM company where he is a distributor.

It is definitely advantageous for people like us who underwent aggressive treatment to dive into MLM health product marketing. As an effort to expand our marketing network, we can simply claim that the products help us. Many people will eventually get the signal that it was the product that cures us. Unfortunately, I am still not able to find a convincing product that I can become a distributor :-(

This man even asked me to throw away the medicine that I am taking now :-( It might not cause him any problem last time, but how did he know this act would not endanger me?

We must be very careful in accepting advice from people; even from someone who claims that they are very experience in the situation that we are facing. Some advice issued by them could be deadly; simply advising people to stop medication is an example.

See you next post :-)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Day +216

I am fine today.

On the way back from hospital yesterday, I dropped by a private hospital to visit a friend. Then I fetched my daughter Adriel from the nursery. By the time I reached home, it was already 7:00pm.

I was very tired and thought of having a nice sleep, but Adriel disturbed me all night long. I started to play with her as early as 9:00pm with the hope that she would sleep early so that I could rest. Initially, she requested me to build ‘house’ for her using the blanket. Then I had to read stories, prepared milk for her, massaged her stomach as she complained of stomach ache and etc. After much effort, she fell asleep at 10:00pm. What a relief! I though I could enjoy my sweet sleep now.

When I was just about to start my sweet dream; she waked up and vomited :-( I had to clean her and do the cleaning work. And no more sweet dream for me after this because she cried now and then, demanding this and that, complaining of stomach ache, asking me to carry her to toilet…

She might have food poisoning as she vomited again this morning and then having diarrhea in the afternoon. Because of this, she did not go to nursery today. Hopefully, she will not infect me; else I might need to spend CNY in hospital.

It might look troublesome to have children, isn’t it? But I can tell you, just a little smile from them is sufficient to wipe out all the trouble within us, as a parent :-) If you ask me why their smile is so powerful, I don’t have the answer.

See you next post :-)

Monday, February 05, 2007

Day +215

My Blood Count Today:
Red Blood Count (RBC) = 128(Normal 130-180)
Platelet = 130(Normal 150-450)
White Blood Count (WBC) = 3.4(Normal 4 - 11)
Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) = 1.904 (Normal 1.5 - 8.0)
Potassium = 4.4(Normal 3.5 - 5.2)
ALT = 122(Normal < 51 )
AST = 56(Normal < 41)

I am fine today. I went to do my post-transplant follow-up this morning. My blood result was more or less the same as the last visit, which was very close to normal count.

My ALT level is now 122; more than twice the normal level. ALT (Alanine Aminotransferase) is a type of enzyme produced within the liver cells. As the liver cells are damaged, the ALT leaks into the blood stream leading to a rise of ALT level in the blood. With this, ALT level is used as a health indicator of the liver. Likewise, the AST (Asparate Aminotransferase) is also an enzyme which level in the blood can be used to gauge the health of our liver.

Doctor suspected that the elevated ALT and AST level is due to GVHD (Graft Versus Host Disease). In other words, my immune system (borrowed from my sister) starts to attack the liver.

Is it bad to have this? No, no. In fact, doctors and nurses told me many times that a minor GVHD is good because it shows that the new immune system is attacking something in the body. With this, we assume that it would also attack the remaining cancer cells in the body, an effect also called Graft Versus Leukaemia (GVL).

A few days ago, I told a BMT (Bone Marrow Transplant) nurse that my body showed no sign of GVHD. “No good,” she responded without any hesitation. This made me to cast doubt on the effectiveness the transplant. It also leads to a question, “Does GVL has to be manifested through GVHD?” When I posted this question to doctor, the answer I got was that there is no way we know for sure if GVL has taken place in the body. However, it is generally assume that if GVHD happens, GVL also happens.

I no longer need to worry too much now because there is sign of GVHD. Apart from elevated ALT and AST level, doctor also spotted white spots in my mouth and throat which she believed is another sign of GVHD. “At least it shows something,” she said :-)

Due to possible GVHD effect, doctor reduced the follow-up interval to 3 weeks instead of 4 weeks.

See you next post :-)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Day +214

I am fine today.

My wife and I like cooking very much. We collected over 60 cookbooks so far. In addition to this, my wife also collected a few volumes of recipe cuttings from newspaper.

Having many cookbooks doesn't mean that we managed to enjoy delicious food everyday. It can be a daunting task to turn the nice recipes in the cookbook into delicious dishes. More often than not, we just enjoy looking at the mouth-watering picture in the cookbook. Since we do not employ any maid now, there is ample room for us to practice our cooking skill.

Today my wife and I cooked glutinous chicken rice for dinner based on the recipe in one of the cookbooks. A few blunders we made extended the cooking time from one hour to 3 hours :-(

I post a picture of the delicious glutinous rice for you to enjoy. If you are hungry, click on it to order a larger dish :-)

See you next post :-)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Day +213

I am fine today.

"Baba, I am quite powerful," my son Joseph told me proudly one morning.

"What?" I asked.

"The Hulk failed to catch me," he explained.

"You dreamed?"


"Is The Hulk a green giant?"


Then he described enthusiastically how he managed to escape from The Hulk by hiding behind the door and The Hulk looked through the windows but failed to locate him.

Is this a bad dream? No, no. To me this is a good dream because it boosted his self confidence. He thinks he is better than The Hulk now :-)

See you next post :-)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Day +212

I am fine today. Continue from yesterday…

Last Friday, doctor did another BMA for him and the result showed 15% of blast. I analyzed the situation carefully and until now, I am still can’t see any link between Yantuo and the disease. Most probably you would be able to reason it out based on my description above. (My fourth sister complained that I analyzed too much. What she wanted me to do is just to drink that herb and believe :-) )

The wife said that her husband looks strong and healthy now but doctors said his future might be difficult. She was very worried to hear about this.

“You say that your husband looks well and healthy now?” I asked. “Yes” she answered. “The most important thing is he is good today. Nobody, including healthy individuals, knows what would happen in future.” I advised. She seemed to be more relieved after this.

In fact in life, we often worry too much about the uncontrollable part of our future. This brings unnecessary burden and worry to our life. A very good advice from Bible says, “Don't worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself.”

See you next post :-)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Day +211

I am fine today. Now continue to talk about herbs and friends.

Last Saturday, my friend (Day +209) told me that a patient opposite his bed was cured by Yantuo. Considering this may be the first case that proves that an alternative treatment work, I was very excited. This is why I rushed to hospital on Sunday, bringing along Yantuo leaves to investigate the case. They confirmed that the Yantuo leaves were genuine.

This 73 year old uncle is a strong and brave man. His is receiving his third round of chemotherapy in UH. Since the visit, I keep in touch with his wife to monitor his progress.

After having the first round of chemotherapy, the cancer (blast) cells in his bone marrow reduced from 65% to 25%. Without going home, he continued his second round of chemotherapy with stronger chemotherapy. Unfortunately, his bone marrow aspiration result after second round of chemotherapy showed that the blast increased to 63%. After consulting a haematologist in a private hospital, he decided not to continue chemotherapy.

About one month later, he asked doctor to perform a bone marrow aspiration (BMA) for him again. The result showed that his blast cells were 3% only. He believed that Yantuo helped to bring his disease under control because he started to drink it immediately after the first chemotherapy.

To be continued and see you next post :-)