Monthly Archives: September 2011

Time Extended

Returned to Haematology Centre for blood test and consultation with doctor today. Arrived 4mins late but luckily there was no queue and blood taking was completed quickly. While waiting for consultation, I saw a patient-friend who came for family conference. He will be doing his stem cell transplant soon! He’s so close to getting well now, just like me, and I’m happy for him.

The digital queue display beeped and showed 0060. It’s my turn! I walked into Consultation Room 10 wondering if admission for the 4th cycle of chemotherapy will be this week. Doctor handed the blood count report to me – everything went up but WBC count was still a tad low to start chemo. He arranged for another full blood count next week. He also added that the next admission requires a bone marrow aspiration to confirm if i am already in remission state and also to assess the need for a 5th chemo.

That’s another week of freedom, family and me-time! :)

 

 

Tips to Fight Boredom

Confinement in hospital results in changes to lifestyle and routine. Having too much time and not knowing what to do with it can be a hair-pulling experience. Perhaps that is why after chemotherapy, one loses his or her hair. Ok jokes aside! Here are 10 suggestions for you to fight boredom in hospital:

1.     Meditation is best done at the start of the day and before sleep. And I would recommend that you complement it with a prayer. Together, it empties your mind and relaxes my body, giving you a feeling of inner peace.  

2.    Simple exercises using resistance band can promote blood circulation and strengthen your muscles. Resistance bands are versatile, easy to use and inexpensive. You can easily get one from Daiso at S$2. Remember to check with your medical doctor whether you are fit to do a good stretch.

3.    Get connected. Chat with your roomies and nurses but never disturb resting patients or busy nurses. Alternatively, take the chance to catch up with your friends on Whatsapp, Facebook or MSN.

4.    Blog & tweet your experience, thoughts and feelings. Start an account and connect to the world!

5.    Catch a movie via the “world’s largest video-on-demand platform”, Funshion. It has a good collection of high definition movies that will give you hours of entertainment! Alternatively, rent DVDs and watch them on a DVD player or computer.

6.    Music has amazing healing powers. Add your favourite songs to your playlist or tune in to your favourite radio station.

7.    Read books, magazines, comics or anything. Need I say more?

8.    Play a game on your android, iPhone or iPad. Fight the baddies like how you fight cancer! BOOM BOOM POW!

9.    Learn a new language and practice with patients and nurses. I picked up some simple Tagalog phrases from a Filipino nurse. Kumusta ka? (How are you?)

10.  Blog hopping is when people surf the net and find blogs that are their favorites. They visit them daily and forge virtual friendships with the author of the blog and the other blog visitors. It makes their day brighter and gives then something to look forward to! – definition by Urban Dictionary. For me, I love to visit colormekatie!

Blood and Platelet Donation

My first blood donation was done at the University’s Red Cross Blood Donation Drive. As a donor, I have always wondered who would be the recipient of my blood unit. Regardless of who he or she is, I felt great knowing that my blood would save someone.

On my first admission into SGH, my haemoglobin and platelet counts were 5.10 g/dl (normal range is 14 – 18 g/dl) and 30.0 x 10^9/L (normal range is 140 – 440 x 10^9/L) respectively. The presence of blast cells had caused a large dip to my haemoglobin and platelet level. Thanks to blood donors, I was able to top up my red blood cells and platelets on days that they were low. So I switched side from a donor to a recipient, and from feeling great to being grateful to the kind donors.

Staying in the haematology ward was an eye opener to me. Patients with different blood disorders, at some point of time, require blood and platelet that match their blood group. Hidden from the public eyes, here’s a busy place where blood units are in high demand and transfusions are going on 24 hours round the clock. All these would not be possible without the help of donors and the blood bank.

Although researchers are currently working on producing synthetic blood from stem cells, the first clinical trial on human is only expected within the next five years. Blood donors are still very much required! I sincerely hope all my healthy friends will consider donating their blood to help others. Become a blood donor champion today and influence more friends to join you. You can find out more about blood donation through the Singapore Health Science Authority (Blood Bank) website here.

P.S. Chemotherapy is wiping out my blood cells slowly. I’m going to receive some platelets today and most likely a unit of blood tomorrow. Thank you, donor!

3rd Cycle Experience

I have just been transferred to a high dependency single room yesterday. Lying comfortably and inclined on the bed, I finally found peace (and wifi signals) to blog about my past one week of chemo experience.

In this round of chemotherapy, I was given six high dose cytarabine (HiDAC), each over two hours at an interval of 12 hours on alternate days for six days. There were no horrible side effects other than a bloated stomach that caused a loss of appetite after chemo. Every time after chemo, I would look forward to the nurses removing the drips on me and changing the yucky-tasting anti-fungal syrup, itraconazole, to its capsule form. Next would be the ‘upgrading’ from a 4-bed room (a.k.a HDB flat) to a high dependency single room (a.k.a. Holiday bungalow).

While I welcome the room change, I do miss my new friends and the random discussions we had in the previous room. Bed 1 always disturbs the nurses and shares his life experience with us. Bed 3 came in looking gloomy and is always surrounded by friends who prayed with him for good treatment results. Then I learned about his prognosis, a 10% survival rate after bone marrow transplant. I did not know what to say, but in my heart I wanted to cheer him up! Bed 1 and I talked and joked with him daily, but whenever he was reminded of his diagnosis and prognosis, he became gloomy again. Now that Bed 1 and I have transferred to single room, I hope Bed 3 will embrace optimism and not think too much. Bed 3, be strong and put up a brave fight! You can do it and you will make it!