Tag Archives: family

Kening 2, TJFC 1!

8 June is a very special day for me – it’s my niece’s birthday and it’s also one year on post-diagnosis!
But we’re only going to celebrate one event, which is Kening’s birthday!

We baby-sit Kening in the day while her parents were either out at work or busy taking care of her younger sister.

Kening enjoys being carried by 婆婆, watching the world goes by!

Sister came in the afternoon with Kexin and here’s a little reunion for the birthday girl.

After dinner, I couldn’t wait to give her the presents before her birthday cake was out.
小坏坏 gave out a few “WOW” as she opened her presents to find her favourite Mickey & Minnie Mouse.

Even the birthday cake was designed with baby Minnie Mouse.

Daddy helped to light up the candles and the birthday girl was still quite puzzled about what’s going on.

And after a quick family photo…

She was off to explore her Disney colouring book!

Her uncles quickly assembled the ride-on Pewi Ybike and as soon as she got on the bike.. she went “WOW” again!

The happy little birthday girl on her Ybike and with her 大舅舅.

What a hot dog day:)

Happy May

Some happeefying things for the Month of May!

1. I had the central venous catheter removed!

2. I have been staying infection-free & CMV-negative since the last hospital discharge!

3. Funds raised for Children’s Cancer Foundation to date: $2,778!

4. Visited my sister and newborn niece, Ke Xin!

5. Celebrated Qipee’s 25th birthday at Prego

6. Bought 200 ball point pens to give to Pong Song (Laos) kids!

7. Bought 3 books on personal finance and investment from Popular Expo Fair

8. Brought mum to Changi City Point and the Fairprice Xtra @ Changi Business Park

9. Walked about 6 km along East Coast Park!

29 Gift Day 02: Dish Washing for Play Time

Today our cute little niece came over to our house to play with us (or play us?). At the age of about two, Ke Ning already aced in thermodynamic’s entropy. Every time she comes over, it’s almost a ritual to pour out her toys, lay out all the things in the house that her tiny hands can reach. The adults would be chasing after her to put things away to prevent trip and fall, or to make sure that she doesn’t climb too high and fall. And surprisingly, I always got exhausted even before she feels sleepy and come asking for her tutu (pacifier). As much as we complain about her some times and call her a naughty girl, we still love her very much.

Brother is out at work and when he returns, it’ll almost be time for niece to go home. Taking that into consideration, mum called sister and suggested a later pick up time for Ke Ning so that brother can have more time to play with her. My brother usually helps with washing the dishes after dinner these days. But today, I decided my gift would be to take over the washing so that he could have more time to play with niece. They both had a great time together, we could tell from Ke Ning’s laughter.

Mum’s dinner was late because she had to feed niece first. I could tell she’s really tired after a whole day of work and taking care of Ning. Again, I took over the mess in the sink so that mum could rest and watch them play. It didn’t feel like a chore to do things for your loved ones if you do it willingly.

I’m thankful that Ke Ning didn’t fall sick, as we thought she might a few days ago.
I truly appreciate my friends for their care and concern when they found out about my condition.
I’m very grateful for the donations and encouragements received from my RSPHI friends.



29 Gift Day 01: Mop Mop

I haven’t been contributing to home allowance for the past four months even though I’m still receiving half pay from my company. Mum insisted that I keep those money for future medical appointments and treatments.

It’s Labour Day but mum doesn’t really get to enjoy such holidays. She’s still the home maker she is, making sure the house is clean and proper and meals are served. I’m seldom activated to help nor do I have much initiatives these days… bumming around has simply made me very lazy. I must admit that a lot of times I took what she’s done for this family for granted.

Today, I offered to mop the floor as a gift to my mum. It’s not the first time I help, but usually when I do, there’s some form of obligations so that I won’t be labelled as “freeloader”. Felt really good to receive a simple word of thanks for the job well done. Guess she was quite tired and my help came timely. :)

I’m very grateful that my company is willing to keep my position, and continues to pay me even when I’m on such a long medical leave.
I’m blessed to have an understanding and caring mother who took part in my recovery journey, ensuring I have a clean environment and delicious meal!
I’m thankful that my immunity, despite suppressed, has remained strong and kept me out of infection for the past one month. Plus, I haven’t need any blood or platelets transfusion so far.

Frame Crafts

Ever since I returned home, I felt my home is missing something. Family photos! Coincidentally, my brother was thinking of developing some photographs. That got me onto a project to make some diy photo frames.

I made this for myself.

Then I made this for mum.

and I am still working on a collection of my late father’s photos with niece and the family. We hope that this will remind our niece of her beloved grandpapa who loved her so much. :)

Cooped and Cooked

It has been a week since I was discharged from SGH. I did not make any plans to go out as I felt my body needed more time to recover, and besides, any infection can easily send me back to the hospital. Even for the twice a week clinic follow up, I diligently put on a mask when I stepped out of the house. Mode of transport was mainly by taxi or my sister would give me a lift to avoid crowded public transport. My feet got tired, worn, and aching whenever I stood and/or walked for an hour or less – clearly a sign that I needed more rest.

I took the opportunity to catch up with some administrative work – outstanding insurance claims, updating my company and requesting for SAF Medical Board Review. My PES status review should due very long ago as my request via phone was done in September 2011. But there were no updates except for a SAF 264 Charge notification for not attending RT. I emailed my story requesting for waiver of charge and to expedite my Medical Board Review, the reply was so much faster with black and white. The charge was waived and the Medical Board Review was scheduled today. Would it be a clean discharge or just PES downgrade?

On some days, we help to baby sit my niece. Her energy level is, at times, too much for me to handle. Luckily, there was iPad 2 to keep her entertained with hours of Disney Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Yesterday I rewarded brother and myself with pork chop with apples and onions, based on Martha Stewart’s Recipe. With my wrecked taste bud, I could only appreciate the texture of the pork and asparagus. Well, at least I enjoyed the cooking process, though tiring.

Being put on a 3 months home-cooked-food-only dietary restriction, the ability to cook will benefit me in many ways. I get to control what I eat, the ingredients and how the food is prepared. I know I cannot rely on mum forever, so the next best person to depend on is myself! I enjoy doing experimental cooking and trying out new recipes especially when mum is not around to supervise. Shall search for more interesting recipes to cook while I am cooped up at home!

Precious Week

Finally got discharged last Thursday. Happy to have Qipei accompanying me home. Little niece was home too. I thought she would not recognize me because of my skinhead but she did not take long to warm up with me. I could tell mum was happy and relieved that I got home. As I was discharged in the afternoon, I did not get to eat the hospital dinner – Western: Mutton and tofu burger with french fries. It was a meal upgrade from Class B2/C to Class A/B1. But who cares, I had the best home-cooked dinner with my family, the best dinner for 2012 thus far.

Niece came over almost everyday except for weekends and I had fun babysitting her. Mum cooked for us almost every meal just to ensure that I am eating right and have good nutrition. She worked long hours without complains and kept telling me to rest. Brother and I just helped her with babysitting and some simple chores whenever we could.

We have not had a steamboat as a family for quite a long while. I suggested having one when I was in the ward. We almost went into preparing for the steamboat then sister suggested that we decided to go fuss free by eating out. So we pigged out at Mushroom Pot at Indoor Stadium. Part of the agenda was also for me to eat more and build up before the transplant.

The outpatient consultation on Monday was a happy one. Happy to know that the salvage chemo worked and the blast cells in the bone marrow was reduced to 1%. Note “the blast cells” and NOT “my blast cells” – I learned from a patient to talk in this manner as the baddies do not belong to myself and so they shall all perish! All the pre-BMT checks and clearance looks good and there is no need to fill dental cavities before the transplant. The entire schedule will be made known to me on Thursday 23rd Feb during a family conference.

Tuesday was my 4 year anniversary with Qipei. We lunched at Ding Tai Fung at Wisma followed by a hunt for flats (not HDB flats but shoes) around Orchard. No fancy gifts or celebration, we are just happy to have quality time together. We parted before she made her purchase as I had a family dinner later on. It was Ding Tai Fung at 112 Katong. Well, I had to assume the food were more hygienically prepared compared to Dunman market, our other option. It was a lovely day to have spent the time with my loved ones.

My siblings accompanied me for the family conference on Thursday. We were given the schedule and Dr Ho explained quite a few important things about the transplant. There was too much information, and most are not music to my ears. I suppose in life you gain some and you lose some. We went on to see a ‘showroom’ of the ward that I am going to stay. The only difference is probably just the positive pressure doors that helps to ‘clean’ anyone coming in so that they do not bring in any sources of infection. After the conference, brother and I head down to the admission office for financial counselling. As my CPF Medisave has only a miserable S$3k and Aviva only issued a S$10k letter of guarantee (LOG), the hospital requested that I place a $50,000 cash deposit for the estimated 45-days bill of $72,586. Luckily Linda helped me to request Aviva to reissue another LOG of higher value so that I need not ‘park’ my money with SGH. Hospitalization bills are costly, better get your health insurance early!

During BMT, visitors are strictly restricted to immediate family only. So I am spending the weekends catching up with some close friends! Hope to post some pictures here next week during my free time in SGH. This week is very precious to me, and I believe I have and am spending it wisely.

A Blessing In Disguise

Unfortunate events may fall upon you, but take a look again, it may be a blessing in disguise. As I excused myself from work for leukaemia treatment, I had the opportunity to spend time with and take care of my ailing dad. This was important to me, especially when I was hospitalized and away from home.

My dad is hardly mobile nowadays due to the unbearable pain whenever he moves. As such, he could not visit me at the hospital. A few days into my third cycle of chemotherapy, he was hospitalized for pain and breathlessness. I was so afraid of losing him. But he remained strong and battled with the illness that brought him immense sufferings.This is something I have to learn from him.

For the past three weeks, I have helped to relief my mum, the main caregiver. By sharing the house chores and listening to her, I was able to reduce stress and the amount of work my mum has to shoulder. She also gets a chance to take a breather while I looked after dad.

Dad stays in bed most of the time. I would bring the newspaper to him, remind him to take medications, and give him a good massage wherever he complains of pain. As a patient myself, I knew how comforting it is to have someone with you when you are weak. These are simple things that anyone can do, but nowadays, how many of us can take time off work to take care of our parents (or children) ourselves?

Every night, I pray that his cancer cells would disappear miraculously so that he will not suffer from any pain and our family can spend more happy times together. Will the universe conspire in helping me to achieve this?

Whatever happens, I am glad that I had the time to do what is important to me. And I am also blessed with a girlfriend who’s understanding and listens to me all the time. I could only keep counting my blessings.

What are your blessings?

Life Changing 34 Days

34 days of confinement and I am finally discharged from SGH! This is quite an experience for me, a life changing one.

I remember the scene that mum teared when I told her it’s leukaemia. Devastated. It’s so cruel that she has just accepted her husband’s stage 3 lung cancer, and now, she has to accept her youngest son’s new diagnosis. The sight and thought of her crying breaks my heart. I knew to make her smile again, I have to be strong and positive – and it works! This is the power of positive influence!

Although the statistics for AML patients to going into complete remission look promising, I felt a need to have my girlfriend reconsider about our relationship. Qipei knew about the possible outcomes, but she believed in me. We want to go through this together and I am certain it will further strengthen our relationship.

The first cycle of chemotherapy (a.k.a. induction chemotherapy) aims to bring the disease to remission. Cytarabine and Idarubicin were administered, both intravenously, for 22 hours over 7 days and 3 boluses over 3 days, respectively. Of cos, anti-nausea and anti-vomiting (antiemetics) drug was given prior to chemo to prevent any nauseous feeling or vomiting. This cycle was rather gentle on me – only experienced bloated tummy and dry skin. The gassy stomach was relieved towards Day 7 and there was moisturizer for dry skin.

My platelet counts dropped after chemo and brushing teeth was a no no! There was an occasion after rinsing my mouth, in front of the mirror, I noticed some bits of cookies stuck in between my teeth. My itchy finger removed it and fresh blood flowed out from the adjacent gum. In the subsequent two days, my gum bled at various locations and they just refused to clot until what felt like a blood gelatin formed. I tried to remove these gelatin with my tongue and my poor gum begun bleeding again. The pseudo-jelly salty-iron tasting blood in my mouth was really yucky! I learned my lesson to go on soft diet and not disturb any clots when my platelet counts are low.

I was prepared for hair loss and I thought it really does not matter to me. First, it was finding strands of hair on my pillow in the morning. Next was seeing loose strands of hair on my palms after shampooing. The ultimate was when I sat on my bed and shook my head vigorously, strands of hair just fell off. I laughed. Then I botak-ed myself with mum’s help. It was cooling and not so demoralizing anymore.

A few days into chemo, I began to inform a few close friends. They came with well wishes, food, entertainments and good companionships. It was really heartening and morale-boosting for me – I wasn’t fighting leukaemia alone! A particular support that I must mention is from LeRoy and his family. Aunty Susan, LeRoy’s mum, blessed me with some wellness products to complement with my treatment. She also cooked a variety of healthy vegetarian dinners and delivered them to me almost every evening. And of cos, there were lovely messages from friends who could not make it to visit me. I felt loved and I saw genuine care and kindness from everyone. All these – priceless!

My life has changed. I am now living a life with gratitude, love, hope, and zest!