Friday, January 23, 2009

PEG Fitting

Salam from Hospital Sultanah Bahiyah,

When I came for follow-up, the doctor was very happy because my weight had not gone down. I've been maintaining my weight at 41 kg. However, she suggested getting a PEG tube fitted. PEG is actually an abbreviation of something which I managed to glance at the doc's note but could not really make out what it is. Anyway, the tube is fitted to the stomach and food can be pumped straight into the stomach. This way, I can get more nutrients without the hassle of cleaning my mouth and fighting with my thick saliva along the way everytime after a meal. Mind you, my mouth must be kept spic and span at all times because I don't have the necessary enzymes present in normal saliva to prevent tooth decay.

So, last Wednesday, I got myself admitted again and the PEG fitting procedure was scheduled for Thursday morning. A doctor came to brief me that night. She said that I would be sedated and would have to listen and follow their instructions closely. They would insert a camera attached at the end of a flexible thin rod down my throat and into the stomach. There is also some kind of knife attached next to the camera which is operable by a switch at the other end of the rod. On my part, I would have to swallow the camera and the knife according to their instruction. The doc would monitor everything through a computer. When the camera gets inside the stomach, he would press the button and the knife will jerk out and punch a hole from inside and through the abdomen. Then, the PEG would be fitted. Ya Allah! What have I got myself into. So, I spent half the night worrying about the procedure because all this while I have not been able to swallow even a tablet.! But then, I forced my mind to think of the benefits of having the PEG as described by many oral cancer survivors in the Oral Cancer Foundation and the Mouth Cancer Forum. I will do whatever necessary. When the morning came, I really calmed down and was ready to face another battle.

The battle started at 11 am. Again I was pushed to the all familiar operation theatre. A nurse came and injected something and right after that I was groggy and was unaware of whatever was going on. Suddenly, I realised that I could not breathe. And there was a commotion. Then, everything stopped and I was told that I actually stopped breathing and they could not continue with it. Then, they did a scope to make sure my air passage is ok and it was. I had to go for a chest x-ray and things look good. So, now the docs are quite puzzled what actually happened.

This morning the doc came and said that they can still do it under general anaesthesia. Ok, I might opt for that but it has to be after Chinese New year.

Wishing all my chinese readers a Happy Chinese New Year and the rest a happy holiday.

Bye, for now.

"Life is unpredictable, just make the best of what you have"

Friday, January 16, 2009



Last week, I went for my routine check up after finishing radio and chemotherapy. The docs said that they were so happy to see me still in one piece. They said that I looked really well for somebody who had just undergone both treatments. I told them that I had cisplatin for chemo. They were even more surprised because cisplatin is the strongest chemo drug. It is platinum based and very toxic. I remember that the nurse who administered the drug made sure that she used rubber gloves. Well, its all god's will and our prayers were answered. Syukur, alhamdulillah!

I feel better and better everyday. I have been driving around picking up my children from school, shopping and running errands. The only thing that bugs me now is occassional spasms around my cheeks which cause the inside of both cheeks to slam against my molars. This causes ulcers and inflammation. When the doc noticed the ulcers they did a biopsy to rule out cancer..urgh!! I was not scared because I was quite sure it was caused by my molars. Sure enough, the result came out negative. Yae! However, the spasms are quite a mystery. Dr. Regu, the plastic surgeon suspects that the radiotherapy might cause some nerve damage and hopefully its only temporary.

I also asked the doc on the probability of recurrence. He said that if there is a recurrence, it would be within a year after the treatments. So, they will monitor very closely. Anyway, he advised me not to think about it too much into the future, just enjoy life day by day. Anything can happen to anyone, not only to people who have befriended cancer. People die every minute from a lot of things ( I am thinking of the Palestinians right now). So, honestly speaking having cancer is really not that bad! I mean you can still get on with your life unassisted. To me, that is already a blessing.

Now, let's all pray for our Gazan brothers and sisters extend our help in anyway we can. I am sure the amount of suffering there makes the agony of cancer sufferers trivial.

Bye, for now.


"Life is full of uncertainties"