Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Cancer Caregivers

Assalamualaikum and salam,

All this while I’ve been talking about me and other cancer survivors dancing with cancer and living with it. I’ve only touched a little on other people who are also affected by it; for instance the family and friends who are constantly bracing themselves for the high possibility of the inevitable (recurrence or even death). These people are also greatly affected by cancer. I have always admired the resilience and patience possessed by the caregivers, particularly women for being there and being alert for the chronic cancer patients around the clock. I am sure it’s no easy task taking care of cancer patients especially those who are bedridden and need assistance in doing even such simple tasks like eating. Usually, people who are hit hard by cancer to the point of being helpless are frustrated for not being able to do the things that they are so used to everyday almost without batting an eyelid. They often get cranky, short tempered and agitated and taking care of them can be a real battle. This can really drive the caregivers up the wall. A lot of time the caregivers just give and walk away.

When you are hit with diseases such as cancer which takes months of treatments and healing, your spouses are also greatly affected. We hear a lot of cases where cancer really put a strain on relationships and this is a trying time for many couples. This is because most cancer patients especially oral cancer are not the same anymore. They are not as sociable as before and many suffer from inferiority complex and they just shy away from public. The talkative ones become quiet for fear of being embarassed when they are stared at everytime they speak or eat in public. Many spouses would just crumble and start to look for new partners who are able to fill the gap. The lucky cancer sufferers like the late Trev and Paul from the Mouth Cancer Foundation, Robert Pemberton, and Ron are blessed with their wives taking care of them patiently, lovingly and tirelessly. These caregivers would fight cancer like hell along with their husbands. They have my utmost respect for being the unsung heroes. I can’t imagine all those nightmares, the constant fear of losing their husbands, the uncertainties and the suspense that they are going through. I wonder where they got their strength. And yet, they are there no matter what….

Cheers, to the caregivers! You are great...

Bye, for now.


"Never stop fighting"

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What's next?

Hi again,

I went for my follow up appointment last Monday. The doc was really happy with my progress. My weight has increased to 45 kg from 44 kg last month. Things are really looking good so far. While waiting for my turn, a doctor came by and asked how things were to which I responded all was well. She then told me that she read about what I’ve gone through in a magazine. ( Al-Islam magazine, Apr issue) Yea, forgot to blog about that. These folks from the Al-Islam magazine stumbled upon my blog and contacted me and asked for my permission to publish my story in the magazine. So, I gave my okay because the whole idea is to share my experience because like I said earlier, oral cancer is among the deadliest types of cancer but not widely known. Many people think that when you are young, don’t smoke, don’t drink or don’t chew betel leaves, you are ruled out from getting oral cancer. Well, cancer has a mind of its own….

My two year full pay cancer vacation (leave) has been approved. The approved holiday started on 1st Jan 2008 and will end on the 1st Jan 2010. So, that gives me another 7 months of vacation. What will I do by then? Teaching, no, does not look promising with my slurring speech. The thing is I kind of enjoy being a full time housewife and mother without having to burden my mind with the schoolwork which can be very, very demanding. When I look back, I can’t imagine how I could tolerate the stress from a teaching job for 17 years; teaching 6 periods a day (means walking from one side to the other side of the building or climbing up and down 3 to 4 floors 2 or 3 times daily), having to write record book every day, attending meetings endlessly, students’ discipline problems and not to mention the ever increasing workload. I think teaching is a messy job because you have to please a lot of parties; students, colleagues, parents, administration, etc, etc Could that be a reason for me getting the cancer?? I was told by a nurse the other day, that many cancer patients nowadays are teachers …hmm

Bye, for now.

"Never stop fighting"

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Cooking Challenge

Salam and hello again,

Nowadays, for some reason I just love to cook for my family. When I see them gobbling my cooking, it gives me a weird sense of satisfaction. And the thing is I can’t even taste my own cooking and therefore I have no idea how good or horrible it tastes like. Whenever I ask my kids for feedback, they always say that it’s delicious. Maybe they think that saying otherwise would just end my cooking activities. So, I guess the only way to evaluate my cooking is to see whether they finish their food and how much they eat.

My darling youngest son, is forever, taking great care not to offend me. He would always say that whatever I cook is delicious. But, quite often I notice some leftovers on his plate. So, I know where I stand in the cooking department…haha

The best way to make sure there would be no food wastage is to cook and serve when they are really famished. Hungry people are not choosy!

Well, that’s for my family. What about me? My food mainly consists of ensure milk blended with a slice of wholemeal bread. Other than that, rice porridge mixed with celery, cauliflower, or broccoli and some fish. Sometimes I would also add carrot or potato. All these are taken through Peggy. I am trying to take some orally as well. So far, with little success.

Will keep trying. I’ve been partly motivated by a fellow tongue cancer survivor Brian.

Bye, for now

“Never stop fighting”