Mommy Dearest

Just last week my mom was admitted to the hospital for heart attack. No frightening symptom except splitting headache which couldn’t go away, tight chest, shallow breathing and cold sweat. She thought that could be due to her recent worries about my brothers’ well-being and my dad’s health, and if she were to sleep more, the discomfort would disappear. Somehow, it didn’t and that was the body telling her something wasn’t right.

She walked to a clinic nearby to see the doctor and was immediately asked to get herself admitted to the hospital. She walked home, calmly finished up some house chores left undone that morning then asked Dad to send her to the hospital.

Mom stayed a night in Taiping Hospital at the CCU. I was glad that she had acted fast enough to seek medical attention. Health wise, she has been treated for raised cholesterol and that’s all. Her blood pressure thus far has been good for her age. She eats and sleeps well too.

I discussed with Dad and we both decided that she should agree to be transferred to Ipoh Hospital for further examinations. So, Taiping hospital made the necessary
arrangements for her and the next morning, she was sent there in an ambulance.

My daughter and I reached Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh and be with her when she arrived. My son’s sitting for his major exams so staying back with dearest hubby. First look at Mom, she was as pale as a sheet of paper! Mom told me the doctors, nurses and paramedics were so kind and careful. Thanks to all who had attended to my mom. This kind of warm treatment one can’t get from other hospitals I know off! I was pleasantly surprised and impressed! Kudos to Taiping Hospital!

Mom was taken to the Cardiac Recovery Ward (CRW) , a couple of doctors came to ask her some questions, briefed her about angiogram procedure. She was to fast from food and drink so that if she were to be called for angiogram procedure, she could do so instantly. We waited till late evening for her turn to come. There were just too many critical cases. Even the hospital beds weren’t enough to cater for all patients. New patients kept coming in.

Mom’s procedure took about 30 minutes. Mom said mild blockage and just need to take oral medication. Phew! What a relief! Mom told us all to go back to the hotel to have a good rest now that she is fine.

The next morning, the doctor told Mom about her enlarged heart. This was further confirmed on the ultra sound. Mom was advised to go to Kuala Lumpur for a cardiac MRI. The doctor would issue a referral letter and make an appointment for her to go there for an examination.

You can’t imagine how happy we were to get Mom discharged and go back home. I insisted that Dad and Mom must go back with me so that Mom can get rest from house chores. All she needed to do was to relax and continue with her morning walk in my residential area. The more she rests, the faster she gains back her strength. Tried to keep them longer with us here but after 5 days, they returned to their home. I had to give in to keep them both happier.

When people and doctors said that mental stress is cause to many health issues, we have to believe it, seriously. I noticed that parents’ health started to deteriorate when they were consumed by sadness and worries. Sadness that stemmed from being hurt (emotionally), great disappointment, anger, frustration, etc. That reminds us all that we must focus on our mental health. Having a healthy body doesn’t quite guarantee a healthy mind. As mindful as we feed our body with the right food, we must also feed the right thoughts into our mind and brain. Stress can’t disappear. Living in this challenging and modern world, we have all kinds of stress. The higher the expectation one sets, the higher the stress. All we can do to beat that is to manage our stress well. Keep them as low as possible.

As humans, we can’t stop ourselves from worrying about the outcome of things in our lives and people we love dearly or concerned about. However, we must train our minds to filter the things which we should be worried about and things we should discard from worrying. Things we have control over, do have deep thoughts about them then act upon them. Things that are beyond our control, let them go. I know it is easy said than done, but for yours and family’s sake, just let go. There is nothing you can do about it. If you stay still and worrying about them, you will be wasting your positive energy and have restless sleep. What would be the outcome thereafter? Who is going to suffer at the end? Love yourself and recognise that you can’t do everything by yourself. Learn to reject and say “No” to negative energy.

I have to constantly reminding Dad and Mom to move forward with positive thoughts, exercise daily, be with good friends and go for holidays. Thankfully, my parents have a group of friends who are most supportive and caring. They meet every morning for exercise around the beautiful lake garden and then having breakfast together. They even go on short holidays together! Awesome gentlemen and ladies!

As we get older, it is important to surround ourselves with a handful of good friends, have our own hobbies and have purpose in life so that we can enjoy our golden years in a more fulfilling way. As for adult children, they are living their own lives, making their own choices. Regardless if these choices are right or wrong, they are no longer the parents’ responsibility. Take good care of own health and live as freely as possible. Be happy! Enjoy life!!! These are my Wishes to my parents all the time. For them to live their lives for themselves. They have done more than enough for us children. It is our turn to make their lives better.

On recent admission, my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, staffs and paramedics of Hospital Taiping, Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, friends near and far, relatives, for their well wishes and prayers. We shall overcome it, one after another. Thank God for sending Angels our way.

Let us today vow to take care of our physical and mental well-being. God bless.

~ Alice N.


2nd Month on Glivec

IMG_3959.JPG Hope you like this picture. It is a beautiful lake back in my home town, Taiping, Perak, in West Malaysia. Each time I look at it, it brings me calmness and never fails to put a smile to my face.

I am supposed to update Dad’s journal on monthly basis but due to unusually tight work schedule and some family issues, I kept putting it off. Right this minute, I’m typing on my iPad mini, on the way downtown for lunch, with a few family members; continue typing as I sit here on a marble bench, at the mall, while waiting for others to join us.

That particular visit, towards end of August, was to see his Oncologist and to go for a CT Scan before the Doctor can determine whether Dad should continue with Glivec. The preparation prior to the CT Scan was the same as before. Having done it once before, we knew what to expect and do, with decreased anxiety. After the scan we met with the Oncologist. This round, the time taken for scan, results and finally doctor’s consultation was shorter too! It was indeed a great relief that we didn’t have to stay there for almost the whole day, unlike before. There were just so many people who were unwell…

The scan reports showed us that the lesions on the liver had reduced in size and number. The size of the tumour in his stomach had also reduced, measuring from 5cm to 4.2cm. Others remain unchanged. Side effects wise, last month, we noticed slight water retention around his left ankle and would be more so on both legs, when he sits for long hours. The second month, we noticed slight water retention around his eyes as well, resulting in mildly swollen lids, heavier on lower lids. As long as the swell does not become worse, the Doctor won’t be alarmed by it. I have read the experiences of fellow GISTers around the world, swollen lower legs and eyelids are some common side effects. Since what dad has been experiencing is somewhat mild, we shall just monitor them. All in all, the results are good. The good news brought us great relief, including our Doctor. Therefore, the Doctor was pleased to advise that we should continue with Glivec. Thank God! Thank you, Dr Mellor!

At the pharmacy, the medication collection was much smoother than the fist time since the hospital has our records already. Many thanks to Max Foundation for their continuous effort and dedication in giving hope to Cancer patients around the world. My family and I feel most grateful.

As for his diabetes, Dad’s “report card” has consistently produced good results, even his Endocrinologist was happy with his achievement. I am so proud of him! I know he will make the effort to be well. The insulin works very well and his Doctor has decided to reduce the dosage for him, and he is now only required to do self-test once in three days! His Doctor was very happy with his self-control. He was reminded to take supper before going to be so to maintain more stable blood sugar level while he sleeps. Thank you, Dr SP Chan!

The next visit to his Oncologist and Endocrinologist shall be in two months time. The next CT Scan to monitor the tumour shall be in four months time. We are good with that.

My heartfelt thanks to all my friends, near and far, Facebook friends (especially MMPKs), for their warm wishes and prayers. The power of prayer and optimism spread so wide and strong, that we can feel the warmth and calmness enveloping us. I can’t thank you all enough. We feel so blessed. And, thank God for giving us strength and patience to face these challenges.

For me, as usual, I shall take a day at a time and be grateful for little and great improvements that come my way. If there is none, I’d still count my blessings for the people around me, in my life, who have never stopped caring, loving, and being happy for me. Deep down, I know that life will only get better and better.

Alice N.