6 months into Glivec/Gleevec


I just realised my mistake on Dad’s GIST journal. The title “1st Month on Glivec” is actually referring to 1st follow-up with his Onco after 2 months being on Glivec. Followed by another 2 months, 2nd follow-up and the 3rd in January, which was after 6 months of consuming Glivec.

In the morning before meeting with his Oncologist in January 2015, Dad underwent CT Scan again. We were familiar with the Procedures by then. After the scan, while waiting for the results, we went out for a hearty lunch. Need to be optimistic and the first thing that came to mind was to feed hungry stomachs with tasty hot food.

When we finally met his onco with the radiologists’ reports, we were delighted to learn that the lesions in the liver had decreased further and the size of the tumour in the stomach had also shrunk. However, the signs on the bones remained unchanged, which we have to monitor. All in all, signs had shown positive improvements and that meant Dad responded well to Glivec. Pray for steady route to recovery.

The following day, when we saw his endocrinologist, he was given a thumb-up by the wonderful Dr. Dad then took the opportunity from his good results to appeal for change in prescription to oral medication instead of insulin injections. His Onco had no objections when we spoke to him about it the day before. After much persuasion, she reluctantly compromise with Dad. He still has to take his insulin in the morning but for evening dose, he can replace insulin with oral medication. Dad was to record his blood sugar as requested to see how he responds to the new prescription. Dad has to provide his readings for 7 days. I was so pleased to see how happy Dad was for the little relief from the needle of insulin. That gives him hope that he could perhaps turn this insulin-dependent situation around. He becomes even more optimistic than before! Thank you, Dr Chan and Dr Mellor (the latter for taking time to discuss with the former). Thank God for such caring and dedicated doctors. Thanks to Max Foundation too for the Glivec sponsorship program. We shall be forever grateful! Thanks to the Universe for listening to us, lightening our burden and giving us hope!

I must give the highest credit to Dad. A strong man who is not afraid or even feeling too proud to listen to and take the advice of others (his oncologist, endocrinologist and I). He is determined to get well and therefore is disciplined in his morning exercise and religiously taking his medication. The dad whom I’ve known and love for decades, has always been optimistic and jovial, regardless of the situation he is in. Today, I’m glad to say that he is as optimistic and fun-loving as before, or maybe more. He is a survivor! I’m proud of my dad.

Also, credits go to Mom for endlessly reading articles on cancer and health issues. After surviving a heart attack and went through multiple tests, Mom is now on medication and follow-ups with her cardiologist. Knowing her health risks, she further strengthened her spirit and move forward as positively as possible. Now, both parents are primary care-givers to each other, more like reminders to each other to be well.

I’ve decided to give them breathing space by not monitoring them too closely. I realised my good intention might have added pressure and stress to them to want to feel better, faster. I then return to my old way of weekly chats instead of daily. I was too anxious and worried for them that I made them most uncomfortable and unhappy. Mom was especially worried about me for being worried for them! I learnt from my mistake by letting them be. Instead of mothering them, I revert to my role of being a daughter to them. I let go and move along at their pace.

That brings to me think that as children, there are times when we want to control our parents to do things our way but that is not right. We should sit down and talk it over with them. Let them know our concern as children and listen to their concerns as well. We should then be able to come to a mutual understanding on how to handle challenging situations together as a team. It is indeed pointless for anyone to get agitated and make everyone frustrated. This will only escalate unhappiness and worsen the situation or health condition. Not helpful at all. We have to control ourselves and take it in our strides to think positively and pro-actively. Let’s not react without thinking deeply, especially on such delicate issues, when handling sickness in the family. I know it is tough but for everyone’s sake, especially the unhealthy one, we have to be empathetic, compassionate and have great patience. I believed that when we are optimistic, it can be contagious. Instead of frowning, we should be smiling and enjoy the company of our loved ones.

I shall continue to pray for strength, patience, wisdom and good news for my family!

~ Alice N.


Farewell, Mr Lee Kuan Yew


The world has lost a great man, Singapore’s Founding Father. Without Lee Kuan Yew (LKY), Singapore will not be what it is today. Thank you and farewell, Sir!  

Even the sky shed tears at the last sent-off. I’m so touched to watch so many citizens braved the rain to stand along the roads to bid the great man final good byes. Seeing so many people, young and old, unabashedly wiped their tears as the hearse passed by. I can’t help but to have tears streaming down my face as well. Feeling so sad for his family and Singapore for losing a father.

To me , he is a wise, visionary man. He turned the small island into a developed country, with least resources. Singapore is now  respected and envied by people around the world, especially its closest neighbours! A man with great vision, determination and passion running in his blood all these years. 

Though I am not a Singaporean, I saw, heard and read enough to appreciate LKY’s fruits of labour; his sweat, tears and blood flowed into the land, water and air of Singapore. I salute you, LKY.

I liken Singapore as a second home deep in my heart. This is one place which I feel safe to walk the streets alone at night; feeling safe enough to let my children go around unaccompanied, on public transport; feel comfortable eating hawker foods at every corner of Singapore! I like how Singaporeans queue up for everything and reserve a seat/table with a pack of facial tissue. People can leave their bags on the chair and walk away for a short while. They have mutual respect and understanding amongst themselves. I give them a thumb-up for being civilized. 

It is a fine city which I love. Why not to love? If you break the regulations or law, you face the consequences. Fair and square! This is law and order, vital ingredients to run a country efficiently. I’m all for it. The city is like a garden in the city or is it city in a garden? Full of trees and parks. Trees are as valuable as a human life. The parks are well maintained at every HDB residential and each township is complete with community and sports centre, eateries and convenience stores. I can freely walk along Singaporean streets and move around using their efficient public transports. Thanks to the founding father. 

A man, no matter how wise or great, could not escape from making some mistakes in life. The most important part of making mistake is what has one learnt from the mistake. We can choose either to see the big picture to progress or we magnify the minor issue and sit on it. A choice not easily made especially for a country and its citizens. 

Mr LKY, when we knew that you were in critical condition, we prayed to have you with us much longer but at a corner of our hearts, we did not want you to suffer anymore. We then pray for you to go peacefully to a better place, hopefully to reunite with Mrs Lee again. 

To our Hero…our Mentor…our Founding Father…Our Leader…final salute to you, Sir. We shall continue to pray and send well wishes across the causeway to your family and beloved country. Your duty for Singaporeans has now completed and it is time for others to follow your foot steps and dreams. Now is the time for them to stand on their own and make the most of what they have learnt from you. 

Thank you, LKY for your sacrifice and wisdom. May you rest in peace….

To PM LHL and family, our deepest condolences to you. 

~ Alice N.

20 Years Together 

What can I say except, time really flies! It is amazing how two people with different personalities, habits and interests can stay together for that long. Oh yes…it still amazes me when I stop to think about it. 

Thank God we have survived every up and down, sharing laughter and tears, talk about  ideas and dreams, discuss matters related to children and like any other couple, we argued, we got angry with each other, felt frustrated and hopeless sometimes. We have survived all that so far, and shall continue to work on it for years to come.

Darling, Happy Platinum Anniversary! A wonderful man who has put up with me in many ways for 20 years. Together, we have built our own small family based on our values and belief. Together, we weather the storms of life, we continue learning, adapting, improving and look forward to enjoy the fruits of our labour. When we fight, we keep reminding each other to fight for the marriage instead of personal victory. 

Marriage is like a beautiful china. It is so lovely to look at and smooth to touch. We adore its beauty. However, it is fragile and needs to be handled with great care to maintain that beauty and condition. When it is roughly handled, it may chip or even break, depending on the impact. Otherwise, it is long-lasting.  

For people who have not come this far yet, they are simply amazed by the period of 2 decades. However for people who have gone through more, I’m sure they have lots to say or advice for me. I believe, it is going to be more fun accompanied by more learning curves to experience as we move along.  

Looking back, as a single person, I did everything to my fancy. I did not have to think too deeply how each decision I made or action I took would directly or indirectly affect the next person. I am me, period.

When we got married, we were like two limbs attached to a body, and still are. What one does or say will have some kind of effect on the next person. Therefore, we become more mindful with words used and our choice of action. 

With the addition of children, looking back at “mere couple” days, they seemed uncomplicated and easy. It was another course of adaptation. With this new landscape, more adjustments were made to accommodate the little human in the family. As one child grew another joined the clan. Another course of adjustment was called for. I can testify that since then, our communication, decision-making, human relations, public relations and negotiation skills have since improved drastically. 

I know that I have made many mistakes along the way, by taking things and simple gestures for granted, jumped to my own conclusions and not “looking” from my heart” the things my husband did for me, to please me. I was too quick to pass judgement. There were times when I didn’t give him a chance to a “fair trial”. Oh well…I have learnt and shall continue to be more forgiving and understanding. I asked for validation and acknowledgment…I shall also give the same in return. Regardless of being a man or woman, we are humans after all, seeking emotional satisfaction and stability. I must look at myself in the mirror more often, not to check my make-up of course, but to look within myself for check and balance. Yes, that I shall do.

Fast forward years ahead, as children grow older, maybe leaving our nest and starting their own  families, I am sure we will soon find ourselves back to being a couple again. In golden years, we may see things through different lenses, not indicating reading glasses, mind you. I am sure by then, our livelihood will be different from how it is now. More time in our hands to use as we please. 

I shall look forward to sharing these years ahead with darling hubby. It envisage it to be like unwrapping the present, layer by layer to reach the special something inside the box. There will be new territories to be explored and discovered together. We shall cherish what we have go through thus far, and look forward to the journey ahead. 

A toast to my wonderful husband : May we share many more exciting years together, till death do us part. I love you, darling for always being there for me; for the little gestures you make; for the love you showered upon me continuously; for accommodating me in many ways; for your quiet understanding of everything. Thank you for the love and attention through the years, darling.

Alice N.

Happy Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day celebrating the wonders of women around the world. To all mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, Happy Women’s Day!

Some people jokingly described a husband as the head of family and wife as the neck of the family, which can turn the head anywhere. Oh well…whatever it is, don’t take them personally. Laugh them off.

Someone sent this image to a group of us with one person light-heartedly commenting that they must read the book to learn about “women management”! I wonder how one can manage women or men. It is not like financial management or time management. So, my response to that was “I’ve not met anyone who can understand a woman as well as second skin. Best would be to appreciate them, acknowledge them and validate their feelings. Very simple actions which do not require lots of heavy reading. Same applies to men and children. We don’t “manage” them.

Another friend sent this, “A teacher wrote this on the blackboard and asked the students to add the punctuation – [Woman without her man is nothing]. A boy added (Woman, without her man, is nothing.); whilst a girl wrote (Woman! Without her, man is nothing.). Amazing that a few punctuation marks can give different meanings to the same sentence. My take on this is no one is more superior than the other. A man and woman have their own roles to play in the family. We are interdependent, if you like. We need each other to make a more beautiful and fulfilled life for ourselves and our loved ones. Let us not try so hard to prove between husband and wife, who is more important or superior. We will end up hurting each other more. While we happily celebrate our Women’s Day, let us also acknowledge our father, brother, husband and son’s influence to our lives, in one way or another.  

A confident man sent this message to a group chat and received a round of applause :

Woman : changes her surname, changes her home, leaves her family, moves in with you, builds home with you, gets pregnant for you, pregnancy changes her body, she gets fat, almost gives up in the labour room due to the unbearable pain of child-birth, even the kids she delivers bear your surname. Till the day she dies, everything she does…cooking, cleaning your house, taking care of your parents, bringing up your children, earning, advising you, ensuring you can be relaxed, maintaining all family relations, everything that benefit you….sometimes at the cost of her own health, hobbies and beauty. So who is really doing whom a favour? Dear men, appreciate the women in your lives always, because it isn’t easy being a woman. Being a woman is priceless!

I just want to say that women are not that complicated or weird as much as one wants to believe. They are no trouble-makers. They don’t have time to pamper themselves how else are they going to find time to create troubles. They know their roles very well. They always stand by their men through thick and thin, without much complaint or none at all, strongly believing in their shared dreams. They work tirelessly to provide a warm and loving home for their families.

Women, give yourselves permission to celebrate your day. Also, feel free to take everyday as a celebration of life, whatever you want to call it. Give yourselves a pat on the back and remember to take time off to pamper yourselves. Have your own circle of girlfriends who would be there for you to share your happiness and as well as concern. Start having a hobby or two to occupy your time more productively. If you have been thinking for so long to take up a degree, learn a musical instrument, master another language, attending cooking or self-improvement classes, do it! When you do something more meaningful for yourselves, you’ll appreciate yourselves more. Not only that, your family members will too!

Celebrate that you are a Woman! It is great pleasure and an honour to be a woman and carrying out your roles as one. Notice that many hearts and lives you have touched as you grow and live your lives. Live it to the fullest. Enjoy each and every moment of it. Make happy memories and learn from the good and bad experiences. Take great care of your health and total well-being. Be proud and always take extra effort to look, smell and feel good about yourself!

~ Alice N.