14th Month into Glivec


Three months had passed since the last CT Scan. Recent meeting on 17th September, with the Onco was just for a chat and to get to know how dad has been doing the last three months. Glad to say that dad is doing well. Weight maintained. Blood test results look rather alright, doctor isn’t concerned about the slight difference in one or two numbers. The brittle nails have recovered except for one, the right forefinger. Dad will continue to apply homemade coconut oil onto it and other nails as maintenance. Considering dad’s improved condition, Dr Mellor says that it is not necessary for us to meet as often. The next visit shall be in four months’ time in mid January 2016.

The visit to the endocrinologist, Dr Chan was great! Blood test results are good especially his blood sugar. Perfect! His regular home-kit test results showed a couple of low readings (tested two hours after lunch). Dr Chan reduces the insulin dosage but encourages dad to do what he has been doing all along, i.e. the exercise, 7 small meals, etc. She further advises dad to stay longer during the next visit because she intends to revert dad to taking tablets. For that, she needs to monitor his progress every two days once he stops his insulin injection. This is excellent news for dad! Let us pray and hope that blood test results will show as good report so that dad can revert to tablets. No more insulin injection! I know he suffers, especially the initial several months. He had never injected himself before; was anxious and clumsy. Thank you, God for answering to his and our prayers.

Bravo to dad! He is serious about getting well and therefore, has the discipline to follow strict routine. I can always count on dad. He knows very well how I feel and he does not wish for me to be worried for him. Thank you dad, for feeling better, for being strong for yourself, mom and us.


Not forgetting, we owe it to the Max Foundation
. Without the Max Foundation, it would be much tougher for us to follow through with the treatment. We are most grateful to Dr Mellor and the Max Foundation. The Max Foundation is a global health organisation; firmly believes that all people living with cancer have the right to access the best treatment and support. Thank you!

Regardless whether you are a cancer patient or a caregiver, it is important to join a good support group. No one else can understand what you are going through as well as those who are in the same boat as you. There are many over the social media. I am a member of the GIST Support International (GSI) group in Facebook. Members are mostly GIST patients, and fellow caregivers. At GSI, everyone is supportive of one another. We share our experience and knowledge. The community also shares fears and concerns. Members are from all over the world. We are one and we are family. We continuously receive news, information as well as virtual hugs and cheers within this group. We share good and bad news freely. We send wishes and prayers throughout the globe, for those in need. Love is all around. And we hold dearly to our Purple Ribbon with much hope. Thank you, fellow Gisters! Love you all!

My dearest readers, if upon reading this, you feel deeply for the Gisters, please offer your prayers to them. 🙏🏻Thank you and God bless.
~ Alice N.

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11th Month into Glivec

The time has come for Dad to go for another CT Scan. Silently, we pray for positive results. Dad has been doing well. Keeping himself healthy by exercising every morning, weather permitted and also eating well. He eats 7 small meals a day due to his insulin injection and to keep the blood sugar reading under control. One oat drink before setting out for his morning walk, a bowl of noodles after his walk and snacking on some biscuits/bread at mid morning; lunch, tea, dinner and supper. So far so good that his endocrinologist fully supports his diet.

On 22nd June, mom and I accompanied dad to the hospital. He is now familiar with the procedure that he is fully at ease with it. I’m glad. The results were out in the afternoon. We eagerly proceeded to the Oncologist’s room. We are most pleased to hear that the tumour size has reduced so do the lesions in the lungs. These are the two critical areas.

Dr Mellor informed that should we wish to consider surgery to remove the tumour, we can do so now that it has shrunk to about 2 cm. I asked if dad would still need to take his Glivec post surgery….and he said most likely because there are areas still with lesions present, especially the liver. We may have to continue with Glivec to keep the others under control. Dad declined the idea as he still needs to consume Glivec. Dad is confident that the tumour will further reduce in size with Glivec. Dr Mellor agreed with him based on his age and overall health condition. Dr Mellor is happy with the scan results. Words can’t describe my joy upon hearing the news. I thank God for His blessings and watching over my dad.

The visit to the Endocrinologist was a good one too. Dr Chan was very happy with dad’s blood sugar control. She voiced a little concern over a couple of low readings. Dad’s insulin injection in the morning shall remain but with at a reduced dosage and taking the same prescribed tablet after dinner. Blood test result was excellent.

This is another successful visit to the hospital. I feel so light and happy to know that dad’s progressing well. I can see on the faces of my parents that they are glad that their hard work paid off. I know it isn’t easy to keep our heads held high despite fears, worries and concerns in our mind. Bravo, dad and mom!

The following visit shall be in 3 months’ time, merely consultation. Dr Mellor doesn’t like to repeat CT Scan in a short span of time to avoid over-exposure to radiation. It is not good for anybody more so for a weaker body.

Dad has been on Glivec for almost a year. Looking back, this one year has been most eventful, with the first 5 months being the scariest of all. It was emotionally  draining too. I can’t imagine how mom went through it everyday as the primary caregiver. I can only imagine dad’s fear in facing such situation while trying to protect his loved ones from worrying more. I guess it took a toll on mom when mom was admitted for suspected heart attack, 3 months after dad’s diagnosis She went through tests after tests. Relieved washed over us when we were told she is OK. She was prescribed with smaller dosage of aspirin as a preventive measure. Her condition will be monitored by the local hospital.

I feel that having a family member contracting cancer is the last thing one would expect to happen. It is the worst news for anyone. The first few things that cross people’s minds would be the pain, course of treatments and financials. Thinking back, while I was sad upon hearing the diagnosis from the Dr, I had to keep a brave front for my parents and brothers. Armed with positive mindset I tried to instil the same optimism to both of them especially mom, who is a worrywart. I preached about team work, emphasising that it is treatable, there is always hope. The battle is dad’s but we must stand by him to cheer him on. Mom has to watch over his food too. I read up books on cancer survivors and about GISTs. I opened a medical file and add a health journal on this blog.

Created support group within the family, I roped in my younger brother to spend more time with them and to watch for any sign of small ailments, whatsoever. I am most grateful to him and my sis-in-law for being around my parents. Thanks to the twins (brothers) who will speak to them from afar once in a while. With most children living separately and distant away, it is important to keep in touch to let them know they’re thought of and also to let them listen to our voices. My parents are most understanding when we can’t meet as often as we wanted to.

I can say now that we had gone through the worst together. Nonetheless, we still need to continue doing the right thing…i.e. daily exercise, eating well, positive thinking and enjoy life. Life is short. Let us live our daily lives the way it should be..happy, contented and meaningful.

Thank you my friends, for your prayers and wishes for my dad.

Cheers,

Alice N.