Thursday, November 13, 2008

These Waking Hours

Actually, there was no crack in the ceiling at all...

I was awake last few nights, unable to get a decent hour of uninterrupted sleep. I would wake up often and stayed awake, laying on my bed and looking directly at the ceiling in my darkened bedroom.

There was no crack on the ceiling, just the shadow cast by the street light on the twigs from a tree outside my bedroom window. The day curtain did its part to trick my tired eyes. It was not a pretty night either. There was nothing to stare at the sky as it has been raining most nights and cloudy these past few days.

The days leading to face the result of the biopsy Dad had gone through about a week ago, was a mentally tiring one.

Thursday, SGH Block 3 Clinic A. Appointment at 3:20PM. Bronchoscopy results...
my iPhone beeped to remind me as I took off work in the afternoon.

"This is not good news." Dr. Devanand looked at me straight in the eye. "Your Dad's cancer has come again..."

What he said after that was incoherent as I drifted to nowhere I had gone before. Then snapped back in to reality and composed myself to focus on what the doctor had to tell.

"It's already in the advance stage..." the doctor continued, "there is no cure..."

I slipped into this temporary zombie state back and forth. I could not believe what I was hearing. Those dreaded words were replayed it in my mind so many times to prepare myself for the real thing. This is real.

Prepare myself?
What about Dad?
He's not prepared.

Would anyone be?!

Then the million questions came the doctor's way. Dr. Devanand was patient to answer them as best he could. At times referring to "statistically, what survival rate do we have here in Singapore?" charts displayed in his monitor after some tapping on his keyboard.

Not good. At stage 4, the survival rate is less than 5 percent. "Most patient survive from 6 months to a year..." he said, "many did not go beyond two."

I had to force it out from him even after he repeated to me that he was not the right person to advice on this matter. "More information and any specific questions" that I threw at him were "best answered by the oncologist" at the National Cancer Centre.

Dad will have his first chemotherapy session on 5th December 2008 on Friday morning.

His earliest session would have been on 28th November in the afternoon, but Dad wanted to attend a wedding in Kedah, Malaysia instead. Given that the 5-day road trip may be his last, I requested a later date after consulting the doctor.

Dad wanted to meet Mom's side of the family there and he loves to sight-see the ancient town of Malacca. A place he had gone by car many times with Mom, 2nd elder Sis and her husband before.

While waiting for the cough medicine at the pharmacy, I made a call to all my siblings, at times breaking-up into tears as I repeated the bad news the doctor had told me.

Both Dad and Mom do not know this, which makes it such much harder and me guilty immediately when I heard Dad told Mom as soon as he came out from the consultation room.

"I still have a growth in my wind-pipe... the doctor wants to shrink it with X-ray." He repeated my "translated words" to him, saying it without a hint of fear or sadness. Like it was just a common cough and what the usual cough medicine cannot cure. Oh Dad!

This weekend and the weekends that follow will be busy days at our parents' place as everybody has decided to spend more time with them during as many waking hours as possible.

While they are away on their road trip, all my siblings will come together to discuss who are able to take them in and whom the parents choose to stay with while Dad recuperates with every chemo session.

It's almost 2:00AM and I still am not able to sleep... I had to write this down as I am wide awake and restless.


  1. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers. I'm so sorry to hear this about your dad. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

    You and your siblings are doing the right thing by spending as much time as you can with him.


  2. I just tried to post here and I think I lost it. I hadn't been signed in and it wouldn't take. Well, I just wanted you to know that my heart and prayers are with you. I am especially glad that your father has chosen to go to a wedding, a happy time. I feel silly to complain about my poison ivy now, and you were kind to send good thoughts my way. I wish for you courage and bravery in the days ahead, and don't forget to "look beyond appearances" and know that your father is Here Now ... and that gives you wonderful opportunities to share much of yourselves with him, and he you. Many blessings sent your way. I feel you are such a good person. Bless you.

  3. I'm so so sorry...I worry for your dad to go through the chemo, getting the symptoms from the treatments during the time he has left.

    There is time left for your dad and all of you to be together more often and spend good quality time with him. This is a small blessing if you think about it, they could have said he only had a month or I feel greatful that you will and "can" have this time to share with your father. I know you will spend that time with him well, knowing the wonderful son and man that you are. Also no human being, not even a Dr. can tell you exactly how much time a person has "left" for only a higher power of Spirit knows. I've heard many stories of people who lived much longer than expected.

    My heart feels sadness for you and I will pray for your father and that his angels will be all around him watching over him in light during this time..along with your mother.

    Take one day at a time and try to live in the moment if you can..I know it's not easy, but we are all here for you. Continue to post and keep us updated. I will always check your post to see how things are going.

    Your a wonderful son,

    Angel Blessings to you always,


  4. My love and prayers for you and your family, Imran. I am so very sorry.

  5. Hello Everyone.

    Thank you for your prayers to assist me and my family in going through these hard and emotional times. I appreciate every one of you for your kind words and thoughts throughout.

    This is a wake-up call for us here as a family that life is fragile, but the time spent together will be the best thing any human being can do, and that life will go on.

    Thank you again for coming in and your kind messages.

  6. Oh, my sincerest sympathies, Muhd. I am so sorry for the bad news you've received.

    As I mentioned before, we went through this with my parents, but they chose not to go through the radiation or chemotherapy. They didn't want their last days to be spent sick from the treatments even if it might shorten their time left with us.

    Each situation is different and you and your siblings must make the best decision you can with the information you've been given.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all as you face this difficult time with your Dad.



  7. Hi Imran
    I have just read your blog and have got up to date.
    As your other friends here have said, you and yours are in my prayers.
    It is hard to be strong when you feel such sadness...


Hello Everyone,

Thank you for stopping by and leaving me your messages. I will also try to answer any questions you may have for me.

Thanks again and have a good day.

Muhd Imran
PAL Blogger