Friday, December 19, 2008
Dad Starts Chemo
As if anticipation for the worst case is not heavy enough on my mind for the past 2 weeks, this afternoon's consultation with the oncologist was later than the appointment time of 2:45PM.
Dad, Mom and I made our time waiting at National Cancer Centre or NCC, seated in Clinic C waiting area on the 2nd floor with light conversations and lots of laughs.
Dad made lots of jokes. He has been on a happy mood today. It made waiting for what Dr. Lo Soo Kien had to say that much easier on my mind.
Dad's queue number 1448 finally flashed on the plasma display for Room 7.
"How has your Dad been feeling since the last visit?" Dr. Lo asked me after she greeted Dad in Malay and requested that she spoke to me in English. Dad just nodded after he greeted to her saying "Good morning" at 4:15PM.
She told me about Dad's CT Scan and his blood test results...
All is good with the scan. Dad's liver is looking good and the tumors in his lungs remained the same sizes with the exception of on that has grown slightly larger, "but not to be too concerned about."
His cancer marker, however increased in numbers. From the last blood test done in August 2008 of 22, the latest taken last Friday is at 47.
"I've seen worse... in hundreds" Dr. Lo comforted me somewhat, most probably after looking at my facial expression.
She explained that a normal person should have cancer marker that is less than 5. Dad was at 3 for 3 years after he had his colorectal cancer tumor surgically remove. It was the incessant cough that triggered an investigation by our family doctor which led to his lungs X-ray showing a 3cm growth.
After she examined Dad behind the curtains, she explained to me Dad's course of treatment.
800mg of Capecitabine, chemo pills for the course of 2 weeks with the last week to rest. Taken twice a day together with Pyridoxine, a vitamin pill to cope with the side affects of the chemo pills that may cause sore mouth and aid his immune system.
The cost of one cycle of the chemo pills is at S$330.00. All of which is able to be charged to Dad's Medisave account. I was so relieved when told of the medication cost which was told can reach above S$3,000.00.
Dad will have to come back again to see Dr. Lo on 9 January 2009 at 3:00PM. Before that he will have to do a blood test at Clinic C an hour and a half before consultation. So we will have to be there by 1:30PM.
"If you decide to take the medication at 9 in the morning,"I explained to Dad while Mom and Elder Brother listened intently, "you will need to take the 9 at night too."
Dad has always been very good to follow his routine like clock-work, so this should be a breeze for him.
"Remember, if you forget or miss taking your medication in the morning, you can still take it before 3:00PM, else just skip it..." I explained further, "just take the night dose only." Dad looked on, trying to commit to memory.
A host of other instructions were told to these two elderly loved ones... quite a lot of information to take in, but once it is routine, it will be simpler and like second nature.
"Just call me if you miss taking it... I'll tell you if you can take it or not." I suggested for simplicity. "I'll call you tomorrow to remind you, OK?" Both Dad and Mom nodded with a smile.
The chemo pills are toxic to the skin, so everyone had to be told to remember not to touch them, and to wash the hands with soap if accidentally touched.
"We'll use a spoon to pick it up if it falls." Mom suggested. Good one, Mom!
"Now... let's eat!" Mom retorted. Yes, we all missed lunch and actually taking an early dinner at around 5:00PM. She suggested Spize Restaurant at Simpang Bedok, well known for good seafood with large portions served.
True enough, the food Mom ordered we just too much for all 4 of us to eat, that we had a 3 leftover dishes packed which I got to take home. Mom bought a extra packed of Tom Yam Seafood Soup for Wifey and Sonny. Sweet Mom.
Got to call them tomorrow Dad to start his chemo pills. Hope he is able to cope well with this medication and importantly his body response positively to it.