Friday, June 05, 2009

Dad's On Radiotherapy

Today is Dad's second day of radiotherapy.

I am so fortunate that my boss is understanding and had granted me the two consecutive afternoons off of work so that I could accompany Dad for the treatment in SGH Radiology Centre.

At least the Swine Flu or H1N1 Virus screening process at its entrance in Block 2 at basement B1 was not as strict as entering the wards at Block 4. It was really troublesome to visit Dad when he was warded for a week there.

The screening was a simplified version. A temperature check on one ear and a sticker with today's date given when Dad's appointment card was handed for appointment verification.

The mood in the waiting room was quite depressing to be in after a while. I saw most of the same people I saw yesterday. Everyone there really looked sick no matter how much they tried not to show.

Bald heads both women and men, both young and old. One tall and very thin man, probably in his early 30s had a terrible looking large tumor on his neck. He made loud gurgle as he breathed. At the base of his throat bore a large scar from an operation done previously.

I did not mean to stare, but it was painful to see such a sight. Yet I felt that young man has more desire to live and fighting spirit that I give him credit for. He came alone, panting and walked slowly, but he was there to get better on his own terms.

I felt sympathetic towards each and every patient there. I know that it is the least of their concerns. They are fighting the battle every minute of the hour, no such thing as rest days in between. True courage is what each of them has.

As I looked at Dad, sitting and waiting for his turn, I thank The Almighty that he is not in constant or any pain. The lung cancer he has, has already metastasized.

The doctors reports done during his recent hospitalization found that while the initial 3 tumors had grown in sizes, there are many more new tumors detected. A few are now in his right lung.

Whatever cancer treatments that have been done from the very beginning till to date is only palliative... but it worked well for Dad until it had to stop for a more urgent condition.

The 3 cycles chemotherapy that got stopped abruptly had somewhat prevented the first 3 growths from getting bigger or for new ones to appear. A blood clot detected in his heart after an X-ray done was the cause of Dad's pains in his left shoulder region. Chemo stopped to make way for anti-coagulation Warfarin to start to prevent a chance of getting a stroke.

Without chemo for the past 2 months made his cancer cells grow rampantly. Dad developed breathing difficulties and had more visible clumps of blood in his sputum leading to his recent hospitalization.

Dad's radiotherapy took quite a long time on the first day. I saw the X-ray warning light outside the shielded metal door lit 5 or more times yesterday. Each time it lit for about 3o seconds.

Today, it lit only once but for over 3 minutes or so. My guess is that the long exposure was done to the largest tumor whereas yesterday, the short bursts were targeted on the other smaller ones especially in his left lung.

Maybe it is the power of suggestion, but I take it as a positive outcome anyway.

When asked, Dad replied jovially that it gave him instant relief. He said that he could breathe a little better than before the first treatment. It could probably be true.

I know I want it to be true too, very much. And maybe so because he did even cough once in the cab on our journey home. An encouraging sign. A very good one, in fact.

Dad said that he slept much better last night too. Just a day after his first treatment. Though he was aided with the Oxygen Concentrator to breathe while he slept, he said he could feel the difference than from the past few days since his discharge from the hospital.

Dad will now rest for the next two days. There is no treatment on weekends. It is a good time for his body to repair any damages the radiation had inadvertently done to the healthy tissues around the tumors.

Dr. Yeo, the Radio Oncologist will see Dad on Monday, 8 June 2009 when Dad goes for his 3rd radiotherapy session.

Hopefully the doctor can give encouraging news on Dad's progress, even though it may just be a little too soon. However minor an improvement it may be, it is still good news to me.

Between my two Elder Sis and Younger Brother, they will accompany Dad on Monday through Wednesday for his remaining sessions.

It will be anxiously waited what Dr. Yeo has to tell on Monday, but the final "verdict" will be on the following Monday, the one to confirm the effectiveness the treatment has on Dad and what to do next.

A good indication is when Dad is no longer breathless, else Dad may need to go for another fraction of 5 sessions again.

The treatment is meant to ease Dad's symptoms... to prolong his life with us and nothing more... but we are thankful to The Almighty for the time nonetheless.


  1. Ah, my friend. I've been through much the same mess with my own father when he was dying. It's so depressing. I hate cancer.

    You are such a wonderful son.

  2. Hello Friend...thanks for stopping at my blog and please know that I have ready all of your posts but sometimes I have just felt sad or down and didn't want to convey that to you. A good friend's dear mother died and I wasn't able to go to the funeral 4-5 hrs drive north as my own health wasn't too good last wkend. Today I got mail from my friend sending me info about her mother that I didn't know ... her life was so full and good and she was always reaching out to others and helping everyone. She had been a nurse also ... and strangely enough, she worked for the same doctor who my mother went to when I was born...even though it was probably a 6-7 hr drive back then before the highways were built. My friend's mom would've helped to deliver me except she had just had her own 2nd daughter a few wks prior. I never met these people until I was nearly 30, however, but I'd worked as a 16 yr old girl in their fruit processing plant living with my aunt over the summer ... and then when I met my friend Jane, I got to meet the whole family. Her mother was the first to die in their family of 4 daughters and 1 son ... and the parents had just had their 60th anniv last December. Thank you for letting me tell you this story... not to take away anything from your own family's situation and your father's braveness, your courage and goodness ... just to let you know that I've been keeping track of you (and your post of you and your Wifey going to that park without her inhaler was special, myself needing my rescue inhaler daily and knowing how determined and proud of herself she had to be to make it up the hilltop without it!) and just wanted to stop by and tell you to hang in there and do what you do so well ... be a good son, brother, husband, father ... and human being. Many blessings to you and your family.

  3. Sending up prayers for your Dad and for your family. My God touch him and ease his pain and heal his body. Thanks for your comment in my blog. Helen

  4. Hello Ladies,

    Thank you for your prayers.

    Donna | I really hope there is cure for this disease even in the advance stage in our lifetime, though there are cases that people recover, it is still very random and of very small percentage.

    SisStar | Life is tough when we have to deal with this situation... life is also so wonderful at the same time. The only thing I feel that we can do is make the best of it and have faith that everything happens is for a reason... we may not know what the real reason may be most times.

    Wonderful people leave us to be somewhere beautiful with their maker, I believe. Thank you for sharing and for your encouraging words.

    Helen | Thank you for the prayer sent. We are praying for him here continuously yet we accept what is being given and whatever that comes next. What we need to do is do our best while we have the time.

    Appreciate all your prayers and thoughts. Have a good weekend and an even wonderful week ahead.

  5. You and your family are in my prayers this week Imran. mp

  6. Both you and your dad have a wonderful attitude to all what is going on.
    You are all in my prayers.
    The absence of pain is a God- send indeed and makes things more bearable.
    I am thinking of you at this time.


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