Friday, October 12, 2012

Thank YOU!!

Hi! We are Chang’s daughter.  First of all we apologize for this message is long overdue.  We must thank all the readers for supporting our daddy’s blog. Your warmhearted comments, wishes and concerns especially during daddy’s last days, really touched our hearts. 

When our dad posted last entry on 16th August 2012, many readers had requested us to update the blog so that they can keep tab on dad’s condition.  We needed to spend time with dad and we felt that we are not up to the task. Thank you to Chang’s friend for updating the blog on his behalf.

53 years ago in the year of 1959, our father Mr. Chang Chee Teck whom you all referred to as Chang was born into this world. Some of the readers known him ever since he was a child, some might knew him for maybe, half of his life. There are also some, who just knew him through this blog.
Today, 12th of October is Dad’s 53rd birthday. He has lived through more than half a century and was blessed with many friends. We know that many would miss him as we miss him too. This day, we will remember him, he who fought cancer with all his strength. Even though he did not live until this day, but today is the day our dad was born. We are grateful for he was born, we will always remember and miss him.

Hence, we would like to say thank you again, the readers for reading the blog and also the comments and support. Thank you friends, for being there for him: for when he was healthy and for when he was sick. Thank you Chang's friend for helping dad and write when he couldn't. Chang says that the blog will not be closed (however there will not be any further update), so that people can still view the blog for its information and research done by Chang. This is most probably the final entry for this blog.

Lastly, we would like to say thank you, dad.  We will always love you.

(updated by Chang's daughters)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I received many requests from readers to keep this blog "alive". To keep this blog active so that Chang's efforts for the past three years will not be wasted.  That if I were to stop posting, this blog would be left idle and no one would tap into Chang's work. My question to them was, what do you think I should write about?
I did give serious consideration to these requests. I thought through as to how best to do justice to this blog. Also, what I can do to allow this blog to continue to be a valuable resource to cancer patients.To this end, last week I invited a hypnotherapist to contribute an article on the use of hypnotherapy in cancer and she has accepted. There were other suggestions as well that I post the story of other cancer patients who have tried alternative therapies and document their results here. In fact, I have written to a reader to ask for permission to post her story on this blog. It looks like these will  remain as only ideas.   

Anyway, I received an anonymous feedback yesterday that I should post on a separate blog. Probably, after the aftermath of the very heated religious debate and the comments made, anonymous said this blog is being contaminated and readers are putting words in Chang's mouth. And to leave this blog alone. I don't know what the readers here think. Readers have argued over religion here in the past, sometimes over a few days. Everyone gets so heated and then "contaminate" this blog with their comments. Is that so?

I am not sure if you have any idea how much pressure it is to write on another person's behalf. More so when the article is posted publicly. It is a huge responsibility. I would not have done it if not for Chee Teck. And I would not be at this point if not to preserve his memory and his work. In fact, a reader asked me just this morning if I have stopped posting on this blog and I said yes. And that it is time to move on. That I wouldn't want to keep writing about the past unless something fresh and useful comes along.

The only reason why I wrote about the past here was to use it as a reference point for learning and sharing. And there is so much one can learn from another person's life. Also to address readers' concerns about the dying process, which is very relevant especially for a terminally ill patient, if not all of us.There is no taboo here, talking about dying. I just did not want to trigger off an ugly religious debate, which unfortunately happened. I recognise  also that even though we connect via the blog, we do still grieve for him in our way.  I felt a few extra posts would wrap up nicely the loose ends, answer your questions,  grieve together and move on together. 

 I created a blog called The Bodhi Circle.. You may visit me there at  This will be my last post here.

(Updated by Chang's Friend)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dying Thoughts

"My religion is simple. My religion is kindness."  Dalai Lama 

Many readers here hold Chang fondly in their thoughts. This blog seems to be part of their lives already. The day has come for us to move on. 

A reader "Anonymous" left the following comment"
"I wish to know in greater details Chang's thoughts or thought process just before his passing, if it's possible at all. Did he give much thought to where he was going / his after-life? Was it just nothingness? Was he just thinking about what he wished to leave behind without further thoughts where he was going, or was it that it didn't matter to him at all?"

From May 2, 2012 post by Chang "
"One thing about being a Buddhist is that we believe in rebirth. Another thing I do when preparing my death is to make a wish to be reborn in the human realm. Although I have not achieved any spiritual attainment, it is my intent to be reborn in the human realm as a male. After completion of my university education, I will go forth and enter life as a monk and continue my Buddhist practice. So I visualise it with intent and wish for this to happen in my next rebirth".

Buddhists believe that death is not the end of life. It is merely the end of the body we inhabit in this life, but our consciousness will still remain. It will seek out through the need of attachment, attachment to a new body and new life. Where we will be born is a result of the past and the accumulation of positive and negative action, and the resultant karma (cause and effect) is a result of ones past actions. 

In the past, there were times when readers debated with each over their religions. When the discussions were too heated, Chang consulted me about my view. At that time I said that he should focus on  the spirit of this blog and what he created this blog for. 

We  say that we respect one another, so this respect should also be shown through respect for one another's religions. While all religious prayers, chants and information done in good faith are most welcome, I discourage inflammatory remarks putting down others' religions. We have to deal with our own unhappiness over others' beliefs and take responsibility for our own feelings. True spirituality is about compassion, acceptance and peace, whatever religion we belong to. What is the point in calling oneself a Buddhist, Christian etc when one cannot show genuine compassion for another fellow human being?

In his last weeks of life, Chang was struggling to manage his pain. He could not talk much. As to his thoughts about dying, what he told me was that he was not fearful of the death itself but the pain.

I encouraged him to "go peacefully, in a positive frame of mind" and he nodded. I asked him how he was coping emotionally (meaning depressed or not, etc) and he said he was okay. The good thing is that he had learned to manage his emotions before he died. Our emotions are a reflection of our mind.

During our association, I always encouraged him to confront his emotions, dig a little deeper within to find the root cause of  whatever he was feeling at the time and deal with those emotions rather than repress them. Later, he told me he had learned this "technique" as he called it,  quite well. And I believe it helped him cope when he was dying.

(Updated by Chang's Friend)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Thank You Again

"The greatest gift is the gift of awareness"

I would like to thank those of you who have written to encourage me. The truth is that I took up this job with the sole aim of helping Chang complete his story.  I have not made any plans yet for this blog. Though I have always enjoyed writing, his shoes may be a bit too big for me to fill.

I have to admit that it was not an easy job he entrusted onto me.  During the last few weeks of his life, I followed his physical progress as closely as I could in order to update this blog. And I watched the dying process taking place day by day.  The physical changes, the deterioration and the suffering. Watching life unfold, having to process it in my mind and coming home to write about it.  The hardest day was on the day he passed on.

At the end of life, what really matters to you? Is it the money, the job title or career achievements? Would you panic then whilst on your death bed and wish that you had more time to live life differently? Have you been true to yourself, lived up to your beliefs and at least tried to live out your dreams?

Or is life just one day of struggle after another? Work, work and work. A life so full of responsibilities and obligations that we have forgotten what really matters, our heart? What have we done with our lives and the limited time we have on earth to benefit others? Because at the end of the day, nothing really counts but the way we have treated other people.

These were also some of the questions I posed to Chang then, in 2010, not out of judgment but because I felt these were useful questions to reflect on. He said then that he would try to live differently with the extended time he had. I also encouraged him to live out any unfulfilled dreams, as did many of his friends.  Contrary to what many people may think, I believe the process of dying a good death starts now when we are healthy. And, I believe that when Chang passed on, he left with greater awareness and a richer view of life. 

Let us also live in awareness every moment of everyday..

(Updated by Chang's Friend)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Conversations with Chang

I found out that Chang had kidney cancer almost a year after he was diagnosed. In his usual way, he spoke enthusiastically about the Gerson Therapy, the urine therapy and their benefits. He encouraged me to try out coffee enemas, drink juices and take the Gerson supplements. 

After listening to him, I finally asked him whether he had considered that healing could be more than just physical. And that healing encompasses mind, body and spirit. I also asked him whether he loved himself.  He was stumped and said "Isn't self-love narcissistic or attachment to oneself?" This turned out to be a really big question for him. 

Many people are afraid to love themselves, They somehow feel they are not allowed to. That self-love is self indulgent. They find it much easier to find fault with themselves. And to be harsh and unforgiving toward themselves for their imperfections and mistakes. They do not allow themselves the space to be themselves, to delight in their own company and to pamper themselves. Don't we all deserve a break sometimes? As human beings, we tend to swing to extremes. Does loving ourselves have to swing towards narcissm? What is narcissm? Narcissism is an obsession with ourselves, to the exclusion of other people -- both their needs, and their gifts which they want to share with us. Narcissism is not self-love.

Our self-love is a confirmation that we are lovable; therefore, we eagerly recognize and accept the love which is offered to us. If we lack self-love, we reject other people's love, because we do not recognize it, or we feel that we are not worthy of it. It increases our ability to love other people. It allows us to understand ourselves and know ourselves. We are not repressing anything from our own awareness.
I reminded Chang that Buddhism teaches the middle path and he could look at self love as compassion towards oneself. If we cannot have compassion towards ourselves, how then can we expect others to have compassion for us? How then can we know how to feel compassion for others. It starts with us.

And what does self love have to do with cancer? Because self-love is the pathway to healing. We need to learn to have a great respect for ourselves and a gratitude for the miracle of our bodies and minds. The science of energy medicine teaches us that our organs and other physiological systems sense and store emotions. The immune system’s intelligence observes feelings we have about ourselves, and can improve its health when we develop authentic feelings of self-love.

In the words of cancer survivor, Anita Moorjani, who came back from a near death experience in 2006. "Self love is the best medicine. I learnt from being at death's door that unless I loved myself, nothing else in my life could function at its best."  (Chang posted her story on May 11, 2012)

(Posted by Chang's Friend)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Exercise Caution

Chang had planned to write a post on his experience with HIFU but he did not manage to. So, I am writing this post based on the little information I have, of what actually happened in order that it may benefit  readers as well as those looking for alternative therapies.

On November 3, 2011 Chang wrote about the HIFU therapy. He said, "I am quite hopeful because it's minimal or non-invasive form of procedure. A patient can actually walk as early as 4 hours after the procedure.", However, the real experience in China was very different. He felt very weak after the procedure, was nauseous and was in quite alot of pain. In fact, he had a really tough time. You may read about his experience after he went for the HIFU procedure from postings he made from December 2011 onwards.

Six months after the procedure, this is what he wrote (ref post on June 29, 2012). "However, my experience with cancer pain only started in the last four months or so. In fact, it started after my HIFU treatment in China and I believe it has to do with the dead tumor tissues inside my right abdominal area and also the healing wounds of the tissues and blood vessels after the HIFU treatment"

He had also expected that the HIFU procedure would be able to remove the entire kidney tumour. However, it was only able to remove 90% of it. He discovered this fact only when he was there. 

It is not my intention here to speculate on what happened. We also have to bear in mind that after the HIFU therapy, he did not go back to China for follow up. He said that it was not necessary. He was also not closely monitored by a local doctor. Without a scan, he had assumed that the constant pain at his abdominal area was from dead tumour tissues after HIFU. In July this year, doctors discovered that the cancer had spread mainly to his abdominal area causing him great pain and later, breathing difficulties.

Even though we do our research, there may still be many things we may miss or be unable to anticipate, just from reading research material from the internet and books. In his own words. Chang said "What I want to say is that in theory, it may sound very good but in practice, it may not be so simple."

I urge readers to take the time to find out more information as well as get feedback from other patients on any treatment which they wish to pursue. Of course, we understand that cancer patients sometimes feel that they are running out of time. As for the HIFU therapy, researchers in Europe are still doing trials in its use for cancer treatment. But they are not sure how well this will work as yet.

(Updated by Chang's Friend)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Free Spirit

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me,
I want no tears in a gloom-filled room,
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little – But not for long
And not with your head bowed low,
Remember the friendship that we once shared,
Miss me – But let me go.
For this is a journey we all must take,
And each must go alone,
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to your friends that we know,
And bury your sorrows in doing good works,
Miss me – But let me go.
(poem by Henry Scott Holland)

Chang's ashes will be scattered in Cameron Highlands today in fulfillment of his last wish. He loved the Highlands and had planned to spend his time in retirement there. In his own words, he was a free spirit, happiest spending time in the cool climate of the Highlands.
Have a good rest, my dear friend.

(updated by Chang's Friend)