Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's Getting Better

I have been having a little sleep problems the last two days. The mind was very active and could not calm down and only managed to sleep possibly after 2am. Overall, I feel great and pain was minimal.

Getting Better
Yesterday I only did one morning enema as I wanted to allow the muscles around the anus to heal and so far so good. As I was doing the enema, my heart beat became a little irregular and started to slow down as if I am going into cardiac arrest.

All I could think about was how embarrasing it would have been when the ambulance arrived, the paramedics found a naked man lying in the toilet with a tube attached to the anus on one end and the other to a bucket laden with some brownish fluid. He must have been engaging in some self sexual gratifying experiment that led to the cardiac arrest. What was I thinking?

From Traditional Chinese Medicine's prespective, kidney cancer is associated with fear and my most recent fear happened in 2006 when I was nearly drowned in Pulau Redang on the 7th day of the 7th month (Ghost Festival) of the Chinese Lunar month. Call it coincidence or active spirits doing their bid, it was a horrifying moment for me. But tumors takes a long time to grow and I had to look back in time more. I have always been living in the past and the future, never the present in my pre-cancer days always thinking of this and that, preparing for the future. However, the cancer changed everything and I had time now to search and I found out that I had food insecurities and managed to trace it back to when I was 10 years old.

May 13, 1969 was a day many older Malaysians would remember and also a dark spot in Malaysian history for racial (Malay and Chinese) roits. I was 10 years old then and when the roiting broke out, 24 hours curfew was imposed. The area where I was living (Sentul Pasar) had quite a lot of fighting activities and as a result, one could hear occasional gun fire (possibly by the police/army). Food became scarce and we had to ration. We would mostly have rice porridge so that everyone could at least have a meal. My father was nearly shot when he broke curfew to go toilet. A few families would share a common toilet, which was about 30 meters from our house. There was period of time when fighting became intense, my parents moved us to a relative's house in downtown for a few days. I was traumatised by the events which would later shape my work ethics.

Unknown to me, I have developed this fear of insecurity of having not enough for survial. I spent many years focusing on earning as much as I could, moonlighting at night by writing business software applications, just to earn extra income. Another example, in 1983 together with my buddy TH Goh, we studied German and hatch a plan to "jump the plane" when we visited West Germany to work underground in Chinese restaurants. At that time, Malaysia was just slipping into recession. The plan fell through when we both secured better paying jobs in another financial institution towards the end of 1983. I also developed the habit of stocking some essentials in the house just in case. At times, I would role play in my mind what I would do if I had insufficient money after retirement and how I would live to stretch my savings to the fullest.

Thanks the Christine, she has help me to probe this aspects of my live and offered suggestions including a simple therapy to help me come to terms with this fear. I am now working on this area as I believe is also part of the equation that I had to resolve in my fight with cancer.

First Lesson Learned
I had wanted to read Foo Hee Boon's book Gifts of Life in one day, after all it was only 207pages. As I started reading, it became increasingly difficult. There is nothing wrong with my eyes but rather it became a bit intense for me. This book is a teary read for me and I am now only at page 45! For me, getting into role was very easy maybe because I am also a cancer patient. More than that, I felt I was experiencing first hand the events and naturally the tears started to roll. Considering he and his sister were adopted children, the family has unexceptional bonds and duty of care was incredible at the time of crisis, just exemplary.

He has said he was open to all forms of treatment and he did tried many treatments that came along which he felt was compatible. My impression is an act of desperation of wanting to grab any opportinity of any chance of cure. As a result he was travelling from place to place in search of a cure. He chose to do radiotherapy even though the doctors told him it would not cure and he did it for palliative purpose. Although some people (me included) consider radiotherapy is less harmful than chemotherapy, radiotherapy is actually more dangerous and unreversable as the radiation stays in the patients for life. I have changed my view after further reading. As a result, his body was severely weakened. He also tried many other complementary therapies which he feels are compatible but my observation is that it is bit and pieces of each therapy. For example, he follows the Gerson therapy loosely mainly focusing on the diet aspects and even that I think he was not very strict (also missing out the important supplements and detoxing aspects of the therapy and instead chose alternative detoxing methods). More therapies does not equal to effective outcomes rather to focus on some core therapies but as complete as possible.

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