Friday, February 4, 2011

New Year Reflections

Last night, I was awaken by needle like pain on my left shoulder near to the existing lymph node. Although the pain was sharp and short, it left a tinkling painful after effect sensation. I could not sleep after that but I just continued to lie on the bed. I slowly drifted to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. This morning, I woke up to a bad backache. I am not sure what else can I do to sleep better.

A friend, after reading my recent posts, emailed me on Chinese New Year. She must be getting worried and this is what she said:

... Yes, it really is a tough and lonely fight for you are the only one who will know and understand why and what the fight is all about. In my 2 cents worth of opinion, you may have subconciously lost the reason and aim for the fight. Or maybe your original aim was to outlive the 6 months which you so successfully did.

Shall we do a review now ha ha just as if we are doing a job performance appraisal, we have achieved last year's target. What are we setting for the coming year? ...

I have been reflecting on what she said. While I am happy to be able to live another day, every day that I survive adds another layer of tiredness to my body. For the past 17 months, what I have managed to do is only to slow down the growth of the tumors. As much as I hate to admit it, my oncologist is right. I am dying slowly. Before I am accused of giving up, I am not. Even though I can try and continue with this therapy for another 2 years, unless I see more positive results, it would be like walking in circles. There is no end! Of course, that does not mean I just stop. I will continue to do what I can. I am also looking for adjunct therapies to combine. I will take more risks.

Physically, my energy levels are getting worst compared to a year ago. I am not able to do my regular qigong exercise as I do not have the energy even to hold my hands straight upwards for a few minutes. More recently, I was not able to lift even a carton of 1.5lt of bottled water. I feel tired everyday and spent most of my time lying in bed. Most times, I don't even want to wake up to prepare my juices.

Mentally, although I am able to maintain a positive attitude most of the time, but it comes at a cost. I find it very tiring. The pain, which can easily modify my mood comes and goes as it pleases. Crying can help to release some of the stress and sometimes I am not even aware as tears just flows down. A friend reminded me that I should spend more time meditating as it would certainly help. It does not have to be long, even for a brief 5 minutes if done effectively would have a good calming effect.

There is one other thing I will do after the New Year. My friend has suggested contacting Hospice as she has first hand experience with them when her mother passed away with cancer some years ago. I have downloaded the form. My consulting oncologist and urologist are both based in Singapore and it would be difficult for me to get medications when I need it. Hospice provided not only palliative care but also counseling as well. They will come to my house when the time comes. My friend said it is important to get this setup because when the time comes, everybody knows what to do. Forget about my ideals, I am a coward. I would like to move on painlessly.

My instincts tells me that this year will be a very difficult year for me. But all is not lost because I have not given up. Like Emily said I hope for the best, and prepare for the worst, but also be prepared for the best.


  1. Dear CT,

    'While I am happy to be able to live another day, every day that I survive adds another layer of tiredness to my body'
    i am not convinced by this statement.It tells me that you dont see a point in going through this therapy unless you are sure you are able to recover and you want to live only on your own fixed terms. It is energy consuming and taxing financially. As a result oriented person, you are losing motivation because you dont see the results you want. And gradually losing hope and this adds to your tiredness every day.
    What are you waiting for? Are you only able to give yourself permission to start living when you recover? Are you again postponing real living to the future? Why cant you start living now? Why dont you take the precious 'extra day' to live on your own terms? Why dont you give yourself this 'gift'? What is it you want to do in future that you cant do now albeit in a more limited way?
    You dont sound like you have accepted that you are suffering from this disease yet. You lament about the tiredness. Yes, my heart goes out to you. Yet, do you expect to be as energetic? Fact is you are doing so much better and have energy levels that match some healthy people. Dont keep comparing yourself to pre-cancer days to demotivate yourself. You are doing fine.

  2. Dear CT,

    To clarify what I wrote:
    'Why dont you take the precious 'extra day' to live on your own terms?'
    By this I mean living free from your fears. Just drop them and live happily NOW. Free from fear of disapproval and all the fears you listed in your posts.

  3. Dear CT,

    Certainly sounds like you are going it all alone. Lone soldier? And you are getting prepared for the final battle? The hospice? What does your family and loved ones have to say? Is this the 'preparing for the worst part you blogged about?
    What about the 'preparing for the best' part? Why do you not share that with us readers? Tell us about all the reasons for you to keep living. The important people in your life, the things you want to do, your dreams. OR is it that you are secretly really fearful of living your BEST life and what that will involve?

  4. I am encouraged by recent comments on my posts. Lively and critical at times and I hope more will come.

    I will engage in what you all have to say and share more of what's on my mind.