Thursday, August 18, 2011

Riding through a storm

I went through one of the most trying periods in the last two weeks, but the harshness of my ailments has been softened by God's grace. Two weeks ago, I was still struggling badly with my sleep at night as well as learning to cope with my nausea. I also felt my stomach to be more bloated (I later learnt that my stomach is retaining water from Dr. Tay). It was a terrible experience. I prayed few times for relief and for the will and strength to live. Words cannot describe the pain I was going through during those tearful weeks after my radiotherapy. In addition to my discomfort, I had to prepare for lessons, and I was always left physically exhausted by the end of each class. As my teaching style is interactive, it consumes a lot of my energy. Six weeks ago, I was still coping well, but starting from two weeks, I ran out of breath easily and my physical exhaustion took longer to recover. Then, two weeks ago, during the weekends, both my legs became swollen (a symptom known as edema). I decided to step down from my teaching role at both Jubilee Sch and at Peoples Presbyterian Ch. I have also worked out the details of handing over with the coordinator.

I felt relieved to be freed from these teaching responsibilities even though I enjoyed every moment of teaching. I don't know why, two weeks ago, my nausea becomes more manageable, and I was able to sleep longer in the nights. I guess the side effects of my radiotherapy is starting to wear off, and I am able to rest more fully. But starting from this week, I vomited more regularly, and I started to experience light sleep again. I have switched to liquid food but that means I will get hungry more often. 

I have also stepped down from being a Bible study leader in my church. In the last few weeks, I was privileged to be driven to the Jubilee Sch of Missions and back by a dear sister (Ruiyan), encouraged by another brother (Huiqiang)'s presence during my Christian education class, as well as being grateful to a dear brother (Tim Chai) who committed himself to be my driver every Sat morning.

Two weeks back, I consulted my oncologist, Dr. Tay, at Gleneagles for follow-up. I am thankful that Dr. Tay is more thorough than my default oncologist at NCC. He shared with me that his cancer clinic is set up and run by Christian doctors. Somehow, I feel more comfortable and more peaceful when consulting him. As I believe my liver is expanding and pushing against my rib cage and my lump at the base of my neck is not shrinking, he suspects that my current medication is not working and he will be scheduling me for another CT scan at NCC (where I am subsidized), and funny thing is he is able to do so as he maintains a working relationship with NCC. Once the CT scan confirms that my tumours are growing, I will be given the third line of treatment. I have currently stopped my chemotherapy drug. So, I went for my CT scan yesterday. I was scheduled for a scan at 11.30am, so I started fasting at 8am. Then around 12pm, when my stomach was full of high contrast fluid, I vomited all of them out. It must be due to my gastric reflux. It was there then it was decided that I should be given injection dye. Immediately, after my CT scan, I drank Milo to top up my energy and it was such relief.

For my thanksgiving items and concerns:
1) I thank God and am grateful that the swelling of my legs are under control. I have to wear a special pair of socks to stimulate blood circulation, and to lift my legs above my heart level during sleep. Please pray that I will have better quality of sleep. I am also grateful that my morphine is managing my pain well, though it makes me drowsy.

2) I am very thankful for my church pastor and his wife's commitment to follow up with my parents. As his wife works closely with me at Jubilee Sch, she cares a lot about me and sends me plenty of encouragements regularly. I was really touched when she shared how I had inspired my students.

3) I continue to ask for the grace to enjoy food, and to lessen my nausea so that my body can have the energy to function properly.

4) In the event that I switch to third line of medication (and Dr. Tay will offer me a better price than at NCC), I ask God to shrink the tumours. If that is not God's will, may God allow me to live a quality life and to live in His grace. 

I hope not to have to entertain visitors as my energy level is quite low, and I pray that in this storm that I am going through right now, God's grace may be manifested. 


Anonymous said...


Just want to let you know you are a very brave friend, and it pains us to see what you are going through. You are constantly in our prayers. You are an inspiration to us.


Mary Heney said...

Dear Arthur,

May ALL of your humble prayers be answered. I think of you daily and miss seeing your lively and kind face at Church of the Covenant. You were so inspirational to me while you were there, and to many others sharing the journey with you. Since your diagnosis you have become even more inspirational to me, as you strive to live your life completely in spite of pain, discomfort and set-backs. I send you love and my best wishes for a release from pain, better sleep and rest and a continued ability to enjoy food.

Mary Heney

Tim said...

God bless you brother. I am thinking and praying for you. We just had our international Bible Study that you helped me start. We miss you and wish you and Vivian blessings. You are missed- Tim & Sarah