Cancer Patient Thoughts

My wife colleague contracted 3rd stage Ovarian Cancer. She has drag for over a year before seeing a doctor as she though the blood discharge was normal.

Her immediate thoughts was not the cancer but for her children. She still want to continue to work to ensure that her children can complete their university education in 2 years time. This is the strength of Mother Love even at the most difficult part of her life.

The road to recovery is pain staking especially in Singapore. The medical system may not give us much options due to the high cost of the treatment and medicine.

I hope her colleagues and immediate family can bring her through the most critical part of her life. As a single parent, she had endured the hardship to bring up her children. She may not enjoy her last stage of life but hope the strength of everyone will give her more years of life with her family.

All the best to her fight against the illness.

Discharge from trial

My father has been discharge from the clinical trial medicine. There has been no improvement to his condition and the tumour size is still about the same as previously. The trial medicine dosage has been reducing as my father complain about fatigue and pain.
The doctor has advised that we can either stop the treatment or try the chemotherapy. But he do not think the chemotherapy will help in this case. In other words, he meant to let the patient enjoy life. So the doctor is also powerless against this cancer and it is now up to the patient will power to fight the battle. Abbott ABT 869 trial medicine has finally still not help to win the cancel battle.

Tumour Reduce

My father tumor in the liver has reduce in size. Previously the length was 36mm and now it has reduce to 27mm. The lung tumour looks about the same but has flatten.
The clinical trial medicine by Abbott has indeed help my father condition to improve. The ABT-869 is mixed with Ensure Plus milk and taken at night. The major side effect are fatigue and loss of appetite. As my father complain of pain, the doctor has reduce the ABR-869 dosage to 12.5mg. The next review will be one month later.

Trial Medicine Start Again

After resting for one week without the intake of the trial medicine, my Father has been coughing regularly. In today Oncologist appointment, the consultant advised us to try to retake the trial medicine. The consultant has arrange for a CT Scan 3 days before meeting him again.
The dosage will remain the same as previously. If there is any complication resulted from this dosage, we can stop the intake and called the clinical trial officer or the NCC. I guess the complication will start 2 or 3 weeks later. It will be best if no complications appear.
It takes one to two hours for the pharmacist to prepare the trial medicine. We need to wait for the preparation of the trial medicine.  Currently, this medicine maybe the best solution for my father condition.

Trial Medicine

There are now some complications after taking the trial medicine. My father skin tissue between the lips and nose started to get reddish from Monday. It went to have blister and turn reddish on most of the tissues between the upper lips and the nose. The doctor has advised to stop the medication temporary  until  he review my father case again next week.
The medicine is getting stronger with each intake. He started to experience swelling of the gums last week and was unable to take hard food. We cook soft food like porridge, cereal or eat soup with rice. The appetite was affected due to the swelling of the gums which has been a side effect of the trial medicine.

Clinical Medicine Trial

After going through the various check up last week, my Father will begin to take the new medicine trial for cancer patients starting today. The medicine is ABT-869 which has to be mixed with a milk called Ensure Plus. It is to be taken 2 hours after your dinner and you must not consume any liquid fluids for the next 2 hours after taking the mediciation. The consultant will have a weekly review for the next 4 weeks after starting the clinical trial.

Medical Checkup

My father has under went three days of intensive checkup before he is due to take the clinical trial medication. It involves MRI, heat test and blood presure test. All the tests are paid for by the drug company. The tests is to check his current health and to allow them to determine how the medication will affect him. We now need to see whether the medication will help to reduce his cancer cells as chemotherapy has no effects at all.

New Medicine Trial

My Father lung cancer belongs to the 4 stage and is now spreading onto the liver as the growth of the cancer cells has increased.  Currently my father new consulatnt will be Dr Darren Lim Wan Teck at the National Cancer Centre. The doctor are very professional and you get to see the same consultant throughout your treatment unlike Tan Tock Seng Hospital(TTSH).
In terms of treatment and medication, both hospital are similar but the management are very different. The doctor listen to the patient and try to resolve or keep the pain due to the cancer to a minimum. My father is still feeling pain at his lungs and finding hard to sleep sometimes. The doctor decided to give him a stronger pain relief medicine.
There are many cancer treatment trials available at National Cancer Centre for the current cancer patients. The consultant has recommend a trial study by oral feeding mixed with milk. We have decided to participate as chemotherapy does not help on his current condition. All medical expenses will be cover by the drug company, Abbott.
Now my Father has high blood pressure and the doctor will like to control his blood pressure before allowing him to take the new medication. The new medication may have some side effects like vomitting, high blood pressure, loss of appetite and others.

2nd Opinion

My father went to the National Cancer Centre for his first appointment. We have decided on this second opinion as Tan Tock Seng Hospital Onologist is not very professional. Seeing an onologist at TTSH is just like seeing a GP at the polyclinic. They only ask about how is your condition and rather give you an update of the condition unless u ask.
The consultant at National Cancer Centre has told my father that the cancer cells has started to spread. It has affected the bone also and developed into five or six tumours. The consultant advised my father to participate in a chemotherapy treatment and he will be briefing me about the studies this Friday.
I will update all of my friends and relatives this weekend again.

Tan Tock Seng Hospital Review

We have regretted letting our father to be treated at the TTSH Cancer Department. But as we stay in the North and it is of course the choice hospital for us. We have decided to make a switch to the National Cancer Center in Outram. my father went to see the doctor at the polyclinic and managed to get a referral letter to be seen at the NCC.
The doctors at Tan Tock Seng hospital are not taking any further action after his chemotherapy treatment did not help to reduce his tumour. They have offered a more expensive treatment but there is no guarantee of success. Furthermore, the doctors sometimes do not even know the medication my father is taking that are prescribed by their doctors.
My father is still getting the frequent cough at night and it is time we take action to get a second opinion from another government hospital. We have to act fast before the Ministry of Health decided to get rid of the Singhealth and NGH cluster. Subsidy patients may not have a choice of their treatment hospital but need to depend on the decision of the doctors in the future.

Tumour Remain Unchange

The size of the tumour remain unchange after the chemotherapy treatment. The onlogist has given us the decision on whether we want to continue the treatment. The chemotherapy treatment will cost S$4500. Medical insurance will pay S$1200 while mediasave that can be utilised is S$1200 and we are still expected to pay around S$2000 in cash settlement. Government subsidies for chemotherapy treatment is only about 10%. Monthly medicine will cost around S$3500 and there is no guarantee of recovery. How can the middle class or lower class citizen pay this amount of bills in long term? There is no way Mr Khaw, Minister of Health can help these group of patients who have terminal illness financially?

Tumour size

The tumour size was still the same after viewing the result of the CT scan. The consultant has suggested to go for the 3rd session for chemotherapy treatment next week. Another new drug will be used if the treatment still do not yield any result. The CT scan also show that fluid has started to filled his lungs and that is why he is having constant cough in the day and night. My father will be going to the hospital after the New Year to remove his fluid from the lungs. Repeated consultant visit cost $23 which is heavily subsided by the government.

Consultant Review

This is the frst time my father went for review after receiving his first chemotherapy treatment. He went for his blood test as usual in the morning bfore seeing the doctor. After meeting the doctor, I was disappointed that he was not able to give us any details on his current condition. This appointment was bascially to access on how my father has reacted to the chemotherapy treatment. We will be able to know more about his condition after the second chemotherapy treatment and the CT scan later in the month. It cost us $30 to see the doctor and collect medication. This appointment could be avoided as it serve no purposes. It is in affect a waste of Tan Tock Seng hospital resources. This appointment should be actually schedule together with the chemotherapy treatment.