The thought of creating this web site to pay tribute to my late mother
came to me sometime in late March 2000 after reading a book given
to me as a gift by Dr Enser Cole, a medical oncologist.
I was devastated by my mother's sudden death and went through a painful grieving process. Many friends including Dr Enser Cole tried their best to help me through my grief but without avail. I firmly believed in walking through it myself and finding my own path to healing. I am grateful to Dr Cole and some of my friends who had supported me during the darkest moments of my life.
In my memory, my mother was always eager to help needy people even
though her donation may be small. She had never declined anyone who
asked her to make a donation. Even though she was suffering from cancer,
she remained positive and shared her experiences with other cancer patients.
When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, none of my family members had any knowledge of cancer. I felt very guilty for overlooking her symptoms, as chances of a complete cure were good if it was detected early. I began my frantic search for a miracle cure. I learned everything about colon cancer, searched for suitable clinical trials and complementary treatments and prayed for a medical breakthrough. I was overjoyed when I read about the article "Test drugs wipe out cancers in mice",
The Straits Times, 5 May 1998. I thought that my mother could be saved and my email enquiry was among those thousands of enquiries addressed to Dr Judah Folkman, a cancer researcher at Children's Hospital in Boston. Anyway my hopes were dashed as only a limited number of cancer patients were selected for this clinical trial using the drugs angiostatin and endostatin. My hopes were rekindled when I learned about the clinical trial using squalamine to treat brain tumour. Unfortunately the trial conducted by two hospitals in US was delayed as the manufacturer could not produce enough drugs to carry out the trial. Nevertheless, I was living in my world of fantasy and strongly believed that my mother would survive with her strong will power. When she died so suddenly, I simply could not accept her death.
The only consolation I had was that my mother fought bravely against cancer, lived a fairly good quality of life and died peacefully without much suffering. Her last wish to have a peaceful death at home on the bed where she delivered her children was fulfilled. During her last six days at home, though she was in coma, I am certain that she was grateful to receive kind support and care from Dr Lau Siew Kee and his wife. Dr Lau is a GP at our neighbourhood clinic that operates 24 hours.
I hope to continue my mother's righteous spirit in helping cancer patients to find paths to healing. It is an emotional task to draw up the full contents for this web site but it could well be the first step taken in my path to healing. I would also like to thank A/Prof Goh Lee Gan for his kind concern; that he does not want to see me burdened in maintaining CancerStory.com in the memory of my mother when I grow weary of it. I will constantly bear in mind his valuable advice : "To remember your loved one but not be caught in the past" and his kind thought to see me liberated from my grief and move on with life.
With the support from my siblings and nieces, especially my youngest brother, Lee Chin Peng who manages PureCodes Consulting and my eldest niece, Amelia Kang being the web site developer and editor respectively, we managed to deliver this web site to cancer patients and their families.
By : Lee Soh Hong
12 July 2000