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Art transforms into compassion
Contributed by a care giver, Mdm Karen Loke living in Singapore.

My Cancer Story

I have always believed that the Goddess is testing my family's strength and commitment.

A year and a half ago, my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer. On 24 Dec 2001, he underwent surgery in SGH to remove the cancerous tumor, found to be at the 3rd stage, at the rectum. He had a colostomy done - a stoma for a period of time, hoping to have a speedy recovery after the cancerous tumor was removed. Without delay, he underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy for 6 months. This was encouraged by the doctor for a better chance of non-recurrence.

Not long after, he suffered from serious stomach bloating and felt nauseous after these therapies and was often unable to take in much food. We immediately approached the colorectal surgeon at Gleneagles Hospital for a scan to be done. The doctor said that his scan result was fine and there was nothing wrong with his intestines or stomach. He was then treated as gastric sensitive by his doctors.

In a few months, he started to vomit badly and was again admitted to SGH for treatment. This time, when the doctors sent him for a checkup and scan, they found that his small intestine was damaged by the radiation therapy. He had to undergo yet another surgery and half of his damaged intestine was cut off. He also had his stoma closed up hoping for some improvement this time, as suggested by the doctor. The doctor had also stopped his intake of food, hoping for a speedy recovery. However, he again started to feel nauseous and vomit worse than before. His body began deteriorating and he lost weight rapidly.

All I could see is his skeletal frame and his suffering. Unable to show my worry, I strove to encourage him to lift his spirits up and to fight with determination in order to leave the hospital soon.

Days went by with him under the doctors' observations. After some dye tests and scans, they found a hole linkage in the intestine that was operated on. As he had lost so much weight and strength, he had to go on TPN, milk drips with nutrients to build up his energy for the third operation.

On eve of Lunar New Year, he had his third operation. Imagine, on the first day of Lunar New Year, we had to bear with such horrible moments and feelings!

That afternoon, all on my own, I waited for his appearance and finally managed to see him come out of the operating theatre but he was pushed into the SICU equipped with oxygen-support and medical equipment.

Poor man, I just couldn't believe how much he had suffered from Christmas till the Lunar New Year. However, thanks to the Goddess, his condition improved gradually. He has had no intake of food all this while. Till today, he is still on TPN milk drips.


I have also gone through some bad times, what with my diabetic condition. I have been insulin dependent for 12 to 13 years. I have 2 children aged 7 and 10 years old. I always say, "Goddess, I am determined to overcome these periods of hardships. Please continue to enlighten me. With strength and determination, I will make it."

Finally, I hope that the SGH social team can help us to get a support grant for his TPN payment supports, and the HPS grant soon before I am stuck with our HDB housing loan.

Last but not least, I wish everyone a healthy life. Those who have good health, please do your utmost to support the unhealthy ones.

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