In June 2004, I wrote on the arduous life journey of Mdm Serene Liang who turned adversity into strength.
Besides using Reiki to help the sick, Serene also took up a counselling course in order to better equipped herself with counselling skills that will be helpful in her voluntary work.
On 23 May 2008, I received her SMS informing me that she had been lying on a bed along the corridor of the A&E Department in a public hospital while waiting for a bed in the subsidised ward since 7pm. She queued until the next morning but unfortunately, there was no available bed in the subsidised ward, and she agreed to be discharged before noon.
Subsequently, she was hospitalised (29 May 2008), and underwent a surgical procedure that nearly went wrong. One member of the surgical team placed her on the wrong side. Fortunately, she was in a semi-conscious state after a 2-hour delay. She managed to raise her hand feebly that caught the attention of the surgical team, and prompted them to check her case notes.
On 12 June 2008, she was diagnosed with thymic carcinoma.
I am saddened by this uneventful diagnosis. Being a courageous woman, she accepts the diagnosis of advanced thymic carcinoma (4th stage with pleura metastasis), a very rare cancer in her own stride. The first thing that came to her mind was to inform the staff at the Organ Donation Department about her illness. Being an organ donor ambassador, she told them to harvest her 'usable' organs should she succumb to cancer. I salute her for such a selfless act and compassion towards her fellowmen.
She wanted to give up palliative chemotherapy offered by her oncologist. However, due to financial constraints, she has no choice but to receive mainstream treatment in the public hospital . Her oncologist reassured her that he has treated similar cancer cases and his patients are coping well. Unfortunately, he is unable to "connect" her with these cancer survivors so as to receive support. I tried to seek help from the Centre's support group but without success. None of the support group members has thymic carcinoma.
She copes with the "death sentence" with true courage especially when she is about to remarry in September 2008. She is still putting up a good fight against her illness. Being a strong believer in complementary and alternative cancer methods, she will search for suitable and cheaper alternative treatment while she undergoes palliative treatment offered by her oncologist.
Serene is a helpful volunteer and has never turned down any request for her Reiki service from Cancerstory.com's web surfers.
Many friends and well-wishers (including a kind medical professor) have offered to pray for her, and she feels great with so many prayers of all religions.
Posted on 7 July 2008
Updated on 26 October 2008 : Chemotherapy did not work for Serene. Her oncologist informed her boyfriend that she would be in coma by 30 September 2008 and would die by 15 October 2008. Serene is now in Thailand receiving qigong and herbal medicine treatment.
Updated on 28 November 2008 : Sadly, Serene passed away peacefully on 27 November after giving a loving hug to her partner who took great care of her during her illness in his home.