My mom has passed on peacefully at Changi Hospital Isolation Ward 2 at 2:14 pm Singapore time just now. It’s a blessing that all of us were with her when she took her last breath. I’ve been in Singapore for a couple of days now and there’s a lot of procedures involving embalming and death certificates and what not over here.
I just came back from the hospital, she has been struggling a lot with the pain last night and it was heartbreaking to see the blight that end stage cancer brings.
My mom has been real strong though, she has been fighting lung cancer since 2010 when she went for the initial operation in Auckland.
We will all be flying back to Sibu with my mom’s body on Saturday night – if anyone wants to pay their last respects, the coffin will be at our home in Sibu for at least one (1) day before funeral proceedings on Monday.
The Christian service will be tomorrow morning at Singapore.
Thank you all for your well wishes and condolences.
You’ll be sorely missed by all of us, mom. I know you’re in a better place now.
She’s doing another course of chemotherapy and we’re here for her. My dad flew in too and we’ll usually walk to Hola and eat there. Cheap and decent food. The caterers (old skool Tiffin carriers) come weekday nights.
My mom eats separately; she still can’t stand a lot of food, not even the smell of it. That’s her hiding in the room coz she’s so nauseous from the chemo.
2. Went to church
Took a cab to Bedok Methodist Church. Service is familiar but the praise and worship had an unusual twist – women dressed in traditional Chinese garb were dancing and twirling long silk ribbons. How I wish I managed to take a photo…
Got an EZ-Link card so I could use the MRT, bus and pay for food and groceries at places which accepts it.
3. The Gospel of Pool
Poster stuck beside the pool table at church. Words fail me. Sometimes a cue is just a cue.
Mom got temporarily better and asked me to get her a Mocha soy ice blended drink. I bought it and she had a sip and promptly got sick again.
4. Salted egg yolk mooncakes
Dad got this from Sibu. It’s really quite good, there’s an entire salted egg yolk inside that’s almost the size of the puff pastry.
I ate all of them. Heh.
5. Grocery shopping
Got soy milk for my niece. She’s allergic to nuts, gluten, and most other things. This is the brand that we know doesn’t have any additives or traces of abovementioned. Also got reacquainted with the same brand of cigarettes I smoked last time I was here.
Lovely watering hole at 45, Armenian Street with live bands playing every day of the week. You can text song requests in for them to perform. Fiona recommended the Timbre Buffalo Wings – love the hot sauce and nuts topping but a tad overcooked for me. They do good pizzas too – got a half and half with Goodfellas and 53A. They’re both names of bands playing there.
Here’s a cover of Oasis’ Stand by Me.
7. Left my keys with Fiona
Had a couple of drinks and hung out at Timbre. I put my sister’s condo keys and tag card in her bag earlier that night (tend to chuck my stuff in her tote due to lack of pocket space, thanks Fiona) and forgot to get it back from her. I only realized after I got back and couldn’t go in. Went back to her place to get it.
It has been three months since I last saw my mom. She picked me up from the airport this morning and I noticed some physical changes – particularly a reallyaggressive acne-like rash all over her face and upper body. It’s more visible in real life, but my mom’s a fighter.
She was diagnosed about two years ago and opted for lung surgery in New Zealand. However, that didn’t really work out and she went on chemotherapy and then radiotherapy (which explains the hair loss, it’s more noticeable around the eyebrows) which forced it into remission for a bit before it the cancer returned again.
My mom switched her medication recently and she told me she’s not particularly curious about how it works. I know it’s a TKI and it costs an insane amount of money. The side effects are really intense – the skin condition being the most dangerous since it can be fatal if not monitored properly. Yes, this drug can kill you in rare cases, but the same is true for all medication.
However, the FDA has approved it for certain types of advanced lung cancer where chemotherapy alone has failed. It improves the overall survival rate by 19% when used together with chemotherapy and the manufacturer claims it extends life by 3.3 months when the end game comes. It is rather expensive though – the single dose per day tablet costs RM 300.
It’s a patented drug that will only expire in 2020 although there is another pharmaceutical company embroiled in a lawsuit for producing generics for the Indian market (who won’t be able to afford the patented drug anyway).
This means the medication alone will cost RM 9,000 per month. The other ancillary costs like PET scans, tumor marker tests, hospital bills etc hasn’t been factored in yet and I’ve been meaning to contribute more to help defray the costs.
My mom has bandages on most of her fingertips due to the rash (it looks like acne – raised pimples and patches) so I’ve been helping around the house. I just realized that our kitchen sink is built really low – got a backache just from washing all the dishes inside.
However, I’m glad I came home. I’ll be here for a week, all the better to spend some time with my mom and dad. :)