Friday, April 15, 2011

Farewell Choo Choo...

Our beloved Choo Choo has gone home to be with the Lord on 13th April 2011.

Please pray for the family.

Body resting at Singapore Casket, 131 Lavender Street. Crystal Room (Level 4).

Funeral Service starts on 16th April 2011 Saturday at 4.30pm.

Cortege will leave Singapore Casket on 16th April 2011 Saturday at 5.45pm for cremation at Mandai Hall 2 at 6.45pm.

Monday, March 28, 2011

People's Rememberance of Us......

Since my illness, I have had so many visitors and more have phoned/emailed they
would like to visit me. My sisters who were looking after me were surprised I have so many friends and acquaintances.

My close and best friends, Amu, Sim, Soh Wah, Choon Lian and Chong have visited me
quite regularly, especially Amu who would try to drop by in the evenings after her work. I advised her not to visit me so often as I would also like her to have sufficient rest. Amu works very hard, and always puts others before self.

My ex-colleagues from Dennis Wee Group also visited me and this Tuesday, another group is dropping for a visit. Chong told me that a lady would like to visit me, and
I could not recall who she was, until he mentioned she was grateful because I had helped her to write a letter to the Prison Authorities to request for her son, then an inmate, to have the opportunity to study for his "O" levels. Most of the times, I do not remember what I have done for people; however, it is nice that people still remember us.

Some of my friends from toastmasters' clubs would also like to arrange a visit. I am trying to schedule the visits as eldest sister is worried I will get tired out.
However, seeing my friends only make me feel happy and rejuvenated.

I am hoping I will be well enough on 9th April so that I could attend a speech contest (Division level) at the AIA Changi Toastmasters' Club and to root for a friend who is participating in the Table Topics Contest. At the same time, I could also meet up with other toastmasters so that they would be able to see me and need not visit me at my home. I would also be receiving my DTM medal from District 80. I had told Michael Rodrigues, Lieutenant Governor Education & Training that I had already received my plaque from Headquarters in America, but he told me the DTM medal is from District 80 of Singapore.

It helps that my best friend, Sim, and her sister-in-law, Amelia Ching who is also an enthusiastic toastmaster will be driving us to the contest. Oh Lord, please help me to be particularly strong on 9th April. With grateful thanks in advance.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Let's Do Our Best and Let God Do the Rest.......

On Saturday, eldest sis and I went to visit Dr. David Tai at the National Cancer Centre. I was surprised there were very few people in the clinic and I was immediately able to see him. Cool! No waiting time, unlike the one to sometimes three hours I had to wait at Dr. Karman Wong's clinic!

Dr. Tai was happy to see me, and to find me in my cheerful spirit.

He examined my tummy and asked if I felt pain when he pressed gently. I nodded my head. Dr. Wong had sent him all the treatments that had been rendered to me thus far. He checked my eyes and asked me to open up my mouth for him to examine. He
looked very serious and said to me, "Can I be very forthright with you?"

"Oh! Are you saying I would meet PAPA soon? Dr. Tai, you know how I am. If God heals me it is fine; if He wishes to bring me home it is also fine .....I am all

"From the last time I saw you till now, your liver condition has not improved much.
In fact your eyes have turned somewhat yellow."

"Wonder why Dr. Wong told me just five days ago, that my liver has improved and is on the way to recovery? Maybe she was comparing the first blood test results to the latest one and saw a huge improvement?"

We had spent quite some time talking with Dr. Tai, and he answered all of sister's
questions and I only paid $25 in consultation fees. This was so unlike Dr. Karman
Wong who charged $80 for the first 10 minutes consultation and depending on how long
the patients are talking to her, the consultation fees will vary in amount. Sometimes I noticed that some Indonesian patients would be in for quite a long time.
I guess because of the huge operating costs, private doctors have to charge much more.

I told Dr. Tai that I had been having gastric/stomach pain the past three days and had been throwing out after almost every meal. Dr.Wong had increased my Xeloda tablets intake to two big ones in the morning and two big ones in the evening. I guess when I was given one big one and one small one in the evening, I was able to tolerate the tablets but when the dosage was increased, I experienced the side effects of nausea, vomitting, dizziness and loss of appetite.

We asked Dr. Tai if we could try Traditional Chinese Medicine since Western medicine is giving me some side effects, and he thought it was alright. I could always go back to him for weekly blood tests to monitor the condition of my liver.

I left Dr. Tai's clinic with the same cheerful spirit, but eldest sis was a little downcast. I reminded Dr. Tai to do his best, and let God do the rest.

Later sis became cheerful again and encouraged me to be strong in the Lord.

Gan Cao

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Roof Top Dining......


With Sis Lee Lee, Soh Wah and husband Yew Tien

The Vietnamese paper roll which is beautifully garnished.

High rise buildings everywhere!

The Marina Bay Sands could be seen in the background

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It has been a long time since I went out with Soh Wah and her husband, Yew Tien. This time, she decided to take my eldest sister and I out for a lovely Vietnamese lunch at the upmarket restaurant called "Nuoc" which is located at the rooftop of Orchard Central.

I told my best friend that perhaps eldest sis might like to try some Vietnamese food, as a group of toastmasters had visited me from the Vietnam Toastmasters' Club
and one of the ladies had taught her how to cook Pho Chicken Noodle Soup.

Wow! What a view! From the rooftop where you can see parts of Orchard Road, you realise that there is plenty of greenery even at the busiest part of town. Our little island is truly a beautiful garden city. The restaurant decor is also very
authentic and makes you feel as if you were in Saigon. I like the dainty cutleries that were being used to serve the food and drinks.

We ordered some set lunch as well as a side dish of paper roll which is like our local "popiah". The Vietnamese tea drunk with some sugared ginger was quite unique in taste.

As usual I did not have much appetite and shared a small bowl of my chicken noodles with Yew Tien. As my taste buds have changed after my chemotherapy, it would not be fair for me to comment on the quality of food.

I am grateful to Soh Wah for knowing all the "in" places to eat. Soh Wah is right to describe me as a "country bumpkin" where good food is concerned in Singapore. But I am blessed with so many friends who are connoisseurs of good food! Isn't that wonderful.? After I have tried a particular restaurant, then I will know how to bring my relatives and friends to enjoy the food.

It only takes a word,
To get the menu going,
Your heart is full of mirth,
When you see your friends enjoying
The food you recommended,
Back to the restaurant they'll be going!
Not once, not twice,
But thrice!

(To be sung to the tune of "Pass it on.....")

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My final visit to Dr. Karman Wong's Clinic......


The tube still inserted to drain out excess water from the pelvis.
Time to remove the tube as my liver has improved.

The wound now looks less sore and angry after some cleansing and medication.
From left: Yati (my favourite nurse), Eldest Sis Lee Lee, Dr. Karman Wong and yours truly. Dr. Karman Wong is beaming with joy because I have recovered so much.

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21st March 2011 - an unforgettable day for me. It was my final visit to Dr. Karman Wong's Clinic because my insurance coverage is only for 90 days after the last hospitalisation.

Everything is in God's perfect timing because it was good that I could have Dr. Wong to look after me during my precarious condition for the first three months. I visited her once a week, and she monitored my condition very carefully. When Dr. Wong first met me, she thought I was someone who was healthy and cheerful but was shocked when she saw my health reports. When my liver condition began to improve, she told my sister that she thought I might not live through the first month. That was why she could not give me my first chemotherapy for it would have killed me right away. She had to wait till the liver stabilised. Yesterday, Dr. Wong told me that my liver condition has improved even more, and now she is confident that the excess water will drain normally without the tube and drainage bag. Hence the tube was removed and I did not realise it was about 7 inches long. Dr. Wong pulled it out in one go - I felt the pain for only a short while. Yati told me that if Dr. Wong had removed it slowly, it would have caused even more pain.

Dr. Wong instructed Yati to put a bag around the wound to catch any flow of water which may still seep through the hole. I learnt that it was the same kind of bag that patients use to collect urine. How interesting! I was glad to note that not a single drop of water had seeped through the bag throughout the night. Hence I could remove it; apply some cream, cover it with non-woven swab and apply a water proof
cover over it. This morning I noticed with joy that the swelling on my two legs have
also been greatly reduced.

It was such a joy to have the tube removed after two weeks of having to lug the water bag around. Sometimes I was careless and pulled at the tube and caused myself excruciating pain because the tube was fastened by some thread sewn onto the body. I told Dr. Wong that morning, I had forgotten to tie the band around my tummy and fasten it with the Velcros and although the bag had no water, I felt it slipping down until it reached my ankle. Luckily my long pants prevented it from being seen. Dr. Wong stared at me, and said she did not know whether to laugh or cry as I am such a funny and happy patient. She is a humble and God-fearing lady and asserted that she is only an instrument for God as a doctor and that it is God who heals and performs miracles! Wow! I thank all my relatives and friends for their coveted prayers and I thank the good Lord for His healing power!

I am so glad that my weight is now back to 66.3 kilos - my last weighed in before it started to baloon to 75.8 kg with all the water retention.

Dr. Wong has referred me back to see Dr. David Tai at the National Cancer Centre. Dr. Tai is also my favourite oncologist as he is gentle, understanding and compassionate. The government subsidizes 65% of the fees and the remaining can be
paid by Medisave and a little cash, which makes it more affordable for me.

I am so thankful that as a Singaporean, I have a choice of either a private or public hospital, and I am proud to say that the public hospitals have improved so
tremendously and remarkably in their health care system.

Gan Cao

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dainty on the inside, but the reverse on the outside?

I was at Dr. Karman Wong's and there was Yati, my favourite nurse, doing her usual injection of needle. Yati, with her experience, must be one of the very few, who could often aim accurately at my tiny vein. I asked her if her veins are also as tiny as mine, and she nodded her head.

"Isn't it ironical that overweight ladies like us should have tiny veins beneath our
layers of blubber?"

"You're not fat, Choo."

"Don't forget that at my heaviest I weighed in 90kgs."

"Yati, wouldn't it be nice if we were dainty on the outside and let the reverse be inside?"

Yati laughed and laughed.

Ah! Please don't get me wrong. Am not one to complain about my looks or what God has given me. However, when you have inexperienced nurses poking needles into your hands three times and still could not get the right vein, it is quite painful a process. Worse, I am often left with blue-black marks on the wrists and arms.

I guess the worst experience must be the one I recently had. The sweet and compassionate Filipino nurses were concerned they could not find my veins and wanted the doctor on duty to insert the needle. I kept encouraging them to try again, saying that nurses are often more adept at "needle work" than doctors. However, in came the doctor, and horror upon horror it was the one lady I would have wanted to avoid given my bad previous experience. Dr. Tan Hui Kian! Now with the bright lights on in the ex-ray room before my CT Scan I could see her face more clearly. Perhaps to save her pride before her nurses, she poked in the first needle on my right wrist and pushed it in with force that it caused me such excruciating pain. Worse, I later heard her say, "This is the best I can do. Bo Pian. (Bo pian in Hokkien means "can't be helped".) Tears rolled down my cheeks. I saw the Filipino nurse with moist eyes. She could feel my pain. When I looked at my wrist I could see the little tube still jutting out somewhat. The nurse had to inject some iodine so as to mark the distinction between the organs and tumours. This is an expensive private
hospital where the quality of the doctor on duty is below par.!

When the Filipino nurse told me that they would have to postpone the minor surgery to the following day, I decided to put my foot down and insisted that if it were the same Dr. Tan to do the surgery, I would not do it unless given another doctor. Twice bitten, ten times shy!

Gan Cao

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Much ado about names of drugs......

I am so happy that Dr. Wong has stopped my TS-1 and introduced a new oral chemotherapy drug with a musical name of Xeloda. Makes me think of the instrument called xylophone. I was amused that although the drug is from America, Xeloda also sounds somewhat Japanese while TS-1 certainly sounds American or British!

Most important of all is that the drug, Xeloda is more suitable for me. It does not make me tired, lethargic and irritable with myself. It also does not cause me the side effect of losing my precious hair. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
I hope the tests next week will truly reveal whether the drug agrees with my liver.

Dr. Wong's knowledge, as accurately described by Pastor Tang, is superb. While it is not difficult for me to learn new words in Tamil, Hindhi or French, I found it somewhat difficult to remember the name of drugs, except for a couple of names. The most outstanding one is Senokot as it reminds me of some industrial estate. Strangely the drugs are grayish black, reminding me of the soot or sometimes black smoke that one can find in industrial estates. However, the drugs help tremendously when a patient has constipation.

Thank God for all the medical researchers for all the drugs. I must remember that although one drug may not be compatible with me, it may help others. However, great the medical researchers and knowledgeable all the specialists, the greatest physician is our Heavenly Papa and in Him I trust and have my joy and strength.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The new TS-1 tablets

As one of the chemotherapy drugs is not compatible with my liver, Dr. Karmen Wong stopped the intravenous chemotherapy and is now trying TS-1, an oral chemotherapy which is supposed to be quite mild. I was supposed to take 2 tablets in the morning and 1 tablet in the evening. After taking the drugs I felt extremely sleepy and lethargic and only wanted to sleep round the clock. Instead of the side effect of diarrhoea, I actually had the opposite effect of constipation.!

At the same time, my stomach was getting bloated with water. Dr. Wong asked me to
stop the TS-1 and I was admitted to have the excess water drained out. After staying in the hospital for 4 days, I felt much better and stronger. Dr. Wong told me that the TS-1 did not cause the stomach to be bloated but it was an accumulation of water when one of the drugs did not agree with my liver.

When I came back from the hospital I was full of energy again, so much so that I practised my violin for an hour - something which I had not been able to do for a long time, as I felt weak and easily tired. It was eldest sister's birthday, and I gave sister a big ang pow to thank her for all that she had done for me, and to ask her to have a romantic lunch at Crystal Jade in Nex, with her husband, while my best friend, Geok Sim and I went to Singapura Plaza to have our own lunch and to do some shopping. In the evening, I fried a plate of Penang koay teow for Sim and taught her how to fry some Koay Teow to bring home to her mom. It was the first time that I had the energy to do some cooking!

Last night I re-started my TS-1 tablet, and this morning, I felt tired and lethargic and only thought of bed. It would not do, as I must get ready for church service by 11a.m. and I had to have the energy to take the 15 minutes walk to the church nearby with sister. After that we would have a simple lunch on the way back, and after getting some rest I would be ready to meet my niece, Ning, who is visiting me and who had just arrived from London yesterday. Ning would only be in Singapore for two and a half weeks and her schedule is very tight as usual. I want to be energetic and well to receive her.

Hence, I would not take my TS-1 tablet, and I may have to talk to Dr. Wong about
swtiching to TCM soon, as I understand there would not be so many side effects.

Wish me better and improved health!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A New Reservoir of Water.....

In case my readers are wondering why I had not been posting my articles for the past few days, I had actually been hospitalised at Gleneagles Hospital. During the weekends, eldest sister was getting worried over my increasingly bloated stomach. I felt very tired and could not stand even for five minutes. I had to make an effort
to walk from my bedroom to the kitchen. Worst of all, I could not eat or drink much. After eating 3 segments of oranges, I felt extremely full! After three spoonfuls of porridge, I'd feel bloated.

On Monday morning, eldest sister insisted that I called up my oncologist, Dr. Karmen
Wong to tell her of my extremely bloated stomach and to see what could be done. Dr.
Karmen immediately arranged for me to have the excessive water removed by surgery.
As the doctor could only see me at 5p.m., I decided it would be best for me to stay
for a day at the hospital. The CT Scan was scheduled for 3p.m. but I had not realised I had to fast for at least 4 hours as I had eaten three pieces of cream crackers at Dr. Wong's clinic at noon as I was very hungry. Hence, the scan was delayed to 4p.m.. The nurses and doctor had a hard time finding my tiny veins and by the time the scan was completed it was almost 5.30p.m. - a little too late to do the minor surgery to remove the water. Hence it was done the following afternoon at 2p.m. Hence, I could barely eat the food served at the hospital. I smsed my best friend, Geok Sim to tell her that Singapore should not be afraid of water shortage, because she now has a new reservoir called the Choo Choo Reservoir. The nurses looked so worried and I shared with them the same joke to cheer them up a little.
"You could still joke, eh", the doctor smiled.

Wow! The outpouring of the water was fast and furious and in no time, 6 kgs of water
had been drained out! The water was somewhat yellowish and murky, and the tube and bag were left behind so that more water could be drained out. Thank God that tests showed the water to be normal and by the time I left the hospital, almost 9 kilos of
water had been drained out.

I felt so much lighter and with a flatter tummy, I would be able to wear my usual clothes again. My appetite improved a little, although I could only finish half of the food served to me. On the third day, the moment I had food in my mouth, I would vomit, and I vomitted out all the food I had eaten three times in the evening, and three times in the morning. My doctor, saw my weakened state, and advised me to stay
for another day. I had lots of protein intravenous as well as glucose intravenous
throughout my 4 days' stay. I slept very soundly during my stay, and by the fifth
day, my vomitting had stopped and I could consume my food normally. I felt really good and energetic. I have never really felt so good for such a long time, and I felt I had the energy to practise my violin after such a long break!

The CT Scan showed an improvement in the liver as compared with the previous CT Scan.
The smaller tumours have disappeared while the tumour that measured 7cm has now shrunk to 4.6cm.

Some of the nurses were more efficient and diligent than others. There was a nurse whom I told her that my dressing was wet and she argued with me that it was dry. I did not want to argue with her, and talked to another nurse and immediately she
said she would change the dressing. I respected her dedication, because she was on two shifts and must have been very tired towards the evening, yet, she was cheerful and helpful. Attitude says it all. However, I will not complain against the less
than efficient nurses, because I think they are also trying their best. Nursing is indeed a tough job and I try to emphatise with the nurses.

A new reservoir of water? Oh! No! The reservoir has shrunk! Now, we are in for a short period of drought!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Mind your language ..........

I was having my ultra sound scan at the Gleneagles Hospital when the Filipino staff doing the scan said, "Aunty, please turn around." I wondered with some amusement as to how I was related to her. I thought you might hear some food vendors calling you "aunty" at the market, but at a classy hospital like Gleneagles, staff would use more formal terms like "Mr. or Madam So and So. After all, my name was right on the computer screen! Now, even the foreign staff who are working in Singapore have caught up with our peculiar lingo. At least the Filipino staff was so much more
polite than the doctor - a Dr. Tan Hui Kian who came in to double check the scan. No, she did not introduce herself - I found out her name from the report. Instead, she came in and stared at me through her thick glasses for a little while as if I were E.T. from outer space. After a while, she said in a loud voice, "Peng".
(In Hokkien, meaning turn over). I guess she did not know how to use the word, "Please in Hokkien", which was why the word was omitted, making her sound quite rude and unrefined for someone so well educated. Then the doctor mumbled something in Hokkien which I thoroughly ignored. I guess little did she realise that the patient on the bed speaks more languages than she does.!

My primary school classmate, Jenny Moxey, a senior nurse, had visited me from London and had insisted on accompanying me to Gleneagles Hospital. She had asked to be allowed into the ultra sound room as she wanted to see the results. She was quite cheesed off by the rudeness of Dr. Tan, and the lack of EQ displayed by her when handling a patient.

I guess my best friend, Sim, was quite right when she said she somehow enjoyed the services of the public hospitals. Sim has been hospitalised in a few private hospitals and felt that many of the staff lack the EQ that is of such great importance when dealing with sick patients.

The other day I was taking a taxi, and told the taxi driver that now the Singapore General Hospital has improved tremendously as I was hospitalised there for a week.
"Yes, that was what I heard", smiled the taxi driver, "and that is good for our nation".

Thursday, March 03, 2011

"Please consider the environment before printing this email."

" Please consider the environment before printing this email."

I was most impressed when I receveived an email from Joe Choy of Merlin Frame Maker
and Art Gallery Pte Ltd when I saw the above quote at the bottom of his email to me.
I wrote to ask him if he were an environmentalist or an animal lover. Joe replied
that it was sent by the National Parks Board.

Now, in sharp contrast, the new CEA which has devised standardised forms for all
agents have now come up with commission forms that are seven pages long. Before the change in rulings, most real estate companies use commission forms that are only one page long. Can you imagine what this means? Each time a sale, purchase or rental
deal is closed, there are altogether 21 pages that have to be printed. A set of 7 pages for the client, a set of 7 pages for the company, and a set of 7 pages for the agent for his filing and reference. Can you imagine how many thousand deals are closed in a day? How the heart of the National Parks Board must be bleeding.! Of course, they are the ones who take care of the trees, and know how long it takes for a tree to grow from infancy to adulthood.

I also love nature and animals and try to do my part by being vigilant in recyling of used papers, used bottles, cans, etc. But we need a concerted effort from everyone to help preserve the earth. I really hope the CEA will consider shortening
the words in the forms so as to reduce the number of pages. It takes only one hour
to cut down a tree but tens and hundreds of years to grow it to a dignified height.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

My Thoughtful Friends......

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Since my illness, many of my friends have visited me. Till now, there are some friends who have called to say they want to see me, and I will be making arrangements.

Eldest and second sister are surprised I have so many friends. Eldest sister is concerned I may be tired, but I love meeting my friends and appreciate their taking their time to visit me. Eldest sister shared with me that a relative from Kuching had stage one liver cancer, and refused to have friends to visit him for fear that his poor immunity might put him at a disadvantage. I reminded eldest sister that we all have different principles and outlook in life.

Many of my friends brought me books to read and tapes on Christian messages for me to listen to. I am grateful for their thoughtfulness. My friend, Geok Cheng, bought me a a book on "Hard Truths" by MM Lee Kuan Yew because she knew that I admire our great leader. Elsa brought me tapes on messages by her pastor, Joseph Prince. Rebecca Lee, a health enthusiast, brought me 8 books on health - from detoxification to eating the right food. My ex-student Alyssa, sent me a book on a testimony by Moses Ng, "Touched by a Miracle". Janice brought me a book, "Natural
Cures Revealed" when I was at the National Cancer Centre.

There are still many more other books brought by friends, and I know I have enough reading material to last me a year or two!

Friends - how they show their love and warmth when the need arises!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Pleasant Dream......

Someone was wrapping me up in layers and layers of white cloth. I was somewhat tickled, because the thick layers made me look like a silkworm cocoon. I was extremely happy because I could see angels flying around the clouds, and there was
this long stairways that never seemed to have an end. The whole scenery was so beautiful - everything seemed so white and pure. I climbed the stairs as I wanted to
explore and see what I could find further up.

Suddenly, I heard a voice, "No, turn back. You're not to go further up, as it is not the time yet." All of a sudden, I found myself rolling along the long stairways and finally I rolled onto my comfortable bed! I thought it was so funny and I smiled. Just then, eldest sister Lee Lee was trying to wake me up for breakfast as
it was getting quite late, and she found me smiling away. I told her I had a pleasant dream. It was one of the most profound sleep I had for a long time, and I felt fully rested and contented.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Today's Precocious Kids ......




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Sometimes after my favourite Taiwanese serial, "Love" on Sunday evenings, I would watch the popular "Sheng Siong Show". I enjoyed watching the little boys and girls
dancing and singing so beautifully. Today's kids are truly precocious. They are able to cope with the stress of being involved with extracurricular activities as well as their studies in school. Some of their dance moves were quite intricate.
One group was even able to sing and perform some magic shows at the same time.
Truly impressive.! The children looked like they were enjoying themselves thoroughly.

I am very proud of the little kids performing so confidently on television. Their teachers must have made them practise very hard for the show. Kudos! Keep it up!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Scrabble Enthusiast .....


Scrabble - second sister Ean Ean's favourite game

Sis with her champion smile. Playing with her is my best friend, Geok Sim
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My second sister, Ean Ean is a scrabble enthusiast. She can play the game everyday
without getting tired. Needless to say, after playing scrabble for so long, she knows every strategy to score the highest marks! She is excellent in the game.

Since sister Ean Ean has come to stay with me for almost the past two months because of my illness, we have been playing scabble almost everyday, except on those days when I am very exhausted and unwell, and have to go to bed very early. Eldest sister Lee Lee would be very protective of me, and often reminds me to go to bed early. Hence, Ean and I decide to sometimes play the game in the afternoon if I am not too tired. She wins most of the time, and I heard, she also wins most of the time when she plays with her buddies in Melbourne.

I have suggested that sister Ean Ean should perhaps think of competing in the world scrabble championship, but she humbly declines, saying that she is not good enough yet.

My sister's advice is for more elderly folks to take an interest in scrabble, because it helps to keep the mind active.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Benefits of Weight Loss.....

Now with a loss of 23 kgs, I realised it has caused less of a strain on my back and
left leg when I walk. Amazing, with 23 kgs overweight, it means that I have been
carrying 4 bags of 5kgs of rice everyday! And that is a lot to carry everyday!

I remember when I was climbing the lower rungs of Mount Everest in Nepal, it was such a tedious climb for most of us. Yet, I saw how the slim Nepali ladies were able
to carry with them on their backs 20 kgs of rice up the mountain.! It was really a sight to behold. Till now the scene has been etched in my memory! It was really a
case of mind over matter.

I am now determined to lose weight till 55 kgs, my ideal weight. It does not pay now to be overweight, for excess weight brings about so many health problems - diabetes, palpitation of the heart, hypertension, etc. It also makes us look less good and we have to avoid certain types of clothes which are not suitable for us.

So let us all fight the battle of the buldge, and avoid fast foods like KFC, MacDonalds, etc. Let us take healthy home cooked food. If we have to eat out, let us minimize the number of times. My best friend, Sim, shared how whenever she had to
dine out a lot because of company functions, during weekends, she would ask her mum
to cook simple porridge for her lunch and dinner. One cannot continue eating rich
foods all the time.

Gan Cao

Friday, February 18, 2011

Something to tickle your funny bones......

My relative, Joanne from Penang sent me the following email which I thought was
quite humorous. Hence I wish to share with my readers.

Well, here is something to link the 5C's to the newer 5B's!

I don't need a CAR, but I want a BMW

I don't need a CONDO , but I want a BUNGALOW

I don't need you to have CASH but I want you to own a BANK

I don't need you to have a CAREER but I want you to be a BOSS

It's interesting for you to read!

Most of you would have heard of the Singapore5C's! :

Car, Condo, Credit Card (Gold), Cash and Career

Heard of the 5B's?


B - Body

B - Brain

B - Billionaire

B - Bungalow

And addition with the 5K's .

Kiasu (scared of losing)

Kiasee (scared of dying)

Kiabor (scared of wife)

Kiaboh (scared of having nothing)

Kiachenghu (scared of government)

We've been reading about the 5C's and 5K's for Singaporeans, now comes the 5 numerals and Malaysia 's equivalent.

Singaporeans' "practice" for Simple Living:
1 - One Wife
2 - Two Children
3 - Three Bedroom Condo
4 - Four Wheels
5 - Five Figure Salary

Malaysian "practice" for Simple Living:
5 - Five Children
4 - Four Concubines
3 - Three Figure Salary
2 - Two Wheels
1 - One-Storey Link House

My Caring Niece

My beloved niece, Yann, called me from Kuala Lumpur last night. She was concerned that of late, I had not been updating my blog. Hence, she concluded that I might not
be well.

I told her that I had been very busy with work. I had been guiding my team members
in their real estate work. Thank God, that my team members are doing very well, and we are quite on target with our sales quota.

I had also just sold my neighbour's flat. Unlike private housing, public housing requires more work. I had to help my client apply for a bank loan, and to see to the details of appointments, etc.

Yann shared with me details of their flight to Chicago for her sister, Tyng's wedding. She had a good deal from Malaysian Airline System for the group tickets which she purchased for herself, two daughters, parents and brother. I am glad they are all able to attend Tyng's wedding. It is a pity that I could not join them as the flight would be too long for me. Moreover, I can attend Tyng's wedding celebration in Penang this coming December. Something to really look forward to.

I thank God for my two beautiful and caring nieces, Yann and her sister, Tyng. I thank God too that Tyng has found a good and ideal life partner, and would be settling down in the States.

Gan Cao

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Irony of Weight Loss.......

And there I was! Jumping, kicking, and walking back all the way home from Dhoby Ghaut to my apartment in Little India - yet I did not seem to lose as much as one kg!
And here I am, 25 kgs lighter from my heaviest of 90kg. Another 5 kgs loss, and I
would be two thirds of my usual size. Since I was diagnosed with cancer, I had lost a total of 22.7kgs, all within 2 months! I guess the upside of having cancer is the welcome weight loss. One need not have to do anything and the weight loss comes naturally!

I looked at my little toes and noticed that they too have become smaller and more wrinkled. I want to laugh each time I see them - the many wrinkles made the toes
look like webbed feet. They look kind of funny yet cute. My skin on my arms and thighs also have wrinkles and they remind me of dried olives. Thank God that the only place without wrinkles is the face which still remains taut and smooth.

I remember the first time, the doctor at the Polyclinic had advised me to do something about my weight loss and he recommended me the weight loss clinic at
Alexander. After all the counselling and gym workouts, I only managed to lose 2 kg out of my 88.8kg. Since then for many months, my weight remained around 87.4kg. No matter how I jumped and kicked, the weighing scale refused to budge.! My best friend, Soh Wah brought me to London Weight Management, and we were asked to try some coffee. Now with my illness, I am giving my coffee all to Soh Wah because I would no longer need it.

Of course, now with my loss of weight, eldest sister is worried and tries to coerce me to drink lots of healthy fruit drinks and soup, and eat vegetable dishes everyday.

If only losing weight is this easy also for healthy people.!
Gan Cao

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Just to Ponder......Smile!



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Ponder on these imponderables for a minute:-

1. If you take an Oriental person and spin him around several times, does he become disoriented?

2. If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from
Holland called Holes?

3. Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?

4. If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

5. If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

6. Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

7. When cheese gets its picture taken, what does it say?

8. Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but a person who drives a racing car not called a racist?

9. Why are a wise man and a wise guy opposites?

10. Why do overlook and oversee mean opposite things?

11. Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety one?

12. 'I am' is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language.
Could it be that 'I do' is the longest sentence?

13. If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?

14. What hair colour do they put on the driver's license's of bald men?

15. I thought about how mothers feed their babies with tiny little spoons and forks so I wondered what do Chinese mothers use? Toothpicks?

16. Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What are we supposed to do, write to them? Why don't they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the postmen can look for them while they deliver the mail?

17. You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive. (my favourite)

18. No one ever says, 'It's only a game' when their team is winning.

19. Ever wonder about those people who spend ?1.50 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backwards: NAIVE

20. Isn't making a smoking section in a restaurant like making a peeing section in a swimming pool?

21. If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhoea, does that mean that one enjoys it?

I thank God for my wonderful friends who often send interesting emails to me. Thanks Soh Yah for sending the above interesting email to me which I can share with
my readers.

We Singaporeans Are So Blessed.....

Yesterday, I was at Gleneages Hospital with my second elder sister, Ean Ean. After my blood test, we went down to the lobby of Gleneagles Hospital to take a rest because it would be another two and a half hours before my results would be ready for Dr. Wong to determine whether I could have a session of chemotherapy. Eldest
sister had prepared some cooked vegeables as well as two other types of raw vegetables which I was supposed to add onto the cooked vegetables. At noon, my sister went to the food court for lunch, but I decided to carry on my lunch of vegeables at the lobby. As it was during peak hours, I did not want to deprive someone of a much needed seat at the food court.

The customer service officer was watching me with interest and smiled and commented that the food I was eating certainly looked healthy. Some ladies at the nearby sofas also smiled at me, and I found out that they were from Indonesia, seeking treatment at the hospital. After they left, two more ladies occupied their seats, and this time I found out that they were from Thailand, also seeking treatment at the same hospital. I also found out that they paid an enormous sum of money for specialist treatment. One of them told me that her father had just undergone heart surgery, and the sum was phenomenal.

All of a sudden, I felt that we Singaporeans are so blessed. We can have a choice of seeking public or private hospital treatment. I am only at Gleneagles because my insurance covers my treatment; otherwise, I would be happy to continue my treatment at the National Cancer Centre where the service is also excellent. However, in another month when my insurance no longer covers the consultation, medicine and tests, I might revert to National Cancer Centre where I can receive 65% subsidy from the government. As an ex-champion blood donor, the Blood Bank is giving me some subsidy on my treatment!

Being sick is bad enough; having to take the plane and fly for hours is even worse. We Singaporeans can receive medical treatment at our doorstop. Let us count our blessings and name them one by one!

Gan Cao

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

How you undressed reveals your personality.....

My friend Soh Yah sent me the email below and I thought it would be interesting to
share with my readers.

Subject: How you get undressed reveals your personality

Your personality , when you undress?

Amazing but true.... How you get undressed reveals your personality ........!!

1) If you throw your clothes all over the place, you are a friendly, life-of-the- party type. You are free with your thoughts and opinions, not caring much about what others think of you. Your parents might think your room looks like a cyclone hit it? But it actually represents your happy, individualistic nature!

2) If you remove each piece of clothing and put it away carefully, you are a serious person who likes her life to be very calm. You are comfortable with routine, and you believe that the best way to deal with life's problems is to prevent them in the first place. You are a perfectionist. By nature you are quite shy. You are observant and you know more about some people than they think, just because you've watched them. You are dependable and sometimes intense. You think carefully before making decisions. You go about your tasks methodically, with concentration. You know how to pay attention.

3) If you take off the shirt, and ten minutes later get around to the pants, you are an extremely self-confident person. You are naturally bright and intellectual. You are also a deep thinker who loves to ask questions and ponder the meaning of things. You hate being rushed and you do not like to be hassled. Usually you like a lot of free time for yourself.

4) If you get out of your clothes as quickly as possible, you are concerned about others and what they expect from you, but you're worried about your own needs. You are family-oriented, and stay extremely busy. You often feel stressed, but most of those heavy expectations come from your own head! Give yourself a break; you don't have to be perfect.

5) If you take off your rings, earrings, necklace, watch, etce., before anything else, you are a warm and sensitive person. You are considerate and thoughtful, and you give good advice to your friends. You are a natural born romantic.

6) If you don't have an undressing routine and you never do it the same way twice, you are a very curious and interesting person. You enjoy a broad range of activities. You take risks and enjoy fun and adventure. You are very social.

Counting My Blessings......


Wow! So many sumputuous dishes! Which ones should we select? James discussing
with his father, Johan and wife, Christmin

A gathering of relatives during Chinese New Year

Yew Tien with my beloved brother, Kee Seng

Soh Wah poses with sister Lee Lee

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As I was resting on my bed, enjoying the New Year Chinese Orchestral pieces arranged by my best friend's husband, Phoon Yew Tien, my heart was filled with thanksgiving to the good Lord. I was so happy to go to church with my eldest sister Lee Lee and second brother Kee Seng and second sister Ean Ean and enjoyed the sermon by Pastor Winston Tang. We also enjoyed the lovely hymns and choruses and I am beginning to recognise more Chinese characters on the screen. I am now attending the Mandarin service with sister as I want to improve my Mandarin.

After church, sister Ean Ean wanted to give us a treat at Jack's Place at the new mall, Nex, in Serangoon. The taxi driver, Guna, was amiable and humorous, and I spoke to him in Tamil. Later we blessed him in seven languages, much to his delight. When we alighted he only charged us $6.50 instead of $7.00 and when eldest sister insisted on giving him the difference, he declined. Perhaps it was this little bit of delay that we bumped into my niece, Christmin and her family. They invited us to join them for lunch at Dian Xiao Er, a Cantonese restaurant. Wow! The food was yummy. Their roast duck and stewed pork are really outstanding. Of course, on occasions like this, I would forget about my usual diet and enjoy what is laid before me, though I eat in very small quantities.

Since my illness, so many friends and relatives have visited me and given me so many gifts. There are more friends who want to visit me and I have to arrange for them to do so, probably after the Chinese New Year, as I am quite exhausted. Nowadays I feel more easily tired, but my heart is full of thanksgiving for every day that I can breathe.

Gan Cao

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Eagerly Awaiting the Arrival of the Pandas.......

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Now is the 5th of February, 2011. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the two pandas from China. I wonder what names would be chosen for them, and who would be the lucky prize winners with the winning names.

Pandas are one of the cutest animals on earth. They look like gentlemen in waistcoats. Their white furs look like white shirts, while in sharp contrast their
black furs make them look like as if they were wearing black jackets. What a wonderful and marvellous creator!

I am counting the days before the adorable creatures arrive in Singapore!

Gan Cao

Friday, February 04, 2011

What A Wonderful New Year Celebration......


Christmin with husband James and three kids, Jonathan, Jovien and Jethro,

Keong with wife, Kee Ling and two kids - Johnson and Khai Wern - all from Penang.

Giving thanks for the food by brother-in-law, Rev. Wong from Sarawak. On his right is my beloved brother Kee Seng,
(from Penang) and on the left is my sister Ean Ean from Melbourne.

Taking a pose with grand-niece, Zen, Esther and Yann - they come all the way from Kuala Lumpur by bus!
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This year, I must be one of the happiest in Singapore. Because of my illness, all my
relatives decide to converge at Singapore to celebrate the Lunar New Year together. You may think it is not a big deal....almost everyone in Singapore does that. But when you think that my relatives come from different parts of the world ....then it is a big and happy deal! :-)

Eldest sister is the food coordinator and she herself prepared the most number of dishes. Her seaweed roll did not only look attractive but was delicious as well. My sister-in-law also prepreared some dishes, while my nieces, Christmin and Dea also brought dishes along to share. What a feast! Certainly better than eating out at a restaurant. There were 22 of us and my only invited guest was my best friend,
Amu. Amu always like Chinese food, and at the end of the party, she was able to pack some food for her younger sister, Maya and family. They too were having their own little party.

When our family gather together there will always be plenty of noise and music! Phoebe and Sophia did a dance item - Nobody, nobody but you! Brother and his wife did a dance number. Samuel played the violin with my sister Ean Ean. Christmin and her children did a song item. Amu moved the audience with her speech when she shared about our bosom friendship. My nephew Samuel shared that he learnt from me that one could still give even when one does not have much.

It was a party that everyone enjoyed, and which everyone felt he had something to take home with all the sharing. I pray and hope that I can recover sufficiently and fast, so that the following year, I would be able to travel to Penang for the Lunar New Year celebration.

Gan Cao

More on the New Year Celebrations......


Phoebe and Sophia doing a modern number - "Nobody, nobody but you!"

Wow! So many angpows for Phobe and Gloria!

All awaiting eagerly for brother and his wife to dance. Sister Lee Lee
playing the dance piece - Yeh Lai Xiang!

Lunch together again - a continuation of the previous night's fun!
Sister bought some dumb Briyani and Fish and Chicken Curry to add to

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

When Organs No Longer Fall Apart .......the Liver Has Stabilised!

I had to see Dr. Karmen Wong on the 1st of February. She is a very conscientious and careful doctor and wanted to check on my blood condition before she flies off to
Hong Kong to see her parents and to spend the Lunar New Year Holidays.

Dr. Wong was extremely pleased when she announced with a sense of triumph - my liver is now stabilised. Out of the five organs, Dr. Wong is most concerned about my liver, because it is also the mostly badly affected organ. Yesterday I received an email from my ex-violin teacher and he asked after me and hoped that my operation was a success. I replied Mr. Yan that it was impossible for the doctor to operate on my liver because of the massive lesions. However, now with treatment and a healthy diet, my liver has stabilised. What a piece of great news for Chinese New Year. No longer, is the cloud of uncertainty looming over my head. The air is clear and once my liver has stabilised it is easier to receive chemotherapy.

Praise God for His abundant blessings! It would be extremely good news for my siblings and relatives to hear when they arrive in Singapore on Chinese New Year eve.!

Gan Cao

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

When Organs Fall Apart .......Body Temperature Also Changes...

I used to be unable to tolerate heat and wearing a jacket for me was also unheard of. Even when travelling around Israel and China in December, I did not feel the cold, and often ended up lending my coat to fellow travellers in my group.

However, of late, I realised I felt cold easily. Just two days ago, when it had rained the whole day, I felt extremely cold, and when we went to see Dr. Karmen I almost wanted to laugh at myself - I looked like I was dressed up for winter! I was relieved to be able to wear a jacket I had bought when I was on vacation in Taiwan, and it was ideal because it was a sleeveless jacket and hence it would be easier for the nurse to take my blood for the tests.

As it was was very windy in my apartment, I saw the thermometer reading was only 22 deg. Celsius. Even second sister, Ean Ean, who hailed from Melbourne felt the chill.
She was somewhat surprised that it could be that cold in Singapore!

At least now, I do not easily break out into beads of perspiration. It is indeed a nice change to keep dry and to be able to dress up a little more in vogue with "winter" clothings in Singapore!! Now again.....back to my whimsical thinking.....will it be ever cold enough to snow one day in Singapore???

Gan Cao

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

When Organs Fall Apart......Even Acquaintances Are So Helpful and Generous!


Yahoo! Pink radishes! The colour of pink is always so sweet! My first time
seeing radishes in pink!

Murdock and white radishes.

Pink radishes, brown murdock and white radishes! What an interesting
combination of colours!

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My best friend, Soh Wah, called me up one day and excitedly told me that her good friend Alvin, wanted to arrange for me to meet his friend's parents. The father had
miraculously recovered from kidney cancer with just taking some recipes of food
recommended by a guru from the Himalayan Mountains. I have always thought that gurus are some kind of Hindu priests, but surprisingly this guru is a Christian....and from the Himalayans! Wow! How intriguing!

It was with some trepidation that sister and I took a taxi to Ceylon Road. The taxi driver decided to take the CTE/PIE instead of Sims Road or ECP which would be
heavily jammed with the evening crowd. Eldest sister was somewhat impatient with the
long journey and kept asking if we were reaching soon.

Soh Wah and her friend, Alvin were already there, to my relief, for at least they
could do the introduction. The lady of the house, Mrs. Goh at first looked very serious and when we were all seated around the garden table, she asked me to tell her about my condition.

Then Mrs. Goh told us about how she met the guru in Singapore, and he gave her two recipes - one for daily drink and one for daily soup. The daily drink is for detox and consists of blending one beet root, one apple and one tomato. The soup consists of some white radishes, some pink radishes and murdock - all boiled together and simmered for an hour. Mrs. Goh shared that her husband's tumour shrunk
and he was declared healed of cancer after a month of taking the drink and soup.! Wow!

When we were about to depart, we were pleasantly surprised when Mrs. Goh asked her maid to put all the vegetables in a huge plastic bag for us to bring home. We declined and thanked her profusely, but Mrs. Goh insisted and said she could easily buy them again from the organic farm in Woodlands.

I was very touched that so many of my friends and even mere acquaintances would rally around and be so helpful and generous to someone like me. It uplifts my spirit and makes me realise that I am not alone to battle my illness.

Thank you Lord, for good friends and for lovely and kind people you bring along this
challenging period of my life.

Gan Cao

Sunday, January 30, 2011

When Organs Fall Apart.....Tastebuds Also Seem to Change.....

I used to be fond of a lot of not so healthy foods before I was diagnosed with cancer. I was a "coffee addict". Drinking a cup of coffee just after I woke was a must, or I felt like a zombie walking around half asleep. It was a daily habit for me to have a slice of bread or a piece of biscuit with my coffee to break my fast.
Then only at about 11a.m. I would have a light lunch or perhaps you could call it brunch. Now, since I was hospitalised on 14th December, I took a dislike to coffee!

I had a sweet tooth, and chocolates were my favourite. I remember it was not a problem for me to finish off a tin of hazel nuts or almond chocolates by Van Houten or Cadbury within two hours.! Now, I no longer fancy chocolates, and had not touched any since my hospitalisation.

It is so ironical that when I was healthier, I would go for long walks, did aerobics, etc. but found it difficult to shed even 3 kgs. Now, since my illness, I had lost 15 kgs without much effort.! Eldest sister cooks healthy and nutritional food and prepares healthy drinks for me everyday......I eat and drink them without much relish, and even the sight of sumptuous food does not stir my appetite like it used to!

My best friend, Geok Sim, and I would go for our usual once a month visit of our favourite "Don Cafe" at China Square, where we would order our favourite crab beehoon. Now I no longer miss the dish or any seafood. Funny how one's tastebud
seems to change when one is ill.

My beloved sister tries to vary her cooking style so that I will not get tired of my food. I appreciate her love and effort. I know when God heals me, I will no longer revert to the old "greedy Choo" who just eats everything, but I will be someone who is more fastidious with healthy eating.

Gan Cao

Thursday, January 27, 2011

When Organs Fall Apart.....Things are less taken for granted.

Today is 28th of January 2011. In just five more days I will be seeing my beloved brother Kee Seng and his wife as they are flying to Singapore to spend Chinese New Year with me. The following day, my beloved niece will come to Singapore with her older daughter, Zen. Wow! I am so excited. Simply because this is the first time,
that my relatives will be spending reunion dinner at my small but cosy flat.

On New Year's eve, my beloved nephew Samuel will come with his wife and four lovely daughters, and his brother Daniel and wife, will also have reunion day with us. They will drive down from Johore. My two sisters Lee Lee and Ean Ean will still be in Singapore with their spouses, and my niece, Christmin who lives in Singapore will
also join us for dinner with her family. Eldest brother is happy about the Chinese New Year Eve arrangement, although he would not be able to join us as Canada is too far away.

All these years, I hardly spend my Christmas or New Year celebrations in Singapore.
It would be spent in either Malaysia, Canada or Australia. There was once when I spent Christmas in Taiwan.

Now for the first time, I have most of my relatives to spend Chinese New Year with me. I never realise that when a person has stage four cancer, she becomes like a
little "queen". :-)

Today's visit to Dr. Karmen Wong confirmed that my liver has improved tremendously,
and Dr. Wong was able to give me my third chemotherapy, much to her delight and joy. She confided in eldest sister that when she first saw my medical report, she
was extremely worried and dared not give me any chemotherapy until three weeks later, when thank God, my organs have improved to some extent. I told sister that I already knew the gravity of my condition, but I just wanted to be thankful and grateful to God that I have lived this far at 57 years and 12 days! I definitely wanted to be cheerful and postive with the remaining days with my relatives and friends.!

With God's blessings, I hope I can spend many more Christmases and New Year celebrations with my loved ones. For now, I only pray that I will be strong enough to take my two sisters to see the Sakura in Japan this coming April.

For now, I am looking forward to five more days.....

Gan Cao

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

When Organs Fall Apart ......Kids Make Me Laugh the Most!

A friend from the toastmasters' club, Michael Rodrigues sent me the email below. I always enjoy stories about little children. They are so pure, innocent and candid. If there were toastmasters' clubs for little children, this one would have won first prize in story telling!


The 'Middle Wife' by an Anonymous 2nd grade teacher

I've been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself,but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back.

When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they're welcome.

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater.

She holds up a snapshot of an infant. 'This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birthday.'

'First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord.'

She's standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

'Then, about two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts saying and going, 'Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!' Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. 'She walked around the house for, like an hour, 'Oh, oh, oh!' (Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.)

'My Dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this.' (Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall.)

'And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!' (This kid has her legs spread with her little hands mimicking water flowing away. It was too much!)

'Then the middle wife starts saying 'push, push,' and 'breathe, breathe.
They started counting, but never even got past ten Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was from Mom's play-center, (placenta) so there must be a lot of toys inside there. When he got out, the middle wife spanked him for crawling up in there.'

Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat.

I'm sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it's show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another ' Middle Wife' comes along.

Now you have two choices....laugh and close this page or pass this along to someone else to spread the laughs. I know what I did!!!

Live every day as if it is your LAST chance to make someone happy!!!

When Organs Fall Apart......Families Rally Around You!

When I was first diagnosed with Stage Four Cancer, my family members were stunned and reeling with shock. Our family members never had any history of cancer. Morever, I never smoke and am a social drinker. Maybe the cancer was benign judging by my liveliness. A person with Stage Four Malignant cancer might be groaning and moaning and probably lying on the bed. Nevertheless the ferocious cells are indeed malignant, and I am determined to go for a battle with them! Faith is my shield; and the Lord's strength is my amour!

My sister-in-law from Penang was the first to arrive. She helped to cook for me. A few days later, eldest sister arrived. Poor sister. She had just recovered from flu, and I noticed she had lost some weight. She brought with her some sour sop and sour sop tea leaves. A few days later, my niece from Kuala Lumpur visited me, and brought me quite a number of organic stuff. She seems to be knowledgeable about organic food. When she returned to Kuala Lumpur, she couriered the methods of cooking various organic food to my eldest sister.

After my sister-in-law and niece went back to Malaysia, my second sister arrived from
Melbourne. Sister had just gone back to Melbourne for a couple of weeks, and now she
had to make this trip back to Singapore again, so as to help ease eldest sister's
workload in looking after me. In my present condition, both sisters do not trust to leave me on my own, not even for a few hours. Either sister and sometimes both
would accompany me to see Dr. Karmen Wong or when I had to go for blood tests.

My cousin, Phaik Suan from Sabah and a relative, Janice, from Kuala Lumpur also visited me. My nephews and grandnieces from Johore also hopped over for a visit, and my niece who is teaching in Singapore also visited me with her husband.

Falling ill for such a long time, and battling the cancerous tumours is not a pleasant task. How I longed to be independent again, going where I wanted to without having to be accompanied by anyone. I am blessed that despite being single,
I have so many siblings and relatives who all care for me. Compared to some parents who do not have their children with them, as most work overseas, I am indeed very very blessed to have my relatives rallying around me at a time when I need them most.

Gan Cao

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When Organs Fall Apart ........Laugh, Laugh and Laugh!

My brother-in-law, Rev. Joseph Teoh is a pastor. Hence, when he emailed me some
jokes, definitely they pertain to some holy humour! Enjoy!


There was a very gracious lady who was mailing an old family Bible to her brother in another part of the country.

"Is there anything breakable in here?" asked the postal clerk.

"Only the Ten Commandments. " answered the lady.


"Somebody has said there are only two kinds of people in the world.

There are those who wake up in the morning and say, "Good morning, Lord ,"

And there are those who wake up in the morning and say,

"Good Lord, it' s morning."


A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn't find a space with a meter.

Then he put a note under the windshield wiper that read: "I have circled the block 10 times. If I don't park here, I'll miss my appointment. Forgive us our trespasses."

When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note "I've circled this block for 10 years. If I don't give you a ticket I'll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation."


There is the story of a pastor who got up one Sunday and announced to his congregation: "I have good news and bad news.

The good news is, we have enough money to pay for our new building program. The bad news is, it's still out there in your pockets."


While driving in Pennsylvania , a family caught up to an Amish carriage. The owner of the carriage obviously had a sense of humor, because attached to the back of the carriage was a hand printed sign.. "Energy efficient vehicle: Runs on oats and grass. Caution: Do not step in exhaust!"


School teacher began her lesson with a question,

"Boys and girls, what do we know about God?"

A hand shot up in the air. "He is an artist!" said the kindergarten boy.

"Really? How do you know?" the teacher asked.

"You know - Our Father, who does art in Heaven... "


A minister waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend.

The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him. Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump.

"Reverend," said the young man, "I'm so sorry about the delay.

It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip."

The minister chuckled, "I know what you mean. It's the same in my business"


People want the front of the bus, the back of the church, and the centre of attention.


Sunday after church, a Mom asked her very young daughter what the lesson was about.

The daughter answered, "Don't be scared, you'll get your quilt."

Needless to say, the Mom was perplexed.

Later in the day, the pastor stopped by for tea and the Mom asked him what that morning's Sunday school lesson was about.

He said "Be not afraid, thy comforter is coming."


The minister was preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to ask the congregation to come up with more money than they were expecting for repairs to the church building.

Therefore, he was annoyed to find that the regular organist was sick and a substitute had been brought in at the last minute. The substitute wanted to know what to play.

"Here's a copy of the service," he said impatiently. "But, you'll have to think of something to play after I make the announcement about the finances.

"During the service, the minister paused and said, "Brothers and Sisters, we are in great difficulty; the roof repairs cost twice as much as we expected and we need $4,000 more. Any of you who can pledge $100 or more, please stand up"

At that moment, the substitute organist played "The Star Spangled Banner."

And that is how the substitute became the regular organist!


A father was approached by his small son who told him proudly,

"I know what the Bible means!"

His father smiled and replied, "What do you mean, you 'know' what the Bible means?

The son replied, "I do know!"

"Okay," said his father. "What does the Bible mean?

"That's easy, Daddy..." the young boy replied excitedly,

"It stands for 'Basic Information Before Leaving Earth.'

(This one is my favorite.)

Give me a sense of humor, Lord,

Give me the grace to see a joke,

To get some humor out of life,

And pass it on to other folks!

Friday, January 21, 2011

When Organs Fall Apart.....Government Officers become Compassionate.

This afternoon, our Executive Director, Michael Tan and Division Director, Anthony Goh and my colleagues, Dickson Wong, Maya Gabriel and Jack Sheo visited me at my home around noon. We had a good time of sharing, and they enjoyed looking at my
brother's lovely paintings on the wall and to listen to Ning's performance on the
violin with her brother, Francis, on the video.

After that, Jack dropped my eldest sister and I at the Immigration Office to apply for a six month's visa. My eldest sister who is a retired school teacher, is able to
look after me, and it would be more convenient if she could have a longer visa to stay in Singapore.

The ICA Building at Lavender was thronged with a huge crowd of people. We waited for more than an hour, and my queue number was still a long way off - another 100
more numbers. I was getting quite exhausted, and my eldest sister decided to go
to to the counter to ask the officer, if she could have her application processed
earlier, as I was getting weak and exhausted. My sister showed the officer her
application forms and immediately the officer obliged. She could emphatise with my illness.

The officer asked my sister if we both had our birth certificates. Sister explained that she had left her birth certificate in her home in Kuching, and as for me, I would have to search for mine. I told the officer, that our surname, "Kam" is very rare, and to have two sisters with names that are repetitive is also very rare.
The officer smiled and understood my logical reasoning.

Sister's application was approved, and we were asked the collect her passport and green card the following day.

I am so proud of our government officers, and sister, who has always been impressed with the efficiency of our government was even more pleased and affirmed her special liking and admiration for Singapore.

In the evening, my good friend from the Vietnam Toastmasters' Club, Geok Cheng,
came to visit me and we had a simple, but healthy meal together.

What a wonderful ending to a great day!

Gan Cao

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When Organs Fall Apart.....Laughter is the Best Medicine!

My dear readers,

For today, let's take a break, and not talk about the organs. Let me share with you a joke sent by my friend, Fernando Young, an active toastmaster.

Hope the Pastor's Cat will tickle your funny bones. Am sure you might have experienced something like that before God can turn an unexpected situation into a blessing for someone else.

Have a good day!


This particular story just made me laugh. Every time I think about it, the vision of that poor cat just amuses me to no end. Hope the story leaves a bright spot in your day. Whoever said the Creator doesn't have a sense of humor?

Dwight Nelson recently told a true story about the pastor of his church. He had a kitten that climbed up a tree in his backyard and then was afraid to come down. The pastor coaxed, offered warm milk, etc.

The kitty would not come down. The tree was not sturdy enough to climb, so the pastor decided that if he tied a rope to his car and pulled it until the tree bent down, he could then reach up and get the kitten.

That's what he did, all the while checking his progress in the car. He then figured if he went just a little bit further, the tree would be bent sufficiently for him to reach the kitten. But as he moved the car a little further forward, the rope broke.

The tree went 'boing!' and the kitten instantly sailed through the air - out of sight.

The pastor felt terrible. He walked all over the neighborhood asking people if they'd seen a little kitten. No. Nobody had seen a stray kitten. So he prayed, 'Lord, I just commit this kitten to your keeping,' and went on about his business.

A few days later he was at the grocery store, and met one of his church members. He happened to look into her shopping cart and was amazed to see cat food. This woman was a cat hater and everyone knew it, so he asked her, 'Why are you buying cat food when you hate cats so much?'
She replied, 'You won't believe this,' and then told him how her little girl had been begging her for a cat, but she kept refusing. Then a few days before, the child had begged again, so the Mom finally told her little girl, 'Well, if God gives you a cat, I'll let you keep it.' She told the pastor, 'I watched my child go out in the yard, get on her knees, and ask God for a cat. And really, Pastor, you won't believe this, but I saw it with my own eyes. A kitten suddenly came flying out of the blue sky, with its paws outspread, and landed right in front of her.'

Never underestimate the Power of God and His unique sense of humor.
Anyone can count the seeds in an apple; but only God can count the apples in a seed.


"Each Day is God's Gift to you, make it blossom and grow into a Day of Beauty"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When Organs Fall Apart ......Everyday is a gift!

Whenever I wake up in the morning, I thank God for another brand new day. This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.

It is unbelievable how we waste some of our time in the day by doing unnecessary
things and sometimes, allow ourselves be show unnecessary anger and shots of hot temper. When we lose our temper, we get all flustered and we become crippled with unforgiveness and thoughts of getting back at the person who has made us angry.

It is also sometimes quite annoying how some people can waste our time without realising it. For example, there was a client who asked me to deliver an option to purchase to her and to collect her cheque. She told me she would be with me in five minutes time, but the five minutes turned out to be forty minutes! Rubber time!
I have been so used to waiting for people that I always arm myself with a book - hence while waiting, I will read so as not to waste time. It was only hard on my legs, as I have a slipped bone in my left leg and a slipped bone in my lower spine.
After thirty minutes I sent her an sms and said I would wait for her at a cafeteria nearby, as my legs were giving way. She replied that she was coming down soon.

Everyday is a gift when we can breathe and enjoy the fresh air. We can make the most of every moment and revel in it. It is important that we organise our time well, so that we have enough time to rest, enough time to spend with our loved ones
and enough time just to be quiet and reflect on the day's activities, etc. Some people call it "meditation"; for Christians, we call it "Quiet time". We become more
rejuvenated and are in a better frame of mind to reflect and to become determined how
best we can improve ourselves and make the most of life.

Gan Cao

Sunday, January 16, 2011

When Organs Fall Apart.....People become more optimistic and encouraging!

As I was going with my sisters to Chinatown to have lunch at the Breakthrough Cafe and to do some shopping, I met my neighbour, Hari, a very short Malay man. In the past, whenever Hari met me, he would say with an air of seriousness, "Choo, the world is coming to an end." I would then encourage him and tell him that life is still beautiful. He could look at the bouganvilleas that were blooming and the pigeons that were flying freely in the air.

When Hari saw me with a walking stick, he was somewhat surprised and said, "Choo, what happened.? Did you have a fall? I'd not seen you for quite some time." I told Hari I had been ill as I have been diagnosed with final stage cancer.

Immediately Hari said, "Choo, life is a long journey and it is still beautiful. You
must continue to walk on this beautiful journey." I smiled and thanked him. What a great change in him.!

For some reasons, Hari seemed to be much taller that day, as he became more assertive with his desire to press on with life to get the most out of it.

A little later, I met Jack, an Indian odd job labourer who helps around the vicinity of Little India. Sometimes I would give Jack some food and drinks. When he saw me with a walking stick, he came towards me with concern. "Missy, did you have a bad fall? I told him of my illness and he immediately encouraged me to be strong as God would surely help me. I smiled and thanked him, assuring him that I too believe
in God's blessings.

Despite my walking stick, I continued my journey, with a spring in my steps and a new song in my heart.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

When Organs Fall Apart.......everything seems more beautiful!

The kitchen tap needed fixing up since I was hospitalised. Second sister-in-law had such great strength, that she unconsciously pulled up the whole tap! Wow! Such
brute strength. Praise God that she is so strong despite being a senior citizen.

My two sisters had been nagging me to fix up the tap. One day, Mag (and old friend
who used to help me part time at my restuarnat, Rialto and her son, Eddie, together with another friend, Fong Wah visited me. Just then someone popped in his head and announced, "I am Rajan, the contractor." I showed him the tap and he told me that he must switch off the main. There was no main meter outside, so he went
down the block to see if there was any. He phoned me and I kept checking the water
which was still running. Rajan then went up to the 13th story and gradually checked on each floor. We finally had to phone to the PUB for help. How embarrassing when I
realised that the water meter is on the wall, just next to my refrigerator in the kitchen!!

I paid Rajan some money and blessed him in Tamil, Hindi and Nepali. He smiled, making him look even more handsome and charming. So I blessed him again in Mandarin and Hokkien....."5 blessings for you, Rajan".

Rajan smiled his widest and asked if we were having a tea party. I told him my friends are visiting me because I am suffering from final stage cancer, and he looked momentarily stunned. "But you look so good and healthy!" He continued to advise me to take things easier and God will also bless me with a speedy recovery.

Suddenly I realised that my friends all looked more radiant and beautiful, and the colours of the flowers which I received from toastmasters at Raffles Town Club seemed even more bright and gorgeous.!

Life is beautiful and everything in it. Thank you Lord for your great handwork's!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

When Organs Fall Apart......God Spares the Pain!

During my last visit, Dr. Karman Wong was exremely happy to see that my liver had
improved. She was able to give me my second chemotherapy and this time, with a slightly higher dosage.

This time, I need not go to the bathroom every ten minutes, because the nurses need no longer measure the amount of urine that has been passed out. Hence I was able to
sleep most of the time.

Earlier I had asked Dr. Wong why I had not felt any pain despite there being so many lesions. "Dr. Wong smiled and said, "I rebuke in Jesus' name." When I see how my friends suffering from cancer are in such great agony and pain, I know PAPA had
indeed spared me the pain. PAPA knows that my threshold for physical pain is not very high.

I only felt extremely warm, and perspired while waiting by the taxi stand. I felt somewhat suffocated as the air conditioning was not cold enough. I asked the taxi driver for more air, but he said it was quite cold because it was raining whole day
long. I asked my sister for a vomit bag and the taxi-driver quickly turned on the airconditioner. He must have decided it was wiser to let me have more air, than have
me throw out in his taxi!

Thank you PAPA for your blessings and guiding me day by day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When Organs Fall Apart ........(7)

Dr. Karmen was concerned about the deteriorating state of my liver, and told me she
would send me for Ultra sound and some blood tests on Monday. I thought to myself that ultra sound tests are more meant for expecting mothers to check on how their babies are faring inside the womb.

My best friend, Geok Sim, had visited me on Saturday morning, so that she could show eldest sister some materials on the computer as well as to keep her company when I was with the nurses.

I noticed that many of the radiographers are young, pretty Filipino ladies with
excellent facial complexion. The one doing the ultra sound for me looked so serious that I thought perhaps I might play a joke on her, "Oh Nurse, where are my babies, my twins.?" I couldn't see them on the screen. Then I would point to the pair of lungs and say, "There they are, my twins". Instead, I just keep calm and asked her
serious, "Nurse, where's the scan of my baby - hasn't appeared on the screen yet? She
looked at me, and her eyes grew bigger with flabbergastion. "Dr. Wong never mentioned about any baby....just some tumours."

"Just pulling your leg lah".

Geok Sim came back with us, and continued to show us information in her i-pad. Wow!
She is such an excellent photographer. Her photographs taken all over the world looked so professional! I encouraged her to take up photography seriously. She indeed has the makings of a Russel Wong.

We decided to play a game of Scrabble and Sim showed me how to play on the computer.
I still preferred to play on the old fashioned manual board game of Scrabble. However, one can relax more with the computer, because it calculates the marks and will quickly signal if a word is wrongly used. Sim was the champion! Told my second sister Ean Ean and she would love to take Sim on for a game. Wow! Melbourne
Champion versus Bukit Panjang, Singapore Champion!

Sim did not want to stay for dinner as it is a family habit to dine together on weekends. Sis and I spent 3 hours watching our favourite Channel 8 serial, "Love".
We had tv dinner, and I took almost two hours to nibble at my food!

Thank you Lord for such a lovely and fun-filled day.!

Gan Cao

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When Organs Fall Apart...... (6)

Eldest brother called me and I thought I heard him cry. Remember great men do shed tears, and when they do, my heart is all melted, though I put on a stoical front.
Hence, I wrote brother an email which I do not mind to share with my readers, and will later explain why I am so contented with my 57 years on earth thus far.

I hope my letter will encourage readers who may be in the same plight as I am, but do not fear, because God is in charge.

I also wrote to my friends in various toastmasters' clubs so that they will not continue to send me invitations to their clubs to help in project or language
evaluation. I will volunteer my services again when I am much better.

"My dear friends in Toastmasters' Clubs,

I have received the results of my biopsy and MRI. Doctor David Tai said my tumours on my liver, pancreas, kidneys, lungs and gall bladder are malignant. I have
been referred to the best oncologist in Singapore, Dr. Karmen Wong, but we know Jesus is the greatest physician!

I don't wish anyone to be sad, but to know that everything is in God's hands,
and Choo is as cheerful, strong and peaceful as ever. Whenever I am not
tired, I still like to write, blog, play the violin and piano and help my team of
agents to deal with problems concerning work.

My letter to my koko Kee Yong will let you have a better understanding of my
feelings, philosophy and attitude towards life. It is my prayer that everyone of
my dear friends will also come to know Jesus in a very personal and meaningful
way for He is indeed the source of my strength all these umpteenth years.

It is my prayer too that you will be encouraged and always look at the positive
side of things, for beneath every cloud is a silver lining and remember, the darker the sky,
the brighter shine the stars!

Cheers and wishing everyone a great and blessed year ahead!"

Choo Choo

Letter to my eldest brother Kee Yong

"My dear Koko,

Let's give thanks to God for everything, including my illness.
For years, I have always held open my palms, so that God
can give; He can also take away. I will never struggle to close my palms
even if I feel that He is taking away things that I would rather
He leaves behind ......riches, health, my beloved pets, etc. etc.

I have gone through so much in life, and nothing fazes me, serious!
When I wanted to buy my current HDB flat, all the banks would not
lend me $$$ because of my past financial tsunami; but I had faith,
and PAPA rained down the $$ for me from heaven. I ended up
paying full cash and some CPF for the flat.

Though I was momentarily stunned by the massive lesions on my
liver and lesser lesions on the other 4 organs, I have now accepted
my condition with thanks, knowing that God has a purpose for
everything that has taken place.

Except for looking somewhat yellow on my face the first few days, I
turned somewhat rosy, and with my smooth, shiny complexion,
I do not look sick. Since I am the youngest in the ward, I tried not
to trouble the nurses, so that they have more time to help the sickly
older ladies. Sometimes seeing that the nurses were busy, I tried to
help the older patients a little. I know you will say "don't do unnecessary
things," but it is such a joy to be able to do something for others. For
years, I have been influenced by this simple poem that I had read:

Life is but a long journey,
and we are all travellers on a long road.
Whatever I can do;
Whatever kindness I can show;
Let me do it there and then,
For I may not pass this way again.

I used to weep when any of my siblings left Penang;
I used to weep when my classes end at the end of the year.

But after the poem, I told myself I would give my best to people
while I could, so that I need not have to weep when the time comes to part.

Frankly I am very contented with my 57 years. Have travelled round
the world, skied on the Rockies, climbed the Great Wall of China and parts of Mt. Everest,
learnt to play the violin albeit at the age of 55 half and had the joy of
playing in the Ensemble, joined Toastmasters 3 years ago and had the joy
of gently breaking the rule of not sharing about God. I was a test speaker
in a contest and chose the topic, "With faith, nothing is impossible?", etc.
Am glad that while I could still walk, I had been on short missions trips to
Thailand, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Australia and Nepal. Hence, it is important
for all of us to always make hay while the sun shines.

So koko, please do not be grieved. We are eternally grateful that we have
a great God who is still in control of this messy, turbulent and chaotic world.

I went through very tough times during my financial tsunami, but I have
forgiven the culprits who caused me much pain and distress. I felt like Job,
though unlike Job who was a holy and righteous man, I was stupid and naive;
yet God in His graciousness, poured His blessings on me and restored all that
which I had lost! I am not even worthy to pick up the crumbs from under His
table, but God is always so merciful and generous.

Though I live alone, I always feel the Lord's sweet presence as I never feel
lonely. In fact, joy is coming home after a hard days' work and enjoying the
quiet in the home. The Lord has blessed me with wonderful neighbours who
always look out for me, and relatives and good friends who care for me even though
we may be separated by the oceans, mountains and many mrt stations!

What more can I ask?

Am glad God has brought me to Singapore where I have thoroughly enjoyed living
all these 30 years and made many wonderful friends. If it is God's will, I will pull
though and write my book of testimony, "When organs fall apart......". The staff
at SGH are really wonderful, and I purposely chose a ward of 6 beds rather than 2
beds so that I could observe things around me.

Koko, I would like to hear you sound more cheerful when you speak on the phone and remember to be always positive, no matter how discouraging the situation, for God is always in charge.

All praises and glory to His name."


Kam Choo Choo @ Lynn,
Team Associate Director,
OrangeTee.Com Pte. Ltd.

Mobile: 92959363


Favourite quote: "Life is not about falling down; it is about getting up again".
Vince Lombardi