Thursday, July 7, 2011

First Post Chemo Check Up

There hasn't been much to report - we made it to Ponte Vedra where I embarked on a frenzy of getting domestic things sorted out and Lin resumed his golfing days.

I did get away to Tallahassee the capital city of Florida, to play in a tournament with a friend and it was good to get a break as well as to see a different part of Florida.

In May the TPC 'circus' came to town for the week and people who did not leave town to avoid the crowds volunteered to help at the tournament (the annual Tournament Players Championship at Sawgrass). KJ Choi was the winner this year and a deserving one too.

We started our trek back to Singapore in early June, with Lin leaving almost a week ahead of me so that I could close down the house. I caught up with him in Hong Kong and we returned to Singapore at the end of June, in time for his pre-check up workup.

We met with Prof. Wong on Tuesday this week and he went through the lab and x-ray results in his usual thorough manner. In fact he asked for Lin's medication list, which he (the Prof.) insists his patients carry on them at all times.

Lin hadn't looked at his in simply ages and had left it in his travelling wallet so we quickly filled  out another one from memory. When you start to fall into an easy routine, the Prof. pops a curve ball and this is an example of one of them!

What must have triggered it off was Lin's continuing low White Blood Count and low Neutrophil count because he looked at the list and said that none of the things Lin was taking would cause a drop in the blood count. So the marrow must not have recovered sufficiently from the chemotherapy and therefore we have to be vigilant against any type of illness or infection.

Anyway the rest of the news was good, no unexpected lumps and bumps in the x-ray or ultrasound and the blood work (except for the WBC and Neutrophil counts) was normal.

So we are free until end September when Lin goes in for the pre-check up routine and then sees Prof. early October. The fly in the ointment is that the weather is not great anywhere else - it's hot in Florida which is in it's hurricane season.

Hong Kong is into the typhoon season with its torrential downpours, heat and humidity. So it looks like we will have to stay put for a while.

Three weeks back here and we are getting 'rock fever'! We'd got somewhat used to being in Singapore (we were here almost uninterrupted from May 2010 to April 2011) because we were so involved in Lin's treatment which was all new to us and anyway we HAD to be here for the duration of the treatment.

But having recently returned from Florida (clean, orderly, spacious, relaxed) and Hong Kong (vibrant, clean, attractive, courteous) we find today's Singapore a contrast.

The roads are chaotic and crowded, the standard of driving is appalling, the restaurants and retailers seem to just miss the spot and people are plain rude. Sure, there are rude, crude men and women elsewhere too, but there are more 'civilised' people to balance them out. True blue Singaporeans seem to be swamped and not taking it well.

As fr quality of life, we have three renovation/construction sites around us so we get a morning chorus of piling and other loud noises. At night we hear the rumble of the MRT (subway) trains although they are underground. And at various times of the night our sleep is shattered by the loud exhausts of car enthusiasts taking their expensive cars out for a 'throat clearing' exercise.

Sometimes it's just after midnight, sometimes around 4am, and sometimes between 6:30am to 7:00am. There are a few prancing horses, bulls or other loud cars living somewhere in this vicinity (or within a mile or two in radius) and they need to be exercised.

Surprisingly, or because our apartment in Hong Kong is on the edges of a country park, we only contend with daytime renovation noises like jackhammers. At least we get our measure of sleep. Not in this 24-hour casino city.

On a more pleasant note, I happened to be looking at some videos on and found this one:

It's relevant to ALL of us - presented by a cancer patient who found help and support and is a big advocate of patients helping each other.

I cannot say how important it is to learn all you can about what ails you (be it cancer or something else) and seek help - sometimes patients know more than doctors and nurses. For sure they know what it is like to be a patient.

I had trouble getting to a Web site he suggested, but nowadays there is a bigger choice of authoritative and useful Web sites for you to chose from. 

And there are also apps for iPhones and iPads (I have an iPhone) which help you understand the body -  they have great graphics hence better on iPads are often offered only for this larger format.

But I am happy with my iMuscle iPhone edition by (there's an iPad edition too).  The presenter of the talk has Visible Body (iPad only) which is in the iTunes Store. Or you can also use Google Body.