Am I still alive ? Yes ...and I am enjoying precious life....
It has been two and a half years since my surgery. How time flies ! I feel wonderful and alive ! Now I find that I can put on weight easily if I am not careful with the fats and carbohydrates but I try to maintain my weight as I like to be attractive and slim.
I told the patients that if they can put on weight, it means the body and its insides are back to normal. That's how marvellous nature is....... we as patients/ survivors without stomachs or partial stomachs can live to eat. We must be careful and remember to eat healthy + nutritious food to live. TIME is the healing factor. We must have the patience and determination to go through all the necessary treatment : surgery, chemotherapy + radiation. Positive outlook and attitude , family support and loving care plus strong will to overcome this cancer are important.
New patients are often worried to undergo surgery because they think that without stomach or having a quarter stomach left after operation, can they eat ? Can they live ? If so , for how many more years ? Having stomach cancer is like a death sentence to them. I advise them to read as much as they can about this illness through the internet via Google search and my blog. The more they know and understand it, the less fearful they will be. I will visit them during their stay in the hospital and help them to go through the surgery. If there are no complications or infections, most of the patients spend only 5 days in the hospital. Sometimes I bring one or two friends ( stomach cancer survivors) as living testimony to the new patients to give them hope and encouragement.
Usually chemo and radiation treatment takes about one and ahalf to two years to finish. I notice that patients, with loving family members' support or caregivers diligently bringing them for treatment, constant loving care and cooking nutritious soups etc, recover better in their treatment apart from the patients themselves having their own positive mental attitudes. During the chemo and radiation treatment, the patients' tongues become " senseless " .....everything tastes bland. Some patients take herbs, some like chilled drinks or even coconut juice, mostly take soups and soft food; BUT every individual patient's body is different. What one patient likes to eat may not suit to another patient's body. So it's up to the patient to discover what food really suit his body during the treatment.
Our support group has helped about 48 patients so far . A few has passed away.....because of their advanced conditions ; such as the Mersing man : His two children are being taken care of by his nephew in Muar. Some are still undergoing treatment at the Day Care Ward in hospital. If a patient misses his appointment for chemo treatment, Ms Goh will contact and help him or her. Others are well. I do meet them occasionally when they come for their follow-up appointment with Dr Ramesh. The older patients aged around 70 impressed me with their stoic cheerful disposition than the younger ones who worry more.
I have been very busy......taking care of my 2 grandchildren and family members, doing the daily routine of cooking, marketing, household chores etc. My hubby and I looked up old friends and enjoyed social activities with them - like going out for dinners together, movies, outings and travelling to places in our beautiful country and neighbouring countries. I learnt to be more appreciative and more grateful of little things, like seeing the stunning colourful view of a sunset in the sky at the beach, love the beauty of flowers blooming in Berastagi (near Medan) and Cameron Highlands etc. etc. My hubby and I had been to many places.... thanks to cheap travelling by Air Asia, LRT, KTM and GPS . We often make short attainable goals in our planning.
At present, I am not taking any medication for my body except some calcium supplement to prevent oesteoporasis. Every three months I take a jab (Neurobion : Vit B1, B6 + B12 ) from my family physician. Patients without stomachs (total/partial gastrectomy) have to take Vit B12 injections annually or every six months so that their iron + folate acid can be absorbed well into their bodies.
I do walking exercise + play golf twice a week, practise my qiqong, take my daily fruits and vege juice drink, eat everything moderately and most importantly try not to worry too much and think too much. As my hubby and family say, relax, count my blessings and give thanks to God, BE HAPPY and enjoy life. After all, life is too short. I have a quarter left from my lifetime. If I can help to do volunteer work, help the surgeon by seeing the new patients go through surgery well and I feel good about it, no stress, no worry, then I hope to become a better person for people and friends to get along with.