Toward the end of March, and also marked the Complete Remission Day 274 and the Year One in after me being diagnosed of Nasopharynx Cancer Stage 4A.
It was an emotional life journey for me. Undergone a surgery to insert chemotherapy port into my right chest, seven chemotherapy and 33 radiations in seven consecutive weeks treatment course. A memory I would carry on for the rest of my unknown life latency.
I struggled but survived after studying tons of white papers and statistic data about my condition allowed to make the best decision. At one point in Week 5 and 6 of the treatment, I was barely able to swallow bc of the radiation burned my throat so bad that doctor suggested me to insert a feeding tube into my stomach if my weight line continued to drop. Felt angry at one point bc it would defeat the purpose I chose to have treatment in the City of Hope. I persisted not and used my strong will to literally stuff food inside with tears. Refused to take any prescription drug. Rough, rough days. Gone to ER half a dozen times bc of high fever didn't retreat and learned to infuse me for maintaining my sodium level in the body. Thru the course, treated me thru strict diet, daily exercise, Chinese medicine, and acupuncture. After the 7 weeks treatment course, by the standard protocol, I was supposedly receiving another 12 weeks chemotherapy to assure the cancer cells eliminated as little as possible even after tested negative in blood tests, CT, MRI, and PET. I knew the continuous treatment's very harmful to the blood cells and the body could hardly recover from the damage. The research I've done told me my survival rate and the risk of reoccurrence if not further following the protocol. Debated with the doctors a few rounds and they were very upset about my decision bc they strongly believed their practice's rightful for the patients. But, I still determined to withdraw from that point. Very grateful that my decision turns out positively that I now appeared to be "normal" and undetectable to many that I went thru such a traumatic journey, which I documented all details in my FB account only shared with the "Gang", my closest circle. My hairs and mustache all grew back, and the weight gained back to the level before treatment received.
Deep down inside, even it's a complete remission, I know for a fact that my body ain't the same anymore bc some side effects remained. Particularly, I needed to do specific exercise set with my throat every morning and night to retain its muscle function. A permanent scar left in my chest after the chemotherapy port removal. A tattoo dot right on the center of my chest marked for aligning the position of the mask I wore for 7 weeks. I simply can't lie to myself and pretend my physical body's the same. Nevertheless, that shouldn't stop me generating value back to the society.
And sadly, my mother had suddenly passed away from elderly disease during my visit to Hong Kong last November, which I couldn't foresee that's coming. It's an extremely difficult time for me and appreciated a never met before FB friend spares her time to let me lean on when I crushed.
To date, Year One. Lifetime's much shorter than we all anticipated. It's time for me to pursue the next episode.
With this opportunity, I have to especially thank my best buddies, David Chou, and Connie Lo, with a friendship for more than 15 years. During this year of remission, I was under their care and support. Without them, I wouldn't see what would happen to me.
*Below is the mask I wore for 7 weeks in radiation treatment to secure my head position inside the linear accelerator.