Battling Liver Cancer For 21 Years
Not for Sale
Printed by Ultra Supplies, Singapore
My 5th & 6th Liver Cancer Occurrence
First published on 31st January 2018
Second edition on March 2018
My 7th Liver Cancer Occurrence
First published on 7th July 2018
Second edition on 8th August 2018
Third edition on 1st October 2018
1st Reprint on 5th November 2018
2nd Reprint on 14th November 2018
3rd Reprint on 20th November 2018
Battling Liver Cancer For 20 Years
First published on 31st January 2019
1st Reprint on 3rd March 2019
Second edition on 17th July 2019
Third edition on 20th August 2019
Fourth edition on 4th December 2019
Battling Liver Cancer For 21 Years
First published on 18th August 2020
With thanks from the Internet for the photos.
A Note to the Reader
What lessons have I learnt in over 21 years of experience with liver cancer? In all, I had 11 liver cancer recurrences, with 25 lesions in 7 segments, some recurring 2-4 times in the same segment. I have done two resections, one treatment of radioactive nuclear medicine, 7 Radio Frequency Ablations (RFA), one alcohol ablation, two mapping procedures for SIRT, two insertion of nuclear medicine Y-90 and Two Transarterial Chemoembolization (TACE).
My prolonged suffering has driven me to learn more about how to mature in my spiritual life and how to cope with cancer through extensive reading as shown by the more than 2,000 articles that I share in my website www.jameslau88.com.
With the help of my Lord, Jesus Christ, I conclude that love and hope are of paramount importance; that when I wait on Him I can find comfort; that I am given the strength, the grace and the courage to face the fear, pain, anxiety, stress and grief that this prolonged adversity brings; that my suffering lifts up my heart towards God; that I can trust God’s unconditional love for me.
So, can I simplify, summarize and systemize the lessons learnt so that I can teach myself and help others easily?
I have compiled the journalizing of my hurt and suffering into a book. And in my meditation and reflection, I would like to reduce the lessons learnt into the following questions:
- How do I cope with my prolonged adversity?
- How do I mature in Christian Love?
- What is my understanding of true forgiveness?
The primary benefit of my book is for the reader to be attracted enough to read appendixes 15, 14 and 20 in that order. The secondary benefit in my journalizing is to share my experience, that with today’s modern medical advances, an early detection of diseases gives one a better chance of cure.
I find appendixes 15, 14 and 20 very useful and helpful.
In fact, I am currently reading them slowly through again, to gain more insight for myself.
Appendix 15 talks about Coping with Adversity
Most of us are not taught how to cope with adversity, loss, grief or our “new normal.” We just muddle along with our emotional up and down. The ride is like a roller coaster. When I was in my prolonged “new normal” health condition, my adult children came from overseas to support me and to be with me. However, whenever I wanted to talk about my suffering to them, they diverted away from the subject. Perhaps, they thought that by encouraging me to voice my hurt, it may lead me to wallow in self-pity. They did not know how to cope neither did I, until I read the attached appendix 15. I consider appendix 15 the simplest and most fantastic article on coping with any adversity.
Ultimately, most of our suffering arises from our human relationship problems. And appendix 15 shows us that in order to heal, we have to name, to affirm and pour out our pain, face-to-face with a caring individual. The individual must listen to his out-pouring of hurt and not treat it as self- pity. Then he has a chance to accept the pain quickly so as to move on. Hopefully he will also listen to his conscience, his heart or to the still small voice. He can then act and move forward in his life and not be stuck in self-pity, in being depressed or in a rut.
For me, I have listened to the still small voice telling me to move away from a pessimistic negative attitude to a positive loving attitude. How? Dr Ira Byock has prescribed a very strong human relationship medicine by proposing to us to say the following:
Please forgive me
I forgive you
Thank you and
I love you
I find it useful to watch how Anwar Ibrahim of Malaysia coped with his time in prison at the recent Singapore Summit 2018 Live Interview. He said, “It was painful,” and he too emphasized about “compassion and the need to forgive to move on in life.” https://youtu.be/qTdzpWwva7Y [5.42m]
I marvel at what other individuals uniquely cope with “Grief from YouTube” and to read “A Roller-coaster Journey Through Grief by William Wan”
Appendix 14 talks about Christian Love
Two words to describe what Love is—patient and kind
Eight words to describe what Love is not—not jealous, not pompous, not inflated, not rude, not self-seeking, not quick-tempered, not brooding over injuries and not rejoicing over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
Four words to describe what Love does all the time — bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things.
In 14 words Paul described Christian Love.
Reverent Albert Shamon unpacks and details what these 14 words mean into a book. He puts them into practical ways for us to show love to the people around us. This is the best book I have read on the subject of Christian love.
The ultimate aim of all of us is to want to live life more abundantly and to the fullest of our ability. In our spiritual life, also, we want today to be better than yesterday and tomorrow to be better than today. We want to be at peace, joy and rest with God, others and ourselves in this competitive 21st century.
Appendix 20 is about Forgiveness
In today’s competitive world we live in an environment that is volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous and disruptive (VUCAD). Everyone from the CEO to the manual worker looks after me, myself, I and my ego first, last and always!!! The CEO will start giving the pink slips when he can’t meet the financial profit for the Company. Since we are not a robot, we can’t help being fearful, anxious, stressed, scared and threatened. We are afraid of being sacked. We are fearful of losing our jobs. We want to make sure that we are able to bring food to the family table.
Under this constant stress we develop and harbour an attitude that is full of resentment, rage, anger, envy, retaliation, bitterness, hatred, unforgiveness and violence. We are drinking poison and hoping nothing will happen to us. These negative attitudes will play havoc in our immune systems, which will go awry at the DNA level. Our cancer cells and suppressor cells will be out of balance and we will develop diseases.
Unfortunately, many may carry this stressful attitude back into the home and they bully and abuse their children and spouse.
How can this be changed? What lessons must we learn? What knowledge must we first acquire, to put ourselves right? How can we get our cells into balance so that we are healthy again? How can we stop ourselves from perpetuating these abuses?
Christian Love is one way to help us to stop from perpetuating these abuses and perhaps help us to also be healthy. But Christian love will come about only if I practice forgiveness first. I find it very difficult to say and to truly mean “I forgive you,” without God’s help. But if I don’t forgive, I will not be able to practice Christian Love.
Appendix 20 helps me, at 80 years old, to understand the full meaning of what it means to forgive. I have just found out that my earlier knowledge of forgiveness is incomplete. I have missed a vital objective of forgiveness, in that it must ultimately lead to LOVE my enemies, competitors or rivals as well.
When God tells me in His Word to forgive others, He does not stop there. He goes on to instruct me to love, to do good, to pray and to bless my enemies too.
Jesus gave me the true reason for forgiveness, “For if you love those who love you,what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:32-36)
I find it very enlightening to listen to personal accounts about “Forgiveness from TedTalk”
I know that no one can be a blessing to himself or others—if he does not love or have compassion. And Mother Teresa has helped me to understand that love must include service to bring me the joy, peace, rest and health that I am looking for:
The fruit of silence is PRAYER.
The fruit of prayer is FAITH.
The fruit of faith is LOVE.
The fruit of love is SERVICE.
The fruit of service is PEACE (JOY).
(Meditations from A Simple Path)
And the service can be as simple as for me to wait patiently for the old folks to slowly pay for her grocery at the check-out counter or walk across the road at the green light or give way to impatient drivers. In my face to face contact with another individual I must consciously make it a point to smile, to be courteous, useful, helpful and kind. In this way I can make a contribution and a difference in my life.
As Emily Dickenson says:
“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”
James Lau Guan-Ho
18th August 2020
|A Note to the Reader||iii|
|My Brief Liver Cancer History||1|
|My Recent Liver Cancer Journey||6|
|Our Perplexing Trials||9|
|Choosing His Blessing||13|
|Suffering and Anguish||18|
|“Please forgive me” and “I forgive you”||20|
|“Thank you” or Gratitude||23|
|“I love you”||29|
|Trust in God = Trust in Christ||31|
|Coping With Grief (I)||36|
|Love and Service||39|
|Joy, Happiness or Peace||42|
|Chronic Dry Cough||47|
|Lessons I Learn||50|
|My 7th Liver Cancer Occurrence||53|
|Trust God, Trust the Doctors||54|
|Obey God or “Surrender” to God||59|
|The TACE Procedure||66|
|My greatest Lesson Learnt—Forgiveness||68|
|Forgiveness is A Necessity for Healing||72|
|I wish to Proclaim what Jesus has done for me||73|
|Spending My Time in 2018||75|
|9th Liver Cancer Occurrence||79|
|My Reaction or My Response||82|
|The Choices we Face Every Day||85|
|Joy by Henri J M Nouwen||89|
|Do I know that God loves me unconditionally?||93|
|Second TACE Procedure||98|
|The Snake and the Saw||100|
|How did the 1st miracle happen?||103|
|Coping with crises, new normal, losses, (II)||105|
|Trust Jesus = Trust the Catcher||107|
|Crucifixion, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus||108|
|7 liver cancer recurrences at 11 locations since 25/5/17||111|
|Unconditional Trust when we Suffer||113|
|Ravi Zacharias Sermons from YouTube||114|
|Nabeel Qureshi Sermons from YouTube||115|
|Various Types of Healing||116|
|Holy Oil—Prayers by Priest||120|
|Positive Attitude Reminder by Joel Osteen||121|
|What is the Mathematical Probability of Fulfilling 48 Prophesies?||123|
|Movies on Paul and Jesus Christ from YouTube||124|
|Hallelujah or Wise Permission||124|
|Happy News and Sad News||125|
|Glucose Results—Fasting in mmol/L||126|
|Type 2 Diabetes||128|
|My Weight Loss Results||137|
|My 80/20 Eating Rule||137|
|10th MRI Results||142|
|Various Procedures Done Over Last 2 Years||142|
|I lost 13.0 kg following My 80/20 Eating Rule||145|
|Best Blood Test Markers for Cardiovascular Risk||147|
|Coping with Crisis and Grief (III)||157|
|11Th MRI Results||159|
|Placing my Suffering under the Blessing||161|
|Unconditional Trust from the Book of Job||163|
|The Battle is not mine but the Lord’s||168|
|Re-framing the Y-90 Treatment||172|
|Y-90 Procedure carried out on 30/6/20||173|
|12Th MRI Results||175|
|My ZOOM Talk on 8 August 2020||176|
My Brief Liver Cancer History
I was told personally by a few doctors that it is a miracle that I am alive. Why? Because in the 1990s, practically all people who suffered from liver cancer did not survive for more than one year. I am still living after over 21 years of being diagnosed with liver cancer.
Why am I recording my experiences with liver cancer? I believe I have been touched by God’s mercy and grace. God has provided me with good and talented doctors who are up to-date with modern medical advances which facilitate my recovery from liver cancer. I wish also to show that with modern medical advances, cancer is no longer the deadly disease it used to be. Cancer can be conquered, provided it is discovered early.
Normally when a person is told he/she has a second cancer occurrence, he/she will be devastated by the news. Thus, I can say that it was no fun to be told I have my 9th liver cancer occurrence lately. Although it is less deadly than some 15 – 20 years ago, it is still a nasty and terrorizing disease! I am scared. I can’t help being worried, anxious and fearful.
And when I go to the Internet to find out more on the subject of cancer, cancer is still an awful experience. Since remission is always measured in terms of 5 years and of percentage, a layman like me finds it hard to comprehend. Whatever it was, I reeled and suffered.
Suffering is a complex subject and I have listened to many talks on suffering and read hundreds of articles on the matter, but there is still no single silver bullet to solve the mystery. At different stages of my life, I learn different aspects about suffering and adversity. That’s alright.
What I have recorded of my experiences in my website www.jameslau88.com are as follows:
- My first liver cancer experience occurred in April 1999 on segments VI and VII.
1st Liver Cancer Operation Experience1
- My second liver cancer occurred in February 2000 on segment VII. It was 3cm and on the residual right hepatic lobe.
2nd Liver Cancer operation Experience2
- Soon after my second liver resection I was amongst the first 3 in Singapore to be given radioactive substance to the liver directly through an angiogram.
Start of my spiritual journey–42 days hospital stay3
- I wrote about facing my own death and my inward journey.
I Faced My Own Death 3 Times—About My Inward Journey4
- My third liver cancer occurred in April 2013 on segment VIII (1.8 cm) and segment IVa which is near a major artery. I was free from liver cancer for more than 12 years.
My Recent Medical Crisis5
- My fourth liver cancer occurred on October 2014 at segment VIII at 1.4 cm.
Don’t be knocked out by adversity or suffering6
7. My 5th Liver Cancer Occurrence
For more than 2.5 years I was free from cancer but on 25 May 2017, liver cancer was found on Segment VIII (6.3 x 5.1 cm) and on Segment V (0.9 cm).
As the Segment VIII cancer was so large and aggressive, nuclear medicine Y-90 was inserted into the liver through a catheter in my left hand to shrink the cancer.
As for the cancer at Segment V, liquid alcohol was used to cure the cancer. This proved unsuccessful for the tumor had increased in size from 0.9 cm to 1.5 cm. The proposal was to use TACE or RFA to cure it. Since my body was used to RFA, I decided to use RFA and on 22 August 2017, the procedure was successfully carried out.
8. My 6th Liver Cancer Occurrence
Unfortunately, two months later, on 26 October, another liver cancer occurred on Segment IV (1.1 cm). On 21 November 2017 the RFA was successfully carried out.
9. My 7th Liver Cancer Occurrence
My MRI on 17/5/18 showed that Segment VIII has shrunk from 6.3 x 5.1 cm to 2.1 x 1.1 cm in 11 months.
The MRI history for this Segment VIII is as follows:
09/06/17—-6.3 x 5.1 cm
21/06/17— Y-90 was introduced to shrink the tumor
22/08/17—-5.0 x 4.1 cm
20/10/17—-5.2 x 3.8 cm
15/01/18—-4.1 x 2.8 cm
17/05/18—-2.1 x 1.1 cm
The sad news is that 5 new lesions have appeared as follows:
In Segment II, a 1.3cm nodule and another 3mm nodule have appeared. They showed typical cancer features.
In Segment III, two 5mm nodules appeared. They are indeterminate.
In Segment V, a 3mm nodule has appeared. It showed typical cancer features.
Why do I continue to journal my nearly 20 years of experience in managing the many recurrences of my liver cancer? When I initially sent the first portion of my article to my family members, relatives and friends, one of my grandsons wrote to me saying, “Thank you for sharing your insights and updating us on your progress. I appreciate your lessons and I’ll try recalling this advice when next I face life’s tribulations or if someone should come to me for counsel” and a close friend said “It helps my brother”. I was thus encouraged to journal my latest liver cancer recurrence.
It is a personal experience; an individual view. My approach is that of a Christian. I try to be honest with my emotions, self-queries about doubts and the depth of my faith. What I have written are my thoughts and experiences. I link them to articles by various writers so as to give clarity to my view. I am being comforted and supported by God’s grace in my suffering and I wish to share my experiences to comfort others wherever possible.
All human beings suffer. All of us have our fair share of pain, hurt, suffering, adversity, trial and tribulation. No one is exempted. How one responds to suffering makes all the difference. All of us have to tap on whatever that will help us face our suffering—-be it our religions, TM, qigong, taiji, spiritual belief, chanting, yoga, music, prayer, etc.
When suffering pushes me into a corner, there are always choices to make and it is for me to choose. I can boldly choose to depend on myself or I can courageously choose to depend on God. I find that if I choose to believe in God’s Mercy and Grace then I am able to re-alignmy attitude to really see the blessings that He has given me thus far. Before that, being human, my mind and conversations dwelt constantly on the pain and suffering.
I opted to choose, with God’s help, the following attitude:
- To be positive rather than negative.
- To believe in a loving God rather than on my own effort to see me through my suffering.
- To always ask what is there to learn from the experience rather than to continuously ask why, as “why” can give no satisfactory answer.
- To have the courage to face the pain rather than to dwell on the hurt and self-pity.
- To ask for God’s help to bear the suffering rather than depend on my own strength.
- To have the patience to continuously endure the consequences rather than give up.
- To have the meekness and humility to accept anything God gives me and willingly give Him anything He asks of me, with a smile!
- To rest in the Lord instead of tossing restlessly in bed, at night.
- To request and be given the support of prayers from family, relatives and friends instead of suffering in silence.
- To have the conviction that God is fully in-charge of my life if I go to Him, and not depend entirely on myself.
- To give myself the permission to sometimes be in doubt but never to be in despair.
- To remind myself that it is OK to be perplexed or knocked down several times but not to be crushed or knocked out (KO) by the suffering.
- To focus on the hope that there will be recovery instead of giving in to unnecessary fear.
My Recent Liver Cancer Journey
On 25 May 2017, the yearly ultrasound indicated there was a large mass at segment VIII of my liver measuring 6.3 x 5.1 cm and a small mass at segment V measuring 0.9 cm.
On 9 June 2017, the MRI confirmed that the masses were suggestive that Liver Cancer had re-occurred. As the cancer cell was too large for dissection, it was decided to use radioactive substance yttrium-90 (Y-90) to shrink the cancer cell.
On 14 June 2017, an angiogram or mapping was prepared for the Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) for my liver. This was done through my left wrist. During the mapping procedure, the interventional radiologists will block (embolise) the vessels to minimize the potential for the microspheres to travel outside the liver to the guts and lungs. This was successfully done.
On 21 June 2017, hepatic angiography and injection of Y-90 for segment VIII HCC was carried out. Attempts made to cannulate the artery supplying the segment V HCC were in vain, hence the decision was made to cutaneously inject alcohol in the segment V lesion.
This time round because of the advances in medical treatment, and the embolizing that was done to prevent the Y-90 from spreading to the guts and lung, I did not suffer from much after-effects. The previous time when radioactive iodine was introduced to my liver in April 2000, I had to be hospitalized for 42 days. It was a horrible and terrible experience then!
On 21 July 2017, MRI indicated that segment VIII, measuring 6.3 x 5.1 cm had decreased in size but the segment V HCC had increased in size from 0.9 to 1.5 cm. It was then decided to either introduce chemotherapy or RFA to segment V HCC. Since I had two previous experiences with RFA, my preference was to carry out the RFA on segment V HCC.
On 22 August 2017, RFA was carried out on segment V HCC. It was successfully done and no residual tumor was detected. As for segment VIII, the 6.3 x 5.1 cm has now reduced to 5.0 x 4.1 cm. MRI was scheduled in two months’ time to assess the tumor size before deciding what to do next.
I pray and hope that all will be well for me.
Written on 3 Sept 2017
On 20 October 2017, I did my MRI. I have done many MRIs before and they were a breeze. But this time I was exhausted and tired. I felt overwhelmed by the circumstances of my fifth liver cancer recurrence. I do not know what would be the result of my MRI. Would the result be such that I may have to go for another operation or Y-90 or RFA or what else? I will only know the result when I see the RFA doctor on 26/10/17 and the liver doctor on 27/10/17. I was so exhausted that I slept when I came back from the hospital.
In the night I felt the need to lift my spirit. I searched what I had downloaded for myself from the internet and my mood was lifted when I listened to:
Grace Is Greater Than Circumstances https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ9HhnGlQv4
Grace Is Greater Than Hurts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCh96y-TkZw
I find Kyle Idleman’s sermons on St Paul in 1 Thess 5:18 NIV very illuminating. It states to, “. . . . .give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
But, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 is a very difficult verse to reconcile when I am going through the suffering of cancer.
How can Paul be thankful and joyful after all the trials he went through? What caused Paul to have such a spirit of gratitude? What made Paul give this advice was the grace of God in his life. He knew that God’s grace for his life far outweighed the trials in his life.
Paul certainly did not give thanks when he was whipped 5 times by the Jews and 3 times by the Romans. Neither did he give thanks when he was shipwrecked 3 times and in the water. To give thanks during such circumstances would be masochistic, wouldn’t it?
What Paul gave thanks for was the grace of God that provided him with:
- the strength to face his circumstances
- the courage to continue to move forward in his life and ministry
- the humility to accept what God has allowed in his situation
- the hope that all will be well, and that Christ is with him all the way.
I need to reflect: Have I experienced the grace of God in my life? For God’s grace will give me the strength to face what I am going through with my cancer experience. It will also sustain me for the long haul and the hope of not giving in to despair. Have I received the grace of God and more importantly have I given grace to people who hurt me? Can I feel the grace of Christ in my life? If I don’t, I will have difficulty being thankful or seeing any good in my current circumstances. Isn’t this just logical? Isn’t this just human? What is God’s will for me currently? Will it be a tough choice? I will always have to choose my response!
Written on 21 October 2017
Our Perplexing Trials
Lately, I have been praying to the Lord to let me have a good night’s rest and the result has been positive with good sleep. At around 5-6 am I wake up to spend some quiet time thinking about Christ and my situation. I do not plan ahead what to write. In the silence of my quiet time a thought or an idea will come to prompt me to write on certain topic. I then go to my website to read up on that topic. I also go to the Internet to research a little more before I put it into writing.
I am not a robot without emotion! Since I am not a robot, I cannot help being anxious in trying to find some solutions. As a human being I am weak and frail. Yes, I call out to the Lord again and again for strength to see me through my storm (my liver cancer). As a Christian, I know that when I ask, genuinely ask, Christ will make Himself known to me—through a thought, a phrase, the prayers and support from family, relatives and friends etc. I have only one option and that is Christ!
J R Miller in Shall we Pray for the Healing of Disease7 has answered my question about prayer:
“Do not let me give the impression that God never answers prayer for healing. I think he does. I think that all healing is wrought by Christ. We must always send for the physician and use all the means within our reach, for this is ordinarily God’s way of helping us. But we fail if when using the means we do not also pray to God. The best means are of no avail, unless God uses them and blesses them. While, therefore, we have the physician and employ all available skill and use every means within our power to bring back restored health — we must take the case to God and leave it ever in his hands.”
I also find Our Storm as His path to Us by Max Lucado and Our Perplexing Trials by J I Parker comforting.
Yes, I look for total healing, which will be wonderful when attained. But what if the storm is a little longer or not at all?
Paul did not get his thorn (storm) removed at all. What are the lessons then, for me?
I find that some of the lessons are contained in J I Parker’s above article which states as follows:
“We should not, therefore, be too taken aback when unexpected and upsetting and discouraging things happen to us now. What do they mean? Why, simply that God in his wisdom means to make something of us which we have not attained yet, and is dealing with us accordingly.
“Perhaps he means to strengthen us in patience, good humour,compassion, humility, or meekness, by giving us some extra practice in exercising these graces under specially difficult positions. Perhaps he has new lessons in self- denial and self-distrust to teach us. Perhaps he wishes to break us of complacency, or unreality, or undetected forms of pride and conceit. Perhaps his purpose is simply to draw us closer to himself in conscious communion with him for it is often the case, as all the saints know, that fellowship with the Father and the Son is most vivid and sweet, and Christian joy is greatest, when the cross is heaviest. (Remember Samuel Rutherford!) Or perhaps God is preparing us for forms of service of which at present we have no inkling.
“Paul saw part of the reason for his own afflictions in the fact that God ‘comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort weourselves have received from God’ (2 Corinthians 1:4) Even the Lord Jesus ‘learned . . . obedience by the things which he suffered’, and so was ‘made perfect’ for his high-priestlyministry of sympathy and help to his hard-pressed disciples (Hebrew 5:8f, KJV): which means that, as on the one hand he is able to uphold us and make us more than conquerors in all our troubles and distresses, so on the other hand we must not be surprised if he calls us to follow in his steps, and to let ourselves be prepared for the service of others by painful experiences which are quite undeserved. ‘He knows the way he taketh,’ even if for the moment we do not.
“We may be frankly bewildered at things’ that happen to us, but God knows exactly what he is doing, and what he is after, in his handling of our affairs. Always, and in everything, he is wise; we shall see that hereafter, even where we never saw it here. (Job in heaven knows the full reason why he was afflicted, though he never knew it in his life.) Meanwhile, we ought not to hesitate to trust his wisdom, even when he leaves us in the dark.
“But how are we to meet these baffling and trying situations if we cannot for the moment see God’s purpose in them? First, by taking them as from God, and asking ourselves what reactions to them, and in them, the gospel of God requires of us; second, by seeking God’s face specifically about them.
“If we do these two things, we shall never find ourselves wholly in the dark as to God’s purpose in our troubles. We shall always be able to see at least as much purpose in them as Paul was enabled to see in his thorn in the flesh (whatever it was). It came to him, he tells us, as a ‘messenger of Satan’, tempting him to hard thoughts of God. He resisted this temptation, and sought Christ’s face three times, asking that it might be removed. The only answer he had was this, ‘My grace is sufficient for you: for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ On reflection, he perceived a reason why he should have been thus afflicted: it was to keep him humble, ‘To keep me from becoming conceitedbecause of these surprisingly great revelations’. This thought, and Christ’s word, were enough for him. He looked no further. Here is his final attitude ‘Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me’ (2Corinthians 12:79).
“This attitude of Paul is a model for us. Whatever further purpose a Christian’s troubles may or may not have in equipping him for future service, they will always have at least that purpose which Paul’s thorn in the flesh had: they will have been sent us to make and keep us humble, and to give us a new opportunity of showing forth the power of Christ in our mortal lives. And do we ever need to know any more about them than that? Is not this enough of itself to convince us of the wisdom of God in them? Once Paul saw that his trouble was sent to enable him to glorify Christ, he accepted it as wisely appointed, and rejoiced in it. God give us grace, in all our own troubles, to go and do likewise.”
Can I be confident enough to trust that God is in charge of my life and that God uses my storm as His path for me to get closer to Him? Have I been frightened enough to depend and need Him and then come close enough for me to fully trust Him?
Written on 25 October 2017
Choosing His Blessing
On 26 & 27 October 2017, I saw my RFA and Liver doctors for my MRI results. The results were mixed—good and bad!
The bad news was that I had another liver cancer recurrence at segment IV at 1.1 cm (6thoccurrence). This has been scheduled for RFA in November 2017.
The good news was that my segment VIII was stable. The original liver cancer size of 6.3 x 5.1 cm on 21 June 2017 was reduced to 5.0 x 4.1 cm on 22 Aug 2017 and is now (20 October 2017) stable at 5.2 x 3.8 cm. Since the cancer is stable, the doctors said they will monitor it before they decide on the next course of action. On my inquiry, the doctors advised that they can repeat the Y-90 on the liver for 4 – 5 times and the RFA as many times as my liver function tests allow. To me this is good news as I am reluctant to have another liver surgery. At least I know what will be the next course of action. It appears that I have to prepare myself to enter a long agonizing and uncertain journey.
I find comfort in what J R Miller in Songs in the Night of Pain by J R Miller said:
“You say, “Yes, he (God) knows — but he does not change things, does not relieve me of my sufferings.” Well, my child, this is precisely where your faith comes in. You know that he could change all this — if he knew that it were best for you. The fact that he does not relieve you of your suffering — shows that there is some mission which he wants that suffering to work in you, some lesson he would have you learn while enduring it, some new power of usefulness and service which he would have you attain through these long experiences of trial.”
“ I know it is hard to suffer day after day — but your Father knows and still permits it to continue, because he would make you a sweeter woman, a more noble witness for him, because he would prepare you for larger service and helpfulness, and because he is fitting you for the higher life that lies beyond. Do not be afraid. Keep on singing your songs of joy, whatever your experience of pain may be.”
Under such trying circumstances, I have to watch myself very carefully so that I do not unconsciously place myself under a curse but to always “choose the blessing.”
I will succeed in choosing the blessing only if I:
- Believe that I am the beloved child of God
- Trust that I am unconditionally loved by God
- Have the faith that God will turn my suffering round for good as “in all things God works for good with those who love Him”(Romans 8:28 TEV) and
- Constantly apply the practical aspects in the meaning of Blessings and Curses8 in my website.
We bless ourselves:
- When we give thanks with a grateful heart.
- When we bless our family and others
- When we listen to the quiet, inner voice that says good things about ourselves.
- When we affirm ourselves and know that we have given the best of ourselves in whatever we have worked on.
- When we shut out the loud, busy outer voice that says we are being punished.
We bless others:
- When we speak good things about them and to them.
- When we show by our gestures that their presence is a joy to us.
- When we reveal to them their gifts, their goodness and their talents.
Blessing is nothing more than recounting positively the events about:
- What God has helped us to endure or overcome,
- What patience our family and friends have shown us,
- What we have learnt out of the events, and
- Giving hope, courage and love.
When we put our experiences under the blessing, we consciously bless ourselves.
Written on 28 October 2017
On 7 November 2017, I saw the anaesthetist for pre-admission testing in order to see whether it was alright for me to do the RFA, which is scheduled on 21 November 2017. It took 2-3 hours in all. Since May 2017, I have been seeing one doctor after another every two to three weeks and it always takes 2-3 hours each time. It is beginning to get to me.
Lately, like David:
I am downcast
I am fed up
I am discouraged
I am troubled
I am sad
I am disturbed
I am desperate
I am restless.
I needed to uplift my spirit and what I did for myself was to re-read all the adversity and suffering articles that I have uploaded on my website and I find How David deals with Depression? by Joyce Meyer and Living Life by Grace9 by Pablo Martinez to be helpful.
According to Pablo Martinez, from God’s perspective, “what is most important is not the absence of suffering (which is what I want) but rather his presence in the midst of (my) suffering and the resources his presence affords us.”
I take that to mean that I am to concentrate on Christ and to seek God’s presence and when I seek, I will find—His presence. But I cannot see God; I cannot hear God; I cannot touch God. So how can I know His presence? I can know Him when I believe what Christ says about His love and care for me, about His presence with me, and His desire to help me. My faith will thus make Him a reality to me.
I am also to look for the resource, which is His Grace that He will shower on me.
What is His Grace? Not only does God give me His saving grace but also His living grace—living my life in His grace. When I am in Christ, the resources are that He strengthens me; He comforts me; He cares for me; He supports me. Thus:
I can triumph over my suffering
I can be stronger than my suffering
I can have the patience to soldier on with my suffering
I can have the courage to face my suffering
I can have trust that He is in charge in the midst of my suffering
I can be transformed by my suffering
I can still give thanks in the midst of my suffering
I can maintain an attitude of gratitude in the midst of my pain
I can have peace of mind in the midst of my suffering
I can hope that I will be alright.
Written on 7 November 2017
Suffering and Anguish
Suffering is a paschal mystery. There are many fake or false ideas on why a person continues to suffer—like it is a punishment from God, that he must have sinned (but there is no sinless one, except Jesus), that he deserves what he gets, that he has not done enough good works or that he has not volunteered, etc. Of course, some sufferings are the results of bad or immoral decisions.
I find it very illuminating to read The Fog of the Broken Hearted by Max Lucado where he quoted the Bible on the emotional condition that Christ was experiencing in the garden of Gethsemane:
“When they reached a place called Gethsemane, . . . Horror and dismay came over him, and he said to them, “My heart is ready to break with grief; . . threwhimself on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, this hour might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” he said, “all things are possible to thee; take this cup away from me. Yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mark 14:33-34)
I find again in Mark 14:33-34 (NIV) which states, “he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,”
And in Matthew 26:37-38, 44 (NIV) which states, “ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.
Stay here and keep watch with me….. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.”
Also in Luke 22:42-44 (NIV) which states, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
Jesus Christ, whom I and Christians believe is fully divine and fully human, is a man without sin. Yet, He suffered such horrible anguish as described in the Bible as stated in the passages above:
My heart is ready to break with grief
threw himself on the ground,
deeply distressed and troubled
overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death
in anguish he prayed more earnestly and
his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground
An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him
Jesus asked Peter, James and John to watch and pray with Him three times, but they could not stay awake to keep Him company. It shows that Jesus wanted the consolation of His closest disciples in asking them to go through His suffering with Him. We will be wise to do likewise in our intense suffering.
Thus, it is alright to want closest individuals to listen to my suffering. I must honour my suffering. I must not dismiss my anguish. I must accept my sorrow. I must not make light of my suffering during this trying period. I must permit myself to utter my pain. I must not berate myself for voicing my painful feeling and sadness. It is there. I must affirm it.
I must also pray to God. I must encourage and uplift myself by all means and hope an angel (family, friends, relatives, words, phrases, etc) will appear to strengthen me!
I find Suffering, Why Me?10 by Philip Yancey very interesting. He says that the most comprehensive book in the Bible, which centers on the problem of suffering for about 42 chapters, is Job. Yet, God side-steps the very questions of suffering that plague the human race.
To me, without suffering we are all mini-gods and we don’t need God at all! If we never suffered, we would be absolutely insufferable because we would be atrociously arrogant. But suffering can turn us to God and can be a means for us to be transformed and to develop courage, patience, fortitude, generosity, kindness, the agape aspect of love, prudence, unselfishness, character and all other moral attributes.
Written on 13 November 2017
“Please forgive me” and “I forgive you”
On 16 November 2017, I had a slight cough and a light fever of 37.2 degrees. As a precaution, I saw the GP on 17 November for my cough in order not to postpone the RFA, which could be delayed if the cough got worse. This was precisely what I did on June 2017. The last time the GP gave me Fedac cough mixture. This time the GP did not have Fedac and the GP gave me Dexromethorphan 30mg tablets to be taken twice a day.
After two days of taking the Dexromethorphan, on 19/11/17 (Sunday) at 3 am, I was coughing quite badly and I prayed to Christ to help me. I was then able to sleep until 7.30 am. In the morning I decided to switch to Dhasedyl Syrup, which is what is usually prescribed to me whenever I have a cough and cold. My body is familiar with Dhasedyl and it soothes my throat. But on 20/11/17 at 5-6 am I was again coughing so badly I decided to go to see my former GP, who had moved to another location, for a further check-up. The GP gave me Fedac cough mixture and Thymol gargle for the sore throat. What this showed me, as I normally do not like to see the doctor, was that I must have been anxious that the RFA might be postponed due to my cough. If the RFA was postponed, the liver cancer might roughly double itself every two months.
I was told to go to the hospital on 21 November 2017 at 7.30 am. I prayed that my procedure would be alright and hoped for a full recovery on segment IV of my liver cancer (My sixth liver cancer occurrence). My primary concern was on segment VIII, which could be a long process.
All of us have emotional scars. We have fractured relationships. We are badly hurt. We murmur. We gripe. We moan. We blame. We complain endlessly. We refuse to take charge of ourselves regarding our unfortunate circumstance. We are locked in by our self-pity. We imprison ourselves with our hurt and suffering. So, I find reading Redeemed by our Suffering or Imprisoned by our Suffering by Ken Gire and M.J. Ryan helpful.
I discover that I have a choice to free myself from my own prison! I can free my mind and my heart if I can, first and foremost, truly says “I am sorry, please forgive me.” This is not easy. Peter thought that if he was able to forgive seven times, he would become a saint. But Jesus told him not seven times but “seventy times seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22 TEV). No one can do that in his own effort. But if we go to Jesus and ask for His help, we will be able to do it.
Many of us are emotionally sick. We need strong and bitter emotional medicines for a cure. Dr Ira Byock, a doctor caring for seriously ill patients for nearly 15 years of emergency medicine practice and more than 25 years in hospice and palliative care, has taught hundreds of patients who were facing life’s end to say the Four Things.
In Healing Words11 he suggested that we can heal our broken relationships if we can honestly and constantly say the Four Things below:
Please forgive me.
I forgive you.
I love you.
But it takes great humility and generosity of spirit to utter these four obvious sentences. They make us very vulnerable and many proud individuals find it very difficult to say them and thus lock themselves in their own emotional prison. Being imprisoned does not promote growth. And without growth we cannot grow to our full potential. To grow and live more abundantly, we need God’s help to free our minds and hearts from our emotional prisons.
See how Mother Teresa in her book, A Gift for God12 puts it:
“We know that if we really want to love we must learn how to forgive”(18),
“We must make our homes centers of compassion and forgive endlessly” (18)
“Lord, help us to see in Your crucifixion and resurrection an example of how to endure and seemingly to die in the agony and conflict of daily life, so that we may live more fully and creatively. You accepted patiently and humbly the rebuffs of human life, as well as the tortures of your crucifixion and passion. Help us to accept the pains and conflicts that come to us each day as opportunities to grow as people and become more like you. Enable us to go through them patiently and bravely, trusting that you will support us. Make us realize that it is only by frequent deaths of ourselves and our self-centered desires that we can come to live more fully; for it is only by dying with You that we can rise with You.” (89-90)
Written on 20 November 2017
“Thank you” or Gratitude
On 21 November 2017, I told the anesthetist that I had been coughing for the last four days. He asked whether I have flam and I said no. He asked how my experience was the last time I did my RFA and I told him that it was painful. He mentioned that he could put me into a full slumber and I would not feel a thing, but it would mean that he would have to put a tube down my throat in case of any difficulty in breathing. I then said I prefer to be conscious and help in the process. He said if I felt pain I should make it known, so that he could increase the pain medicine to decrease the pain. The RFA went very well. It took about an hour. I had very little pain during and after the RFA.
I am glad that I prayed and was prompted to see the GP one after the other for my cough. Why? If I did not see the second GP for my Fedac cough mixture, I think, I would not be able to do the RFA. I took the Fedac cough mixture and I did not cough during the whole RFA procedure. But after the RFA during the night I was coughing non-stop as I did not have any Fedac cough mixture with me. I had no choice but to ask the nurse to get the ward doctor to prescribe Fedac cough mixture for me. Unfortunately, the prescribed medicine the ward doctor gave was Fedac syrup for nasal and respiratory congestion and that did not help to stop my cough. My cough does not matter to me now. I am grateful that the RFA was done as scheduled. Thank you, Lord.
I will know the result of the RFA when I see the Interventional Radiologist on 30/11/17.
The third sentence by Dr Ira Byock is “Thank you” or Gratitude, which I would like to examine more.
In the Definitions of Gratitude by Henri J M Nouwen, he stated,
“To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives—the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections—that requires hard spiritual work. Still, we are only truly grateful people when we can say thank you to all that has brought us to the present moment. As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our being as a gift of God to be grateful for.
Let’s not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to wherewe are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God. (Bread for theJourney, Jan 12,)
Gratitude as a discipline
“In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realise that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.
Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint. I can choose to be grateful when I am criticised, even when my heart still responds in bitterness. I can choose to speak about goodness and beauty, even when my inner eye still looks for someone to accuse or something to call ugly. I can choose to listen to the voices that forgive and to look at the faces that smile, even while I still hear words of revenge and see grimaces of hatred.
There is always the choice between resentment and gratitude because God has appeared in my darkness, urged me to come home, and declared in a voice filled with affection: “You are with Me always, and all I have is yours.” Indeed, I can choose to dwell in the darkness in which I stand, point to those who are seemingly better off than I, lament about the many misfortunes that have plagued me in the past, and thereby wrap myself up in my resentment. But I don’t have to do this. There is the option to look into the eyes of the One who came out to search for me and see therein that all I am and all I have is pure gift calling for gratitude.
“The choice for gratitude rarely comes without some real effort. But each time I make it, the next choice is a little easier, a little freer, a little less self-conscious. Because every gift I acknowledge reveals another and another until finally, even the most normal, obvious, and seemingly mundane event or encounter proves to be filled with grace. There is an Estonian proverb that says: “Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” Acts of gratitude make one grateful because, step by step, they reveal that all is grace. (The return of the Prodigal Son, 85)
All is Grace
“We are really grateful for all the good things . . .We simply have to accept or try to forget the painful moments.” The attitude expressed in these words made me aware of how often we tend to divide our past into good things to remember with gratitude and painful things to accept or forget. Once we accept this division, however, we quickly develop a mentality in which we hope to collect more good memories than bad memories, more things to be grateful for than things to complain about. But this way of thinking, which at first glance seems quite natural, prevents us from truly allowing our whole past to be the source from which we live our future. Is this the gratitude to which the Gospel calls us?
Gratitude is not a simple emotion or an obvious attitude. It is a difficult discipline to constantly reclaim my whole past as the concrete way in which God has led me to this moment and is sending me into the future. It is hard precisely because it challenges me to face the painful moments—experiences of rejection and abandonment, feelings of loss and failure— and gradually to discover in them the pruning hands of God purifying my heart for deeper love, stronger hope, and broader faith. Jesus says to His disciples that although they are as intimately related to Him as branches are to the vine, they still need to be pruned in order to bear more fruit (John 15:1-5). Pruning means cutting, reshaping, removing what diminishes vitality. . .
Grateful people are those who can celebrate even the pains of life because they trust that when harvest time comes the fruit will show that the pruning was not punishment but purification. I am gradually learning that the call to gratitude asks us to say “everything is grace.” When our gratitude for the past is only partial, our hope for a new future can never be full. . .If we are to be truly ready for a new task in the service of God, truly to be sent into a new mission, our entire past, gathered into the spaciousness of a converted heart, must become the source of energy that moves us toward the future. (“All is Grace” 39-41)
Jesus always Gave Thanks.
A second aspect of the fruitful life is gratitude. Our preoccupation with success extinguishes the spirit of gratitude. When our hearts and minds are bent on proving our value to others and competing with our rivals, it is hard to give thanks. In a society that presents independence and self-reliance as ideals, gratitude is more a sign of weakness than of strength. Gratitude presupposes a willingness to recognise our dependence on others and to receive their help and support.
Yet as soon as we shift our attention from products to fruit we become grateful people. Jesus always gave thanks. When He stood before the opened grave of Lazarus, He thanked His Father for hearing His prayer (John 11:4). When He gathered His disciples for the last Supper, He spoke words of thanks over bread and wine. Gratitude belongs to the core of the life of Jesus and His followers. (In the House of the Lord, 42)
A Grateful Death
When we think about death, we often think about what will happen to us after we have died. But it is more important to think about what will happen to those we leave behind. The way we die has a deep and lasting effect on those who stay alive. It will be easier for our family and friends to remember us with joy and peace if we have said a grateful good-bye than if we die with bitter and disillusioned hearts.
The greatest gift we can offer our families and friends is the gift of gratitude. Gratitude sets them free to continue living without bitterness or self-recrimination. (Bread for the Journey, Aug 28)
Written on 23 November 2017
“I love you”
Since I like Dr Ira Byock’s Four Things regarding healing our broken relationships, I wish to examine the last sentence, “I love you” a little more.
J R Miller in Comfort Through Personal Helpfulness13 said,
“No one can be a blessing to others—if he does not love. Nothing but love will make another person happier, will comfort sorrow, will relieve loneliness, will give encouragement.”
Henri J M Nouwen in God’s Love is Unconditional said,
“God does not say, ‘I love you, if. . . ‘ There are no ifs in God’s heart. God’s love for us does not depend on what we do or say, on our looks or intelligence, on our success or popularity. God’s love for us existed before we were born and will exist after we have died. God’s love is from eternity to eternity and is not bound to any time-related event or circumstance.Does that mean that God does not care what we do or say? No, because God’s love wouldn’t be real if God didn’t care. To love without condition does not mean to love without concern. God desires to enter into relationship with us and wants us to love God in return.”
Mother Teresa in Mother Teresa on Love and Jesus Christ said,
“Jesus came into this world for one purpose. He came to give us the good news that God loves us, that God is love, that He loves you, and He loves me. How did Jesus love you and me? By giving His life.”
“The whole gospel is very, very simple. Do you love me? Obey my commandments. He’s turning and twisting just to get around to one thing: love one another.”
“I don’t think we could have ever loved God if Jesus had not become one of us. So that we might be able to love God, He became one of us in all things, except sin. If we have been created in the image of God, then we have been created to love, because God is love. In his passion Jesus taught us how to forgive out of love, how to forget out of humility. Find Jesus, and you will find peace.”
“We have a great deal of worth in the eyes of God. I never tire of saying over and over again that God loves us. It is a wonderful thing that God Himself loves me tenderly.That is why we should have courage, joy, and the conviction that nothing can separateus from the love of Christ.”
Lee Strobel in Gaining when Giving of Ourselves said
“Ultimately, God is a servant because God is love, and love by its very nature involves the giving of oneself. . . .
“For the first time, my eyes were opened to the vast, informal network of Christians who were sacrificially serving the poor. I came upon food pantries, homeless shelters, clothing centers, job-training institutes, nursing homes, drug rehabilitation programs, sports ministries for kids—all operated by Christian charities. . . .
“Lots of times, serving others is physically taxing, emotionally draining, financially expensive, or downright dangerous. Yet amazingly, those are the very times when God seems to delight in bringing an extra dose of grace into the lives of towel bearers.”
I find that the best book of 70 pages on the subject of love is Love People by Rev Albert Shamon14
Written on 25 November 2017
Trust in God = Trust in Christ
On 30 November 2017, I saw the Interventional Radiologist. He advised that Segment IV was successfully done and no residual tumor was detected. Hurray!!! Thank you, Lord. Thank you, doctors and nurses.
As for Segment VIII, the original liver cancer size, under MRI measurement of 6.3 x 5.1 cm on 21 June 2017 was reduced to 5.0 x 4.1 cm on 22 Aug 2017 and on 20 October 2017 was stable at 5.2 x 3.8 cm and is now (21/11/17) further reduced.
The Interventional Radiologist proposed early January 2018 for the MRI but the earliest slot available is on 26 February 2018 at 7.45pm. This shows the hospital is over stretched.
On 14/12/2017 I had written due to written confirmation these notes:
[The report on 6/12/2017 of the 21/11/17 RFA shows that under CT Scan, Segment VIII now measures 4.4 x 2.8 x 3.2 cm (4.7 x 3.2 x 4.2 cm previously). Subsequently, on 14/12/2017, the Interventional Radiologist moved the MRI appointment to 15 January 2018.]
What have I learnt from my current suffering? What is the fruit of my suffering? To me, the fruit of my suffering has to be first and foremost: Trust in God.
But before I can trust in God I must have faith that God exists.
In the Old Testament, the concept of God is sometimes distorted by human experience. The OT gives an image of a fearsome and vengeful God. This type of God makes it very difficult for me to accept Him. But in the New Testament, Jesus Christ shows me that “God is love, and those who live in love live in union with God and God lives in union with them”(1 John 4:16 TEV). Again, it says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love”(1 John 4:8 TEV). “Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7 TEV). The Bible that states that “God is Love” appeals to me and I can worship such a God.
But I cannot see, hear or touch God, so how can I have faith that God exists? Amongst the religious leaders, such as Krishna, Buddha, Muhammad and Jesus Christ, Christ is the only one that I know of who claims, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30 TEV) “Whoever sees Me sees also Him who sent Me.”(John 12:45 TEV) St Paul says, “Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15 TEV). When Christ was questioned, “Where is your father?” Christ answered, “You know neither Me nor my Father. If you knew Me, you would know my Father also.” (John 8:19TEV).
How valid are Jesus’ claims? I agree with C S Lewis, who, after having examined the claims by Jesus in the Bible, declares that: “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn’t be a great moral teacher, he’d either be a lunatic—on a level with a man who says he’s a poached egg—or else he’d be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse…… But don’t let us come up with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He hasn’t left that open to us. He didn’t intend to. . . . We are faced then with a frightening alternative. The man we are talking about was (and is,) just what he said or else a lunatic or something worse. Now it seems to me obvious that he was neither a lunatic nor a fiend; and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that he was and is God.” (Mere Christianity, 52-53)
In the Bible those who acknowledge that Christ is God are:
- God calls Christ, “But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.” (Hebrew 1:8 NKJV)
- Isaiah states, “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 NKJV)
- John says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-3 and 1:14 NKJV)
- Paul says, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14 NKJV)
- Peter says, “Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:” (2 Peter 1:1 NKJV)
- Thomas acknowledges, “Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:27-28 NKJV)
Thus, the equivalent for me to trust in God is trust in Christ. Since I believe what Christ says about His love and care for me, about His presence with me, and His desire to help me, my faith will make Him a reality to me. Christ is a historical figure that I can virtually “see, hear or touch” like any historical person. My trust in Christ will come about when I can fully accept the truth that Christ lives within my heart.
On reflection, for me, the more pertinent questions are: Has Christ touched me? Have I felt that Christ has answered my prayers? Have I seen the endless patience or unconditional love of Christ for me?
Henri Nouwen asked, “Have you ever noticed the joy of a mother when she sees her baby smile? The baby’s smile is a gift to the mother who is grateful to see her baby so happy!” (Life of the Beloved, 84) And God has asserted, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15, NIV) Thus, God’s love for me is far, far greater than a mother’s love for her baby. The Bible stated that “God is Love” (1 John 4:16, NIV) and His love is without condition. His love does not depend on what I do or don’t do. Similarly, can I then ask, “Is Christ happy when I go to Him?”
Christ has assured me, “I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.” (John 6:37 TEV) and “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrew 13:5, NIV) “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20, NIV) Do I believe that Christ “will keep His promise and do what is right”? (1 John 1:9, TEV)
Christ in the Parable of the Lost Sheep has asserted that, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” (Luke 15:7, NIV) So, Heaven rejoices when I go to Christ in prayer.
J R Miller stated that “The whole Bible teaches without any question, that everyone who comes to Christ — is welcomed by him, is received with open arms and tender love” (To One who is Depressed). Thus, all of us must not be disturbed or troubled or deny ourselves the privilege of praying to Him in whatever way that we do. I can confidently go to Christ.
So, I can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man (or suffering) shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6, NKJV). There is nothing for me to be afraid of and in my prayers, Christ’s presence is the source of comfort, support, strength and hope for me. I must not neglect carrying out my part—that God, “who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4, AMP)
Written on 30 November 2017
Coping With Grief
Grief is a natural response to any great loss by the individual. Grief is the human reaction to the pain of loss. Grief is an inescapable reaction to our loss. Grief is a natural part of our human experience. Grief is the inward desolation that follows the loss of something or someone we loved. We face grief at one time or another.
Any significant loss can cause grief, such as:
- Death of a loved one
- A miscarriage
- A divorce
- Couple relationship breakup
- Forced to change job
- Loss of health
- A loved one’s serious illness
- Loss of financial stability
- Loss of a close friendship
- Loss of a cherished dream
- Selling a home
- Failure in examinations
- Moving to a new school or new house
- Posted overseas
- Being a refugee
- Migrating to new country
- Feeling of insecurity after a trauma
- Death of a pet
The grieving process is a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs, highs and lows. The emotions that grief triggers can be positive or negative. I find that the range of emotions can best be described by the acronym:-
S A R A H Begs Delay!
|S||Surprise, Shock, Stress, Suppression, Stubbornness, Stiff-necked, Spiritual unease.|
|A||Annoyance, Anxiety, Anger, Afraid, Agony,Abandoned, Apathy, Afflicted, Alienated.|
|R||Reprimand, Refusal, Restraint, Resistance, Resign, Revenge, Resentment, Rejection, Resetting the mind control button.|
|A||Acceptance, Awakening, Acknowledgement, Admit.|
|H||Hope in God, Hope in His grace and mercy to see us through, Hope in family and friends for loving support and listening ears, Hallelujah!|
|B||Beg, Bargain, Bitterness, Blame, Believe. Betrayal, Better, Blessing, Befriend.|
|D||Delay, Despair, Denial, Deafness, Depression, Distress, Defeated, Discomfort, Doubt, Desolate, Dejected, Disoriented, Deadlock, Disappointed, Directional change needed, Dying could be a constant companion.|
I do not have to go through these stages of grief. I won’t experience them in a neat, sequential manner in order to heal. In fact, some people resolve their grief without going through any of these stages. The ideal response is to go quickly from shock to acceptance and hopefully be calm and at peace with the loss. But while there is no right or wrong way to grieve, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain that, in time, can ease my sadness and help me come to terms with my loss. I can then find new meaning and move on living my life with joy.
I did not know that I was grieving; neither did my family members, until I found the article Coping with Grief and Loss15 in the Internet a few days ago. It is the best presentation on grieving. Why do I say that I am grieving? I was experiencing my loss of health. It did not help that I was very anxious and emotional with all the liver cancer procedures that I had to go through. I did not realize then that any major loss can cause grief—I was losing my “normal” health and the “new normal” health was that I was losing my health to my liver cancer illness in the past 6 months and it was continuing for some time more. This loss had triggered a sense of grief in me.
I did not realize that a big part of the healing process of grieving was an automatic seeking out of face-to-face support from my family members and close friends who care and are close to me. They did not know how to handle grief as they were not aware of it. I found that they were unconsciously diverting from the subject whenever I wanted to talk about my suffering to them. I was angry with them when I felt that they did not give me the time to listen to my suffering. They did not know that I was grieving, neither did I. All I wanted was for them to be present. I wanted comfort and consolation from them. I know that they cannot do much, but I needed them to listen to my pain. This is so vital that all of us, whenever we are in the presence of grief, to understand and acknowledge and give—just listen!! This is reinforced by Want to Help, Shut up and Listen from YouTube.
I find Grief Comes in Many Forms by Granger E. Westberg and Blessings of Bereavement by J. R. Miller and My Own Grief by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross very informative.
Love and Service
As I reflect on my more than 19 years of liver cancer experience and management, what I did not see clearly before is becoming a bit more visible to me now. They are:
The fruit of no suffering is arrogance (behave as mini-gods)
The fruit of prolonged suffering is Trust in God (=Trust in Christ)
The fruit of Trust in God is love (I like to elaborate on this later)
The fruit of love is service (as Mother Teresa said)
The fruit of service is joy or happiness or peace (many people have found it to be so).
How does Trust in God lead me to love? For God is love and when I trust that Christ lives in my heart, I can lean on Christ to lead me into love. How? Before I truly love, I must learn to forgive!!! Forgiveness is the precondition to love. For love to develop, forgiveness must come before anything else. Without endless forgiveness in the family or between close friends, the relationship cannot grow.
Without growth in the relationship, it cannot flourish into love. When there is no forgiveness, I find that small hurts, intentionally or unconsciously, can lead into resentment and bitterness!!! I find that where there is forgiveness, the hurt can be overlooked and that will eventually lead to love. But none can forgive endlessly. Only with the help of Christ can anyone learns to forgive endlessly as there is no perfect family. Neither are we perfect ourselves.
Pope Francis on May 8, 2017 says:
“There is no perfect family. We do not have perfect parents, we are not perfect,we do not marry a perfect person or have perfect children. We have complaints from each other. We disappoint each other. So there is no healthy marriage or healthy family without the exercise of forgiveness. Forgiveness is vital to our emotional health and spiritual survival. Without forgiveness, the family becomes an arena of conflict and a stronghold of hurt.
Without forgiveness, the family becomes ill. Forgiveness is a sepsis of the soul, the cleansing of the mind and the liberation of the heart. Whoever does not forgive does not have peace in the soul nor communion with God. Hurt is poison that intoxicates and kills. Keeping heartache in the heart is a self- destructive gesture. It’s autophagy. Those who do not forgive are physically, emotionally and spiritually ill.
That is why the family must be a place of life, not of death; Territory of cure and not ofillness; Stage of forgiveness and not guilt. Forgiveness brings joy where sorrow has produced sadness; Healing, where sorrow has caused disease.” http://www.coupleskoinonia.org/familyplace-of- forgiveness/
Therefore, I must say “I am sorry, please forgive me” and also “I forgive you”. But why should I say, “I forgive you” when I think I am not the one that caused the hurt in the relationship? Because when I say, “I forgive you” I free my mind and my heart from the hurt. Then, I don’t imprison myself in my past hurt. When I don’t forgive, I imprison myself. Christ says “He (God) has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners” (Luke 4:18, NIV).
For practical applications on love, read Pope Francis Post Synod Exhortation on Love in Marriage, Love is shown by Work in Marriage16 and Learning how to Love one another by St Therese of Lisieux17
The fruit of love is service. If love does not induce us to serve our fellow-men then it is not love. One of the saddest human sufferings is not to find a way to love and to be of service. All of us have a very deep desire to share and to give. It is innate in our nature to want to be of service to others. It is ingrained into our human culture to be of service to our tribe, community, military and group. This is normal in a group of not more than 150 people. Our forefathers would not be able to survive in the jungle if not for this service. See how Simon Sinek explains it in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmyZMtPVodo.
Unfortunately, in our big, modern organizations—we live in a fast-paced competitive, volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous and disruptive (VUCAD) world of the 21st century— we develop an attitude of only looking after self—first, last and always. Why? Because the first thing that happens when the company does not meet the annual financial numbers, the CEO hands out pink slips so that the CEO does not get the sack! In such an environment each one learns to protect self first, which leads to following and obeying the rules blindly. Thus, the individual doesn’t really give good service to their fellow-men. This desire to be of service has been squashed or somehow suppressed in some brutal way by such an environment (VUCAD). There is thus a tremendous emptiness for a human being who doesn’t find a way to give or be of service!! A few find their fulfillment by volunteering their service to welfare organizations.
Since it is innate in us to be of service to our friends, we often try to speak to our friends who are doing something wrong. And by loving exhortation we sometimes may be able to help them out of their wrong ways— but very often such efforts do not much good. In Entering into the Lives of Others by J R Miller, he said, “I have been trying for a good while to teach my people, however, that all they can do for their friends, even their closest and dearest friends, is to keep them bound by prayer fast around the feet of God with chains of gold. Sometimes we can speak to our friends who are not doing quite right and by loving exhortation help them out of their danger — but very often such efforts only do harm and not good. I think even many mothers do a good deal too much talking to their children in the way of reproof or correction.” Therefore, I need to remind myself that prayer, whether privately or with him, is a good way to help any one in need.
I find the following articles useful: Comfort Through Personal Helpfulness by J R Miller, The Basis of Helpfulness by J R Miller and Service to Our Family and Others
Joy, Happiness or Peace
The fruit of service is joy or happiness or peace. Thus, when we do good deeds, it is only natural to want to see the result of our service. But for Christians, Mother Teresa said, we will not be disappointed if the result is left to Jesus, “Don’t give in to discouragement. No more must you do so when you try to settle a marriage crisis or convert a sinner and don’t succeed. If you are discouraged, it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own powers. Never bother about people’s opinions. Be humble and you will never be disturbed. It is very difficult in practice because we all want to see the result of our work. Leave it to Jesus.” (Contemplative at the Heart of the World, 107)
Pope Francis on “Being Happy”:
You may have defects, be anxious and sometimes live irritated, but do not forget that your life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can prevent it from going into decadence. There are many that need you, admire you andlove you.
I would like to remind you that being happy is not having a sky without storms, or roads without accidents, or work without fatigue, or relationships without disappointments.
Being happy is finding strength in forgiveness, hope in one’s battles, security at the stage of fear, love in disagreements.
Being happy is not only to treasure the smile, but that you also reflect on the sadness.
It is not just commemorating the event, but also learning lessons in failures.
It is not just having joy with the applause, but also having joy in anonymity.
Being happy is to recognize that it is worthwhile to live, despite allthe challenges, misunderstandings and times of crises.
Being happy is not inevitable fate, but a victory for those who can traveltowards it with your own being.
Being happy is to stop being a victim of problems but become an actorin history itself.
It is not only to cross the deserts outside of ourselves, but still more, to be able to find an oasis in the recesses of our soul.
It is to thank God every morning for the miracle of life.
Being happy is not being afraid of one’s feelings. It is to know how to talk about ourselves. It is to bear with courage when hearing a “no”.
It is to have the security to receive criticism, even if it is unfair.
It is to kiss the children, pamper the parents, have poetic moments with friends, even if they have hurt us.
Being happy means allowing the free, happy and simple child inside eachof us to live; having the maturity to say, “I was wrong”; having the audacity to say, “forgive me”.
It is to have sensitivity in expressing, “I need you”; to have the ability ofsaying, “I love you.”
So that your life becomes a garden full of opportunities for being happy…
In your spring-time, may you become a lover of joy.
In your winter, may you become a friend of wisdom.
And when you go wrong along the way, you start all over again. Thus you will be more passionate about life.
And you will find that happiness is not about having a perfect life but about using tears to water tolerance, losses to refine patience, failures to carve serenity, pain to lapidate pleasure, obstacles to open the windows of intelligence.
Never give up …. Never give up on the people you love. Never give up frombeing happy because life is an incredible show.
And you are a special human being!
One of the secret of joy is work, provided it is work with an element of serving— with kindness, care and thought for fellow-men. In The Joy of Service by J R Miller, it stated:
“Work is a condition of joy.
It is a blessing that most people, when sorrow comes, dare not pause to indulge their grief. Their duties are waiting for them, waiting so clamorously, that they cannot linger even for the tender sentiment of sorrow. There is scarcely time to wait for the funeral to be over, after a bereavement, before imperative tasks must receive attention. It is wellthat it is so. The necessary activity keeps the heart from breaking, and preserves the life from the morbidity which so often sorrow produces when the hands lie folded.
Work is therefore a secret of happiness. It saves the heart from being overcharged. The emotions which otherwise would lie pent up, to the hurt of the life, find vent and are wroughtout in activities which bless others, while they produce health and wholesomeness in him who performs them. No worse mistake can be made by one in grief—than to drop life’s duties and tasks out of the hands, and cut one’s self off from the common duties and ministries of life. God’s comfort is not found in this way. Joy does not come to the one who nourishes his sorrow in idle brooding; it is found only in the earnest and faithful doing of every duty. Work has saved many a life from despair in time of great grief.
But there is something higher and diviner yet, than even work alone. Work may be selfish. It may be solely for the advancement of one’s own interest, without any thought of another’s benefit or comfort. Even then there is blessing in it; for it fills the hands and occupies the thoughts—there is good in occupation itself. But if we add to work—the element of serving, with love and thought of others—we have one of the noblest of all the secrets of joy!
Serving comes from loving; it is love’s expression. Serving that is not inspired by love—yields no joy. Love that does not serve—is not love at all. The measure of self-denial that one is ready to suffer—is the measure of the love that is in one’s heart. Love that will not sacrifice is only a sentiment, a fair blossom from which no fruit comes. Love is ready always for serving.”
Other than work, are there other activities that give us joy? For some, it is physical activities such as jogging, cycling, walking, swimming, dancing, singing, playing musical instruments. For others, it can be playing with babies or young children, visiting and interacting with family or friends. While others, like to read religious books, biographies, memoirs, mystery novels, classics, comic strips. And others enjoy art, music, old movies, comedy movies, drawings, plays, ballet, etc.
A sure way to bring joy into our lives is to thank the Lord with a grateful heart. A heart that is full of gratitude cannot be depressed. It will be great, for our own well-being, if we can give ourselves regular daily doses of this essential “vitamin J.”
I find the following useful: An Invitation to Joy by Henri J M Nouwen, TED Talks about Happiness, Talks on Happiness from YouTube, Work like a horse or work like a steward18 and Constantly Pray Over the Work
Written on 11 December 2017
Chronic Dry Cough
Since I did my Y-90 in June 17 and RFA, I have been having a chronic dry cough. I have seen the GP many times but the cough has not gone away. I am not unwell but the cough is very troublesome and disturbing particularly in the night. I did not formally mention the chronic dry cough to the Interventional Radiologist as I do not know whether it had anything to do with my Y-90 and RFA or not. After the first RFA on 22/8/17 I was given 125 capsules 20mg Omeprazole to be taken one capsule twice daily to prevent acid reflux from arising from my stomach and after the second RFA on 21/11/17 I was given 28 capsules. In between the RFAs I was not given anyOmeprazole.
On 11 December 17, I saw the ENT doctor for my sleep apnea, which has shown good results after using the CPAP for the past 3 years. Casually, I mentioned about my chronic dry cough and my past 6 months of liver cancer treatment. The ENT doctor was very kind to examine me and she wrote to the GP the following:
Mr Liow has been seeing NUH ENT for severe OSA with good results on CPAP.
Incidentally he complains of chronic dry cough. Scope shows no significant post nasal drip; but he has edematous arytenoids ++ which suggests laryngopharyngeal reflux which may contribute to his cough.
He is already on omeprazole BD; and I am adding on Gaviscon.
Should there be minimal improvement and persists; please consider a referral to a respiratory physician/changing telmisartan (possibly contributing to cough?)
The ENT doctor proposed my taking 20 mg Omeprazola 2 capsules 2 times a day for 6 weeks then 1 capsule 2 times a day for 4 months and 200ml Gaviscon to be taken 3 times a day at 10ml when necessary. I hope my cough will now be OK.
After my MRI on 26 February 2018, I will see the Interventional Radiologist on 22 March 18. Since it appears that my chronic dry cough has to do with acid reflux, I will mention my cough to keep him informed.
[On 14/12/2017, the Interventional Radiologist moved the MRI appointment to 15 January 2018.]
Written on 12 December 2017
On 15 January 2018, I did my MRI. I hope and pray that Segment VIII will shrink further so that the doctor can perform the RFA on it. I will be seeing the doctor on 25/1/18 to get the result of the MRI.
Written on 16 January 2018
On 25 January 2018, I saw the RFA doctor. The result from the MRI was not available even after 10 days. This is absurd. It shows that SGH is understaffed. MRI is an expensive and urgent procedure. Normally one expects the result will be available within a day or two. I waited for 2 solid hours for the doctor to tell me that the report, after 10 days, was not in the computer. I was greatly disappointed.
Segment VIII of my liver cancer, according to the doctor, from looking at his computer and doing an ultrasound, has shrunk a little bit. He did not want to commit to the actual size of it. I told him that I was hoping that Segment VIII would be reduced to below 3 cm so that an RFA could be performed. He said that RFA has it risks. Like infection and where the tumor is too near the heart. He hopes that the Segment 8 will be further reduced. He will try to get me the result tomorrow. He has scheduled me to see him in 6 months’ time. This looks like it is going to be a long process.
I was very anxious for this MRI result and had not been sleeping well. I was hoping for Segment VIII to shrink sufficiently for it to be burnt off by RFA.
To-date, on 4 different occasions, RFA has successfully been performed on various segments of my liver. I am therefore more hopeful that any coming RFA will also be successful with God’s help.
I have gone through a prolonged period of liver cancer suffering and I appreciate that, for me, my life is “the greatest enterprise in the world” and I am indeed “a special human being!”
Written on 25 January 2018
On 26/1/18, I have received the MRI report of 15/1/18 through my email from the doctor. I noted that Segment VIII is now been reduced to 4.1 x 2.8 cm. The RFA doctor has scheduled me to see him in 6 months’ time.
The overall MRI measurements on Segment VIII are as follows:
09/6/17—-6.3 x 5.1 cm
21/6/17— Y-90 was introduced to shrink the tumor
22/8/17—-5.0 x 4.1 cm
20/10/17—5.2 x 3.8 cm
15/1/18—-4.1 x 2.8 cm
Written on 26 January 2018
Lessons I learn
- To be able to see my blessings, I have to believe that God loves me unconditionally and trust in His mercy and grace for me. I have also to love and offer grace to those I care about.
- To have the humility to say, “Please forgive me” requires great courage. I need God’s help to do this as this is the way to mending and nurturing the relationships that matter.
- To unlock myself from the emotional prison of the past I need to be able to say, “I forgive you.” To do that I need to go to God for help.
- To grow in love, I need to constantly and endlessly forgive. I can’t do that on my own and I need to ask God for the strength to forgive.
- To regularly express my heart-felt thanks for every small blessing, I have to be more conscious of my dependence on God and my normal reliance on others.
- To have good relationships in the family, I must always say, “I love you” and “I care for you.”
- To pray for healing, I need to understand that God is wise and He can choose to:
Heal me immediately
Heal me slowly
Heal me over a prolong period of time
Heal me not at all
And I need to trust and accept His wise choice.
- To cope with my grief, I must acknowledge my many emotions and not deny them. I need to cry out my pain face-to-face to the people closest to me.
- To be strong in enduring my suffering, I have to pray constantly to rely on God’s help and comfort.
- To be at peace and happy, I need to work at whatever I am doing with thoughtfulness, consideration and kindness for my fellow men.
- In my prolonged suffering, I am reminded to focus on what St Paul meant by:
Love bears all things
Love believes all things
Love hopes all things
Love endures all things
To me, if you have read so far, God is calling you to take a quantum leap to Trust in Him, to Trust in Jesus Christ. You have the choice to choose to accept His call or reject His call. If you accept His call, may I suggest, that you:
Go to Him confidently as Christ says, “I will never turn away anyone who comes to Me” (John 6:37 TEV). And “You are the one who put me together inside my mother’s body, and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt.” (Psalm 139:13-14, CEV)
Pray to Him honestly with what is in your heart that is troubling you. Talk to Him like you are talking confidentially to your closest friend.
Listen to Him by staying still to hear—a word, a phrase, a paragraph, a passage that may come to you. But remember that any prompting that is evil is not from God. For “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone” (James 1:13, NKJV).
Act to follow up on the prompting.
Claim His promises of:
Unlimited Power that nothing is impossible with God
End the prayer with “I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.
Written on 27 January 2018
My 7th Liver Cancer Occurrence
On 1/6/18 I saw my liver doctor and he advised me as follows:
My MRI on 17/5/18 showed that Segment VIII has shrunk to 2.1 x 1.1 cm.
The sad news is that 5 new lesions have appeared as follows:
In Segment II, a 1.3cm nodule and another 3mm nodule have appeared. They showed typical cancer features.
In Segment III, two 5mm nodules appeared. They are indeterminate.
In Segment V, a 3mm nodule has appeared. It showed typical cancer features.
Being human, my reaction was one of surprise, shock, disappointment and sadness. I was expecting too much, a wonderful result. I was also a bit anxious as I have known of individuals dying of minor surgical procedures like piles, appendixes, etc.
Am I afraid? Not at the moment as I am not laid-up or bed-ridden.
I therefore need to acknowledge and affirm these feelings in order to accept them.
More importantly, I have to move on. I, therefore, have to direct my will and to decide on taking action to overcome my feelings. My will and my judgment must control my feelings. I have to go to Jesus and pray for strength to trust and believe that He is fully in charge of my life. The outcome is ultimately in His hand.
I pray and hope that He will guide the decisions and surgical procedures of the doctors for a successful outcome.
Since the start of my liver cancer on April 1999, I have all in some 14 lesions. I had two surgical operations, one alcohol ablation, two radioactive nuclear medicines of iodine and Y-90 were carried out and five RFA done so far. The liver doctor just told me that if I am young he would recommend a liver transplant.
I do not want to do chemo and my wish is that the doctors will decide to perform RFA for the above 6 lesions, all in one go rather than in many sessions.
Please continue to pray for me.
Written on 3 June 2018
Trust God, Trust the Doctors
On 11/6/2018, I saw the liver doctor, who advised me that the Liver Tumor Board have met on 6/6/2018 and due the many new tumors occurring, have recommended doing a targetted chemo, Transarterial Chemoembolization (TACE). As I was reluctant to do chemo he referred me to the Interventional Radiologist, whom I visited with my son on 12/6/2018. The Interventional Radiologist said that although the Segment VIII has been reduced to a size that can use RFA, still, due to the number of many new lesions, there is no certainty that all the cancer cells can be burnt. She recommended performing the Transarterial Chemoembolization (TACE) on the left and rightlobe of the liver, one at a time. Performing both the lobes at the same time may damage the liver.
The Interventional Radiologist has scheduled the TACE (using Doxorubicin 50mg in 2mls of sterile water) to be done on 25/6/2018.
I was troubled in my mind as to why when they could measure the Segment VIII at 2.1 x 1.1 cm, yet they could not burn all the cancer cells there. My daughter rang from USA on the morning of 13 June 2018 and in talking with her; I came up with the idea that although the cancer was reduced from initially 6.3 x 5.1 cm to the current size of 2.1 x 1.1 cm, the spaces between the shrinkage could still be containing minute cancer cells which could not be measured by the MRI. This helps to alleviate my concern and I am more at peace now.
On the night of 13 June 2018, I discussed with my son on his impression of our visit with the Interventional Radiologist. He said that she is very knowledgeable and sure of her subject. The Interventional Radiologist has come to her decision based on her expertise with her subject. I was still uneasy with the TACE. My son asked me to list out my questions and concerns with the TACE procedure in order to take away my anxiety.
Here is a brief summary of my liver cancer experiences and my decisions:
1. 1st Liver Cancer Occurrence
My first liver cancer occurred sometime in February 1999 on Segments VI and VII.
On April 1999 the first resection was done.
2. 2nd Liver Cancer Occurrence
The second liver cancer resection was done on Segment VII (3cm) in February 2000.
Soon after, I was amongst the first 3 in Singapore to be given radioactive nuclear medicine and was admitted to the hospital for 42 days for intermittent high fever.
3. 3rd Liver Cancer Occurrence 1st RFA
I was free from liver cancer for more than 12 years and the third liver cancer occurred on November 2012. I was so fearful of resection that I spent 6 months checking whether I did have malignant liver cancer. The cancer appeared on Segment VIII (1.8 cm) and Segment IVa, near a major artery.
My first RFA (Radio Frequency Ablation) was successfully done on April 2013.
4. 4th Liver Cancer Occurrence 2nd RFA
One and a half years later, on 15 October 2014, a new tumor was found on Segment VIII (0.9 x 1.4 x 1.3 cm). On 17 October 2014 my second RFA was successfully carried out.
5. 5th Liver Cancer Occurrence
For more than 2.5 years I was free from cancer but on 25 May 2017, liver cancer was found on Segment VIII (6.3 x 5.1 cm) and on Segment V (0.9 cm).
As the Segment VIII cancer was so large and aggressive, nuclear medicine Y-90 was inserted into the liver through a catheter in my left hand to shrink the cancer.
As for the cancer at Segment V, liquid alcohol was used to cure the cancer. This proved unsuccessful for the tumor had increased in size from 0.9 cm to 1.5 cm. The proposal was to use TACE or RFA to cure it. Since my body was used to RFA, I decided to use RFA and on 22 August 2017, the procedure was successfully carried out.
6. 6th Liver Cancer Occurrence
Unfortunately, two months later, on 26 October, another liver cancer occurred on Segment IV (1.1 cm). On 21 November 2017 the RFA was successfully carried out.
7. 7th Liver Cancer Occurrence
My MRI on 17/5/18 showed that Segment VIII has shrunk from 6.3 x 5.1 cm to 2.1 x 1.1 cm in 11 months.
The MRI history for this Segment VIII is as follows:
09/06/17—-6.3 x 5.1 cm
21/06/17— Y-90 was introduced to shrink the tumor
22/08/17—-5.0 x 4.1 cm
20/10/17—-5.2 x 3.8 cm
15/01/18—-4.1 x 2.8 cm
17/05/18—-2.1 x 1.1 cm
The sad News is that 5 new lesions have appeared as follows:
In Segment II, a 1.3cm nodule and another 3mm nodule have appeared. They showed typical cancer features.
In Segment III, two 5mm nodules appeared. They are indeterminate.
In Segment V, a 3mm nodule has appeared. It showed typical cancer features.
My decision to want to continue to do RFA was based entirely on my gut, my feelings and my experiences that RFA gives me minimum pain.
The questions I need to ask myself are:
Should I review my assumptions?
What if I based my decision on wrong premises?
I know that in my project management, I have the knowledge; expertise and the gut feel to make great decisions.
But do I have the medical knowledge and expertise to make this medical decision?
Looking at the results that RFA has produced (with 5 RFA done and 6 more new lesions to be done), shouldn’t I review my decision for wanting to continue to do RFA?
Isn’t it high time that I consider a new alternative?
Shouldn’t my decision be based on “my will” to make the best judgment and choice and not purely on my feelings? “My will” must make the decision to do the right thing not my feelings, which can go up or down. Yes, gut feel can affirm the decision but should not over-ride the will, don’t I think so?
Isn’t it obvious to me that the doctors have the expertise to decide and I don’t have the knowledge to decide on medical matters?
Shouldn’t I trust the doctors?
In the midst of my tribulations, am I aware that God is guiding me to be a little bit more:
And a little bit less:
Looking out mainly for myself?
If so, shouldn’t I trust God with “my will”?
Written on 15 June 2018
Obey God or “Surrender” to God
I always have a problem when Christians tell me and say that I should “surrender my live to God” or “Surrender my will to God’s will.” The way it is presented and the language used does not gel with me. I am not at war with God. Why should I then surrender? My God and Lord is love and He loves me unconditionally. There should not be any war or surrender from me to Him. Yes, I am to obey His commands for me and my will should be aligned with His will.
But, I am definitely at war with the devil. So, I am to overcome my temptations that are initiated by the devil.
My understanding is that I am basically controlled by “my feelings” or “my will.”
“My feelings” are like wild horses that are difficult to control. My negative feelings are fear, envy, anger, hatred, resentment, rage, bitterness, unforgiveness, rejection jealousy, guilt, condemnation, judgmental, etc. These negative emotions play havoc with my physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health.
God has designed me wonderfully and perfectly such that my negative feelings can be overcome by “my will.” “My will” controls my intellect, my reason and my judgments. God has given me a free will. Thus, I have to choose my free will to overcome my negative feelings. The choice is mine to make— that is why it is my free will. I can overcome my negative feelings every now and then with my will. But whenever I fail to do so, I go to my Jesus to ask for help again and again as He promises: “I will never turn away anyone who comes to me” (John 6:37 TEV).
Lately, I am particularly drawn and touched by the videos: “No Disease is incurable Session 5—A Journey through the Bible to find out the cause of Diseases
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSFXXQDpwRM” by Dr Michelle K Strydom and “Life at Its Best 4 – Rewiring Your Brain by Barbara O’Neill (16 April 2016) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgoZ2UYBgHg”
The series of videos by these two writers have helped me to reconcile the language of “obey” and “surrender” to my own satisfaction.
In my working life:
I heed my boss guidance
I take his instructions and
I obey his commands as to how he wants it done.
Similarly, I try, in my spiritual life:
To heed the guidance of my Lord and God
To take His instructions and
To obey His commandments.
Thus, I choose to “Obey” God rather than “Surrender” to God.
So I learn to trust my God and Savior.
And slowing I come to have the full confidence that He is in charged of my life.
Written on 21 June 2018
I have been severely knocked down by my liver cancer 7 times but have not been knocked out. I am still fighting courageously on with God’s help. I must not let the negative emotions to seep in and take root. But being human and after such a long ordeal, I am naturally tired and F E A R F U L:
F for fear, faithless, forlorn
E for envy, embittered, exhausted
A for anger, animosity, abusive, avarice
R for resentment, rage, revengeful
F for frustration, failure, frozen
U for unforgiveness, unloving, unfairly
L for lost of hope, loss of courage, low self-esteem.
The devil is very crafty to want to keep me in these negative states of mind. I must not let him retain me here. The devil wants me to automatically and quickly respond with “my feelings” or emotions but I must learn to take time to use “my will” to choose the positive action needed.
Fortunately, while discussing my book yesterday, an angel, in the form of a person, suggested that I change my cover page to one in which Jesus appeared, walking in a storm rescuing Peter. What a perfect ICON for me:
When I focus on Jesus (my God and my Lord) I can walk on water. What a miracle.
When I focus on the storm (my cancer), I sink and fumble.
And when I call out to Jesus for help, He is always there to offer His helping hands.
From now onward my focus must be on:
“whatever things are true,
whatever things are noble,
whatever things are just,
whatever things are pure,
whatever things are lovely,
whatever things are of good report,
if there is any virtue and
if there is anything praiseworthy;
meditate on these things.” (Phil 4:8 NKJV)
Written on 22 June 2018
As a human being I am anxious and fearful for my coming 7 liver cancer occurrence and procedure. I have not done Transarterial Chemoembolization (TACE) before nor do I personally know of anyone having done it in Singapore. I have not gone to the internet to look up what the experience was like. All medical procedures have their risks. Although the doctor said that the risk is extremely small of liver failure for TACE, I was nevertheless a bit worried.
It did not help that I have a very stressful week and short on my temper. It also did not help me much when I experienced sharp pain on my left chest, 1-2” to the right of my left nipple, last night and in the early morning. It was an unusual pain. I have never felt this pain before. Whenever I yawn, cough or press on the location, I felt a sharp pain. We checked with a relative who is a doctor and he assured us that it is not a heart failure but probably a muscle bruise, due to a knock or carrying a heavy load this week. Since I did not have a knock on my chest this week and I did not carry any heavy load, I thought that it might be due to anxiety. Later when I reflected on it, I remembered that while I was in Penang on a holiday, on 5 June 2018, I had a fall. I wrote the note below:
“God has been very kind n has been looking after me. Now that I am thinking of whathappened to me at the Gurney Mall this afternoon, it could have been a disastrous incident. I could have beenhospitalized, so not been able to enjoy my holiday. Thinking about the accident makes me shiver.
“We agreed to meet at a certain time. I was early and was tired. There was a raised Rolex stall at the pedestrian walkway. I asked whether I could sit there while waiting for my friends and Shirley. I walked in to sit but I did not see the 4 inches raised floor on an aluminum strip with no distinctive indication whatsoever.
“I fall flat on my face. The fall was so bad that some 10 people came to assist me and asked after me. If it had been the shop proper I would have fallen on a marble floor and it would have been a terrible accident. I could have landed in hospital with broken bones. But the stall was on wooden floor with carpet and although I tripped so badly, all I suffered was just a bruise on my knee cap and scrape with slight bleeding. It was just such a bad accident that some 10 people came to help. I was knocked flat out. If it was a minor accidentI think not many people would have come to help.
“Thank you for praying for me. I have to acknowledge that God is looking after me. Thank God.”
There were two other incidents recently where I felt that God is looking after me.
Being a Christian I am commanded to “Fear not.”
I have decided to see where in the New Testament the words “Fear not” was used. I find in KJV the following:
Mt:28:5: And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
Mt:1:20: But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
Mt:10:28: And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Lk:1:13: But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
Lk:1:30: And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
Lk:2:10: And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Lk:5:10: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
Lk:8:50: But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.
Lk:12:7: But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Lk:12:32: Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Lk:18:4: And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
Jn:12:15: Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt.
Acts:27:24: Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
Rv:1:17: And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
Do I have the will to obey the instruction of “Fear not”? I will try and pray that God helps me to fulfill His instruction. When I “Fear not,” I will definitely help myself in the medical procedure and it will be easier for me. Should I fail, I know that I can always go to Him for help and He is always there to help. Just try!!!
Written on 23 June 2018
On 24 June, after the church service, my wife, my daughter and I went to see the priest to ask for a prayer and an anointing of Holy Oil as advised in the Bible. In James 5:14- 15 NKJV, it stated:
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”
My impression of the prayer is the priest asking for forgiveness of my sin, strength to bear, courage and “Fear not” to go through the medical procedure tomorrow. Thank God.
Written on 24 June 2018
The TACE Procedure
On 25 June 2018 I had my TACE done.
Overall the procedure took a little too long. I came to the hospital at 11.30am and finished at 6.10pm. The wait is on giving me antibiotic drip which took more than 2.30 hours. The TACE took slightly more than 2 hours.
The Interventionist Radiologist introduced a catheter through the groin to the liver guided by CT Scan and the chemo was introduced to the tumors. She did it with a local anesthetic and I was fully conscious.
The real problem is how to control my emotion. How to not feel stress? How to be at peace and rest? How to keep my mind from being stressed up? How to reduce the tension within me? How not to anticipate the outcome? How to accept the procedure?
Fortunately, I kept my mind captive to the Icon of Jesus’ rescuing Peter in the storm. Every time my mind or emotions feel the stress due to hours I was under, I divert my focus to this Icon of Jesus. It was fantastic. It is such a simple and easy visualization. At the same time I keep repeating the mantra—Jesus supports me by giving me the strength and courage to fight on fearlessly. I am grateful and thank Jesus for it.
Overall I am good and did not suffer too much after-effect except that it took me hours before I was able to pee. The ward doctor wanted to put a catheter to relief the pee. I agreed but later said no. Fortunately I then was able to do it.
The doctor and her team were very good. She chemo segments VIII, II and possibly V. I will be seeing her next Tuesday for her to assess further. In all the whole procedure went well for me. But I am not too keen to repeat it. Not like RFA which is much easier. Well looks like I have to fight much longer. Thanks for all your support and prayers.
Thank you Lord Jesus, doctors, nurses and hospital staff.
Written on 26 June 2018
For the past 4 days I was having fever and gastritis and was not feeling too good. It was to be expected for the TACE procedure.
Written on 30 June 2018
On 3 July 2018 I saw the Interventionist Radiologist who confirmed that she has done TACE on Segment II and Segment VIII. She has scheduled me to do the MRI on 6 Aug 2018 and to see her on 14 Aug. She will decide what to do further after the MRI result.
I mentioned that I was having fever of some 37.2oc to 38.8oc and I was taking for the last 3 days some 6 Panadol tablets per day. She said that for my case I should not be taking so many Panadol as that will damage my liver further. She said that I should not be taking Panadol unless the temperature goes beyond 37.9oc and I didn’t feel well. Just use ice packs. What a relief to hear this because yesterday I was knocked out by the fever. Fevers after TACE were to be expected. My fevers were troubling but were not unbearable.
Written on 3 July 2018
Last night my temperature went up to 38.3 oc. I did not take Panadol and I used ice pack on my forehead and back of neck for 2 hours. The temperature did not go down much. I noticed that the fever was like what happened after my second operation in 2000, except that it did not go beyond 40+oc. I was not unwell but it was trying. It was rough but not unbearable. I focused on Jesus Icon rescuing Peter. I prayed and was finally able to fall asleep.
In the morning my temperature was 37.4 oc
My observation is that modern medicine has found that the body just fights off foreign powerful drugs, like chemo, nuclear medicine, etc that try to kill the cells. With the fight comes fever and it is best to let the body works out the fever, if the person can take it. But fever is like having a migraine that takes the joy out of daily living or a pebble in the shoe that takes the joy out of walking.
Looking at the powerful drugs I was given to fight the fever in 2000 and none of them worked at all. So tough it out and divert to help myself!!!
Written on 4 July 2018
My Greatest Lesson Learnt—Forgiveness
Life is full of surprises if I am willing to learn new ideas. I understand that modern science states that the brain is fluid and plastic. Not rigid and fixed as was believed formerly. It can be changed even in old age.
Young people who are victims of physical, psychological or emotional abuse naturally react with anger, resentment, bitterness, hatred, revengefulness and un-forgiveness. This proves that they are not a robot!!! As human beings, we have feelings! Yes, we might have these ugly negative thoughts!
We can deny them, hide them or harbour them. When we do that it is like drinking poison and expecting nothing bad will happen to us. No way. Somehow or other, they will manifest themselves in some form of disease or resentment towards others. If we allow these ugly thoughts to take hold in our heart, then as Jesus said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man,” (Matthew 15:19-20, NKJV).
God does not bring these hurts and wounds upon us, but once they are inflicted on us, He is able to turn them to our benefit if we will trust Him to do so. Satan intends to destroy us, but God can take whatever the devil sends against us and turn it to our good. We must believe that, or we will despair!
One of the ways is to name these natural human emotions so as to accept them but not to retain them and move on to do something about them. Don’t let these negative emotions take root in our heart. When these have taken root, we have to detoxify these negative thoughts and replace them with positive healthy thoughts such as patience, kindness, generosity, praiseworthiness, mercy, compassion, love and most importantly FORGIVENESS. What an impossible task on our own effort!
But God can work miracles of healing out of all sins and negative attitude!
And for us to heal and release ourselves from the mental and emotional prisons of our past, our response must be one of forgiveness!!!
Everything in my human nature goes against this very idea of forgiveness. I don’t see how I can forgive wrongs, unless it is with God’s grace! But God gives me no option!!! It is a command from Him to me to forgive those who do me wrong. His command means that I am to obey and forgive anybody who has invaded or trespassed my rights, my territory, my comfort, my self-image, whether they acknowledge the invasion or not.
Again, I am reminded in the Lord’s Prayer, `Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’ (Matt 6:9-13). And that is followed by a pretty plain statement: `If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses’ (Matt 6:15, NKJV).” I am not asked to pray, `Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who ask us to.’ What this means to me is that I am to forgive the person who does me wrong. His offences (his trespasses) against me I will have to leave them to God‘s judgment! As the Lord says, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” (Romans 12:19, NIV).
When I go to God and sincerely ask for His forgiveness, God assures me that He will forgive me. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his book ‘Darkness and Light.’ said, “ How can I know, says someone, that my sins are forgiven? I will give you a very good test. If you want to know whether your sins are forgiven or not, here is my test. Are you forgiving others? Are you ready to forgive others who have harmed you and sinned against you? Or look at it in another way: Does this argument of the Apostle appeal to you? As I read out these words, `Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you’, are you softened in your feelings? do you feel melted? are you ready to forgive at this moment? If you are, I do not hesitate to say you are a Christian. But if bitterness is still rankling there, and if you are saying in spite of these glorious words, `But after all, I did nothing and I don’t deserve such treatment’, you had better go back and examine your foundations. I find it very difficult to see how such a person can be a Christian at all.” (A Person, who Knows he is Forgiven, Forgives, pg 285)
Forgiveness like love is not entirely an emotion. Forgiveness is a will, a choice, a decision by me to forgive.
In forgiving others:
I am FREEING myself from my own prison of bitterness and resentment.
I cancel the debt he owes me. I choose to pardon his debt.
I decide to bestow favor unconditionally to him.
I suck out the poison in my anger and hatred.
In forgiving myself:
I let go of regrets
I don’t berate myself for missing past opportunities
I don’t whack myself for what I could, should or ought to have done
I no longer envy what my peers have achieved
There are many benefits in forgiving others. I would strongly recommend that we read Lee Strobel’s article, Forgiving our Enemies brings us Enormous Benefits19 from his book, “God’s Outrageous Claims”, “The Emotional Economics of Forgiveness” by Dr Ira Byock and “Harden not the Heart with Pride” by Fr Roland Rolheiser.
Written on 6 July 2018
On 14 August 2018 I saw the Interventionist Radiologist who confirmed that the MRI on 6 August showed that the TACE on Segment II and Segment VIII was successfully carried out. Unfortunately, a new minor tumor was observed on Segment IVa at 4mm (8th Liver Cancer Occurrence) and as for Segment V the tumor has increased from 3mm to 6mm. I understand that for tumors that are less than 10mm, it is difficult to precisely target the tumors and thus could do more harm to the surrounding good tissue, if tumor procedure to remove them is done now. Since the tumors were less than 10mm, the Interventionist Radiologist has decided to do a CT Scan in 4 months’ time before deciding what to do next.
Written on 18 August 2018
Forgiveness is A Necessity for Healing20
Recently I was introduced to Dr Michelle K Strydom video tapes and book. Upon listening and reading the book, I found that my understanding of forgiveness is not complete. I have missed a vital objective of forgiveness, which is, that it must lead ultimately to LOVE our enemies as well.
When God tells us in His Word to forgive others He does not stop there. He goes on to instruct us to love, to do good and to bless our enemies too. Jesus calls us in Luke6:27-28; “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, andpray for those who spitefully use you.”
Jesus gave us the real reason for forgiveness, “For if you love those who love you,what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if youlend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive asmuch back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:32-36)
According to Dr Michelle K Strydom, “I will tell you emphatically that forgiveness is a prerequisite to all healing. There’s just no way around it”
I would recommend reading her write-up on “Dealing with Disease from a Medical Perspective” [659-714] and “Separate yourself from the sin that dwells within you” [115-125]. And Who I Am in Christ by Michelle K Strydom21
I wish to Proclaim what Jesus has done for me
In my prolonged suffering Jesus Christ has directed my mind to move from my automatic Reaction of Fight, Flight and Freeze to my “Free Will” Response as quickly as possible. With Jesus’ help, I want to go from Bitterness, Hatred, Revenge and Unforgiveness to LOVE and finally to Joy, Peace and Rest as soon as I can.
I find the systematic chart below to be a very easy and useful guide!!!
Spending my time in 2018
How have I been spending my time in 2018?
On 31st Jan 2018, I published my book on My 5th and 6th Liver Cancer Occurrences [80 copies]
On March 2018, my Second Edition of my 5th and 6th Liver Cancer Occurrences was published [40 copies]
On 7th July 2018, I published my 7th Edition Liver Cancer Occurrence [40 copies]
On 8th August 2018, the Second Edition of 7th Edition Liver Cancer Occurrence was published [40 copies]
On 1st October 2018, the Third Edition of 7th Edition Liver Cancer Occurrence was published [50 copies]
On 5th November 2018, there was a first Reprint of 7th Edition Liver Cancer Occurrence [107 copies, the 7 extra were given by the printer]
On 14th November 2018 there was a second Reprint of 7th Edition Liver Cancer Occurrence [106 copies, the 6 extra were given by the printer]
On 20th November 2018 there was a third Reprint of 7th Edition Liver Cancer Occurrence [106 copies the 6 extra were given by the printer]
But why were there suddenly such large quantities of my book printed in November 2018? There were many coincidences or God’s guidance:
On 19 June 2018 Elliot introduced Dr Michelle K Strydom’s 22 video tapes in the Lau/Low family Group in WhatsApp. I listened to all the 22 video tapes, each from 1-2 hours. I enjoyed them and there were many good views but I do not entirely agree with some of her ideas.
On 8 August 2018, out of the blue, Dawn emailed me Dr Michelle Strydom’s link of her 4th Edition book, which was free for downloading at https://free2meebooks.wordpress.com/portfolio/healing- begins-with-sanctification-of-the-heart-4th-edition/. I downloaded the book which is some 750 pages long. Read certain portions and included them into my website including putting 2 of them in Appendixes 20 and 21 of my book.
On 20th August 2018, I believed that I have written a journal based on my experience of what Jesus has done for me and to bring comfort to others who are suffering from cancer. I summarized my experience on the chart in page 74, where I have asked Lisa to help. The chart was to simplify, summarize and systemize the essential points of my experience.
On 8 September 2018, Choon Hoe advised about Dr Michelle Strydom Healing and Sanctification Conference from 13 – 16 November at Church of Our Saviour.
On 12 September 2018 Dawn advised me of the same conference.
On 14 September 2018 Dawn informed me about a talk at Trinity Community Center on 15 September 2018. I decided to go so that I could give some of my books. Leng advised me to get permission before giving out the books. I had to go through 3 to 4 people before they got the Pastor to allow me to give out the free book. This a dry run for me of getting permission.
I came to the conclusion that only a few people would bother to read a 441 pages book and therefore I would have wasted my effort in printing and giving away the book. I therefore asked Zhi for his advice. He said to think about what exactly I wanted the people to take away from my book. So “A Note to the Reader” was written on 25 September 2018 with “The primary benefit of my book is for the reader to be attracted enough to read appendixes 15, 14 and 20 in that order.” I tested this with Jeanette, Meng Choong and Christina on the eve of Jeanette’s migration dinner to Australia on 26 September 2018. Jeanette said she will read the Appendixes.
On 30 September 2018 Leng and I decided, after I have agonized for some time, to attend Dr Michelle Strydom’s conference. At first I was reluctant to go as the conference time was for 4 days from 9.00am to 6.30pm. I did not think I had the stamina to last the grueling hours and I will be wasting my money for the fee to the Conference. Finally, we decided to go but my real objective of going to the conference was to give away my books at the conference. Meanwhile I placed an order for 100 copies of my book for I have also decided to place my books on the information counters at the West and East Horizon Towers. I obtained permission from the Manager as well as the security guards.
On 13 November 2018, I brought 25 books to Dr Michelle Strydom’s conference. At the registration counter, I asked who I could ask for permission to give the books away. They pointed me to an elderly person who incredulously happened to be next to the registration counter at the time of my asking and I obtained his permission. The 25 books were taken up within the hour. So, I gave immediate instruction to my printer to print another 100 books to be ready and to be delivered to the Church of Our Saviour on 15 November 2018 at 8.45am sharp. Later, at the conference break, I saw the elderly person talking to another person and I told them that I would bring more books for the next 3 days. The elderly person told the other person also. I met the other person at the toilet and I asked the other person what is his name and he informed me he is Laurence Lee and the person I asked permission from is Pastor John Lee from River of Life Church but they are not related.
On 14 November 2018, I brought 25 copies to be given away again. But this time while arranging the books on a table, a staff from the commercial organizer of the Conference objected to my giving away books. I told him that I have obtained permission from the Pastor of the River of Life Church, Pastor Lee. He took my books off the table, saying that he would check. He did not check with Pastor John Lee and I asked him to go with me to see the Pastor. When Pastor Lee came, he insisted that he cannot allow me to use the conference hall to distribute my free books! He said he did not allow someone from another company to sell his books there. I told him that I was not selling the books but was giving the books away free. He insisted that if I wanted, I could give the books away, during the lunch break, in the lobby, outside the conference hall. Pastor Lee did not want to argue with him nor defend his permission to me. The Pastor apologized to me later. I accepted the decision and so told my printer to send all the books to Zhi’s home instead.
On 15 November 2018, I did not bring any book to the conference. I was disappointed that I had to store so many books in Zhi’s home. Meanwhile in the early morning, I prayed. I was confident that if it is God’s desire, He would give me an indication as to what to do. At about 10.30am, while seated in the Conference hall, the Pastor came to see me and said he was prompted to read 80 pages of my book that same morning and he found it “inspiring and instructive” and it was a “blessing” to him. He asked that I get a carton of my books tomorrow and he will personally give them away and he also told me that Laurence Lee is the commercial manager in charge of the conference. Later when I talked to Laurence Lee, he apologized for the misunderstanding yesterday. It was his assistant who stopped me without checking with him.
On 16 November 2018, I brought all the 106 books and left them at the poach of the Church as the Pastor messaged me that he would be late coming to the conference. At 10.30 am break, Pastor Lee himself gave away the books. All 106 copies were taken up within 20 minutes. Unbelievable!!! He introduced me as the author and also asked me to autograph the book for whoever wanted it. I felt a little embarrassed and awkward autographing the book as this is the first time for me.
On 20 November 2018, I brought 103 copies to the Blessed Sacrament Church, after having obtained permission from the Parish Priest. All the 103 copies were given out within 30 minutes.
I am happy with God’s perfect timing and grace to me.
Written on 17 December 2018
9th Liver Cancer Occurrence
On 18 December 2018 I saw the Interventional Radiologist who confirmed that the CT Scan on 7th December 2018 showed that there is another new tumor on Segment III at 1.0 cm (9th Liver Caner Occurrence). As for Segment II/IVa the tumor has increased to 1.2 cm and Segment V tumor has increased to 1.1 cm.
[The summary of 6 August 2018 MRI showed that TACE was done successfully on Segments II and VIII. Unfortunately, a new minor tumor was observed on Segment IVa at 4 mm (8th Liver Cancer Occurrence) and as for Segment V the tumor has increased from 3 mm to 6 mm. Since the tumors were small the doctors decided to do a CT Scan in 4 months’ time].
The Interventionist Radiologist did an ultrasound on my liver. All in, she spent more than an hour explaining my situation for me:
- She proposed to do RFAs on the three tumors. She said that she can see the tumor at Segment V easily, Segment III is next to the vein and that would be challenging but Segment II/IVa she could not see clearly as it is underneath the rib bone. She proposed to put me under GA to carry out the procedure. She explained that my liver is small and has been compromised by the many procedures that have been done to it. My vein is also small and she would rather not do TACE. Every procedure has its risk. When she removes the RFA probe there could be bleeding and carrying out more RFAs would involve more risks. The hospital will monitor me for a night to observe whether there is any bleeding and discharge the next day if OK. But she knew of cases, where a person suddenly fainted after 7 days of being discharged, because of internal bleeding. That could be fatal if not sent to the hospital immediately.
- I can leave the tumors alone and continue to monitor them. If it is not aggressive than it is OK but if they are aggressive, then I will have to go for immunotherapy. In which case I will be under the immunization drugs daily and that will have their own risks.
- If I am younger she would recommend a liver transplant but due to my age I will not be able to get a liver for transplant. Liver transplant also has its risks.
- As I have hepatitis B and liver cirrhosis, it is likely that new liver tumors are likely to develop.
- She said that I have been blessed for surviving more than 19 years of liver cancer.
She asked for my preference. Leng and I decided to go for the RFAs. We came home feeling shocked, downcast and overwhelmed by the blunt professional advice. I wished that she could be a little bit more empathic.
I searched the internet to listen to YouTube on suffering to see how other people handle such a situation. I came across Joni Eareckson Tada and her sufferings resonated with me. She has suffered more than 50 years of being a quadriplegic with daily chronic pain. During the last 8 years she has stage 3 breast cancer as well. I listen to her videos and am helped by her perspective and view on suffering (See the YouTube videos on Suffering by Jodi Eareckson Tada).
One remark Joni Eareckson Tada said that helped me a lot was her comment that it was OK to grieve over her cancer. I did not know that I was grieving and the word “grieve” suddenly clicked with me. I could then see that my “new, new normal health” is what I was grieving about. The cure for grieving as I have written earlier is to name, acknowledge and affirm my fear, anxiety, concern and stress, face to face with a caring individual, in order to come to acceptance quickly and thus move on. My acceptance is to ask Jesus for strength, courage and hope to really trust that my life, whether I have 10 more days or 10 more years to live, is in His Almighty, loving hands. Once I see and believe this, I become more assured and at peace, and ready to move on.
Our children rallied round Leng and me by coming back from overseas to give us support.
The RFA procedure is scheduled for 17 January 2019.
Please pray for me.
Written on 29 December 2018
My Reaction or My Response
I am particularly drawn to two of Jodi Eareckson Tada YouTube videos:
Joni Eareckson Tada – Christ Our Healer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzi94MGC M8Y
Why Am I Not Healed – Joni Eareckson Tada https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TevDhFzjI 4&feature=youtu.be
Although Jodi is not physically healed for more than 50 years from her quadriplegic and daily chronic pain, she is slowly being emotionally healed. She prayed for a new glorified heart that is being slowly freed from selfishness, freed from self-centeredness, freed from fear and a heart that accepts everything without complaining. She looks forward to a heart that is being healed and transformed to be more like Jesus.
I am still being mystified by the presence of suffering, tribulation or trials. There is no single bullet to solve the mystery. For me, I find that in my liver cancer suffering, I am basically controlled by:
My Reaction or
- My Reaction
My immediate automatic reaction is controlled by emotional feelings such as fear, anxiety, stress, envy, anger, resentment, rage, hatred, bitterness, un-forgiveness, rejection, jealousy, guilt, murmuring, condemnation, judgmental, complaining, etc. These negative emotions play havoc with our physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being. Why do we automatically react in such a way? Could it be that we have been emotionally, physically or psychologically abused when very young? Have we been harboring revenge in our heart?
2. My Response
My response is my “free will” to choose and to decide. God has designed me wonderfully and perfectly such that my negative feelings can be overcome by “my will.” “My will” controls my intellect, my reasoning and my judgment. God has given me a free will. Thus, I can choose to use my will to overcome any negative feeling. I can choose to make a positive response instead! I can overcome my negative feelings every now and then with applying my will power! But, whenever I fail to do so, I go to my Lord Jesus to ask for help again and again as He has promised: “I will never turn away anyone who comes to me” (John 6:37 TEV).
3. In my daily Practice
Whenever I focus on Jesus, as Timothy aptly expressed, “The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength” (2 Tim. 4:17 NIV). This gives me the courage and hope to continue fighting against the liver cancer. Among Jesus’ last words were: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20 NIV). “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5 NIV). In this place the writer of Hebrew uses a word that really means, “I will never, never, never, never leave you or forsake you!”
I also find that when daily I go to Him and focus on Him rather than on my circumstances, miracles can take place in me, in that I am slowly being refined, purified, cleansed and transformed by the holy blood of Jesus, to be more loving, to be more like Him—for He is Love. So, I can genuinely desire to pray the beautiful prayer of St Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
0 divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
There is therefore much cause for comfort and joy. On my own I may be negative but with Jesus’ love, grace and mercy, I am able to see my blessings thus far. Jesus is faithful and dependable and I am beginning to trust Him more. I am more prepared now to entrust my life to Him knowing, ”He works everything for the good of those who love Him.” Jesus has a way of manifesting His presence known to the most unworthy child! That is why He can be real to me. He forgives, loves, comforts and cares for all His children! He stays with them until they get themselves sorted out.
What Amazing love! What amazing Grace! It is up to each one of us to choose and to decide to believe this or not. For those of us who choose this attitude, we rejoice always in the Lord! That is the reason why I am given the choice to stay smiling and be hopeful or to whine and be in despair about my many dreadful liver cancer occurrences. When I am weak, then I am strong when Jesus is there to support me! My attitude will stand in sharp contrast with what others would naturally expect from me and will create opportunities for testifying to Jesus’ love and grace. I can thus be a witness to the love of my Lord, Jesus Christ.
I find the following useful Rejoicing in the Lord by R T Kendall, The Lessons from Suffering by John Macarthur and Paul: A Profile in Suffering by John Macarthur
Written on 8 January 2019
The Choices We Face Every Day
On 17 January 2019, I went through RFA for 2 tumors. The doctor could not see the third one with ultrasound so she could not RFA it. She mentioned that she may have to do TACE with CT Scan later on. There was a slight complication as there was bleeding and I have to be in HDU for monitoring. I have to stay another day.
Thank you, Lord Jesus. Thank you for the doctors and nurses who have carried out the 2 RFAs. Thank you for my family, relatives and friends who have prayed for the tumor procedure.
In the last 20 months, I had 5 new liver cancer occurrences. I also had problems with constipation, colon, chest, chronic cough, dental tooth and gum. I went through an intense and prolonged period of suffering. Life seemed to be at a standstill because I had to see the various doctors practically every 10-14 days and the total wait, payment, medical tests and medicines took some 2 to 3 hours plus every time. It was the waiting that caused the most stress and anxiety.
It is easy to fall into the automatic reaction. Since I saw the Interventional Radiologist on 18 December 2018, I noticed that I was having palpitation of my stomach every so often. Intuitively, I must have been anxious and stressed. I could not help myself as this is a normal human reaction. What is most unique to me is also most common and universal.
I just found out from the internet that the liver size is from 12 to 14 cm. I was told that for a 1.0 cm tumor, the Interventional Radiologist need to burn about 3.0 cm around the tumor to ensure that all the cancer cells are killed. My liver is small and compromised with so many procedures done. For the latest TACE procedure for Segments II and VIII, the liver has not fully grown yet. Thus, to carry out 3 RFAs at the same time means that 9 cm of my liver has to be burnt. It is thus a challenge to ensure that my liver still function properly after the 3RFAs. In a way, I cannot say that I was sad that only 2 tumors were done. God has His mysterious ways to help me cope with my small liver!!!
Everyone has to find a solution to his normal negative feelings in order to be positive about his suffering. If he can adopt a positive attitude or accept his circumstances—that is the best for him.
But, for me I am weak and I have to depend on my Lord, Jesus Christ to support me in order that I have the courage, strength and hope to continue to fight on. I choose to respond by going to Jesus daily and in the process I find that the emotions in my heart are being slowly transformed. From God’s perspective, the healing in my heart is in its purification to becoming more loving and forgiving. This is far more important to Him than mere physical healing. But for the loving to grow, I must forgive first. I just got this into my head!!!
See how Fr Ronald Rolheiser explained it:
In “The Choices we Face Every Day by Fr Ronald Rolheiser”, he said:
“. . . in Gethsemane, we see Jesus prostrate, humanly devastated, on the ground, struggling mightily to cling to a cord of sustenance that had always sustained Him in trust, love, and forgiveness and had kept paranoia, hatred, and despair at bay. And the answer doesn’t come easy for Him. He has to pray repeatedly and, in Luke’s words, “sweat blood” before He can regain His balance and root Himself again in that grace that sustained Him throughout His ministry. Love and forgiveness are not easy.
“And that’s our ultimate moral struggle: to not give in to our natural reaction whenever we are not respected or when slighted, ignored, misunderstood, hated or in small or large ways victimised. In the face of these, paranoia automatically takes over and almost everything inside us conspires to create an obsessive pressure towards giving back in kind, slight for slight, disrespect for disrespect, ugliness for ugliness, hatred for hatred, violence for violence.
“But there’s another possibility: Like Jesus, who Himself had to struggle mightily to not give in to coldness and hatred, we too can draw strength through the same umbilical cord that nurtured Him. His Father, God’s grace and strength, can nurture us too.
“Jesus’ passion is not a physical drama but a moral one, indeed the ultimate moral drama. The real struggle for Jesus as He sweated blood in Gethsemane was not whether He would allow Himself to die or invoke divine power and escape. The question was only about how He was going to die: In bitterness or love? In hatred or forgiveness?
That’s also our ultimate moral struggle, one which won’t just confront us at the moment of death but one which confronts us daily, hourly. In every situation in our lives, small or large, where we are unfairly ignored, slighted, insulted, hated or victimised [or suffer] in any way, we face a choice of how to respond: Bitterness or understanding. Hatred or love. Vengeance or forgiveness.” [CatholicNews— Sunday January 20, 2019]
Written on 18 January 2019 while still in the hospital.
On 19 January 2019, after 3 nights’ stay in the hospital, I was discharged.
On 22 January 2019 I saw the Interventional Radiologist. She wanted to ensure that there was no internal bleeding and asked whether in the last few days, I had:
Stomach pain or stomach extension
She was satisfied when I answered no. She did an ultrasound and confirmed that the RFA done on tumors in Segments III and V were alright. She still could not see the tumor in Segment II/IVa. She arranged for a CT Scan on 27th February. The earliest date the staff could arrange for me to see her was 19th March.
Today, her nurse rang to say that the Interventional Radiologist has shifted the date for seeing her to 5th March at 8.30am. Is this a coincidence or God’s guiding hand for her to slot me in earlier? I would have been very anxious and stressed with having to wait for 3 weeks to see her after the CT Scan. It appears that the earliest date for the TACE procedure on Segment II/IVa maybe in March/April 2019.
Written on 23 January 2019
I saw a great video by Dr Liz O’Riordan in:
The Jar of Joy | Liz O’Riordan | TEDxStuttgart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc1PIAG8Bgg Dr O’ Riordan is a breast surgeon who has seen hundreds of cancer patients. She finds it very hard to cope when she was diagnosed with cancer herself. She was young, fit and healthy—A triathlete and a cyclist. She was scared. She couldn’t accept the diagnosis and she was in denial. Cancer to her is still a terminal disease.
She shares her experience as a patient which is very different than being a doctor. The perspective is entirely new to her. She has to uplift herself and tells how she has to collect little moments of joy in a jar, to boost herself up, whenever she was down. She also has got together a few doctors who are suffering from cancer to support each other in their journey as patients. Just receiving a short note uplifts her spirit.
I find it useful to listen to what others say about “Joy from TEDTalk “ and “Gratitude from YouTube”
Throughout this prolonged trial, I have been thanking my Lord, Jesus Christ, the doctors, nurses, family, relatives and friends.
It is easy to say thank you, but in what explicit way can I show my gratitude?
I agree that the best way to show my gratitude is to quickly accept my trying circumstances with joy!!!. And to move on.
But how can I be joyful in my prolonged suffering?
It is easy to give in to discouragement in the face of suffering. What if I deliberately make it a point to bring some joy where there is sadness in my life? For joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Joy is also the pathway to God.
As a Christian, I believe in Christ. So, what about focusing on Christ, who has come to shower me with love, grace, mercy, forgiveness and who dies for me with the joy of the Risen Christ? I also need to concentrate on His support and faithfulness to slowly come to trust Him to be in-charge of my life. Trusting Him will definitely bring me comfort and joy!
Since, I know that as a human being I have the freedom to choose joy instead of any other emotional state. I have this free will to make the decision and it is for me to affirm the choice.
Thus, I must be aware constantly that life is made up of moment by moment. At any given moment, life gives me the opportunity to choose what life offers me. It is for me to choose the little moments that give me joy-–be it children’s laughter, a beautiful flower, a sweet melody, a whiff of baked biscuit, a pleasant sensation, a small surprise, a new ideas, etc— and it is for me to stop, watch and enjoy these fleeting moments. I decide whether to collect and record them for that day to remind me what life is all about.
See how Henri Nouwen explained this joy:
Joy is what makes life worth living, but for many, joy seems hard to find. They complainthat their lives are sorrowful and depressing. What then brings the joy we so much desire? Are somepeople just lucky, while others have run out of luck? Strange as it may sound, we can choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event, but one may choose tolive it quite differently from the other. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despairand be destroyed by it.
What makes us human is precisely this freedom of choice. (Bread for the journey, Jan 30)
Many people hardly believe anymore in the possibility of a truly joy-filled life. They have more or less accepted life as a prison and are grateful for every occasion that creates the illusion of the opposite: a cruise, a suspense novel, a sexual experience, or a few hours in a heightened state of consciousness. This is happiness in the house of fear, a happiness which is “made in the world” and thus is neither lasting nor deeply satisfying.
The joy that Jesus offers His disciples is His own joy, which flows from His intimate communion with the One who sent Him. It is a joy that does not separate happy days from sad days, successful moments from moments of failure, experiences of honour from experiences of dishonour, passion from resurrection. This joy is a divine gift that does not leave us during times of illness, poverty,oppression or persecution. It is present even when the world laughs or tortures, robs or maims, fights or kills. It is truly ecstatic, always moving us away from the house of fear into the house of love, and always proclaiming that death no longer has thefinal say, though its noise remain loud and its devastation visible. The joy of Jesus lifts up life to becelebrated. (Lifesigns, pg 64)
In, Mother Teresa—Messenger of God’s Love, pg 52-53, it said:
Mother sings a hymn to joy:
“Joy is prayer
Joy is strength
Joy is love
Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.”
“God loves a cheerful giver.”
“The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy.”
“Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of the Risen Christ.”
“We all long for Heaven where God is, but we have it in our power to be in Heaven with him right now to be happy with him at this very moment.
But being happy with him now means:
loving as he loves
helping as he helps;
giving as he gives
serving as he serves
rescuing as he rescues
being with him 24 hours a day
touching him in his distressing disguise in the poor and suffering.
A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. It is the gift of the Spirit, a share in the joy of Jesus, living in the soul.”
Written on 25 January 2019
Do I know that God loves me unconditionally?
I saw the Interventional Radiologist on 5 March after my C T Scan of 27/2/19. The RFA on segment III and segment V were successfully done on 17 Jan 2019. But, another 0.9 x 0.6 cm tumor (10th Liver Cancer Occurrence) has appeared high up at segment III, which is 6 mm away from the heart. The Interventional Radiologist knows that my preference is for RFA. She said it will be very challenging to do that. She is proposing to do TACE for this new tumor and the one in segment II/IVa (8th Liver Cancer Occurrence on 6 Aug 2018 at 4 mm), which remains at 1.2 x 1.05 cm since 7 Dec 2018. She will discuss with other doctors to see whether there are other better alternatives for me. She has scheduled the TACE to be done on 18 March. If there are other alternatives she will cancel the TACE procedure and I will be seeing her on 12 March. She thinks that it is not so good to be doing RFA or TACE so often. Every procedure has is pluses and minuses. She has to weigh which is best for my case. She is thorough and good. She spent about an hour advising me, in a matter of fact manner, of the risks of having to do so many procedures in the past 2 years. This time she was more empathetic. But, with the recent cases of the Singapore Medical Council charging doctors for not alerting patients of some possible risks, doctors have to practice defensive medicine to protect themselves.
I can’t help being affected by her enumerating all possible risks of going through procedures for treating cancer because it creates anxiety and fear. Good doctoring must always give hope to patients. If a doctor fails to establish trust and confidence between the doctor and patient, to me as a patient, he would have given up something precious in doctoring. Words do have their effect. I was knocked down but not knocked out. I was devastated and downcast by the probable risks involved and my prolonged condition. I need to pick myself up!!! I need to focus on the fact that Christ loves me unconditionally so that I can have the total assurance and confidence that He is in charge, whatever the outcome.
But do I truly know that God loves me unconditionally? The great mystery of my Christian faith is that I do not choose God but that God chooses me. Long “Before I was born, the Lord chose me” and God says, “I have written your name on the palms of My hands” (Psalm 49:1,16) My ability to love is “because God first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) He loves me with an unconditional love.
Henri J M Nouwen emphasized that, “From all eternity we are hidden “in the shadow of God’s hand” and “engraved on his palm.”(Isaiah 49:2,16) Before any human being touches us, God “forms us in secret” and “textures us” (Psalm 139:15) in the depth of the earth, and before any human being decides about us, God “knits us together in our mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13) God loves us before any human person can show love to us. He loves us with a “first” love, an unlimited, unconditional love, wants us to be his beloved children, and tells us to become as loving as himself.” (The Return of the Prodigal Son, pg 106)
But Henri Nouwen also said, “. . . one of the greatest temptations of a monk is to doubt God’s love.” and “the great adventure of the monk: to really believe that Godloves you, even while you are aware of your sinfulness, weaknesses, and miseries” (The Genesee Diary, Oct 27 1974).
And Henri Nouwen, himself, had his moments of doubt, “During my months of anguish, I often wondered if God is real or just a product of my imagination. I now know that while I felt completely abandoned, God didn’t leave me alone” (The Inner Voice of Love, 115).
Mother Teresa also had her doubt on the Love of God for her. The “darkness”, “loneliness”, “unwantedness” “torture,” and “unloved” that Mother Teresa experienced and described in her letters, which spanned some 50 years, showed the strength and beauty of her soul. Her untold darkness began almost immediately in 1949 or 1950 (Come Be My Light, p.1), after she started her Missionaries of Charity for the poorest of the poor. Her torment was intense, terrible and unrelenting. You can read it in “Mother Teresa—A Crisis of Faith or A Crisis of the Imagination?”
Now, if a monk or Henri Nouwen or Mother Teresa who spends full time contemplating and meditating on God, has doubts that God loves him/her; what then must a mortal like me concentrate on?
- Do I have to seek doubly hard to know that God loves me?
- Do I know in my head and especially in my heart that Christ loves me unconditionally?
- Do I faithfully trust Jesus is in charge of my life? and
- Would I have the sincerity to pray: Let me be an instrument, or a vehicle, or a channel of Your unconditional love for my spouse, family members, relatives and others?
What, then, does unconditional love means? It means love without conditions. God’s love for me does not depend on what I do or say or on my success or popularity. It means that He loves without expecting or asking for anything in return from me. He loves me regardless of how I think or feel about Him. God is love and His love extends even towards me, the unlovely and unlovable. He chooses me to be His beloved son.
In every situation or circumstance, God seeks to enter into my mind and heart, but unfortunately, I build too many walls around my heart and so I struggle to find God, to know God, to love God and to know His presence in my trying situation. I have failed too many times. Now I wonder whether I have to change my mind-set and solve for myself the questions:
- “How am I to Let myself be found by God?” instead of “How am I to find God?”
- “How am I to Let myself be known by God?” instead of “How am I to know God?”
- “How am I to Let myself be loved by God?” instead of “How am I to love God?”
To resolve this, I have to truly understand in my heart what Jesus requires of me:
- LET Him serve me. . . “But I (Jesus) am among you as One who serves” (Luke 22:27)
- LET Him come into my heart. . . “Behold, I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock. . .”(Revelation 3:20)
- LET Him love me unconditionally. . . “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12) “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22 NKJV)
These principles are illustrated by Peter in the Gospel. Peter wanted to serve Jesus and he was extremely adamant that Jesus should not serve him or wash his feet. Jesus told Peter, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me” (John 13:8) From this example, I need to understand with my heart that unless I let Jesus serve me, I will not be able to serve others for Him. If I want to serve others, I will have to let Jesus serve me first, in order for me to be able to serve others.
To see whether Peter understood with his heart what this means, the Bible shows me the scene at Mount Olives where Peter’s spirit was willing to stay awake for Jesus, but his flesh was weak. If Peter had allowed Jesus to come into his heart, his flesh would have the power to stay awake with Jesus.
Peter was very fervent and sincere in declaring that he would never deny Jesus. He depended on his own strength and he failed. But, if Peter knew with his heart that Jesus loved him with an unconditional love, he would never have denied Jesus three times. “Before the roaster crows twice, you will deny Me three times” (Mark 14:72)
After the resurrection of Jesus, Peter finally understood with his heart that Jesus loved him unconditionally and was therefore able to die as a martyr for Jesus. When Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” Jesus was in fact asking Peter “Do you know in your heart now that I have loved you with an unconditional love?” Peter ended by saying to Jesus that “You know all things” and thus knows my heart.
What all this effectively means is that I must be still in my heart to listen to my Lord Jesus’ voice or prompting. I must be still to know You are my God and open my heart to Receive You, for Jesus has said, “ Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears My voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” (Rev 3:20)
Until I know with my heart and not my head only, that Jesus loves me with an unconditional love, I will not be able to sustain consistently the assurance and confidence that He is in charge; and I will not consistently have the love for my spouse, family members, relatives and others in the way that Jesus commands me to do: “Be compassionate just as your Heavenly Father is compassionate” (Luke 6:36) and be as loving as my Heavenly Father is loving.
It is fascinating for me to listen that beliefs, expectations or suggestions do have a placebo effect on the mind-body interaction in ”Placebo Effect from TEDTalk”, “Placebo Effect from YouTube”.
I must pray and constantly focus on the Icon of Jesus walking on the water for the miracle to happen to me.
Written on 9 March 2019
Second TACE Procedure
On 20 March I did the second TACE procedure. It went well. It was short only 2.5 hours not like 9 months ago on 25 June 2018 where it took more than 7 hours.
But for the last 2 weeks I was agitated and a bit stressed. Why? I have been doing some 17 lesions on 7 Segments of a 12 cm liver. I am being human and I’m just a person and not a robot. Although a friend gives me a very good advice, “Just be still and rest in the Lord. Don’t try to analyse your love for Christ. He will look after you. He loves you unconditionally. Trust Him. Just be with Jesus. He is sufficient. He is enough. He is everything. He will work through your oncologist.” I still have to pick myself up.
I went to my website to read up and to listen to YouTube. I found reading “The return of the Prodigal son” by Henri Nouwen and Remembering Henri Nouwen from YouTube to be very uplifting. In particular I find the following YouTube helped me overcome my anxiety:
A Painting, A Parable, and my friend, Henri Nouwen – Presented by Sue Mosteller, CSJ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HapqzlVUkJM&t= 237s
The Life of the Beloved (Henri Nouwen, 2011) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ED04lAnWv3o&t=34s
I came back from the hospital on 21/3/19 in the late afternoon, after they have monitored me to make sure I did not have high fever. On 22/3/19, I was having a high fever of 38.50C. I did not want to go the A & E Dept. I made sure the temperature was monitored closely and it did not go beyond that by placing cold compress on my forehead and neck. From my experience the last time I did the TACE procedure the temperature went up to 38.80C. I was taking 6 Panadol tablets per day for 3-4 days until my Interventional Radiologist told me that for my case it would do more harm than good. Just use ice pack if I can endure the high temperature.
On 23/3/19 the temperature went down to 37.70C. I will be seeing the Interventional Radiologist on 26/3/19.
Written on 23 March 2019
The Snake and the Saw
On 26/3/19, I saw the Interventional Radiologist and the Gastroenterologist, who was recommended by the Interventional Radiologist, since no one has looked at my Hepatitis B condition and my liver cirrhosis. [I was diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis B since 1987 with regular blood tests and yearly ultrasound scan. In 1999, the ultrasound scan found that the cyst has turned cancerous. My first cancer resection was done on April 1999.]
My impression is that the Interventional Radiologist is reluctant to carry on doing RFA and TACE on my liver so many times. She is looking for alternatives.
The Gastroenterologist says that every time a procedure is carried out on the liver, the liver is somewhat damaged, although the liver can rejuvenate itself. One can then die of liver failure instead of liver cancer. He proposes to do blood tests and a Oesophago-Gastro-Duodenoscopy (OGD). He wanted to find out whether I have gastric Varices and EOV and my liver cirrhosis conditions. He says that one cannot cure the liver cirrhosis but can manage it with medicines.
This set me thinking about the “Story pf the snake and the saw”, which I read sometimes below:
*THE SNAKE AND THE SAW*
A snake penetrated into a carpentry workshop. As it slipped, it passed over a saw and got slightly wounded. Suddenly, it turned and bit the saw, and biting the saw, the snake seriously got wounded in its mouth!
Then not understanding what was happening and thinking that the saw was attacking “him,” _itdecided to roll around the saw to suffocate it with all its body by squeezing it with all its strength, but it ended up being killed by the saw!!!_
Sometimes we react in anger to hurt those who have harmed us, but we realize later that after all *we are hurting ourselves.*
*_In life it is better sometimes to ignore situations, ignore people, ignore their behavior, their words._*
*Sometimes it is better not to react* so as not to suffer consequences that can sometimes be deadly or harmful.
*Do not let hate take over your life* because love is stronger than anything.
*Keep Smiling and Spread Happiness… * *LAWS OF NATURE*
…. The food we eat, has to be digested and then thrown out of body in 24 hours, else we will fall ill.
…. The water we drink, gets in our body and is thrown out in 4 hours, else we will fall ill.
…. The air we breathe, has to be thrown out in 1 minute, else we will die.
What about negative emotions like hatred, anger, jealousy, insecurity … we hold in our body for days,months and years.
If these negative emotions are not thrown out regularly it props up into psycho-somatic diseases.
And prayers are safest way to dissolve these emotions.
How do I know when not to fight anymore with my liver cancer conditions? I have 20 years of blessings. I have had a good battling with the liver cancer for 20 years. I am told that every time I do a cancer treatment for my liver, some damages are done to the liver. Although liver rejuvenate itself, it could not recover to its original state. I have 17 tumors and have done some 7 RFA, 2 TACE, 2 resections, one radio active iodine, one Y-90, one alcohol ablation on my small liver of some 10-12 cm. I may die of liver failure rather than liver cancer, if I continue with too many liver cancer procedures.
Medically speaking I am fighting something I know nothing about. How much quality time will it give me if I keep fighting as against not fighting anymore? If it is going to be a difference of one or two years, why don’t I just enjoy myself and not go on fighting? Currently for the last 2 years my life was virtually at a standstill and I was just going to see one doctor after another for every 7-10 days and spending 3-4 hours all in. I am tired and exhausted. Every doctor sees it from his siloed perspective. I must see from my quality life point of view. I am now coming to 81 years old, good enough years of living. What are my options? Yes, I will leave to Jesus to see me through but I still have my free will to decide what to do with the doctors. I have to choose. Final choice is still mine. Any input?
Written on 28 March 2019
How did the 1st miracle happen?
In 1987, I was diagnosed with chronic Hepatitis B. I had regular blood tests for hepatitis B and yearly ultrasound scan. I found that I have cyst and cirrhosis of the liver. In May 1990 I was hospitalized for jaundice. In 1995 I was again hospitalized for jaundice. This time, two private specialist doctors did endoscope on me—one from the throat down and the other an angiogram from my groin up. They found nothing wrong with my liver but in the process they could have nicked my vein and I had to stay longer in the hospital for fever.
In 1996 I retired from work.
In 1999 the ultrasound scan found that the cyst has turned into a mass. I was then referred by the Polyclinic to the specialist ward at SGH to check whether the mass in my liver has turned cancerous.
When I saw the young Registrar in SGH, he wanted to do a endoscope from my throat as well as an angiogram from my groin to see whether the mass in my liver has turned cancerous. Due to my earlier bad experience, I decided then not to carry out such invasive procedures when all they wanted to know was whether I had cancer or not. I was given to understand that, at that time, practically all liver cancer patients die within a year. Since I decided not to do anything, he scheduled me for another appointment.
At the next appointment, I saw a sympathetic registrar, she assured me that for my age, if they found that it was cancerous, they could do something about. She even went to the extent of counter checking with her senior doctor, who said that I needed to do an angiogram from my groin only. That sort of assured me it was not too invasive and I decided to go ahead. Just show how a doctor can influence a patient decision.
Looking back, I must say that it was the guiding hands of God that got me to see the sympathetic doctor and put me under the good hand of this senior doctor up to today. I have 20 years of good fight with my liver cancer with all the joy, sorrow, pain and suffering it entails.
I am blessed by Jesus’ grace and mercy. But for me to be able to see my many blessings, I must know the numerous unmerited favors and countless pardon that are offered to me. And what are my blessings? Firstly, my blessing is that I know that life is not all joy and thus I do need God [many would think they are mini-god if they have all joy and health].
Secondly, that it is normal to have my fair share of sorrow, pain and suffering and I can go to my God for courage, strength and comfort.
I have no idea why I am spared. My elder brother had the same liver cancer at the same time as me and we were all sad when he died within the year after surgery. He was a kind and simple man.
If I didn’t see the sympathetic doctor and the good surgeon I would not be alive today. God works in mysterious ways. That was the 1st miracle. I do not know why I keep journaling my liver cancer experiences. Only in January 2018 did I put it into a book and an ebook form to share my experience with anyone who may be going through a health crisis to comfort him/her. I am very keen to share the strength and comfort that I find in being quiet with Jesus.
Written on 30 March 2019
Coping with crises, new normal, set-back, losses
Why am I revisiting the coping process? In a lifetime, there are many “new normal”, crisis, setback, brokenness, grief and losses. I thought it is useful that I summarize what I have learnt so far.
As a human being, I find that it is not unusual to run away or deny or avoid the new normal. I must not stay in the rut, wallow in self-pity and be depressed. But to heal and quickly move on in life with joy, I have to find a procedure to cope with the crisis.
The coping processes are:
- Befriend my pain or my brokenness.
What this means is that I have to name my pain and to acknowledge my brokenness. I must have the courage to embrace my brokenness and not deny it. Get acquainted and know more about my unique suffering. Yes I am in pain. I cry over my special sadness. I affirm my grief.
2. Place my suffering under the blessing.
If I consider it a curse, I will be negative and I will not be able to cope with the set-back. But if I choose to see it positively, I will be seeing it under the blessing. I can then see that I needed help to actively seek the equivalent benefits from the suffering. I can then be humble enough to go to my friend and my Lord to ask for help and support.
3. Face my sadness with a significant other.
Being human I have to pour out my unhappiness to a family member or a close friend face-to-face. I needed comfort and consolation from him. I know that he cannot help much, but I needed him to listen to my pain. The friend should not treat the out-pouring of grief as self-pity or unnecessary griping.
The friend cannot do much but can always be present. This is so vital for all of us to learn— whenever we are in the presence of loss or pain, to understand and to give—by just listening!!!
4. Listen to the still small voice.
Hopefully, I will listen to my heart or the still small voice or my conscience for a word or a phrase or a story. That is where I find the angel’s support and thus move to take the necessary action.
5. Move on with living my life in joy
Accept the pain and quickly move on in life with joy. Accept and don’t be depressed or stuck in a rut. Know that our life itself is the greatest gift we can give to each other—in that it is far more important for me to be who I can be for each other rather than what I can do for each other. Thus, my hope is that the fruit of my suffering would transform me to trust God more, be grateful for all of my life and be more caring, patient and gentle.
Good for me to reread appendix 15 again.
Written on 2 April 2019
On 3/4/19 night, I talk face-to-face with my close friends about my problems. I mentioned that I find it difficult to always sustain that Jesus’ love me unconditionally and at the same time that I have been transformed to maintain my love for others. They suggested to daily surrender to Jesus for His guidance. I said that I have a mental block with the word surrender. They suggested using the equivalent word—submit, yield, give, obey, etc—to do His will for our life. Subsequently, I find that it may be better for me to use the phrase “moment by moment” as suggested by Br. David Steindl-Rast whenever I have difficulty—to reduce it to manageable size.
My friend also mentioned about Henri Nouwen receiving the religious Nobel Prize in:
Fr. Henri Nouwen receiving the COMISS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hHB0Ph6e
Kc&feature=youtu.be where Nouwen mentioned that the real hero of the “flying trapeze” is the Catcher.
Written on 4 April 2019
Trust Jesus = Trust the Catcher
On 4/4/19, I did the Oesophago-Gastro-Duodenoscopy (OGD). When I was at the OGD theatre bed, my blood pressure went up to more than 200 plus mmHg. The nurse said they could not do the OGD if the blood pressure continued to be at that level. Immediately I prayed to Jesus to calm me down and to focus on the scene of the father of the prodigal son.
Since I did not want to be sedated but to be fully awake for the OGD procedure, the doctor said he would talk to me. He mentioned that I would feel the probe when it started to go down and out of the throat. I would also feel bloated when they pumped air into my stomach to view the area. The procedure took 10 -15 minutes. During that time, I was praying and focusing on Jesus and the Icon of Jesus walking on the water and the Catcher catching the flying trapeze. I hardly felt the probe. I was able to trust Jesus.
The doctor told me, after the OGD, that there is no EOV or gastric varices, Duodenum findings are normal, possible very early GAVE in the antrum or that the cirrhosis has not degenerated much since 1987. But the blood test results were fluctuating so he sent me for further blood tests:
Immunoglobulin A, G, M
Smooth Muscle Antibody
Anti-HEV IGG/IGM EIA
HCV RNA Qualitative
Anti Liver Antibody
Hepatitis E Virus PCR
I will be seeing the doctor on 16/4/19.
Written on 5 April 2019
Crucifixion, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus
Christians believe that Jesus Christ:
- is fully divine and fully human
- is resurrected from the dead (1 Cor 15:12-14 NKJV)
Being fully divine, Jesus knew the excruciating suffering and pain He had to go through with the crucifixion as a human being. He prayed to His Father so fervently at Gethsemane that He sweated drops of blood. He begged, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.. . . O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me except I drink it, Thy will be done.” (Matt 26:39, 42 KJV)
Why did Jesus go through the crucifixion as a human being? The crucifixion showed Jesus and God’s unconditional love for us sinners in order for Jesus to put us right with God. Jesus is the propitiation for us sinners. His atoning sacrifice for our sins reconciles us with God, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV).
In all of Jesus’ miracles there were human witnesses but in the greatest miracle of all—in the resurrection—there was NO human witness. But there were three kinds of evidence at the resurrection left as witnesses. (John 10:24-30 TEV). They were:
- The Linen clothes ie The Shroud of Turin in Italy
- The cloth around Jesus face ie The Sudarium of Oviedo in Spain and
- The empty Tomb ie The Resurrection of Jesus
The Shroud of Turin scientifically proved, without a shadow of doubt, that the person was crucified at the 1st century, was buried and had left an image which could not be duplicated even in the 21st century. It showed the resurrection of Jesus by divine power.
You may like to watch the following YouTube:
All New Evidence Of The Shroud Of Turin
Shroud of Turin: The Face of Jesus (Gary Habermas & Bob Rucker) Nuclear Engineer, Bob Rucker, concluded that the shroud is an x-ray image of the resurrection https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_uQTXYMUqI
History of the Shroud of Turin—Barrie Schwortz
Shroud of Turin by Tim Rogers—Great summary and resurrection https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGO6_aS- RFs&t=24s
Faith and Science – The Shroud of Turin – Ignited by Truth 2018 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ru9udgqRU8&f eature=youtu.be
Mark Guscin – Sudarium of Oviedo
The Sudarium of Oviedo: Its History and Relationship to the Shroud of Turin https://www.shroud.com/guscin.htm
You may also like to read the articles on the resurrection of Jesus:
- The Empty Tomb of Jesus
- The Evidence for the Resurrection
- Was Jesus’ resurrection a hoax and His death a sham?
- Did Jesus Christ rise from the dead?
- Evidence FOR the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
- Was Jesus seen alive after His death on the Cross?
Jesus challenges me and you:
“As for me, the Father chose me and sent me into the world. How, then, can you say that I blaspheme because I said that I am the Son of God? Do not believe me, then, if I am not doing the things my Father wants me to do. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, you should at least believe my deeds, in order that you may know once and for all that the Father is in me and that I am in the Father.” (John 10:36-38 TEV)
From the above YouTube and articles, all the evidence points to the authenticity of the shroud that proved Jesus has resurrected from the dead and the answer to faith is in the heart of the individual. Do I believe that Jesus has resurrected from the dead? Do you believe this is possible?
Why is it important for me or you to believe in the divine work of resurrection by Jesus? If I believe, it will slowly transform me to be more like Jesus and to be able to love unconditionally. Being human I will not be able to give or sustain this unconditional love. But Jesus has promised, “I will never turn away anyone who comes to Me” (John 6:37 TEV) so if I go to Jesus, moment by moment, He will slowly transform me. He has been faithful to support, strengthen and give me hope.
Written on 15 April 2019
7 liver cancer recurrences at 11 locations since 25/5/17
On 16/4/19 I saw the Interventional Radiologist, the Gastroenterologist and the Colorectal doctor.
The colorectal doctor monitors my constipation, which is currently OK.
As for the Gastroenterologist, the following are the findings summary:
No EOV or gastric varices
No Hepatitis B, C, E
Duodenum normal findings
Possible very early GAVE in the antrum
The cirrhosis has not degenerated much since 1987
He recommended that I take Whey Protein Isolates for a year and see him after that.
The Interventional Radiologist said that she would do the TACE on Segment III, which she did not carry out the last time on 20/3/19 as there were too many very small tumors there. I again mentioned that I am against going for medical oncology for my liver. She said that this will be the last time for her to do the TACE and she scheduled the TACE to be done on 10/5/19, after I come back from my holiday trip in Spain. She appears to me to be reluctant to want to carry out theTACE.
I talked to my son and my nephew-in-law and they suggested I seek a second opinion. I can see that my attitude of being stubborn and stiff-neck with my old concept of not taking medicine for liver cancer could have influenced the Interventional Radiologist decision.
I decided to summarize the procedures for the last 2 years since 25/5/17.
I have 7 liver cancer recurrences at 11 locations and the following procedures were carried out:
|Procedures||Date done||No. of Times||Segments of Liver|
|Alcohol Ablation||25/5/17||1||Segment V|
|RFA||22/8/1721/11/1717/1/19||111||Segment VSegment IV Segment III, V|
|TACE||25/6/1820/3/19||11||Segments II, VIII Segment II/IVa|
|Coming TACE||10/5/19||1||Many small one inSegment III|
What are the benefits and risks for medical oncology?
How will that affect my quality of life?
What if I decide not to carry out the coming TACE?
What are the risks if I continue to do the TACE?
Written on 17 April 2019
Unconditional Trust when we Suffer
On 22/4/19, I saw my primary doctor with the above summary; he suggested that the small growth could just be the liver rejuvenating itself. To be sure he suggested doing an MRI in August and to see me in September to confirm. He will arrange to cancel the coming TACE procedure. I think this is the best for me for the time being.
God loves me unconditionally but do I trust God unconditionally when I suffer? It is easy to trust God when He fulfills my conditions but can I unconditionally trust God? Yes, with no condition from me!!! Can I accept in my mind and my heart and to walk the talk of the following statements?
- The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away (Job 1:21 NIV)
- Accept whatever He gives—and give whatever He takes with a big smile. (Mother Teresa—A Gift for God, pg 47)
- God has a plan for me and He is in charge of my life
In trying to find the answer to unconditional trust, I went to the Internet listening mainly to The book of Job from the Bible. I find the following YouTube to be very useful:
Job: When the Righteous Suffer – John Piper (Part 1)
Job: When the Righteous Suffer – John Piper (Part 2)
The Book of Job – Part 1/2 (Derek Prince) – Job and his accusing friends https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzwHzZnLwtk
The Book of Job – Part 2/2 (Derek Prince) – GOD challenges Job https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwqvhQv-VRY
Why Suffering? Finding Meaning in our Difficult World on Job by Ravi Zacharias https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6Gl4ao8IzA&t= 4050s
Written on 23 April 2019
Ravi Zacharias Sermons from YouTube
In my search for the meaning of suffering, I was directed to listen to Ravi Zacharias. I downloaded many of his sermons, “Ravi Zacharias Sermons from YouTube” into my website to listen closely.
Ravi Zacharias was born on 26 March 1946 in Madras, India. He was raised in India and his ancestors were Orthodox Hindu priests. In 1966, Ravi immigrated with his family to Canada. But, at the age of 17 he tried to commit suicide by drinking poison. While on his hospital bed in India, a local Christian worker brought him a Bible and this is the first time he opened the Bible and read John 14:19, “ . . because I live, you shall live also.” This brought him hope! Subsequently he committed his life to Jesus Christ. From then on, the trajectory of his life changed forever. He remembers the word of Jesus, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV).
These verses have become the cornerstone of his mission as a Christian apologist and evangelist. He is the author of numerous Christian books, including the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association’s Gold Medallion Book Award winner Can Man Live Without God? andChristian bestsellers Light in the Shadow of Jihad[ and The Grand Weaver
I am fascinated by his story and his refreshing perspective in answering the numerous questions raised by his audiences from more than 70 countries, including from some of the world’s leading universities.
Written on 10 May 2019
Nabeel Qureshi Sermons from YouTube
I wanted to know something about Islam and why some Muslim individuals were converted to Christianity.
I found a quick Apologetics to Islam given by Nabeel Qureshi together with his video blog on his dying process in Nabeel Qureshi Sermons from YouTube.
Nabeel Qureshi was born on April 13, 1983 in California to Pakistani Ahmadiyya Muslim parents, who had immigrated to the United States. While debating on the historical claims of Christianity and Ahmadiyya Islam, he was converted to Christianity. He attended medical school at the Eastern Virginia Medical School. After completing a medical degree, he decided to spend his life studying and preaching the Christian Gospel and became an itinerant preacher for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
On 30 August 2016, Nabeel announced that he had advanced stage IV stomach cancer. He died of stomach cancer on September 16, 2017, at the age of 34.
Written on 25 May 2019
Various Types of Healing
Lately I have been going to YouTube to listen to Healing Scriptures. I have summarized them into:
- Healing Scriptures in Old Testament from GNT, Good News Translation23
- Healing Scriptures in New Testament from NKJV24
I went to websites https://www.biblehub.com/ and https://www.biblegateway.com/ to get the various translated versions easily.
From my experience with liver cancer so far, I have come to the following understanding on:
- Physical healing
- Emotional/psychological healing
- Relationship healing
- Spiritual healing
1. Physical healing
We are all very unique and special. When we go to see the doctors, we look for cure for our illnesses. We also pray if we believe in God. And when we pray or ask people to pray for us, we often look forward to the physical healing. We ask for miraculous healing. But I need to understand that God is wise and He can choose, as shown in the following, to:
a] Heal immediately
According to Dr Michelle K Strydom, only 3-5% of people are healed immediately with healing ministry.
Supernatural Healing of Dodie Osteen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjCov9x6 TeE&t=1227s
b] Heal slowly
The doctors say one is medically healed if he/she is free of cancer for 5 years. After my second liver cancer surgery, I was free of liver cancer for more than 12 years but have relapsed recently.
c] Heal over a prolonged period of time
Ravi Zacharias suffered pain from back disk injury and surgery at L3, L4, L5 and was healed only after 28 years.
Belief in God Through Times of Suffering – Ravi Zacharias https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=areRxjXQl Q8
d] Not to heal even after a prolonged period of time
Joni Eareckson Tada is still a quadriplegic for the past 50 years and has cancer on top of that recently. Cancer – Joni Eareckson Tada’s Journey https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhyMyrsjy l8
e] Not to heal at all—Die
Dr Nabell Quresshi had stage 4 stomach cancer and died in 13 months. He attended many healing ministries.
The Dying Process of Dr Nabell Qureshi from YouTube
I have heard some Christians putting the blame on the suffering patients for not being healed to having insufficient faith in God. To me this is cruel and bad theology.
It is interesting to read J I Parker’s comment on healing: “. . . even in New Testament times, among leaders who cannot be accused of lacking faith, healing was not universal. We know from Acts that the apostle Paul was sometimes Christ’s agent in miraculous healing, and he was himself once miraculously healed of snakebite. Yet he advises Timothy to “use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (1 Timothy 5:23 RSV) and informs him that he left Trophimus “ill at Miletus” (2 Timothy 4:20 NIV). He also tells the Philippians that their messenger Epaphroditus was so sick that he “nearly died for the work of Christ” and we see how grieved Paul himself had been at the prospect of losing him (Philippians 2:25-27 NIV). Plainly, had Paul or anyone else sought power to heal these cases miraculously, he would have been disappointed.” (Cruel to imply insufficient Faith when Healing Fails)
Thus, I need to trust unconditionally and accept God’s wise choice for me in my healing process. Know that He is in-charge of my life and that He is faithful.
2. Emotional/psychological healing
When we are hit with pain, suffering or crisis our natural and instinctive reaction is to fight, flee or freeze. We automatically apply the instinct of survival. But if we are constantly plugged into these negative and toxic human reactions of fear, bitterness, anger, revengefulness, we will do enormous harm to our physical, mental and emotional health!
Our emotional/psychological healing takes place only if we stop for a moment to use our given free will to reflect and respond. We can choose or decide to be positive, to forgive and to love.
Mind and Spirit in Optimizing the Healing System by Dr Andrew Weil
3. Relationship healing
Our pain and sufferings are often due to our fractured relationship with family or friends or colleagues.
Healing our broken relationships, according to Dr Ira Byock, comes only if we can honestly and constantly say:
Please forgive me.
I forgive you.
I love you
4. Spiritual healing
God is more interested in our spiritual healing than in the other healings. We can slowly be transformed if we go to God for our spiritual healing. He has created us to love and be loved and to live life more abundantly.
Living Life by Grace by Pablo Martinez
In view of my frequent doctor and hospital visits, I am hard pressed but not crushed. I am good. I give thanks and rejoice in the Lord for He has given and will continue to give me strength, support and comfort in all my trials.
Written on 2 August 2019
Holy Oil—Prayers by Priest
On 4/8/19 I and my wife saw the priest for an anointing of the Holy Oil for my MRI tomorrow.
The priest prayed the standard prayers:
“Father in heaven, through this holy anointing,
grants James comfort in his suffering.
When he is afraid, give him courage,
when afflicted, give him patience,
when dejected, afford him hope, and
when alone, assure him of the support of Your holy people.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen”
“Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, by the grace of Your Holy Spirit,
cure the weakness of your servant James.
Heal his sickness and forgive his sins;
expel all afflictions of mind and body;
mercifully restore him to full health and
enable him to resume his former duties,
for You are Lord for ever and ever. Amen”
Written on 4 August 2019
Positive Attitude Reminder by Joel Osteen
Going through a long period of prolonged suffering is terrible and tough due to the many doctors and hospital visits. I find that it is not in having to see the doctor that is as much the problem for me as in the waste of time in:
Waiting for the doctor
waiting to register
waiting to have the procedure done
waiting to pay
waiting to get medicine
I find this waste of time stressful! I was unnecessarily anxious and disturbed by the hospital system.
I know that I am fortunate to have good doctors, my family and friends to give me support and encouragement. I know that having an attitude of gratitude is vital for seeing me through this trying period. And an attitude of gratitude is good medicine. I should not forget to be grateful that Christ has given and will continue to give me courage, support, strength, and comfort. I have even written an article on “Looking Ahead In Gratitude” some time back.
But, lately, I forget and let the frustration of the prolonged illness take over. I was hard pressed and anxious but I was not crushed. It troubled me. I told myself that I must not let this negative attitude influence my mood. I need to boost myself up and get away from being stressed. This gratitude attitude did not come instantly to mind to cheer me up. I needed to lift up my spirit andremember God’s mercy, grace and blessings for me.
Fortunately, I was directed to listen to Joel Osteen (Joel Osteen Sermons from YouTube). Initially I was against listening to him as I considered him to be a prosperity gospel preacher and I am against prosperity preaching. But I discovered if I ignore his watered-down theology, exaggerated boasting and tithing aspects, his sermons helped me.
He uses a cookie-cutter method of preaching HOPE in God. He has a positive psychological approach that is beneficial! Instead of constantly asking WHY he asks us to TRUST God. He reminds us that we are wonderfully and fearfully made by God and we are the apple of God’s eyes. God will ultimately bless us and divinely orchestrate our life. We are to do our best and ask God for help and wait for God’s favour. I find this to be very helpful.
I was feeling down and listening to his YouTube tapes helped me to bear and endure my trials much better. He reminds me to focus on who I am in Christ21 and God’s plan for my life. He has a simplistic, practical way to get his message through to me. I can relate to it and see the positive side. He gives hope and not despair. And who am I to say that he gives a totally false hope in Christ. I am able, then, to refocus and rejoice in the Lord and His blessings for me.
Yes, I think, I am now more prepared to take whatever comes my way and to find the good there is in it so I can learn from it and share it.
Your Life is Divinely Orchestrated 2016 Joel Osteen
Joel Osteen – The Power of The Blessing
Joel Osteen – Declare Favor
Joel Osteen New 2016 Don’t Be Limited By The System
Joel Osteen – Don’t Waste Your Pain
Written on 9 August 2019
My main source of comfort and healing comes from my God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Without Him I will not have the strength and endurance to get through these 20 years of suffering and the bleakness I face every now and then.
I have to ask myself some hard questions on which I have researched and compiled the answers some years back.
You can click on the links below to get the answers in my website. They are:
- Can the Bible be trusted?
- Why So Many English Bible Translations?
- The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable by F F Bruce
- Are there 365 Messianic Prophecies that Jesus Christ has fulfilled?
What is the Mathematical Probability of fulfilling 48 Prophecies?
The probability of a person fulfilling just eight prophecies is one chance in one hundred million billion. That number is millions of times more than the total number of people who have ever been on our planet earth!
Peter W. Stoner2 also computed that the probability of fulfilling forty-eight prophecies was one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion!
Jesus Christ fulfilled more than 48 Old Testament prophecies. In fact Jesus Christ, as seen from above, fulfilled 365 messianic prophecies.
“The odds alone say it would be impossible for anyone to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies,” Lapides concluded. “Yet Jesus—–and only Jesus throughout all of history— managed to do it.” (See the article “Did Jesus and Jesus alone match the identity of the Messiah? for details in my website, www.jameslau88.com under the sub-heading “Jesus Christ”)
Written on 12 August 2019
Movies on Paul and Jesus Christ from YouTube
Since we are all unique and different, every individual looking at the same scene will interpret it differently. At this stage of my journaling, I wanted to find out how people portray the two main New Testament characters—Paul and Jesus Christ. My main objective is to have a closer personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to unconditionally trust Him. I went to YouTube and downloaded these movies:
- Movies on Paul the Apostle in YouTube25. He wrote about 66% of the New Testament. Initially Paul was a persecutor of Christians but he saw Jesus on the road to Damascus and was converted to be an apostle.
- Movies on Jesus Christ in YouTube26
Hallelujah or Wise Permission
On 5 August 19, I did my MRI. It was plain sailing. It was some 4.5 months ago that I did my TACE. Wow it was such a relief—No constant hospital visit during this period.
On 15/8/19 I will be seeing my primary doctor for the result:
If there is no more tumor, then it is Hallelujah. I will jump for joy and thank God, family, relatives, friends, doctors and staff for all the prayers and help they have given me. It is celebration time!!!
If the tumors persist, I have to pray for strength and courage to bear and endure for a longer period of trial and pain. I have to learn to weather the storm. I must trust that Jesus, who is wise, knows what He is permitting for me to go through. He is in-charge of my life and I need to have more confidence in Him.
Written on 13 August 2019
Happy News and Sad News
On 15/8/19, I saw my primary doctor for the results of MRI of 5/8/19. The happy news is that the many small tumors in Segment III, which were situated very near the heart, were cleared. Originally, these were scheduled for TACE on 10 May 2019 but after consultation with my primary doctor, it was then decided to cancel the TACE procedure and to monitor the tumors instead. Now, happy news—Hurray, Wow, Hallelujah—the glory belongs to the Lord—they are gone!
Unfortunately, the sad news is new small tumors appear in Segments IVA and IV A/B. MRI is scheduled for November to monitor them.
I was told that my liver is cirrhotic and I should learn to expect that small lesions may appear and some may disappear on their own.
However, for the past 4.5 months, occasionally, I felt knocked down but never knocked out. I was unsure of the possible outcome from cancer. I told myself to spring up and fight again and again. I felt much troubled sometimes but never felt abandoned by Jesus, whenever I go to Him. During the last two days, these feelings were more intense. But I was not in despair nor did I feel destroyed. Whenever I am down, I go to Jesus to ask for help in giving me courage and comfort.
I must now expect that I may have to go through a prolonged period of suffering and pain. The battle against cancer can be long. I must also ask for patience to bear and endure the unbearable prolonged suffering.
I must quickly accept that life has to go on. I will try to live life as fully as I can. I will try to help myself and others understand that we can face life’s challenges undaunted with the help of God, competent doctors and nurses and the loving support of family, relatives and friends.
Written on 15 August 2019
Glucose Results Fasting in mmol/L
|Date||Glucose in mmol/L||Date||Glucose in mmol/L|
|17/4/19||Start of Whey Isolate|
|With sugar drink 2 hrs later||17.3|
|4/9/19||Diabetic Nurse n Dietician|
On 6/6/19 I saw the NUH Heart Doctor, who observed that my glucose fasting result was high. Normal range is 3.0 – 6.0 mmol/L. He sent me on 21/8/19 for a 2 hours glucose drink to assess my glucose result. It is diabetic if is above 11.1 mmol/L after 2 hours.
On 28/8/19 I saw the NUH heart doctor and he said that I am diabetic as shown by the results above. Since I did not want to take medicine, he sent me to see the diabetic and dietician nurses to try a lifestyle change.
As my record of practically all my medical are at the SGH, I decided to see the diabetic doctor at SGH.
This morning, I saw the diabetes doctor at SGH. Luckily for me, with a life-style change, eating less and weight loss, the glucose level is maintained and I don’t have to take diabetic medicine for now.
During the last 2 years, my life was virtually at a standstill and I was just going to see one doctor after another for every 7 – 10 days and spending 2 – 3 hours on many occasions. The time spent was in waiting for registration, seeing the doctor, payment, blood tests, collecting medicine, and sessions of MRI, RFA etc. Our hospital system can certainly be improved further as I was given to understand that in Taipei there isn’t too long a wait to see the doctor. For me, it was the waiting that caused the most stress and anxiety. I get tired and exhausted by the waiting.
To date, I have had 11 liver cancer recurrences, with 17 lesions in 7 segments, some recurring 2-3 times in the same segments. I have done two resections, one treatment of radioactive nuclear medicine, 7 Radio Frequency Ablations (RFA), one alcohol ablation, one insertion of nuclear medicine Y-90 and 2 TACE (Transarterial Chemoembolization), and numerous MRI and CT Scans. I was told that I could die of liver failure rather than liver cancer, with so many procedures done!
I notice that with so many procedures done to my small liver of some 10 cm, the after-effect is that I also have problems with constipation, colon, chest, chronic cough, dental tooth and gum, and lately diabetes. I also did the Oesophago- Gastro-Duodenoscopy (OGD) and the following are the findings:
No EOV or gastric varices
No Hepatitis B, C, E
Duodenum normal findings
Possible very early GAVE in the antrum
The cirrhosis has not degenerated much since 1987
Are these all related? I don’t know.
But I can safely say that with God, family, competent doctors and modern medical advances, I am blessed to be still alive after battling liver cancer for more than 20 years.
Written on 24 September 2019
Type 2 Diabetes
I was fat in the belly, over weight, obese and a die-hard on top (FOOD). My fasting glucose levels were higher than normal, every now and then, but no doctor sent me for a check-up to see whether I am diabetic until recently my cardiologist said it is good to check for diabetes. My fasting glucose was 7.9 and after 2 hours of sugar drink became 17.3 mmol/L. The normal fasting level is 3.0 – 6.0 and after 2 hours should not exceed 4.0 – 7.7 mmol/L. He told me that I was not pre-diabetic but has been having Type 2 Diabetes for some time already.
I can only assume that most doctors are not fully aware of Type 2 Diabetes or they do not see it as their responsibility to warn the patient about it. They are very up-to-date with their own specialization.
Type 2 Diabetes is a very serious long-term disease. The reason why I went to the internet to learn more about Type 2 Diabetes was because 2 of my university colleagues were blinded by the disease, one has his leg amputated, another is on kidney dialysis and one has stroke four times.
From what I have learnt anyone who is obese with belly fat and over weight should check for Type 2 Diabetes. It is such a simple test—take the glucose test and drink the sugar water, wait for 2 hours and test for sugar level again. It is good to make sure that one does not have Type 2 Diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes and obesity have reached an epidemic proportion in the world. WHO has stated that worldwide the prevalence of obesity nearly tripled between 1975 and 2016.
The main foods we eat are carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Carbohydrates when digested are converted into sugars. Glucose a component of sugars, together with fat, is the main source of energy for the cells.
Type 2 Diabetes is a condition that affects the way our body metabolizes glucose. With type 2 diabetes, our body either resists the effective functioning of insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose level.
In other words, Type 2 Diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin. Exactly why this happens is unknown.
The Pancreas secretes insulin
Insulin is a hormone that is secreted from the pancreas.
The moment we eat, the pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream to lower the amount of glucose in our bloodstream. The flow of insulin enables glucose to enter into the cells of the body.
In type 2 diabetes, instead of moving glucose into our cells, the glucose builds up in our bloodstream. As blood sugar levels increase, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas release more insulin but eventually these cells in the pancreas become impaired and can’t make enough insulin to meet the body’s demands. When the glucose cannot enter into the cells, it is converted into fats to be stored in the body.
When we eat frequently, by snacking, our pancreas keeps producing insulin. Frequent eating produces more insulin. More insulin metabolizes the glucose into fat and more fat is thus stored in the body; the more stored fat, the more obese, particularly around the belly.
The Liver stores and makes glucose
Glucose comes from two major sources: food and our liver.
Our liver stores and turns sugar into glucose.
The liver breaks down the stored glycogen into glucose to keep our glucose level within a normal range.
When we fast or have not eaten for a while, our body starts to burn the stored fats and glucose.
If we don’t eat, our body will simply “eat” its own glucose and stored fats for energy.
The Body exists in 2 states
Very broadly, the body exists in two states:
- The feeding state—when the excess carbohydrates we eat are converted into fats and are stored to be used later and
- The fasting state—where the stored fats are being burned as fuel and forgrowth.
Complications of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes can be easy to ignore, especially in the early stages when we are feeling fine. But diabetes affects many major organs, including our heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Controlling our blood sugar level can help prevent many complications.
Although long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually, they can eventually be disabling or even life-threatening. Some of the potential complications of diabetes include:
- Heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and narrowing of blood vessels (atherosclerosis).
- Kidney damage. Diabetes can sometimes lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Eye damage. Diabetes increases the risk of serious eye diseases, such as cataract and glaucoma, and may damage the blood vessels of the retina, potentially leading to blindness.
- Slow healing. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections, which may heal poorly. Severe damage might require toe, foot or leg amputation.
- Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. Eventually, you may lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves that control digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, erectile dysfunction may be an issue.
- Hearing impairment. Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
- Skin conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
- Sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is common in people with type 2 diabetes. Obesity may be the main contributing factor to both conditions. Treating sleep apnea may lower your blood pressure and make you feel more rested but it’s not clear whether it helps improve blood sugar control.
- Alzheimer’s disease. Type 2 diabetes seems to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, though it’s not clear why. The worse your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be.
- Cancer. Cancer cell has a high craving for sugars. WHO states that some cancers (including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon) could be the consequence of diabetes. Does consuming excess sugar cause cancer recurrences?
Current Treatments for Type 2 Diabetes
- Metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, others).
- Sulfonylureas. These medications help your body secrete more insulin. Examples include glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase), glipizide (Glucotrol) and glimepiride (Amaryl).
- Meglitinides. These medications — such as repaglinide (Prandin) and nateglinide (Starlix) — work like sulfonylureas by stimulating the pancreas to secrete more insulin, but they’re faster acting, and the duration of their effect in the body is shorter.
- Thiazolidinediones. Like metformin, these medications— including rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos) — make the body’s tissues more sensitive to insulin.
- DPP-4 inhibitors. These medications — sitagliptin (Januvia), saxagliptin (Onglyza) and linagliptin (Tradjenta) — help reduce blood sugar levels, but tend to have a very modesteffect.
- GLP-1 receptor agonists. These injectable medications slow digestion and help lower blood sugar levels.
- Exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon), liraglutide (Victoza) and semaglutide (Ozempic) are examples of GLP-1 receptor agonists. Recent research has shown that liraglutide and semaglutide may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in people at high risk of those conditions.
- SGLT2 inhibitors. These drugs prevent the kidneys from reabsorbing sugar into the blood. Examples include canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga) and empagliflozin(Jardiance).
- Insulin. Some people who have type 2 diabetes need insulin therapy. In the past, insulin therapy was used as a last resort, but today it’s often prescribed sooner because of its supposed benefits. Low blood sugar, hypoglycaemia, is a possible side effect of insulin.
- Often, people with type 2 diabetes start using insulin with one long-acting shot at night, such as insulin glargine (Lantus) or insulin detemir (Levemir).
- In addition to diabetes medications, doctors might prescribe low-dose aspirin therapy as well as blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications to help prevent heart and blood vessel disease.
2. Bariatric surgery – to reduce the size of your stomach to a small pouch.
There are 4 types of minimally invasive bariatric surgery:
- Gastric balloon involves placing a balloon filled with a saline solution in your stomach using an endoscope.
- Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) is used to manage morbid obesity. This surgery involves reducing the size of your stomach by placing a silicone band around the upper end of the stomach.
- Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) is used to permanently reduce the size of your stomach to about 25% its original size, which then becomes like a sleeve or a tube.
- Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGB) is the most complex bariatric surgery. It is used to reduce the size of your stomach to a small pouch by clipping off a section of it.
3. Liposuction Surgery
Where fat cells are sucked out of the body by a cannula connected to a suction device. Liposuction’s main purpose is to remove fats via suction.
4. Changes in lifestyle include:
Lifestyle changes can slow or stop the progression or cure Type 2 Diabetes.
- Eating healthy foods. Choose low carbohydrate high fat diet (LCHF). Avoid sweet fruits, starchy vegetables, whole grains and refined flour.
- Getting active. Aim for a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride a bike. Swim laps. If we can’t fit in a long workout, spread our activity throughout the day.
- Losing weight. Losing 5 to 10 percent of our body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes. To keep our weight in a healthy range, focus on permanent changes to our eating and exercise habits. Motivate ourselves by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem.
- Avoiding being sedentary for long periods. Sitting still for long periods can increase our risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get up every 30 minutes and move around for at least a few minutes.
- Enough sleep – minimum 7 hours sleep
- Avoid Cigarette Smoking
- Reduce Alcohol Consumption
- Reduce Stress by TM, Yoga, Taichi or dancing.
- Attitude of gratitude—Give thanks more.
- Forgive more —I forgive you. Please forgive me
- Love more—Kindness, Compassion, Patience
- Service to others—Help others in need
5. Eat Less and Intermittent fasting
I am obese and have Type 2 Diabetes but I am not in favor of surgery or medicine. Therefore, I decided to try to lose weight and cut down my belly fat by eating less and with intermittent fasting. I am doing this after I went to the Internet and read and listened to the following:
Dr Jason Fung on Intermittent Fasting
Dr Jason Fung How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
Dr Michael Mosley on Type 2 Diabetes from YouTube
Dr Dean Ornish on Reversing Chronic Disease with Lifestyle
Dr Neal Barnard on New Approach to Type 2 Diabetes from YouTube
Dr Aseem Malholtra on Dietary Changes and Heart Disease from YouTube
Dr Nadia Mir Ali on Optima Diet for Humans
Dr Mark Hyman with Functional Medicine
Dr Danielle Berlardo on Nutrition Round
Dr Eric Berg on Myth about Blood Sugar and Diabetes from YouTube
Dr Roy Taylor on Type 2 Diabetes from YouTube
Dr Eric Westman on Low Carb and High Fat Diet
Dr Sten Ekberg on Keto Food Guide from YouTube
Dr Lewis Cantley on Cancer, Obesity, Diabetes
Diet Doctor Podcast with Dr. Bret Scher
Dr David Diamond on Deception in Cholesterol Research and Saturated Fat
Dr Paul Mason on Diet from YouTube
Dr Mark Hyman on What the Heck You Should Eat
My Weight Loss Results
On 4/9/19, I saw the diabetic and dietician nurses. My weight was 73.2 kg and I started to eat less and according to the dietician planned diet.
On 24/9/19 I saw the diabetes doctor at SGH and my weight was 71.3 kg.
On 17/10/19, I started to do intermittent fasting by not taking breakfast. My weight on the morning of 18/10/19 was 68.9 kg a loss of 4.3 kg for the planned diet of 44 days.
On 25/10/19 my weight came down to 65.2 kg. In 7 days and with a 18:6 hours fast, my weight went down by 3.7 kg.
I use Accu-Chek to prick my finger for blood sample to monitor and LibreLink patch to monitor my glucose level continuously for 24 hours for 2 weeks every now and then. My glucose level was within the normal range of 4 – 10 mmol/L.
Written on 25 October 2019
My Flexible 80/20 Eating Rules are:
All plant food that can be consumed by human is carbohydrate food.
Carbohydrate food is any food that when digested is converted into sugar. However, there are many types of sugar. They are:
- Single sugar component
a) Glucose—This can be metabolized by any cell and is the main source of energy together with fat.
b) Fructose—This can only be metabolized by the liver cell. Fructose comes from many fruits, honey, berries and most root vegetables. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fructose).
c) Galactose—This is a component of milk sugar lactose and is found in plant cell membranes and in many tissues.
- Two sugar combinations
a) Sucrose is a combination of glucose and fructose
b) Lactose is a combination of glucose and galactose
c) Maltose is a combination of two glucoses
- Multi-sugar combinations in the form of fiber that is digestible
a) Glycogen in animal meat
b) Starch in plant, grains, rice, Basmati rice, root vegetables
- Multi-sugar combinations in the form of fiber that is indigestible
a) Soluble such as beans, nuts, oats, oat bran, rice bran, legume, barley, citrus fruits, apple, strawberries, peas,
b) Insoluble such as wheat bran, husk, whole grains, cereal seeds, skins of many fruits and vegetables.
It is vitally important to know that the entire bloodstream of an adult contains only about 5 – 7 liters of blood. Out of this 5 – 7 liters there is 100mg/dL of sugar. It can be mathematically calculated to be 7 gm of blood sugar in the entire blood stream.. This 7 gm is equivalent to a teaspoon of sugar. Also know that when we have one and a half teaspoons of sugar in our blood, we are medically considered to have Type 2 Diabetes!! The question we need to ask ourselves is: Why continue to add so many teaspoons of sugar into our diet? A can of Coca-Cola contains 10 teaspoons of sugar. When we eat a meal of 3 servings of carbohydrates it is about 45 gm. This is equivalent to 10 – 15 teaspoons of sugar!!! Listen to Dr Eric Westman presenting The Science Behind Low Carb High Fat https://youtu.be/SCGDAwp-y0o
Wikipedia states the following: Blood sugar level “of 75 kg with a blood volume of 5 liters, a blood glucose level of 5.5 mmol/L (100 mg/dL) amounts to 5g, equivalent to about a teaspoonful of sugar.”
I find it difficult to grasp what glycemic index or calories or grams of the food that I eat means. It is much easier and faster for me to understand it when it is calculated as equivalent to teaspoonfuls of sugar. For example, see How many teaspoons of sugar are in your food? By Dr David Unwin. https://youtu.be/sa7ggkDatps
|Food||Equivalent teaspoonfuls of sugar|
|Brown Rice, 150g||10.1|
|White Rice, 150g||9.1|
|Potato, boiled, 150g||9.1|
|Apple Juice, 200ml||8.6|
|French Fries, 150g||7.5|
|Coco Pops, 30g||7.3|
|Small Baked Potato||6 to 8|
|Wholegrain Barley 30g||5.5|
|Bran Flakes, 30g||4.8|
|Oat Porridge, 150g||4.5|
|Mini Wheat, 30g||4.4|
|Sweet Corn, 80g||4.0|
|White Bread, 30g||3.7|
|Brown Bread, 30g||3.3|
|Pita, Wholemeal, 30g||2.9|
|Pear, Peas, 80g||1.3|
When we are healthy the food we consume are metabolized well and we have no health issues. But when we eat too much carbohydrate and snack too often, then our body doesn’t metabolize the food properly. Firstly, the excess fructose in the liver cannot be converted into energy but becomes fat to be stored as fat in the liver, giving rise to fatty liver. Secondly, the cells in the body cannot absorb the excess glucose in the blood stream and these are then converted into fat to be stored all over the body. We become obese, over weight and develop a belly. We thus become unhealthy.
I have fatty liver, type 2 diabetes, liver cancer, cirrhosis, chronic dry cough, hypothyroid, hyper-tension, belly fat, gum and teeth problems, sleep apnea and constipation. Having listened to the many videos in my Type 2 Diabetes article, I believe that many of these diseases could be caused by lifestyle and diet. But there are too many diets to be considered and they tend to be confusing.
I want to burn the fat in my liver and belly and to lose weight, so I decide to go for intermittent fasting and low carbohydrate and high fat diet (LCHF diet). See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-carbohydrate_diet , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetable_oil and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_fat.
I have simplified the diet for me to focus on.
My Flexible 80/20 Eating Rules are:
- Fructose-—Avoid fructose from corn syrup. Don’t take sweet fruits. Take avocado, green kiwi, star fruit, sour-sop, dragon fruit, custard apple and guava. I took a small cup of papaya and in 15 to 40 to 60 minutes the glucose level went up from 4.2 to 5.8 and level at 4.9 mmol/L .
- Sugar—Avoid all processed or refined sugar, table sugar, cereal, canned fruits, carbonated drinks, fruit juices, glazed meats, sausages, ketchup, creamy dressings, muffins, cakes, candy, jams, ice-scream, and desserts.
- Starch—Avoid potatoes, sweet potatoes, white rice, cassava, tapioca, yam, corn, wheat, maize, root vegetables.
- Simple carbohydrates—Avoid processed food based on flour, such as bread, pizza, pasta, chips, cookies, biscuits, dough-nuts and noodles.
- Oil—Avoid all hydrogenated vegetable oil except extra virgin olive oil and organic coconut oil. Avoid deep fried foods.
- Fat—Take in moderation meat, fish, seafood, chicken, turkey, tallow, lard, butter, ghee, cheese, eggs, avocado,
Raw nuts like macadamia, pecan, walnut,
Seeds like flax, chai, hemp and pumpkin.
Green leafy vegetables like Swiss chards, baby spinach, arugula, kale, lettuce, bok choy, collards, parsley, cilantro, collard greens
Non-starchy fibrous vegetables like olives, broccoli, peppers, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, mushroom, okra, zucchini, tomatoes,
Bitter vegetables like bitter gourd, mustard green, asparagus.
Understand that our bodies are dynamic and we react differently to the food we consume at different times and from one another. What is OK at one period may not be OK at another. And what is alright for one person may not be all right for another. We should thus experiment and adjust to the carbohydrate and fruits that suit us at that particular period.
Written on 15 November 2019
10th MRI Results
I did my 10th MRI on 19/11/19 and saw the doctor on 29/11/19. The doctor mentioned that one tumor remained the same at 3.5 x 2 cm and another has increased slightly in size from 1.5 x 1 to 2 x 1.7 cm. But there are also multiples minor tumors. No new tumor was observed.
He decided to monitor the situation and proposed to do MRI in 6 months’ time.
I am happy with the MRI result in that there is no new tumor. Since I know recently that cancer cells crave and thrive on sugar, I have consciously avoided taking sugar and starchy carbohydrates. I wonder whether this no new tumor could be due to me eating according to My Flexible 80/20 Eating Rule? Wouldn’t it be interesting to experiment and observe what will happen to the cancer in 6 months’ time when I deliberately follow my 80/20 Eating Rule?
Hopefully the 6 months MRI result will be good!
Written on 30 November 2019
Various Procedures Done Over Last 2 Years
|Date||Segments (Sg)||Sizes (cm)||Results|
|6.3 x 5.10.9||Y-90 was proposedto shrink Sg Viii|
|6.3 x 5.10.9||Sg VIII was 6.3 x 5.1 Sg V Alcohol Ablation|
|3||14/6/17SIRT||SIRT was introduced to embolize the vessels to guts andlungs for Y-90|
|4||21/06/17Y-90||Viii||6.3 x 5.1||Y-90 and nuclear med were introduced|
|Sg V increased from 0.9 to 1.5|
|5.0 x 4.1||Sg Viii shrunk to 5.0×4.1|
Sg V cleared by RFA
|7||20/10/17MRI||VIII IVNew||5.2 x 3.8 1.1||Sg Viii shrunk to 5.2×3.8|
|8||21/11/17||IV||1.1||Sg IV cleared by RFA|
|9||15/1/18MRI||VIII||4.1 x 2.8||Sg VIII shrunk to 4.1×2.8|
|10||17/5/18MRI||VIIINew New V New||2.1 x 1.11.3 and 3mm 5mm not sure3mm appeared||Sg VIII shrunk to 2.1×1.1|
|TACE was done on Sg VIII and II|
|MRI showed Sg VIII n II successfully done Sg V increased to 6mm Sg IVa tumor occurred|
|13||7/12/18CT Scan||III New IVa|
|1.0||Sg III New tumor appeared Sg IVa increased to 1.2 Sg V increased to 1.1|
|RFA were successfully done on Sg III and V|
|15||27/2/19CT Scan||III high New||1.9 x 0.6||New tumor|
|16||20/3/192nd TACE||II/IVa||Second TACE was successfully done|
|17||10/5/19MRI3rd TACECancelled||III New||Many small tumors||This third scheduled TACE was cancelled on 22/4/19 as smallgrowth could be liver rejuvenating itself|
|18||5/8/19MRI||III IVaNew IVa/b New||New small tumors||MRI showed Sg III cleared by itself. Unfortunately many small tumorsappeared|
|19||19/11/19||II||3.5 x 2||Same size|
|MRI||II||1.5 x 1||Increased to 2×1.7|
|Many small tumors|
|No new tumor|
For every procedure above, I have to see the liver doctors at least one or two more times. In addition, I have to see various other doctors for I have type 2 diabetes, Lung doctor for chronic dry cough, hypothyroid, hyper-tension, gum and teeth problems, sleep apnea, colorectal doctor for my constipation, gastroenterologist for Hepatitis B, C, E and gastric varices. In all it was a very trying period visiting and waiting at the hospitals!!!
How did I survive? I can safely say that I was sustained and supported by Jesus, family, friends and medical staff.
What is the legacy I hope to leave behind? For everyone to fully understand with their heart and mind that FORGIVENESS must come before HEALING and LOVE.
Written on 1 December 2019
Before all the above procedures, I did not have any constipation problem at all. In fact I discharged regularly at least twice a day. During this period, I was having constipation problem every week or so and the colorectal doctor did a colonoscopy. The procedure revealed no abnormality. He prescribed probiotic “Vivomixx” and taking “Lactus” to pass the stool. But I was still having the same great problem passing stool. The pain and strain was so bad that it gave me more trouble than my liver cancer. Sometimes the straining was as difficult as a woman giving birth!
My son’s GP suggested using “Forlax”. The same medicine used to clear the bowel for colonoscopy (Fortrans) but in lower dose. This “Forlax” appears to give me better relief for my constipation.
I went to the Internet to listen and downloaded Constipation from YouTube
Written on 2 December 2019
I lost 13.0 kg following My Flexible 80/20 Eating Rule
I was over weight and obese with obvious belly fat for many years. I had Type 2 Diabetes.
I have been taking my full blood tests yearly for more than 30 years. The doctors’ focus was on my liver, thyroid and cholesterol although quite often my fasting glucose level was above the normal range of 3.0 – 6.0 mmol/L. Yet, no doctor has alerted me to test for diabetic until my cardiac doctor on 13/6/19 sent me for diabetic test on 21/8/19.
On 28/8/19 the cardiac doctor said that I have been having Type 2 Diabetes for some time already as my 2 hours glucose drink result was 17.3 mmol/L. A person having a result that is above 11.1 mmol/L is considered diabetic.
Since I did not want to take medicine, he sent me to see the diabetic and the dietician nurses on 4/9/19. My weight then was 73.2 kg and I started to eat less and according to the dietician planned diet.
I began to research by listening and reading voraciously on what causes Type 2 Diabetes and the current cure for it.
On 17/10/19, I started to do intermittent fasting by not taking breakfast. My weight then was 68.9 kg.
I wanted to burn the fat in my liver and belly and to lose weight further. I decide to go for intermittent fasting and started to do My Flexible 80/20 Eating Rule.
On 17/11/19 my weight came down to 62.0 kg.
On 4/12/19 and in 3 months my weight has come down to 60.2 kg, A loss of 13.0 kg (28.6 lbs).
I use Accu-Chek to prick my finger for glucose level and LibreLink patch to monitor my glucose level continuously for 24 hours for 2 weeks every now and then. My average glucose level is now within the normal range of 4 – 10 mmol/L. My estimated HgA1c is 4.9 % (30 mmol/mol). I no longer have Type 2 Diabetes according to the glucose level tests!!!
I have proven to myself that I can lose weight and I no longer have Type 2 Diabetes now. Why I am able to sustain and keep up with my My Flexible 80/20 Eating Rule is because it is extremely simple. All I do is:
- Avoid or minimize my intake on sugar (ie items 1 to 5 of my 80/20 Eating Rule). See the reason in Sugar and Health from YouTube and
- Consume a larger quantity of Fat. (ie item 6 of my 80/20 Eating Rule, a LCHF Diet).
Written on 4 December 2019
Best current Blood Test Markers for Cardiovascular Risk (Heart Attack and Stroke)?
Dr Ken Berry stated (https://youtu.be/FAprJVXq1fE) that for the past 30 years, people have tried and failed to lower their triglycerides and raise their HDL by eating HCLF diets recommended by such websites as American Heart Association (AHA), WebMD and Mayo Clinic. It seems that no matter how hard they tried, they just couldn’t improve these proven risk markers for Heart Attack and Stroke. It turns out that these people were not stupid or lazy or gluttons, the advice they had been given and taken was just WRONG.
People eating a HCLF diet, raises their LDL and they were recommended to take statin to lower their LDL. This HCLF diet has become a dogma by many family physicians.
Many science-based doctors have now recommended a LCHF diet and this has resulted in lowing their triglycerides and Insulin, and raising their HDL and LDL.
A/Prof. Ken Sikaris – ‘Blood Tests to assess your Cardiovascular Risk'” on YouTube on 30 Aug 2014 https://youtu.be/9BFRi-nH1v8 gave a very good explanation on the matter. He summarised the cardiovascular risk as follows:
• 30 years ago
HDL and triglycerides were not important factors to consider
• 20 years ago
Bad cholesterol LDL is a risk factor and
Good cholesterol HDL is a good indicator
• 10 years ago
Modified LDL atherogenic
Oxidised Glycated, Apo(a)/Lp(a), small Dense LDL are important indicators of cardiovascular risk
• Today Aug 30, 2014
Triglycerides is the most important indicator of cardiovascular risk.
The ratio of triglycerides over the HDL is a better indicator than the ratio of total cholesterol over the HDL of the cardiovascular risk. The lower figure gives a better result.
Blood Test for Fats
Fasting triglycerides < 1.0 mmol/L
This is good as it shows that the body is using up the fat
But if Fasting triglycerides > 1.5 mmol/L
Then this is bad as there are more small dense LDL.
You will have lower HDL which is bad for cardiovascular risk.
Dr Nadir Ali questioned (https://youtu.be/qXtdp4BNyOg)
whether raising LDL cholesterol is bad for health when it helps one to:
• Live longer
• Lower Infection Risk
• Lower Cancer Risk
• Better Cognitive Ability
If one is having cardiovascular problems, one may like to listen to the following videos to decide for oneself as to who one would want to follow:
Low carb for doctors: What about cholesterol? By Dr Unwin
“Killing For Profit” – Dr Aseem Malhotra – Presentation at European Parliament
Big Food and Big Pharma killing for profit?
Dr. Aseen Malhotra – The Big Fat Fix & Saturated Fat
Have You Been Lied To About Fat? Nina Teicholz Reveals a The Big Fat Surprise : with Jonathan Bailor
The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet (& What They Don’t…
Dr. Sarah Hallberg – ‘LDL on LCHF’
Reason for LDL Increase for Some on a Low Carb Diet by Dr Stephen Phinney
Lower Your TRIGLYCERIDES Naturally – 2020
The Great Cholesterol & Statin Con
Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. MD, Treating the Cause to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease
David Diamond on Deception in Cholesterol Research: Separating Truth From Profitable Fiction
Cholesterol on Low Carb — Dr. Eric Westman
Dr. Jason Fung: Financial Conflicts of Interests and the End of Evidence-Based Medicine
Lewis Cantley – Obesity, Diabetes and Cancer: The Insulin Connection
Battling Conflicting Diet Information & What The Heck You Should Eat – With Dr. Mark Hyman
Dr. Paul Mason – ‘Saturated fat is not dangerous’
How to NOT have a heart attack (Gary Fettke and Paul Mason)
Researcher comment: The 2-year outcomes of the DiRECT trial | Roy Taylor
Asians Were Skinny On Rice For 1000s Of Years – Then Things Went Terribly Wrong – Doctor Explains
Written on 1 April 2020
If you are taking statin and you have muscle pain, which occurs in 20% or more of patients, then it is vital that you review and listen to what the current published data said about statin.
Dr Aseem Malhotra said that in recent research, if you take ten milligrams of statin every day for the next four years:
- There is an Absolute Risk of one in seventy seven chance or 1.3 % chance of you having a stroke
- The Pharma Industry calculates this as having a Relative Risk of 48% of you having a stroke
This misinformation goes all the way to the established and reputed medical journals.
Dr Aseem Malhotra said that one third of all medical journal articles published in the Lancet, the BMJ and JAMA between 2004 and 2006 have actually mismatched the framing of the reporting to the results.
If treating a disease uses the risk of developing disease from ten to seven in a thousand, the Medical Journal would often report the benefits as a relative risk reduction of 30% but the harm is 0.3% absolute risk
In 2009 a World Health Organization bulletin says it is an ethical imperative that every doctor and patient understand the difference between absolute risk and relative risk to protect patients against unnecessary anxiety and manipulation. This was stated by the man who is probably considered the world leading research on health literacy, Gerd Gigerenger, Director of Harding Centre for risk literacy in Berlin,
Watch “Too Much Medicine & The Great Statin Con – Dr Aseem Malhotra” on YouTube
Watch “Dr. Maryanne Demasi – ‘Statin Wars: Have we been misled by the evidence?'” on YouTube
Watch “The Cholesterol Myth: Heart of the Matter (Part 1)” on YouTube
Watch “Heart of the Matter” Part 2 – Cholesterol Drug War” on YouTube
Watch “Dr. Maryanne Demasi – ‘Who really influences nutrition policy in Australia?'” on YouTube
Watch “Dr. Maryanne Demasi – ‘What is ‘best evidence’? Today’s challenges'” on YouTube
Watch “Dr. Maryanne Demasi: My Experience of Exposing the Statin Controversy” on YouTube
Watch “Statins – a case study in bias, data transparency & censorship, Maryanne Demasi”
Watch “Stents & Statins – Do they work? A top cardiologist’s view” by Dr Aseem Malhotra
“Why Cholesterol May Not Be the Cause of Heart Disease with Dr. Aseem Malhotra”
“Do statins prevent or cause heart disease?” by Dr Nadir Ali
“Dr Nadir Ali (Cardiologist) – Low Carb Diets, Cholesterol, Health – Charity Podcast”
“Episdoe 93: Dr. Nadir Ali – Low Carb Cardiology”
“Dr Nadir Ali on the benefits of LDL cholesterol”
“The Paradox of Insulin Resistance vs LDL Cholesterol In Heart Disease & Diabetes — Dr. Nadir Ali”
Watch “Can “Bad” Cholesterol Be Good?” by Dr Nadir Ali
Watch “Nina Teicholz – ‘Dietary Guidelines & Scientific Evidence'”
Watch “Big Media, Big Pharma, & Big Food Block Nutrition Science – Nina Teicholz – Peak Human Podcast”
Watch “Nina Teicholz interviews Professor Tim Noakes and his wife, Marilyn after their 4 years nightmare.”
Watch “The Truth About Fat featuring Zoe Harcombe, Nina Teicholz & Dr Aseem Malhotra”
Watch “Nina Teicholz – How Big Government Backed Bad Science Made Americans Fat – 05/03/2018”
Watch “Have You Been Lied To About Fat? Nina Teicholz Reveals a The Big Fat Surprise : with Jonathan Bailor”
Watch “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet (& What They Don’t…” by Nina Teicholz
Watch “Women, Low-Fat Diets & Heart Disease w/ Nina Teicholz”
Watch “Eat Fat, Stay Slim with Zoe Harcombe & Nina Teicholz”
Watch “166: Nina Teicholz – Stop Fearing Saturated Fat”
Watch “Statins – who needs them anyways?” by Dr Sanjay Gupta
Watch “House Call: Should I Stop My Statins?” by
Watch “Statins: What you need to know”
Watch “Are Statins a Waste of Time? | This Morning”
Watch “I’m a long-term user of statins: Should I Worry?”
Watch “Statin Intolerance and Diabetes Risk: What Do We Know?”
Watch “Study Confirms What Many Patients Taking Statins Have Said for Years | NBC Nightly News”
Watch “My experience with high cholesterol, statins, and keto”
Watch “Statins: Trivial Benefit at a Great Cost”
Watch “5 Years After Stopping My Statins”
Watch “Why Cholesterol May Not Be the Cause of Heart Disease with Dr. Aseem Malhotra”
Watch “The Truth About Heart Disease & Cholesterol — Dwight Lundell”
Watch “New Guidelines for Treatment of Cholesterol: Prevention of Heart Disease and Stroke”
“David Diamond- Demonization and Deception in Cholesterol Research”
Watch “The True Cause of Heart Disease: A Conversation with Dr. Aseem Malhotra”
Watch “Cardiologist slams Government Dietary Advice in Parliamentary Speech” Dr. Aseem Malhotra
Watch “STATIN WARS! Health Jedi Dr Aseem Malhotra vs Rory Collins”
“The Biggest “Drug” to Reverse or Prevent Heart Disease Isn’t a Medication”
“Making Heart Attacks History: Caldwell Esselstyn at TEDxCambridge 2011”
Watch “Episode 41 Dr David Diamond the role of fat, cholesterol, and statin drugs in heart diease”
Watch “Dr. Mercola & Dr. Diamond on Heart Disease & Statins”
Watch “Statins – David Diamond STEM 41 – Relative Risk – FORD BREWER MD MPH”
Watch “Dr Jason Fung: To Lose Weight, You MUST control Insulin”
The “Forlax” did not give me better relief for my constipation.
I checked with another doctor; whose elderly father has constipation problem as well.
She recommended using prune juice as well as “Lactus”. These appears to be a better combination for me for the time being.
Written on 9 May 2020
Coping with Crisis and Grief (III)
On 9/6/20, I was told that one of my relative had cancer and on 11/6/20 I wrote the advice to advice the family what to expect and do as follows:
Most of us are not taught how to cope with crisis and grief. We have no understanding of the process involved. In our lifetime we will encounter many crises. It is thus to our advantage to learn for ourselves how to cope with crisis.
Any significant change in our circumstances or loss will cause us to grief. For instance:
Changes in health
A loved one’s serious illness
Forced to change job
Loss of financial stability
Changes in working arrangement during Covid-19
In 2017 I did not know that I was grieving when I had recurrences of liver cancer. I had recorded my experiences on pages 36 and 105 in my https://jameslau88.com/battling_liver_cancer_for_20_years.pdf
It was then that I have found the best presentation in the internet on:
Coping with Grief and Loss
Understanding the Grieving Process and Learning to Heal
Coping with Grief and Loss
It is also very enlightening to note how Jesus went through the same normal human emotions at Gethsemane, in Mark 14:33-34 (NIV), Matthew 26:37-38, 44 (NIV), Luke 22:42-44 (NIV), such as:
Prayed more earnestly
An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him
We are all unique and we will response differently. It is all right to have a roller coaster ride with up and down, high and low with our emotions. We should not berate ourselves on how we feel. We must affirm our emotions!!!
It is vitally important to understand that a big part of the healing process of grieving was an automatic seeking out of face-to-face support from our family members, close friends who care and are close to us, and to pray constantly.
Written on 9 June 2020
11th MRI Results
On 12/6/20, yesterday, I received my 11th MRI results. It showed that:
Segment 8/4a has increased from 1.9 to 5.3 cm
Segment 2/3 has increased from 1.9 to 2.1 cm
While the rest are largely unchanged
Segment 2 dome is 2.1 cm
Segment 2 is 1.8 cm
Segment 2 is 3.1 cm
Segment 1/2 is 1.3 cm
I was down hearted, disappointed and sad with the results. I was hoping for a good result as I have been cutting down on my sugar and starchy carbohydrates for more than 9 months, since October 2019.
The day before on 11/6/20, I was advising a relative who has cancer on how to “Cope with Loss and Grief.” I also passed the article to others. Was it a co-incidence or God-incidence that I have to walk my talk with my advice?
I revisited my article and reflected on what I have written. To cope and to heal with any “new” normal or circumstances, I have to quickly accept and move on with living my life with joy. I must not imprison myself in a rut and be depressed.
I find that the processes of emotional healing are:
- Befriend my pain—Get more acquainted with my unique suffering. Have the courage to embrace my fear and brokenness. Cry over my special sadness. Affirm my grief.
- Place my suffering under the blessing—If I see the situation negatively then I am placing it under a curse. But if I choose to see the “new” situation positively then I am placing it under a blessing. It is my choice. I can then see that I need help from God, friends, family and doctors to actively find the equivalent benefits.
- Face my sadness—Be not afraid to pour out my anxiety and doubts to my family members or close friends, in a face-to-face encounter, to seek comfort and support. I know that they cannot do much, but it is therapeutic to voice my pain. They should not treat this occasional outpouring as unnecessary self-pity or endless griping.
- Listen to the still small voice—Go to my God, Jesus, for support and listen to a phrase, a word, an article or an angel in the form of a person unconsciously carrying me through my abyss. I need another human being to survive in this VUCAD (Vulnerable, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous, Disruptive) world.
- Move on—Learn to quickly accept my pain and move on living my life with joy.
Today, I am more at peace. I am glad that there was NO new tumor. I will concentrate my energy to fight my liver cancer. I will brace myself not to waste my energy in being fearful and anxious. Be brave and not be afraid. There is much to look forward to—so long as there is life.
I am blessed by God to be able to survive for more than 21 years of liver cancer. It was a tough fight but in today’s medical advanced world there is life—even with cancer. Don’t ever give up the fight!!!
Written on 13 June 2020
Placing my Suffering under the Blessing
God has been gracious and merciful to me and I am grateful. God has seen me through for the past 21 years in my battle with my liver cancer. I am blessed and it is a miracle that I have lasted so long.
God has given me a free will to choose to focus on Him, on the positive and on the blessings.
It is vitally important that I concentrate on the blessings and be thankful.
It is wonderful that I have a God who is love and who can transform my heart whenever I go to Him. But I am not a robot and thus I must affirm my humanness. That means I failed often but I also need to Affirm my feelings which are not always positive. I failed and must not play the victim card or the unlucky one or be negative or unforgiving. I can always go to Him 70 x 7 times and know He will transform me to be kind and patient and to be able to hear His still small voice in whatever forms.
Today I saw the Interventional Radiologist and Nuclear Medicine doctors. By being able to “hear” the still small voice, I am quick to seize the day to get both the doctors to schedule me to start my nuclear medicine Y-90 and the mapping procedure this coming Thursday. It is fantastically fast and early. Only 3 days away. I was able to get the nurse to schedule me such that I don’t have to come one day earlier to wait for the procedure.
I must always remember that I am human and spiritual at the same time and I can go to my loving God to ask for support, comfort and transformation endlessly. And to know and have faith that He will never turn away anyone who comes to Him.
I intent to fight my cancer with God’s help and the support of family, relatives, doctors and friends. I will give it a good fight. I may be knocked down every now and then, but I hope not to be knocked out. It has been 21 rounds or 21 years fight already!!! Hurray for supporting me. I am still going strong!!!
Written on 15 June 2020
Yes, I am certain that God’s hand is in the quick and neat schedule. Thank you, God.
I forgot to mention that yesterday I asked the nuclear medicine doctor whether he could place the Y-90 on both the right and left lobes on the same occasion. He said that my last liver function test results showed that I am able to take it. Although many preferred to do them, one lobe at a time, to be relatively safer. I told him I choose to do them together as I do not want to do too many procedures if I could help it. He agreed but would confirm my preference when yesterday’s liver function tests are known later. He asked whether I prefer the procedure to be done through my hand or groin. I told him I would leave it to the doctor’s preference as I could tolerate either. It is so fantastic to be given the time to ask questions and to be told the risks and given the options to choose. I am able to choose because I have done the procedure before. My objectives for recording my details are to share my experience. We are all unique and we will respond differently. That’s OK.
Written on 16 June 2020
Unconditional Trust when I Suffer from the Book of Job in YouTube
I agree with Dr Mack that I must be strong and remain strong to fight the liver cancer. But how to be strong with such a tough opponent? People will respond differently. That’s to be expected.
I have been fighting this liver cancer for the past 21 years and being human, it would be easy, for me, to place this suffering in the negative. This to me means—to moan, whine, complain endlessly, grumble, self-pity, be a victim and be in despair. The courageous part is to stay strong and remain strong and to place my suffering in the positive—to find the blessing in and through the suffering!! For this I need constant support and reminders from family, friends and God.
I believe in God. My God is a loving God who is gracious, wise, compassionate, merciful and purposeful to me. So how do I reconcile this unconditional loving God with my 21 years of suffering?
Suffering is a complex, ambiguous and disruptive topic (CAD). To have a clearer understanding of the subject I go to the Book of Job in the Bible. There are 42 chapters on suffering and the discourse on suffering between Job and his three friends on why God allow, permit, or even created suffering for individuals are such an informative and educational read. Unfortunately, it is not easy to interpret it. I need help from various writers on the subject. For I believe that if I have a correct understanding of it, I will be able to put my suffering under the blessing.
To simplify and summarize my understanding, I come to the following conclusions:
God loves me unconditionally, but do I trust God unconditionally when I suffer? It is easy to trust God when He fulfills my conditions, but can I unconditionally trust God? Yes, with no conditions from me!!! Can I accept in my mind and heart the following statements?
- The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away (Job 1:21 NIV)
- Accept whatever He gives—and give whatever He takes with a big smile. (Mother Teresa–A Gift for God, pg 47)
- God has a plan for me, and He is in charge of my life
On 18/6/2020, I had the mapping for the nuclear medicine Y-90 carried out. This mapping is to embolize (block) the nuclear medicine from spreading from the liver to the gut and lung. If it succeeds, then I can go for the nuclear medicine Y-90 (Yttrium 90) to be introduced to the tumors in my liver later. I had done this Y-90 in 2017 and it was good. But, in 2000 when I was given the nuclear medicine of radioactive iodine, there was no embolizing and the nuclear radioactive iodine spread to my guts and heart, and I developed high fever to fight the spread. I had to be hospitalized for 42 days. It was a terrible and awful experience.
To stay strong for the procedure, I needed to be brave myself, so I revisited and listened to the various interpretation on the Book of Job in the Internet below. In the procedure there was no GA or local anesthesia. I was fully awake, and the wiring was introduced through my left wrist as my preferred means instead of through the groin to my liver. During the process the Interventional Radiologist kept asking me, a few times, whether it was painful along the way. My belief is that if I trust that God is in charge of my life, I should not stop the doctor from proceeding as the doctor has planned to do. At one of the later stages, I felt my heart at one time to be painful and kidney to be painful too. But I could endure and stand the pain and thus let the procedure continue. As I prayed for strength and diversion, I kept focusing on Jesus walking on the water or Jesus’ promise that He will never turn away anyone who comes to Him. I was tired but the procedure went well, and I was able to come home in the evening instead of staying in the hospital to recuperate. I remained strong.
I find the following YouTube programs to be very useful and some of you may find them to be so:
Job: When the Righteous Suffer – John Piper (Part 1)
Job: When the Righteous Suffer – John Piper (Part 2)
The Book of Job – Part 1/2 (Derek Prince) – Job and his accusing friends
The Book of Job – Part 2/2 (Derek Prince) – GOD challenges Job
The Questions of A Man In Agony on Job by Ravi Zacharias
Why Suffering? Finding Meaning in our Difficult World by Ravi Zacharias
“The Book of Job (Part 1)” – Pastor Doug Batchelor
Hedge of God (Part 2) – Pastor Doug Batchelor
Despair & Faithless Friends (Part 3) – Pastor Doug Batchelor
The Big Questions of Life (Part 4) – Pastor Doug Batchelor
A Reflection of Christ (Part 5)” – Pastor Doug Batchelor
Trust God! – Charles R. Swindoll
Charles R. Swindoll – Let God lead you one step at a time
God’s Purpose in Our Pain (2 Cor 12:7-10) John MacArthur
John MacArthur: Why Does God Allow So Much Suffering and Evil
Learn How To Trust God’s Timing with Rick Warren
Joel Osteen – Unconditional Trust
John Piper: The Glory of God in the Midst of Affliction
The Book of Job – Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz
“God on Trial” – the theology of Job – Part 1 – Stephen Bohr
“God on Trial” – the theology of Job – Part 2 – Stephen Bohr
Leonard Ravenhill Sermon – Job
Why God Allows Suffering? Part 1 (Job 1) Pastor Greg Laurie
Why God Allows Suffering? Part 2 Pastor Greg Laurie
Have You Considered My Servant Job”- Jimmy Swaggart at FWC
Let Go and Trust God
Written on 19 June 2020
The battle is not mine but The Lord’s!
In May 2017 I had my first nuclear medicine Y-90 treatment on cancer tumours of 6.3 cm in Segment 8 and in Segment 5 of 0.9 cm. Segment 8 was successfully done while Segment 5 was not successful. I responded well to Y-90 treatment.
My forth coming battle is going to be a major one. My 11th MRI report showed that:
Cancer tumour in Segment 8/4a has increased from 1.9 cm to 5.3 cm
Cancer tumour in Segment 2/3 has increased from 1.9 cm to 2.1 cm
While the rest of the cancer tumours are largely unchanged
Segment 2 dome is 2.1 cm
Segment 2 is 1.8 cm
Segment 2 is 3.1 cm
Segment 1/2 is 1.3 cm
On 30/6/20 I will be having Y-90 treatment for all 6 tumours simultaneously.
On 18/6/20 the mapping showed that all the 6 tumours can be treated at one go. So I have to prepare my mind and heart to stay strong for the procedure. How? I have to go to the Lord and believe that this battle belongs to the Lord and is not mine alone. I must also believe that the Lord is sovereign and the outcome is under His authority.
Does this mean that I do nothing and take no part? No. Far from it!! Learning from what I have read and listened to, I have a parallel responsibility to do my best, which includes consulting the best sources to cope with my situation; seek the help of wise people whom God has given the gift or talent to help me. I also go to the Internet to listen and mine the gold nuggets from the various speakers but also understand there are lots of fake and/or vested interest information out there. I do my utmost and I trust God with the healing and outcome.
It is important for me to focus on the Lord which is to pray to Him and to lean on Him and not focus on my circumstance. Thus I choose to place my suffering under the blessing, which means that I choose to concentrate on the positive aspect, not the negative.
What are the blessings? It took me a while to realise my blessings. I could have died 21 years ago due to my liver cancer then. I thank God for His blessings—His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness, His comfort, His strength, His support, His compassion, His patience, His kindness, His hope, His joy.
I believe that in the due process of suffering and overcoming it with God’s help, I can be strengthened and transformed to serve and to share with others in their trying circumstances. I will have the capacity to be more empathic and more humane so as to be able to extend:
Grace—I give it even if the person doesn’t deserve it.
Mercy—I don’t try to extract my due.
Forgiveness—I forgive more readily.
Comfort—Give a word or two of cheer.
Strength—Be strong and brave; and Fear Not.
Support—Allocate time to listen to the expressed pain.
Compassion—Understand his pain and pray for him.
Patience—Patiently bearing the shortcomings of others.
Kindness—I seek to ease his pain, anxiety, fear or anger.
Gratitude—Always say “thank you” with a smile.
Hope—Hope in the Lord and never give up on people.
Joy—The fruit of service is joy.
Please pray for my Y-90 to be successful.
Thank you once again.
I find the following videos helpful:
The battle is not yours but The Lord’s!
The Battle Belongs to the Lord by Max Lucado
Joyce Meyer – 2020 The Battle Belongs to the Lord
Joyce Meyer – Choosing to Trust God Sermon 2017
Joyce Meyer – 2020 Let God Fight Your Battles
10 Power Thoughts For Triumph – Joyce Meyer
Who is God? 2 Chronicles 20 – Ravi Zacharias
Joel Osteen Let God fight your battles for you
Dr. John Goetsch: The Battle is the Lord’s
Charles R. Swindoll – The battle is not yours but The Lords!
Pr Pavel Goia – “The Battle Belongs to the Lord” – 21st Apr 2018
Mark Finley – “When God Fights Your Battles”
God’s Victory, 2 Chronicles 20:17 – Pastor Chuck Smith
The Battle Belongs to the Lord – Rev Edmund Chan
Lord Help! by Dr David Jeremiah
Our Anchor In Times of Storm – Dr. Charles Stanley
The Battle is Not Yours, The Battle is the Lords, Rev. Dr. JoAnn Browning
The Battle Is Not Yours, But The Lord’s – Rev. Dr. J. Anthony Lloyd
THE BATTLE IS NOT YOURS, BUT GOD’S – Gabriel Swaggart
How to Fight in the Battle – Pastor Todd Cobbs 2 Chronicles 20:1-30
How We Fight Our Battles – Pastor Bill Johnson 2 Chronicles 20
Written on 25 June 2020
Re-framing the Y-90 Treatment
I agree wholeheartedly with what Dr Mack advised me below:
“it is often tough to go through an illness journey alone, so . . . you need to do is to get support from others, i.e. family, friends and peers. This is the core purpose of our support group. We are here to support each other mentally and emotionally. It is emotionally beneficial if you can share your feelings and experiences more with others whom you can trust. And for this reason, I feel it is important to keep our chat group vibrant, relevant and emotionally supportive.
These are actually things that we all already know but need to remind each other now and again.”
Last night I discussed with my wife my situation again. I told her that even with all the support from family, friends and the Liver n Pancreas Support Group, I still, every now and then, feel stressed and tense. I have listened to various pastors for the past few days to give me the strength and courage to brace myself to be at ease with the coming Y-90 procedure on 30/6/20. I have even gone to see my priest for prayer and an anointing with oil on my forehead and palms. I know that I must focus on God and not on my situation in order to be positive, but I can’t help being anxious. Why?
During our discussion I was directed by the Spirit of God to look at my situation differently. All along, I have framed my Y-90 procedure as a major one because I wanted all the 6 tumours to be treated simultaneously. The Holy Spirit made me see that I should view the Y-90 as only targeting the biggest cancer tumor and happens to cover the 5 smaller ones along the way as a bonus. Whether two more of the other 5 tumours can be treated, depends on the doctors’ assessment of my condition. The moment I see my situation this way, I felt the whole load drop off my back!!!
I had done the Y-90 in 2017 and I had taken it well then. I feel good and at peace now!!!
Written on 29 June 2020
Y-90 Treatment carried out on 30/6/20
I was asked, “They did one? Or all?” the day after the Y-90 procedure.
I answered, “All except two tiny ones, which the doctors feel would be too risky to do. They said that they did the largest tumour in one liver lobe and the tiny one beside it was in another lobe so it would be too risky to go to another vein to get to this tiny one. The other tiny one, they mentioned was too near another organ. They said that sometimes the Y-90 may be able to have some effect on the tiny one. If not, then they will do TACE later. I asked whether they can do RFA on them. They said no because it is too near some organs..
I am very happy with the Y-90 procedure. It went very well with me. I am grateful to God, the medical team, family and friends who rally around me and my wife.”
I was formerly advised that the normal procedure is to do one liver lobe at a time. During the preliminary discussion with the nuclear medicine doctor, I asked whether he could do all the 6 tumours, which were in different lobes, simultaneously. He said that it was done before and if my liver function test is ok, he will do as I have wanted.
After the Y-90 procedure was done, the nuclear medicine doctor mentioned that my liver is about half the normal liver size due to the many procedures that were done to it. He has made provision for my small size liver and has provided sufficient Y-90 to take care of the various tumours. He was happy with what he has done and felt good and reassured me that I should be ok. As usual, I asked whether I could go back home the same evening and he said I should be ok but wait for the ward doctor to monitor my condition. He told me he has read my book which I have given him before the procedure. He praised me and told me that I am a fighter!! A doctor told me that I, being at ease, must have also help the doctor to proceed with confidence and his best. I cannot ask for more.
All along, I have framed my Y-90 treatment as a major one because I wanted all the 6 tumours to be treated simultaneously. I felt the Lord has made me see that I should view the Y-90 as only targeting the biggest cancer tumour and happen to cover the 5 smaller ones along the way as a bonus. Whether two more of the other 5 tumours can be treated, depends on the doctors’ assessment of my condition. The moment I see my situation this way, I felt the whole load drop off my back!!! I was not under stress and tension anymore.
What have I learnt from this short episode? It is important for me to do my own part to be at easefor any critical procedure. It is to concentrate and choose, with God’s help, on:
- The positive instead of the negative
- The challenges instead of the problems
- The sky instead of the mud
- The healing words instead of the hurtful words
- The forgiveness instead of the vengeance
- The understanding instead of bitterness
- Life instead of death
- Love instead of hatred
- Blessing instead of curse
- Being relaxed instead of being stressed
- Hope instead of despair
I am thankful for all the help, prayers and support that was offered. One never knows what a word or a phrase can do to get a person across the abyss. We just do our part to make our lives happy by helping others where we can. I feel good when I can contribute with my write up.
There will be crisis in life, and I have to learn to accept it quickly and move on with joy and to live life as best as I can.
Written on 3 July 20 20
My 12 th MRI was done on 28/7/20
On 3/8/20 I saw the Interventional Radiologist and the results showed that:
The multifocal HCC are largely stable in size but show less intense arterial enhancement. They are in:
Dome of segment 4a/8 measuring 5.5 cm
Dome of segment 2 posteriorly, 1.8 cm
Segment 2 posteriorly, 1.4 cm
Segment 2, 1.9 cm
Segment 2, 3.4 cm
Segment 2, 2.1 cm
There are also several subcentimetre T2 hyperintense and arterial enhancing lesions. HCC are not excluded. For example,
Segment 4a adjacent to the largest lesion
Segment 4b x 2
Segment 3 posteriorly
The Interventional Radiologist was quite happy with the results. It showed less intense arterial enhancement. He has scheduled the next MRI to be carried out in November.
Realistically, I was a little disappointed with the result as it has shown 4 new lesions. I could focus on the storm which is raging and be dis-spirited and in despair. Or I can concentrate on Jesus and be hopeful and optimistic. I trust Him and the final result I will leave it to Him.
Written on 3 August 2020
My Zoom Talk on 8 August 2020
The Liver and Pancreas Support Group (LPSG) organized a Zoom Talk for me to give a presentation on My Recent Experience with Y-90 Treatment.
The Zoom Talk was captured by phone in the videos below:
Written on 12 August 2020
For those who wishes to read Appendixes 1 to 26, please click on the relevant items.