Updates in the new 2013 year

I haven’t really been posting much. Blame it on the slow Internet, or the fact that I don’t get to stay home most evenings. But yeah, I’ve been a lazy blogger.

A part of it is because of fear.

Having a blog has historically not been a good thing. Two of my exes were dismayed upon knowing that I’ve kept a blog. Not long after finding out, we broke up. Not that I would blame this blog for the relationships’ demise, but yeah. Usually, after disclosing that I’ve kept a blog, my relationship very soon after go kaputz. 🙁

The second reason is that I’ve been busy. Why you ask? Well, let me count the ways:

1) My dad was diagnosed with liver cancer.

Last September 2012, my dad started feeling weak and his stool became bloody. It came to a point that he was so pale and weak that we rushed him to the hospital.

Thankfully, it was just an ulcer which was quickly remedied.

Unfortunately, while doing an ultrasound, we discovered that his problem was more serious than an ulcer. He was diagnosed with a large tumor on his liver, which turned out to be malignant.

It was 7 cm in length, which is considered to be Stage 4 and big. Usually, tumors around 4 cm is already a cause for alarm.

In October 2012, we tried to fight the cancer via an innovative procedure called Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT). Using SIRT, doctors would carefully blast the cancerous area with teeny-tiny radioactive beads.

The treatment itself was expensive, yet necessary. For one, my dad is already 79 years old and could not tolerate the physical stress of chemotherapy.

Second, the tumor was limited thankfully within the liver area and had not spread, so there was no need for us to blast his entire body would radiation. Treatment could simply be specific to the area.

And lastly, alternative treatment like a liver transplant or blasting the tumor would be dangerous for his age and the tumor’s size. So this was what we felt as his family as the only viable choice.

We have already been in and out of hospitals since then.

ImageThough my dad was one of the lucky ones, and his tumor has relatively remained the same size, his red blood cells kept on dropping. Hence, we had to transfuse blood every month (one was last December, and once again this January).

Average counts are around the 120-140 level, but his RBCs keep on dropping down to the 80s. Blood transfusion usually lasts only an overnight and we could go home soon afterwards.

This month however, the stay was a tad longer.

His bile duct was blocked by the tumor and had to be released externally via a procedure called PTBD. This procedure required the doctor to insert a stent via the bile duct to ensure that the bile would have a means of escape. Left untreated, the bile in the liver would cause jaundice, itchy skin and even infection.

Thankfully, through God’s grace, we’ve also managed to fight this fire through a team of the best doctors in St. Luke’s Global.

How my dad will be — he remains stable and we’re set to go home by Saturday. However, given his cancer, I think this problem would be one of many and there would be repeated hospital visits in the near future. As the youngest daughter, I am usually with my mom as we both take care of my dad in the hospital.

My dad had been complaining about the long hospital stay. Financially, it is expensive, but dad being cranky 24/7 is another challenge altogether.

It’s not easy, but such is life.

My only prayer is that it won’t be too often, and hopefully, the tumor would no longer grow, and his life would be extended more than the doctors had hoped.

2) Xiamen for the Christmas and New Year’s season.

As a family, we traveled to Xiamen for 10 days, from December 26 to January 3.  Xiamen has been my dad’s hometown (he was born in Amoy, China), and given his condition, the doctors encouraged him to go on a trip to get his mind away from his health worries.

It was also great for us to spend time as a family. Especially with us children managing the family business, we haven’t really had the time to spend with dad. And it’s important that we do, especially at this time.

So what did we do there?

Well, there were tons of eating!

Note to everyone: Everyone goes to Beijing and Shanghai, but seriously, Xiamen food is really really nice.

On our first evening, we ate at the Zhuang Yuan Lo Shi Fu restaurant. The place was on top of a mountain in the middle of the city. To get there, you had to walk up the steps and take the elevator to reach this restaurant’s private rooms.

The food is so-so but the evening scenery is amazing. Make sure to bring a jacket. You even get yourself a private room!


Quite memorable was the Good Taste bone marrow hotpot restaurant.

I think it was dad’s favorite. It was so good on the first try…


…that we went back two more times (!). My brother even thought that hotpot was Xiamen’s national dish because we had it very often this trip.

There was also the crab and tofu hotpot, orange pork and healthy pork knuckle at SweetOne in Wanda Mall in Xiamen:


Fresh steamed crab, oyster cake, and broiled duck in a potful of ginger:Image

Those are seaworms inside the jelly. You eat these dipped in soy sauce and wasabi, similar to how you eat sushi. One time try is good enough for me. 🙂

And we also had the following: Food treated to us by supplier, eating at the night market, having a Thai lunch, and having fresh seafood.

Image night market Thaiseafood

Xiamen was like food galore. I wanted to cut back because I didn’t want to get fat, but I couldn’t. The food was just so good.

It was great though — we had the best food, thanks to my parents wanting us to try what Xiamen had to offer. Probably gained a kilo or two from the entire experience. But no matter. 🙂

To be continued…

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