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"Family conference" with the Doctors

Each time Kor catches me stoning. He would ask what's on my mind. 10 Feb 2017 - I decided to pen down my thoughts...

To Kor,

We've no idea how much time we have together, kor. I feel I have so much to tell you. But I don't know how to start. I've had this conversation in my head like a million times. I don't know when is a good time. It's another one of those conversations that there would never be a good time for. Like what kuku Alan said the other day on your bed, about talking to Mommy.

How do I start I don't want to make u feel not-good. But if I don't say it. I don't think you'll ever know. I mean, I'm sure you are smart enough to guess the gist. But I'm sure there are many more feelings you won't know.

So I waited for the right time, but every time we are alone. I'm not ready. I can't get pass the first line without tearing up. How would I be able to finish the rest of the things I want to say...


Feb 10, 2017. Friday

💭 11.41: Orchard Road. Standing at the crossroad in the middle of Orchard Road. The sun shining unusually mercilessly today, as if attempting to dry up my tears.

I have your PET Scan report in my hand. I tried reading it 10 minutes ago, when it was freshly printed out from the clinic's printer. Where I just argued with the guy that our surname is Tan Yeo. "Stop telling me it's registered as 'Tan', obviously another ignorant idiot did the registration."

I tried reading the report. I don't understand a freaking think its saying. I'm guessing it's serious... why else are you feeling this way.

Orchard Road

💭 11.52: on the train now on the way to TTSH.

My eyes are red. My nose stuffed. You'll know I've been crying... in fact, crying quite periodically ever since I woke up at 9.45am. I'd blame it on the article you wrote about Mama's departure. You'll know I read it as I shared it. But I don't think I'll talk to you about it, mentioning about Mama would make you sad too.

I shared the article along with this line you wrote. I agree totally, but I've never found the strength to ignore the things that are urgent, for the things that are important. But today's a good day. I've applied a full day leave to spend time with you. You are important, kor. I'm sorry it took such circumstance before I fought for time off for things which are important.

"So here is a truth: There are things which are urgent and things which are important and life is such that the things which are urgent leave no time for the things which are important."

💭 12.02: walked in the doors of TTSH.

Walked passed so many people who gave me weird looks. I must look horrible now, but it didn't seem to matter.

1 hour to the "family conference" with the Doctors. We have so many questions to ask, so many things we want to insist.

Can they just wash the lungs and put it back? Or can they take my lungs and put it into you? Take my liver too! Anything you want.

You know, when I told Kenny about your cancer. He said not to worry. People can live with one lung, and also probably part of the liver. He naively gave me hope. But it made me happy for a bit.

I walked, and found myself at the taxi stand where we hang out every night. The tears couldn't stop flowing. I can't face you.

Please give me and our family strength to sit through this meeting.

TTSH Taxi Stand

💭 12.12: TTSH Taxi Stand.

I guess I should go up to the ward soon. I'll grab a strawberry milk/shake. Maybe it'll make me happier. They always do.

Thinking back, it might have been you who introduced Milkshakes to me. I remember you use to pay crazy amounts for milkshakes from Haagen Daz when we went out for movies.

No milkshakes. The fruit store at the food court did not have strawberries. Do I get another fruit? Hmm... I'll get strawberry milk from Cheers then.

HL Strawberry Milk

💭 12.36: waiting outside the ward.

I finally arrived at Ward 7D, Bed 140. You were sleeping, or trying to sleep. You were fidgeting in the sheets, with the blue micro-simi cloth over your eyes. The sight quite heart-breaking. You have always been a light sleeper.

"Sleep on and off..." the nurse told me with a smile, so caring. I said I'll wait outside.

I needed clear my thoughts. My tears. And all these mess in my head.

💭 12.44: toilet.

LOL went to the toilet and got reminded that I wore a red panty for good luck for today's meeting. Hahaha. Too much info.

- End of live update cus too many things happened after this -


- Edit: updating on 20/4/2017 -

The above mentioned Family Conference happened after Kor was readmitted to TTSH on Mon 6th Feb 2017.

He was readmitted one day before his appointment on the 7th to meet with the oncologist to discuss the treatment. He was feeling breathless. After admission, they said that the meeting would be cancelled. We were fighting to see the oncologist still, for cancelling would also mean delaying in treatment. The nurses explained that there was change in his condition, thus the meeting would be futile. After which, this meeting was set up. Anyhow, the Tanyeos won't give up without a fight.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I went back into the ward with the test report in my bag. I didn't know whether I should show it to him... Decided not to, for the results might cause more stress to him.

I managed to catch Kor awake when I went back to ward again. He wanted to go down for a smoke. We debated for quite some time with the nurse before she reluctantly gave in.

Godma and Godpa joined us for the meeting. Thankfully. As I would not be able to handle the massive information, or whatever info or decision that needs to be made. They were slightly late as they detoured to Toa Payoh to pick Mommy up. Thanks to the road works from CTE exit into Tpy.

Cheryl was also rushing over from work. Her office so kindly paused the meeting they were having just for her to leave the office for this meeting.

Even at that point of time, probably less than 5 minutes before the meeting was scheduled to start, we didn't know if Kor would be joining it. We kinda left it up to him.

As expected, he wanted to join the meeting. He was very "hands-on" on all the decision making and discussions. He was very very conscious till the end.

Godma called a few times, and the nurses too... to hurry us back to the ward. Cheryl arrived the same time we were on the way up. We went up together.

They gathered us in a small conference room in the corner of another ward on the same level.


It was the first time I met the Oncologist. The Respiratory Doctor was there too. And the Palliative Care Team.

The Oncologist took centre stage. He chaired the main seat, while the rest of the doctors & team sat on his left. The Oncologist was a middle age man, super soft spoken. He spoke so gently we could hardly hear him. He was one of the most experienced oncologists in TTSH; he was with great honour he look after kor.

On his left was kor on the wheelchair. I sat beside kor, with Cheryl on my other side. And then it was Godpa who was directly opposite the oncologist... followed by Godma, then Mommy. Mommy and the palliative team completed the circle, or rather rectangle.

The meeting started with the Oncologist introducing his team. "We work as a team."

I smiled at him, "here's my team. We work as a team too.... I'm Chelsea, his sis. Cheryl, youngest sis. Uncle, Aunty and Mom."

He started his introduction with Kor's condition. At that point of time, they were still unable to find the source of the cancer. Cancer of unknown primary origin... only around tiny 3 to 5% of cancer patients fall into this category.

(Kor, you need so special a not!! Even cause of death also need be special...)

Most cancers typically present as a single primary tumor. Over the course of time—particularly if the primary tumor is left untreated—smaller "satellite" tumors will appear at other places in the body, a phenomenon known as metastasis. Less commonly, a metastatic tumor is found first; but in most such cases, the primary tumor can then be located via examination and testing. Rarely (3-5% of the time), the primary tumor cannot be found because it is too small, or because it has regressed due to immune system activity or other factors. In such situations a diagnosis of cancer of unknown primary origin (CUP) is made.

-Wikipedia (Signs and symptoms)

They found cancer cells in the lungs, liver and something else. But there were no lumps/tumour to prove the source. ie, there were no lumps in the lungs to attest it as lung cancer.

And they did all the tests that they could already MRI, PET scan, colonoscopy... scan every part of the body possible. But they can't find the site. Which according to Wiki (see above), it could be because it was found out too late, and the primary tumour had already dispersed to different parts of the body. And quite obviously transplant of organs was not an option.


Then, he discussed the routes of treatment.

If they found the source of the cancer, they would be able to give direct treatment to kill the source first. Followed by killing the rest of the cancer cells. But that was not the situation now. So he could only suggest general chemo. BUT only after the infection in his lungs clear.

To complicate things, kor's lung was producing liquid.

And he was running a fever (signs of infection, or could also be because of the cancer). Which was some stupid rare infection which they can't recognise, thus have no specific cure for.

(Kor!! Simi rare infection. Can you please not be so special?!!??!!??)

Halfway through the meeting, I walked out to get water for kor who was coughing. I was thankful for the breather. Too much information for my brain to understand. There were so many questions.

Godpa too, was so anxious. He was already asking a million questions before the doctor could finish what he wanted to say.

Kor made his stand very clear. That he did not want to be on life support. That the doctors do not need to try to extend his life if it was dependent on machines.

The doctors were open to us obtaining second opinion from other hospitals. Which we told them that we would.


After the meeting, on the way back to the bed. Godma gave me a faint smile... and then a frown.

"It's not that bad, right?"

I replied, "Ya. There is still hope. It's not as bad as Kor made it seem. So scary."

Cheryl left for work. While the rest of us, and kor, when for lunch at the sandwich cafe, O'Briens. Kor forced himself to eat; he wanted to build up his body to be stronger to fight the cancer.

We didn't talk much about what was discussed at the meeting. Instead, gossiping about the age of the oncologist, and other random stuff.

That evening, kor friends came over. They played cards.

Ku George and Kim Gwen came over too. They met Mommy and me at Toast Box.

I repeated the content of this morning's meeting to them. Kim Gwen had a cousin who is a powerful Oncologist in another hospital. She would introduce us, he had so kindly agreed to review Kor's case to give a second opinion. (So thankful for his kindness)

After they left, Ee Lilian and Uncle John came. They brought us dinner. Cheryl came too after work.


That day was crazy. We were all praying for the infection would go away.

❤ ❤ ❤

The longest two-month fight the family gone through.



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