Dear Dr. Teo,
Last week, our father was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He is 76. There is a tumour the size of an egg on the floor of the stomach. The doctor estimates it to be at stage 3 based on the size. We asked him to estimate as my father has yet to go for a CT scan. We told my father that the doctor said he needed to go for one but he declined. He has never had much faith in western medicine.
The fact is, we have not told him of the cancer yet as we are fearful of the negative effect it might have on him. We have no idea how he might react to the news. He is a very determined and disciplined man and has always prided himself on keeping fit and healthy and he may not be able to accept his condition. For now, not telling him would at least keep him positive.
We read about your services and are interested in seeing you this weekend if that’s possible (without my dad). We are from Melaka. Would you still be open to seeing us? We would appreciate it very much if we could consult you.
Hoping to hear from you soon. God bless.
Reply: No need to come and see me, driving all the way…I don’t think keeping it away from him is the answer — and you all are trying to do something for him is NO use, waste of your time. It must be the patient who wants to heal himself not you or me. And more so if he does not even want to do a scan — so everyone is blind. How to help when the helpers are blind? Also there is no cure for stomach cancer.
Thanks for your prompt reply. We appreciate your candour. We understand that it is inevitable that our dad has to know about his condition. We also realise that in order for any consultation to be beneficial, we must first convince our dad to do a CT scan. After which we hope to see you for a consultation. Although there is no cure for stomach cancer, we would be grateful for any help in easing the pain and discomfort that will surely come.
We don’t mind making the trip. Once again, our gratitude for taking time out to assist us.
Reply: There is NO purpose of coming to see me anyway. What can I do more than to say that you need to do a CT scan. And I have to talk to the patient to tell him what to do exactly. And he must want to change. Talking to you and your brothers and sister is a waste of time. It will not serve any purpose. I would rather spend my time with those whom I know I can help. In this case, it is a losing game from the very beginning.
We understand. We will only arrange to see you if we have the CT scan and if our dad is willing to come as well. Thanks once again. God bless.
We are sorry to bother you again. You have been very patient with us thus far and we pray that by writing to you again does not agitate you in any way. You said that we should do a CT scan but we were wondering whether a gastroscopy (including DVD) cum histopathology report would suffice?
We also understand that you will only see our dad but we hope that you may make an exception. Our dad is a complicated man and while that may have no bearing on you, we would hope for your understanding that we as his children are also victims of this dreaded disease. His wife, our mother, is suffering just as much. You may say that it is a waste of your time but we beg to differ. Although you may regard him as a lost cause, please consider the fact that while you may be unable to cure him, you will at the very least be helping his wife and children make a concerted attempt to make his remaining time with us as comfortable as possible. That Chris, is as great a gift as prolonging a cancer patient’s life.
We need guidance and your extensive experience will prove invaluable. We hope that our appeal to you will not be viewed upon with disdain rather with appreciation that we as his children need to do ALL they can for him regardless. Pains insist on being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience but shouts in our pain. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. If we can ease one Life the aching or cool one pain, we shall not live in vain.
We promise you Chris, that our father will follow your treatment diligently. He is disciplined and determined. However, he is difficult in some ways. He doesn’t even leave Melaka to visit his children in KL. Some people are just peculiar in that way. We can’t explain it in any other way.
We hope that we have not come across as pushy or preachy. If we have offended you in any way, we apologize for it was not our intention. We pray that you will consider seeing us. We will not take much of your time. A short time with you can mean a huge difference for us and our mum.
Thank you once again for listening to us. God bless you and your wife for the good work that you are doing.
Reply: Come and see me with all the medical reports that you have.
We would like to once again thank you and your wife for agreeing to see us. We arrived uncertained and somewhat lost but we left with relief, hope and a clear direction. We could not have accomplished this without your guidance. It is indeed uplifting to see the work that you do with your patients and our admiration is profound. God bless you both.
18 August 2011