Mom's cancer journey - Part 1

Monday, September 21, 2020

It's been a while since I write here. I decided to jot down my mom's cancer journey on the blog. I want to record this journey as we go through the valley of shadow of death and so I don't forget how God's hands holding us through this. 

Swab test, Rapid test, CT Scan, Blood test, Biosy, Endoscopy, Colonoscopy, Pet Scan, MRI, Lung Scan, more Swab tests, Mammogram, another Biopsy. Those are all the tests plus some more that my mom has to take since beginning of July. Mom started to have diarrhea since June and has lost 10 kg since. We brought her for CT Scan, which shown swollen lymph node behind her stomach. After so many tests and studied by internist, surgeon, pathologist, radiologist, and oncologist, they gave their final diagnosis: inoperable pancreatic cancer stage 4. Stage 4 because the cancer already spread to neck and left arm. It can't no longer be cure only slow the growth and spread. 

From the gene test, we learned her type of cancer was BRAF positive, the aggressive kind, which mean we likely don't have much time with her. 

For the first round of chemo, they will administer 3 drugs, which side effect include: numbness of hand and feet, diarrhea, dry skin, and spotty, weak, hick-up, insomnia, and constipation. 

She has to watch her diet and can't eat:

  1. Cold food or drink!
  2. Sugar
  3. Oily food
  4. Fruits: grape fruit, star fruit, and pomelo

Capri

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Capri is one of my favorite places to visit in the world. I went to Italy for study abroad almost 20 years ago and this was the only place I came back to so my hubby and kids can experience its beauty.We stayed in an airbrb nearby Solerno the night before then took a Ferry from Solerno port. We had to take these stairs to reach the port.
The Ferry only run sparingly during winter so do start your day early if you want to make the first one around 9A.M.
The beautiful Capri
We arrived at 10 AM and got to catch a Ferry back to Sorrento at 2 PM. We knew we can't waste anytime so off we get on the best to our destination taking a bus then chairlift to Mount Solaro:

Italy Travel: Herculaneum

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The next day, very early in the morning, we took the train down to Napoli, then rent a car to drive to our next destination: Herculaneum

Like Pompeii, Herculaneum is an ancient Roman city destroyed when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. We had to choose between visiting Pompeii or here due to time constraint. We chose to go here after hearing it is a smaller, wealthier cities, and more intact. After the eruption, the town was buried under 20 meters of ash. If you see the above picture, the buildings on the top is the current residential houses and the buildings at the bottom part is Herculaneum.

You can see how rich the town people are, even some of them have mosaic floor.
I told the boys, "Boys look, this street is made of marble." To which Max replied,"But in heaven the street is made of gold, ma." 

Rome Day One: St. Peter's Basilica, Castel Sant' Angelo, and Vatican Museum

Thursday, January 30, 2020

We went to Italy last Thanksgiving Holidays. I went to the northern part of Italy many years ago back when I was still in college. We just learned that ticket to Europe is cheap during Thanksgiving week so off we go exploring the southern part of Italy this time. We were surprise to see "Welcome to Italy sign in Chinese character when we arrived at Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport.
We stay in an airbnb in the city center. This is our first time staying in an airbnb. On the past, we usually use booking.com or vrbo but airbnb gave us better and cheaper options in Italy. In addition, our hosts were all very helpful and responsive. We feel like having local tour guide to help us navigate the area.    
 First day itinerary: walk about 30 minutes to St. Peter's Basilica. 
 
We took the guided tour to the dome and crypt per recommendation of my friend. So grateful we did otherwise we would miss out many important details. For instance, we didn't know on this very spot, Peter was crucified upside down and was later buried there. The church was built to fulfill Jesus’ words to Peter: “Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church” Matthew 16:18

Summary of the One Minute Manager

Monday, January 20, 2020

https://www.amazon.com/New-One-Minute-Manager/dp/0062367544/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=The+One+Minute+Manager&qid=1579430737&sr=8-2

Good manager care about people and results. They go hand in hand.
One Minute Management consist of few principals:

a. One Minute Goal Setting. The manager always make it clear what the people's responsibilities and what are they being held accountable for. Each person has about 3-6 goals, and each goal is recorded on a single page.
Take a minute: Look at your performance, and see whether or not your behavior matches your goals.

b. One Minute Praising. To help people reach their full potential; catch them doing something right. Tell people how good you feel about what they did right, and how it helps the organization and the other people who work there then encourage them to do more of the same.
Just as when we teach children to walk; we didn't just tell him "Walk," and when he falls down you pick him up and spank him and say, "I told you to walk." No, you stand the child up and the first time he wobbles a step fall down, you gets all excited, praise, and hugs him. The child realizes that this is pretty good deal, starts to wobble his legs more and more until he eventually walks. 

c. One Minute Reprimand:
Step 1.Gives the reprimand immediately as soon as the person did something wrong. Unless discipline occurs as close to the misbehavior as possible, it tends not to be as helpful in influencing future behavior. Specifies exactly what the person did wrong. Never attack the person's worth or value as a person, just the behavior.
 Step 2. Remind them how much you value them. Reaffirm that you think well of them but not their performance in this situation. Realize that when the reprimand is over, it's over.

Everyone is a potential winners. Some people are disguised as losers. Don't let their appearances fool you.
People who fell good about themselves produce good results.
Productivity is both quantity and quality.

Summary of The Epidemic by Robert Shaw, M.D.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

https://www.amazon.com/Epidemic-Responsible-Children-Permissive-Parenting/dp/0062311824/ref=asc_df_0062311824/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=334327770678&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=12849559640328056743&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9032174&hvtargid=pla-670394990108&psc=1#reader_0062311824

I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up this book from the library. In today world when the norm is letting kids do and be whatever they want; the author write about the important of raising responsible, respectful, secure, and loving children.

"The true test of civilization is, not the census, nor the size of the cities, nor the crops - no, but the kind of man the country turns out." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Large numbers of children today are no longer developing the empathy, moral commitment, and ability to love and respect others. Children are malleable and how we rear them is the major determinant of their outcome.  Today's parents are lulled into believing the child-centric theories preached by parenting gurus: "Never let your baby cry," " He'll use the potty when he's ready." "Discipline is disrespectful," "The child's feelings should come first." But creating an atmosphere that feels satisfactory to the child all the time was leading to an increase in what we call today "narcissistic personalities." Moreover, modern parents are encouraged by culture to push their children onto an endless tract of achievement, to desperately squeeze one more enriching activity into their already full schedules.

As they grow older, our children spend much of their time pursuing entertainment rather than accomplishment: TV, video games, mall roaming, computer hacking, substance abuse, sex. When these children get into trouble academically, we are seeing a cultural tendency to dumb down standards.

Before these days, we held high standards for children at home as well as in school. As they grew, kids contributed more to the family by doing chores like washing dishes, mowing the lawn, taking care of their pets. Now they retreat to their rooms to instant message, video games, and social media.

When we don't train our children to behave, they train us to be their servants.

Book Summary: The Index Card

Thursday, August 8, 2019

My fourth book summary this year, one of the most useful, simple, and straightforward personal finance books that I read over the years.

The book was born out of an interview with Harold Pollack, where he mentioned that the correct personal finance advice for most people is simple and fits on a 3x5 index card.

  • Save 10 to 20% of your money. Know where your money is going. Make it your first priority to set money aside for emergency fund (3 -6 months of your living expenses): medical, car service, heater broke, etc. One way to cut spending is by using cash instead of card or electronic payment. 
  • Pay your credit card balance in full every month. 
  • Max Out Your 401(k), never forgo the employer match. Don't count on working forever. After your emergency fund, saving for retirement is the most important savings. The younger you start, the better off you will be. If one start at 25 saving $104 every month for forty year with 6% annual return the person will have about $200,000 by age 65. To accumulate the same $200,000 at the age 45, you will need to put aside $430 a month. 
  • Next step is college fund saving. There are two ways: Coverdell Education Savings Account and 529 plan. 
  • Invest in low-cost index funds instead of buying or selling individual stocks then buy and hold them for the long haul. Even Warren Buffett suggest this to his children, "A very low-cost S&P 500 index fund." 

The More of Less Book Summary

Monday, July 29, 2019

I love Joshua Becker's blog: BecomingMinimalist.com and was so excited when I heard him published a book on minimalism. I found it very useful not only giving people the "why" but also the "how". Some of the highlight I got from the book:

*Italics is my own words/perspective
The More of Less
The Universal Benefits of Minimalism:
1. More time and energy
2. More money
3. More generosity. This is true for us, we figured if we skipped eating out just once we can sponsor one more kid so we did. 
4. More freedom
5. Less stress because mess + excess = stress
6. Less distraction
7. Less environmental impact
8. Higher-quality belongings. My cheapo's self was having a hard time adjusting to this but after many times throwing lower quality stuffs, I realized if I buy a good quality one in the first place then I use less stuffs.
9. Less comparison
10. More contentment

Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them.

Our Family Travel Medicine List

Friday, July 19, 2019

Every time we travel, I always bring my medicine kit. Since we also use the medicine at home, I often miss bringing a few of the medicine we need on the trip. I thought I wrote down the list here so I can just print out and double check the list before we go traveling.


Travel Medicine List:
1. Eucalyptus oil for nasal congestion, bug repellent, bug bites
2. Lanolin cream for chapped lips, cracked or burnt skin, reduce itchiness from bug bites
3. Tylenol: Pain Reliever/ Fever Reducer 
3. Neosporin, Betadine, cotton balls, & Band Aid
4. Wes' asthma medicine
5. Probiotic to support healthy gut and and activated charcoal for food poisoning/ diarrhea 
6. Allergy medicine for kids and adults
8. Sore throat/ cold medicine, I used Halls, Chinese medicine: the golden lozenges, Lo Han Guo, and Yin Chiao tablet   
 9. Miracle of Aloe Rub, for muscle pain relieve. We prefer this over Salonpas
10. Mouth ulcer cream and eye infection cream (bought these in Indonesia)
11. Max's eczema cream
12. Vitamin D and iron supplement for my anemia
13. Emergen C 
14. Zambuk, ointment for brushes
15. Motion sickness medicine kids and adults

Anything else you would add to the list?

DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS