Back Home After 2nd Chemo

Friday, March 27, 2009

Charmaine has lost a bit of weight but is otherwise fine.

Let's wish she would still be as feisty as ever.

Undergoing 2nd Chemo at NUH

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our little princess was so energetic and having a whale of a time playing in the morning. However once the chemo started, Charmaine cried incessantly. She cried till her voice went hoarse.


Cynthia told me that Jase and Charmaine's relationship is pretty much the same as old times whenever they spend enough time together without visitors.

They love each other. They call each other "my Charmaine", "my mei mei", "my Jase Jase" and "my kor kor". Of course, they squabble at times too but that's what siblings are for right? ;P

Recently, Cyn brought the kids out to the playground. She was relieved to see that nobody was there. [Sidenote: Charmaine's immune system is low]

When people were within close proximity to them, Jase being the very protective kor kor shouted,

"Eh... You all don't come near my mei mei ah. My mei mei is sick you know."

A while later, a maid came strolling with a dog and Jase did the same to the dog.

People might wonder what was wrong with this little boy but we felt proud of him for being so protective over Charmaine.

Some Videos of Charmaine After Chemo Round 1

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Here are some short videos of Jase and Charmaine taken from my camera with very limited memory space.

There are still quite a few from Cynthia's camera which I've yet to get from her.

To read the description of each video, you can click to view in a separate browser instead of clicking the play button from here. For people unfamiliar with YouTube, the descriptions are on the right. Click on "more info".

On Sunday, 15th March...

On Tuesday, 17th March...

Look out for this Sunday's Straits Times

Well, a handful of you may have heard that a reporter from the Straits Times emailed me on Wednesday requesting for an interview with Cynthia and me on internet activism with regards to Charmaine's story.

I was really surprised by the email as I had not expected Charmaine's blog to catch the attention of someone from the Straits Times.

Let's call the reporter G.

The focus would be on how people are using the internet to further their causes. G thought it would be great to get Charmaine's story out there and hopefully get donations in. She would be featuring the article this coming Sunday.

I know that Cynthia doesn't want Charmaine's case to be brought to the national scale and subject Charmaine in the media limelight. I personally didn't want to make this matter public on local newspapers as well despite many well-intentioned people advising me to. We don't want the publicity and we need some privacy too. Hence, Cynthia and I had a mini discussion and sent a rejection email to G.

Imagine my shock when G replied the next day that her editor really likes Charmaine's story so they would still be going ahead to publish it as part of the internet activism "package". Therefore, getting our input would really make the whole picture clearer. The package also includes other examples of internet activism in Singapore.

G was nice about the whole thing and apologised for any inconvenience caused. As a reporter, it's her job to report things that she hear about.

She advised me to reconsider her interview request and provided her number.

Since Charmaine's blog is gonna be publicised anyway w/o our interview, we decided to let our voices be heard this time round. We wanted to ensure that the information reported would be accurate.

We did the phone interview late last night.

As for now, let's wait for this Sunday's Straits Times to arrive at our doorstep.

Updates so far

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A piece of good news
Cyn’s sms on the afternoon of 18th March 2009:
"Doc just called to tell me a piece of somewhat good news. In fact, she said its good news. That the cancer cells in her bone marrow are very few. prob less than 10%! =) I finally see some sunshine."

Everyone who knew of this “saw the sunshine” too.

2nd Chemo for Charmaine has been postponed to Monday, 23 March 2009
Charmaine is unable to undergo her 2nd chemo on the 19th as her neuro-something (Sorry I dunno the exact name) neutrophil count is below 1.

Psychological health of sibling of cancer patients
While showing care and concern for Charmaine who is suffering physically, please do not neglect Jase, the healthy child who is suffering psychologically.

Jase has always been a very sweet boy despite being a cheeky little devil at times. He has always been listening to me and used to be very obedient. However, I could see a huge change in Jase’s behaviour during these few weeks. He craved so much for attention that he had become a changed boy.

Children at this age is egocentric. The whole world revolves around them. When it’s no longer a “me world”, they get upset and they may hold a grudge against the person who caused the change in status quo.

Jase may have been a good kor kor but despite feeling concern for his sickly mei mei, he would feel jealous,angry and upset too. Presents and toys flood in for the mei mei. Mummy stay at the hospital with mei mei. Everybody focus on mei mei. Everybody’s conversations revolve around mei mei.

Is it any wonder that Jase would feel jealous of mei mei?

I remember the story which the social worker at KK told us about sibling jealousy. There was a 2-year-old child fighting for his life while undergoing chemo. Finally, he passed away. Do you know what his 5-year-old brother told his mummy?

“I’m very happy di di die. Then you don’t have to go to the hospital anymore.”

We really felt very angry at the boy’s words. Then the social worker continued saying that this was coming from a 5-year-old child who isn’t mature enough to understand the severity of his words. He isn’t mature enough to control his egocentric thoughts. We should not even blame him for feeling this way.

Cynthia has been doing her best to consider Jase’s feelings and to shower as much care and attention to him as to Charmaine. It is really very tough for a single mum/ divorcee to do this.

To all in contact with the kids, do show your attention to both Charmaine and Jase as much as possible. =D

This article is very helpful. Do read it.

Closure of POSB savings a/c 109-76705-0
Cynthia and I closed the above account on the evening of Tuesday, 17th March 2009. Should any of you make any transfer of funds from the evening of 17th March, your transfer would be deemed unsuccessful.

As written in an earlier post, we are in the process of acquiring information on whether this fundraising is approved by authorities in Singapore as it concerns third parties’ contribution.

We were initially seeking help from first degree of contacts. Hence, to make sure we abide by the rules, Cynthia has opened a new a/c which would not be revealed publicly.

Please do not hesitate to drop us an email should you need to clarify on certain issues.

Seeking 2nd Opinion

Sunday, March 15, 2009

One of Cynthia's good friend, Angela, has written a very clear summary on what happened the past few days.

Taken from:
"Charmaine discharged this afternoon"

Angela Chua said...
Went to pass things to Cyn at her house yesterday. Seems that Charmaine is doing fine. Can see that her hair is falling off. Very heart warming and joyous thing is that I saw Charmaine's sweet smile. She was in good mood and I played with her and Jase till 10pm or so. Didnt really keep track of the time.

Heard from Cyn that she got a 2nd opinion at NUH. She met up with a nice Myanmar lady doctor. Although she's only a Associate Consultant (AC), she explained quite alot to Cyn on Charmaine's condition.

Currently, Charmaine has to undergo 7 chemo sessions at KKH, which according to the AC, 5 sessions would be sufficient. Studies found out that kids that have undergone 7 chemo sessions are more prone to contract leukemia. This also means that Char need not suffer additional 2 sessions of chemo and reduce the amount of toxic going through her body.

The AC also mentioned that it is advisable to remove Char's tumor fast after 2 or 3 sessions of the chemo. At least Char will have lesser risk of having her condition worsen. (Not sure if its the correct way to put it)

This Monday, Char will be admitted to KKH to do some scans. Im not sure what kind of scan it is. [See below]

Cyn wants to transfer char to NUH as it should be able to provide Char with better care. Jus that the ward accommodation environment is less conducive as compared to KKH. Mostly importantly, the doc told her that in NUH there would be 20% chances of recover, 10% more as compared to KKH.

Chances of recovery will be boosted to 40% should Char take some medicine that is under clinical trial in US. This medicine is costly and limited. Hopefully the doc would be able to get this medication for Char.

The AC suggested Cyn to get Dr Chui Chan Hon to operate on Char's tumor. Dr Chui specialises on Paediatric Surgery in Oncology. However, Dr Chui's is currently working in Mt. Elizabeth. If Char operates there, it would be very expensive in terms of daily ward stay and other private rate expenses. Thus, Cyn is writing to Dr Chui, wondering if he could do the surgery in NUH or KKH, so much so that the ward rate etc would be cheaper compared to Mt Elizabeth Hospital. Dr Chui info can be found at the below link.

Hope I didn't misinterpret the info.

Mummy, stay strong.

March 14, 2009 2:50 AM

Added information:

1) The Myanmar AC from NUH is Dr Aung Le Le.

2) The scan that Charmaine would be undergoing tomorrow is an MIBG scan at SGH, not KKH.

3) Dr Chui Chan Hon has gotten back to Cynthia! Things are looking brighter. =)

4) Charmaine has been transferred to NUH.

5) Blood test on 18th March.

6) 2nd Chemotherapy to start on 19th March.

7) Cyn's mum has been discharged.

Random Updates

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cynthia's mum is fine now. She has regained consciousness and is under medication.

There are quite a lot of new updates but it's rather tough getting everything down through our mobiles when I'm on my way to work and cyn to kk. The conversation was interrupted with call waitings and sudden cut offs.

When everything is more concrete, I'll be back to update again.


I have many direct contacts and contacts of people I know who have been asking about the perpetually non-existent ads by nuffnang. I don't know why it's so unstable and I may send nuffnang an email if this continues.

In the meantime, do seize the opportunity to click on the ads whenever they reappear. I know they are around at times coz I've personally seen them.


Charmaine discharged this afternoon

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Charmaine has been discharged from KK this afternoon and is recuperating at home. Her condition is fine just that it's really tough getting her to take medicine.

Her biopsy result was out this morning. It isn't too positive. The tumour/ cells are considered the "bad" kind which means it is difficult to get rid of them by chemo. =(

[NB: I'm explaining in layman's term.]

Another blow to Cynthia is that her mum was admitted to CGH earlier this evening for stroke and seizure. I really hope aunty is alright. I've got no news from Cynthia since then.

Why is life so unfair for her???!!!




Blood Transfusion

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Charmaine's haemoglobin (HB) level dropped to 8.2 yesterday and had to undergo a pack of blood transfusion.

I dunno her condition now as there is no more updates from Cynthia.

Charmaine admitted to KK again

Sunday, March 8, 2009

6th March 2009, night
Charmaine had a fever close to 38°C.

7th March 2009, morning
Charmaine was admitted to KK yesterday morning as her fever shot up to 38.6°C. She has lost 1.5kg since last Sunday.

7th March 2009, 4.16pm
Temperature 39.6°C

7th March 2009, 10.54pm
Temperature 40°C

8th March 2009, 12.56am
Temperature 36.5°C

Charmaine would be staying at KK for 5 days to finish the course of antibiotics.

*Chemo patients have almost zero immunity against any infection. The team at KK informed us that as long as Charmaine's temperature reaches 38 degree, she would have to go to A&E.

**Fever may be caused by 2 types of infections-- bacterial and viral. Antibiotics may be administered to fight bacterial infection. However, no antibiotics could fight viral infection and it's up to the patient's own will and body to fight the virus. Charmaine was given antibiotics through the portacath.

Donors to take note

Friday, March 6, 2009

To facilitate our process of collating our funds with a list of donors, please drop us an email after you have made a contribution.

For fund transfer to the POSB account

In the email, please include the following information:
1) Your full name or a first name at least
2) The name/ pseudonym/ initials used when doing internet banking
3) Date of transfer
4) Whether you wish for your name to be (i)displayed in full, (ii)with some information blotted out or (iii)with your initials/ pseudonym should we do a public posting of the list of donors.
5) Whether you wish to be on our mailing list

1) Contact number
2) Preferred email address
3) Home address
4) Degree of contact. Eg “I’m Cynthia’s friend from ……….”, “I came from ??? forum”, “A friend gave me this link…” etc.

Please rest assured that the information you provide would be for our personal record purpose.

For fund transfer to Paypal

An email confirmation is not necessary as the pending payments emails would automatically be sent to us. However, we would appreciate if you could send us an email to address point 4) and 5).

For fund contribution by cheques

Please drop us an email before writing your cheques.


Waiting for MCYS to call me back

I’m still awaiting a reply from MCYS on whether this fundraising is approved by authorities in Singapore since it concerns third parties’ contribution. Till I get the green light from MCYS, please refrain from including the a/c number on your blog and website if you are not a direct contact of us.

Thank you very much.


Quick updates on our feisty little Charmaine

Those who visited her would know that despite having undergone her first chemo, she still behaves in her usual lovable and cheeky self, flashing her endearing smile every now and then. How not to love this little darling?

Her hair has started to fall a little but cropping it shorter does the trick. Other than her extreme loss of weight and the slowing down of movements (as she is in pain everywhere), she looks and behaves every bit like the Charmaine we've always known. =)

May update more with photos but then again maybe not. Will ponder more about the adding of photos part.

WARNING! [Edited on 8th March]

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I just learnt from Cynthia that someone has been asking for donations around Buangkok MRT station with a photo of a little girl who looks like Charmaine.

We can't be sure if the girl in the photo is really Charmaine.

Cynthia and myself did not ask anyone to do this.

If any of you have similar encounters, please check if the said cancer victim in the photo is Charmaine. Do ask the person for the organisation he/she represents as well as the relevant IDs and documents.


A permit is required to raise funds on the street [Source:]

Should you witness similar happenings around other MRT stations or other public area, please inform us.

Thank you.


Added on 8th March

We found out from a source that the girl in the photo isn't Charmaine.

I apologise if we have caused any false alarm. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

A note to all [Edited to include people I've missed out]

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hi everyone,

Thank you for always keeping Charmaine in your thoughts and prayers.

There have really been lots of kind souls around and Cynthia is really touched by everyone's kind gestures and words. No amount of words is enough to express our gratitude to all who care.

There are certain issues which I have to bring to everyone’s attention as this weblog gets more and more popular each day.


On the purpose of this blog…

Those of you who have been following this weblog since the day it was set up would have known that I had started this blog with the sole intention for people who care to leave their words of encouragement. It is also a platform for anyone who wishes to share their valuable past experiences, especially those who have had gone through a similar ordeal.

I was hoping that Cynthia and Charmaine would be encouraged by all the stories and well wishes.

Soon after, this weblog was and is still used as an avenue for the people who know us to be updated on Charmaine’s fight with this dreaded cancer.


On fundraising…

“In order for us to help Charmaine fight this cancer battle, we require our friends and people who know us to help raise funds…”

As stated in my introduction, we were seeking help from our first degree of contacts.

At that time, I included my personal email address for people to contact me if they could help in any way. Due to good response from many people expressing their wish to help and offers of donation, we decided to add paypal and open a separate POSB savings account for Charmaine after consulting Cynthia and her family.

Since the weblog’s url has been widely circulated on the internet realm, we have countless big hearted strangers coming in to express their wish to donate too. We also experience some skeptics who deemed this as a fraud.

Currently, we are in the process of making our fundraising transparent since it concerns the donation of people who don’t know us personally. We have been collating a list of donors to verify everyone's fundings. Do rest assure that we would have a proper track record up and running soon.

I notice some bank transfer via ATM and have no records of their source. To these people, kindly email me to let me know who you are and the date you have made the transfer.

To facilitate our process of collating and matching of names, do drop us an email with your name after you have made a fund transfer to the POSB account.

For those who have offered to send cheques, I would let Cynthia know how she would like it to be done and get back to you again.

In the meantime, I’m also in the process of acquiring information on whether this fundraising is approved by authorities in Singapore since it concerns third parties’ contribution.


On getting a ballpark figure for the medical expenses from KK…

I understand that a few of you have expressed interest in conducting a donation drive in your own companies and a ballpark figure would most certainly be helpful in promoting your cause.

Cynthia has been trying her best to obtain this and from what I last heard from her on 3rd March, she was directed to departments after departments with no results. Please be patient as Cynthia is really doing her best.


On emails and comments…

I’m managing this blog during my free time. I have a full time job, tuition commitments and wedding preparation to tend to.

I am not able to cope with replying to the overwhelming emails and hence a very good friend of mine, Charlene/pixie has offered her assistance in replying emails on my behalf. Please do not be surprised if you don't see a sign off from me. Do rest assured that I've read every email and would also reply personally each time I have the chance. Any emails with regards to Cynthia would be forwarded to Cynthia herself together with a summarised sms update too.

Charlene/pixie has a full time job which requires occasional trips overseas. She has certainly been doing a good job at handling all the replies and I really have to thank her for all the help she has rendered.

Please do not hesitate to drop us an email should you need to clarify on certain issues but do bear with us if we are unable to reply promptly.


On the new comments setting…

The free comment setting was enabled at the beginning for people to leave their words of encouragement. I hope that one day when Charmaine manages to win the cancer battle and has grown up into a pretty lady, she would have something to read. I also wanted to dedicate something which Cynthia would definitely hold dear to her heart.

In view of the recent backlash, I have changed the comment setting to open ID. I apologise if I have prevented any anonymous well-wishers from posting and I hope you would continue posting by using an open ID.

Advice from many people was that deleting comments is equivalent to admitting of guilt in the blogosphere. As much as I want to make this blog clean, I have decided not to delete but to leave all the bad comments intact for now.


On supporting the cause…

There is a public group created in the name of “Our Feisty Princess Charmaine Lim” in Facebook. You are welcome to join us any time. =)

I have been getting many requests from strangers from the group to add me as friend on Facebook. I hope you would understand that I have to reject your requests as I would only add people I know as a direct contact of a friend, know you by name somehow on the internet realm or whom I have met at the hospital.


A word of thanks to everyone in my company

To the 3 directors,
Thank you very much for approving my donation drive in the company and for all the concern that you have shown. I really appreciate all that you have done, from the approval, to the understanding of my situation, to my frequent leaves and time offs, to not being able to fulfill my new responsibilities fully, to sharing your stories and lending a listening ear to me.

To all the colleagues working with me directly,
Thank you for:
1) helping me ease my workload during these 2 weeks (this is addressed to my department)
2) approving my leaves and time offs and bearing with me for not being able to pass you the SOW on time (this is addressed to my superior)
3) understanding my situation
4) offering words of encouragement
5) making me laugh
6) tolerating the frequent beeps and rings from my hp
7) bearing with my scatterbrains each time I come back to the office being so blur

To all the colleagues who made a contribution,
Thank you for your kind thoughts and gesture. Please please please do not apologise for not being able to contribute much or that it’s just a small token. I’m already thankful beyond words for your sincerity.

To V******e,
Thank you for helping me to collect the funds and recording them in an excel spreadsheet.

To colleagues who have rendered help to me in some form or another,
A BIG THANK YOU TO YOU! I hope I haven't missed out anyone.

Since this is a public blog… a very public one, I don’t feel comfortable revealing the name of our company. However, I know that many of you would be reading this and would know who you are. =)


And finally thanx to…

On behalf of Cynthia, I thank all of you for your sincerity in helping this family.

Thank you A**** for helping with the technical aspects of managing this blog (eg. including a world map, making a badge/banner with Charmaine's face on it, making the gmail a/c theme so sweet and cheerful to brighten up our day) with your superb IT skills. Even though you do not know Cynthia and me personally, you help with no intention of being known. I would have been ungrateful if I do not even make a special mention of you with your name blotted out.

Thank you P*****n for meeting up with me just now to pass a Dora mechandise funpack from Nickelodeon for Charmaine. Even though we do not know each other personally probably only by our username in LD, you have kindly offered to donate a Dora fun pack to put a smile on Charmaine's face. My family members showed such great interest in the goodies inside that my sis even lay out them nicely to take a photo of them.

Thank you everyone for your help rendered. Be it leaving a mark here, making a small donation, offering suggestions, sharing your personal stories and clicking on the nuffnang ads which always pull a Houdini on us, all of you have certainly helped Charmaine to fight round one of the war with cancer.

May God bless all of you!

With warmest regards,

P/S: Due to some feedback, I'll enable the free comments settings again and will monitor the situation to see if I should leave the setting as it is.

Happy Birthday Cynthia!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Happy birthday babe! I know this must be the worst birthday ever but I know what you wish for and I hope your wish would come true! =)

*BiG BiG HUGZ to U, Jase and Charmaine*

-- CNY 2009

Little Charmaine has been discharged

Monday, March 2, 2009

Our feisty little girl has finished the first round of chemo and has been discharged.

I haven't seen her for days and I really miss her!
Feisty Princess Charmaine. Design by Pocket