Friday, October 21, 2011

Why am I so aggresive in effort to create awareness?

I may have written about this in a post long time ago, but I completely understand if new readers are reluctant in reading every post that I wrote. It gets bored after a while.
Today, creating awareness among women on the availability of cancer prevention has become more of a personal crusade rather than merely a doctor's responsibility. Even if I am able to reach out to a single person, it's a personal achievement for me.
It all started back in 2006 when the first vaccine, Gardasil came into the market. I didn't pay much attention to it. All I knew back then was that the vaccine is to prevent cervical cancer,and it's way too expensive. It cost RM800+ per jab. It was a challenge to explain to parents of young girls as the public perceptions on cervical cancer back then is associated with sexual promiscuity, which later i found out it's not true. The mere suggestion of prevention of "cervical cancer" angered many parents who storm out of the clinic, which obviously left me flabbergasted.
After a while, I gave up promoting Gardasil(I am glad to think about it now).
Then 2008, when Cervarix came into the market, it was comparatively cheaper, yet it's still expensive. Though it's about RM400 per jab, but how many working class people can afford to take the jab, and considering the public awareness about cervical cancer is so low not only among the public but the doctors as well.
I didn't take it so seriously initially, until one day when a man came for treatment of his sorethroat. Somehow I can't remember how our conversation ended talking about his wife. His eyes turned red and tears trickled down his cheeks. His wife just passed away merely 3 months ago due to cervical cancer, despite her Pap Smear report stated everything was normal. He doesn't know who to blame and I doubt she would ever have a closure as her wife did her annual Pap smear religiously. He started to cry right in front of me. Claiming that the world is unfair to him. Why was his wife taken away from him and his two young children. She was just 43 years old.
I felt for him. It affected me, badly. When he left, I was sitting on the chair, contemplating on what he mentioned to me. A full grown man, crying in front of me. His statement about how unfair God was to him for taking his wife away despite the medical report stated everything was normal. How was it possible?
This wasn't the first case. 2 months later, I had 2 similar cases where sister of the deceased questioned me who to blame? Similar case. Normal Pap Smear report, but 6 months later, passed away due to cervical cancer.
Since then, I begin to do my own research online. Contacting the pharmaceutical company requesting for data on death due to cervical cancer. I was shocked to find out that cancer is rated as the second highest among the causes of death in women, and cervical cancer was rated number 2 after breast cancer.
Then I realized how significant the discovery of cervical cancer prevention vaccine is. It's revolutionary, life saving, and marks a milestone in the field of medicine. Progress has been gradual throughout the years, but with the discovery of such vaccine, it marked the progress by leaps and bounds. Perhaps in future, the other progress that carries similar significance and importance in its impact on human is perhaps the discovery of cure for AIDS.
I may not have felt fully the pain, but I do understand its degree, and it's effect not only on the patient but also the caretaker and family member as well.
Last year, my aunt who was 52 years old came to me with jaundice. Immediately my heart sank as I mentioned to her the most probable cause of jaundice at her age. Pancreatic cancer was the top of the list. I referred her to Selayang Hospital for a CT Scan to confirm my diagnosis. I prayed and hoped I was wrong. I prayed hard that I was merely overzealous and over did on my diagnosis. 2 weeks later, the report came out. The thing that I dreaded the most came out to be true. She had a pancreatic tumour that blocked her hepatic duct, and it has spread to the adjacent blood vessel, hence surgery is out of the question. When I saw her for the first time, she was a hefty 83kg lady, but 9 months later when she passed away, she was merely 35kg.
It was the painful 9 months of seeing her dying day by day. She comes to my clinic nearly every week for IV infusion as she constantly gets dehydrated. She was constantly in pain, couldn't sleep, every position she sits was uncomfortable. Her remaining life was miserable.
I was there by her deathbed. She passed away as 2.45am. The impact on my uncle was tremendous.
He was psychologically, mentally, and emotionally in a wreck. He would burst out into tears whenever he's alone, suffered from insomnia, often woke up hourly drenched in sweat, talks to his deceased wife's photograph, visits her grave on a daily basis. He was hospitalized 3 times for not eating and ended up with bleeding ulcers.
I saw the way my uncle suffered. I made a decision to create an awareness and promote prevention of cervical cancer a personal crusade. I believe a person is already dead on the inside the moment they've been told to have cancer.
I offered the cheapest price for cervical vaccination in KL, or even perhaps the nation. I don't intend to make a profit out of this life saving vaccine. I created a blog purely for women to read and gain more knowledge from the comfort of their own home as I understand how reluctant they can be when approaching a male doctor.
Then the worst case scenario happened to me personally. My father was diagnosed with lung cancer 8 months ago. he is undergoing chemotherapy. I was depressed. I became a different person. I became withdrawn, often cry alone in the clinic. I lost my faith on God. My father is a God loving man, he does tremendous amount of charity work, donated a dialysis machine, and drive for 1 1/2 hours every week to a spastic centre where the resident would be covered with feces and urine, and my dad would wash and clean them up, bathe them, feed them, and dressed them up. He has been doing that without fail for the past 12 years. Prior to that, twice weekly for 20 years, both my parents would go to the hospital just to spend time talking to patients, to cheer them up. He doesn't smoke, nor drink. There's isn't anyone in the family who has cancer. My dad was the first. I questioned God. After three decades for being such a humble servant, WHY MUST THIS HAPPEN TO HIS????
I was depressed that i shut myself up. I don't communicate with my wife or children after work. My mind was in dark, evil, and tempting places do so silly things. There were days where 4-5 days would pass by without taking a single meal. I ignored the hunger. I lost 20kg within 3 months.
Time heals everything. But my life was hell then. I was about to trash the prayer's alter at home. I was in the prayers room, hand was tightened into a fist, was about to smash everything up, until my three year old came into the room. Sensing something wrong, she innocently asked me," What's wrong,daddy?" I was in tears. She immediately hugged my leg. I gave her a tight hug while crying my heart out. Immediately, I calmed down.
I knew then I needed help, badly. I opened up to my wife, my parents, and I am not ashamed to admit that I was seeing a therapist to talk about my depression.
I bought a punching mannequin where I would punch till my hands bleed despite covering my hands with multiple layers of crepe bandages and wore a MMA approved glove. I was still angry. With each punch I would ask myself WHY! WHY! Even with a loaded gun wouldn't solve my problem.I can't
But the moment i opened up to my wife and my parents, they started to understand the reason for my changed behaviour and mood swings. I was emotional, and my mind was constantly filled with filth.
I accepted the fact that my dad has cancer today. And the best thing that I can do right now is to spend more quality time. Live life day by day. The past is the past and there ain't nothing you can do about it, the future is unpredictable. The only thing that we can truly call our own is the present.
I started to see things differently from a different perspective. I am a happy person, genuinely happy.
I started appreciating the vivid colours of the flowers outside of my house, the early chirps of birds seem to greet me in the morning while walking towards my car, and the branches of trees seem to wave hi to me.
I've been to hell and back. Nobody would believe I lost 20kg within 3 months, except for my parents and wife. Everyone thought I was on diet or on some diet pills. But do you think dieting and diet pills would not make you lose weight so fast.
What I am trying to convey to fellow readers is that there are illnesses that exist today that doesn't have cure. But when you have a preventive measure available, please make use of it. It would be a crying shame to be diagnosed with cervical cancer when there are methods to prevent and detect it at an early stage.
Please do not be ignorant. Ignorant ain't bliss in such matters. Cervical cancer though today is ranked third as the cause of death, nevertheless there are over 5 million new cases in ASIA pacific alone... ANNUALLY.
Please ladies, get your vaccination today. Don't procrastinate anymore. There are many cancers that affect humans, but when it's ranked 3rd and there is a method to prevent it, prevent it then.

1 comment:

Leslie_M said...

NICE! It is a nice thing that you have shared such a wonderful news to us. I am hoping and praying that you'll be able to pass on through all the challenges that you have in your life and that you will not be weaken by the trials that you are facing. There are times that when you visit your cancer treatment center, you will feel bad and not good. But keep the faith!

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