The day I knew my father contracted cancer


The rest of this entry was removed due to privacy issues. If you still like to read it please send me an e-mail.


This is going to be a very difficult topic to write, if it is even possible for me to put it in words. Nonetheless, it has happened and it was the beginning of a very difficult journey for me and my family.

My father has always been a very driven man. One thing he loves as much as he loves his family is his business. When he was younger, my father was very poor. My father grew up in a time when the Japanese was occupying Borneo. In between studying and working, my father also had to take care of the rest of the family whilst his parents were at work. My grandmother used to tell me stories about how little they had to survive on, how having food on the table everyday is a difficult task. Sometimes she even had to "borrow" food from good samaritans. In his family, my father is an authorative figure that his siblings fear, yet respect.

With father at Curtin Graduation

My father is a very smart guy. My mother often told me when my father was a student, he’d always score 100 for his Maths tests whilst his classmates did poorly. His teacher would then scale up everyone’s scores by 10 points. However because my father had already hit 100 points, the teacher would ‘owe’ my father 10 points and add 10 points to his scores in later tests. Unfortunately, my father kept on getting 100 points for his Maths tests right until the end of the year. I saw his end of the year report cards which read: "Maths: 100% + 30%". Unlike the luxuries that I enjoy right now, my father did not have any tertiary education.Right after he finished his secondary studies, he worked as a teacher, a tutor (where he met my mom), an ICI Dulux salesperson, an insurance salesperson and so on, before he established his own company.

Even after his company achieved considerable success in Kuching, my father was relentless in his pursuit for excellence. That is very typical of him. He knows no limits and he would always find an opportunity to explore. He created hundreds of jobs and he shares his success with his less fortunate siblings. The wealth and luxuries that we enjoy right now would never be realised if he were to sit back and relax. I will not be here today if it were not for him. He single-handly turned the family from rags to riches, and these riches are not just one-off. For generations and generations to come, every single person in my family would enjoy the fruit of his labour. And that’s how significant his contribution is.

With father skiing in Korea

Beginning July 2004, my father began to experience some bizzare symptoms. We all noticed that he lost some weight and was easily fatigued, which we all dismissed as being work-related stress. My mother had to send his trousers to the tailor to adjust for his declining waist size. His company was rapidly expanding into North-East Malaysia, and he would work through day and night. We didn’t think much of it. After all, when he was in Perth he’d usually undergo a series of health check-ups. Usually the results turns up ok or average, but nothing life-threatening. For me back then, my life wasn’t all that interesting. I was working, I enjoyed it, everything’s ok. But its usually when you start feeling that way that life throws you a curve ball. Oh how I wish I can say that everything is ok now.

Up until 26th October 2004, my father had lost a total of 11kg. I still remembered a conversation we had on the dining table. My mother was visibly worried that my father had lost so much weight, and she was telling my father that.
Dad: "Its ok. I’ve always wanted to lose some weight because I’m fat."
Mom: "…"
Dad: "You see Kenny also lost 11kg but you didn’t say anthing."
Mom: "That’s different! He went to the gym and diet like crazy."
I advised my father to go for a thorough medical check-up, he’d already made an appointment for the next day and that was that. We watched Troy together on DVD and didn’t think much of it.

At sister's wedding

At 5:25pm on the 27th October 2004, I was at work and counting down the minutes to 5:30pm. My brother logged on to MSN Messenger and messaged me. "Can you come home right now? Its urgent." he wrote. "I’m coming home in 5 minutes time. Why? What’s so urgent?" I replied. "Papa has cancer."

My father was diagnosed with cancer. I was heartbroken.

I can’t describe how I felt. Those who have experienced the pain of being helplessness, and those who have been through the thought of losing someone close would know exactly what I was feeling. Those who haven’t, let’s just hope you never have to go through it yourself.

How? Why? How could it happen so suddenly? Million of thoughts went through my head as I rushed back home. I opened the door, and saw my mom. I hugged her and she couldn’t stop crying and I couldn’t stop crying. Everyone was feeling upset. My dad wakes up from his nap. “???, ??? (Nothing’s wrong, nothing’s wrong)” he said. Ironically he’s the only person in the family who felt positive – maybe he was just putting up a brave face to comfort us and I appreciated that. We watched The Day After Tomorrow on DVD together, but as if I had the mood to watch.

Sea World, Gold Coast, Australia

After we watched, we talked. My dad said that the results from the afternoon was very surprising. He did not have the symptoms that’s typical of a cancer, eg. traces of blood in the urine. He described that our life here is a holiday destination. My dad has made the most of it, and he is happy with what he has accomplished. He is glad that my brother has shown so much interests in the family business and that I’m starting to show interest as well. Now that his holiday is almost over, he is happy to pack his bags and leave.

A further diagnosis with CT scanning showed that a tumour the size of an orange on one of his kidney. The cancer had since spreaded to both his lungs. Many doctors have expressed negativity. However, we do not want to keep our hopes down. We’ve all been feeding him with stories of cancer survivors. Sometimes we should not underestimate the power of hope. My family was upset that at 56 years old he’s already facing this situation.

En Route to Perth

On November 2004, he returned to Kuching for the first time since he knew that he contracted kidney cancer. He essentially said to the company that he founded about his situation. It was an emotional scene, but the last thing that my father wants to see is people feeling sad and thinking that he would not be back. He kept saying that he will be back to lead the company and spend time with family and friends back home.

I felt sorry for my dad. I feel upset because my father has been supporting me all my life from the day I’m born till now. I have only just started working, just beginning to earn my own income, and just when I wanted to start repaying my debts to him, when I received news like that.

Meanwhile, I ask that you treat your parents well everyday. Life is full of surprises. We don’t want to wait till its too late to show our gratitude to our parents.

29 Replies to “The day I knew my father contracted cancer”

  1. Kenny,
    As someone who have been through the same thing as you are now, My heart goes to your father,you and your family. My prayers goes to all of you.

  2. *wallops kenny*
    As i read your entry, the song Wind Beneath My Wings was playing in my own blog, and i imagined a fraction of what you felt, and tht mere fraction wetted my eyes. *ok i admit tht i’m a cry baby*
    take care, friend. God bless.
    “It must have been cold there in my shadow,
    to never have sunlight on your face.
    You were content to let me shine, that’s your way.
    You always walked a step behind.
    So I was the one with all the glory,
    while you were the one with all the strength.
    A beautiful face without a name for so long.
    A beautiful smile to hide the pain.
    Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
    and everything I would like to be?
    I can fly higher than an eagle,
    for you are the wind beneath my wings.”

  3. My heart goes out to your father, you and the rest of your family. With so much love and support, your father will have more than enough courage to deal with it. You’re a good son. 🙂

  4. that’s a beautiful story. i’m rendered speechless at times like these, where friends are greatly distressed by things that are outside their control. i hope for you to take care and for your father’s health to get better.

  5. your entry made me teared. stay strong for your mom and your brothers. there’s always a chance in getting well as your dad is a fighter. he’s been through so much to reach up there. i know he’ll never give up. hang in there boy!

  6. Sham – Thank you. Its a difficult time for both of us. A little support from someone in the same boat is priceless. I wish all the best for you and your family too.
    Kimmik – Thank you for empathizing. Laughter gives me strength to go through this. You give me that. 🙂
    Jayelle – Sometimes I felt like I’m the one who needs help to stand up and face the facts. One of the most difficult thing to do in this situation is to face reality, grab life by the balls, deal with it and just hope for a miracle.
    IngHui – I will take care. Thanks for your wishes. I do hope that my father’s health will be under control if not get better. 🙂
    Chrissie – Its one of the things I fear. Sometimes he’d say things like he’s prepared to let it all go and give it all up. We want to live a life like everything is ok and everything is normal and that our long-term future plans includes him in it. Its just very difficult to do, as if we’re lying to ourselves. I’m still keeping my hopes up. Thank you.

  7. kenny.. stay strong. 4 both ur family, n 4 urself. i feel helpless coz sayin anyting wud b rather hypocritical since i’m not in ur situation, but i kno tht whn my own dad got hurt it was painfully upsettin. if u need sum1 2 tok 2.. thr’s owez msn ok?

  8. I’m really sorry about your father. I, myself, can’t ever imagine losing any of my parents to cancer. I can only hope that you can pull through this, and become a stronger person!

  9. Considering that you wrote this on Jan 23, how’s everything now? I sincerely prayed that it’s getting better. Please let it be! fingers-crossed.. i’ve to let out a big ‘sigh’ when reading what you wrote. it is solemn, it is sad. i can feel it.
    Sometimes it’s hard for one to pen down his innermost feelings, particularly sth as such but i think you did a great job. seriously.. i hope that you would be granted the courage to face all these. Do cheer up n take k plz :).. although these words might be too late now. But, ya..

  10. Thanks for dropping a comment on this seemingly ‘forgotten entry’. Since I last wrote about my father things have been a little better. Diet improved slightly and weight has gone up.
    There are a lot to my father that I didn’t choose to write here as I do think some things are better left private. But thanks for asking. 🙂 I really appreciate it.

  11. This is a touch one..i’m so sorry about ur father.Tomolo will be better… be positive and stay strong …God bless ur family

  12. you know, behind that comical side of you, you’re a man who is in touch with your emotional needs, and for that, i respect you, kenny.
    i bet your dad is damn proud of you (as i would be too, if i had a son like you) 🙂 keep him smilin’ and tickle his funny bone.

  13. Looking back at the time when you and your family were facing with this situation, your maturity at handling this is highly commendable. I wish your family well and keep your dad’s fighting spirit burning! 🙂

  14. I don’t know how to access this page, i’m also a advanced stage cancer patient who is still receiving chemo, give all the love and support you have to your dad, it will be highly appreciated and needed.
    Stay strong Kenny!

  15. my prayers goes to your father kenny, i cant access the page though, and it kept on saying i entered wrong password. what password shud i enter anyway?

  16. i would like to read this post but when i entered my email n password it say invalid…may i know how i can read this post ?

  17. hey, I’m dealing with some death and grief issues here recently… any kind souls mind telling me how can i access this post?

  18. gee.. so sorry bout ur dad..
    a few months ago i lost my opa to cancer too..
    wish to read this post if u dont mind..

  19. lost mine when i was form 1, and now i can’t reason why i went to school that day.
    “invalid password” it says… what password am i suppose to enter anyway?

  20. HI! AFter reading your blog make me feel that fathers are good in every ways, even though not all of them are good…Kenny! I am glad that you had a great father because no matter what, your daddy loves you very much…but I am not so sure about only sweet memory with him is only up to 5 years old of my life..the rest are all..i don’t know how to say 😀 however losing him in my life does make a big difference…just the diference between you and me with our daddy is that you grow up with his love and I don’t..but mostly physically abuse–he likes to hit people:) hmm what else i want to say… dont know la…what do you have to say 😀 by the way my blog is still empty so dont read 😀
    pai seh pai seh 😀 dont tulan ya!

  21. Hi Kenny. I do understand how you felt about your father, as I have experienced the same situation as you did.
    My father was diagnosed to have lung cancer, though he doesn’t have any contributing factor that predisposed him to any source of cancer, medically speaking…
    I watch him suffered for two years, from being hopeful, alternating between modern western medicine with traditional Chinese medicine. When he consulted a medium, that;s when I knew he had lost hope.
    I remember vividly the breathing machine that hissed from the oxygen machine that he was hooked on for the last 28 days of his life. I remember the last 48 hours before his demise where I promised him I would personally assist him with his physiotherapy to enable him to stand on his own.
    I witnessed the tranformation from a muscular man to a withering skin and bones.
    I watched him blew his last breathe. I watched how he suffocated during the last few minutes of his life.
    I was the one who injected the dose of morphine to ease his passings.
    I remember writing a poem the minute he blew his last breathe that was printed in his orbituary.
    Trust me…. I understand how you feel….

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