Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Father's Strength

I received this comment from a blog reader and it really got to me. I thought it was worth sharing with you.

From "peto":

Today is one Black day - the kind that can only happen in the movies, but...

I'm glad I watched Channel 8; otherwise I wouldn't have met the most special mum in the world.

I'm also glad my 4-year-old daughter actually watched through the whole of your amazing story with me, without her usual complaints for attention.

Tasha: Daddy, who is this lady and what happened to her?

P: Mmh! She is very sick just like 'Po Po Doreen' (my aunt).

Tasha: Why is she so happy?

I was speechless for a while although there are many obvious reasons I could have given her:
Blessed with ...
* Wonderful family and friends.
* Lovely Josie and Toby.
* You just decided to be happy.
* Happy Bald Angel (hope you don't mind)

But I guess this innocent question speaks for what wonderful lessons you are bringing into our lives.

Tasha: Hey! Daddy, you have not answered my question!

I just gave her a huge warm hug and whispered to her that... we must love and live happily just like you.

P.S. This is my first blog comment and I have added it to my Favorites as I plan to learn from every entry after my 4-month-old daughter's heart surgery this Friday.

[From Shin: "Peto", my thoughts, and I'm sure the thoughts and prayers of many who read this blog will be with you and your family this Friday. Please let us know how your daughter is doing.]


Anonymous said...

hi there...i came across your blog after watching the documentary on channel 8.i know it may sound ridiculous and random but i would like to ask u a question would you go on an internship which has nothing to do about what you have studied. thanks.hope to hear from u soon! :)

Shin said...


I'm not quite sure exactly what you're asking. Can you be more specific?

Zack said...

Hi Shin.

Stay strong. Your story moved many people. And I would like to share something I read somewhere: "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." And your story, dear lady, took mine.

Warmest regards,

Emily said...

Hi Shin.

I can understand your reasonable basis for skepticism about religion. The day my cousin Lisa died of leukemia, her father, who was a devoted Taoist, smashed the statue of a deity he prayed so hard to for years. Her death also turned the rest of our family into non-believers. When Lisa was diagnosed in 2006, her dad even went down on his knees in church. For two years he held on to his faith, read the Bible feverishly & at the same time raced to seek all sorts of powerful talisman. He was ready to accept any religion that could save his daughter's life. Now that Lisa is gone, he wishes he had spent more time with her instead of those mighty ones. Shin, what you need most is the love & support from your family & friends. And it seems you have it all. Cheers, Emily

Anonymous said...

Hi Shin.

You are truly a strong mother. People that I have seen with cancer are all unwilling to live on because of the pain of the chemotherapy and surgeries. But you are a strong mother even with cancer. You are still so cheerful.

Anonymous said...


I really admire the strength you possess in fighting your illness. Sadly, I've just received some bad news. My maternal grandfather who doted on me since I was born, has been diagnosed with lung cancer due to his smoking habit. He can finish a packet of cigarettes in two days. I'm sad because I am now cherishing every moment I have with him. The doctor said that he will have difficulty breathing. He also said that my grandfather has less than three months to live.

Although I'm just a 12-year-old kid, I still understand what will happen if it is a terminal disease.

[To Peto: Peto, I hope that your daughter will have success in her operation. Remember to report to us the good news.]

Anonymous said...

Hi, I watched you on Channel 8. You are strong and may God Bless you and your family. Take good care of yourself.

:D said...

Hello Shin!

You're an inspiring woman! Keep on smiling all day long! Thanks for sharing such a lovely life as yours. I'm sure your kids will love you as much you loved them.

Patrick Wong JJ said...

Hi Shin.

Truly, you are a great woman. I admire your courage and attitude towards life. I watched this together with my friend Jasmine who is Hearing Impaired. I was explaining to her what was happening because sometimes when you spoke in English, the subtitles were in Chinese. The Hearing Impaired in Singapore learn how to lip read in English.

Both of us were touched by your story. We hope that you'll continue to spread your story and positive energy.

The documentary was done very well. I would definitely want to keep a copy of it to remind myself to be brave when I am afraid during my life journey.

Best regards,
Patrick Wong JJ

Anonymous said...

Sorry for being random. I have been given a chance to go on an overseas internship, but it has nothing to do with what I studied in school. I was interested in your view. Thanks.

Shin said...


There are things to consider, e.g., will this internship take you off track in pursuing your studies? Do you or your family have the financial means for this? Are there any downsides?

But my instinctive reaction is... whenever you have a chance to go somewhere else to do something new, GO FOR IT!

Peto said...

Hi Shin.

This is Peto & why are you still up so late, replying @ 12.35am?

You've flattered me with the "Title" and my eyes almost popped out when I realized the message looked familiar, but I am glad that it got to you somehow (it better have, as I spent hours typing & summarizing just like back in school, trying to figure out how to post a comment).

I've just returned from the hospital as Natasha kept calling me because she missed my gang of "goose-pimples" around my arms for her sleep. I had to leave my little Nadya at the hospital with Hazel for the night & be back with them for the surgery tomorrow morning, around 7. Unfortunately, Natasha was asleep when I reached home.

Mmh... what can I say to her when she wakes up and finds that I'm not around come morning?

Seeing the needle sticking out & dangling with blood from the little back of Nadya's hand is really not much fun to begin with, but I'm really proud of her as she smiles to us whenever she sees us. (I would like to name that smile after you, a "Shinsmile"; a little smile of big courage; a smile of life). I will tell her what a "Shinsmile" means when she grows up to ask me, "Daddy, what's a shinsmile & why are you always saying that whenever I smile?"

I will tell her that her smile reminds me of an extra-ordinary lady name simply "Shin".

Don't worry about little Nadya as I'm sure her "Shinsmile" will pull her through, along with your prayer.

My uncles and aunt had cancer; will share some thoughts with you soon.

Shin said...


I got teary-eyed at the image of your little Nadya with tubes of blood running out of her tiny hand. That must be so heart-breaking for a parent to see.

When Josie spent a night in the hospital at the age of two because of a simple, common infection, I was so upset, I crawled into the hospital baby cot with her (luckily, I was small enough), and spent the night holding her. I don't think I slept the entire night.

What you said about the "Shinsmile" really got me teary. I can't tell you what that means to me. The thought that somewhere out there is a little girl with a smile named after me... it's an incredible honor, even for a cynic like me. Thanks so much for making my day. I'm going to tell this story to Toby and Josie. I would put it on a list of things I'm most proud of.

Please update us on Nadya's progress, as I'm sure other readers of this blog would like to know how she's doing.

If you don't mind my asking... why does your four-month-old need heart surgery?

BEL said...

Hi Shin.

I came to know about you through the Channel 8 program. I would really like to salute your courage and perserverance in life. Really admire that.

I lost my father to lung cancer in April 2006 when he was 55. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in early March 2006. It had spread to his rib cage, and he passed away after only one short month.

Within one month, I witnessed his declining health. In just that short month, he was unable to walk. He experienced shortness of breath after ten steps. He was coughing non-stop and he couldnt really sleep.

His lifestlye before the cancer was a good and healthy one. He watched his diet well, he was active physically and mentally. It was really hard to accept at first. But eventually I took courage in knowing that my dad passed away after only one short month of pain.

It is my prayer that you continue to fight on and enjoy life to the fullest with your loved ones. May the Lord keep you and bless you!



ANGEL said...

Dear Shin,

Saw your story on TV and would like to let you know that your courage has really touched me. With or without your cancer, you are indeed a precious rare jewel. : )

Would like to offer you a hand of friendship and to just send you some love and blessings.

As they say in Korean drama serials, "Fighting, fighting!"


Anonymous said...

Hi Shin.

Don't give up. Though the treatment you are going through will weaken your body, nothing will weaken your mind if you think positively. If you have a strong will, you will be able to overcome the disease.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shin.

Many times I wanted to share my story with you but felt you would have too many comments to reply to.

I was diagnosed with breast and bone cancer in Feb 2006. After a mastectomy, 8 cycles of chemo, and 50 sessions of radiotherapy in July 2008, it's now spread to my liver and lungs. I've just finished my third of six cycles of chemo Paclitaxel and Avastin.

Just as I thought life was tough, in July 2008 I caught my husband of 11 years having an affair, a second time in our marriage. No physical pain could be greater than my emotional pain.

I have three lovely kids I gain strength from. I no longer fear death.

I envy your close family commitments, one I wish I had, but history can't be changed. Your courage to live is a great motivation to me.

Stay strong! May you have a blast on your birthday.

Shin said...


I've had a look at your blog. You have beautiful kids. Pardon my curiosity... Are you still with your husband?

Lynn Foo said...

Hi Shin.

It's me again. Thanks for your encouragement. I hope I will have another 8 years and more "8 years" to go.

My family has a cancer history and my doctor suggested I go for a gentic test (BRCA1 and BRCA2). So I went for it and tested positive; that was in 2006. And in 2007, I had my ovaries and womb removed so as to lower my risk for ovarian cancer.

Unfortunately, breast cancer came back. My six-year-old nephew watched the TV programme and told my sis "that aunty (you) looks like Big aunt (me)" because we are both bald and have similar figures.

Shin, be strong. Though we cannot change the situation, there is always the possibility of a miracle no matter how difficult things might seem.

I believe that if we counter things with a happy, content heart, it's a good start for a miracle to come by.

I wish you a very, very HAPPY birthday and merry Christmas...

Luv always,
Lynn Foo

Peto said...

dont get teary the 3rd time if I told you I almost lost little nadya this morning. long story; do not wish to bore your reader but she seems to be stable now. meant to drop you an update last night as not to get you worried just in case but I have to rush back to the ward after coaxing tasha to sleep as I am doing the same right now. sorry, will cut this short and update you when all is well. as for your earlier question; hole in the heart (self healing), mitral valve leakage (nothing can be done) and patent ductus arteriosus which she has underwent the surgery. don't worry i have faith with the "shinsmile" and many prayers from friends.

Shin said...

I've been away from the computer all day and just logged on to see if there was any news about Nadya. I'm sorry it's not the news I was hoping for (my heart skipped a beat when I read that you'd almost lost her). Hang in there. It sounds like you have a lot of love and support around you, including the thoughts and prayers from readers of this blog, as well as myself. Please keep us updated on how Nadya's doing. And how her sister Natasha's doing. She must be very worried about her baby sister.

Anonymous said...

I’m not here today to say how beautiful Shin is or how great a mother she is. She definitely is and I have no doubt about it. Does having cancer make a different Shin? I guess not; having cancer does not make a different Shin. The only difference comes from her bravery, compassion and never-say-die attitude.

To those who are still fighting the battle and those who have just stepped onto the battlefield, Shin is definitely a role model. You have no choice over getting cancer (or any other illness) but you do have a choice to fight a beautiful battle just like Shin did.

zorop said...

to peto-through-shin

thanks for coming up with a
so beautiful yet powerful.
i'll use it someday.
and hope Nadya get well soon.

and shin..umph umph umph!

Shin said...


I read your latest update on Nadya, but did not post it as you requested. I wonder if you would mind if I posted a summarized version? I ask this because your experience could some day save another child's life.

I'll wait to hear from you.

Peto said...

Sure. Nadya is recovering well and in fact, managed to catch her "shinsmile" right after I went back to her last night.

I hope you can request your readers to say a prayer for this little girl named Jillian Lee Jia Yi. I believe she is in a coma for a failing kidney and the problem is that failing one is the only one she has. I am deeply touched by her mother as she always wears a positive smile whenever she comes to the ward, doing everything she can for her child. I really hope little Jillian wakes up to give a smile back to her wonderful mum.

[Note from Shin: I'll be posting Peto's story/update about Nadya as a blog post, rather than in the comment section, later this week.]

Anonymous said...

My sister had breast cancer 2 years ago and today she told me that they found cancer again, this time in the liver. I am devastated and truly proud of her strength and bravery. I came across your blog and found your words very helpful. We will keep fighting this until the end. Love
Angie (UK)