Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One More Year

Today's my birthday - the third one since I was first diagnosed with cancer in December 2005. Here's what I wrote in my blog last year on my birthday:

"Should I make a prediction about where I’ll be at my next birthday? I’ll still be in Singapore, I’ll still have cancer, I’ll still be alive. That sounds terribly boring. I hope I can do something between now and then to make that year worth having."

Now I have to ask myself what I've done with this past year that made it worth having. The most obvious answer is that I spent more time with my kids, but that would have been the case even if I didn't have cancer.

In terms of achievements, I think the only thing I can claim to have accomplished this past year is this blog. Without sounding too conceited, I think this blog has provided other people touched by cancer a place to share experiences, learn from each other, and just feel safe, accepted, and inspired.

Looking ahead at one more year, I'd like to set some kind of concrete goal so that on my 43rd birthday, I can look back and say I've accomplished that task. I'm just not sure what that goal should be.

I'd been thinking about setting up a breast cancer information Web site for Singapore, but I see now that there's quite a lot of information out there already on the Internet. I wanted to start a communication training program for health care professionals (after going through some terrible experiences myself), but the hospitals here have already started such a program - maybe due to my volumes of feedback?

So I'm still working on having a goal to strive for in this year ahead. I'm one of those people who likes making lists and ticking off the tasks as they're completed. I'd like to tick off a box a year from now. But I suppose I should be happy enough to be ticking at all.

How about you? What have you done with this past year that made it worth having?


Mandy Lee said...

Happy Birthday to you!

Ronnie Ng said...

생일 축하합니다~ ^^

seeling said...


My family watched your program last Tuesday and they were deeply moved by your fighting spirit. My sister-in-law, however, was not as determined and mentally strong as you as she gave up her fight with breast cancer and succumbed to death 6 months after the diagnosis.

I believe there are not many people out there who are willing to accept this challenge. I doubt I could if I were told I had an incurable disease. Probably, I would think of you to fight on...

You are indeed a special person on this earth... I hope to send you birthday greetings in 2009!

Have fun today. I'm sure you'll enjoy today plus an advanced Christmas celebration.


Shin said...


Thanks for your compliments.

I don't think we should assume that your sister-in-law was not determined to live, simply because she died after six months. The length of a patient's survival isn't tied to that patient's will to survive. Some people fight their battles silently, out of the spotlight. Maybe your sister-in law was such a person. I'm fighting my battle very visibly. That doesn't make my fight any more determined than hers.

Don't underestimate what you're capable of. If you were ever faced with an incurable disease or other such tragedy, you might surprise yourself with the strength you have within you. I'd rather bet for you than against you, and I don't even know you. You should do the same.

JOYce said...

Hi Shin.

Happy Birthday To U. May this day bring to you all things that make you smile ^_^



Alka said...

Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday! Happy Birthday!Happy Birthday! Have a great birthday...luv, alka

writerinresidence said...

Happy Birthday Shin! Sending you a bouquet of positive, healing, hopeful wishes!

Leighbee said...

Best wishes for your Birthday-all our love on this extra special and every other make every one of them special and every one of them count!

ANGEL said...

Happy Birthday, Shin ;)

It would be great if you could do some sort of talk for people who are sick and teach them how to walk out of it and how to look out for the rays in the sunshine.

Not everyone has Internet access and not everyone can read English you know ; ) I can volunteer to be your translator if you do tat ; )

Shin said...


That's an amazingly generous compliment but frankly, I am definitely not a motivational speaker by any means.

I'm just a woman with cancer who has a blog and can write well.

There are many, many others who could give motivational talks to cancer patients - many of them are readers and contributors to this blog.

But again, thanks for the incredible compliment.

Jason Goh said...

Wish there are many more birthdays to come for you...
Think you can have both the information website and discussion forum for medical staff set up even if there's already an existing platform.... When there's competition, things will improve (as always the case in Singapore)

All the best! Give yourself a break today and enjoy this special day of yours! It's SHIN's day!!!

Jason Goh

Anonymous said...


I just want to say Happy Birthday!

I think you should give yourself lots of credit for creating this blog - not just for cancer patients but the beautiful use of language and the words.

Trust me, I am addicted to your blog and need to read it every day during breakfast.

Have a good day with Tony, Toby & Josie.

Anonymous said...

Shin, Happy Birthday!!! : )

Another victory year!!! Yeah!!! : )

No words can describe my wishes and happiness for you when I read your birthday post! I am sure you will be able to continue to have a positive impact on many, not only just cancer patients! : )

Jun said...

Happy 43rd Birthday Shin...

Shin said...


Thanks. Actually, it's my 42nd birthday. But I'll keep your message in mind for next year, since I plan to be around then. ; )

Yvette said...


I wish you all the best! : )

CL said...

Dear Shin,

Happy birthday! Being here to celebrate the special day with your family is in itself a triumph over the aggressive cancer!

My friend was diagnosed with a relapse in March this year, and she introduced me to the wearewonderwomen Web site. That was where I chanced upon the link to your blog. We were quite close and it saddened me very much when she passed away in August, barely 5 months after the diagnosis, at the youthful age of 36.

I have been following your blog since then. I guess I just feel comforted knowing that people in similar situations to my close friend are still fighting on and making the most of life.

As a young mummy, I can imagine how painful it must feel to think about having to leave your kids at such a young age. After my friend's diagnosis, I dreamt once that it was me with the illness and my first thought was - but my little girl needs her mummy!

So I wish for you on your birthday, that your adorable angels will have a fulfilling and loving year ahead with their mummy - another 12 months of mummy's love and hugs that will seem like a lifetime of love to them.

Kathie said...

Dear Shin,

When we are busy, we feel that time flies.

Well, if we live everyday repeating the same routine, then another year would be 365 days too many.

Given that you use each day so carefully, then 365 days can achieve a lot.

Relish each day as it comes. Do what you want and do what you wish. By doing so, your list of things will naturally be ticked.

Happier each day...


Gloria said...

Happy Birthday!! May it be filled with an abundance of love, happiness and a good dose of health.

haruhana said...

Happy birthday!! I wish you are able to grow old with your husband and watch your children grow up! Not a denial comment but a sincere one!

Amy said...

Happy Birthday!!!

charsiewrice said...

Happy Birthday!

Roy Leow said...

Today is really your special day!
Happy Birthday to you!!
I hope God will continue to bless you and recover soon!!

Matz said...

Happy Birthday, Shin. One more year's fight's gone by. Remember you said on the documentary that this is the best time of your life. So that's a real least in my personal not all of us understand how to remember to live, let alone grasp the meaning of life being good, the way you do.

Jean said...

A Very Happy Birthday to you !!

Louise said...

Happy Birthday Shin, have a great day..

Karin said...

Dear Shin,

Wishing you a very happy birthday and I look very much forward to reading your blog regularly in the year to come!

May I ask if anyone happens to have recorded the Channel 8 documentary and could put it up on the Internet? I missed the first 10 minutes and would really appreciate the chance to watch it.

Have a wonderful day birthday girl, lots of sunshine, smiles and laughter.

Best wishes,

Dick and Nanci said...

Happy Birthday from all the Monahans. You're always in our thoughts.

Jemelle Chang said...

Dear Shin,

Happy Birthday! Thank you for sharing with so many of us. It has become a routine for me to read your blog just like reading the newspapers. I cannot let a day pass without doing it! You remind me to be content with what I have and complain less. Also, to smile more and not be uptight with the slightest things. Thank you.

Mk said...

Happy Birthday to you Shin!

This is the 1st time I'm writing to you. Am very touched by your fighting spirit! Hope you enjoy your birthday!


ML said...

Happy Birthday Shin,

Cannot wait to view your doco on the Internet. I met you at Rosemount school one day painting the library. It was only a day as my daughter had been sick, but it was enough. Have since moved back to Sydney.

I am touched by your life story and check your blog everyday. You are fighting a good fight.

One question, if you don't mind and if it's not too personal. How is Tony handling this? How is he preparing himself? Maybe it's his to tell!

Keep living strong. Thinking of you.



Shin said...


Thanks for your comments.

How is Tony handling this? Very well, as far as I can see. He's not much of a talker; not the type to tell anybody what he's really feeling.

He's pretty much a solid rock. He does have moments of sadness when he thinks I'm feeling pain or when he things about the kids and their future without their mom. But he's not the self-pitying sort.

He's been great to me throughout all this. Yes, we still have arguments. I nag him for spending money on his toys when I'm turning down medications to save money. I nag him for feeding the kids junk while I'm not looking. He ignores me, as he did before I had cancer, when he feels I'm being unreasonable. So he hasn't gone all soft on me just because I have cancer.

I ask him often if he's okay and whether there's anything I can do to make things easier for him and he says there isn't. He just wants to know what he can do for me.

So I think he's handling it just fine so far. Things might change a bit after I'm gone, but I think he'll have enough support around to help him see through it. If not, I'll come back as Shin-the-Sequel to help him get through the tough times.

Did that answer your question or was that just a whole lot of rambling?

Shin said...


I'll let Tony add to my answer if he feels like it.


Hui Ting said...

Happy Birthday Shin !!! =D

Hui Ting

Anonymous said...

Dear Shin,

Watched your program last Tuesday and have read you since then.

Happy Birthday!

yaya said...

Hi Shin,

You have indeed changed my life. Today my mum's CT scan results are coming out. It's obvious that she is worried and although I do not display it, I am too. What I want to wish to you today is have a happy birthday. I intend to dedicate a cake I am making tomorrow to you. : ) I will post you the link soon... Have a great day babe with your kids and hubby.
By the way, thank you so much for your medical advice. Ok, I will consult my doctor as soon as possible.


Shin said...


Thanks for your comment. I trust your mother's CT scan was good?

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday - A simple but significant well-wishing I would like to say to you.

May you take some special time to honor yourself and those you love dearly on this special day, though I would imagine that you have been doing so already continuously anyway!

I didn't celebrate birthdays to honor my mum for giving birth to me until she passed away. But now, I see birthdays as an occasion to honor those who bring me into this world, and those who keep me alive in this world =)

Shin said...


I've often said the same - that birthdays should be for celebrating the person who gave us our very first birthday - our mothers.

Emily said...

Happy Birthday!

Hanyong said...

Hi Shin.

I stumbled across the program last Tuesday and through that show came to learn about your blog.

Wanted to thank you for sharing so much of your experiences and information on your blog. It made me understand more what my mother went through years back. She seldom talked about her pains and that is why I didn't really understand why she always complained that the food was spicy when it was actually not and such stuff...

And would also like to wish you a very very happy birthday and congratulations for another victory. =)


ANGEL said...

Well, you don't need to be a motivational speaker... just sharing your views and your personal experience will help a lot.

It gives people hope that if Shin can do it, I so can I. ; )

I feel it is your sincerity, your courage that touches others and helps them, inspires them... not at all whether you can motivate or do public speaking well. : )

I am sure many others agree! ; )

Shin said...


Again, thanks for your confidence in me, but I'm not comfortable standing in front of a bunch of strangers dishing out stories about "how I manage to be so great and how you can do it too."

I already think it's weird that people on this blog are asking me for career and relationship advice. Yikes.

Reb said...

Happy Birthday to you Shin.

I cried buckets during the show and you have already achieved your goal with your blog. It reaches many people and touches them and I want to thank you for it. So to continue the blog (1 3 5 per wk) should be your goal and you're gonna celebrate many more birthdays with us. Happy Happy Birthday SHIN.


Spirit Friend - Apple said...

I am sincerely wishing you & your family "Happy, Healthy & Peaceful" forever.

Everybody is in this world only temporarily & we will leave anytime, anyplace. We do not have a choice. Don't be too sad, happy go lucky.

All the best to you.

Spirit Friend - Apple

Anonymous said...

Shin = (xin)信 or (xin)心in the Chinese character. You must have confidence (信心)in yourself. Happy Birthday to You = )

Yihong said...

MdM, Happy Bday to You

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Shin! Hope you will have a good time with your family. I am looking forward to my own 42nd birthday next month. I am also a mom to 2 young children. I sincerely wish you many more happy years with them. Lots of love to you and all at home.

Daniel said...

Hi Shin,

Happy Birthday. Simple words but sincerd wishes from Daniel.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shin,

생일 축하합니다 saeng-il chukha-hamnida

お誕生日おめでとうございます otanjōbi omedetō gozaimasu


Buon compleanno

That's Happy Birthday in 4 different languages (Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Italian) :-)


Shin said...


I'm very impressed, you polyglot!

Who are you?

TAB said...

Hi Shin.

Happy birthday to you!

I am a cancer patient myself, Stage 4 bile duct cancer and was only diagnosed mid last month. I am about to move into the 2nd cycle this Sat.

I watched your documentary with my husband and we were very touched with the support that your husband is rendering to you. I am glad that I have my husband's support during this difficult time. My mum also just passed away and was cremated on the day before your show. I was sadden by her death, but hope that she has moved on to a better place.

After your show, I was inspired to create my own blog. I had been thinking about it for some time, but didn't get my act together until I read your blog. I think that it is a good channel for jotting down my thoughts and serves as an electronic diary for myself and my children.

I wish you well and hope that we can move on into our next birthday year and many more to come. I should probably set goals for myself for the coming year. :-)

Linda said...

Hey Shin.

Congratulations and Blessed Birthday.

Have been reading your blog since I watched the program last Tuesday. Your life makes me think about mine and what I should do to make an impact or even legacy in others' lives.

Cheers to another year!!!

Lina said...

Happy Birthday Shin!

I hope I can say this again to you next year! Keep the spirit going! GOD Bless!

Alice Teo said...

Hi Shin,

Happy birthday ;p

Stay happy and positive always.

With lots of love, kisses and hugs,


fl said...

Happy Birthday Shin : )


Crocobuaya said...


With positive thinking and your husband and children in mind, every day is a birthday to you.

I remember in May 2003 when my sister asked the doctor if it were true that she would't live to celebrate her birthday on 26 Jun 2003, the doctor did not know how to answer her question.

I told her that as long as you are happy everyday is a birthday to everyone of us. You don't have to wait until your birth date to celebrate it.


Shin said...


I agree. I never thought much of birthdays. Everyone has one every year. What's so special?

I've decided I'm not going to celebrate my birthday anymore. Instead, I'm going to celebrate the date of my diagnosis so that I can mark each year that I've survived cancer. That makes much more sense.

So on December 7, I'll give myself a real treat for surviving cancer for three years.

daphnequek said...

Happy Birthday Shin.

My wish is you'll spend many many many (countless) birthdays with Tony, Josie and Toby.

Have a Great day ahead.

Shin said...

Dick, Nanci, and all the Monahans,

Thanks so much for your birthday wishes. And thanks for "adopting" me when I was in college!

[To other blog readers: Dick and Nance are the parents of my college boyfriend! From TWENTY YEARS ago! How amazing is THAT?!]

Hugh, Victoria, Kate and Boo said...

Happy Birthday Shin! Have a wonderful day.

Hugh is hoping to see you at the finish line of the marathon again this year. In fact, he is saying that as he has 'hi 5' with you there on completion of his last 2 marathons that it is now a tradition between you and him. Just thought I ought to let you know!!!

Much love to you, Tony, Josie and Toby

From Hugh, Victoria, Kate and Boo.

Shin said...

Hugh, Victoria, Kate, Boo,

Thanks for the birthday wishes.

If Hugh's expecting me at the Finish Line, I'll make a concerted effort to be there!

P.S. to Blog Readers:
If you think I'm inspiring, go watch runners at the Finish Line of a marathon. Read this past blog post I wrote about last year's Singapore Marathon. Then watch this incredible story about a father-and-son team.

Yaya said...

Hi Shin.

It's me again!! I can't help posting another comment to you. Mum got cleared. Doc says it's nothing! I am so happy and what's more, it's your birthday!!! Take care, ok? : )


Shin said...


That's fantastic news! Thanks for letting me know.

Annie said...

Happy Birthday dear Shin - I hope you get a cake big enough to hold all 42 candles as you've certainly earned all those years! Why do people, as they get older, not like to celebrate their birthdays? I, too, am 42 and I see everyday as a gift from GOD, meant to be spent and cherished with our family. Take care.

Always, Annie

Mel said...

Happy birthday to you! May all your dreams come true! : )


Charmayne said...

Hey Shin,

Happy Birthday & may all your Wishes come true!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts & making us appreciate our loved ones more.


Francesca Giessmann said...

Hey Shin:

I love birthdays... go and celebrate!
And so I will dare say: Happy 52nd birthday. This way you can keep this message until then... and later...

A big kiss and a warm hug,


You Long said...

Happy birthday!

Get well soon!


You Long

Spy said...

Dear Shin,

Happy Birthday to you. May this special Day bring you and your family joy, laughter and many special moments together.

You will have many many more birthdays to come! Have a great time!

Best Wishes,

sz said...

Happy birthday Shin! So glad you are still here! Be positive and tell hubby to plan for X'mas soon!

Mathilda said...

Hello Shin!

I’ve been an avid reader of your blog since chancing upon it one day while researching for school work. It has been inspirational reading your blog, listening to your thoughts about life.

You're blessed with a wonderful family and beautiful children.

Take great care & happy birthday to you, Shin (mine is 2 days away & I’m turning 19)! : )

Natalia said...

Happy Birthday Shin!

I love reading your blog. It helps me try to "live in the now", as you seem to be doing. You've helped a lot of people by sharing your experience, so I would say you've achieved quite a lot in the past year.

Thanks for helping spread the word about Maksim. Even though he died, the support from your network gave so much comfort to his mother, who could focus on his (and her) emotional needs rather than stress about money.

I hope the next year brings you good health, lots of smiles, precious moments with your family, and amazing new discoveries.


Leighbee said...


I would really like to read your blog, if you don't mind sharing it with me. Where can I find it?

Peto said...

Hi Shin.

Would like to present you with a Little Birthday Present:

"Nadya is now back home with us!"

Although we will have to go back for further review as the scan shows that there is still a little leakage, meaning she is not within the 95% success rate.

Oh! I spoke too soon. Got to go back to the ward but nothing serious and "Happy Birthday!"

zorop said...

Go write a book Shin.

I'll look for a job. That should be my resolution for next year.

Happy birthday.

xD said...

Firstly, Happy Birthday! I felt touched when I saw all your posts. You are strong! Hmm, stay happy forever!


Lisa said...

I wish you the very happiest of birthdays, Shin. I agree with the post that says having this be the best time of your life is most certainly a huge achievement! Here's to even better times and even more birthdays.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday and may you have a fruitful year ahead. I saw that documentary on TV and feel that you have make an impact on other people's lives by being strong. Even though some may not suffer any illness, they might be sick emotionally. Looking at you, I feel that I am so small. I feel that I am being locked in my own world. Anyway, it's very inspiring to know your life story. I will think about how I will lead my life. I wish you all the best.

Shin said...


Thanks for your compliments.

It troubles me that you feel "so small" compared to me. I assure you, there is nothing special about me. There's no reason why you or anybody else can't be as strong and positive as I am. That's not just a bumper sticker. Seriously.

Coco said...

Happy 42nd Birthday to you, Shin! Like others have said, you have had an impact on some of our lives now. So please be strong and continue to live well!

My grandma passed away this January due to cervical cancer. And we were all devasted then. She was our Mother Teresa.

So, I sincerely pray that you are well and live without too much pain. And I believe you will be able to celebrate your 43rd Birthday next year!!

You are a strong and beautiful lady with great determination! Cheer Up!!!

Wendy Lim said...

Hi Shin,

Happy 42nd Birthday to you. I hope to read your blog on the 43th, 44th, 45th, 46th, 47th, 48th, 49th, 50th birthdays.

Truly love,

Wendy Lim

Jen Kim said...

Happy warm Birthday from cold DC! Wish I could have met up with you this past summer when Won and Mom visited, but heard you looked GREAT! Sending you big hugs!

Love, Jenny

LittleMissSunshine said...

Happy Birthday, Shin!

You are very strong and friendly. Thanks for writing this blog. You should give yourself a birthday gift like going for a relaxing family trip, fishing and picnic maybe. : )

Jia You!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Shin! Hope there's more than "one more year" to come.

Stay happy and positive always!

Take care. : )

Patrick said...

Just heard two bits of sad news tonight. One is my mother's eldest sister passed away at 6.00 p.m. this evening from don't know what. Will probably know by tomorrow. She was 85 years old.

The other is my wife's Filipina friend who has cancer of the breast and came to Singapore for regular check ups. My wife said her friend told her she is feeling pain in her arm and lots of water in the lungs.

Well after reading your blog, I have some knowledge about what's happening. My wife will meet up with her friend this Friday before she returns to the Philippines.

Anyway happy birthday.

Shin said...


I assume your wife's friend went to see a doctor while she was here? I'm not sure about the pain in the arm, but I'm pretty sure you can't actually FEEL water in the lungs. That would show up on a chest X-ray.

If you don't mind, can you update me on her situation?

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday!!!

I remember I watched a show and they said a phrase that caught my attention: "What cannot kill me makes me stronger." This keeps me going whenever I feel like giving up. I believe a strong woman like you will brave through all storms.

I wish you good health and all the best. Hope to wish you Happy birthday every year. You can do it. You can conquer the impossible.

Barb said...

Hi Shin.

Happy birthday!! I'm sending you lots of hugs and kisses right now, (Anthony, Josie, Toby and of course Carol too)! I hope you are able to do something that makes you smile today!

I love you and look forward to seeing you in the near future.


Chin Loon said...

I am late by one day... Happy Birthday !!

Ivay said...

Hi Shin! Happy birthday!

Sumana, my daughter, would like to give you a hug. Thanks for making her mummy a better person!


Anonymous said...

Dear Shin,

I came to know about you after watching the program last Tuesday.

I found that you are a brave lady. Do not lose hope on life. I will be praying for you.

Take care and please update your blog as this is the only link where I can find out what you are doing lately.

Take care.

Sychan said...

Hi Shin.

Happy Belated Birthday!

Continue to stay cheerful, happy and most important, live life to the fullest.

From Sychan

JY said...


Happy Birthday! Albeit one day late. But then, every day IS your birthday! I congratulate you in winning your battle against your cancer every day!

I am so glad to have discovered your blog through the TV program. You have certainly inspired me.

I have became a mother myself just six months ago. I feel so much your love for your children through the gifts you have prepared for them and the loving journal you penned. I immediately started writing a journal for my precious daughter the next day. (No more procrastination!)

I intend to also recommend your blog to a dear friend's husband who recently came Singapore for treatment for his Stage 4 nasopharyngeal cancer. I know he has been depressed about his condition and I hope your blog can inspire him! He has three beautiful young children whom he fears he will not live to see grow up.

Your blog has certainly been a great achievement. Please continue to inspire and give courage to cancer patients through your blog.

I wish you continued strength in your battle against the cancer devil, and happiness and peace in your state of mind!

Take care!

Joshua said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Shin!

Evelyn said...

Hi Shin!


I'm not good at writing but I really hope to see you recover from your illness. I got to know you through the program, and was really moved and inspired by your personality!

I believe you can make it through!

God Bless You.


Estelle said...

I know about you through the TV programme. I'm very encouraged by what I see. Please keep the blog going with your writing!

Happy birthday!


Yinvonne said...

Happy Birthday, Shin!

You don't know how much you move people around you just by the way you lead and manage your life. You're definitely an inspiration to me. And I'm just so happy to come home and log on to my computer to see your daily updates- warms my heart in a way you cannot imagine.

=) Cheers and lotsa love,

Yenping said...

Happy birthday to you.

Like the rest of your blog readers, I came to learn about you through the local TV documentary.

Just to pose some questions to you...

1) If there's really a cure for you, what's the first thing that you most want to do?

2) Since learning that you had cancer three years back, what are some things you've realized about life & the things around you?

3) What are the changes & differences you see in yourself
(I mean as in personality & thoughts) before & after developing cancer?

4) Do you believe in Miracles in Life?

I look forward to your reply.


Shin said...


Fun questions!

1) If there's really a cure for you, what's the first thing that you most want to do?

Answer: Go for a run around the lake near my house. Jump up and down. Breathe, breathe, breathe.

2) Since learning that you had cancer three years back, what are some things you've realized about life & the things around you?

Answer: I have great friends. Human beings are inherently good; they just need a chance to show it. See my earlier post about this.

3) What are the changes & differences you see in yourself
(I mean as in personality & thoughts) before & after developing cancer?

Answer: I'm a bit more patient. I listen more, talk less (one good thing about having respiratory problems!). I notice people more and care about them more.

4) Do you believe in Miracles in Life?

Answer: Absolutely. I have two little miracles named Josie and Toby. What other proof do I need?

Daphne said...

Hi Shin, Happy belated Birthday ! Thank you for being an inspiration. My dad was diagnosed to be in the late stages of stomach cancer in Mar 2007 and given approx 2 years to live. More than a year on, he is celebrating his birthday this coming weekend and I don't know how he truly feels and I don't think I can ever feel what he is going through, but he asked for a birthday party this year, something different from the quiet family dinners we have every year. But I believe he just wants to create happy moments and treasure time with loved ones as much as possible and I am happy to organize this Survivor's Party and I am sure we will enjoy it. I have learnt that time is precious and never limitless and we never realize it until time starts running out. But most importantly, we need to enjoy every moment of our lives and time with the people we have around us. Happy Birthday Shin, I hope you had a great birthday and I believe you did with such a lovely family by your side. You are a survivor in your own right and I wish you all the best!

Patrick said...

Hi Shin.

You were right about my wife's Filipina friend who knew there was water in the lungs only after an x-ray. I had presumed she "felt" there was water in her lungs. And yes, she comes here regularly for her check-up after having breast cancer. I can only briefly tell you what I have heard from my wife and that is her friend's recent visit to the doctor was due to a relapse after 3 or 4 years (not sure which stage she is in). Apparently she had eight lymph nodes removed (I don't know what this means) and she intends to treat the remaining one through medication? Please enlighten us if you know what this means.

Shin said...


I'm sorry to hear the news about your wife's friend.

Based on what you've told me, her friend's cancer might have spread beyond the breast. Fluid in the lining of the lung (pleural effusion) is often a sign of cancer spread to the lung, although other conditions, such as an infection, can also cause fluid. She should check that with her doctor.

If she had lymph nodes removed, her doctor will have checked them to see if there were cancer cells in the removed nodes. If there were, that means her cancer has gotten out of the breast area and has now spread to other parts of her body. Her doctor will recommend chemotherapy.

I assume her initial treatment consisted of just surgery and perhaps radiation. Those are ways to treat cancer locally, that is, confined to a particular area of the body - in this case, her breasts.

If her cancer has gotten out of the breast area to other parts of the body (via the lymphatic system), she will need to have her cancer treated "systemically", with chemotherapy. Chemo attacks ALL fast-growing cells, both cancer and healthy cells, throughout the entire body. So it attacks the cancer everywhere, not just one area of the body as surgery and radiation do.

Think of chemo as carpet-bombing and surgery and radiation as targeted strikes against the enemy.

But I'm sure your wife's friend has already heard all this from her doctor.

Let me know how she's doing?

Yaya said...

Hi Shin.

Sorry for the delay. I was a tad busy over the weekend. This is the link to the birthday cake I made for you. Hope you like it. : )

Shin said...


Thanks. It looks like you put a lot of work into it. I really appreciate it.

Vinaya said...

Happy Birthday.
Shin Na,what is the exact time of your birth?Maybe I could share something with you if I can have your complete birth data....
Something like looking at your condition from the angle of Chinese metaphysics.However,if you do not wish to reveal it,it is alright.

Shin said...


I don't know and neither do my parents. I don't even have a birth certificate.