Category Archives: Lord

Thoughts about God, Faith

Zap Away!

Dear Family & Friends,

It’s been a while since my previous post, but wanted to let you know what’s been happening with my treatments since my last chemo.  These last few weeks of summer have been super busy. September always marks the reversion back to normalcy….and it also means that a lot of our friends & family leave Toronto! It’s always hard to say goodbye to good friends, to the “kids” we have seen grow up before our eyes & are now heading to university & college, to family visiting…etc. We miss you guys already! But Thanks for a great summer!

We know you will continue to support & pray for us, even though you might not physically be here in Toronto. So, we want to thank you as we go through this transition period in our lives –> from single people to a married couple living in an 800 square foot condo with no furniture in the living room…haha..well, we do have a makeshift couch (aka a spare mattress), a coffee table that belongs to a friend, and our new  tv courtesy of our lovely friends (THANKS!)

I’ve also been enjoying  grocery shopping, cooking dinner (I’ll post up some pictures of my first attempts at cooking for a husband), and vaccuming. See, it’s one thing to cook for yourself in school… when anything will do and you don’t have to worry about someone else’s preference for food or poisoning them with your inedible cooking. On the other hand, cooking for a husband or family, there are things to consider like what the other person’s most hated food or favourite food is, if there’s a coupon or a sale for a specific food at the grocery store, if the food can be kept for several days in the fridge or freezer (so I don’t have to cook EVERY meal), making sure that everyone’s full & not hungry, etc…Let’s just say, I have a lot of learning to do! And what better people to learn it from than my mom and my grandma(s)!  Growing up, I have been incredibly blessed to have  breakfast, lunch, and dinner cooked, prepared or packed for me. Out of all the foods I have to learn to make, I think the recipes I’m more clueless about are the Chinese soups & other Chinese dishes.  

Now, back to the treatments. So, last week… we met up with Dr. Kuravilla & Dr. Villa and they have concluded that the tumour is small enough that I don’t need to have anymore chemo treatments! That was welcoming news, since my body is going to take some time to clear itself of the already existing poisons accumulated there in the last 6 rounds of chemo. On Wednesday, I was referred to Dr. Tsang, a radiation oncologist who will be overseeing and planning my radiation treatments.

The CT Simulator & Radiation planning was done on the same day, and I’m scheduled for my first radiation treatment this afternoon at PMH. For the planning, it was pretty cool… they put tattoo dots on the front and side of my body so that the radiation technician can precisely align the rays to the localized tumour spots. The whole radiation treatment will consist of 20 round, everyday (Mon.-Fri.) for 4 weeks. We’re so excited to know that we see the end of the tunnel! God is good!

Reading the Bible this morning, this verse really stuck out at me

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.     – 1 John 3:18-20

I was listening to a song by Chris Tomlin and looking for some new music, when I came across a song called “Love” from his album, “Hello, Love”. The words were very powerful & similar to this verse today. I hope the words also resonate with you.

When our hope is hard to find
And our faith is in decline
We need a cause to stand behind – love
We all want the way it feels
Time it comes and time it steals
What remains, what is real – love

[Chorus:]
There is love
There is forgiveness
There is love in times of need
When life is cold there is a promise
You will never go without…
There is love

It heals the sick
Comforts the weak
Breaks the proud
Raises the meek
In this life no guarantees…

Love is the answer
Love will find a way
When we love one another
It’s a brighter day

O-kwa-ga-la-kwe,
Ku-singa-byoo-na,
Bwe-twa-ga-la-na-o-lu-na-ku-lu-suu-fu

After listening to the song, I was interested in  the Watoto Children’s Choir that sings with Chris Tomlin in the background. After doing a little research, I found that these were orphaned children from Uganda, who have experienced a lot of suffering in their childhood and have been given hope through the Watoto Missions. The Mission provides for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs for the children so that they can become future leaders of their country.  Here’s a short documentary about them.

Prayer Items

  • We have  a couple of close friends & family who are going through difficult times right now. If you have time, please say a short prayer them (don’t worry about not knowing their names, God knows!) and that we can be a good support for them!
  • for successful radiation treatments. Praise God for no more chemo treatments & that it did it’s job!
  • adjustments & patience for myself, for Ike & for my parents since I no longer live with them.
  • my grandpa’s hip & his discharge from the rehabilitation centre

Cheers 🙂

-Vinci

Ring, Ring, Ring! – 6th Chemo is Done!

(I meant to post this entry a little earlier..but it’s been a week and a bit… whoops! sorry!)

Dear Friends & Family,

After a busy yet ABSOLUTELY FUN wedding weekend, our wonderful wedding party sent us to a really relaxing & wonderful  two and a half day mini-honeymoon at the White Oaks Resort & Spa in Niagara on the Lake.  The food at the resort’s restaurant (LIV) was scrumptious to say the least! We ate a wonderful dinner on our first night there and had brunches there in the next 2 days. WOW! Is all I can say… local fresh produce created by a masterchef.

So, without further ado, here’s some pictures of the happiest day of my life so far! Praise God, it was perfect: the weather, the temperature…everything went so amazingly smooth & well. We couldn’t have planned it better ourselves! Thanks to all our friends and family for all your help in preparation for the day. We couldn’t have done it without you guys. We had a LOT of fun & we hope those you guys did too.  As well, thanks for helping us raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Association of Canada ($600- to be exact), for LiveStrong and for World Vision Canada through our wedding. We’re extremely grateful 🙂 This money will definitely be helpful to someone in need!

After our mini-moon in Niagara, both Ike & I were prepared for the last round of chemo on the Wednesday afterwards. The 6th round was full of anticipation, of relief, and also of uncertainty. Anticipation always happens before chemo… but of course, I had my AWESOME support system : FRIENDS & FAMILY! Prayers & a GAGA surprise made it a lot easier 🙂 Alice my RN is always so good about it too!  She got the vein on the first try 🙂 Relief is in knowing that the 6th chemo is possibly the last one. I got to ring the bell before I left ! Uncertainty is in thinking… what comes next? Did the chemo get rid of all the bad cancer cells? Will I need round 7 & 8? Will it come back? 

Thanks Girls for the Gaga Surprise 🙂 No need for a video this time haha...you guys are here!

I had my CT Scan yesterday (August 23rd) as a follow-up to the 6th chemo and for the doctors to see what’s next. I have been having a pretty sleepless week last week in anticipation of this scan. It’s one of those: “I want to know… I don’t want to know..” type of mentalities that have kept me up at night (well… and the adjusting to sharing a bed with a husband 🙂 and the chemo drugs haha…) I’ll know the results by next Monday- I’m definitely nervous….please pray that I’ll keep relying on God’s plan for me, that I’ll be at peace & know that God is still in control.

As well… another exciting thing is that I’ve started moving in to Ike’s apartment since Friday (after my last Neupogen injection). It gives me something to do while I’m recuperating: home improvement/home organization! I’ve never lived in a condo and it wasn’t long before I realized how much work is needed in maximizing the use of a small space. It’s also a challenge to “adult-ify” a bachelor pad… ahah…

Today’s scripture reading & “daily bread” devotion (you can find this at http://odb.org/ ) was very appropriate & applicable. God’s Word Always & Continues to be a source of comfort & hope for me 🙂

4

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7

11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:11-13

Cheers & Much Love,

Vinci

5 days to wedding! 9 days to chemo!

Hello dear readers,

With all of Ike & my family & friends flying to Toronto within the last several weeks… it’s finally starting to hit me… we’re getting married… in less than a week 🙂 It’s pretty surreal knowing that it’s my last weekend as a single person. I’m so happy & excited that we are getting married and that we decided not to cancel the wedding, but to celebrate despite my health over the last several months.

We have clearly seen how God’s hands have been with us as our wedding day approaches. He has provided us with many wonderful friends who have helped make all the planning less hectic. He has been a part in the big & the small things that need to be done… and believe me, there’s ALWAYS things to be done for weddings…the list just seems to never end! Somehow though, they get done… 🙂

Today, we went to Emily & Jeff’s wedding (congrats!). It was a nice ceremony with friends and family! All that meticulous planning…for one day! It’s a lot to do, but I could tell from Emily & Jeff’s smiling faces that it was all worth it 🙂 I KNOW I’m going to be a crying mess on Saturday when it’s our turn at the altar… I know there will be a lot of smiles, a lot of tears, and a lot of laughter! (and of course, DANCING!) but…. as Jimmy V says in his 1993 ESPY Speech…

To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.

I pray that all of you will experience and appreciate all of God’s Blessings in your lives too 🙂 Sometimes, if we step back…relax.. and Count Our Blessings…it really puts things into perspective.

In terms of treatments & my health, last Friday I went to PMH for a routine bloodwork prior to a scheduled chemo. Dr. Fung put in an order for blood too…and they ended up taking 8 tubes of blood (better than 11!) Because of the wedding, the 6th (and hopefully final!) chemo will be scheduled for August 11th– the Wednesday after our wedding. I will be Mrs. Ling going into my chemo this time 🙂

 My Ultrasound for Dr. Fung also came back and all my “innards” looks good & normal 🙂 Praise God! And…..the dreaded mouthsore near my wisdom tooth that made me look slightly like a lopsided chipmunk 2 weeks ago…has gone away. Hooray!

So… bring it on! Wedding & Round 6 Chemo! 

 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

– Romans 8:27-29 (New Living Translation)

Cheers,

Vinci

Appointments Galore!

Hey Everyone 🙂

I’ve been a little behind in my updates… and I’m still in the middle of my monstrous “Excited- Part 2” entry which is now long overdue! I’ll get that done… I promise 🙂

In the meantime, this past week was a not so pleasant one after Chemo #5. The chemo day itself went pretty smoothly with Alice (my wonderful nurse) finding my vein with ease & a lovely smile on her face as always! She was so excited that Ike & I were getting married after this round 5 that she offered a great big hug & even the heat-pad as a wedding gift 🙂 The days after the chemo were pretty tiring. Sometimes, halfway through the day I’d feel like I’d gotten hit by a truck all of a sudden & in need of a nap. Even on Sunday when Ike & I went out for Brunch, I was completely exhausted after the meal and needed to go home shortly after.  But despite all these side effects, we just wanted to thank our friends and family for cooking, caring, praying and putting a smile on our faces even on the tough days!

Other side effects that I have been noticing this round include

  • numb fingers
  • low-grade fever on my 3rd night of neupogen injection. Ike & I prayed hard for the fever to subside.. and PTL! it was answered!
  • pain in my back from the neupogen
  • jaw/neck pain from the neupogen
  • more lines & discolouration in my fingernails (which I will gladly cover up for the wedding 🙂
  • nauseous feelings for more than a week
  • mouthsore near the back of my mouth –> knew I should’ve gotten those wisdom teeth out! I’ve been religiously putting Propylis on it to help with the swelling… oh! it works & it Stings like a bee…. no pun intended.

Aside from the side effects, when I’m up and at ’em… it’s makes them less noticeable! And.. this week was full of appointments to keep me on my toes! Had a chinese doctor’s appointment today along with my wedding dress fitting 🙂 Tomorrow, I have an ultrasound for my liver at TGH…and Thursday, I’m seeing Dr. Fong (my liver specialist) for a check-up since starting chemo along with a final chipao dress fitting in the evening! Whew! God, give me strength to get through the next few days without any complications… pretty please 🙂

Update soon times!

Cheers,

Vinci

Chemo 4 Over!

Hi M’dears 🙂

It’s already Friday…wow how the week flies by! Monday was my 4th round of chemo. My uncle & aunt drove my mum and I to PMH that morning. We tried to be in the daylab several hours in advance to see if they could squeeze me in for an earlier appointment. The commute took less time than what was typical… thanks to the G20 going on in Toronto. The highways & local traffic were pretty empty in comparison to normal. Looks like everyone is averting from the Downtown core and either staying at home or heading north!

Even though we were early, we didn’t start until 2:30. Once again, because of the G20, all chemo appointments on Friday were moved to the rest of the week. For this round, I requested Alice, my favourite nurse (who’s been very good at finding my veins) With her help, they found the vein on the first try! It was even in a spot where I thought they couldn’t use…but I was wrong! The chemo was done at around 6:30 (and I was only one of two people still left in the daylab). I was tired, but not as bad as last round.

Today, the Neupogen injections started again. This means, I can go out a little more than the first part of the week after chemo. With wedding related appointments in the upcoming month, it’s nice to get out of the house, to have fun running some errands with my mum, and to just enjoy the beautiful summer weather. It was also a nice treat to have Joyce & Syd visit yesterday 🙂 Thanks friends!

Thanks for your support 🙂 Isn't it crazy? The ribbons are in our wedding colours!

Thanks again for all your support. Ike & I would not be able to endure without your love & your constant reminder that God is Good, All the Time! I received an email this past week (Thanks a bunch, LACES!!) with a verse that DOES remind me… Psalm 121

“I lift up my eyes to the hills—
       where does my help come from?

 2 My help comes from the LORD,
       the Maker of heaven and earth.

 3 He will not let your foot slip—
       he who watches over you will not slumber;

 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
       will neither slumber nor sleep.

 5 The LORD watches over you—
       the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

 6 the sun will not harm you by day,
       nor the moon by night.

 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
       he will watch over your life;

 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
       both now and forevermore.”

Cheers & Blessings,

Vinci

Chemo 3 is NO match for me !

My Dear Friends & Family,

Thanks for your continuous prayers & thoughts as always! They give me strength to keep fighting 🙂 Going into chemo 3, my blood counts weren’t so high. I was on the borderline of having to have the treatment postponed, but my hematologist gave the go-ahead. So to even be able to continue with the treatment is a good thing!

 This round was a difficult one in comparison to Round 2. We waited a good 2 hours before going into the chemo day lab. They were really busy, so I was at a chair instead of a bed for the treatment. The vein was harder to find today. So, the first poke didn’t work (even though it was a fat & juicy vein!) The second poke was successful…Praise the Lord! Since it was a small vein, it was a little uncomfortable (the nurse really dug in!) & the IV drugs were making my arm a little poofy & sore (especially the Rutuxim). My blood pressure was at times pretty low, and they had to slow down some parts of the treatment. All in all though, it only took 4 and a half hours! So… not too bad 🙂

I guess due to the energy I exerted to tolerate the pain in my arm & just the lower blood pressure… I felt like I hit a brick wall after my treatment. Just a little zoned out, mostly wanting to sleep. I tried to eat as much as I could when I got home, but I felt nauseous already. So, I went to bed at 8:30!!! hahah… I don’t remember the last time I crashed so early. Thanks to my family & Ike  for putting up with my “bum-ness” at times. Nonetheless, I feel a little better aside from some nauseous feelings throughout the day.

the medicine story…

As I mentioned in the previous entry, there’s a story about my medicine that I’d like to share with you all. So in the last 2 rounds, all medications (aside from the actual chemo) had to be paid from our own pockets. I applied for some government programs and waited to see if anything would be approved. So this was what happened. The Trillium Government program would provide all expenses in  medications that exceeds a grand total of $1500 from April until July.  We also phoned the Victory program which makes the Neupogen injections, and they provided for injections until Round 3. Well, little did we know that God was in the midst of answering prayers!

So… because I needed injections (and neither my mom nor myself felt comfortable with administering our own injections) and the clinic near our house was too packed for us to go get my shot,  CCAC (Community Care Access Centre), an initiative funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in Ontario provided for a homecare nurse to come every morning for the injections in Round 2. The case manager reviewed my situation with me and brought up the fact that CCAC can provide medicine (oral & injections) for patients under the Ontario Drug Benefit Plan (as long as they need a Homenurse) free of charge!  It proved to be a blessing in disguise because of the fact that I didn’t go to the clinic (cause it was booked) and that I couldn’t give myself injections (Cause I’m too chicken)! That means aside from paying my pharmacy fees, ALL of my medicine (excluding Heptovir) is covered!!!!!! What’s even more praiseworthy is that on the same day, the Victory program called to tell me that my case has been approved and that all my Neupogen injections would be covered until November 2010!!! God is truly a God that answers prayers & provides! 

The following song & testimony has touched my heart & soul for the past few months. It is a slight reflection of how I feel & how the Medicine story is one that shows  God’s love & presence. I have come across this song by Hillsongs United several times through friends & even on someone’s Facebook Status. It shows of how BIG God is… how He is a Provider…how He is Worthy of Praise because of the Promises He gives not only to me, but to anyone that has felt like they have lost Hope or are struggling in hard times. Have Faith, Stay Strong & Trust in His Promises! He is bigger than our Circumstances!

”  What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?”- Romans 8:31

this is the story behind the song…

Tomorrow will be the start of my Round 3 Neupogen Injections. I’ve been feeling physically bummy these last couple of days. Hopefully, these injections will help my body!  (OH! and I got a HUGE BRUISE on my arm from the IV…eek!)

And…to end off on a lighter note 🙂  Here’s the Round 3 Video from my dear friends! It’s up now ! Love the scene in the elevator… that poor woman….haha

Cheerio for now,

Vinci

Feeling great… and Gearing Up!

Hi Everyone,

Hope all the Canadians had a great Victoria Day Weekend! I sure did 🙂  (and to the Americans, hope you have a great Memorial Day Weekend coming up) The long weekend was jam packed with things to do that doesn’t involve being at home most of the day! Not only was I excited to be “out & about”, but I think by the end of the weekend, my body realized it was overly excited too and NOT suprisingly fatigued. After the long weekend, I felt like an old lady that just ran a race…cause I crashed pretty early every night since!  The weekend consisted of…

  • morning brunch at Oliver & Bonnicini’s
  • watched Shrek 4 with Ike & my mom 🙂 (my dad’s on a singing tour out West & in Seattle…so it was really sweet of Ike to suggest bringing my mom out for a movie)
  • dim sum with the family
  • shoe shopping with my mom, aunts, uncle & cousin for their Wedding shoes…haha 
  • strolling and enjoying the beautiful weather with Ike downtown near Harbourfront
  • BBQ with some good friends 🙂 –> Thanks for all the yummy grilled veggies & “healthy food” hahaha….

So, all in all…a GREAT weekend with the people & food I love and feeling like a “normal” person; where I didn’t feel sick at all!  (my unhealthy food quota for the next month has been met… my “cheat” weekend 🙂

As I’m getting ready for my next round of chemo (which is eek, tomorrow), I’m a little excited that after this next round, I’m HALF DONE!!! YAY! I’m scheduled for some CT Scans & Bone Scans after this round to see if they’re shrinking the tumours or not. June’s definitely going to be a busy, busy month.

On another note, there are some things to be Happy About ! I’ll write more about it tomorrow, but it has to do with medical expenses! As we’ve said in previous entries, God’s timing & providence is ALWAYS better than either Ike & I can EVER imagine. I’m in awe of how prayers are answered.

Things to pray for…

  • Where will the next IV be?  in a healthy, workable vein…please, please pretty please 🙂
  • minimal side effects after this next round (Round 2 was okay!)
  • good results showing a shrunken tumour or none at all! (CT Scan & Bone Scan) –> June 18
  • good results for an ultrasound for my liver.. that’s prayerfully  functioning okay through all this chemo -> June 21

One more prayer request… this one has been weighing heavily on my heart for the past weekend…

A family that attends our church has recently lost a loved one to cancer this past week after a courageous battle over a period of several years. Vivien was a woman who loved God and loved her family. Although I didn’t know her extremely well, I could observe that these two things were very dear to her heart. My heart goes out to Vivien’s husband and her two children whom I had some opportunities to interact with when I taught Sunday School a year or two ago. If you have a chance, please pray for peace and God’s presence to be with her family in this hard time. Please pray that God will provide wisdom for Vivien’s husband in how to remember her and how to raise the children. Please also pray that the kids will allow God to still be a part of their lives and not for them to have harden hearts towards God as they grow up.  Thanks y’all!

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears it .    – 1 John 5:14 (New International Version)

XOXO & Cheers,

Vinci

PS: will upload another one of my friend’s fun videos for Round 3 later this week … but Tada!!! Here’ s one from my dear friends Jin & Kin from Round 2… they were on a cruise for Jin’s sister’s wedding….so had to make a separate video. Loved the fact that Andrew and your sisters were in it too 🙂 Thanks guys! (you made me tear up… hehe ) and you have no idea how encouraging these videos are!!