Soup Kitchen

Soup Kitchen

Lately, I have been spring cleaning my home and gathering merchandises that other people and businesses donated to my cause a long time ago. As I don’t need them anymore, I thought that others may use them to generate income for themselves as the items are still in good condition. Then, my friend’s soup kitchen came to my mind. Many of the people his team feeds are homeless and hungry. So that is why I thought of them. I live in PJ old town. The people living here are diverse economically. The aunty across my house recently had a knee replacement surgery at a nearby private hospital. The procedure cost RM46k for one knee. Just few doors away lives an uncle, over 70 years old, no children and received welfare stipend a mere RM300 a month and goes to get food from my friend’s soup kitchen every weekend. So by giving away my unsold fund raising merchandises to this soup kitchen they can go on to benefit others in need.

If you would also like to contribute to this soup kitchen, whether in cash or in kind, please contact the leader Sha Kok Tien directly. His number is 016 – 313 2838

My Will

I updated my will today and wrote a fresh will for my mother. My will was first written in 2007. It was been almost 10 years. A lot has changed. My father is no longer around. My assets grew. Number of love ones grew too. In my will, I name my mother as the main beneficiary for most of my assets in the event she does not survive me they are to be given to my cousin sister who is living with schizophrenia for her care. Her parents can manage for her as she is mentally unsound. My heart goes out to my cousin. When someone in my society falls into insanity, they are would be isolated and forgotten. I hope more love can go to her.
I am optimistic that I will live for many decades more but life is unpredictable. I am learning history to protect my love ones by writing my will ahead of time. There is one lesson I learned from my family experience people can change. My aunty Ivy believed that her siblings and their families loved and cared for each other. She was proven wrong in the last days of her life. People can change. This is human nature. So better be safe than sorry.

New Life

Dear Readers,
It has been many months since I last update this blog. Please pardon my absence. Between January 12 2016 to February 1 2016, I had 3 surgeries at the NIH Clinical Center in Vethesda, USA. 2 of them were critical brain surgeries. They were performed byneoro surgeons Dr Prasant Chittivoina and Dr Winson Ho.
The 1st surgery was to remove a large tumor called meningioma at the front of my parietal lobe of the brain. After this surgery a feeding tube has to be placed into my nose.
The 2nd surgery was to remove a small tumor from my right hand middle finger. A peg tube was also placed during this surgery.
The 3rd surgery was to remove a very large tumor from my brain stem called an acoustic neuroma, This one was a regrowth which made removal very tricky. But praise God I was blessed because Dr Chittivoina and Dr Ho were at the NIH just when I needed them. All these tumors were safely and was very near the facial nerves. So to avoid injuring the facial nerves, this last 10% was left behind.
I recovered well but one week after the 3rd surgery my right eye vision went down hill because of severe dryness and stress.
Managing the peg tube was also very challenging after such a major surgery. I was coughing a lot from dryness. Whenever I did nurses sometimes rushed in and propped up my bed suddenly just in case liquid was going into my lungs. I understand that they did this for my safety but it was very stressful to my body.
I returned to Malaysia on March 5th 2016 and slept at least 12 hours a day in the next 3 months.
When I was in hospital, I was given lovenox injection every day to prevent blood clots.
I could sleep 12 hours a day motionless at home and didn’t die. So maybe it was best to get discharged as soon as possible.
Back to Malaysia I continued to follow up with my neurologist Dr Raihan Khalid, speech language pathologist Cecilia Cynthia Goh, and ophthalmologist Dr Meena.
My vision is unfortunately not treatable. So we are using different eye medications to keep eye moist and prevent it from getting worse.
I will be doing a bi annual MRI to monitor my tumors in the central nervous system this August and send the results to my neurosurgeons in the US for their evaluation. I will also send another copy to neurosurgeon Dr Gregory Lekovic in LA because he is more familiar with my medical history. I must be diligent in taking care of my health because I have an important mission in life, which is to build a foundation to help other NF patients acquire medical treatments.
Thank you everyone who contributed to my medical costs recently.
After struggling for a few months, I have finally hired a part time personal assistant to help me to my work.

Three Surgeries in One Month

Since my previous blog update on 9th January 2016, I have discussed further with my neurosurgeons and understood my situation better.

Here is a summary of what we are going to do.

On 12th January 2016, we will remove a growing tumor from the front, right side of my brain’s cerebral cortex, which is near the motor center of my brain. The sheer size of it has been causing me moderate headaches when I get stressed or tired. While speaking with a doctor here at the NIH, I also realised that this tumor has been affecting my left leg control. For awhile now, I have been using my right leg to support my weight and exert strengh, while my let leg merely follows after. This is a symptom of the tumor compressing motor neurons in the brain that control the left side of my body.
Surgery risk is remote for this tumor and my surgeons are confident that I will emerge fine and well.

After removing this brain tumor, we will proceed to perform another surgery days later – to remove a tumor from my right hand’s middle finger, which hurts me by itself. This procedure might be done without sedation.

Then, we will perform a third surgery, two weeks after the first surgery. The third surgery is to remove a growing Vestibular Schwannoma from the right side of my brain’s temporal lobe. This tumor is also called the Acoustic Neuroma.

I first had this tumor on this side removed back in 2004. More than ten years later, now, a new tumor of its kind has grown in the same location, which has been causing me to choke more over the past one year.

While the first removal in Los Angeles in 2004 could be done without damaging surrounding tissues, a second surgery in this location carries higher risks this time. There is a real concern for possible facial nerve paralysis and worse swallowing function.

But the consequences of delaying this VS tumor removal is even worse – diffuculty in breathing, as it has already pushed my brainstem out of line.

In times like this, I have to muster all the faith I can, and hold on tightly to hope.

Lord. grant me the strength to accept the things that I cannot change, courage to change those that I can, and wisdom to tell the difference.

By the way, you can send flowers to my room to keep me compsny during the next few weeks while I am here. I love roses and daisies.

Send to:

Ming Niang (Yvonne) Foong
Room 7-3628SW (B)
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892

Brain surgery planning for NF2 – Slow and Steady wins the race.

I am currently in Bethesda, Maryland, to receive medical treatments. Arrived in Washington D. C. On 5th January 2016 and stayed at the Bethesda Court Hotel for 2 nights. On 7th January, I checked out of the hotel and moved to stay in the Safra Family Lodge within the NIH campus where I was supposed to stay for the next three nights.

Today, on the morning of 8th January 2016, I came over to the Clinical Center – underwent Opthalmology examinatioms and learned that my right optic nerve has become very faint, which may be why my vision is now more difficult and blurry. My right eye is also producing discharge so a sample of the discharge was taken and sent for laboratory tests to ascertain the cause.

In the afternoon, a pre-op MRI was done to evaluate my brain more thoroughly than the one I did in Malaysia last October. The new MRI showed that there is another brain tumor beside the one we were originally concerned about, that could also be affecting my vision, so we did an additional CT scan of the brain, and tomorrow, we will do a second brain MRI to evaluate further and determine which tumor we need to remove first.

Besides these tumors at my cerebral cortex, MRI also showed that an Acoustic Neuroma in my right auditory canal is now compressing my brainstem and may be the reason I choke on food and liquid more frequently than before.

Tomorrow’s further MRI evsluation will help us decide which tumor we ought to address first, in the order of priority ly and necessity.

My Neurosurgeon this time will be Dr. Prashant Chittiboina MD. From Lousiana State University.

I miss eating Gumbo!

Surgery will take place on 12th January 2016 in the U.S. National Institutes of Health Clinical Center.