I had stage 2 NPC in May 2003 and was treated with RT. After treatment, I continued to work as a taxi driver without much rest.

The Side Effects of RT

5 to 6 years later, the side effects of treatment began to set in. I had double vision and swallowing problem. I could not chew solid food and had to eat food with some fluid added. Speech problem developed and I was unable to roll my tongue and speak properly. I also had hearing problem such as ringing and blocked ears. By end of November 2010, my swallowing problem led to pneumonia and I was put on tube feeding. I was very depressed and even thought of committing suicide.

How I cope

Knowing that doctors could not help, I turned to TCM meditation in 2011. As I still my mind, I was able to manage my swallowing and speech with the help of the meditation master. I am also grateful to the National Cancer Centre NPC support group members who encouraged me to move on. I was motivated by the living example of so many survivors. If others can do it, I can do it too. I removed the feeding tube and was determined to make effort to get back to normal life. I started on soft diet by blending all food into semi-liquid for easier consumption. Gradually, I put back some weight.

I continued with speech therapy in the hospital for a year in 2011. Eventually, the therapist gave up on me. However, I am open to advice and keen to try other ways to help myself.

In 2012, I started to practise Rejuvenate Exercise 返老还童呼吸法​, a combination of qigong and yoga. I practised every morning from 530 am to 730 am. It was run by dedicated volunteers free of charge. Ever since I started this exercise, my speech improved and I can talk more. I hardly fall sick and there has been no more pneumonia. My hearing improved and I feel more energetic.

In addition, I also learned Brainwave therapy 脑场​, Chang Sheng Xue​ 长生学 and Bodhi meditation. These classes are offered free of charge by kind volunteers with good intention to help people.

My Sharing

  1. Don’t always listen to doctors. We know our body well. We are our own best doctor. There is no medicine for side effects. We have to help ourselves.
  2. Maintain the body well, and the internal organs will work well too. EXERCISE is very important. Persevere everyday and do not stop just because the symptoms of side effects have subsided.
  3. Be eager to learn and practise. Don’t just ask for advice, listen but no action. Dare to try it out.
  4. Never compare with normal healthy people. Compare with those who are worse than me. So I know I am not the worst and will continue to strive on and do better.
  5. Be realistic and do not expect a full recovery.
  6. Never depend on medicine. I would rather take food as medicine. I eat plenty of vegetables.
  7. Live happily. Don’t worry about going to die. We will all die one day. I want to die in a happy way.
  8. The worst side effects of RT are swallowing and speech problem. Only EXERCISE can help to maintain and stop the deterioration.

Contributed by Edmund Gao / NPC survivor
Dated 17 October 2014
Survivor since 2003

We hope you benefit from the sharing by the authors. As each of us may respond differently to the experience shared by our survivors, do exercise your discretion. The articles are strictly the personal views of the author. It does not represent the views of the NPC Support Group and its members, nor that of the​​ National Cancer Cen​tre of Singapore​ (NCCS) and SingHealth. They therefore take no liability or responsibility for the content of the articles. The information and content contained within this website belongs to the NPC Support Group and its individual contributors. No whole or part of the information and content may be copied or re-produced without the written permission of the NPC Support Group. All requests for its use should be addressed to teothiamchye@yahoo.com.sg​.

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Ref:​ R14