The Sky Lanterns at the Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand 2

This is the main reason for making the trip to Chiang Mai and Chaing Rai at this time of the year, 22 November.

We were to assemble at the Northern Study Center of Chiang Mai where performances were held and food kiosk were  erected to provide snacks and drinks before the release of the sky lanterns.

Lion dances, kung fu were first performed on stage; followed by prayers.

A group of monks was there too to lead the meditation, chant and prayers before for the scheduled release of the sky lanterns.DSC00692

Four thousand people participated in the event and some 8,000 sky lanterns were released in the midst of fireworks and music, after everybody made their wishes.

The sight was spectacular and amazing – a sight which many people put on their bucket lists. Just imagine the atmosphere, the many lanterns released simultaneously, the fireworks, the Thai music and the “galaxy” of lights in the sky. It was most unforgettable.

We released our lanterns for our first time. The key was to lift the paper bag high up and steady while the hot air keep coming up from the specially prepared ring at the bottom of the lantern bag.

The event makes our trip there really worthwhile.

10,000 Followers!

It is unbelievable that I now have 10,000 Followers!t015d3320b408df816d

Thanks everyone!

My special thanks go out to those who read my posts, the ones who “Like” them and, of course, the ones who field in their comments and chat with me.

I have started blogging since 1 January 2012.

I was most moved when more than 60 readers responded to my post saying they will pray for my mother who was diagnosed to have colon cancer and undertook an operation in December 2014.

She is still struggling with it. Her cancer has spread to her ovaries and other parts of the abdomen.

She is undergoing oral chemotherapy and has now completed two courses. Every night and day, I can only pray that God that will look kindly upon her and increase the mercy on her.

Suddenly, last night, all hell broke loose, she has to be rushed to the hospital and is staying there for a long battle.

I find strength when readers write to give me the moral support or join me in my prayers for my beloved mother. I would ask that readers join me again in my prayers praying for mom.

Going back to my blog, I have now reached a new bench mark.

The Chinese character I show here means 10,000.

The character is quite artistic and I hope you like it!

SanQing Shan (9) – The Prayer

SanQing Shan has a lot of columnar shaped rocks.

The picture was taken while we laboriously made our way to the summit of the mountain.

To me, they look like fingers of palms in prayers, clinging close to the chest.DSCF0977

I couldn’t help thinking of Celine Dion’s The Prayer – a song which I like.

A song I will sing in my heart when I see the lyrics:

 

CELINE DION LYRICS – The Prayer

 

“The Prayer”

I pray you’ll be our eyes, and watch us where we go.
And help us to be wise in times when we don’t know
Let this be our prayer, when we lose our way
Lead us to the place, guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe La luce che tu hai
I pray we’ll find your light
nel cuore restera
and hold it in our hearts.
a ricordarci che
When stars go out each night,
eterna stella sei The light you have
I pray we’ll find your light
will be in the heart
and hold it in our hearts.
to remember us that
When stars go out each night,
you are eternal star
Nella mia preghiera
Let this be our prayer
quanta fede c’e
when shadows fill our day How much faith there’s
Let this be our prayer
in my prayer
when shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

Sognamo un mondo senza piu violenza
un mondo di giustizia e di speranza
Ognuno dia la mano al suo vicino
Simbolo di pace, di fraternita

We dream a world without violence
a world of justice and faith.
Everyone gives the hand to his neighbours
Symbol of peace, of fraternity
La forza che ci da
We ask that life be kind
e il desiderio che
and watch us from above
ognuno trovi amor
We hope each soul will find
intorno e dentro se
another soul to love

The force his gives us
We ask that life be kind
is wish that
and watch us from above
everyone finds love
We hope each soul will find
around and inside
another soul to love
Let this be our prayer
Let this be our prayer, just like every child

Need to find a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe
Need to find a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

E la fede che
hai acceso in noi,
sento che ci salvera

It’s the faith
you light in us
I feel it will save us

Colon Cancer and Mum

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This is a real case of what happened to my mum at an age of 87.5 years.

This post is meant for sharing experience and knowledge, readers founding this disturbing should not read further.

Detection – usually when colon cancer is detected, it is at a late stage. My mum discovered it through a series of testing after discovering anemia and shortness of breath. Three stools samples taken on successive days were tested for occult blood – they were found positive. It was at this stage we knew something has gone terribly wrong!072

Confirmation– mum stayed in a hospital and undertook a CT Scan which confirmed that there was a tumor of two inches by one inch at the splenic flexure. This was followed by a PET scan which showed that fortunately there was not much spreading to the nearby organs but may have infiltrated to fatty tissues. The horrifying aspect was that the tumor was so big that if it grows bigger ( as all malignant tumors will) it will block the colon.

Immediate Reaction– mum almost thought it wasn’t possible to have such a malignant tumor at such a late stage in her life. She insisted that she would not undergo a surgery. The surgeon who administer the scans thought that she was too old for the operation. He said there was a lot of risks involved and told us  there was a 50% chance of mum dying after the surgery. However, he did not advise how we should proceed. Mum thought she has suffered and enjoyed enough in this world, it was time that she should go back to heaven. The fact that she didn’t feel any pain was no incentive for her to do anything.057

Search for a Solution – we realized that we could not procrastinate as malignant tumor can grow very quickly; mum’s colon could be blocked in a matter of weeks or months and the cancer cells will spread. We started out searching for suitable doctors / surgeons. All this time, we prayed, mum was the center of prayers. After many searches and consultation, with the help of God, we found a surgeon who is an Associate Professor of the University of Hong Kong and working in a Government hospital. In the consultation, mum felt that the doctor was a very capable surgeon and that he has a lot of confidence that mum is capable of withstanding the operation. Mum was still undecided on the operation. However, when the doctor asked whether mom would consider having an operation when her colon is totally blocked. Mum responded that she would do it if that’s the case. The doctor then queried why wouldn’t mum do it now as there will be a lot less risk than doing it in an emergency. Mom was then convinced with the operation. The doctor asked mum to undertake several tests to assess that she was good enough for the operation. He is an expert in laparoscopic surgery of the colon.

Suitability for an Operation – mum did a ECG on her heart, a chest x-ray to confirm that she was suitable for the operation. Further more an anesthetist was brought in to confirm that her health condition was acceptable for the operation. She has no other illness. So, age is not always the deciding factor.013

Prayers – I uploaded a post on Prayers for Mom on the day before the surgery and got over 80 responses saying that they would pray for mum. I thank everybody on the day of the surgery in another post. I am sure that God was with mum all the time during her surgery.

The Surgery – the surgeon indicated that the preparatory work will take 1-2 hours whereas the actual operation may last 2.5 hours. We waited and waited outside the operation theatre. Time passed by quickly and there was no sign of mum being pushed out of the room after 4-5 hours. We were deeply worried. After 6.5 hours, the surgeon appeared from the room and told us that the operation was a success. The tumor was bigger than expected and pressed against the spleen. Because of this, he has to remove it very carefully hoping that it will not adversely affect or damage the spleen. Mum’s tumor was removed together with some of the colon which has some polyps; the remaining colon was reconnected.

The Day After the Surgery – Mum was in good mood, she woke up and was talkative. We realized she was given morphine and other pain killers to reduce her pain in the cuts which incidentally consist a cut of some three inches plus four small holes. That was followed by quite a few days when she did not feel good at all.088

The First Few Days After Surgery – she was having a lot of pain, her body was full of tubes – oxygen and bag of nutrients etc. She slept for most of the time and was not in a good mood.

Back at Home – after 11 days total in hospital, she was discharged. She still had some pain in the cut wounds, feeling weak and tired and did not have appetite. However, she is getting better day by day. A month after surgery, she was able to raise herself out of bed, eat and sleep normally. She has not resumed hydrotherapy which she undertook every week before the surgery.

Where do we Go from Here? – with a Stage 3 cancer, it is normal that the patient will undergo chemotherapy after surgery. However, due to mum’s health condition and age, she has decided not to undergo chemotherapy. Is chemotherapy really worth doing at her age?  Not sure what we will do next? No more treatment? Consult Chinese herbal doctors? We are still looking for guidance. We hope the Lord would guide us again as He has done throughout the last few months.099

Thank you Everyone Again – Many blogging friends and readers have prayed for mom, I thank them very much for their kind thoughts and words too. During the difficult moments, I never felt I was alone!

PS  All photos were taken in Jiuzhaigou, China.

Prayers For Mom

I rarely talked about my family in my blog.

But on 11th Thursday my mom will be operated to have her malignant tumor in her colon removed.

To have a surgery at her old age is not very common and the complications it may attract are just worrying.

Here, I hope my mom’s operation will be a successful one and that the good Lord will have mercy on her guiding her to recovery.1549548_840359995981142_1744007377_n

I hope she is just like the green bamboo in this photo, evergreen and have a lot of  will to survive.

She has sacrificed and so much for us when we were young. May the good Lord bless her and listen to our prayers.

PS Photo supplied by my classmate YM Chan to whom credit is due.