Sunday, April 22, 2012

Outrunning Cancer and Comrades...

Come this Thursday, 26 April 2012 at 7pm, there will be a talk regarding cancer and also the Comrades Marathon over at Running Lab, Tropicana City Mall. This is of course held in conjunction with the The Ultimate Race for Cancer Research.

Ms. Yoon Sook Yee, Genetics Counsellor and Seniors Manager from CARIF (Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation) that I'm closely working with will give a talk regarding cancer and also the much research being done to it. And not forgetting of course the story of CARIF on their part in helping out in this field.

My part will of course be emphasizing on Rhabdomyosarcoma, my medical background and also the Comrades Marathon. My medical background has never been made public at this scale yet and this will be my first time facing live audiences. Hopefully no butterflies in my tummy.

The talk is of course free for all but as the store can't accommodate many seats, the first 40 successfully registered will get a guaranteed seat and complimentary door gifts too. For the rest, perhaps just make yourself comfortable. The talk's duration won't be as lengthy as a football match. The details are as stated on the following diagram.

There will of course be Q & A sessions coupled with light snack and refreshments. Oh, and did I mentioned that the light snacks will be a healthy one too from our very own Karen Loh, celebrity runner, chef and super mummy! So if you want to know more about anything from cancer to myself and also the Comrades Marathon, feel free to drop by at Running Lab this 26 April 2012 at 7pm. All is most welcome and I hope to see many faces around.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Days Of Treatment...

By Frank

Continuing my story of where I left off the last time about Rhabdomyosarcoma, I'm here to share about my treatment days and also the method that was used.

In western medicine practices, surgery will always be the first choice in removing the main tumour. As tumour can sometime grow rapidly and even into hard to reach places within the body, an alternative option will always be there to hopefully completely remove them. In this modern world, chemotherapy has been widely regarded as the second choice.

Through intravenous therapy, cytotoxic chemo drugs will be administer into a patient's body hoping to kill off any remaining tumour. Being a cytotoxic drug, it also kills off any healthy cells and tissue, hence causing further health deterioration during that particular period of time where extra care towards the patient is needed. Some of the common side effects are skin damage, sore mouth, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, bowel discomfort and constipation.

Intravenous drip...

In the treatment of Rhabdomyosarcoma for me back then, if I did not forgotten fully, there were a total number of 4 main chemo drugs that was administered on me:

1) Vincristine - A clear colourless liquid that is used the most during my treatment. Common side effects includes hair loss, tissue burns, constipation, loss of appetite and, leg weakness.

2) Cyclophosphamide - A clear colourless liquid. Common side effects includes bone marrow depression, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, hair loss and sore mouth.

3) Actinomycin-D - A clear yellow liquid. Common side effects includes nausea and vomiting, bone marrow depression, hair loss, mental depression and skin eruptions.

4) Adriamycin - A clear red liquid. Common side effects includes pink urine (not blood), nausea and vomiting, bone marrow depression, hair loss, fever and sore mouth. Adriamycin was probably the last chemo drug introduced to me and was administered slowly as the side effects if administered wrongly can be deadly, as it does damage to the heart cells.

There were other drugs administered too, basically to help relieve pain:

1) Ondansetron - Either through intravenous or in tablet form, it's one drug that I relied and thankful off during back then as it help with relieving pain by blocking off the pain receptors.

2) Morphine - Carefully administered to help relieve pain. Administered very late into treatment stages as the pain was getting out of hand that even Ondansetron is no longer strong enough.

Halfway through chemotherapy, I was then required to do radiotherapy treatment which lasted one whole month. Radiotherapy is basically where high energy radiation is used to kill off cancer cells that cannot be surgically removed. Some common side effects includes fatigue, loss of appetite and skin damage. My left arm was marked with masking tapes and also marker pens to guide the radiation rays to where it is suppose to treat. The whole process only lasted less than five minutes per session and the side effects will only start to show after a week or so of treatment. And when all is completed, I resumed chemotherapy treatment.

A radiotherapy machine...

The whole treatment process took about 2.5 to 3 years. And when it's all done, the first 10 years was critical to ensure that there is no relapse on the especially on the joints, head and neck areas. An annual check-up is done to make sure of this.

* Surgery was performed at Maria Specialist Centre, Johor Bahru
* Chemotherapy was administered at Singapore National University Hospital
* Radiotherapy was administered at Singapore General Hospital

Friday, April 13, 2012

TURCR Crosses Borders With New Mechanics...

With the Comrades Marathon slightly less than a couple of months away and with The Ultimate Race for Cancer Research fund raising campaign happening since February 2012, CARIF upon request has managed to step up the campaign to yet another level.

CARIF has many friendly friends who has expressed interest to assist in this fund raising campaign and therefore have widen the field to anyone who is interested to also volunteer to sign up a sponsorship drive and act as an "ambassador" in helping raise funds whether at your workplace, among friends and families or even the public.

Next, as per request by many of our outstation and oversea friends and potential donors, CARIF has managed to set-up a donation payment gateway made available via Maybank2U (M2U) and also PayPal with immediate effect. This will really make the donation drive much friendlier especially for oversea donors.

Next, anyone interested can also volunteer to sign up as a sponsorship drive and act as an ambassador in helping raise fund whether at your workplace, among friends and families or even the public.

The below is the information about the newly implemented mechanics to this fund raising campaign.

1) Register with CARIF and start a sponsorship drive at your workplace or with you friends and family to raise donations for this event. Please contact Katrina Low at 03-56391966/1874 for registration details.

2) Purchase the Special Edition campaign T-shirt at RM60 each, available now at CARIF, Running Lab (Tropicana City Mall) or via online. T-shirt is available from sizes XXS, XS, S, M, L and XL. Additional courier charge of RM10 is applied to delivery within Peninsular Malaysia and RM20 for East Malaysia.

If you are a Maybank M2U user:

1. Log in to your M2U account

2. Select Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation as the Payee Corporation under 'Zakat & Charity'

3. Enter the donation amount you wish to contribute / cost of the t-shirt

4. Send an email to indicating your name, contact number, address, date and amount of donation, preferred size of t-shirt

If you wish to purchase via PayPal:

1. Log in to your PayPal account

2. Enter at TO column

3. Enter your email address, donation amount you wish to contribute / cost of the t-shirt

4. Click Purchase of Services

5. State 'The Ultimate Race for Cancer Research' in the message column and indicate your preferred size of t-shirt and postal address

Should you want us to courier the T-shirt to your postal address, kindly enter RM70 (Peninsular Malaysia) or RM80 (East Malaysia).

For those residing over at Singapore, you can also purchase the t-shirt by contacting Ms. Kelly Lim by hitting the link HERE for more info.

3) Donate directly to CARIF - cash or cheque (payable to Cancer Research Initiatives Foundation)

4) ‘Like’ and share the official Facebook page at The Ultimate Race For Cancer Research (

Please do also show your support by chatting with Frank or dropping a comment on his blog, which also records updates on his race preparation.

Tune in to BFM 89.9 for the live interview with Frank and Prof Dr Teo Soo Hwang, Chief Executive of CARIF. You can call in with you questions between 4.00pm to 4.30pm on Tuesday 17 April 2012.

For more information, please contact Katrina Low at 03-56391966/1874.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Refreshment And Aid At Comrades...

By Frank

During an ultra marathon, food and water intake is an important element that will decide the overall outcome of the run. Unlike running the marathon distance where we can rely basically on energy gels and water, in an ultra marathon where it can take up to more than 8 hours of running and unless you are a fast runner, solid food intake is required.

Back during my 84KM days, I relied heavily on energy gels and raisins. At last year's 100KM distance, gels came to a stop at the halfway point. It just won't go in anymore and small snacks like preserved fruits, fresh oranges and gummy candies help a lot. Some light solid food like muffins may help too but I still find raisins to be the best for me. Easy to consume, rich in nutrition to keep me going and don't cause any bowel movement, I trusted it since I found out 3 years back.

However, as Comrades Marathon is being held at another part of the globe, the food and water served will be different. Therefore, caution will be needed to make sure I won't end up running to the toilet. And for those who frequently run with me, you know about my weak gut. And the following is what I found out which will be continuing till next year's edition and this includes some aid included too:

Pepsi Cola, Mountain Dew and Mirinda - 38,000 litres
Water - 2,000,000 150ml sachets
Energade - 660,000 150ml sachets
Mega Load - 62,000 units
Energade Sports Jellies - 300kg
Bananas - 600 boxes
Oranges - 784 bags
Mageu Number 1 - 10,000 150ml sachets
Chocolates 1.2 tons
Biscuits - 800kg
Vaseline - 240 tubes
Sunscreen - 300 tubes 500ml
Arnica Ice - 600 tubes 500ml
Loobit - 600 tubes 500ml
Potatoes - 7 tons

Water served in 150ml sachets...

I will say that the organising committee of the Comrades Marathon has really planned the amount near to perfection for the 18,0000 runners. And with the above total spread throughout the entire 89KM race course with stations appearing at approximately 2.5KM, we runners really have to watch out for over hydration instead.

I been practising on Pepsi on a few runs and I found that I'm facing difficulties with it. The recent run, drinking it with my favourite GU Roctane resulted in me running to the toilet. Therefore, there will be still some trial and error. However, based on the list above, there are some items which I have not heard of and therefore will play it safe by bringing some of my preferred and trusted food and aid. Consumption of energy gels will probably stop at the marathon distance and from there, will rely on GU Chomps as my supplementary glycogen and electrolytes intake while the solids will play their main role.

Locals helping to serve Pepsi...

And yeah, I still have 53 days left to sort this department out!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

THANKS For The Concern...

By Frank

It has been a hectic month of March 2012. Being the last month of Running Lab's financial year, it's of course also time for audit. I've survived through the toughest part which is stock count but it kind of left me lifeless. Besides from the retail side, I was super tied down as customer traffic flow suddenly hit the high note.

Karen invited me to her house on Saturday evening for Lawrence's farewell gathering. I couldn't make it as I can't leave my dad back at the store especially on a Saturday evening. And apparently I heard from Karen saying that my name was one of the topics brought out during the gathering. But hey, why me since it's all about Lawrence?

Yes, I been super tied down with work that I have hardly any time train. And whenever friends sees me, I look half dead with my "panda" eyes. Even 3 pimples broke out a week ago! Nevertheless, I'm still hanging on to it and I hope the worst is over with audit month now almost history, well at least for this financial year.

Yesterday, Karen gave me a courtesy call and just earlier today, Pui San paid a visit to my store. Was really kind of you ladies to show the care for this friend of yours. Don't worry, I'm still alive and I sincerely THANK YOU for all the concern shown. But also not forgetting to friends like Yim, Shine, Jamie, Paul, Lawrence and others who have asked about me. How I know? It's because Karen told me so that you guys asked. Really thank you all for these and I do hope that I will see you all soon on the road as I really need to hit it with my ultimate road race looming in the next couple of months.