The Catholic Medical Guild of Singapore

Love Note to God, Father. Posted on 1st Jan 1970, 12:00am by admin

Dear Father,

Someone else got diagnosed with

end stage lung cancer-

Another nice, small, old lady who could

not stop saying

“thank you”,

as we but came to examine her.

She had a cough for a month, but it was mild,

and only when she was too breathless one day

did she come to hospital,

only to be found that half her right lung was opaque with tumour.

This extensiveness convinced me it was a lost cause,

yet an oncologist grabbed hard at the

thin straw of ‘chylous pleural effusion’

to urge a histological diagnosis, just in case this was treatable lymphoma.

But there was no easy way for a tissue biopsy-

Sputum cytology was negative, so was the pleural fluid cytology.

The only palpable lymph nodes were tiny and likely, only reactive.

Somehow, this oncologist’s passion for not letting

treatable cancers go, shone through

and she was brought to the operating theatre,

where the surgeons found a surprisingly large, and accessible lymph node for

excision under local anesthesia.

The pathologists were informed immediately and on standby

and a few hours later they had come up with differentials

– very poorly differentiated cells, but there was a chance.

This could be treatable cancer.

It was only 17 hours later,

while all the immunostaining set in that the verdict had come.

She indeed had non-treatable cancer and

would die.

The oncologist and his team prepared the patient and her family for the worst

and began palliative care.

I was very worried at the beginning that the number of investigations we were doing would be giving

her false hope,

giving her less time to prepare for a “good” death.

I was very worried about the toxic chemotherapy

which would make her last days

mere pain and suffering.

It turns out, we are all glad


gave her a chance.

The oncology team is hopeful Iressa would give her more time,

while the palliative team is working on preparing her for the inevitable..

Dear God, Father,

is this why

some of us are oncologists-

ever hopeful , never letting go of what’s treatable?

and why, some of us are palliative doctors-

strong in the face of death and even more so, in the face of

the dying?

And is this why,

I, who respond to “Doctor!”

feel this warmth in my heart,

and hear Your gentle prompting,

calling me to treat when I can, and care

when I can’t?

By “Hoping to aspire”.

One Comment

  1. Teresa says:

    Indeed there are many times when we feel helpless and grieved when we encounter patients who have incurable diseases.

    At such times, we are reminded of the limits of medical science and that all our lives are in God’s hands. God’s plans are beyond our imagination but we take comfort in knowing that He loves us and no matter how difficult things may be, He will be there to hold our hands, comfort us and guide us every step of the way.

    As doctors, we have the honour of letting God use us to hold the hands of His people, especially the hands of those who are suffering in their final days.
    Let us pray that we will never fail to hold the hands of every one of these people who come along our way.

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2015 Jul: May You Rest in Peace
2015 Jan: Happy New Year 2015

2014 Dec: A Prayer for Deliverance 2
2014 Oct: Who are you, Where am I?
2014 Sep: A Prayer for Deliverance
2014 May: Behind Those Clothes
2014 Feb: The Red Packet(s)
2014 Jan: God Loves You

2013 Dec: Caroling Reflections of an Expired M
2013 Nov: Scripture Reflection for Physicians
2013 Oct: Hang on. We haven’t beat this thing yet.
2013 Sep: Me and My Ride
2013 Aug: A Gift of Life
2013 Jul: Finding Happiness in a Land of Plenty
2013 Jun: A Beeline
2013 May: Living My Love Of..
2013 Apr: The Healthcare Debate
2013 Mar: A Doctor’s Prayer
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2013 Feb: Mission Srolanth ’12: To Heal the Heart, with a Heart to Heal
2013 Jan: The Hardest Thing To Say…

2012 Dec: The Lost Art Of…
2012 Nov: Rome Sweet Home – Short Reflections
2012 Sep: He Keeps Falling
2012 Aug: God Decides
2012 July: Am I To Blame?
2012 June: Saving Fragile Lives
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2012 Mar: The iPhone

2011 Dec: The Red Cross
2011 Nov: Give Thanks!
2011 Aug: Ashes – The Epilogue
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2011 July: Ashes
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2011 May: Notes From Salzburg On Good Friday
2011 Apr: What It Means
2011 Mar: A Job.
2011 Mar: Dear Father…
2011 Feb: Clothes, A Person Doth Maketh
2011 Jan: Wonderfully Made

2010 Dec: A White Christmas
2010 Dec: A Medical Christmas Carol
2010 Nov: Saying Goodbye
2010 Oct: I Am Always With You
2010 Sept: Be Joyful Always
2010 July: Managing Expectations
2010 June: But They Are Our Masters…
2010 June: Driving: A Means of Personal Formation?
2010 May: HO Welcome Tea
2010 May: The Rain
2010 May: A Missed Lunch
2010 May: Man In The Mirror
2010 May: Reflections At The End Of The Day
2010 Apr: Finding God In All Things
2010 Mar: Surely You Put Your Trust In The Lord?
2010 Mar: The Significance of a Name

2009 Nov: Batam: Beyond A Mission
2009 Oct: The Broken Rosary
2009 Sept: Love Note To God, Father
2009 Aug: Let God Take The Wheel
2009 Aug: The Prequel: The One About Graduation
2009 July: The Sequel: The Later Months
2009 June: First Month of HO-Ship
2009 May: “The House of God” by Samuel Shem
2009 May: In The Discipleship for Christ


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