SINGAPORE - Already dealing with the blow of having one child diagnosed with cancer, a 44-year-old mother was struck with another devastating piece of news - her 12-year-old daughter has ovarian cancer.
Madam Yadi told Shin Min Daily News that with both her young daughters diagnosed with cancer, she is at her physical and mental breaking point.
When she was just a year old, youngest child Pudi was diagnosed with a rare form of Stage 4 neuroblastoma, which is a malignant tumour that develops from nerve tissue.
It usually occurs in infants and young children, and is the most common cancer in infancy. The cause of the tumor is unknown, and while some tumours can regress spontaneously without treatment, others are highly aggressive and have a poor prognosis despite intensive treatment.
Madam Yadi told the Chinese Daily that things were looking up as Pudi's health condition was improving after more than a year of treatment.
However, she suffered a relapse in May 2012, and doctors said she had only half a year left to live. However Pudi has remained strong and is continuing the fight for her life, and has received 24 rounds of chemotherapy and 18 rounds of radioactive electrotherapy since.
These two years, the paper reported that Madam Yadi has been dealing with her grief by meticulously looking after her daughter. Pudi's parents are divorced, and the burden of looking after the family falls on Madam Yadi's shoulders alone.
A month ago, Madam Yadi took another hit. Elder sister Nani was sent to hospital when she started complaining of severe abdominal pain, and was eventually diagnosed with Stage 2 ovarian cancer.
"After I heard the news, my whole world collapsed. Pudi's condition has not yet been settled, and now another daughter is afflicted." Madam Yadi told the Shin Min reporter.
She said that Nani has just completed her PSLE, and has begun to undergo chemotherapy.
"(Nani) was very worried, and asked me whether her hair would completely drop off after treatment, and whether her condition was as bad as Pudi's. I was very sad," said Madam Yadi.
Madam Yadi also revealed her mother had passed away due to brain cancer. Now with two daughters diagnosed with cancer, the doctor has urged her to have her entire family undergo medical checkups to ascertain whether anyone else may be afflicted with cancer.
Mother asks for temporary suspension of treatment
Madam Yadi said Pudi's body is unable to withstand the treatments, and is requesting for a temporary suspension of the therapies.
She said that Pudi started vomiting during electrolysis recently, with vomit even emitting from her nostrils.
She added that her daughter is currently consuming some health supplements, and hopes to continue the treatment when her condition gets better.
Youngest ovarian cancer patient an 8-year-old
Youngest ovarian cancer patient an 8-year-old
Besides adults, children are also susceptible to getting ovarian cancer. According to local doctors, the youngest patient they have ever seen was aged only eight.
Parkway Cancer Centre's principal doctor Hong Bing Tian told Shin Min that there are two categories of ovarian cancer, one being germ cell ovarian cancer and the other being epithelial ovarian cancer.
Doctor Hong said those afflicted with germ cell ovarian cancer are mostly young females aged 12 to 25 years old, with a treatment success rate of almost 90 per cent.
"Germ cell ovarian cancer is generally quite rare, but commonly occurs in young females. I have previously seen an 8-year-old girl patient with the cancer," Doctor Hong said.
He pointed out that the younger the patient, the stronger the marrow functionalities - and hence they are better able to deal with the side effects of the cancer treatments.
As for epithelial ovarian cancer, Doctor Hong said patients are mostly females between the ages of 30 to 50, but it is possible for younger females to suffer from the cancer as well.
Thank you to family and friends
Thanking family and friends by hosting a Children's Day party
In a rare moment of joy despite her daughter's affliction, Yadi hosted a Children's Day party to thank her family and friends who have lent their support throughout the ordeal.
When the reporter arrived at the scene, Pudi was busy having her face painted and blowing balloons.
Pudi, who had never attended a party before, appeared to be enjoying herself, posing for pictures happily. The party's highlight was a cake almost 2m long, which Pudi helped to cut along with everybody else.
Madam Yadi said that the expenses for the party exceeded $6,000. While she paid $2,000 of the bill from her own pocket, the rest was donated by a few kind souls.
Those who wish to help can contact Shin Min's 24-hour hotline at 1800-8227288/91918727.