In her sparsely furnished one bedroom apartment, Yoke Sim – fondly known as Idy – spends most of her days alone as her family members go to work or school. She is the mother of three daughters, grandmother to three and a doting wife. Sometimes she feels rather lonely, but pushes herself to occupy her time by watching television. A picture of her beloved aunt who was lost to cancer hangs on the wall behind her. In 2012, Idy was diagnosed with Astrocytoma, a type of cancer that affects the brain. She walks slowly with the help of a walking aid.
Idy is reserved at first, but quickly warms up to people, as she is friendly by nature. She shares stories from her fascinating life, especially from the time she worked overseas. Prior to her diagnosis, she worked in wholesale apparel and recalls how she enjoyed the staff benefits of being able to purchase quality handbags and clothing at discounted rates. “When I was younger, before I got married, I left Malaysia to work overseas,” Idy tells us. She rummages through her cupboard and pulls out a small laminated photograph of herself dressed in a kimono from her younger days of working in Japan as a hostess at a restaurant.
Idy has been receiving palliative care for two years now and is grateful for the support she gets from her palliative care team at Hospis Malaysia. Her palliative care nurse Emily and physiotherapist Raymond work together to provide psychosocial and emotional support. They have also taught her physical mobility exercises to help her achieve an enhanced quality of life. She looks forward to attending Day Care sessions at Hospis Malaysia where she gets to socialise with other patients and spend time outside her apartment.
Despite undergoing treatment and surgery for her brain cancer, Idy is still very alert and very much in touch with her emotions. She often talks about her relationship with her daughters. Cared for by her children and husband, Yoke Sim is grateful for the support of her loving family.