Lim Boon Chin has been living with rectal cancer since 2011, and has been through chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Despite his illness, Boon Chin’s will to live inspires both strength and compassion. “Sometimes I cry like a little boy from the pain,” Boon Chin admits, as his 84-year old mother and main caretaker watches in the background.
From a young age, Boon Chin experienced many hardships – losing loved ones and valued family members. He had to drop out of primary school so that he could work to help support his family. The experiences however, helped him build character and strength; traits that now help him cope with living with a life-limiting illness.
He has come to accept that his illness will lead to death and along with the guidance of Rachel, his palliative care nurse, Boon Chin has thought about and discussed his advanced care plans with his family. “I have saved up all my EPF (superannuation) money to pay for my funeral expenses. This is not morbid thinking, it helps me and my family plan for the future, lessening the burden for them when the time comes.”
Advanced care planning is an important component in palliative care. It is the process of thinking about, discussing and planning for future health care and end of life care. It gives people the chance to understand what the future may hold and to say what type of treatment they want. This makes it much easier for families and healthcare providers to know what the person would want – particularly if they can no longer speak for themselves.
Now in his 50s, Boon Chin looks forward to Tuesdays when he gets to meet up with fellow patients at Hospis Malaysia’s Daycare sessions. At home, the retired contractor also enjoys keeping his mind active and has a bit of fun developing a special counting method and trying his luck at striking the right numbers at 4D predictions.