My dad underwent PET/CT scan at Beacon Hospital. I was hoping that it would detect the primary site of the cancer to be somewhere where it's feasible to operate. However, it detected nothing abnormal or found unremarkable signs.

So at that point, we thought that either the scan was incorrect or the initial diagnosis was incorrect i.e. the cancel cells did not originate from somewhere else and so the kidney was indeed the primary site.

We then met the oncologist. Actually, he wasn't the oncologist that my dad was assigned to. I guess he was assisting the doctor in-charge? *shrug*

We answered all his questions and before he went off to consult the doctor in-charge, I asked whether it was a good idea to get a second opinion on the test of cancer cells in the removed kidney. I blundered in the way I asked hahaha ("maybe the pathologist made a mistake?") but he got it in the end and said he would include that in discussion.

However, after he came back, he merely recommended a 6-cycle palliative chemotherapy. Tumour marker blood tests would also be ordered to track progress. Their best guess of the primary site was the pancreas and that the cancerous cells were too small to be detected by PET/CT scan. What? Really? Goodness!

We asked him for a referral letter (to be collected only next day, unlike other doctors who wrote there and then) so that my dad could undergo the treatment in Penang.

Separately, my dad planned to get a second opinion from another oncologist. This oncologist, upon learning my dad's intention, advised him not to do "shopping".


I find this amusing :)

Serai pillar

Atlas Reactor: Orion

After I became the fourth player to level up Grey to 20, I tried to level up Gremolition too and aim for the last 2 slots i.e. 4th or 5th player. I knew, from the game's Discord channel, there was one other person trying the same and he was very close to doing so. So the moment it was announced a 4th player did so, I knew I had no chance and thus abandoned it. Honestly, I was looking forward to play other lancers because somehow I felt I wasn't contributing as much as I would like to as Gremolition.

So next I aimed to level up Orion since there was only 2 too. I was a little hesitant because during Beta phase I was much better as Aurora and Quark. I fiddled about some mod combination and I finally found one that I am comfortable with.

First off, the list of his abilities and available mods can be found in Prep Phase site. Far easier than reading my wall of text :)

Mods I've been using are:
(1) Devour Energy (default is Amplified Eruption)
(2) Shared Agony (default is Rebuild)
(3) Benevolent
(4) Intervention (default is Enhanced Reconstruction)
(5) Refresh The Source (default is Energy Accumulation)

In my opinion, primary role of a support is to minimise damage through heal, shield and, in Orion's case, transference. This is the guiding principle of how I finally settle on this set of mods.

Unlike other freelancers (to date anyway), Orion doesn't get energy (to charge up ultimate ability and, more importantly, to gain shards) by using abilities (unless you purposely choose such mods). He gains energy mainly from taking damage. Hence, the second ability, Fate Transfer is a favourite use by many players to gain energy and at the same time minimise damage received by an ally.

All mods, except one, of Fate Transfer would transfer 75% of damage to Orion, mitigated by shield. However, once you do this, what do you do next to heal yourself? It's not an issue if you were at full health but what if you were not? Do you then cast Astral Fusion on yourself? Doing so means not fully utilising your healing ability.

That is why I use Shared Agony. Yes, it transfers only 50% of damage but ally also gain some shield. I've calculated, based on damage of 40 and 80 separately, this mod in fact has the highest damage mitigation. It's cheap too: 1 loadout point.

After using Shared Agony, you shouldn't be in dire need of healing and so casting Astral Fusion on an ally is enough to heal yourself too for that turn.

By the way, Fate Transfer can also be used simply to help you survive as it gives substantial amount of shield. Just cast it on an ally that is unlikely to be hit :)

Intervention overall gives the best healing in terms of total healing (i.e. heal on ally and you). Innate Potency is better only if you have only one or no shard. Enhanced Construction is better if you have 4 or 5 shards but it has smaller first turn heal on ally, shards or no shards. Usually the first turn is crucial to securing the life of an ally. What's the use a second turn heal if he's dead in the first turn, right?

Naturally this means that Quantum Core (free action) is cast only on ally which you will also cast Astral Fusion on. Remember, the goal here is to keep the ally alive. Benevolent is the best mod to give a little bit of survivability to the ally.

I use the ultimate ability when I'm down to, say, 75hp to help top up my health and reduce cool down of all abilities, especially the support abilities, via the Refresh The Source mod. It will be cast earlier if I'm in greater danger or to help kill enemy(ies).

Oh wait, if you gain less energy (unless you're being hit directly, in which case you're in deep trouble!) because less damage is transfered via Fate Transfer, how are you going to build up energy and shards? Use the energy mod, Devour Energy, on the main ability. After all, this has no cooldown. Just spam it away. It can save your life too because you may need just a little more energy to cast Cosmic Flare and thus refreshing your support abilities. True story :)

To end this post, here's a video of a recent match:

N.B: there is already a 5th player who managed to level Orion up to 20. I right away said, "NOOOOOOOO" in the team chat. Oh well, back to sampling other freelancers :)

Spiral downward

Following the shocking news, our next appointment was with the colon specialist. By then, the tumour marker blood tests ordered by the urologist were already out:

  • normal for liver and prostate
  • normal for colon but was high prior to removal of kidney
  • high for pancreas but was 10 times higher prior to removal of kidney
Colon specialist was not particularly worried about colon but because polyps were discovered during the last colonoscopy done a year ago, he ordered for another scope done.

Pancreas specialist ended with them (she consulted her "boss") referring my dad to the oncologist for treatment. They surmised that since previous scans couldn't detect cancer, it must be small and yet potent in spreading. After some discussion, aside from the 3-part CT scans (upper, middle and lower body) scheduled in Dec, my dad will be going for PET/CT scan soon. Thereafter, there will be follow-up appointment with the pancreas specialist and of course we'll show the results to the oncologist too.

According to the pancreas specialist, the cancer is at Stage 4 since it had metastasised from somewhere else. As a response to my query on prognosis on a "best case scenario", she said around 1 to 2 years :(

We'll see what the oncologist say. They'll get back to us within a week to fix an appointment.

Naruto opening cover

For Naruto fans. Enjoy the nostalgia :)

I love it!


My dad's tumor markers for colon and pancreas cancer have always been high but subsequent CT scans, ultrasounds, upper and lower scopes, and biopsy had shown no indication of cancerous cells. By sheer coincidence, it was one of these scans/ultrasounds that picked up sign of kidney cyst. So our family are shocked to learn that the biopsy on the kidney removed during the recent surgery revealed some cancerous cells. Not only that, those cells originated elsewhere i.e. they were metastasised from another part of the body.

According a friend who is a doctor, he said that it's rare for cancer cells to spread to kidney. I later read an abstract of a research paper (found in Pubmed) stating, "Although the frequency of metastases to the kidney in cancer patients is 7-13% in large autopsy series, incidental discovery of a renal metastasis as the first manifestation of a primary tumor is a very rare event."

One one hand, it is bad luck for my dad to get such cancer (because now need to hunt for the primary site!) but on the other hand it's fortunate that it shows up in the kidney (given how rare it is!) as otherwise we wouldn't have known there's cancer elsewhere.

So now, the specialists suspect colon or pancreas as the primary site and this is further supported by my dad's family history. We'll be meeting the respective specialist soon (expecting long waiting time!) and hopefully they'll push for urgent CT scans a.s.a.p. Hopefully they can pinpoint the primary site very soon and administer successful treatment.

Atlas Reactor: first 5

Apparently I misunderstood the "first 5 players" to level up a character to 20. Yes, they were watching out (and announced whenever it happened) for the first player to level up the respective 21 freelancers ("world first" and already done!), they are also taking note of the next 4 players for these freelancers.

Once I knew this, I checked a list maintained by a moderator of the Atlas Reactor discord channel and concluded that I could possibly be among the first 5 players to level up Grey to 20. Henceforth, I played her exclusively and grouped with in-game friend whenever I could. I forwent playing any other games, notably Overwatch.

Just very early this morning (I panicked after a 3rd player managed to level up Grey lol), I managed to be the 4th player to achieve this :)

Grey first 5 ingame

This was the immediate reaction when the broadcast was made at the end of the game (our team was steamrolled, unfortunately).

Grey first 5 discord update

This was the announcement made by the discord channel's moderator.

My win/loss stat is 93-44 i.e. a win rate of 67%. Not bad for me hehehe. Yes, I'm quite proud in reaching this achievement.


One of our greatest collective weaknesses is a strive for perfectionism and imposing that on others, pioneering actuary and Rhodes Scholar Ian Pollard told delegates at the Institute's Leadership Development Seminar on Monday (8 August).

- Actuaries Digital

Hmmm food for thought.

Atlas Reactor: Headstart

All those who purchased Atlas Reactor before the official launch were able to play earlier (hence the "headstart") since 30 Sep.

On the run-up to this date, I dusted off Guild Wars 2 and started from scratch i.e. a new character since there were significant changes. I tried necromancer and quite like it. I now have separate builds for PVE (minion master) and PVP (condi + boon corruption) since boon corruption is usually useless in PVE.

However, I'm sad that Arena.net (the developer) has broken the game with the introduction of the last expansion, Heart of Thorns ("HoT"), which comes with a new specialisation tree. It seems that (at least according to forum, reddit etc) it's always the case that the best builds utilise this new tree. That means non-HoT players are at a disadvantage especially in PVP. It also severely reduces the variety of builds.

On top of this major flaw, they also increased the amount of grinding for opening up desired traits. This actually frustrates me more than not having the pay-to-win expansion.

So it's no surprise that I have not played Guild Wars 2 since 30 Sep because I was busy playing Atlas Reactor.

1st pvp match Headstart top contri

This was my 1st PVP match and I was the top contributor despite not having the mods that I wanted (didn't have any mod tokens yet) :)

Since then, for PVP matches, I had also played Quark, Grey, Lockwood and Zuki. My W/L record thus far is 10-11. Not really good but I still enjoy playing this game. Hopefully I'll get better.

They have added broadcast recognising certain achievements. Currently, they're watching for the first 5 players for each of these category:

  • level up a character to level 20
  • win 1000 PVP matches
  • reach season level 500
I was aiming for the first one but it's probably too late already as I personally read broadcast for Helio, Blackburn and Elle. Moreover, I can't play many matches in a row especially since there are other things I want to do :)

Fitness First bags

FF bags 1

When I first saw this from afar, I thought it was just a normal advert for FF's bags. But on closer inspection...

FF bags 2

Those were actual bags! Though the small bags on the right didn't really fit together with the photographed scene, the backpack did. Clever.