“God bless all of you,” were Mdm Lily Baey Geok Chum’s last words to us before we left her house after a memorable photoshoot session for the ’55 faces of SCS’ campaign. Mdm Lilly passed away few days after this. 

Mdm Lily Baey SCS Home Hospice Care Beneficiaryr

aIn May 2019, Mdm Lily Baey Geok Chum was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.

The 65 year old said, “It was discovered after a long bout of sore throat and voice loss. I also had a painful lump in my throat since early 2019. I was quite shocked when I was told I have cancer.”

She has been seeing doctors and specialists for 30 years for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). She thought that the other complications from SLE may have masked her cancer condition. “I was able to accept the news. I feel that I have lived a good life, despite my illness and have enjoyed many ‘bonus’ years. I accepted that I am reaching the end of my race. I know I can do this with my two lovely children who are the pillar of my strength.”

Her family (of eight siblings and two adult children) were very supportive. She added, “It has been very hard for my siblings to accept that I have a terminal illness. They have showing me a lot of love and encouragement in these troubled times. Knowing my time is limited, we have had many honest and meaningful conversations about my wishes for care.”

Mdm Lilly led a very busy lifestyle. She has been a homemaker for many years, running her own business. She was also a babysitter and involved in many community works. She did handicrafts in her free time. During her treatment she had to stop many of her activities. She said, “I have always been a very independent person. So it did get frustrating when I was no longer able to enjoy my usual activities. What is important to me now is to be comfortable and enjoy whatever small pleasures I can.”

Due to her existing illness and low baseline she became very weak after each session and had to be hospitalised. After 2 sessions of chemotherapy she decided not to continue with the treatment and spend the rest of the days left with her family at the comfort of her home. Mdm Lilly was referred to Singapore Cancer Society’s (SCS) Hospice Care Services.

She said, “The team brought a lot of comfort and reassurance to me and my family. They are very compassionate, patient, empathetic and supportive. They have been helping me to manage my breathlessness and pain. The support they give is not only to me but also to my children. This puts me at ease and gives me a peace of mind. My greatest wish at this stage is to be at home, and they made it possible.”

“It is not about adding time to life, but adding meaning to the time we have left. Accepting hospice is not about giving up on life or losing hope. It is about giving yourself pain and symptom management so that you are in the best state for you to truly enjoy your time together with your loves ones,” said Mdm Lilly. 

About the SCS Hospice Care Services

In the advanced stages of cancer, patients may choose to receive care and support in their homes to maximise their quality of life for as long as possible. Patients may choose to do so to spend their days with their loved ones in the comfort of their own homes.

For more information on the SCS: https://www.singaporecancersociety.org.sg/get-help/hospice-home-care/clinical-assessment-and-treatment.html

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