Teacher needs RM150,000 for brain tumour surgery in US
Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 11:56:00
SYAHIDAH: Hopes to go to the US for surgery
AMPANG: Lecturing at a private college gives Syahidah Ishak much pleasure but things changed when she was diagnosed with brain tumour a year ago.
"I love to share my knowledge with students but I can no longer carry on teaching," said the Klang-born Syahidah, 33, who requires funds to undergo surgery abroad.
"I first had hearing problems two years ago but did not think much about it until I lost the ability to hear from my right ear."
Initially, she thought her right ear was clogged and tried to clean it up but that did not help.
"I then borrowed a friend's earphone to listen to music and that's when I realised I had become deaf in my right ear," she said.
Syahidah, who stays in Ampang, underwent medical check-up last July only to learn the awful truth.
"Tests showed I had stage 3 tumour growing in my brain. I did not want to reveal that to anybody and when my parents found out, I apologised for not wanting them to worry," she said, adding that her parents are both pensioners.
"Since then, my family, friends and students have been giving me moral support, including blogger Yvonne Foong who suffers from neurofibromatosis.
On Oct 13, Syahidah underwent surgery at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) at a cost of RM33,800.
"But the surgeons managed to remove only 2.4cm of the 3.8cm tumour," she said, adding that she still owes them RM6,000, after her insurers and employers paid RM27,000.
"Rather than being subjected to multiple operations here to remove the remaining tumour, I plan to undergo surgery at a hospital in the United States where Dr Rick Friedman, an American surgeon who specialises on ear problems, had once successfully removed a 4cm tumour in a four-hour operation. I am grateful to Foong for recommending Friedman to me."
Syahidah said having the surgery in the US will cost her US$50,000 (RM150,000).
"My medical coverage does not include treatment overseas and the National Cancer Council Malaysia (Makna) classified my case as non-cancerous and could not help me," she said.
"However, doctors here told me my remaining tumour is still dangerous and if untreated it could grow and affect my other ear and also sense of body balance."
Syahidah, who's single and the only daughter among four siblings, had originally intended to go to the US last month but has raised only RM5,000 so far.
"If I have sufficient funds, I want to undergo surgery in the US by September," she said, adding that she has resorted to selling T-shirts, umbrellas and night lamps all adored with the apple motif.
"Since last July I have been worried sick and unable to sleep properly. I have problems closing my right eye and have to cover the eye with a patch."
For more information and updates on her situation, log on to http://wwwsyahidahishak.blogspot.com/.