SINGAPORE: Member of Parliament (MP) for Punggol East SMC Charles Chong was back at his first meet-the-people session on Monday night (Feb 27) since undergoing a liver transplant last December.
The veteran politician was diagnosed with a liver condition known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis about three years ago, and his younger son Glenn donated part of his liver to him on Dec 1. Both were discharged from National University Hospital on Dec 14.
"I feel great," Mr Chong told Channel NewsAsia. "That’s why last week I started back with constituency work. Initially they gave me office duties, but I feel sufficiently well to carry out constituency work and I really feel great."
Mr Chong was given eight weeks of medical leave but he revealed that he got back to office work after a month, while doctors ordered him to stay away from crowds to avoid the risk of infection.
Thanking the medical team for "a wonderful job", he said his recovery process has been "quite remarkably smooth" and added that doctors have reduced his immunosuppressant drugs by 60 per cent so far. "I am still undergoing medical monitoring once every two weeks or so but hopefully over time, there will be a longer interval period and hopefully (I'll be) completely off medication and back to normal."
On whether he is taking special precautions with his health, Mr Chong said: "Basically no raw food. I like a lot of Japanese food but that’s out for the time being - and exercise, I'm slowing building up to it."
The Punggol East MP had explained in December that according to his doctors, there wasn't an immediate need for surgery as his liver was still functioning well but that a transplant was the best option for the long term.
"I had to pick an opportune time when it should be done," said Mr Chong on Monday. "Because it was a slow-developing condition, there was no urgency but I would urge anyone with the condition - early intervention is better because you really get back to normal very much faster."