Dear Dhamma friends,

This is to update you on Sayadaw U Silananda's health condition.

As you all know Sayadaw, accompanied by me, travelled to Myanmar on March 21st. and arrived safely in Yangon on march 22nd, 2005.  Sayadaw was greeted at the Yangon International Airport by the Minister and the staff from Ministry of Religious Affairs.  On March 24th, Sayadaw attended his Abhidhaja Agghamaha Sadhamma Jotika title conferring ceremony in Kaba-Aye. Sayadaw also attended the inaugural ceremony of Sayadaw U Jota's Metta Vihara monastery in Kyaik-Wine on March 26th.

On March 27th., the Minister of Religious Affairs came to Sayadaw's residence in the International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University (ITBMU) and pay his respects to Sayadaw and asked about Sayadaw's health condition.  On behalf Sayadaw, I told the Minister that Sayadaw is having some kind of health problem and I asked him to arrange a complete medical check up on Sayadaw and to take care of Sayadaw's well-being under his authority.  My request was duly granted and Sayadaw was admitted to Yagon New General Hospital (Japanese Hospital) on the next day.

Upon arrival in the hospital, Sayadaw immediately undergone several tests including ultrasound for his urinary tract, MRI and CT scan of his brain which were not done in US recently.  All other tests came out normal except MRI and CT scan.  The brain scan images revealed a 3x4 cm focal lesion mass effect with marked edema, a brain tumor, in his right temporal lobe.  The report also noted that the right lateral ventricle is compressed with displacement of mid line structures to the left side suggestive of subfalcine herniation.

On March 28th., myself and Dr. Than Htay (Sayadaw's nephew) have discussed Sayadaw's prognosis with the Head Doctor of hospital.  His suggestion was to remove the tumor surgically and immediately.  He recommended to do this by gamma knife operation which is done by  shooting laser beam at the tumor thus by killing it.  He said this operation is the safest and has the least co-lateral damage since it doesn't need to open the skull and can be done from outside by aiming the laser beam to the tumor on the computer screen.

However, he said, this method of gamma knife operation is not available in Myanmar, but, it is available in Bangkok and Singapore.  He recommended us to do this locally since this method is the same as in United States and Sayadaw doesn't have to travel long distance back to SFO.  Dr. Than Htay and me went to the Bangkok Hospital Representative in Yangon to discussed the procedures and cost for the operation and to hand over copies of the brain scan films.  The Rep told us that he will send the films immediately to Bangkok and the reply will come back in 2 days.

Unfortunately, I have to leave Yangon on March 31st. and cannot wait for the reply from Bangkok.  Dr. Than Htay and Mya-thein-tan Sayadaw are planned to accompany Sayadaw to Bangkok if everthing goes well.  However, the reply from Bangkok reeived in Yangon on the day after I arrived in Bay Area.  It said the operation cannot be done by gamma knife method since the tumor is deeper than it can be done safely from outside and needs an open skull surgery.

A decision was made in Yangon yesterday that Sayadaw will come back here on Thursday, April 7th. with Sayadaws U Jota and U Dhammapiya from Fremeont Monastery who are in Yangon.  I have spoken with Dr. Khin May Aye (Karen Ou-Yang), Sayadaw's Primary Care Physician from Kaiser and discussed with Drs. Htay Aung and Kyi Kyi San to prepare for a successful operation here.  Dr. Khin May Aye has already consulted with the radioligist and Neurologist in Kaiser over the MRI and CT Scan reports which I faxed to her for the preparations.

It is confortable to know that Sayadaw's condition is still treatable with surgical operation.  I believe this trip saves Sayadaw's life even though there are some concerns about the long trip beforehand.  If Sayadaw didn't made this trip, we might not know Sayadaw has brain tumor until it's too late since Sayadaw didn't show any symtoms of brain tumor like headache and nausea.

By the grace of Lord Buddha and Sayadaw's good karma and spiritual powers, I belive Sayadaw will overcome this illness and become healthy again.  Let us pray for Sayadaw's wellness.

With metta, Myat Htoo