Dad’s Health Journal

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I decide to create a new category in my blog, specially dedicated to a great man, my father. This shall be his health journal. I shall update his progress here, sharing with my wonderful readers, the journey dad would be taking in treating his condition.

Dad was a planter all his career life. He successfully managed rubber and oil palm plantation, from his first estate to the following, till he retired. His skills and knowledge are greatest assets to any planter. Till today, he still can remember very clearly the processes involving seeding to replanting to harvesting and so on.

Beginning of July 2014, out of the blue mom told me that dad has been losing appetite and weight ever since Father’s Day. She didn’t want to tell me much earlier for fear I’d be worried sick. Whenever I called them, they sounded their usual self. His blood sugar shot up too. His occasional nose bleeds, more like spotting I was told. Dad said he saw the local ENT but they couldn’t find anything wrong with the nose. Something was amiss but I didn’t know what. My gut feelings told me that he needs proper medical examination without any further delay.

The list of examinations started from 7/7/2014. Less than 2 weeks to his birthday. I was glad that dad managed to see Dr SP Chan of SJMC. Her calendar was full. I tried asking for an appointment but to no avail. I went into the medical centre online appointment and wrote the reasons for such urgency for this appointment to be on 7/7/2014. I was so relieved that someone from the calling centre called me on a Saturday evening to speak to me in response to that online submission.

Dr Chan discovered a few things from the blood test, x-Ray and ultrasound on the chest and liver. She immediately referred dad to a renowned gastroenterologist. Thank God, Dr Yin advised dad to see him early the next morning. Meanwhile, dad was put on insulin and change of Blood Pressure (BP) medicine. Ms Yong, a consultant at the diabetes care was so patient and kind. She briefed us about cause and effect of diabetes, then taught mom and dad on the use of insulin. This was something very foreign to us. Mom kept asking if he could do without the insulin. I consoled her that if he could, the good doctor would have prescribed it. Let us follow the doctor’s advice and act accordingly. I’m sure dad’s condition will become better under the care of Dr Chan.

The following morning, another blood test was called for. Dr Yin ordered for a CT Scan in next morning. In the meantime, we were all cheering dad on for the insulin and blood sugar self-tests. These things were new to him and being clumsy at them was only natural. I could see he painstakingly try to hide his anxiety and frustration from us. For all the medical exams that needed fasting, I fasted together with him. That was the most I could do to share his discomforts. I wished that I could cast them away and put things right again. But, that’s impossible. So instead, I shall pray to Almighty God for serenity, courage, strength and patience. I have to be strong for the family.

Following the CT Scan, dad had to returned for endoscope. I could feel mom and dad were getting more and restless and anxious by the day. I kept reminding him not worry about anything else except to take care of himself following doctors advice. We shall soldier on, one way or another. I am sure when there is a will, there is a way. At time like this, I am most grateful for my husband. He has been the pillar of strength throughout the whole process. He made mom and dad felt more relaxed with his constant assurance.

From the endoscope results, dad was referred to an Oncologist. As I was still concerned about dad’s nose bleed, Dr Yin referred us to an ENT specialist, Dr Puravi. Another wonderful doctor. He introduced neti pot to us. I read about the benefits of neti potting some years back. I was most glad to know more now.

Our meeting with Dr Matin, the Oncologist was another pleasant encounter. Again, thanking our stars and thank God for letting us meet all the wonderful doctors at time like this. Doctor indicated the condition as GISTs. The mass seen in the liver showed the spread of the tumours from the stomach. However, we had to wait for the IHC report for any treatment to be prescribed. Highly likely via a drug called Gleevec (or, Glivec) if the type of GISTs matches. Just yesterday, I went to see Dr Matin for the IHC report. It was confirmed GISTs and the type which can receive Gleevec. That was one good news, I guess. Hopefully, dad’s tumour would respond to the drug and tumours shrunk. We shall see the doctor again in a month’s time to check how he responds to the medication.

For now, we skip around the C word. We do not want to scare mom, if she hasn’t known as much. I need her to be her normal self. No point getting upset or being pessimistic about the whole issue. Dad needs more positive energy around him and I would very much like to keep it that way. You know, mind over body. Moreover, we have the medication and a good doctor with us. There is always hope.

To sum it all up, thank you SJMC and all those great doctors mentioned herein. Not to forget those hardworking support staffs who make all things bearable, with as simplest gesture as an understanding and consoling smile. Smiles were readily exchanged along the corridor, clinics, cashiers…..everywhere!

Thank you so very much!

~ Alice N.


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Happy 76th Birthday, Father!

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My father is 76 years old today. Happy Birthday, dearest father! Wishing you continuous good health and may your days be filed with happiness and laughter always. I love you, Dad!

For those of you who have read my past posts about my dad and on Father’s Day, you’ll know him better. You can say that he was my first mentor with whom I learned to be independent, about decision-making, management, leadership, kindness, generosity, selflessness, gratitude, forgiveness and many more, since I was 6 years old (that is how far back I could remember vividly). He set a firm foundation for me to stand on and walk with two feet planted firmly on the ground. I am who I am partly because of the “early grooming” by my dad.

For the past weeks, dad hasn’t been well. He is not the usual strong and active man I have always known. Putting on a brave front, he painfully makes himself look OK. We could see that something wasn’t quite right. When I asked, he would leisurely brushed my concern aside and told me not to worry my little head off. His doctors said he was fine. I doubt that.

I insisted and got him to agree to have himself checked out by doctors of my choice. I thank God for letting us meet with all the great doctors. Wherever we went, we were greeted by friendly, helpful and kind doctors, nurses and other ground staffs. Hats off to Ramsay Sime Darby Medical Centre.

Being a strong-willed and independent man, he would mask any discomfort he felt so that mom, my brothers, nephew and I won’t be worried. I know that he is not used to feeling weak like this. I’m sure it is not easy for him to reverse the roles; to be taken care of now instead of him taking care of us. Let me caution you….If you ever bumped into my dad and I, you will spot an elderly man carrying shopping basket/bag walking next to his adult daughter. If he can help it, he will not allow me to carry any basket or bag at all (LOL!). That is my dad. To him, I shall always be his little girl.

Happy Birthday, Dearest Dad! I pray to Almighty God and the Universe that he continues to be positive and strong no matter what life serves to him. On his birthday, I wish that he will be blessed with better health and live well. Dad is a wonderful person with a beautiful heart. He never fails to bring laughter and joy to people around him, young and old. He is a charming gentleman. He deserves life’s best and I am more than willing to pamper him as much as he has been pampering me, if not more.

Dad, let me be the pillar for you to lean on when you are tired. Let me shower you with life’s best and spoil you with love. Let me share your worries, pain, sadness and fear, if any. Let me take over the driver’s seat while you sit next to me enjoying the ride and scenery. Let me carry the burden and lighten the weight on your shoulders. Though we live miles apart, you will always be in my thoughts and prayers. I shall always be there when you need me. You can always count on me, Dad, rain or shine.

HAPPY 76TH BIRTHDAY, DEAREST FATHER! I LOVE YOU….

~ Alice N.


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19th Anniversary

We have come this far, almost 2 decades! Imagine how one feels sharing his/her life with another for that long and years to come.

From mere two people, expanding the family with the addition of little members, building a home to house all and facing daily challenges to keep everyone together.

What I learnt from all these years of being married….

1. We must have common goal(s) and family values;

2. Respect each other and each other’s space;

3. Speak up or write when something goes wrong in the relationship/marriage. It is not OK to feel lousy alone. Share it so the other would know how it is affecting you.

4. Don’t expect the other person to be like us. (Think / Do / Feel). Such expectations kills a marriage with slow death.

5. Avoid confrontation. Speak when cooled down. Silent when feeling heated up, or walk away for a breather. Emotion is more stable when calmed. More can be achieved then.

6. A line must be drawn on what are not to be tolerated. It goes for both parties.

7. Perform your duties as a husband /wife, not just economically but social well-being too. Be the strength of support to your partner.

8. Selective hearing/feeling/action….compromise whenever you can.

9. No place for ego. Fight for the marriage (All win), not personal victory (All lose).

10. Be Grateful to each other. Count your blessings.

11. Not everyone says “Sorry”. Look with your heart and eyes….it could be “sorry” being displayed by action. Receive it as good.

12. Have separate bank accounts, assets, credit cards, hobbies/interests, friends, etc. besides common ones.

13. You have chosen your partner. Stay loyal / faithful to the chosen one. If you have to “move on” under any circumstances, have a clean and fair break with the one who first built this family with you.

14. Things change, people change. Do not remain static at one level, or you’ll be left behind. Don’t be complacent. Upgrade yourself, learn a new skill, language, grooming, go for further education. Take good care of yourself too.

15. Love yourself and learn to be happy for yourself. It is alright. It is not being selfish if you share such love and happiness with your loved ones.

16. Be the companion whom your spouse feels proud and comfortable to be around with.

17. Treat your spouse as how you would treat your good friends.

18. Keep the communication line open. This will avoid unnecessary misunderstanding. People get upset or angry mainly because of misunderstanding.

19. Watch your words. Open the mouth only to speak good words. If you have nothing good to say to the next person, just keep the mouth shut. Cruel words uttered can never be erased from the mind….nothing will be the same ever again.

Life still goes on. Our lives keep changing. I know I have much more to go through, to learn and to live the life that I’m blessed with. Nothing is perfect. Neither am I.

Happy 19th Anniversary, Darling! It is the 19th, not 20th (LOL!). It is just a number, isn’t it?….Love you anyway.

~ Alice N.

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WOMEN AND FINANCE

This is all about women. WOMEN……for men reading this, you love them and sometimes hate them, don’t you? For women reading this, sit up and pay attention. This is important and I want to stress on it again this new year, 2014!

Simply put, it’s about women and money. True, money isn’t everything, but mind you, everything is money. Ask anyone on the street! You can’t literally move to do things without involving money. Time is money – the opportunity cost. I posted before about Financial Planning for Women. In it, I mentioned that most women would at one point in time, be single (again). It could be by choice (stay single, unmarried), divorced or being a widow. The stats recorded that women tend to live longer (than their husbands).

Having said that, wouldn’t women need money to be self-sufficient to last them their lifetime? Married women need to plan as if they are single. Don’t take it for granted that your husband is your retirement plan. He is NOT! If he is, that would be a bonus. Congrats! For now, take it as “NOT”, so plan ahead, solo.

Women, most often than not, would be sandwiched between young, growing family and ageing parents. Taking care of parents’ needs do not only involve time, but money too. Medical expenses, special diet, holiday, etc. Understanding women, they would rather use their own funds to pay for all these, instead of asking from their spouse. Parents are our own responsibility. Of course, no smart women would refuse the generosity of a spouse, to display respect and love for their in-laws.

Then, comes the issue of children’s higher education, the college and/or university fees. Parents always want the best for their children, including or especially education. In most families, our gift as parents to our beloved children would be the “golden key” to achieving financial freedom, and that “golden key” is none other than “Education”. We believe in not serving fish for the kids to eat but to provide them with basic tools to fish for themselves. We firmly believe that education opens doors to better and more secured future. It creates more options for one to choose. Therefore, most parents would strive to save as much for their children’s education. Funding them for as long as they are still studying.

However, if the choice is between children’s education and your retirement, woman, brace yourself and choose your retirement. Why? If you do not have sufficient fund for his/her education, there are other sources. There are study loans available, scholarships, or perhaps, he/she could work part-time. However, if you decide to save for children’s education and left with insufficient fund for own retirement, may I ask, where would be the source of funding for you? Live on charity? Now, do you see my point?

Women are known to take better care of people around them than themselves, especially their loved ones. Where the loved ones are concerned, there is always a bit more energy left, a bit more money spared, there is always time (just take away the me-time, tea time, short rest, even sleep)….the list goes on. It is amazing where they get all the energy from! They work so hard and still able to smile. Please don’t hate them but cherish them.

Men, now this is your part. Encourage your wife, daughter, sister, friends to plan for themselves, for a better tomorrow. If not, YOU better plan well for them. Which, I don’t think you would do or do so well. So, encourage them to seek knowledge or professional advice in financial planning. It is never too early nor too late to plan. Just do it now.

I hope to see more women be financial savvy this new year. Read and understand personal FINANCE. Know what you want and plan to achieve that goal. Dare to dream. You deserve to enjoy life after contributing so much during the earlier years. After planning, act upon it. It is alright to start slow or baby steps as long as you get started. As time goes, as you get more and more familiar with it, you’ll pick up pace and be more daring. Finance may be boring or even scary for some. Face it and you’ll soon realize that there isn’t anything to be afraid of, other than an insecure future, an empty nest for your golden years without planning.

~ Alice N.


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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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My Journey of Continuous Education – Sem 5

One and a half year has passed and I had just completed my 5th semester – all my 10 core and elective courses done. Wondering if it is age factor or what, that I find it getting tougher. This semester seems to be the toughest of them all. I thought, as I go from sem to sem, it should get lighter and easier!

5th sem was the most demanding of all whereby we were required to do mini theses. Meaning, theses that are shrunk into 10-20 pages. Lit reviews, field interviews for research studies, etc. When a thesis is long, we usually face the challenge of getting sufficient content. Conversely, when a thesis is supposed to be short, the great challenge is to “downsize” it by at least 10 times its usual size but, with all important contents remain. No more group projects this semester. One had to do it from A to Z!

Despite the frequent complaints from the heart and tired mind, I found this semester to be most fruitful. Never had I push myself so hard before. Working, playing the role of a mother to my teenager and tweenager, attending social functions and overseas delegations with dear hubby and burning midnight oils to complete my assignments/project papers. Sleeping at 2am+ was a norm, right till the end of the semester, the final exams. Stressed and drained. Amazing where all those energy came from every morning when I woke up…!

What was most fulfilling was that I learnt a lot from the lecturers. They demand for higher standard of works and that pushed us to meet that requirements. My heartfelt thanks to Dr Rizal and Dr Saiful. I told my children, one of the contributing factors of my “survival” was “when the goings get tough, I get tougher”. Also, I kept telling myself that survival and completion of each semester are not options. Just as passing the exams is not an option.

You can’t imagine how many times I read companies’ annual reports, which I had not done before. I did not need to because in the course of my work, someone else would do the reading and analyzing and then compile the reports neatly for my usage. This time around, I had to be on my hands and knees doing the works, reading, understanding and analysing the companies under study. It is a whole load of works but when I finally print and bind the project papers, my heart swell with pride having in my hands, the fruit of my hard labour. I know that I had given my very best to every piece of my work because I spent many nights and small hours going over and over again to perfect them to my satisfaction for the final prints.

During these last two courses, I am most grateful to my ever-loving and supportive husband, children, parents, my wonderful colleagues and Facebook Friends! Not to forget my wonderful classmates too! They were on the sidelines cheering me on, especially when I was at the edge of giving up. Thank you and love you all.

My last challenge is the following two semesters, the last. This one is the finale…..my dissertation. I have to think of a topic to write about, something related to corporate finance, come up with research proposal and then submit to my potential supervisor. Once he or she agrees to take me under the wings, then shall I apply to the Uni before I could start the ball rolling. That’s when the clock start ticking again. Now, thinking of a topic itself is a heavy task. Inspiration….where are thee…

Merger and Acquisition? Corporate Governance? Fellow Uni-mates have been most helpful, sharing ideas with me. Can’t thank you all enough… Liew, Radzi, Fariza. Finally, thanks to my favourite cousin, Ken Teh and his charming wife, for the invaluable advice shared over lunch.

Now, I have to do my part and do it well. Choosing the right topic is of utmost importance, just as important as a singing talent selecting her songs to perform. The choice could either break you or build you. This shall be the last lap to finish line. I envision myself to be one of the participants in the 2014 UUM Convocation. With blessings from so many supportive people around me and God willing, I shall achieve it.

This is it….results should be out by the first week of January 2014. Fingers crossed. Meanwhile, I am going to pamper myself and my family for a while.

~ AliceN.


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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY SON <3

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Sixteen years ago, you greeted the world with eagerness….you responded to your daddy voice as if you had been hearing it for the longest time. You opened your eyes shortly after to get a glimpse of the new world, your world! You are special to us. Makes me feel that It was only yesterday you were born into this world and into our family. Anyway, Happy Sweet Sixteen!!!

You know, son? You got everyone busy at your arrival. Our colleagues were so eager to visit immediately after your birth. Bless them. However, in less than 24 hours, you were down with high fever. Everyone had to pay much attention to this VIP Baby, so said the nurses at that time – “The One and Only VIP baby”. Your pediatrician, bless him, dutifully got the nurses to provide 4-hourly progress report to us and Dr Deng himself would visit us every evening to let us know your condition. All in all, I guess, with all the love and attention, you responded well by giving it a good fight and got well. What great relief it was for all of us. It was great joy to bring you home finally! We knew then, you are a fighter or rather, a survivor, dear son.

You always have a special place in everyone’s heart. Everyone who comes in contact with you. With your easy smile, laughter and kindness. You have a good heart, son. I’m not saying all these just because I am your mom, but there are collection of compliments I received from the receivers of your charm. I hope that all these qualities shall remain in you always as you grow up and face the whole wide world. Let not the hard world change you into a cold stranger. Instead, let the experience mould you into someone who can make differences, positive changes for yourself and the world around you.

Growing up, I saw a great young man slowly taking shape. I am so proud of you, son. My wish is that you’ll always be who you really are and be proud of it; no matter how big you become, or how successful you are, always have your two feet planted firmly on the ground. Remember the values we impart to you – that shall be your guiding light always.

My dearest son, Happy Birthday and I love you, sweetheart.

Love always,
Mommy

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