Happy Mother’s Day! 

  To all mothers in the world, Happy Mother’s Day to you. Specially dedicated to my Mom, Godmom, sisters-in-law, relatives and friends. 

  This was sent by my son first thing in the morning on my Facebook timeline, knowing I love fast cars but with quiet engines. Don’t think I fancy  “announcing” my arrivals as I prefer to arrive quietly…he knows me so well! Love you, son. Also to my sweet daughter for her heart-warming Mother’s Day message. Not forgetting my darling hubby for being supportive of my causes and much more. That means a lot to me. We make one great team! I feel so blessed…

I didn’t know anything about being mothers before I became one. As teenagers, almost all of us found our moms to be naggy, the one who always stood in between us and what we wanted. Their favorite word, (amazing how all mothers were alike in this) was “NO!”. Most of the time our favourite things got confiscated. We believed that moms have another pair of eyes behind their heads; and that they put us under secret surveillance because they knew things even though they weren’t there! These are from a teenager’s point of view, at least in my mind when I was a teenager.

When I first became a mom, with the arrival of my firstborn some 17.5 years ago, I learned what it actually meant to carry the title “MOM”. Boy, if you take it lightly, you’re going to feel the weight of unspoken fear and self-doubts when something knocks you off your feet and fall into a bottomless pit. You’ll know what “Helpless” and “Hopeless” really really mean. If you think life is tough, try being a MOM. I guess MOMs are the ones who say prayers the most, not for themselves but for the well-being of their children, especially.  How true the statement goes. I didn’t know what I could do and how much I had to deal with until I stepped into the shoes of being a mother. No parenting or motherhood books could prepare you for the role. There is not one operation manual or standard operating procedure (SOP) guide book or advice from good meaning fellow mothers that could make you fully prepared to face the days of motherhood. It is a hands-on experienced only.

There may be some similarities but each baby or child is unique in his/her own way. Having my two beautiful children testified and endorsed that. Both children have some similar habits and behavior but that do not mean one method works for both. There are many trials and errors…after almost 18 years, I am still on this learning journey. It’s a long haul, lifelong commitment. There is no particular way and certainly not enough time to perfect being a mother because the landscape keeps changing as the children grow older. 

I thought as they grow, I would become closer to being an expert in motherhood but was I wrong! I’m still learning like an intern in each phase of motherhood. Now both are at teen age. I found that boy teenager and girl teenager are different in many ways. Cross referencing doesn’t quite work. It is like a totally new chapter altogether, not even a sub-topic! Life is filled with surprises, isn’t it? I guess that is the secret of looking younger than your age (LOL!)

Having said that, amidst the challenges, I am also blessed to go through life seeing my babies grow up. They have enriched my life, makes me grow as well. Besides being responsible for myself and my wonderful husband, I have to be mindful too for the sake of my children. How I act, speak and do things will reflect on them. Children see and model us one way or another, if not now, later in age. Don’t forget that. 

So, parents… don’t use this line, “you can’t/don’t do it” when you yourselves are doing it. If you feel you can do it due to whatever valid reasons, please explain to make them understand why they can’t. Failing to do so will make them confused, which turns it into curiosity to try it out. Then, they might do it behind your back. We have to practise some degree of transparency and democracy with children of today. They are getting smarter and they understand better than we did when we were their age. Educate them properly. Expose them to some freedom while they are still under our wings so to give us chance to guide them when the need arises. Be not afraid to explore new territories with your children or to speak to them at the same level as you. In turn, you’ll discover that they will respect you more.  We must recognize that we all learn through mistakes and lessons and so do they.

I can’t help but to feel proud of myself that I have come this far whenever I look into the faces of my children. I continuously share our family values with them and hope that they will live through it and then, spread it to their own families and so forth. 

Finally, Mothers, go out and celebrate being a MOM and enjoy motherhood, lock stock and barrel (LOL!). Happy Mother’s Day to all! 

~ Alice N.

9 Months into Glivec/ Gleevec

It was mid April that Dad was due to his visit to his Oncologist and Endocrinologist. He looks well and we’re glad that know that he has put on some weight. He lost quite a lot of weight last July. Good to note that he is gradually getting back to his usual weight. His appetite is good too! He is eating 7 meals a day. These are small meals and proved to be good for his blood sugar.

At this visit, his Oncologist told us that he hardly felt the tumor. That’s a good sign but he should be due for the next CT scan (6 months apart) in June. He will still continue with Glivec as it is doing its job well so far. New side effect noticed was the sign of brittle nails. They look like old, dried and peeling nails. No pain or any discomfort felt, just the look of the nails. His doctor took a few photos of the brittle nails to report back to the manufacturer, I guess. We couldn’t find any recorded side effect that’s pointing to nail issues. I was thinking could be happening to Dad as an isolated case or Asians perhaps, due to our livelihood and diet?

I also notice a slight dark line on his lower lid but the doctor said that has nothing to do with the drug but more like dark circles. I shall take a note on that and observe it for a longer period of time. His previous water retention on the left ankle and eyes have subsided.

Thereafter, we went over to see his endocrinologist. Dad’s doctor was so pleased with his records and was amazed by his discipline in caring for his health by diligently exercising on daily basis, watching his intake of food and also checking his blood sugar and recording them without fail. By monitoring closely, he gets to understand how certain foods will affect his blood sugar and he will take steps to control himself. On that, I must salute my Dad. He is his own doctor as he wants to be well. That relieves me from worries. I am so proud of him.

My gratitude extends to his jovial and friendly Oncologist, Dr Mellor and wonderful Endocrinologist, Dr Chan for their attention and encouragement. Also to Max Foundation and Novartis for the patient assist program. Support from these people help a lot and let us deal with GIST more positively and giving us hope. We are tracking his progress from each visit to the doctors and so far, Thank God, my dad has been doing well. We shall keep monitoring and praying for his well-being.


~ Alice N.

6 months into Glivec/Gleevec


I just realised my mistake on Dad’s GIST journal. The title “1st Month on Glivec” is actually referring to 1st follow-up with his Onco after 2 months being on Glivec. Followed by another 2 months, 2nd follow-up and the 3rd in January, which was after 6 months of consuming Glivec.

In the morning before meeting with his Oncologist in January 2015, Dad underwent CT Scan again. We were familiar with the Procedures by then. After the scan, while waiting for the results, we went out for a hearty lunch. Need to be optimistic and the first thing that came to mind was to feed hungry stomachs with tasty hot food.

When we finally met his onco with the radiologists’ reports, we were delighted to learn that the lesions in the liver had decreased further and the size of the tumour in the stomach had also shrunk. However, the signs on the bones remained unchanged, which we have to monitor. All in all, signs had shown positive improvements and that meant Dad responded well to Glivec. Pray for steady route to recovery.

The following day, when we saw his endocrinologist, he was given a thumb-up by the wonderful Dr. Dad then took the opportunity from his good results to appeal for change in prescription to oral medication instead of insulin injections. His Onco had no objections when we spoke to him about it the day before. After much persuasion, she reluctantly compromise with Dad. He still has to take his insulin in the morning but for evening dose, he can replace insulin with oral medication. Dad was to record his blood sugar as requested to see how he responds to the new prescription. Dad has to provide his readings for 7 days. I was so pleased to see how happy Dad was for the little relief from the needle of insulin. That gives him hope that he could perhaps turn this insulin-dependent situation around. He becomes even more optimistic than before! Thank you, Dr Chan and Dr Mellor (the latter for taking time to discuss with the former). Thank God for such caring and dedicated doctors. Thanks to Max Foundation too for the Glivec sponsorship program. We shall be forever grateful! Thanks to the Universe for listening to us, lightening our burden and giving us hope!

I must give the highest credit to Dad. A strong man who is not afraid or even feeling too proud to listen to and take the advice of others (his oncologist, endocrinologist and I). He is determined to get well and therefore is disciplined in his morning exercise and religiously taking his medication. The dad whom I’ve known and love for decades, has always been optimistic and jovial, regardless of the situation he is in. Today, I’m glad to say that he is as optimistic and fun-loving as before, or maybe more. He is a survivor! I’m proud of my dad.

Also, credits go to Mom for endlessly reading articles on cancer and health issues. After surviving a heart attack and went through multiple tests, Mom is now on medication and follow-ups with her cardiologist. Knowing her health risks, she further strengthened her spirit and move forward as positively as possible. Now, both parents are primary care-givers to each other, more like reminders to each other to be well.

I’ve decided to give them breathing space by not monitoring them too closely. I realised my good intention might have added pressure and stress to them to want to feel better, faster. I then return to my old way of weekly chats instead of daily. I was too anxious and worried for them that I made them most uncomfortable and unhappy. Mom was especially worried about me for being worried for them! I learnt from my mistake by letting them be. Instead of mothering them, I revert to my role of being a daughter to them. I let go and move along at their pace.

That brings to me think that as children, there are times when we want to control our parents to do things our way but that is not right. We should sit down and talk it over with them. Let them know our concern as children and listen to their concerns as well. We should then be able to come to a mutual understanding on how to handle challenging situations together as a team. It is indeed pointless for anyone to get agitated and make everyone frustrated. This will only escalate unhappiness and worsen the situation or health condition. Not helpful at all. We have to control ourselves and take it in our strides to think positively and pro-actively. Let’s not react without thinking deeply, especially on such delicate issues, when handling sickness in the family. I know it is tough but for everyone’s sake, especially the unhealthy one, we have to be empathetic, compassionate and have great patience. I believed that when we are optimistic, it can be contagious. Instead of frowning, we should be smiling and enjoy the company of our loved ones.

I shall continue to pray for strength, patience, wisdom and good news for my family!

~ Alice N.

Farewell, Mr Lee Kuan Yew


The world has lost a great man, Singapore’s Founding Father. Without Lee Kuan Yew (LKY), Singapore will not be what it is today. Thank you and farewell, Sir!  

Even the sky shed tears at the last sent-off. I’m so touched to watch so many citizens braved the rain to stand along the roads to bid the great man final good byes. Seeing so many people, young and old, unabashedly wiped their tears as the hearse passed by. I can’t help but to have tears streaming down my face as well. Feeling so sad for his family and Singapore for losing a father.

To me , he is a wise, visionary man. He turned the small island into a developed country, with least resources. Singapore is now  respected and envied by people around the world, especially its closest neighbours! A man with great vision, determination and passion running in his blood all these years. 

Though I am not a Singaporean, I saw, heard and read enough to appreciate LKY’s fruits of labour; his sweat, tears and blood flowed into the land, water and air of Singapore. I salute you, LKY.

I liken Singapore as a second home deep in my heart. This is one place which I feel safe to walk the streets alone at night; feeling safe enough to let my children go around unaccompanied, on public transport; feel comfortable eating hawker foods at every corner of Singapore! I like how Singaporeans queue up for everything and reserve a seat/table with a pack of facial tissue. People can leave their bags on the chair and walk away for a short while. They have mutual respect and understanding amongst themselves. I give them a thumb-up for being civilized. 

It is a fine city which I love. Why not to love? If you break the regulations or law, you face the consequences. Fair and square! This is law and order, vital ingredients to run a country efficiently. I’m all for it. The city is like a garden in the city or is it city in a garden? Full of trees and parks. Trees are as valuable as a human life. The parks are well maintained at every HDB residential and each township is complete with community and sports centre, eateries and convenience stores. I can freely walk along Singaporean streets and move around using their efficient public transports. Thanks to the founding father. 

A man, no matter how wise or great, could not escape from making some mistakes in life. The most important part of making mistake is what has one learnt from the mistake. We can choose either to see the big picture to progress or we magnify the minor issue and sit on it. A choice not easily made especially for a country and its citizens. 

Mr LKY, when we knew that you were in critical condition, we prayed to have you with us much longer but at a corner of our hearts, we did not want you to suffer anymore. We then pray for you to go peacefully to a better place, hopefully to reunite with Mrs Lee again. 

To our Hero…our Mentor…our Founding Father…Our Leader…final salute to you, Sir. We shall continue to pray and send well wishes across the causeway to your family and beloved country. Your duty for Singaporeans has now completed and it is time for others to follow your foot steps and dreams. Now is the time for them to stand on their own and make the most of what they have learnt from you. 

Thank you, LKY for your sacrifice and wisdom. May you rest in peace….

To PM LHL and family, our deepest condolences to you. 

~ Alice N.

20 Years Together 

What can I say except, time really flies! It is amazing how two people with different personalities, habits and interests can stay together for that long. Oh yes…it still amazes me when I stop to think about it. 

Thank God we have survived every up and down, sharing laughter and tears, talk about  ideas and dreams, discuss matters related to children and like any other couple, we argued, we got angry with each other, felt frustrated and hopeless sometimes. We have survived all that so far, and shall continue to work on it for years to come.

Darling, Happy Platinum Anniversary! A wonderful man who has put up with me in many ways for 20 years. Together, we have built our own small family based on our values and belief. Together, we weather the storms of life, we continue learning, adapting, improving and look forward to enjoy the fruits of our labour. When we fight, we keep reminding each other to fight for the marriage instead of personal victory. 

Marriage is like a beautiful china. It is so lovely to look at and smooth to touch. We adore its beauty. However, it is fragile and needs to be handled with great care to maintain that beauty and condition. When it is roughly handled, it may chip or even break, depending on the impact. Otherwise, it is long-lasting.  

For people who have not come this far yet, they are simply amazed by the period of 2 decades. However for people who have gone through more, I’m sure they have lots to say or advice for me. I believe, it is going to be more fun accompanied by more learning curves to experience as we move along.  

Looking back, as a single person, I did everything to my fancy. I did not have to think too deeply how each decision I made or action I took would directly or indirectly affect the next person. I am me, period.

When we got married, we were like two limbs attached to a body, and still are. What one does or say will have some kind of effect on the next person. Therefore, we become more mindful with words used and our choice of action. 

With the addition of children, looking back at “mere couple” days, they seemed uncomplicated and easy. It was another course of adaptation. With this new landscape, more adjustments were made to accommodate the little human in the family. As one child grew another joined the clan. Another course of adjustment was called for. I can testify that since then, our communication, decision-making, human relations, public relations and negotiation skills have since improved drastically. 

I know that I have made many mistakes along the way, by taking things and simple gestures for granted, jumped to my own conclusions and not “looking” from my heart” the things my husband did for me, to please me. I was too quick to pass judgement. There were times when I didn’t give him a chance to a “fair trial”. Oh well…I have learnt and shall continue to be more forgiving and understanding. I asked for validation and acknowledgment…I shall also give the same in return. Regardless of being a man or woman, we are humans after all, seeking emotional satisfaction and stability. I must look at myself in the mirror more often, not to check my make-up of course, but to look within myself for check and balance. Yes, that I shall do.

Fast forward years ahead, as children grow older, maybe leaving our nest and starting their own  families, I am sure we will soon find ourselves back to being a couple again. In golden years, we may see things through different lenses, not indicating reading glasses, mind you. I am sure by then, our livelihood will be different from how it is now. More time in our hands to use as we please. 

I shall look forward to sharing these years ahead with darling hubby. It envisage it to be like unwrapping the present, layer by layer to reach the special something inside the box. There will be new territories to be explored and discovered together. We shall cherish what we have go through thus far, and look forward to the journey ahead. 

A toast to my wonderful husband : May we share many more exciting years together, till death do us part. I love you, darling for always being there for me; for the little gestures you make; for the love you showered upon me continuously; for accommodating me in many ways; for your quiet understanding of everything. Thank you for the love and attention through the years, darling.

Alice N.

Happy Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day celebrating the wonders of women around the world. To all mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, Happy Women’s Day!

Some people jokingly described a husband as the head of family and wife as the neck of the family, which can turn the head anywhere. Oh well…whatever it is, don’t take them personally. Laugh them off.

Someone sent this image to a group of us with one person light-heartedly commenting that they must read the book to learn about “women management”! I wonder how one can manage women or men. It is not like financial management or time management. So, my response to that was “I’ve not met anyone who can understand a woman as well as second skin. Best would be to appreciate them, acknowledge them and validate their feelings. Very simple actions which do not require lots of heavy reading. Same applies to men and children. We don’t “manage” them.

Another friend sent this, “A teacher wrote this on the blackboard and asked the students to add the punctuation – [Woman without her man is nothing]. A boy added (Woman, without her man, is nothing.); whilst a girl wrote (Woman! Without her, man is nothing.). Amazing that a few punctuation marks can give different meanings to the same sentence. My take on this is no one is more superior than the other. A man and woman have their own roles to play in the family. We are interdependent, if you like. We need each other to make a more beautiful and fulfilled life for ourselves and our loved ones. Let us not try so hard to prove between husband and wife, who is more important or superior. We will end up hurting each other more. While we happily celebrate our Women’s Day, let us also acknowledge our father, brother, husband and son’s influence to our lives, in one way or another.  

A confident man sent this message to a group chat and received a round of applause :

Woman : changes her surname, changes her home, leaves her family, moves in with you, builds home with you, gets pregnant for you, pregnancy changes her body, she gets fat, almost gives up in the labour room due to the unbearable pain of child-birth, even the kids she delivers bear your surname. Till the day she dies, everything she does…cooking, cleaning your house, taking care of your parents, bringing up your children, earning, advising you, ensuring you can be relaxed, maintaining all family relations, everything that benefit you….sometimes at the cost of her own health, hobbies and beauty. So who is really doing whom a favour? Dear men, appreciate the women in your lives always, because it isn’t easy being a woman. Being a woman is priceless!

I just want to say that women are not that complicated or weird as much as one wants to believe. They are no trouble-makers. They don’t have time to pamper themselves how else are they going to find time to create troubles. They know their roles very well. They always stand by their men through thick and thin, without much complaint or none at all, strongly believing in their shared dreams. They work tirelessly to provide a warm and loving home for their families.

Women, give yourselves permission to celebrate your day. Also, feel free to take everyday as a celebration of life, whatever you want to call it. Give yourselves a pat on the back and remember to take time off to pamper yourselves. Have your own circle of girlfriends who would be there for you to share your happiness and as well as concern. Start having a hobby or two to occupy your time more productively. If you have been thinking for so long to take up a degree, learn a musical instrument, master another language, attending cooking or self-improvement classes, do it! When you do something more meaningful for yourselves, you’ll appreciate yourselves more. Not only that, your family members will too!

Celebrate that you are a Woman! It is great pleasure and an honour to be a woman and carrying out your roles as one. Notice that many hearts and lives you have touched as you grow and live your lives. Live it to the fullest. Enjoy each and every moment of it. Make happy memories and learn from the good and bad experiences. Take great care of your health and total well-being. Be proud and always take extra effort to look, smell and feel good about yourself!

~ Alice N.

Happy Chinese New Year 2015!

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Xin Nian Kuai Le! Kong Hei Fatt Choy! Keong Hee Huat Chai!

Here’s wishing everyone around the world Happy Chinese New Year! May the new year bring you continuous better health, prosperity and joy!

Yesterday, every family sat around the table to have Reunion Dinner with loved ones. Today, families and friends visit one another exchanging red money packets accompanied by good wishes.

Those who have slaved themselves in the kitchen throughout these couple of days will try to find time to relax whenever they could, in between meals. For those who have it better, just party on. This is the time of the year when some family members will gather around to play a few card games for the fun of it and sharing laughter.

I am not a traditional person therefore I do not observe the traditional customs. When I do so, it is due to respect for the older generation. I can’t even explain the significance of Chinese New Year (CNY), except it is the new lunar year. I may be wrong…as for taboos, unless it satisfies my logical thinking mind, I shall accept the practice. Failing which, I shall not follow blindly nor would I preach them to my children.

I am sure there are many who will condemn my ignorance but I am contented with just my way of doing things. To me, everyday is a good day, a Birthday, a Mother’s or Father’s Day, a new year day, etc. I believe in living in the present and celebrate life’s little event and achievement on daily basis. For any disappointment, challenge or failure, it is only temporary. We learn from lousy decision or action so that we can do better for the following day.

I preach to my children about simplicity of life and being honest to themselves and those around them. We do things because we want to and happy doing them rather than being forced to and feeling negative about them. Barring the circumstances when we have do to so due to respect to the host or our elderly relatives. Let our conscience guide us.

So, this new year, the same as every year, wishing everyone the very best of new year, new chapter in life and new resolution! Most importantly, may you enjoy continuous good health, prosperity and joy throughout the year of sheep.

Cheers to all and “Yum Seng”!!!

~ Alice N.

2014 Ending

Is it the time or is it just me….that feels like 2014 passes with high-speed! It is an eventful year for me.

Where my parents are concerned, dad has been diagnosed since early July with a type of cancer called GISTs. Treatable with targeted treatment drug. Thank God he responds well to Glivec and much thanks to Max Foundation for their kind support. Towards end of the year, we found out that Dad’s right ear experiences poorer hearing ability. Mom on the other hand, was admitted for heart issue in October and is now under medication. It has finally dawned on us that our parents are getting older and health has gradually deteriorated. Fortunately, my parents live in a beautiful and quiet town with breathtaking lake gardens where they can go to every morning for their exercises. Air is fresh and surrounded by greenery. I wish for my parents to have healthy and happy golden years to come.

In the heart of my home, my children had completed their major examinations. With the new year, we’ll see one entering the secondary school while the other entering university and due to start taking his driving lessons. Soon, he will be driving himself and us around. Can’t wait. I am glad that darling husband makes time for little family holidays amidst his busy schedule. Nothing beats making wonderful memories with family, isn’t it? It reminds me of my childhood where we had great family activities which we cherished to this day. It doesn’t have to be expensive, as long as it is time spent away from work, colleagues and friends to focus more on our loved ones. I call it touching base with the centre of our souls.

Our children are growing and soon one by one will be leaving home to further their studies and thereafter creating their own life paths. If we don’t spend time with them now, we may lose the chance to create wonderful memories with them. There is no way we can turn back the clock when we finally can spare that free time. By then, they might have their own plans and most often the not, these plans don’t include parents, sorry! To me, there is not enough free time in this rat race life. There is always another task that needs our immediate attention when there is a time slot, isn’t it? However, if we care enough, we know that we have to create that time for our beloved family….before it is way too late!

So, what have you accomplished for the last 12 months of year 2014? Small accomplishments do count. It is the cumulative small contributions and actions that make the big difference in our lives, besides the big ones. Remember, to change anything, it starts small. If we were to wait for the big action or big change, it may not come at all or slightly better, it’ll take a much longer time to present itself to us.

Whether we have done enough, or not for 2014, I am sure you have done your very best. Continue to work on your new resolution(s), correct what have gone wrong in the new year, and most importantly, keep moving forward. You’ll be fine. Don’t sweat the small stuffs.

I apologise for not writing as much as I like to. Too many things happened in this year, bittersweet ones. I have to live with them, past them and move along. There were times when I just wanted to rest my achy body and tired mind, to just lay down to sleep and not waking up; there were times when I felt the sense of hopelessness, anxiety, anger, frustration, disappointment and loss of direction; adversely, I also felt the joy of giving and sharing what I have and achieving small accomplishments; there were times when I felt so happy that my heart felt like bursting to million stars. During this time, we make new friends, experience new discoveries, attaining a higher level of knowledge and realizing our threshold of pain and endurance! Oh well….this is what life is all about.

Please allow me to mention and pay tribute to loss of lives in flights MH370, MH17 and QZ8501. My deepest condolences to their families. May the families find peace within, may there be “angels” to watch over them as they grieve for their loss of loved ones. Lives will never be the same again but I still pray that they will find the strength to carry on. I feel for the families of pilots and crew members. I can imagine their anxiety whenever their family members have to leave for duty. Let us appreciate the services extended by these lovely people.

Lastly, I must thank you all for reading my blog posts and your comments. Pleasure has been mine to share what I go through in life and what knowledge I have. Hopefully, it helps, one way or another, for those who share similar experience, to know that you are never alone in this big big world.

Farewell to 2014 and let’s toasty to a better and greater new year. Take care!

~ Alice N.

Mommy Dearest

Just last week my mom was admitted to the hospital for heart attack. No frightening symptom except splitting headache which couldn’t go away, tight chest, shallow breathing and cold sweat. She thought that could be due to her recent worries about my brothers’ well-being and my dad’s health, and if she were to sleep more, the discomfort would disappear. Somehow, it didn’t and that was the body telling her something wasn’t right.

She walked to a clinic nearby to see the doctor and was immediately asked to get herself admitted to the hospital. She walked home, calmly finished up some house chores left undone that morning then asked Dad to send her to the hospital.

Mom stayed a night in Taiping Hospital at the CCU. I was glad that she had acted fast enough to seek medical attention. Health wise, she has been treated for raised cholesterol and that’s all. Her blood pressure thus far has been good for her age. She eats and sleeps well too.

I discussed with Dad and we both decided that she should agree to be transferred to Ipoh Hospital for further examinations. So, Taiping hospital made the necessary
arrangements for her and the next morning, she was sent there in an ambulance.

My daughter and I reached Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh and be with her when she arrived. My son’s sitting for his major exams so staying back with dearest hubby. First look at Mom, she was as pale as a sheet of paper! Mom told me the doctors, nurses and paramedics were so kind and careful. Thanks to all who had attended to my mom. This kind of warm treatment one can’t get from other hospitals I know off! I was pleasantly surprised and impressed! Kudos to Taiping Hospital!

Mom was taken to the Cardiac Recovery Ward (CRW) , a couple of doctors came to ask her some questions, briefed her about angiogram procedure. She was to fast from food and drink so that if she were to be called for angiogram procedure, she could do so instantly. We waited till late evening for her turn to come. There were just too many critical cases. Even the hospital beds weren’t enough to cater for all patients. New patients kept coming in.

Mom’s procedure took about 30 minutes. Mom said mild blockage and just need to take oral medication. Phew! What a relief! Mom told us all to go back to the hotel to have a good rest now that she is fine.

The next morning, the doctor told Mom about her enlarged heart. This was further confirmed on the ultra sound. Mom was advised to go to Kuala Lumpur for a cardiac MRI. The doctor would issue a referral letter and make an appointment for her to go there for an examination.

You can’t imagine how happy we were to get Mom discharged and go back home. I insisted that Dad and Mom must go back with me so that Mom can get rest from house chores. All she needed to do was to relax and continue with her morning walk in my residential area. The more she rests, the faster she gains back her strength. Tried to keep them longer with us here but after 5 days, they returned to their home. I had to give in to keep them both happier.

When people and doctors said that mental stress is cause to many health issues, we have to believe it, seriously. I noticed that parents’ health started to deteriorate when they were consumed by sadness and worries. Sadness that stemmed from being hurt (emotionally), great disappointment, anger, frustration, etc. That reminds us all that we must focus on our mental health. Having a healthy body doesn’t quite guarantee a healthy mind. As mindful as we feed our body with the right food, we must also feed the right thoughts into our mind and brain. Stress can’t disappear. Living in this challenging and modern world, we have all kinds of stress. The higher the expectation one sets, the higher the stress. All we can do to beat that is to manage our stress well. Keep them as low as possible.

As humans, we can’t stop ourselves from worrying about the outcome of things in our lives and people we love dearly or concerned about. However, we must train our minds to filter the things which we should be worried about and things we should discard from worrying. Things we have control over, do have deep thoughts about them then act upon them. Things that are beyond our control, let them go. I know it is easy said than done, but for yours and family’s sake, just let go. There is nothing you can do about it. If you stay still and worrying about them, you will be wasting your positive energy and have restless sleep. What would be the outcome thereafter? Who is going to suffer at the end? Love yourself and recognise that you can’t do everything by yourself. Learn to reject and say “No” to negative energy.

I have to constantly reminding Dad and Mom to move forward with positive thoughts, exercise daily, be with good friends and go for holidays. Thankfully, my parents have a group of friends who are most supportive and caring. They meet every morning for exercise around the beautiful lake garden and then having breakfast together. They even go on short holidays together! Awesome gentlemen and ladies!

As we get older, it is important to surround ourselves with a handful of good friends, have our own hobbies and have purpose in life so that we can enjoy our golden years in a more fulfilling way. As for adult children, they are living their own lives, making their own choices. Regardless if these choices are right or wrong, they are no longer the parents’ responsibility. Take good care of own health and live as freely as possible. Be happy! Enjoy life!!! These are my Wishes to my parents all the time. For them to live their lives for themselves. They have done more than enough for us children. It is our turn to make their lives better.

On recent admission, my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, staffs and paramedics of Hospital Taiping, Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, friends near and far, relatives, for their well wishes and prayers. We shall overcome it, one after another. Thank God for sending Angels our way.

Let us today vow to take care of our physical and mental well-being. God bless.

~ Alice N.

2nd Month on Glivec

IMG_3959.JPG Hope you like this picture. It is a beautiful lake back in my home town, Taiping, Perak, in West Malaysia. Each time I look at it, it brings me calmness and never fails to put a smile to my face.

I am supposed to update Dad’s journal on monthly basis but due to unusually tight work schedule and some family issues, I kept putting it off. Right this minute, I’m typing on my iPad mini, on the way downtown for lunch, with a few family members; continue typing as I sit here on a marble bench, at the mall, while waiting for others to join us.

That particular visit, towards end of August, was to see his Oncologist and to go for a CT Scan before the Doctor can determine whether Dad should continue with Glivec. The preparation prior to the CT Scan was the same as before. Having done it once before, we knew what to expect and do, with decreased anxiety. After the scan we met with the Oncologist. This round, the time taken for scan, results and finally doctor’s consultation was shorter too! It was indeed a great relief that we didn’t have to stay there for almost the whole day, unlike before. There were just so many people who were unwell…

The scan reports showed us that the lesions on the liver had reduced in size and number. The size of the tumour in his stomach had also reduced, measuring from 5cm to 4.2cm. Others remain unchanged. Side effects wise, last month, we noticed slight water retention around his left ankle and would be more so on both legs, when he sits for long hours. The second month, we noticed slight water retention around his eyes as well, resulting in mildly swollen lids, heavier on lower lids. As long as the swell does not become worse, the Doctor won’t be alarmed by it. I have read the experiences of fellow GISTers around the world, swollen lower legs and eyelids are some common side effects. Since what dad has been experiencing is somewhat mild, we shall just monitor them. All in all, the results are good. The good news brought us great relief, including our Doctor. Therefore, the Doctor was pleased to advise that we should continue with Glivec. Thank God! Thank you, Dr Mellor!

At the pharmacy, the medication collection was much smoother than the fist time since the hospital has our records already. Many thanks to Max Foundation for their continuous effort and dedication in giving hope to Cancer patients around the world. My family and I feel most grateful.

As for his diabetes, Dad’s “report card” has consistently produced good results, even his Endocrinologist was happy with his achievement. I am so proud of him! I know he will make the effort to be well. The insulin works very well and his Doctor has decided to reduce the dosage for him, and he is now only required to do self-test once in three days! His Doctor was very happy with his self-control. He was reminded to take supper before going to be so to maintain more stable blood sugar level while he sleeps. Thank you, Dr SP Chan!

The next visit to his Oncologist and Endocrinologist shall be in two months time. The next CT Scan to monitor the tumour shall be in four months time. We are good with that.

My heartfelt thanks to all my friends, near and far, Facebook friends (especially MMPKs), for their warm wishes and prayers. The power of prayer and optimism spread so wide and strong, that we can feel the warmth and calmness enveloping us. I can’t thank you all enough. We feel so blessed. And, thank God for giving us strength and patience to face these challenges.

For me, as usual, I shall take a day at a time and be grateful for little and great improvements that come my way. If there is none, I’d still count my blessings for the people around me, in my life, who have never stopped caring, loving, and being happy for me. Deep down, I know that life will only get better and better.

Alice N.