Update On My Yearly Medical Exam

My yearly pap smear and gynaecological scan are now ticked off my 2021 to-do checklist. The pap smear report is clear. I have one less worry now.

All is quite well but my gynae saw a small fibroid growing in my uterus ūüėď. I actually had a hunch that there’s a fibroid growing. All the anxiety and stress thrown at me the past one year don’t auger well for my body. But my gynae didn’t look too concerned since the fibroid only measures 1.3 cm.

My first fibroid was detected even before Cass was conceived and it took about 10 years before it grew to a size of 8 cm resulting in a Laparoscopic Myomectomy performed 4 years ago. My gynae commented that most women go through menopause between the ages of 45 – 55 years old and by then, the fibroid may shrink. Hormones play a role in the growth of fibroids. I am 48 this year and I hope that menopause ain’t too far away.

My gynae then referred me to her dietician who gave me a list of what I can eat and should avoid. Looking at the list, I can only graze on organic greens with a little organic chicken and fish. No soy bean products, no caffeine (I can’t say NO to my coffee and matcha!!!), no red meat, no collagen, no processed foods and no beans and nuts as these foods are high in estrogen and progesterone. Well, I can still eat these foods but they must be eaten minimally. I have now switched to decaff coffee but still drink matcha.

But I think that if we can remove all stressors from our lives (ok, maybe 80%) and get 7-8 hours of sleep each day, our health will be better. I am pretty sure that the vicissitudes in my life the past 1 year are mainly the culprit in the growth of the fibroid as it wasn’t there during my scan in February last year. I have friends who are now in their late 70s who eat anything and everything they wish, don’t get enough sleep but they never have fibroid or cancer because they are naturally happy people. Genetics are partly to be blamed too – my mum is also prone to fibroid and benign breast cysts, speaking of which I still have benign breast cysts on both my breasts but again, my gynae is not too worried about them too.

The bottom line: I’ve said this many times. I have to learn to let go and not sweat over the small stuff. Learn to laugh and be happy every day. I’m now laughing a lot more everyday with Haru in our lives. She’s making us laugh with her antics every single day. I know she came into our lives for a reason.

Hubs finally got Haru a cage!

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Happy Monday – 3 July 2017

Today, being a Monday is surprisingly not a blue Monday at all for me. It’s the first day of school for the girls after a 10-day Hari Raya break. ¬†Though it drizzled in the morning and I could not exercise outdoor, I did 40 minutes of brisk-walking at the corridor of our condo lobby after sending the girls off to the van.

Since we still have half a loaf of award-winning bread from Wu Pao Chun Bakery, Taiwan given to us by the hubs’ Taiwanese aunty, I was thinking of making cheese on toast for Cass and myself. But the hubs called me out for brunch. So off I trotted to the coffee shop to meet hubs… and indulged in some sinful morsels – char koay teow with 2 duck’s eggs and nasi lemak.

Back home, the mil made a batch of almond meal banana choco chips and pecan muffins. I absolutely love them.  Guess this will be the last time we get to savor her bakes until a month or so later. She will be off to Hawaii in a few days.

The best thing that happened to me today is the shedding of the scab on my wound. This wound is the biggest of the 3 holes on my lower abdomen, where the laproscopic myomectomy surgery was performed on 29 May 2017. ¬†I’ve been waiting for this to happen for almost 6 weeks and finally the scab dropped off, PTL!

The picture on the left shows the wound on 28 June 2017, i.e. one month after the surgery. It was slightly inflamed, though there was no pus or discharge. It was itchy and the type of clothes / fabric that I wore affected the wound.  Clingy clothes and non-cotton fabric would aggravate the wound.  The position of this particular wound made it very susceptible to touches and  I got hit there by the little active rascal on a few occasions. On one occasion, I wore a very loose pair of skorts but the waist band (non-cotton) aggravated the wound and made it itch really badly for days.  Finally I snap a picture of the wound and Whatsapped it to my surgeon. She recommended an antibacterial cream, which I bought from a pharmacy and applied on it 3x a day. That got the problem fixed I guess, along with  lots of prayers. Did I tell you that I attended a  Supernatural Encounter with Guillermo Maldonado (Healing Rally) at the Kelana Jaya Stadium on Saturday night? I prayed fervently that this wound will heal and that the scab will shed.  And a day later, the scab dropped!  Some other healing is happening too and I shall blog about it much later. For today, I shall talk about myself.

The picture on the right shows the wound today, right after the scab dropped off. ¬†I feel really liberated today – finally free from the annoying thick crusted scab (consisting of sutures and skin) that’s been clinging on stubbornly to my skin and dresses for 5 weeks, causing it pain each time it got velcro-ed and pulled by my dresses. ¬†¬†I’ve been wearing loose dresses the past 5 weeks and now¬†I can’t wait to squeeze into my tight mini skirts and shorts again!

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Post Laproscopic Myomectomy Surgery

I got my period yesterday – 9 days after the laproscopic myomectomy surgery. ¬†My surgeon had warned me that the flow will be very heavy ¬†this time but subsequent periods will see a normal flow. ¬†Though my Aunt Flow is quite heavy this time, it pales in comparison with the periods I’ve had during my fibroid days. There are no ‘feels like dying’ abdomen cramps and no chunks of blood clots. Thank you God! I pray that period cramps, blood clots and super heavy flows will be behind me now.

I am still pretty much holed up at home, except for brief trips to the coffee shop for breakfast and supermarket to get groceries. I have been enamored with love from my papa, mum and mil with lots of TLC and yummiest home-cooked confinement-like dishes. I¬†am having such a cushy life now, with nice meals served to me and not having to do much of house chores. ¬†All these will come to an end soon when the mil goes to Hawaii early next month, for a whole month. That’s when I have to take over the kitchen and the girls’ meals everyday *gasp*

The typical meals that I would have each day ever since I was discharged from the hospital 9 days ago consist of rice wine chicken with ginger and wood ear fungus (I can never get bored of this confinement dish), mugwort omelette with ginger strips, boiled red dates + black dates + tong sum tonic, double boiled chicken essence (2-3 times a week), lots of meat and lots of green vegetables. Pretty much like confinement dishes. Each time I pour out the warm red dates tonic from a flask, it reminds me of my confinement days.

Chicken cooked with rice wine and ginger wine, ginger and wood ear fungus strips, fried fish, stir-fried red spinach and blanched ladies fingers.

Sauteed young lotus root with pulled pork, char siew and roast duck.

I didn’t touch any of the duck though as it’s considered a ‘tuk’ (poisonous) food for the Chinese and I don’t fancy eating duck anyway.

White bitter gourd omelette with homegrown basil leaves and fried fish.

Have you ever seen white bitter gourd? It looks like an albino bitter gourd to me¬†ūüėĀ.. but it tastes like the regular green ones. Bitter gourds / melons are superfood. They kill cancer cells, prevent gout, diabetes and have a whole lot more of health benefits.

Minced ginger (with skin) + sesame seed oil omelette and blanched ladies fingers with roast sesame seed dressing.

Steamed brinjal with fried garlic oil and soy sauce. This dish is SO easy to prepare and insanely addictive.

Onion omelette, sauteed siew yoke and roast chicken (leftover) with ginger, garlic, sugar, wine and soy sauce.

With SO MUCH ginger, wine and meat that I eat everyday with no exercise, I am surprised that I am not feeling heaty. Must be the Izumio that I am drinking that’s helping to cool down my body. The weather these days is crazy. I am sweating buckets everyday and need the ceiling fan and stand fan blowing at me at full blast and yet need at least 3 showers a day.¬†I don’t even need to cover my body with a blanket in an air conditioned room at night. ¬†Can’t wait to rest for another 2 weeks before I start swimming and running again!

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The Story Of My Laproscopic Myomectomy Surgery

Hey folks, I am back home since yesterday!

I am sure many of you have been waiting to hear my story. It’s a long one, but I’ll try to make it as brief as best as I can.

Monday, 30 May 2017
Today is the day of my laproscopic myomectomy surgery by contained power morcellation. My surgeon is Dr Tan Ee Ping. You can check with Mr Google on what this surgery is. The surgery is scheduled for 4 p.m.

In the morning, my parents came to the hospital to accompany me, followed by the hubs and our 3 girls at 2 p.m.  Hubs had to wait for Drama Queen to come back from school at 1 p.m.

Moments before I am wheeled to the OT. – all my loved ones by my side. When there was nothing else to say, everyone was glued to their electrical gadgets.

At 3:45 p.m., my entire family walked with me till the door of the OT. When everyone started kissing and patting me, I felt like it was their last goodbye to me. I was overwhelmed by emotions and cried. The nurse who pushed the bed consoled me “this is not your first time ma, you already went thru 3 c-sections. You’ll be OK la”

The anesthetist came in at 4:30 p.m. ¬†He first tried inserting the IV catheter on my left hand. He gave me a LA jab to numb the hand but that stinging jab was even more painful than the catheter itself! ¬†But when he found out that the line wasn’t smooth after flushing some saline into the catheter to test it, he had to try my right hand. ¬†Oh. My. Freaking. Gawd! Another round of torture. ¬†Thank God, the line on the right hand was A-OK. That were 4 torturous pokes on my hands. The most anxious time came when the anesthetist brought the tube of whitish liquid that was the GA. I felt something cold going into my right hand, then felt dizzy and closed my eyes….zzzzzz. ¬†I opened my eyes after I heard the anesthetist said “Shireen, surgery is over, wake up” ¬†

Cass and my younger brother, Roy walking around the waiting area while waiting for me to come out from the OT.

When I came to, I saw the time as 6:30 p.m. on the big wall clock and I was in the recuperating bay. I was shivering uncontrollably as usual (side effects of GA). My throat was terribly sore and I felt like there was a clump of phlegm stuck in my throat. ¬†The sore throat is caused by the oxygen tube inserted into my throat during the surgery. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel drowsy this time vs. the time I went in for an Ovarian Drilling laproscopic surgery to counter infertility in the year 2002. ¬†I was very alert this time. I used my tongue to check all my teeth to ensure that they weren’t damaged by the oxygen tube. I tested my memory to see if I had lost a part of my grey matter. All was well as I could remember everything before the surgery. Then I heard my super anxious and ‘kan cheong‘ papa outside the OT asking “mana Shireen” and the OT staff replying him “uncle, dia di sana, tengok”¬†ūüėĀ¬†He had barged into the OT recuperating area to check on me¬†ūüíė

My loved ones kept checking on the Operation Schedule on the TV in the waiting room to see when my surgery will be completed.

After I was wheeled back to the room, everyone was in good spirits and relieved. Mum kept urging me to rest and sleep but I was not drowsy or sleepy at all.  In fact, I have been having insomnia since the day of pre-admission right until I came home. Even at home last night, I was not sleepy nor tired and had trouble falling asleep. It must be all the Izumio that I have been pumping into my body, giving me all the energy and mental alertness.

The pain I have is very much similar to my very first C-Section delivery but with a lesser pain intensity. There is a cut in the uterus to remove the fibroid and a suture too. I had pretty heavy bleeding immediately after the surgery and Dr Tan ordered the nurse to give me an anti-bleeding jab.  The jab gave me an instant nauseous feeling and I managed to suppress the feeling with lots of essential peppermint oil that I had brought along with me.

My very first ‘meal’ post-op was a few sips of Izumio. ¬†About 2 hours later and with no nauseous feeling, I gulped down another packet of Izumio and a few sips of Milo.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Dr Tan came in to check on me at 10 a.m. today. She checked my wound and then told me that I could be discharged today! What, so soon?! I was totally stunned that she said that. Mum and dad wanted me to stay in the hospital for 1 more night to rest but I was reluctant and raring to be back to my home sweet home.

My girls surprised me with some gifts at the hospital when I was discharged. Cass had wanted to get me a stalk of flower since yesterday. Today, her dad ‘lent’ her some money to get me a stalk of daisy and some grapes from the gift shop at the hospital¬†ūüíóūüėć

I thought that I could sleep to my heart’s content at the hospital but it’s the exact opposite. I was insomniac and still am insomniac. Izumio is indeed my power drink!!

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The 3 holes on my abdomen, adding more scars to it.

I’d like to thank everyone ¬†who have prayed for me. Thank you to those who messaged me privately to wish me best of luck for the surgery and to check on me after the surgery. I am indeed blessed¬†ūüíď

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It’s Getting Real

Two more hours to go and I’ll be wheeled to the OT. As the time is approaching, my heart beats faster and faster! ¬†The rumblings of my tummy to retaliate hunger compound matters. I only had 3 slices of white bread with strawberry jam, 2 packets of Izumio and 1 cup of Milo at 6:30 a.m. this morning. No dinner for last night.

I am starting to have the familiar jitters I get each time I am wheeled to the OT. I have gone through this 4 times and this is my 5th time. The pre-surgery prep is all done, including an ECG this morning. The insertion of the IV line will be done at the OT itself this time.

I didn’t get to sleep well the entire night last night. After 2 dosages of Pico Salax oral bowel prep yesterday evening, I had to run to the bathroom every 2 hourly. By the time I was done with it and with all the washing, I couldn’t fall back into slumber again. It was really hard for me to fall asleep in the room with lights turned on and the moment I fell into a deep sleep, I was awoken by strong urges to evacuate. Plus the huge wall clock in my room ticks away pretty loudly too, which is annoying.

Please pray for me dearies and stay tuned for updates on the surgery. Hopefully I’ll be feeling well enough to sit up and type away right away! ūüôā

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Pre-Admission In Hospital – 28 May 2017

I was up at  5 a.m. on a Sunday  morning today.  I have been overwhelmed by anxiousness since yesterday as today is my pre-admission to the hospital for a laproscopic myomectomy surgery scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. The reason why I needed to be at the hospital so early is to do a blood test. Should the total blood count reading still be low, a blood transfusion would be required today.

I had a pleasant surprise when the blood test report shows that my total blood count (TBC) has climbed up to a reading of 12!  Yippeeeeeee!!  The TBC reading showed a reading of only 6 in January this year and I had only expected it to be at  7 or 8 now.  Praise the Lord for his blessing as a blood transfusion can now be averted!

I am now back home for several hours before having to report back at the ward at 4:30 p.m.  The pico salax (bowel prep medication) will be administered to me at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. today. I wonder why this time round a pico salax is to be administered and not an enema. During my 3 c-section births at the same hospital, enema was given.

Folks, I am requesting that you help pray for my surgery to be smooth sailing without any complication before, during and after the surgery. ¬†Please pray also that the biopsy will show a benign report. Thank you dearies¬†ūüíóūüėė

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Purple Flower, A Natural Anti-Oxidant & Remedy

I had promised earlier that I will blog about this ‘Phong Far’ (as the chinese call it in cantonese), a flower with purplish, greenish petals and tiny white flowers inside the bud. This flower has been known for a long time to be a natural anti-oxidant and remedy for various ailments and diseases. The leaves are pointy and long and also purplish and greenish in colour.

My late maternal grandma used to boil the flower with either pork or raw yellow sugar whenever my youngest brother had eczema decades ago. My mum is now drinking this purple flower water boiled with raw yellow sugar to treat her goitre and fibroids.

When I went for my pap-smear and annual medical check-up a few months ago, my gynae had detected a very tiny fibroid of apprx 1cm in size in my uterus when he did a trans-vaginal ultrasound scan. Naturally, I was alarmed and stunned. My gynae was however very blase about it and said I don’t need to take any action and said that fibroids are prevalent among women (1 in 5 women has it) and normally would not turn malignant.

Some time last year, when my mum went for her routine medical check-up, her gynae had also detected a fibroid in her uterus. My mum’s friends then advised her to boil ‘phong far’ with raw yellow sugar to shrink the cyst. Miraculously after months of consuming the ‘phong far’ water, the ultrasound scans showed that the cyst had vanished. My mum’s friends who had cysts in various parts of their internal body also drank this flower water and swear by the miraculous healing properties. One of my mum’s friend’s surgeon also recommended this flower water to his patients with cysts.
I plucked these flowers from a bush next to a playground near my house.

I add 1 tablespoon of raw yellow sugar to approximately 4 cups of water.

Put the flowers and yellow sugar into a pot of water and boil for approximately 1 hour.

Washing the flowers is quite a onerous task as I have to open up the petals of each flower and wash out the soil and dirt under running water. It takes me half an hour to wash 2 handfuls of flowers.

The ‘phong far’ drink. It has a sweet fragrant flowery taste.

I have been boiling ‘phong far’ with raw yellow sugar for myself, Alycia (for her eczema) and Sherilyn for her swollen lymph nodes for the last 2 months and have so far consumed it more than 20 times. Sherilyn has no problem drinking it, in fact she LOVES it. A few days ago, when I touched the lump below Sherilyn’s jaw, it had reduced in size and not so tender anymore.

* Disclaimer : this is not intended to be a medical advice*

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