Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Bates Motel, Day #33 – A Choking I Go, Panacea In The Works?

Pain has now dropped from my scale of 12/10 with 10 being max to 8/10. I will continue to breathe…mind over matter๐Ÿ˜ค๐Ÿ˜คI can do it!!

Physio started and walking 120m plus sets of different exercises has winded me. I need Xrays to see if the darn screws are in place. I pray so!! May the universe give me continued strength.

Today’s 4.30am drama….I was choking as a result of extreme dry throat. Though I have Sjorgren’s Syndrome or “sicca” meaning “dry”….this episode was something I never experienced at its extremity.

To overcome, I had to bear pain from spine as I gasp and floundered like a fish out of water to breathe. I now feel how poor fishes when out of water feels. I learnt suffering in a new way.

Yesterday at peak of my pain scale & beyond, Piglet sent me a lovely box of of sunflowers, complete with get well balloon. To honor both her generosity and kindness, I have asked someone to bring these flowers to an Indian temple in seeking continued blessings and good health for both Piglet and I by Lord Ganesh as well as for all those seeking help for medical issues.

Piglet has her health challenges too and have undergone many many surgeries like me. I umderstand her as much as she understands my health issues.

I wish all health challenged persons to seek solace and comfort in cosmic or universal sources unknown to us and heal us all.

Below is home made muruku or Indian snacks from one of Bates Housekeeper. I love murukus.

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What Dr Bones Informed Me During My Visit Last Week

Dr Onco Surgeon had to postpone my appointment on 2 March 2022 as unfortunately her entire family was down with Covid-19. This was ironical as my last visit with her a month ago, she mentioned that the National Cancer Centre was safer than outside its doors as Covid-19 restrictions were strictly in place.

I received an email from her to say that her children brought Covid-19 home, which I can understand why the authorities here are encouraging eligible children that can be vaccinated, should be vaccinated.

I also spotted this pattern amongst my colleagues who caught it from their children.

So I popped by to see Dr Bones to review my wound. As usual he was very careful and told me that my wound was doing fine and that there was no obvious seroma in surrounding areas.

However, on the bone front, I told him how my bag of bones have been grumbling.

He pressed on my left shoulder and I yelped like a dog would, when pushed on a pain point. He had repaired my shoulder some years ago, I think in 2014 or 2015, whereby he removed a bone spur that was cutting my shoulder.

He said that I will probably need another MRI to find out what is causing me this new pain. Once he has a visual of what is going on inside, he can tell me if surgery or an injection will suffice.

At the same time, I will need an MRI on my spine to check why I am having more “rigor mortis” than usual. I use the term “rigor mortis” to describe the stiffness of my spine and to me, it is like that of a deceased person, stiff and hard to move limbs.

So, I need to be admitted again but I probably will do it after Omicron wave is peaked and subsided.

I need to see Dr Onco Surgeon on 16 March and figure out the pain in my chest area post surgery that does not go away. I often wonder if my heart is affected and if I need to see a cardiologist. Aah well, we shall see how it goes.

Story of my life……bummer! But at least I have the comfort of Garfield hugging me to sleep.

I could be worst, at least I survived cancer for now. I was rueing my good colleague who underwent a lung biopsy recently and was found to be having suspected lung cancer. He underwent surgery to remove a cancerous kidney in 2015 and despite surpassing the 5 year mark, he may not make it past the 7 year mark as the pet scans show a lot of white spots in his lungs.

My gut feel is that his cancer has spread or a new one arose. He is a smoker and I did tell him before to stop or quit smoking but he refused. I feel sorry for him. He has opted for retirement and I feel he knows that his timeline is up!

I pray for a miracle for him.

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When It Gets Busier

This week has been chokeful of events. But today tops the list as I was made to pose for a journalist photographer.

I am not drop dead Barbie nor a gorgeous babe and I usually do badly at being photographed.

The journalist photographer was really sweet and kind, a veteran at a leading local newspaper. He spotted my love for Garfield and spent time trying to incorporate my inanimate furball Garfield into the photo of me, with Mousie by Garfield’s side.

I told the journalist photographer that I am sure the Editor will not pick a photo of me with my inanimate furballs and he laughed, looked at me and said he is the “boss” of photos.

Still I feel that it may not happen as they might want a serious pose of me. I was told to pose for a serious picture too.

Gee…now I know why models or film stars comment that they get tired from photo shoots! I spent 2 hours posing and doing stuff that journalist photographer told me to do.

“Look left”

“Look higher”

“Look right”

“Look lower”

“Look at my fist”

“I am going for a close up”

“Smile more and relax”

The camera was superb in that I do not hear shutter clicks and the stills I saw in his digital camera looked good. I was amazed at how long the telescopic lens was.

Amazing how technology has improved over the years to yield such high performing cameras!

I was told the publication was slated for this coming Monday, 28 Feb 2022!

Famous? Nah!

Drama Queen? I hope not!

Will it help the readers? I hope so!

It was a fun day, tired but fun as the Journalist Photographer indulged in my love for my inanimate furballs haha!

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Gratefulness Defined By My Standards

As I struggle through life’s challenges, I am also a recipient of good friendships (physical face to face ones but with Covid times, it is virtual; WordPress readers; medical fraternity, insurers and just about everyone)

Today I did an interview with the National Eye Center to talk about Sjorgren’s Syndrome and how dry eyes affect me and my life. I told the lovely lady that when compared to the other 30 surgeries, with the last one being Cancer, dry eyes is not as bad. I have a funny way of putting things in context. I always seem to have a bigger fish to fry, if you know what I mean.

The interviewer left off by saying, I ought to write a book about my medical experiences and share with others. Funnily enough, she is the second person to suggest this to me, the first being my trusty friend, Mr Ability To Earn.

I am happy to publish a book about it, was my response, but it must be connected with insurers, a prominent medical institution or the local newspapers.

I know it is crazy to have undergone 30 surgeries up to now.

I have kept my lunacy in check, sanity and gumption prevailing each time, without letting up and ensuring I do not go bonkers as my end.

Some call it courage.

Others call it bravery.

I call it stupidity. It is my stupid way of coping with the illogical numbers of surgeries I have had to undergo. It did not make sense.

I searched the medical fraternity for answers and learnt that if they ever put me through tests or scans, chances are I will have a new ailment!

I also searched the metaphysical aspects for a solution. Zen, Buddhism, Lord Krishna, God etc.

Meditation does not work as my monkey mind is not tamed and it fires on all pistons to stray.

But what I do know is the kindness of 2 doctors; Drs Lim Yi Jia and Boey Wah Keong.

Dr Lim has gone way and beyond his calling as a surgeon for me. When I had wound issues from recent surgery, he told me matter of factly, “a wound is a wound, no matter where it is” – when I questioned him on being an orthopaedic surgeon.

He is thorough and pops in to see me many times in the ward and spends time to pray for me. He encourages me and always worry about my well being. Yes, I may pay a medical fee for his services through my insurers, but he need not be kind, compassionate or caring. Instead, he can be clinical and not bother about about texting me asking me how I am.

When he does not hear from me, he calls. This is true doctoring with a heart and I am so grateful for his kindness towards a problematic patient.

Dr Boey visited me in the ward too as a friend. He sat, discussed my wound issues, advised me and even asked me to sit, calm self and find out what it is I am supposed to do and perhaps end this karmic cycle.

In his Zen mind, there is always cause and effect and I have asked him, that I must have been an evil scientist of sorts in past lives and dissected many animals for science and hence in this life, I need to be sliced and diced too.

MR EX conveniently told me he was also going for surgery, although he would not say what sort of surgery other than exploratory as his so called condition may be “cancer or not cancer” – this was after I shared with him that I had cancer.

MR EX is like that. In all honesty, I feel he lied and that actually he has gone away on vacation and wanted to elicit my sympathy, despite my own cancer situation. This is not nice. If he genuinely cared or loved me in the past, I would have mattered. Ah well, good to know I saw through his colors and dumped him like a hot potato.

Each of us have struggles. Some financial, others for health and or relationships.

I am worried too that Yul Brynner and Eunuch would give me the boot from work for falling ill. But instead this morning, I got a call from Eunuch to say that they have decided to support me with letting me max out the legal 60 days of hospital leave, exhaust my annual leave and this will lead me to the last 1.5 months at 1/2 salary. Then on 1 July 2022, I can be back at work, fresh and well again.

Meanwhile, they will hire a manager on contract for one year to help me tide over this time.

Decent of my Lords is what I would say!

I am grateful.

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Day 2 – Bates Motel & About That Clock In My Hospital Room

Tonight is my second day at Bates Motel.

Dr Lim Yi Jia made sure things moved very quickly for me as removed my wound dressing and tut tutted away saying that the wound after 19 days will do better exposed.

He removed the steri strips that enclosed the wound and barked for iodine to be applied on parts of the wound that were not behaving.

He is confident that the leaky wound will dry out well with iodine under his eagle eye.

Meanwhile my hands, especially my left hand has ballooned and swelled.

Occupational therapist summoned, drugs ordered to lessen my swelling and Chef Allavi has ensured that I get my fave dishes.

Satay is a fave of mine
Chicken belado and french beans with mushrooms
Garfield’s fave lasagne with mushrooms
Side of button mushrooms that I love
Onion soup with baguette crouton
Samosas with aromatic mint yoghurt dip
Side of fruits

I learnt something new at Bates Motel. The clock on the wall of my room was slowing…it was 10 minutes slow. All it needed was a battery change but noooo, maintenance told me that the clock can only be placed back tomorrow as it needed to synchronise after 12 hours.

It then dawned on me that births or deaths required precise accuracy and the simple wall clock was not a simple wall clock like what I have at home.

Interesting nugget of new information for me and I realised the clock had no brand name.

The plot thickens….

A special clock indeed!

I am still alive….

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How I Ended 2021….

MR EX suddenly tried calling me. I had blocked him on my cell and each missed call was reflected in my register.

MR EX is also blocked on my Whats App.

I asked self how did we end up as such? The years of relationship or friendship or ‘what not ship” ended like this!

After seeing 3 missed calls over last 3 days, I unblocked him to ask why?

He is not nice as I told him I have cancer and just had major surgery and he had the audacity to say he is going for surgery on 5 January 22 when I said I was going to be re-admitted on 6 January 22.

This is typical of MR EX. He had to instil into me that if I was ill, so was he. He wanted my sympathy but refused to tell me his ailment! ๐Ÿ™„

Compassionate?

Empathetic?

Kind?

None of the above. He wanted to have a meal with me. I declined. Nothing good will come out of this, knowing MR EX.

On 31 December 21, my histopathology results were out. My oncologist surgeon told me that she had successfully excised all parts of the cancer and that the lymph nodes removed showed no spread. I do not need chemotherapy and radiotherapy I think!!๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž

This meant that my diagnosis was at Stage 0 but with nuclear grade 3 cancer cells. I understood this to be an aggressive cancer cell type.

As to if cancer will recur, it is anyone’s guess really. Que sera sera.

I will be going to Bates Motel to sort out the remaining post op issues. I was not at all happy at the Barn and need to have my drainage site and wounds rechecked and confirm if I need more surgery.

I guess this is a wake up call to me to be less stressed. Cancer thrives on stress and I have been under stress for a long time.

So MR EX is a no brainer to exclude and he is the first dispensable that I booted.

Meanwhile I had my booster shot. 7 more to get that pizza haha!

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Waiting For Results & Wound Healing

In medical science, 3% matters alot.

Dr Surgeon is 97% sure I am cancer free here on but she kept reminding me of the remaining 3% odds. Dang the odds, I’d say! Gimme a break!

At this stage did I beat cancer?

I am unsure. 97% does not mean alot when the odds always seem to get me, as if the upper deities want to continue their poke at me. Hmmm…they seem to enjoy giving me a hard time every time it is Ghost Festival and Christmas season! Bah as Scrooge would say.

Being in a common ward of 6, there is no privacy. My bed neighbor was told news that her cancer has metasized to lungs or if she has independent cancers in 2 locations.

She is fervent believer of God and has had the lump for years she shared but trusted God and not seek medical help. She is al anti covax vaccination, which is sad I told her as she needs all the help to stay safe. Hopefully she reconsiders her options and seek surgical intervention.

As for self, my histology results will be out in 2 weeks.

Now, it is dealing with a wound that sometimes behave irrationally and I hope it behaves so that I can heal.

Physically, emotionally and mentally – there is not much I can do. Nothomg to dispute, just have to suck it up.

Emotionally…friends and wordpress readers have kept me in prayers.

Many have asked me to start living for self. But it is hard when I have un-ending responsibilities.

Today I read in the news that AXA CEO aged 47 passed due to an aggressive form of cancer.

If Covid-19 could drive pharmaceuticals to derive vaccines in record time, why not a mega vaccine against all cancers?

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A Glimpse At The Barn

The medical facility I am incacerated in is what I call, The Barn.

It pales in comparison to Bates Motel but I managed to find warm hearted nurses. They try their best and for which, I am grateful. The Barn is a more than 150 year old facility and its antiquated buildings still stand as conservation of during the British Occupancy serving the Sepoy Lines.

Massive new buildings have sprouted around the lower buildings and these high rise are to cater to increasing Cancer, Heart and Community Care cases.

Nestled amongst trees, the Barn’s medical care is cookie cutter style. They do not treat anomalies and are at a loss to think creatively.

My White Coat is bothered as she now sees for herself, my wound breaking down.

Aahh well her nightmare now begins for me as post operation wound issues usually rears its ugliness. I got to fight this….

Meanwhile this is a sampling of my breakfast and lunch. Simple but edible and am not complaining.

Breakfast – antiquated choc swirl bread
Lunch
Dinner…for good behaviour I got an extra side of ginger pork.
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I Am Alive

Surgery went well in that no dramas that sent my surgical team scrambling.

Now I wait for histopathology results to see if I am cleared of all margins for cancer.

Last night was sleepless. Junior doc tossed me melatonin that did not work. Tonight Dr Surgeon will prescribe Stilnox one dose.

Dr Surgeon does not wish to overpromise outcomes and though she removed all lymph nodes, visually seeing no cancerous ones. But, she caveat it with a BUT.

I hate BUTs.

Tomorrow I can go home from the Barn. But I need to handle drainage tubes. And am all thumbs about it.

I miss Gaaaarrrfield. He is home with Mousie.

Thanks for your prayers and good wishes. I am plodding on.

Much thanks to Drs Lim Yi Jia, Prof Fong Kok Yong and Boey Wah Keong for supporting me from backend, guiding the Barn Team on how to manage me.

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7 Days & Counting To The Chopping Board

I am honest to say that I have no more emotions left to express self for surgery.

The description is “emotionally spent”

I remember in 2013, Dr Neuro, was called to my bedside at Bates Motel when my legs seized whilst I was in Brighton, UK.

He ordered an MRI of my entire spine and discovered my cervical discs and lumbar discs were not good.

Between the 2 evils, he said both surgeries needed but cervical was urgent in that if I suffered a slip or a whiplash, I would be an instant tetraplegic. I seemed to be in hot soup!

If I did not operate on my lumbar spine, I would end up paralysed waist down.

My sentiments exactly when told I require surgery each time!

I remember he cared so much about me that he pleaded with me to have surgery immediately. I did not know him then but I was warmed by his passion to care and worry about me.

I could not do it then and told him to give me 3 months to complete some tasks before I check into Bates Motel.

He made me wear a very dramatic collar – Aspen Collar to immobilise my neck and protect it.

I did a second opinion the same day he told me the bad news and that orthopaedic surgeon concurred.

I chose the Neurosurgeon over the Orthopaedic Surgeon and got to know Dr Neuro better as he later went on to operate on my lumbar 3 months later.

Lumbar surgery took some 16 hours.

I am resigned to fate.

Why am I blessed or cursed (*take your pick) with so many surgeries throughout my life span thus far?

17 December is my 29th surgery.

Like clockwork every Ghost Month ( July/Aug) and Christmas I seem to be diagnosed with a condition that requires surgery.

I have no explanation as to why?!

Perhaps the Gods are angry with me?

Perhaps my previous lives I was an assassin or murderer? Maybe I was a mad scientist that experimented on animals and this life I had to pay back?

Story Of My Life – It Sucked!

If I was so wicked, yet why do I have kind doctors at Bates, good people on wordpress that care, Neighbor that cooks for me without collecting cost from me or Boy helping me to get groceries.

Just what is the lesson that the heavenly realm is trying to teach me?

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