#20. Simple Joys: Singapore being cooler because of all the trees and plants

It’s something we take for granted. The rest of Southeast Asia is much hotter due to the lack of trees, even though Singapore lies closer to the equator. We also have the advantage of being an island. The surrounding water helps.

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An Introvert Who Likes People

I am not a good conversationalist. I like it when friendly strangers speak to me, but I always feel like I respond in an awkward manner.

My partner tells me that I look approachable unlike him. I think I am still shy like I was as a child.

I don’t have the gift of the gab and I admire that in others. Especially if what they talk about is informative and expands my horizons in some way. It is why I love to read.

My favourite writers make the best companions. I absolutely loved Anthony Bourdain’s travel show. He’s after all a writer. I just love the way he speaks. How I wish I had a mind as sharp as his, and yet he always seemed kind and humble and just so genuine. What a loss.

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No More Masks on Trains or Buses

I was nervous when I heard the news that from Valentines Eve, no less, the rule to wear masks was being removed.

You’d think I should be jumping for joy. Back when the rule was imposed, old me would have thought so too.

Constantly hearing people coughing or sniffling has put me on high alert.

Now that 2 days have passed I like the freedom of wearing it when I want. To not worry about huge fines and fumbling for your mask at the bustop.

When the train cabins are empty I now relish the freedom of going mask free like how it was in early 2020 before this whole nightmare began.

Back then we could have hardly imagined the fear and uncertainty to come. And that it would last this annoyingly long. Hijack our lives and turn us into introverts with social anxiety. Well mostly me I guess, and children with their devices when they were even deprived of playing with their classmates.

There were so many laws being enforced. To keep people compliant there were reports in the news of people being arrested and jailed and those succumbing to the virus. Also there were some racist attacks, so that was scary.

It was a whole atmosphere of fear and it’s still there to some extent. It’s hard to completely shake off.

And there was a brief period during a trip to Perth when I first experienced the sweet freedom of going mask free, but there isn’t the human crush that we have here. I envied them so much.

But today I’m happy about where we are right now. And sometimes people hear can be nice like the young people who hold the door open for me or the elderly neighbour who says good morning. You give me hope.

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I’m Concerned About Injuries

I wish I could push myself to the extreme the way I did without worry in my twenties. That’s one of the hardest parts about aging. I used to walk long distances and swim countless laps in the University pool. I was also working at the time.

But now I have to be so cautious. My knees especially are not too good so even if my heart wants to, my body can’t. You can only go 70% perhaps and need to hold yourself back. And you learn from sprains and such that put you out of commission for a while.

I’ve definitely come a long way since chemo though. From a state of being bloated on steroids and muscle atrophy. The atrophy was so bad that I couldn’t even climb up a flight of stairs without help.

I’m hoping to just reach more of my potential.

Decided to just do mini posts whenever I feel like it. I like looking back on what I’ve written years on. It gives me perspective.

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I Hope I Can Keep this Up

Finally woke up early again and was able to do my morning walk.

Been feeling panicky lately, as I feel that with the psoriasis, it indicates that my immune system is not doing well. The steroids are not working and I have wounds on my trunk area that keep bleeding. Not a big deal, as I’m quite used to it by now. It’s like my new normal. But it would be sweet to not have my immune system attacking my healthy skin. I so miss my previously smooth unblemished skin that I took for granted.

I am determined to regain my health and keep the cancer at bay. (Although I know it doesn’t quite work like that, I want to do whatever I can) Some people say they wouldn’t trade the experience of having cancer as it’s like a gift that teaches you so much and crystallises what is truly important in life. I agree about that, but if given a choice, I’d rather not have been struck with cancer at all and the long term effects of surgery, chemo and radiation on my body. I’m so vain and I miss my old dark eyebrows.

Feeling healthier is also better for my mental state. Putting it out here to keep myself in check.

I have been successful with intermittent fasting, but it just helps me loose a little and mostly maintain my weight. But that could be also because I am not eating ‘diet’ food and just whatever I want, but less oily and fried foods. I like sandwiches with added greens best. So tasty.

I try my best not to eat past 6pm on most days. I feel so much better. No more reflux.

More than my own health, I want my mum and all my aunts and uncles to be healthy. Just praying for their wellness always.

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#19. Simple Joys: A Glimpse of Thaipusam and Devotees carrying Kavadis and Milk Pots

So glad my partner agreed to drive through Little India even with the traffic crunch. I really wanted a glimpse of the festivities. I truly respect the devotion of the devotees and was looking out for my cousin and her husband who may have been somewhere along the route.

Although I wish that live music drums and singing would be allowed. It wasn’t allowed during covid but even if it is now I did not hear it.

That’s what I recall from my childhood. Music, drums and singing. My dad always brought us to all the festivals. Thaipusam and the Chingay Parade were some of my childhood highlights. Travel (air travel) was too expensive in the 70’s, so we were entertained mostly in Singapore and with car rides to Malaysia. So festivities were something to appreciate.

Accidentally taken picture that focused on the raindrops. Sparkled like diamonds. I felt the light rain was blessing, bringing cool comfort to the devotees
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Finally Living Again in 2023 Post Covid

By living, I mean taking the bus and train more regularly as opposed to being stuck at home where you tend to be too sedentary.

I honestly prefer these modes of transport to a taxi or car if I’m not carrying too many heavy things. I feel like I have more freedom.

Especially when I’m on my own I can take my own sweet time and not worry about being late. I’m a stickler for punctuality, so yeah, it’s quite a freeing feeling.

Wish all the MRT cabins had bubblegum pink seats

A taxi, besides the cost, makes me feel more claustrophobic. I suffer from situational claustrophobia, but have found techniques to reign it in.

But of course if the weather is scorching and I’m eager to get to my destination and still feel fresh, I definitely appreciate the comfort and speed factor of a taxi.

I also enjoy not having to wear a mask at cafes and malls. I always carry one in case it’s too crowded and wearing one gives me psychological comfort.

I love sandwiches these days
The orange chocolate danish at Providore Wisma was lovely

Once you gain confidence, it’s fun to eat on your own. I’m far from independent, so it’s a good feeling. It gets easier especially if you keep going back to places where the service is warm and there are other patrons who are solo too.

Of course I enjoy the company of others, but I can’t always trouble them. I’m always afraid to impose or be a burden. So in theory, even though I miss people, I hardly try to arrange a meet up. Introvert tendencies and social anxiety come into play too.

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#18. Simple Joys: A Dragon Dance

Just when I was thinking my life is so humdrum, I heard a cacophony of cymbals and drums and headed towards it. I felt so uplifted and blessed to be perfectly on time for a dragon dance. And in my favourite festive colour too. Shocking pink.

Oh what skill this group displayed as the dragon came to life. I excepted a lion dance but to actually see it was a dragon dance seemed too good to be true.

I was just telling my partner a day ago, that dragon dances are so rare these days. I do see lion dances, but my three year old heart will always marvel at the dragon dance my father brought me to see. I recall an open field somewhere. The dragon was a pale pink and looked even more magical to tiny me.

And this is what I love about the Chinese New Year festive period in Singapore. It’s one festival that you can spot throughout the island, as it’s celebrated by the majority of folk here.

I belong to the Singaporean minority, but this festival is so much a part of my consciousness growing up. I also recall how my Papa brought me to watch the Chingay Parade with the vantage point from a high rise flat in Ang Mo Kio.

It was a much simpler time without entertainment devices like iPads or iPhones, so you can imagine how excited we were to catch any kind of performance or parade. Yes these aspects of the 70’s were truly rose tinted.

I’m not sure how accurate my memories are but these are the images my brain feeds me, for which I am thankful.

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Feel Like I Have Nothing Significant to Share Right Now

It is why I hardly write.

I only write when I feel the compulsion. It can’t really be forced especially with regards to matters of the heart.

Also I am now extremely self conscious about the oversharing I did shortly after the cancer diagnosis back in 2016. You see, I truly thought I wouldn’t make it from the grave looks on the faces surrounding me (including all the doctors.) The whispering around me and such.

I felt compelled to share certain things that anyone naturally would, when faced with the possibility that the end might be near.

I feel now like I dodged a bullet, been inexplicably rewarded with a miracle (I don’t deserve) and I’m embarrassed that I divulged certain private things.

The embarrassment stems from the fact that only some people responded. Others were naturally stunned. I don’t blame those who felt discomfort and were not certain or afraid regarding how to respond the right way, probably, but I am forever grateful for those who did. The silence made me feel horrible and ashamed (even though I should not be in the least.) Also made me wish I had not divulged said information.

Other cancer patients out there or those with a terminal illness, I’m sure you overshared as well and I just wanted to say it’s natural and you’re not alone.

And it’s not oversharing if the other party has experienced something similar and is able to relate. We just never know. And personally when someone shares something personal with me I appreciate it so much, because it means that they trust me. And that’s a huge thing in any relationship.

I’m so glad my partner always shares everything with me. Life is too short for superficial relationships where you might have known someone for years, but feel you hardly know them.

For those who trust me enough to openly share their stories, fears and their heart with me, I’m truly grateful. And if you tell me it’s a secret, rest assured that I am a vault.

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13 Days Into the New Year

This post will be all over the place as I cram thoughts about these several days into one post.

I’m getting used to the psoriosis. I also now realise that the daivobet steroid gel has worked after a month. Some spots are now smooth and not scaling any more but they leave a scar or mark due to inflammatory hyperpigmentation. My cousin, the pharmacist, says it will go away eventually. I always bug her for free advice. I appreciate that my uncle too recently texted me about Ayurvedic cures. He always cares.

The steroid gel doesn’t seem to have worked on my scalp, but I’m trying more intensely now. Hope it doesn’t cause further hair thinning and loss.

I saw the dermatologist finally for a follow up appointment. I really like her, like I do all four of my female doctors. Surgeon, oncologist, gynaecologist and dermatologist. They are all very good looking, compassionate and down to earth. My gynaecologist is my age but looks decades younger.

She says in some areas the condition is bad like my scalp but she’s reluctant to give me the usual treatment as I am a cancer patient. She says I need to get the go ahead from my oncologist. I just know my oncologist will not want to take on that. No one wants the responsibility if things go south. And also my condition is not that bad. For instance it’s not totally covering my body and I don’t have psoriatic arthritis yet. So I can count myself lucky.

It’s a bit scary that one of the drugs is actually used as chemotherapy for skin cancer and another for the prevention of organ transplant rejection. So I’ll just continue with the steroids for now although those can’t be used long term as they thin the skin.

I am excited for the youngest relatives in my life who are going on to the next levels in primary and secondary school. Always happy to see life going well for them. They are always the highlight of my days.

I will admit that even though I feel like an introvert due to my anxiety perhaps I am not. I think my introvert tendencies are due to life circumstances and not who I really am on the inside. I miss my twenties when I had so many deep and light conversations with colleagues and friends of all ages. I cared about their well being. I would protect them from bullying and they did the same for me. I’ll admit that I often feel lonely.

I am never bored though. I’m constantly wishing I didn’t require sleep so i could read all night. Loneliness and boredom are two separate things. There is too much to occupy oneself when you love to read, write and there are award winning tv shows and movies. Plus music of course and playing the piano. I feel blessed to have a piano and know how to read sheet music. It was worth the pain of piano lessons and exams even though I’m a mediocre player who only practices for 15 minutes a day.

I also love exploring and learning languages. Diving more into the English language itself and basic French. More the vocabulary, as the grammar is just too hard. My brain seems to be wired just for English. I get why many find English grammar infuriating especially if they didn’t acquire the language as a child.

I enjoy my solitude, but at the same time I feel blue and lonely. I do miss female conversations but those close to my age are on a different tangent with teenaged children and because they are so occupied with their children I feel like I don’t want to be a high maintainence friend and trouble them. My mum doesn’t have any friends but she never feels lonely. So maybe I’ll get to that point one day.

I wonder if I’m truly lonely or just devoid of conversion and shaped by the expectations of society and those headlines that bombard us about the importance of having friends.

It gets harder as you get older. I have thoughts of joining a class just for this purpose, but my comfort zone is holding me back. Well basically my social anxiety and fear of being judged. Just the thought makes my heart pound. Also I hate dressing up and actually love just being comfortable. I feel like when I’m dressed up it’s just not the real me. It’s also related to body image issues that I feel more comfortable covering up.

It’s my youngest cousin’s birthday today. Texting her made me feel less lonely today and I hope she has all her dreams fulfilled. Yet again I am so grateful for my extended family.

At the end of the day I am shocked to read that Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis, died of a heart attack at just age 54. Her son died of suicide so I truly think she had a broken heart. She’s only 2 years older than me. Truly sad to hear news like this.

How wonderful though, if somewhere, somehow, she is reunited with her beloved father and son.

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It’s Another New Year & I’m Feeling Hopeful

That’s exactly what I love about the start of the year. It gives me the possibility of renewal and hope.

It was lovely to wake up to sweet new year texts from my aunties uncle and partner. Texts of today are like letters of yesterday. They mean a lot to me. Truly made me feel happy and thankful.

Had a simple prata and tea meal with B and we walked around the supermarket. A simple peaceful day and I am just gonna relax and watch good tv shows.

My last movie in 2022 was The Matilda Musical on Netflix and especially the last song and dance number by the exceedingly talented group of children took my breath away. It’s called ´Revolting Children’ and I just adore how the insult ‘revolting’ was turned on it head. Just brilliant. I could rewatch that scene a countless number of times.

It’s always lovely to see the underdog win. And that’s my wish for all the down trodden in the coming year.

Never again will she get the best of me
Never again will she take away my freedom
And we won't forget the day we fought
For the right to be a little bit naughty
Never again will the chokey door slam
Never again will I be bullied, and
Never again will I doubt it when
My mummy says I'm a miracle
Never again
Never again will we live behind bars
Never again, now that we know
We are revolting children
Living in revolting times
We sing revolting songs
Using revolting rhymes
We'll be revolting children
'Til our revolting's done
And we'll have the Trunchbull vaulting
We're revolting
We are revolting children
Living in revolting times
We sing revolting songs
Using revolting rhymes
We'll be revolting children
'Til our revolting's done
And we'll have the Trunchbull vaulting
We're revolting
We'll become a screaming horde
Take out your hockey stick, and use it as a sword
Never again will we be ignored
We'll find out where the chalk is stored
And draw rude pictures on the board
It's not insulting
We're revolting
We can S-P-L how we like
If enough of us are wrong, wrong is right
Everyone, N-O-R-T-Y
'Cause we're a little bit naughty
You say we oughta stay inside the line
But if we disobey at the same time
There is nothing that the Trunchbull can do
She can take her hammer and S-H-U
You didn't think you could push us too far
But there's no going back now
We are R-E-V-O-L-T-I-N
We'll S-I-N-G
U-S-I-N-G (yeah)
We'll be R-E-V-O-L-T-I-N-G
It is 2-L-8-4-U
We are revolting
We are revolting children
Living in revolting times
We sing revolting songs
Using revolting rhymes
We'll be revolting children
'Til our revolting's done
It is 2-L-8-4-U
We are revolting children
Living in revolting times
We sing revolting songs (whoa)
Using revolting rhymes
We'll be revolting children
'Til our revolting's done
It is 2-L-8-4-U
We are revolting

May you be fulfilled and ‘a little bit naughty’. Let your inner child revolt.

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.
So they say, their subsequent fall was inevitable.
They never stood a chance; they were written that way -
Innocent victims of their story.
Like Romeo and Juliet,
'Twas written in the stars before they even met
That love and fate (and a touch of stupidity)
Would rob them of their hope of living happily.
The endings are often a little bit gory.
I wonder why they didn't just change their story.
We're told we have to do what we're told, but surely
Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty.
Just because you find that life's not fair, it
Doesn't mean that you just have to grin and bear it.
If you always take it on the chin and wear it,
Nothing will change.
Even if you're little you can do a lot, you
Mustn't let a little thing like 'little' stop you.
If you sit around and let them get on top, you
Might as well be saying you think that it's OK,
And that's not right.
Cinderella, in the cellar,
Didn't have to do much as far as I could tell.
Her Godmother was two thirds fairy.
Suddenly her lot was a lot less scary.
But what if you haven't got a fairy to fix it?
Sometimes you have to make a little bit of mischief.
[Repeat Chorus]
And if it's not right, you have to put it right.
In the slip of a bolt, there's a tiny revolt.
The seeds of a war in the creak of a floorboard.
A storm can begin with the flap of a wing.
The tiniest mite packs the mightiest sting.
Every day starts with the tick of a clock.
All escapes start with the click of a lock.
If you're stuck in your story and want to get out,
You don't have to cry; you don't have to shout.
'Cause if you're little, you can do a lot, you
Mustn't let a little thing like 'little' stop you.
If you sit around and let them get on top, you
Won't change a thing.
Just because you find that life's not fair, it
Doesn't mean that you just have to grin and bear it.
If you always take it on the chin and wear it,
You might as well be saying you think that it's OK.
And that's not right.
And if it's not right, you have to put it right.
But nobody else is gonna put it right for me.
Nobody but me is gonna change my story.
Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty.

Happy 2023 to all who come by my tiny humble blog home. Thank you. Hope you are blessed with wellness and renewal, plus all the things that comfort you.

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Psoriosis is Consuming Me

I know it’s tiresome to keep reading about this, but it is the bane of my existence right now.

I couldn’t sleep the whole night. Why? Well, after the bleeding incident, I tried not to touch my scalp psoriosis scales at all. It kinda backfired and my scalp was so numb the whole night. It feels like a giant hand is gripping tight on my scalp and trying to crush it. It’s even pulling my face muscles. Is this what Botox feels like? Well on the bright side perhaps it’s giving me a free face lift, but err no thanks. I can’t even move my scalp at all, it’s that tight.

What I tried today is to apply dermalin immediately after washing it. It’s very greasy (white petroleum jelly), but the scalp feels a bit less tight right now. Less of that awful pulling sensation.

Again I’m trying my best not to touch it no matter how much my brain is crying out for relief.

I have to endure it till my next appointment with the dermatologist in mid January. I hope I don’t loose more hair by then. Very fine baby hairs are coming off with the scales. It’s like a new plant that can’t grow due to the soil being too hard. Or something akin to that.

Oh yes, I also tried diluted apple cider vinegar a couple of days ago, but perhaps I left it on too long and it just left me with a burning sensation and I think made it worse. It does work for many psoriosis patients on the internet though.

I’m tracking my situation hoping one day it will spontaneously heal itself, and I can look upon this as something else that I recovered from. Remission does happen for some, just like in cancer. Or at least the flares subside and you get relief.

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Psoriosis Update: December 2022

Blood under my nails from half consciously peeling at my psoriosis plagued skin all night. Mostly my scalp and to my horror I feel a bald spot now. I’m doing this to myself and against my will.

My only goal for the day is not to scratch or pick at my excess skin. It’s absolute torture. A few days ago, overnight, a whole lot of red spots appeared on my neck and at this very moment it’s itching like crazy.

I’m writing to distract and refocus my mind. Not scratching makes it burn. Moisturisers help, but not much.

My condition is becoming severe. That makes me so stressed out and ironically stress exacerbates the condition. It’s terrible for my immune system.

In all people, as skin cells reproduce and move up toward the surface, they flatten out and form a thin layer of dead cells called the stratum corneum — the outermost layer of the skin — which has a protective function. For example, when bacteria and other organisms land on your skin and try to get inside your body, where they can cause infections, your skin sloughs off both the dead cells and foreign organisms as a defense mechanism. People with psoriasis have cells that reproduce much more rapidly than they should, so the outer layer of skin becomes especially thick, eventually forming a scale: a bunch of dead skin cells that formed so rapidly that they don’t slough off.

Source: Everyday Health

I’m looking forward to improving my health. Currently I’m just maintaining what I’ve achieved post cancer, but I so want to go further and not let the age factor hold me back. Of course I won’t push myself to the point of injury, but I most definitely have been way too sedentary. I need to achieve a better quality of sleep so that I don’t end up wasting my life sleeping such long hours just to get the minimum required rest.

One of the things that makes me feel better is mopping. I like a clean environment and getting this done makes me feel better just like making my bed does. I guess psoriosis is the opposite of clean, and in fact it disgusts me. I’m disgusting to myself although it’s just a natural protective function of the body gone haywire, just like cancer. I have to be thankful that it’s not contagious. That’s a win at least. Just me that has to put up with it although I feel sad that I must look terrible as well. Increasingly so each day.

Back to the neatness thing. I seriously hate clutter or mess as it disturbs my peace so I’m working towards a cleaner nearer environment. I understand the hoarding mentality but I just can’t fathom living in and enduring such an environment. It would wreak havoc on my mind. Dear Reader, are you like me? Thank you for coming by. I appreciate it more than you know.

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It’s So Easy to Fall Out of a Routine of Good Habits

I fell out of my routine since my last holiday. You see, my routine was very much a forced thing. I was waking up pre dawn, as early as 4.30am, even though I’m naturally a night owl, and going to bed really early at 9pm. I did it to clear my head and toxins out of my body with an early morning walk before all the speeding cars were out with the morning rush hour. It was a necessity for me during lockdown to stay sane. That was the compelling reason for me.

During the holiday to Australia, I let all discipline go and allowed myself to eat anything I want. The rational being, I may hardly get to travel here again, so live it up.

This was how the intermittent fasting part of my routine was gone too. I’m easily tempted, so when my sister ordered pizza at 9pm I could not….not eat it, even though I had zero hunger. My body felt terrible though. Resisting food is like torture to me especially when it’s right in front of me and I can smell it. My partner is able to though. I don’t even know how? His levels of discipline is out of this world.

These days with the Psoriosis, I’m waking up at an embarrassingly late hour. I’m up all night scratching, but to be fair it’s more because I’m going to bed far later too, thanks to my enticing iPhone apps like Tik Tok and Netflix being so alluring. But on the bright side I am escaping reality and relaxing for those moments in time.

I let my blogging routine go too. But one thing I didn’t let go of is playing the piano for 15 minutes a day when I get a chance. I’m attempting to memorise ‘Time in a Bottle’ and part of it is in the muscle memory of my hands now. That made me really happy because at least I made some progress.

Even if I’m failing at all other aspects of life. Yes I know I shouldn’t speak to myself this way. My sweet nieces would be very upset to hear it and they are wise beyond their years and very encouraging, so I always strive to be better for them.

There’s a fourteen year old who is very special to me too and I’ve seen him grow up since he was a cute chubby baby.

Always wishing the best for the children in my life. They are all blessings to me and I’m forever thankful to be called Aunty Shanti. I’m grateful that a teenager still wants to talk to this old aunty? I learn so many cool things from them. They keep me current and in touch with this new generation for sure.

Anyway age is truly a number and even if you’re in your nineties you can be the coolest. You just must be willing to always learn I guess and be open to new things. At the same time, you have all these invaluable experiences from the past that just can’t be recaptured.

For instance, like having no devices including no fridges, so that marketing was done daily and all your meals were cooked fresh. I love listening to stories of real life from the past. Imagine if I never got the chance to hear these stories. My life would definitely be flatter and dull. Stories adds dimension to our lives. It’s why TV and movies are so captivating. I mean the good ones, the ones considered art.

I have digressed as usual, but what I love the most about my routine is a chance to be with people I adore. I may not have many friends, but I am glad to have my people. The people I can be my real self with. I can feel relaxed and happy with. In real life and otherwise.

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Psoriosis November Update

It just keeps getting worse. Red rashes on my knees seem to have appeared overnight and I have red rashes all over my operation scars now. Encroaching onto my face too at the hairline and one on my forehead which makes me so sad and fearful. I wish I had zero vanity but I don’t. Aging is hard enough as it is.

The steroid gel daivobet doesn’t work on me. It actually made me break out in the chin area and get severely dry eyes.

So desperately I went to seek the help of of a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor. I have to consume these powders that honestly make me want to gag as they taste bitter like wood shavings. But I’ll try anything at this point. I’ll regret it if I don’t at least try.

The next stage with the dermatologist sounds very harsh and I’m not sure if she will be willing to give me that treatment. The drug is used in kidney transplant patients as well to prevent rejection of the organ so you can imagine what a serious drug it is. It is to suppress the immune system. Makes sense as my immune system is overreacting and attacking my healthy skin through the overproduction of skin cells. I would have to be very desperate to reach out to her for that treatment and I don’t think I’m at that stage yet. If I get more and more comments from strangers then I would, but currently I don’t, as most of the worst purplish silvery rashes are masked under clothing,

As usual I’m sharing this not for sympathy, but for other psoriosis and auto immune skin condition sufferers. I’m so grateful to people who post about this condition as embarrassing as it may be. I am not brave enough, like they are, to show the rashes yet. I just want to talk about the medications and what works or doesn’t so that collectively we gain more knowledge. And don’t keep at something if it doesn’t show results for most people as it’s all very expensive.

Lastly autoimmune is linked to stress so I need to find a therapist I’m comfortable with. I don’t foresee how I can reduce stress as I’ve done a lot on that front already that my life doesn’t look like what it used to. I’m basically not doing as much as I desire and taking it slow.

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Thankful for My Anxiety for One Reason

I never ever thought I’d actually be thankful for my anxiety. But there’s one reason. It confirms that I’m not a psychopath. If you can’t tell, I’ve been watching a lot of true crime. I’m fascinated by what would prompt a serial killer to do what they do as it’s unfathomable to me to inflict such pain of any degree on someone. The psychological aspect is beyond fascinating to me.

My problem is being overly concerned with what other people feel and having deep anxiety over it. I should be grateful as this is in the opposite end of the spectrum to a psychopath.

A psychopath has no empathy or anxiety over hurting people. They have no concern over people or societal norms.

I kinda envy the freedom of being a psychopath. I can’t even imagine not being concerned about what other people think or not caring how they feel. I am an overly concerned overthinker and perhaps I often misread signals. I hurt myself a lot this way and imaging worse case scenarios that I’m deeply disliked. And I just can’t shake it. My rational mind tries to tell me otherwise but my anxious mind can’t be convinced in the slightest.

I am certain it’s due to the trauma I endured as a child. Being on constant high alert for hours with no chance to let my guard down. It was part of my survival. But wow, what a liberating existence that would be.

Naturally anxious people or empaths, who are usually drained all the time with people pleasing and are constantly worried about how others may be feeling. I often wish I could just, not care, for just a day, but it’s impossible.

I would like to be the bully for a change. No, just kidding. That would be deplorable. I would never want to be that. Been on the receiving end countless times so I hope karma is real. Doesn’t seem to be, as bullies seem to go far and get rewarded by toxic capitalist societies.

Came across a Tik Tok by someone who was diagnosed as a sociopath and revealed how they would use people without any qualms. How they would mimick acceptable behaviour to fit in and get ahead at the workplace depending on who could get them ahead. It all sounds so draining, but sadly too familiar.

They went for jobs they are not qualified for and would get them. They would also do anything to get to the top. Looks like I’ve worked with quite a few sociopaths, as I’m sure, have you.

My anxiety was definitely nurtured as well due to trauma. I recall having anxiety as soon as I had to start kindergarten. It reached a peak with abuse (SA) as a preteen and teenager. So I often think perhaps a different path may have led to me being confident and having less anxiety. I often think about that and wish I could have a do-over, like in a computer game.

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Been Almost 7 Years Since that Cancer Diagnosis in 2016

My oncologist is so pleased every time I get a good tumour marker reading. She always tells me well done, although I honestly feel like I’ve done nothing.

I just lay there. Everyone else did everything. Well I did try not to crumble to pieces putting on a fake facade.

It’s all down to luck, chemo and radiation (although very harsh), her compassionate treatment and most of all, loads of love from my family members for which I am forever grateful. They honestly gave me a strong reason to live. I believe the mental strength my medical team and family gave me helped more than anything.

I was absolutely tickled at my last visit when I asked my oncologist truly what she thought of my prognosis and she said she didn’t have much hope when I had a recurrence a year after my first diagnosis. I found it hilarious. Finally she felt confident enough to state it point blank.

I’m so glad she was honest because during my treatment I know that she hesitated to tell me the worst. Patients always want to know everything. We can take it. It’s better than suspecting. It gives us back the control we have lost.

Something I already knew as statistics showed I had a 58% chance to survive the next 5 years and that dropped to 17% with the recurrence.

Many cancer folks like me love the dark humour of it all, because it just seems so taboo for those who don’t have it. Humour is the best stress reliever and coping mechanism by far and especially in a support group of like minded ladies around the world. Not only those with endometrial cancer but other cancers as well. It feels like we are all in it together and happy for the good results of our friends. Also devastated when we loose anyone in the group and have survivors’ guilt.

Aside from the guilt, beating the odds feels truly incredible. Miraculous even. Is this what they call radical remission? But usually radical remission term is reserved for those who do alternative treatments and I didn’t go that route as it is statistically highly risky.

I have been actively avoiding the annual full body CT Scan due to covid and the hospital situation being risky and yes also that fear. That ever present fear no matter how cocky I may sound with my fellow cancer folks. We have all the same fears.

There is a term – scanxiety. Often I want to be an ostrich with my head in the sand but soon I’ll have to go for the test that my oncologist had already booked sensing my reluctance. Well I guess only then will I feel the shackles truly loosen.

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Confused & Conflicted (Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder)

I don’t feel old, but I feel old in comparison to those under 30 especially.

Grateful to learn from them as they introduce me to a new world. New terms and new ways of looking at the world. A kind of self assurance that is so beautiful. That I wish I could embody as well.

I am enlightened by the body positive movement (that all bodies are worthy), but it seems that diet culture is something that is a no-no. I can certainly understand why. And it’s why I refrain from talking about it recently. Dieting that is. Even though I never stopped attempting it.

But then I think, I’m not being authentic to myself. I do want to feel physically better and sadly that means to eat healthier and dropping in weight. And I have no stamina to exercise so diet is just the easier option for me. Mostly intermittent fasting because I just can’t cut off foods that I love. I would crave them too much and end up bingeing.

How I wish I could just eat what I love and what makes me happy, but I can’t. I have crap metabolism and that’s a fact. If I was granted a wish, that is what I would wish for. Seriously, not even money. Oh the freedom of that just blows my mind. You see I use food to medicate. Or should I wish for a society that truly embraces all bodies or doesn’t judge you based on it?

I grew up in an era when not much offended, but its hard to navigate the current era without the fear of causing deep offence. I am so conflicted as I hated being fat shamed my whole life and that caused a lot of trauma and resulted in further depression and ironically binge eating and weight gain. This together with dropping 25kg in 8 months through excessive exercise (orthorexia) and essentially starvation. (Anorexia as food was like poison to me at that time). So I do love that younger marginalised folks like me are taking back the power. Refusing to suffer the same.

But you want to know the truth? I have been fat shamed for so many years and bombarded by images of skinny bodies that are placed in a favourable light that I can’t seem to change my own brainwashed mind that slimmer looks better. Beauty is an extremely subjective thing. Just look at when the no eyebrows plucked foreheads were attractive in the Elizabethan era. Or hardly any brows in the sixties compared to thick full brows in the current Kardashian era. Also different cultures value different features. We all don’t find the same celebrities attractive for instance. I don’t agree with many on People’s sexiest person list.

Well I do think that chubby can be rather pretty and chubbier faces definitely look younger. No need for any of those fillers or Botox.

I am definitely a work in progress and thankful that social media exists, because it’s keeps me current. It’s a less lonely existence when you can find like minded folks and the power of those who would otherwise be forgotten or trodden upon.

Just airing my thoughts as I usually do, considering that I haven’t done this in a while.

The most beautiful to me are those with the kindest hearts and humblest personalities and that just shines through.

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Curious about Natural Menopause

I wonder when I would have actually had menopause if not for the surgical one at 45. My friend at 52 hasn’t reached menopause yet. And my mum thinks she had menopause in her mid fifties.

Honestly I feel robbed of my youth. So my advise to the young ones out there is to always get checked out even if everyone thinks you’re being a hypochondriac. It’s your body and your life. Also don’t be afraid, as getting cancer is much worse. Yes, I know easier said than done. I still have fear. So who am I to give such demanding advice.

But I’m glad to be rid of periods. Have always had a hard time with them. I was either flooding due to physical or mental stress, had excruciating pain due to medications and so forth. Sometimes my period went on for months but the doctor said it was just an imbalance of hormones and I was put on the pill Diane35 for that. Later on there was a discovery that a mixture of estrogen and progesterone is not too good and this pill was withdrawn in certain countries. Many also don’t know that if you’re genetically prone to it the pill also increases the risk of blood clots.

Once the pain was so bad I wanted to just lay down on the floor in a mall. My pain was induced by the medication though and wouldn’t have occured otherwise. The pain during my periods was always tolerable so this was alarming. I also developed severe back pain and couldn’t even lift myself off the bed without assistance. The pain was from the contractions.

More women should be warned that painful periods are not that normal and there should be more regular tests for cancer and not just after age 60. This is the average age for endometrial cancer so it’s often overlooked in younger patients. Another ignored and vague symptom is chronic fatigue and with that, brain fog.

In a future world maybe women can be rid of these, and there are artificial wombs so no more period or labour pains. I’m certain that’s a possibility.

But I wish I did not have to loose the protection that comes with all those essential hormones. Cancer patients can’t get hormone replacement therapy (HRT), so that makes things a bit difficult. A friend of mine told me her friend who was in remission for seven years died of a recurrence after being placed on HRT. The doctor relented as she was having a hard time with early menopausal symptoms.

Well just decided I should write something about cancer awareness as I haven’t really been doing that lately.

Grateful to be in remission and hoping it never returns. I just need to find ways to reduce stress. As always I am keen to share what works. And I will never stop being grateful for fellow cancer patients online, who are the best mental and spiritual support.

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Have Not Been Writing

I don’t feel an urge to write when I feel I can’t be completely honest. It’s like – what’s the point?

In my entire life I have never lied other than doing it to spare someone’s feelings. Like an insecure classmate in junior college repeatedly asking me if she was pretty. Of course I said yes even though I didn’t think so. That’s the kind thing to do. But on the other hand, I wouldn’t tell someone they are beautiful if I didn’t really think they were. I mean when it’s unsolicited. So if I give you a compliment, I mean it. And for me inner beauty can’t be separated from the equation.

I’m very self conscious about what I put out there and feel like I’m expected to only be positive and see the silver lining and not ever complain, but honestly that’s far from what I actually feel. And the more this is expected of you, the less you are inclined to share.

If I’m sharing personal stuff with you, it means I trust you and it’s because you’re open with me as well. It’s a two way street, which is why I’ve let go of superficial relationships. Life is way too short for small talk.

And I’m good at keeping secrets. If you want me to be a vault? For sure. Is that the Scorpio in me? Well I do believe in loyalty.

Some may see me as oversharing, but that’s what a stage 3 cancer diagnosis and loss does to you. Every cancer survivor in my support group does exactly this, so I’m not alone. When you’re faced with not just mortality but a scary one, it immediately crystallises what matters in life.

I am wracked with anxiety and dramatise situations in my head constantly and berate myself for saying or doing something I deem as stupid. It might be totally negligible to anyone else, but I magnify it. Why did I do that or say that? I should have done this instead. What’s wrong with me. Is it my extreme fatigue and brain fog that leads me to making mistakes like this? Am I of low intelligence? Did all that anaesthesia and chemo affect my brain? Or was I just born with a low capacity and have been kidding myself that I’m any better?

I am painfully self aware and I am the first to know that I overanalyse everything. I so want to stop. It’s beyond exhausting. But even when I try, every insecurity appears in full force in my nightmares. There is no suppressing the subconscience.

Is that the mark of a writer? Or should I say curse?

Whatever it is, I’ll just use it.

Posted in Anxiety, Blogging & Writing, Cancer, Midlife Musings, Singapore Living | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thinking of My Uncle A Today & Wishing him All the Joy in the World

He looks way younger than his years and I have always admired how he works hard at being active. He has always been adventurous in his youth so perhaps it’s no surprise that he still has the stamina.

He has a lot more energy than me for sure, going on more than hour long walks. Age is truly just a number. And I often have this niggling feeling that perhaps time is not linear.

He has always been a doting indulgent dad, but you can just see the pure love in his eyes for his grandbabies. He would do anything for them in a heartbeat. I am sure they are aware of how they are adored. It’s a beautiful thing to see.

I’m thankful for what a great uncle he is (since I was born, he told me he used to feed me and push me on the swing when I couldn’t sleep) and all the family stories he’s shared with me. I do recall that he was always there in my early years at my grandmother’s house. A constant presence. And as we got older he never hesitated to help us whenever we called. Like that time we accidentally locked one of the doors in our home.

He’s so encouraging and supportive. I truly appreciate those kind text messages. When I’m feeling blue, they always lift my spirits. This is tremendous considering that his generation is not used to texting, as the technology only came by relatively recently for them. Considering that, he’s a very fast learner.

Just wanted to write a post to wish him good health and happiness. I’m always wishing that for him and when I see that he’s happy, I’m happy too.

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Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce

I have been obsessed by this song from 1973 lately. It has the perfect haunting melody, and most poignantly beautiful lyrics. Poetry in fact. In my opinion, pure genious.

I feel every single word and you will too, if you love someone, anyone, and often feel that life is tragic in its brevity.

And of course it makes me think they don’t make music like this anymore. Now it’s all about sex appeal, visuals, danceability, and not the pure ability to write songs, instrumentals and voice.

I just learnt through Wikipedia that the song writer and singer Jim Croce wrote this for his son when he heard his wife was pregnant in December 1970.

He did odd jobs like construction and welding to pay his bills as he pursued his musical career. Very tragically he died in a plane crash (due to pilot error) when he was just 30 and his son was just 2 and the song became a hit after his death.

His wife sold the rights to all his music for $5 million to a record company in the 80’s but now his music is worth a few million each year.

Time in a Bottle (lyrics)

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day 'til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you
If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure, and then
Again, I would spend them with you
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go through time with
If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory of how they were answered by you
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go through time with

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Jim Croce

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