Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Happy Cookie!

I'm happy cookie today. I think I'm back on track after the week-long horrid post-vaxx symptoms. I consider it as joyful pain since it means it worked for me! The cookie reference is because I was able to bake peanut butter cookies yesterday. I've wanted to bake some for Sweetie's colleagues since I heard they like it. 

I was exhausted after baking cookies and cooking chicken adobo. It's my happy memory for Monday. Woot! And today's happy memory is my last meeting with my counsellor. He told me it looks like I'm back to my old, strong self. Yay! 

I still have my worries and still get plagued with anxiety every so often, but I think I'm able to cope better now. I'll have a larger support group also when I go home. I'm happy I'm better now because I'm also able to help others like me in our patient groups. I hope I'll be able to start on my book project again soon. 

Recipe of the peanut butter cookies. 
I learned to make this from my Ate when I was a child. 

Getting to my current state was not easy. I tackled myself like a program I needed to manage. I basically dropped everything and just focused on myself. I stopped multi-tasking and just did tasks one thing at a time. I targeted improving one percent better from yesterday. 

And I finally managed to pull myself out of the black hole I got sucked in. My doctor explained it happens because when you get clots you get scared of it recurring. The fear stems from the possibility of you dying from it. 

What's important for me now is to continue the steps I'm taking to get better. I do my wall exercises everyday and now I can start biking again. I know I'll have to halt things again when I get my second dose. That's about 10 days away so I have time to get stronger. 

I also got to where I am now because of my amazing support system. For family and friends who stood by me especially when I would be weird and be MIA, thank you. I'll still probably curl up in a corner when I feel unwell, nothing to worry about I'll just probably be sleeping hehe. I consider getting better a miracle also and my bottomless gratitude to Papa God, Mama Mary, all the saints I nagged and my guardian angel. 

Onwards and upward! :D

CB////*Yr2/170 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/193 #NewG277 #Home36 #Xmas88 #StayHome #BeKind

*Massive pulmonary embolisms have 18% to 65% mortality rate (more info here)

Monday, September 27, 2021

Create More Happy Memories

Happy Monday everyone! It took me awhile to get out of bed today. I had another night of restless sleep, probably because of the coffee I had with my dinner. Sweetie came in to check on me and told me we needed to order food. I still lay in bed long after he went out. I guess I wasn't trying to find a reason to get out of bed. It was one of those days. 

I used to jump out of bed to take a shower and then go straight to work. Things drastically changed in the past few months. I usually get up because I have to eat and drink meds. What got me out of bed today is a realization that I should get up and create more happy memories. 

Yestersday, 1SE* asked me, "How could you have made your day better?" I interpreted it as, "How could you have made it happier?" My immediate goal for now is to re-build my energy and stamina post-vaxx so I could serve my family better. That's my love language and I feel incomplete when I'm forced to rest**. 

At this point in my life I realized I just want to be able to create more happy memories with my family and friends. We can't do a lot of activities right now, but there are ways to make more happy  memories. Me and the boys have an ongoing daily chat that's been running for a decade already. It continues to evolve and one of the things we do everyday is out-do each other with funny gifs. We've also been trying to make each other envious of our daily meals. Simple things like that make us feel we're together. 

So, how could you have made your day better? What new happy memories have you created?

*1SE - one second everyday

**Really had to follow the rest period post-vaxx to avoid myocarditis.

CB////*Yr2/169 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/192 #NewG278 #Home37 #Xmas89 #StayHome #BeKind

Sunday, September 26, 2021


Sometimes we forget to  breathe properly especially when you feel anxious. I have done many different combinations of deep breathing exercises. When I had severe shortness of breath post-PE* I started taking deep breaths several times a day. I imagined stretching my lungs to clear "cobwebs". Eventually I gained more stamina and was able to start with wall push-ups. 

Sweetie found my old incentive spirometer. I absolutely detested using it after OHS**. I kept it once I reached the quota my doctor gave me. Sweetie finally found it the other day. My cardiologist told me a few weeks ago I should work on reaching 1500ml. Cleaned up the spirometer and tried it out. I reached 2000ml! Woohoo! 

To show appreciation for looking out for me I sent a video of me reaching 2000ml to my doctor. It's a huge milestone for me! Doing deep breathing exercises has also helped me calm down when I feel anxious. Here's what I usually do - 

1. Deep breathing exercise while watching TV, 10 counts

2. Wall push-ups, 2 reps of 15

3. When I can't sleep I do the 4-7-4 breathing exercise, breathe in 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, exhale in 4 counts. Just 3-5 reps and I immediately conk out. 

4. Deep breathing while spinning on the exercise bike. This is something I'm experimenting on right now. 

5. Tiptoe wall exercise with deep breathing. I saw this on a video. They said it helps with better circulation and also reduces joint pain. 

One thing I haven't conquered is going up the stairs. I still experience a lot of SOB. My PT's tip is to inhale before exerting effort, so I inhale before I take a step and exhale as I head up. Getting the timing right can be challenging in the beginning, but you'll eventually get it with practice. Improving my stamina and conquering stairways is my next challenge for myself hrhr. 

Inhale, exhale. Have a happy Sunday everyone!

*PE - pulmonary embolism

**OHS - open heart surgery

CB///*Yr2/168 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/191 #NewG279 #Home38 #Xmas90 #StayHome #BeKind

Saturday, September 25, 2021

What I Miss Most

I dreamt of my nephews and nieces last night. We were, as usual, eating at a buffet. Whenever I get to see them we automatically head to a buffet. It's been awhile since I've seen them since they're located in different cities now. 

Oh how I miss my family and our food adventures. The kids though are all grown up now. Some have started their own families. I guess I was feeling a bit lonely last night because it's almost two years since I've seen family. 

It was a good thing I was able to have two family reunions before I headed back to Singapore last year. Got to meet my cousin's bf-now-fiance. My tita from Australia was also in town. I also got to meet my cousin's apo from the US. It was a great pre-pandemic good memories pabaon

I'm really so relieved that my doctor allowed me to get vaccinated. I was facing the possibility of living a hermit life and that thought was depressing. I experienced the usual symptoms post-vaxx, but that's okay at least now I'm protected. That also means we could probably have mini-reunions when things get better. 

And hopefully see my nephews and nieces again soon. 

CB///*Yr2/167 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/190 #NewG280 #Home39 #Xmas91 #StayHome #BeKind

Friday, September 24, 2021

One Percent Better than Yesterday

I'm happy to share that my oxygen saturation has been really good the past few weeks. I had a hard time breathing for many months after the second PE*. It feels like you're carrying a huge heavy backpack up a hill all the time. You huff and puff and have pain in your back/chest. 

Many patients who were very active prior to their clots feel frustrated when they realize that recovery takes so long. Each person is different so some may recover faster than others. My PEs compounded (PE 1 + PE 2 = disaster) so that led to other complications. I feel though I'm much better now compared to six months ago. 

My progress changed when I shifted my mindset from fast recovery goals to "at least one percent better than yesterday". I got so frustrated when I didn't improve at the rate I wanted. On the fourth month I gave up and changed my mindset after reading a reflection. 

From 3 wall push-ups in April, I can now do 30. I added five wall tiptoes in July, now I can do 20. I started using an exercise bike in May. I used to do just 4 reps of one minute on, one minute off, now I can do 20 minutes non-stop. Progress has also been slow since I have to stop exercise between procedures and the vaccination. My daily program has helped a lot with my breathing and I rarely have back pain now. I do the reps while preparing my coffee lol. That way I never forget to exercise haha. 

I'm also now using the same strategy in sorting our stuff. It's more manageable for me since I shouldn't do anything strenuous post procedures/vaxx. The moonshot strategy doesn't work for everything haha. I have been sharing this "mindset" to other patients in our group. Some of them were really active prior to their clots. Blood clots break a lot of people. It isn't easy to deal with, feel free to share this with friends who may be recovering from other illnesses. 

*PE - pulmonary embolism (blood clots in lungs)

CB///*Yr2/166 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/189 #NewG281 #Home40 #Xmas92 #StayHome #BeKind

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Delirious Dreams

I have been having delirious dreams of eating my favorite food from home. It's been 21 months since I've been home. The longest time I've been away. Sweetie said I should make a list of the things I want to eat once we get home. I've been thinking about it the past few days. That's the reason why I've been having crazy food dreams. 

I wish the hotel where we will quarantine will allow food delivery! Well if they don't allow it, I hope they'll serve good food. I hope they have silogs available for breakfast. That should tide me over until I could satisfy my cravings. 

Most of what I want to eat are my childhood favorites. I'm not into fancy food, I just like it yummy and homey. They bring happy memories of my dates with my Dad when I was a child, eating with friends and officemates, and bonding moments with my boys. So Sweetie, here's my top ten list!

Makati Supermart spaghetti with ripe mango shake please!

Dayrit's cheeseburger (and their chorizo to make yummy pasta)

Pancake House arroz ala cubana and their tacos

McDonald's spaghetti (yup I miss this!)

Shakey's pizza and mojos (OMG mojos!)

Racks ribs and the giant onion thingy

Sbarro's baked ziti

Baliwag chicken with lots of atsara

Barriatos barbecue

Don Henrico's buffalo wings (OMG!)

And from out of town -

Lachi's pork marinara (when can we go to Davao?)

Casa Moderna's palabok with lechon/liempo and the sponge cake

Calea chocolate cake (Anne promised to get me some)

I didn't list Jollibee, Gerry's Grill and Max's since we've been able to get it here, although their menu is a bit different so I'll include it in the list too. 

Let's keep this list a secret okay? Please do not send to my doctors hahaha. Nothing to worry about since my blood chem has always been normal! I'm allowed to eat anything. 

And once I have satisfied my tummy I'd like to explore the many new food offerings available. I'll probably start with what my neighbors are offering. I'm also saving up to try Marvin Agustin's cochinillo (maybe for Christmas?). In between all of this I'd like to learn how to prepare healthy dishes and I want to learn how to make dishes from my Dad and Mom's hometowns (Lucban and Bicol). 

Ahhh, yummy food is one of the things I look forward to when I get home :)

CB///*Yr2/165 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/188 #NewG282 #Home41 #Xmas93 #StayHome #BeKind  

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Break State

Anxiety plagues everyone one way or another. I thought I was good at managing it, but I eventually succumbed to it and got depressed. It's common for pulmonary embolism patients to have anxiety and PTSD. I see a lot of patients cry for help in our groups. It's really helpful to be with people who understand what you're going through. They can give advise and tips on what you can do to alleviate your issue. 

I've had to learn to identify if the symptoms I was experiencing was real or anxiety. Good thing my respiratory doctor was very patient with me. I saw him every week in the beginning of my illness. I eventually learned to differentiate and establish coping mechanisms. One nurse told me I've become a "professional patient" because I already know when to go to the hospital. LOL.

One of the patients in the group termed it beautifully - break state. She was sharing how she's been able to get back her life after all the challenges. Break state. Look up. Change perspective. Knowing when you are falling in the black hole is important. When you feel you are that's when you should move

It happens to me usually before I sleep. When my thoughts start going south I change my position. It breaks my thoughts because I have to shift my pillows around. I fall asleep faster now and I'm glad I've been able to keep my worries at bay. Instead of thinking about dark thoughts I've replaced it with longer praying time (expanded my allies to more saints and angels hehe). 

Coping with anxiety is hard. Getting sucked in by not-so good thoughts and worries can maim you from living your life. It's important to have a support group, but it's also key to learn how to cope by yourself. Break it by looking up, changing position or posture, doing something else and praying. Remove yourself from those paralyzing thoughts. I've been blogging everyday for almost two years now. It's helps me put things in proper perspective and I hope I'm able to help others also as I share my experience. 

Hope you are doing well my friend. Ping me if you need someone to talk with ;)

CB///*Yr2/164 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/187 #NewG283 #Home42 #Xmas94 #StayHome #BeKind