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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Goodbye Fwend

I feel defeated. This pandemic just doesn't know when it should stop. I've been feeling unwell the past few days because I overexerted myself (a.k.a. I mopped the floor). I was settling down to sleep when I chances upon a post. I thought it was just someone trying to be funny, but after some investigation I realized a good friend just passed away. 



It was so unexpected and felt like someone punched me. It was the same feeling I had when I lost Juned. 

Eugene was a colleague turned close friend when we were working for EYP. I was a young product manager then given the additional task to make sure EYP delivered revenue. Eug was one of the 15 people I hired to do sales. He was one of those who believed I could deliver the herculean task. With his support we cracked the code to generate revenue for EYP.


For many months we spent time saturating Intramuros and Malate. After work we'd unwind with the while team in Malate. It was always videoke night for us and that's how I got to know Eug more. We were complete opposites. He was funny, pilyo, easy going and chill. At that time everyone saw me as an ice queen, but Eug managed to see through it and that's how we became friends. We usually talked about our kids. The best support he gave me though was seeing me through a breakup. He absolutely hated my ex.


Through the years though it was hard to bring the gang together again. We kept in touch online and the last time we chatted was last year. He asked me why I was in the hospital again. We updated each other about our kids and reminisced about those times we spent in Malate. I told him I didn't have clotting issues back then because we regularly drank! 


Fwend, I didn't expect you'd be gone so soon. Thought we'd still have time to update each other about Hope, Miggy and my inaanak. Mahilig ka talaga manggulat noh? Rest in peace my friend, please say hi to all my loved ones up there.

#BeKind #StayHome

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Trying Something New

Our neighborhood continues to be eerily quiet. It's always been quiet, but I usually hear more planes pass by and schoolbuses dropping off kids (plus Miggy when he was younger). In the mornings, I'd hear Mang Jabar, our favorite taho vendor, shout out "Tahooooo!". There would also be the sound of horns from the manong who picks up trash for composting. There would also be sounds from the walis tingting sweeping front yards during early mornings. Of course, there was also the wake up call of chickens and dogs barking. 


The only sound I regularly hear now is the rustling of the bamboo leaves from our garden. Even the sound of sirens have lessened (which is a good indicator there are less emergencies). I guess my neighbors are all staying home and keeping safe just like us. Well, if you're interested to be my neighbor, the house in front of us is for sale (needs renovating though). Anyway, I noticed how quiet it was again when I watered the plants earlier. 

Speaking of plants, we decided to try something new -- hydrophonics! Sweetie successfully grew basil in water when we were in Singapore. We've been frustrated with buying lettuce lately. It's either not available in supermarkets or full of insects. It's ruining our healthy eating plans, so we thought we should grow some. After scouring Lazada and Shopee, I found a starter kit that seemed easy to follow. 


We started the process last Friday. Waited three days and opened the container where we put the rockwool with seeds. They sprouted! (Faster than the ones I planted in soil!). Woohoo! We transferred them last night and it's sitting nicely in the kitchen for now. We're hopeful it will provide us with lettuce and mustasa. If we're successful then maybe we'll add more kits so we can provide veggies for Mom too. 

Happy Tuesday everyone!

#BeKind #StayHome


Monday, January 17, 2022

Why It's Important to Get Tested

In early 2003, I had a debilitating illness. For many days I had very high fever, experienced chills and had muscle pains. Everything was just dark for me and the only people I would hear come in to check on me was a doctor and my Dad. 

The doctor advised not to bring me to a hospital because I might spread the virus. I heard her say, "Yan na yun." I had no idea what it was that afflicted me, but later on found out that my BIL who had just visited us from the US tested positive for SARS. 

My doctors in Singapore wanted to figure out what caused the scars in my lungs. They required me to list down everything my lungs have been through. There were two major incidents: (1) The strange illness in 2003, and (2) Pneumonia in 2008 which caused heart failure. They wanted to review the tests and previous xrays, but unfortunately everything was destroyed by Typhoon Ondoy. 

For both illnesses, I never found out what virus/bacteria caused it. Second opinion doctors who reviewed my case confirmed that the lung scars would have been caused by previous illnesses. My heart surgeon noted in his operation report that my lungs looked liked it had previous surgery already. I never had surgery prior to OHS. 


VQ scan, one of the many tests I went through.
The medtech said sorry and good luck to me when we finished the two day test.


I'm sharing this because I see some friends who posted on their timeline that they are afraid to get tested. They said that they'll just "definitely get it" from getting swabbed. Some just also assumed that they have it. Looking back at what I've been through, I wish I had known. I wish we were able to address the issues better. We could have prevented or reduced the lung scarring and the issues that developed many years after.

Get tested because it's better to know what you're up against. In late 2019, I was infected again by an unknown virus. It wasn't the coronavirus, but probably a different one according to my doctor. Two months after that I had another pulmonary embolism. My doctors did everything they could to make me well. For many months I experienced shortness of breath, fatigue and brain fog. I probably got it worse because I have an underlying heart condition. I am seeing friends post about experiencing the same thing. 

Get tested. Consult a doctor. Do exercises to prevent lung scarring. Don't just go "business as usual". You'll thank me 15 years from now.

If you're scared to go to a testing center, you can request for home service. I have a list of home service providers here.

*OHS - open heart surgery

#BeKind #StaySafe #GetTested

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Sunshine

Are you getting enough sunshine?

One thing I look forward to doing everyday is watering the plants. It's the time of the day where I get some sunshine. I usually try to do it around 4:30 in the afternoon when it's not too hot anymore. I've been doing this since we moved and noticed I'm not paper white anymore! Haha! 

Getting some sun back in 2017 at Nami Island, South Korea.


The sunshine has also helped me resolve my vitamin D deficiency. I was experiencing a lot of body pain and joint pain. A roller coaster ride of tests led me to a rheumatologist. He had to review whether I had an autoimmune disease. Luckily I don't, but he found out I was severely vitamin D deficient. I'm supposed to take 50,000 IU of vitamin D3 every week for four months. 

Two months in this was reduced to 25,000 since I showed symptoms of toxicity. I emailed my doctor in SG when this happened. Good thing he responded immediately and advised to reduce the dosage. My rheumatologist was the "last stop" I made to determine what caused my clots. He had a huge headache after going through all my files. He told me that he'd try his best to end the investigation. He also explained that sometimes there are just mysteries that never get resolved. 

Flexing my zipper* in Boracay, 2014.


By the time I had gone to the rheumatologist I had gone through many tests. I had also seen many other specialists. I had already accepted that my clotting issue would remain a mystery. I was not surprised anymore when the doctor told me I didn't have an autoimmune disease. I'm just grateful that my prescription was to take vitamins and get more sun! 

The sun provides us a lot of benefits and it's for free! The sun helps with vitamin D which contributes to better immunity. It also helps with your mental health because it's a mood booster. This is probably my Mom's secret. She gardens twice a day. That's probably how she's remained strong and permanently in a good mood. 

Thank you Papa God for always providing us with good sunshine everyday! :)

#BeKind #StayHome #StaySafe

*zipper - open heart surgery scar


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Budol Phails, the Funniest and Most Annoying

I've been home for more than two months now and I haven't physically visited a mall or grocery. I haven't eaten out and have not seen any of my favorite places. I've been purchasing all our needs online. Of course, nothing is perfect and even though I read reviews and buy from preferred local sellers I still encounter rotten eggs. I oftentimes don't dispute bad items if it's salvageable, but I do submit reviews for most of my purchases (mainly so I'd remember which ones are good). 

Definitely not plus sized.

Don't Buy Clothes Online Unless It's Branded

I recently encountered the worst seller. When I got the item I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I normally don't purchase clothing online since it's a miss more often than not. I needed to replace some of Miggy's clothes though and my attempts to buy via SM did not work out. It took me several days to find a shop to order. I ordered three plus sized shorts, but received 2 pairs of shorts that won't even fit me and a blouse. Whuttttt. The most annoying thing is Shopee rejected my refund, so now I have to report it to DTI. Well, I disputed it again last night so I'm giving them a day or two before I report to DTI. 

Bubblewrapped, but Warped

It's abhorrent how sellers go overboard with bubble wrap. I understand they're just making sure that the item doesn't get damaged. I've had to get help from Sweetie and Miggy to unwrap packages because of the crazy way sellers wrap items. The other day I ordered some pots and a seedling tray. The seller wrapped the tray around the pots. This caused the tray to warp. I'm still trying to straighten out the tray, but I don't think it's going to be useful. Good thing I only ordered one. 


Most are Mini

Usually sellers try to make items look bigger. I normally buy toilet paper from the supermarket, but thought I'd try to buy in bulk. I take pains to read product details and reviews, but should have known that most of those who submit reviews just do it for the coins. Anyway, so I ordered toilet paper and facial tissue and was surprised that they were tiny! Pang tiny home living ganern??? This also happened for some kitchen items. Eye-roll

Reality vs. Expectation


Wet

I ordered desiccant last month. I expected the whole package to be dry as a desert since that's what desiccants do. I was wrong. The items in the package were wet and after some investigation I found out that the desiccant was wet. It was sticky and caused my hands to itch. We threw out the desiccant since we thought it was unsafe to use. 

PII of Hospital Patients!

I've been ordering all of my garden needs online. I found this shop that sells nice terracotta clay pots. I've ordered twice from them. Since the pots are very heavy, Sweetie usually unboxes it for me. The pots were wrapped with filled-out health declaration forms and photocopies of IDs of patients from a hospital in Novaliches. This is really bad and I have sent info to the National Privacy Commission about it. 

The Forgetfuls

I have also encountered some sellers who fail to send all the items I ordered. This is usually the easiest to resolve and I've been able to get a refund for missing items. Just make sure to check the items before clicking "order received". 

I treat buying online as an adventure. The local landscape is very different from Singapore. My rule of thumb is, "You get what you pay for, so be forgiving." It's very hard though to determine which shops are reliable, but that's what the "preferred" stamp could help you with. I'm currently on a hiatus from purchasing items online to reduce interaction. Going to miss our friendly delivery riders for now. 

What budol phails have you encountered?

#BeKind #StayHome #StaySafe 


Friday, January 14, 2022

Breaking Routine to Attain a New Reality

I'm breaking the routine I have settled on this past week. I wake up, eat breakfast, drink my meds, check on the bell peppers, blog, prepare for lunch, water the plants then I settle in front of the sewing machine. I haven't been able to do anything else and realize I need to break the routine. I got so absorbed trying to finish the curtains I ended up setting aside all the other things I need to do. 

Settling in a routine is dangerous. If you stick to one too much it can stunt your growth. In my case, it left my other tasks in disarray. It's physically manifested with the mess I have behind my dining room chair, haha. I realized this last night and told myself I will break my routine today. 

Why is settling on a routine not good? Dr. Joe Dispenza who wrote "Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself" explained the science behind getting stuck in routines. He said that if you keep doing or acting the same way it puts your body in a stale state also. He proved this when he had an accident that left him paralyzed. He used his mind to heal his back. I'm probably not doing a good job explaining it, best to watch this video of Dr. Joe Dispenza -



"Your personality creates your personal reality" according to Dr. Joe Dispenza. So if you want to reach a goal or be something else then you have to create that future in your mind. Aside from working hard to reach a goal, you have to act like you have already reached that goal. 

Looking back when I was 17 and just had Miggy, Ate's HS classmate who went through the same thing told me that things would be so different in 10 years. Something clicked in my mind then and I imagined what we would be in 10 years. I created a future in my mind where I was in a stable job and Miggy was in school. I focused on that reality and what I painted in my mind did happen. 

And that's what I did last year when I was very, very sick. I knew part of the healing process required me to break my habits. It forced me to create a different reality. I wanted and needed to have my family physically together and I always dreamed of having a permanent home. It required a huge change for all of us, but because I kept working on creating that future in mind things just fell into place. 

So now that I have attained some of my goals, I have to work on my other goals. I have a picture in my mind where I'm able to bike around our village. I'm still hopeful and have faith that I could fully heal. 

#BeKind #StayHome 



Thursday, January 13, 2022

Wall Push-ups, My Fave Exercise

I have a number of friends who are infected right now. Some have been complaining that they still experience shortness of breath even after testing negative. It is not surprising since the virus is a respiratory illness. The bad thing about it is it can cause lasting lung damage (read more here).

My lungs were scarred when I had pneumonia in 2008. It was what caused me to have asthma and severe allergies. I worked hard to get over some of my allergy triggers -- chicken, Coca-cola, and chocolates (yes!). I just kept eating the 3 Cs until I rebuilt my immunity. Just can't live without chicken, Coke and chocolates! I never got over the fourth C -- cockroaches. Even just the smell of roaches trigger my asthma. My asthma attacks were always mild and I was able to manage it very well. 

Things got worse when I had pulmonary embolism in 2018. Cause is still unknown. I had a second attack a year ago. Do know that COVID-19 can cause PEs too, that's why it's important to have your lungs checked and monitored post infection. Experiencing shortness of breath may be an indication of lung damage, so make sure you have it checked. 

I think my second PE was caused by the viral infection I had in October 2019. My health declined after I had it. My doctors said it wasn't the coronavirus that caused it. Whatever it was it affected my lungs because I gasped for air. Two months after I had another PE. I lived through it because my respiratory doctor followed his instincts and ordered a CT scan. 


Living with lung damage isn't easy. What has helped me a lot is consistently doing wall-pushups everyday. I started with 3 at the hospital and slowly worked my way up. I do 3 reps of 10 now. I do deep breathing while doing it. So far it's helped expand my lungs, keep my arm pain at bay and it helps keep my core firm (no more back pain!). I integrated the exercise to my coffee routine so I don't forget.

I've been nagging my friends to do wall push-ups. I hope they do it since I believe it would help their lungs recover post infection. Of course, do check with your doctor first. :)

Be well everyone!

#BeKind #StayHome