Thursday, June 17, 2021

How I Deal with Bad Days

Woke up with a piercing pain on my chest. I get this every so often so nothing to be alarmed about. Got up as usual and prepared my breakfast. I felt nauseous while in the kitchen. I just tell myself that I have days like this as part of my healing process. I should be okay tomorrow (have to be since I have to see my doctor). 

I used to get so stumped whenever I had bad days. Now I see it as a reminder for me to rest more. I still feel a bit woozy now, but it's starting to go away so thought I'd get some writing done. When I feel really dizzy I lie down. I usually doze off, but today I watched a film. 

How come it's so hard to choose a film to watch on Netflix? There's so many choices I can't make up my mind. I ended up choosing a Robin Williams movie, License to Wed. It's a 2010 romance comedy he did with Mandy Moore and John Krasinski. It was fun to watch, but I couldn't help but think about Robin Williams. He was a great actor, one of my favorites. He must have sacrificed himself a lot to make us happy and entertained. 

And that's why I think it's really important to respect bad days. Don't fight it. Just go with the flow. My symptoms now aren't as bad as it was a month ago. My spirit, mind and body are now working together to heal me. A huge part of being able to deal with illness has been all the prayers everyone has been doing for me. I am grateful and thankful to all my family and friends who continue to pray for me. 

Take a break friends, you need it. 

CB///*Yr2/68  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/95 #StayHome #BeKind 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

I LoveD Stress, It's Dangerous

I was looking out the window this afternoon and noticed a big black bird passing through. I think it's the same bird that flies by everyday. I've never been able to take a photo of it because it just appears suddenly as if on cue whenever I look outside. 

If you told me last year I'd be sitting on my couch just watching birds fly, I would not have believed you. I got my thrill at being busy. I was an energizer bunny on steroids. Even when I got sick I pushed hard to immediately get well. 

It was like a huge bucket of iced water hit me when I realized my body was having a huge disagreement with my mind. My spirit and body were at war with each other for six months. It was around April when I realized what my body was trying to tell me. I was living a toxic life.

You can love what you do, but it doesn't mean it's good for you. 

I should have heeded the symptoms - frequent nausea, lots of headaches, shortness of breath, palpitations, and stomach issues. My doctors had been warning me that stress would be bad for me. I thought I was doing okay. Work stress never really bothered me. I loved being busy and being able to help.

My Mom always told me, "Nasosobrahan ka na. Magpahinga ka naman." I would always shrug it off. It took three decades for me to realize what she meant. Now I'm turning into my Mom. I think I finally understand what it means to relax. I wake up, eat breakfast, drink my meds, work on my quilts while watching a film and exercise whenever I feel like it. No deadlines, no pressure, a stress free existence. The only thing I have to commit to is making it to my doctor appointments lol. 

Here's a short clip of Dr. Joe Dispenza talking about the danger of prolonged stress -

Si Aileen huwag tularan. Don't allow stress to rule your life. 

CB///*Yr2/67  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/94 #StayHome #BeKind 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021


I've been blogging continuously for 532 days now. I used to do this for 30 days in a year. It became an annual challenge last year because things got weird (aka pandemic). I thought it would be interesting to journal my life through this period. I didn't expect it would flow over to this year. 

Things have been the same lately. Can't really go out, not even to the park. I've been thinking of pausing everyday blogging so I could focus on working on my other writing project. But then it doesn't take me long to write these posts and it keeps my mind active. Maybe this is just me making an excuse to spend more time quilting haha. 

Oh, I read that Feedburner email sign-up service for blogs is going away. If you want to be updated about my posts you may also want to follow my FB page. I have also been posting more tutorials on my YouTube channel (subscribe!). I'm also crazy with pinning pins on Pinterest, follow me

I'll probably continue blogging because I want to use this medium to raise awareness for pulmonary embolism. I was misdiagnosed several times before the huge blood clot was found and sadly in our region it's not something that doctors naturally look for. I had to advocate for myself to get properly diagnosed. 

I'm so lucky my guardian angel looked after me and found me an amazing doctor. Take shortness of breath seriously (especially if you had COVID19, read here). Make sure it's not just asthma or anxiety.  

CB///*Yr2/66  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/93 #StayHome #BeKind 

Monday, June 14, 2021

Love, Love, Love

I woke up to good news today. My cousin got engaged! It's happy news amidst the pandemic. It was what I needed since I didn't have a good night's sleep. I'm so glad I had the chance to meet my future cousin-in-law in Manila. Ahhh, love truly makes the world better. 

One of my nephews also got engaged and will be tying the knot later this year. I have another cousin who's about to give birth. Happy news makes me feel so grateful that my family has been healthy and secure in the past year. 

The news made me realize that life goes on. We all have our challenges. It's just up to us how to adjust to the trials. We can't just sulk at home and wait for the pandemic to end. I expect it's going to be a long time before things go back to what it was before. I wish though I could be at the life-changing events of my family when it happens. 

Congratulations and best wishes Chris and Precious! 

CB///*Yr2/65  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/92 #StayHome #BeKind 

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Why Didn't I?

FB and Google Photos is making me miss traveling more. I see photos everyday reminding me about visiting different places. Most of my travels were business related. I had very little time to explore and I was always rushing back home to my family. I also always thought that I would come back for leisure with my family. Well, that's what I thought. 

Now that I've been grounded for more than a year, sometimes I ask myself why didn't I spend more time exploring when I had the chance. It was two things: (1) An insane discipline to strictly business when I traveled for work; and (2) My energy would be spent by end of the work day and I just wanted to rest at the hotel. Well I think it was more #1 because of my upbringing haha. After having PE I was also scared something would happen to me, so I stayed out of trouble. 

I guess sometimes I could be so practical. I only take calculated risks since I didn't want to worry my family. There were times when I really struggled to walk to the office especially in cold weather. How I wish my body was better when I had a chance to travel. It's a wish not a regret. I was able to face the challenges because God only gives us trials we can bear. I look back at my travel memories fondly. 

So even though I never got to explore, I always go home bearing gifts for my family and friends. I'd always visit a grocery wherever I go. In Sydney, I go to Coles and buy ingredients for fruitcake. In Tokyo, I buy ingredients to make tamago and ramen. In Taiwan, I always bought chorizo, tea and milk tea. I was so happy for the extra weight SQ provided haha. One thing I also always did was visit craft stores, Lincraft in Australia, Yuzawaya and Tomato in Tokyo and the amazing Yongle fabric market in Taipei. 

I guess energy isn't an issue when you're doing something out of love. Just do it so you don't die wondering why :')

CB///*Yr2/64  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/91 #StayHome #BeKind 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Freedom from Depression

I never thought I'd fall into it because I had my ways of coping. I also have a strong support system. I'm not sure when it actually started. I knew I had some anxiety, but I was always able to suck things in and face issues. My parents taught me to be strong and not give in to weird thoughts. 

I should have taken care of myself better by taking more breaks, resting and saying no in a firmer way. Needless to say the armor broke down and my body went bonkers. It was in early March when I felt I needed help. I would feel super anxious whenever I had to attend a meeting. I did not sleep well days leading up to the meeting. Aside from breathing issues, I felt horrendous mentally too. 

A friend recommended a doctor. I tried to book time with him after the PE was discovered in January. I did not push through with it because I thought I could still cope. By March I wasn't feeling good (brain fog is real) and I just felt unwell all the time. I called up the doctor's office and set an appointment. I also SOS'd to my long-time cardiologist for help since I wasn't getting better physically. 

Things started rolling by April. I saw the new doctor and recounted to him all that I've been through. I spoke with labored breathing. The doctor said what I feared most, I was going through depression. I guess I fit the checklist. I left his office thinking how I could get myself out of this hole. 

I saw my doctor again last week. It was our fourth session. He said my determination was noteworthy. He said I looked much better and was happy with my progress. He also admired the new quilted bag I made (haha). So I thought today I'd share what I did to slowly get out of the rut I got myself into.

Accept that you are in a rut - denial is an enemy. You just need to accept things to move forward. I had to accept that there were things I loved doing that were bad for me.

Understand why you're depressed - my issue probably stemmed from my medical issues. I also have PTSD which is common for PE patients.

Create an anchor on why you want to get out of it - I knew having a well mind would help me recover physically. I want to be well for my family. 

Target to be better at least 1% more than the day before - I stopped pressuring myself from recovering immediately. The pressure was digging me into a deeper hole. 

Get help - I was broken both mentally and physically that's why I SOS'd also to my cardiologist. I'm so grateful that my doctors are all committed to make me well. Also identify your support system. For me it's been my family and a couple of friends. I know who I can run to when I need someone to talk with. 

Do activities that will make you feel good - I slept and slept and slept. My body needed it to recover, but eventually I started to have more energy. I began doing more chores at home, started to quilt more, joined a writers retreat, re-started my garden and I started to exercise more. 

Get your endorphins working - I only exercised before when I went to see my physiotherapist. She left the country though and the gym and clinics were closed due to stricter measures. I had to push myself to take care of myself. I took it slowly and started with breathing exercises, then wall push-ups and lifting dumbbells. Now I follow the gentle exercises by Justin Agustin and we got an exercise bike. Whenever I feel down I just get on the bike and spin for 5 minutes. It immediately lifts my mood. 

Commit to get better - I used my anchor as my motivation. Whenever I feel down I do activities that will help my mood. 

I sleep better now and I feel I'm slowly getting my old happy self back. I think I'll graduate sooner than expected from my psych doctor. So grateful to my friend who referred him. 

CB///*Yr2/63  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/90 #StayHome #BeKind 


PTSD - post traumatic stress disorder  


Friday, June 11, 2021

Time to Watch Trese!

We've been looking forward to watching Trese on Netflix since it was announced in 2019. I remember seeing a placeholder on Netflix back in August 2019. I took a screenshot of it to send to Sweetie. I knew he'd be excited for his friend, Budjette Tan. And now it's finally available on Netflix. 

c2008 at Mangaholix

I've always been fascinated with Philippine mythology. Back when I was in college I used to write short stories featuring the amalanhig (vampires), tiktik and aswangs. I remember borrowing the book of Philippine mythological creatures from the library several times. It was fun to learn about the creatures and where they usually appear. I'd remember them at odd times especially when I'm travelling (haha, recounts here). 

I'll let the trailer of Trese talk more about what the movie is about. I think it's a great example to learn a bit more about Filipino culture. So if you're my friend from other cultures, please watch Trese (it's available in English and Japanese!). Let it be your weekend binge :D

Congratulations Budjette and Kajo! I wish there'd be more episodes! 

CB///*Yr2/62  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/89 #StayHome #BeKind 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Stephen's Will

Today I watched "The Theory of Everything". It's a film about the life of Stephen Hawking. He is one of the most known scientists in our time. He was only 21 years old when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. His doctors said they expected him to live only two more years. 

Stephen Hawking died at the age of 76. He lived a full life. Got married, had 3 children and even re-married. His book "A Brief History of Time" sold over 10 million books. He was able to do this even though he lived most of his life on a wheelchair, had to be dressed and fed, and had a machine to communicate. 

How did he do it? How was he still able to achieve so much despite the physical challenges?

I believe it was love that fueled Stephen Hawking's will to stay alive. At a brain injury conference he mentioned that his children helped him cope with his symptoms. In the film they showed him playing with his children even when he was wheelchair bound. The film also showed his wife, Jane, patiently taking care of him. That's true love. 

His love for science and his brilliant mind allowed him to achieve a lot. At the conference Stephen Hawking also shared that he realized that he would not allow his disability to keep him from achieving. That's what I call iron will.

So inspiring :)

CB///*Yr2/61  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/88 #StayHome #BeKind 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Nancy Drew!

I found a movie on Netflix that piqued my interest, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase. The reason why I wear eyeglasses is because I read a lot when I was young. I remember saving my allowance so I could buy books at National Bookstore. 

I think I was in fourth grade when I started reading Bobbsey Twins. I remember I'd read on the way to Lucena on the bus. We'd go there on weekends to visit my Dad. He was back then assigned there as a judge at a RTC. Eventually I discovered the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys hardbound books in our basement. We had more Hardy Boys books than Nancy Drew books and I enjoyed every single one of them. 

So I watched the movie while working on a quilt blanket this afternoon. I enjoyed the movie and it was interesting to see they had set it to present day. Now I'm curious to see if there are other Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys films. Maybe on HBO or Disney+? I've been thinking of signing up for it, maybe just for a month or two. Watching movies has been good company while I sew hehe. 

CB///*Yr2/60  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/87 #StayHome #BeKind 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Progress! One Day at a Time

I went out to see one of my doctors today. He said my determination is strong. I improved a lot in the past few weeks. The dosage of my medication was adjusted. It took awhile for my body to adjust to the new dosage, but I think it's working because I can breathe better now. 

I'm so grateful to all the doctors who are taking care of me. They each have their own expertise and experience, but they are all working collectively to get me better. One of the medications was causing acidity. It eventually started causing weird pain on my sides. 

Good thing another doctor saw this and gave me something to counter the issue. There were days I could barely move because of the pain. It's gone now and that's helped me be more mobile everyday. I'm now able to cook and wash dishes more often! Yay!

Taking things one day at a time for now. My previous medication caused me to gain so much weight. I lost almost 4 kilograms since April. I hope with more exercise I can lose more. This will help ease the burden on my heart. Now we just need to solve the mystery of where my clots are coming from. Fingers crossed!

CB///*Yr2/59  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/86 #StayHome #BeKind

Monday, June 7, 2021

Sleep Fast, Sleep Tight

I always have a hard time falling asleep. I only do when I'm properly tired. I say properly tired because when I'm too tired I also can't fall asleep. There are times I can't sleep because I'm anxious about something. Sometimes I'm too stimulated and my brain just keeps working. 

I've only tried taking sleeping pills once. It was prescribed by my doctor when I was having severe asthma attacks. I don't want to get dependent on medication so I've been trying other ways to fall asleep immediately. Here's a few things I do regularly -

Deep Breathing - breathe in 4 counts, hold for 8, breathe out 7 counts, repeat a couple of times. I read that this is a military technique they do to fall asleep immediately. Works for me everytime.

Meditation  - I have a former colleague who recommended Headspace to me. I used the trial and learned techniques to lull myself to sleep. My favorite is imagining I'm far away in the mountains, breathing in cool fresh air. Focusing on counting repeatedly from 1 to 10 gets me to sleep.

Essential Oils - a drop of lavander on your temples or nape relaxes me. If I feel anxious I super love Young Living's peace & calming roller blend. It's gotten me through a lot of rough times. 

Exercise - If you have a lot of pent up energy, the best thing to do is exercise a few hours before going to bed. My doctor advised to take a walk after dinner. This was really effective for me, but we aren't able to do this for now because of the weather. I've replaced this with our exercise bike. I go on it for a few minutes an hour or two before going to sleep. 

No Caffeine After 3pm - goes without saying. I've been sticking to water for most days and drink coffee with my breakfast. Sometimes though I still drink milk tea in the afternoon. I end up paying for it at night when I can't sleep. 

Don't Eat Heavy Dinner - I eat more lunch than dinner usually and don't eat at least two hours before bed (especially if you have gerd/acidity issues). 

Pray - I pray before I sleep and when I can't sleep yet I pray the rosary to keep my mind from wandering aimlessly.  

CB///*Yr2/58  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/85 #StayHome #BeKind

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Living the Housewife Life

I've always wanted to become a housewife secretly. Kuya laughed out loud when I told him this a few years ago. He said he can't imagine me being one. He said I'll go crazy with boredom. So he basically didn't take what I said seriously. After that conversation I thought, yeah, maybe not noh? 

I've been forced to rest the past couple of months. I've only started to feel like my old self in the last two weeks. Sweetie had been doing all the house chores. My energy has started to come back and I've been trying to do more things at home now. I've been able to wash dishes, cook and nudge Sweetie while he's working.

My Mom stopped working when I was born.  She was always busy running the household and she had her hands tied with parish activities too. I realized I'm kinda living that life now, but I've been very lucky because Sweetie's been taking care of me. Managing a household is hard. I'm lucky my boys are both very helpful and we each have our own assigned house chores. 

I'm focusing myself on recovering for now. That time to be a housewife will come, but I don't think I'll be your stereotypical kind. I'll probably be like my Mom and be busy with many different things. I told Sweetie the other day this must be a glimpse of what it is. I've been working since I graduated and was never bakante. Well, we'll see :)

CB///*Yr2/57  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/84 #StayHome #BeKind

Saturday, June 5, 2021

What is True for You Right Now?

I'm writing this blog post today as part of the writing retreat I joined. The retreat led by my friend, Marjorie Duterte, ended last week, but today is our practice day to free write. Our speaker today, Elaine Factor, shared with us a few things that cause writers block. The last point she gave was about writing from a place of truth.

"Beautiful words come from a place of truth." - Elaine Factor

My Kuya's other challenge for me is to write a book. He gave me this quest the same time he issued the financial freedom challenge. I started writing a memoir a few years ago with my colleagues. We wanted to share our journey scouting for Google. We already had an outline and I have a few pages of it written out. The project fizzled out because we all got busy with work and our lives. I eventually realized it wasn't the right time to write it since I was still working for Google. Perhaps I'll do it once I retire. 

When I joined the writing retreat I knew already what I wanted to write about. Completing the outline and introduction was easy for me. I started to write the second chapter, but hit a huge block. The chapter required me to go back to my painful past. I have moved on from it, but I guess there's still some residual pain from it in my heart. 

It is the truth that I have to accept that's been part of me since I was 17. I went on with my life and did what I had to do to survive. Kuya in his NLP sessions for me always tried to bring me back there so we could resolve it. It's probably what's been wreaking havoc also to my health. And that's the truth that I have to resolve and absolve so I could fully accept all the love that I have right now. 

I hope I'll be able to move on from this so I could continue writing my book. Healing from past trauma isn't easy, but with God's grace I hope to accept this truth. 

CB///*Yr2/56  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/83 #StayHome #BeKind

Friday, June 4, 2021

Second Chances

Earlier today I remembered a friend who passed away a few years ago. We had meaningful conversations when we had lunch. He told me before he passed, "live life" and "take risks". He also told me, "But you are alive, you should just enjoy what you have now." I had shared with him that I was always cautious about spending. I wanted to be always ready for my family. 

He was gone just a few months after he told me he was sick. I was alone when I went to his funeral. An elderly friend of his took care of me. He was a CEO of a huge company and shared with me his days when he had to work abroad. He was surprised to hear that I was living away from my family. He advised to keep my family together no matter the situation. 

I took to heart the advise and after a few months my family was complete. We lived, took risks, traveled and did things together as one unit. We were happy to be together. I remembered my friend and my friend's CEO friend today because it dawned on me that I am on my nth chance at living. I survived so many harrowing illnesses and I'm blessed to be still around. 

I shared that to a friend this morning because I am grateful for help to put me on the recovery path. It's not just a second chance at life for me. It's the nth chance (I seriously lost count already) and as my friend, Claro, told me, "... you are alive, you should just enjoy what you have now." Yes, my dear friend, I promise I won't bungle up this chance again. I'll make sure to use this time for my family and whatever God's next mission is for me. 

CB///*Yr2/55  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/82 #StayHome #BeKind

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Steps I've Taken to Be Financially Free

Two months ago I wrote about my Kuya's challenge for me to be financially free before I turn 50. I started by understanding my monthly and annual expenses. One key advise of financial advisers is to understand what you're getting into. I read articles and watched a lot of videos. I also attended the Truly Rich Club workshop on understanding the stock market.

There are so many financial products out in the market. My Mom was a banker so her expertise was more on growing your money through savings. So I broke down my research into three: (1) financial products I could do through a bank; (2) investments (stocks); and (3) real estate. 

To be honest for many years I let my Mom manage my money. I would just deposit my savings and she'd take care of moving it to a time deposit. I decided to take over my accounts when I took a break so Mom didn't have to stress about it. After assessing my savings situation I inquired from the bank how I could earn more interest from my savings. 

Regular and time deposit savings don't really earn much interest. In fact, I learned if you leave your money just on savings you'll eventually lose money. The first thing the bank asked me was my appetite for risk and how long I could keep the money. Here's a list of options they gave me:

  • Insurance
  • Unit investment trust funds
  • Bonds
  • Treasury bills

I wanted something which could provide me cash every month so getting more insurance wasn't the best option for me. Bit wary about the current state of affairs back home so I'm still assessing whether bonds and treasury bills will be a good investment. So far the UITF is the best option for me. 

I learned a bit about stocks when I was taking my MBA. I just needed more guidance about what to invest on. I signed up for the Truly Rich Club a few years ago and finally attended a workshop on the stock market. It gave me a better understanding on what I'm getting into, plus they give advise on where to invest every few weeks. 

I started investing last March and I'm happy to share that one of my investments gave a dividend already (like PhP100+ only haha). It was small, but encouraging. The important thing about investing in the stock market is to assess your appetite for risk. It's also better if you do it for long term investing. TRC is hosting another stock market workshop on June 19. If you want to sign up as a member, here's my affiliate link and here's my 10% off coupon code - TRC101727AFF- if you just want to join the seminar.

I'm hoping that the interest from bank investment can provide my monthly needs. I'm so far just a third covered for my projected monthly expenses. Will be working on this quest more. I'll write more about real estate on another post since there's a lot of stuff about that I'm still studying right now. 

Hope this helps you as you work towards financial freedom!

PS Just also wanted to say I'm so grateful I have a Kuya who's been providing me guidance. I thought it would be great to share the stuff I learned from him (like the quest to be financially free). 

CB///*Yr2/54  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/81 #StayHome #BeKind

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Wake Up Those Muscles!

Whew! I just finished today's workout. I signed up for the "Absolute Beginner Gentle Course" of Justin Agustin. The course is supposed to slowly wake up your sleeping muscles. I asked my physiotherapist to take a look at the course before I signed up. She said I should go for it and just remember not to go over 5 when it comes to breathing. 

I have been doing wall push-ups everyday since April. I think it's helped my breathing a lot and I haven't had asthma for awhile now. Yay! I hope the course I signed up for will help me advance in a month or two. I'm on my own now since my PT has left the country. I'm grateful she's still keeping in touch and have been asking how I am. I'm using that as motivation to improve. I signed up for the full course at $49. I think it's sulit* since I spend at least SG$50 for taxi weekly when I used to have PT sessions.  

Since gyms are closed for now we decided to invest on an exercise bike. It finally arrived last Sunday and I've been ramping up also on spinning time. I did 3 reps last night and it didn't take me long to fall asleep. Whew! I hope to be consistent with this daily workout. Being cooped up at home is really bad for you and I miss walking around the park. Better to be safe for now and stay home. There's a lot of options anyway to move around more. 

If you want to check out the Justin Agustin course I first saw his workouts on Pinterest. I think he also has Tiktok (which I don't use). Keep moving!

*Sulit - good value for money

CB///*Yr2/53  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/80 #StayHome #BeKind

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Jumping Jolly June!

Happy first of June and happy Pride Month everyone!

Five months of 2021 has passed! Wow! It went by a little slower for me since I've just focused on getting well. I focused on surviving during the first quarter of the year. I didn't expect to have another PE*. My breathing started to improve only in April. 

Now that I could breathe a bit better I focused the second quarter on improving my stamina and energy. I finally achieved 5k steps again on April 30 when we went to the Star Wars Identities exhibit. I had to work on my step count again post-cardiac cath, but I think I'm better now compared to a month ago. 

This month I want to graduate from gentle exercises to something a bit more advanced. I found an old photo of Sweetie carrying me in Bohol. It's from a decade ago when we were younger and had better bodies (haha). For now I just want to be able to jump again! And maybe go up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing. I also hope this will be the month we finally solve the mystery of where my PEs are coming from. 

I woke up this morning energized and excited to meet a new doctor. I had to postpone the appointment again because I felt nauseous after taking a shower. Boo! I still have days that don't go on as planned so I just play it by ear everyday. The nausea went away after a nap and got better after I ate a banana. I still hope I can do some spinning later to start my 30-day daily exercise challenge. Join me! Yes?

Praying for a jumping, jolly June!

CB///*Yr2/52  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/79 #StayHome #BeKind

*PE - pulmonary embolism

Monday, May 31, 2021

A Grateful Month of May

The month of May was relatively uneventful for me. It was timely I had cardiac catheterization on Star Wars day (May 4). It was that week that policies were made stricter because of growing clusters. My doctor said it was good timing also because they didn't know if procedures would be delayed. They got a memo the day after to delay all non-urgent procedures. 

I'm grateful for this month because Sweetie was able to stay home to care for me. The procedure went well. I just couldn't walk properly for a few days, but the wound healed properly. It took me awhile to adjust to the new medicine dosage. I would pray everytime I drank meds. I feel the rest and adjusted medication is finally working. I'm happy that I'm now able to do more activities at home. 

I also completed a writers retreat. It ran for 5 weekends. I was hesitant to join at first because I wasn't sure if I'd hold up. I did! And I'm very happy I got a nudge to join the workshop. I finally started the challenge Kuya gave me a few years ago. I hope I could finish it this year. With the support of family and new friends I hope I'll finish the project. 

June is coming up in a few minutes! I hope it will be a jolly month since it's a huge birthday month for my family! 

CB///*Yr2/51  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/78 #StayHome #BeKind

Sunday, May 30, 2021

May Challenge Completed!

I challenged myself this month to level-up my sewing skills. Majority of my projects have been sewn by hand. Sweetie got me a sewing machine, but I only use it for a small part of my projects. I pushed myself to learn more by taking on an advanced project - a quilted tote bag. 

Hand sewing is therapeutic for me so I combined embroidery and hand quilting. It took me ten days to finish the project. I discovered a few things about myself while making the project:

One - I really can't draw! My friends thought I was trying to draw an oversized avocado. I was in fact trying to draw a pair of scissors. LOL. 

Two - Tastas is life when something isn't up to par. Learned this from my Mom. 

Three - Still can learn new things. I've always been wary of using the sewing machine. I just needed a little push. 

Of course, I made a how-to video. Here it is -

More details on how to make this bag on my sewing blog.

For the month of June I plan to finish the Harry Potter blanket. I need to finish it before my scheduled cardiac catheterization! (My doctors are hell-bent on fixing me!). 

Happy Sunday everyone!

CB///*Yr2/50  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/77 #StayHome #BeKind

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Pruning Hurts

I saw a video the other day of a woman pruning a tall bush in her garden. She had to use a ladder to reach the top and she used an electric trimmer to do the job. What she didn't know was she angered the snake that was living in the bush. The snake bit her hand. She took a step back when she saw the snake and promptly fell off the ladder. Luckily a neighbor heard her cry and rescued her. 

The snake bit her so fast. She felt the pain, but she only reacted when she saw the snake looking at her. I can't help but relate what happened to her to my experience. Sometimes we just go on and on with our life. We miss signals when we're supposed to take another direction. We stubbornly stay in our comfort zone, even when things get harder. 

They always say, look to your left and right before crossing a street. It's also suggested that you use a stick when walking through a forest or cogon land. If the woman looked through the bush or wiggled it with a stick, then maybe the snake would've been alerted and could've ran away before she started trimming. Much like our life, if we assess things often and ask for guidance from Him, then we could avoid being bitten when it's time for pruning. 

I related to the video because I went through a difficult patch earlier this week. While doing a project I had to look back at my painful past. I have moved on from it, but it's something I rarely think about now. Of course this triggered the pain from recent events. I had a hard time sleeping and I had bad dreams. I was only able to calm down after I prayed. I remembered that I have to trust that God is navigating me to the right direction.  

Pruning time hurts, but you can look forward to a more beautiful life to blossom after. 

Photo of me by Ralph Sarmiento. 

Mr. Snake from Singapore Zoo. 

CB///*Yr2/49  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/76 #StayHome #BeKind

Friday, May 28, 2021

Brownie Fail

I finally got around to baking the box of brownies that's been sitting on the counter for awhile now. It looked perfectly okay, but something was terribly off taste-wise. I'm not sure if the mix spoiled while waiting to be baked or it must've been the oil. Oh well, so no brownies for us tonight. Boo. 

I'm happy though I had enough energy to bake today. Earlier this week I spent two days just sleeping. I play things by ear and do activities based on how I'm doing. Yesterday I was able to do some mat exercises and I made some progress with my quilt project. Yaaas! 

Happy weekend everyone! Just keep going!

CB///*Yr2/48  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/75 #StayHome #BeKind

Thursday, May 27, 2021

I'll Never Get Bored

When I was a child I didn't really like having birthday parties. I was always apprehensive about mingling. I remember peering through the window to see who arrived for my seventh birthday. My Mom had to push me out to welcome the arrival of my classmates. We continued to have those parties until I turned 13 and then they let me do what I wanted after that. 

I rarely had playdates because I was perfectly happy being alone. My favorite toys were Lego and Barbie. During summer my Mom would teach me different crafts. She taught me how to make Christmas cards which I sold during the parish fiesta. Then I learned how to make pincushions which I sold to my neighbor Titas. Then I learned how to quilt, make straw bags, and crochet. It was my Mama Lola who taught me how to use a sewing machine (on her vintage Singer sewing machine). 

Remnant from my pincushion production days (c.1987?). I still use it.

I just watched Janice de Belen's vlog featuring her craft room. I had one before in our old place. I couldn't help but laugh when she said she has this compulsion to buy everything she needs before she makes something. Yup, I think it's an addiction of crafter to buy so many materials. I used to have a shelf full of beads. It's now with my Mom and kept in Daddy's old tshirt cabinet. Now I have boxes of fabric and the collection is growing. And the other day I may have accidentally bought a boatload of buttons. Hahaha. 

I'll never get bored. Between chores, exercising, writing, reading and working on crafts there's just so much to do. I can't imagine now how I used to fit in work across all of that. 

Are you doing what makes you happy?

CB///*Yr2/47  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/74 #StayHome #BeKind

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

How I Forgave Myself from Slowing-Down

Conquered Borobudur Temple
3 months after OHS.
I'm used to being busy. I take pride in being very productive everyday. It made me very happy when I'm able to tick off a lot of my daily tasks. I'd be deliriously happy when I'm also able to work on my hobbies after work. I was an Energizer bunny on steroids. 

My health though forced me to slow down. It brought me a lot of anxiety. It was the guilt from being unproductive. I'm lucky I have a friend who kept reminding me that it wasn't my fault I was sick. He said I should focus on getting well and I shouldn't feel guilty about it. 

I felt I was letting everyone down. That's what ate me up day in, day out. I used to be able to work before even when I was sick. I even flew to Rome after being diagnosed with a huge blood clot in my lungs. I was bleeding like crazy, but I pushed on. My will was very strong. Looking back though, I shouldn't have done that. 

It took me five months before I realized why I had to slow down. It was God's way of re-directing me. He's been trying to do it for a couple of years already, but I've been stubborn. I finally accepted that this is a time for me to heal and do nothing else. When my heart and mind opened to the re-direction my breathing and stamina started to improve. 

Sometimes we get so stubborn and try to stick to what we're used to. We forget that we're here for a higher purpose. Just sit back, relax and let Him navigate your path. All will be alright. 

CB///*Yr2/46  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/73 #StayHome #BeKind

*OHS - open heart surgery

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Making May Marvelous

At the beginning of the month I told myself I was going to make May marvelous! I started the month by joining a writers retreat. I was quite anxious about it since I was iffy about making it through. We had weekly homework to get our project started. I'm surprised I was able to do the challenges considering there are days when I have to completely rest. I'm inspired to continue and pray I will finish what I started. 

The writer's retreat was a huge step for me. My health has kept me from doing much so I keep to myself mostly. The other thing that I focused on this month is my stamina. I make sure to do my exercises everyday and I'm working to increase what I can do. At least I'm a bit more useful now at home compared to last month. 

Also working on a quilt project. I had to set aside the Harry Potter quilt blanket for now. It's so heavy! That's one of the reasons why I've been working on strengthening my arms. I just received today my fabric order from Spotlight. I'm excited to work on my other projects. 

I continue to blog everyday to keep my mind busy. It helps me focus and has been my way to track my progress. I had to drastically adjust my lifestyle since I need to cope with what my body can do for now. I rest when I need to and that's okay. 

CB///*Yr2/45  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/72 #StayHome #BeKind

Monday, May 24, 2021

Moody Monday

I was looking forward to spending time on my quilt project today, but alas I felt nauseous. It still happens because of the medication so I was forced to rest. I knew I should have planted seeds yesterday since it was a beautiful day. 

Happy Monday everyone, hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. 

CB///*Yr2/44  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/71 #StayHome #BeKind 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Lung Strengthening Exercises

It's a beautiful day today here in Singapore. The sky is clear, the air quality is good. It would have been a good day to go to the park. It's Sunday so it would probably be a bit crowded. The number of cases confirmed every day has been pretty constant. It's really concerning because now cases are showing up on our side of the island. So we stay home.

I had cardiac catheterization early this month to find out the cause of my SOB*. It was a blessing in disguise because it forced us to stay home for two weeks. I usually drop by a store after seeing my doctor to buy fruits, but my mobility was limited because of the wound. It's been home-doctor-home for me the last few weeks. If not for the procedure we would've likely been exposed. 

My favorite physiotherapist has gone back to her country. I've been on my own since she left. I think rehabilitation is really important especially if you had lung illness (i.e. pulmonary embolism, pneumonia or COVID19). My PT helped improve my breathing even though I originally went to her to fix my back issues. Before she left she explained that I should strengthen my shoulders also because it supports my lungs. So here are the daily exercises I do to strengthen my lungs:

Wall push-ups (see this vid)

Band pull aparts, sitting down and pull apart band with your arm bent 

Arm exercises with a dumbbell (something like this)

Stationary bike, 1 minute on, 1 minute off, 5 reps (hope we get our stationary bike delivered soon!)

If you're out of shape just do first what you can manage and work your way up. I started doing wall push-ups after my PE** was diagnosed in January and I started with just 3 push-ups per day. Now I do 15 in the morning and 10 in the evening. It's been a very slow recovery, but at least I can do some house chores now like wash dishes and cook 1-2 times a week. I still have a long way to go, but I make sure I move around at home since we can't really go out for now. 

Of course, check with your doctor if you should be doing these exercises :)

CB///*Yr2/43  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/70 #StayHome #BeKind 

*SOB - shortness of breath

**PE - pulmonary embolism

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Moving from a Space of Fear to Love

I got curious after watching the trailer of "The Me You Can't See". A friend said he cried when he watched what Lady Gaga went through. I don't have access to the film so I watched a few videos and read a couple of articles. I was so surprised with what Lady Gaga went through. It never crossed my mind that she went through that kind of horror. 

An article from FoxNews quoted Lady Gaga who said, "For a couple years, I was not the same girl," she said. "The way that I feel when I feel pain was how I felt after I was raped. I’ve had so many MRIs and scans where they don’t find nothing. But your body remembers."

I thought about the line, "I've had so many MRIs and scans where they don't find nothing. But your body remembers." It's been three years since the first blood clot in lungs was discovered. Despite many CT scans, MRIs, venogram, angiogram, catheterization etc. the cause has not been found. I have several doctors now putting their heads together trying to figure out what's causing my clots.

It was very timely that our speaker at writing class today spoke about moving from a space of fear to love. You basically cannot create something out of nothing. I remember the days leading up to getting hospitalized. I was so nauseous, dazed, unwell. I tried to fight it because I was chasing after deadlines. Eventually I ran out of fuel. I tried to use the fumes to fight back. I just got worse.

Our other speaker today also said, "Your body is a manifestation of what's happening in your environment." I was broken. It took me months to realize that God was navigating me to another path. I needed to save myself from myself. I only started to improve when I realized I was functioning out of fear*, not love. 

I've just let things be and I have faith that in time I will be healed. At least now I feel I've began to refill my love tank. I've started creating again and I think that's what is important for me at this point. 

Do all things with great love.

CB///*Yr2/42  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/69 #StayHome #BeKind 

*One of my doctors pointed out that stress can cause your blood to coagulate. (Read more here). The funny thing is whenever I'm back home I never get sick. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

The Nostalgia of Old Photos

I was supposed to head out today to get something from the hospital. Heaven opened up and poured out a gazillion drops of rain. It's almost zero visibility outside. It would be nice to just head back to bed and take a nap. I would do that but I woke up at noon! 

I have so many photos. I used to store them on CDs and it took me a few weeks to transfer them to an external hard drive. I've been working on putting them on the cloud the past few months. It's a tedious process and I've just started on 2009. Good luck to me. 

It brings me so much joy to go through old photos. Sometimes I feel I was warped into another world when I moved to Singapore. I ended up focusing on work and fun times were few and fleeting. I'm so glad I

took a lot of photos. It showed I had a full and vibrant life before I had to change. 

And that's the reason why I'm going through the painful process of organizing all my photos. I know there will come a time my memory would start dwindling away. I used photos to keep my Dad connected when he became very sick. I loved to see him smile when he saw old photos. I should probably make a new photobook for my Mom. I'm sure she'll love it. 

Once I'm done with uploading my photos, the second phase would be to scan all old print photos. I'm guessing this is going to be another decade-long project haha. 

CB///*Yr2/41  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/68 #StayHome #BeKind 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Am I Getting Vaccinated?

Sweetie got his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination today. Hooray! He's so far okay. He said his arm just feels a bit heavy. To prepare for this day I had him check several things with his doctors. They have a family history of DVT and he had knee surgery two years ago. I'm glad his doctors checked if it was safe for him to get vaccinated. 

As for me, my doctors are still on the fence about me getting vaccinated. I had to pulmonary embolisms (blood clots in the lungs) and the cause is still unknown. They have been trying to figure it out since 2018 and we have no clear answers yet. I thought the tests I did in the past few weeks would solve the mystery, but not just yet. 

Since my anatomy is so different I've been reading a lot about how the vaccine affects people who have issues similar to me. Two issues I come across often is clotting and anaphylaxis. I have asthma and it's oftentimes triggered by allergies (bad AQI and some types of food). So it's just really complicated for me now. 

I've just been staying home. I only go out when I have an appointment with my doctor. I'm experiencing cabin fever already since I've had to stay home even before the stricter measures were rolled out. It's been a good thing because I've been able to avoid hotspots. So it's up in the air for me now until my doctors figure things out. 

If you have a loved one with medical issues, be sure to check first with their doctor if they should get the vaccination. 

CB///*Yr2/40  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/67 #StayHome #BeKind

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

The Treehouse

One of the treehouses Daddy built.
My Dad would have been 88 years old today. He's been gone for ten years now, but I think of him everyday. Whenever I'm in a bind I ask myself, "What would Daddy do?" A lot of people know my Dad lived his life full of integrity. There was no gray area for him. That's why many feared him when their cases ended up in his sala. 

That was the serious side of my Dad. A lot of neighbors would come over to seek his counsel. Not only for legal matters, but they also went to him for marriage/family counselling. Daddy was a true family man and he spent a lot of time with me when I was growing up. I remember the weekly dates at Lingnam in Glorietta. He really loved their beef noodles. Movie dates. And he indulged my interest in music. He bought my first Michael Jackson tape. 

When Daddy started to have grandchildren, he had a treehouse built at the back of our house. We had a huge, sturdy mango tree back then. He was at his happiest when the kids were all home. He'd bring them swimming and would start water gun fights. He told them wartime stories and how he grew up in the province. He wanted them to experience many different things, much like how I grew up. The treehouse served as a symbol of all those happy memories. 

The grandkids having fun. They're all grown up now.

The treehouse eventually had to be taken down. The mango tree also died because of a typhoon. When Daddy got sick I asked permission from work to be with him everyday. I'd walk over at 3 in the afternoon and stay with him until Sweetie picked me up. I usually brought my laptop and show him photos and videos to keep his mind away from the pain. I remembered the treehouse today because a friend is planning to build one. Daddy used his knowledge and intelligence to help many people, but to me he made sure I'd grow up with a good foundation to experience life to the fullest. 

Love you Dad, please continue watching over us. 

CB///*Yr2/39  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/66 #StayHome #BeKind

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Knowing When It's Time to Let Go

Break-up. Leave. Move on.  

Ending something is probably one of the hardest things to do. It always brings heartbreak and a mix of emotions. I have been through many of these painful moments, but I've always come out of it stronger and wiser. 

But how do you know when it's time to go? 

I must admit when it came to relationships it was always hard for me to let go. The reasons were always very obvious, but I always held on. I would just sum it up to what my Mom advised me before, "When you don't have the same values as your boyfriend, it will probably not last." I held on to those words when I finally walked out of a 7-year relationship. After that I just let God take over my love life. 

I had ten jobs before I found the one. My career movement was always driven by my quest to learn more. I did have my fair share of bad managers, but that's not what really drove me away (well, once). I had a list of skills I wanted to gain and that's what I followed whenever I moved to a new job. Key for me was to learn as much as I could. 

It's really hard to know when it's time to let go or pursue a new path. My Kuya gave me a list of questions I fill out whenever I have big decisions I have to make. He also advised me to do the St. Ignatius spiritual exercises to make sure that it is the right decision. 

CB///*Yr2/38  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/65 #StayHome #BeKind

Monday, May 17, 2021

Dousing Procrastination with Inspiration

To be honest I've been sleeping a lot in the past week. I'd wake up late, eat oatmeal, drink my meds, do some exercise, watch YouTube, then feel exhausted by late afternoon. I take a nap then Sweetie wakes me up for dinner. It's horrendous since I've been unproductive. My posts have also been uninspired. The sloth seem to have become my spirit animal. Nooooo!

I don't know what's happening. It can be the medication. I oddly felt better after I had cardiac catheterization. We had to lower the dosage of my meds last week because I was bruising. I told myself last night that I had to fight it and get my bum working. Being on stricter lockdown again isn't really helping me. 

I woke up at noon today. Ugh. It took me awhile to sleep last night. Fitbit says I feel asleep at 12:35am, but I kept waking up and I probably thumped Sweetie on the chest because of his snoring (haha). I received an email from my writing guru and felt so inspired. I ended up writing for an hour after finishing my oatmeal. 

I guess the weapon to kill procrastination is inspiration. After class last week I immediately started working on our homework. Then I set it aside and crammed to finish it at the last hour of submission. It's really hard to slay old habits. I guess I just needed some praise and a gentle nudge from my guru to get things started. 

Since I finished our homework early I guess I should now work on my quilting projects. I hope I can stay up today so I can cook Sweetie some dinner!

CB///*Yr2/37  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/64 #StayHome #BeKind

*Mingling down to 2, cases going up in SG   

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Speaking Another Language in My Dreams

I had the strangest dream last night. I was trying to speak in Nihongo with Uncle Fumio. I was trying hard to use what I learned when I took basic Nihongo lessons back in 2018. I woke up because I felt my brain was being squeezed to remember all the verbs and sentences I learned. Haha. 

I decided to study Nihongo three years ago because I was working on the Japan market. I had a great sensei who was based in the UK. She was very patient with me and I learned a lot. I got to use what I learned whenever I went to Japan -- outside of work! Haha. Everyone spoke English at work so I used it more when I took a cab, bought food or asked directions. 

A colleague though told me it'll take me ten years to be fluent. I got sick and so didn't pursue more lessons, plus I was assigned to start another market. It was fun to learn another language. What really helped me aside from my lessons was the app Mem'rise. It helped me remember a lot of words and improved my pronounciation. My sensei said I pronounced words really well. It's probably because we read words by syllable also in Filipino. 

The beautiful view from the office. I miss Japan.

I just remembered the dream now. I'm actually surprised I still remember a lot of what I learned. It's probably just tucked in somewhere in my brain, ready to come out when needed. Haha. Have you experienced having similar dreams?

CB//*Yr2/36  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/63 #StayHome #BeKind   

Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Panic Button

The panic button got activated today! Nine of my blog posts from the month of March were deleted by Blogger! Writing everyday is hard so I got upset. The first thing I did was to look for a way to retrieve my posts. Reached a dead-end there so I checked the status of Blogger. Nothing amiss. Eventually I found a thread on the community forum where other bloggers were raising the same issue. 

Nothing much I can do about it right now. Sigh. :'(

CB//*Yr2/35  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/62 #StayHome #BeKind   

Friday, May 14, 2021

Hope in a Tree

We have this huge tree outside our home in Manila. It's been there since we moved. It has survived all the typhoons that passed and it luckily did not burn when the roof of the warehouse beside us caught fire. 

L-R, top to bottom: January 2020, Q4 2020, April 2021, May 2021.

Last year before we left for Singapore the tree looked really sad after the Taal Volcano erupted. It eventually deteriorated and we thought it was going to die. Lo and behold the tree recovered. Miggy sent me a photo and the tree looked really healthy again. The tree is a survivor!

I've been feeling exhausted again the past few days. My doctor had to lower the dosage of my meds because I was having unusual bruises. I think it may have affected my energy. Miggy sent me a photo of the tree this morning. It had yellow flowers all over! 

The yellow flowers are so pretty :)

I told myself, if the tree could do it, so could I! Seeing the tree with so many flowers brought me so much joy and hope. I think it's the same for our current situation. We'll all eventually get out of this horrid pandemic and blossom with happiness once again. 

Happy weekend everyone!

CB//*Yr2/34  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/61 #StayHome #BeKind   

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Taho and Manong Jabbar

Manong Jabbar's son-in-law.
I was introduced to taho when I was a child. Manong Jabbar as everyone fondly called him would go around our village on weekends. We'd come running out to the gate when we hear him in his booming voice shout, "Tahooooo!" 

For many years Manong Jabbar did the rounds. Everyone in our village knew him. His real name isn't really Jabbar. He was nicknamed after the basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Mind you, Manong Jabbar is the opposite in height of the basketball player. For many years he brought joy to many households with his taho. 

When Manong Jabbar, his son-in-law took over his taho route. So Miggy and his cousins all enjoyed taho the same way I did when I was growing up. I remembered Manong Jabbar because I dreamt a friend brought me a glass of taho. I woke up wishing I could get some. 

I wonder how our friendly taho sellers are faring back home. I hope and pray they are well and keeping safe. 

CB//*Yr2/33  #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/60 #StayHome #BeKind