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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Breathe

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  

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Never Forget, Never Again


The only thing that's fake about martial law is the date that it's supposed to be commemorated. This "bogus anniversary" was mandated by former president Marcos on a backdated paper. Martial law was declared on September 23 not September 21. You can read more about it here.

I'm a martial law baby*. My parents made sure I understood what that meant. I also made sure Miggy understood what martial law is all about. I think it's our responsibility as parents to make sure our children understand what their grandparents fought hard for -- our democracy.  

The seat when Martial Law was declared is at the Malacanan Museum.

There are many resources you can use to help teach your children. I was lucky because Miggy and I had the opportunity to hear first-hand experiences from my Dad's friends. Miggy and I once hopped on a long ride to Bicol with titos who were members of the Light a Fire movement. They shared that their mission was to draw awareness, not harm. They wanted martial law to end. 

They shared about how they strategized and implemented their plans. Eventually the conversation turned to the time Tito Ed was put in jail. I wish I could remember all their stories, but what struck me that day was the sacrifice they made to fight for our freedom. I can just imagine how hard it must have been for their families when they were incarcerated. 

My parents protected us during that period. Tito Ben would call to give warning when something was up. They were very strict about being home at a certain time. Ate and Kiuya would be scolded if they came home late. I was still very young then, but I always knew when the situation would be dangerous. I missed a lot of classes leading up to the EDSA Revolution. My parents would keep me home when they felt it wasn't safe. 

Our children are growing up without fear of getting picked up. They can write and post whatever they want. They can aim to be whoever they want to be. We have this because our parents (and grandparents) fought for our freedom. Let's all make sure we keep it that way. Let's not allow the horrors of the past come back to the present. 

*Babies born between September 21, 1972 to 1981.

Some resources:

Martial law victim stories

Books on Marcos Dictatorship


Martial law in numbers


CB///*Yr2/163 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/186 #NewG284 #Home43 #Xmas95 #StayHome #BeKind  


Monday, September 20, 2021

Dealing with Scary Episodes

In early July I finally went for a routine OB check-up. I haven't gone to one for years. I decided to go because breast cancer runs in my family. I wanted peace of mind. I was promptly scolded by my new OB when I told her I hadn't gone for a check-up for many years. She did the usual tests and said I was cleared. The nurse though told me that the doctor ordered for me to do a mammogram and ultrasound. 

I wasn't keen to do it tbh because I've done so many tests already. Grudgingly went to complete it and didn't think about it anymore. A few days later, on a Sunday, the nurse called me. She asked me to come in the next day for an important discussion with my doctor. She said they found something in the tests. 

There was a mass on my left breast. They wanted to make sure it wasn't cancer. I was immediately sent to a general surgeon. She explained the importance of doing a biopsy, but recommended I do it at another hospital. She said they could care for me better because they had complete doctors 24/7. 

Post biopsy photo lol.
Because of the situation it took a couple of weeks before I was able to meet the breast surgeon I was referred to. She took a look at my scans and reassured me that they didn't scream cancer. I had my first biopsy a week later. Waited an excruciating week for the result and was told it was benign and just fibroids. But... I was required to do another biopsy for the lymph nodes they found. 

The initial second biopsy schedule was botched (story here) and it was re-scheduled six days later. Ended up spending 13 hours at the hospital since the high risk team had to do the biopsy. The doctor told me he had a hard time chasing the lymph node (story here). Waited another excruciating week for the result. They only got very few samples, but it was clearly not malignant.** Whew! 

What started as an innocent routine check-up ended up in a wild goose chase. I'm glad though I had this cleared up. I've done a lot of tests this year and have learned the following:

1. Whatever you end up reading in Google about possible illnesses, just take it as information. Do not diagnose yourself and match the symptoms with what you feel. The more you think about it, the more it will happen. 

2. Going through procedures could be scary. It's useful to know ahead of time what you're going through by watching informational videos made by hospitals. I sometimes also watch patient testimonies. 

3. Stop those scary thoughts by praying. Don't even entertain the worst. Waiting for results can really make you anxious. Look up and think of something else. Keep yourself busy with a hobby or work. 

4. Establish a proper support group. I'm so lucky I have Sweetie, Miggy and a couple of friends who saw me through this. I'm also part of patient groups in FB and some of them have gone through the same issues. 

5. You will go through a lot of issues in your life. Just face it bravely and don't run away from it. Remember God always has your back and He'll only give you what you can bear. 

Well, throughout this ordeal I managed to produce 4 lovely pinwheel quilts. I made these as a farewell gift for some friends. Quilting is really sew-thing (soothing) haha. Watch how I made it and subscribe to my channel (Please?).


Have a great week everyone!

*For those getting a biopsy, it does not hurt at all. I had more arm pain after I got vaccinated (story here).

** I do have to get something checked, but it should be easy peasy. 

CB///*Yr2/162 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/185 #NewG285 #Home44 #Xmas96 #StayHome #BeKind  


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Make Each Day Count

How do you want to be remembered when your time comes? 

I woke up to the news of the passing of former Secretary Dinky Soliman. She was the DSWD secretary during PNoy's administration. I never had the chance to meet her in person, but I always admired her. She was a strong, formidable woman who always championed those in need. And she will always be remembered for being that kind of person. Rest in peace Ma'am Dinky.

I have thought about the question several times in the past few months. I guess it's natural to think about it when you go through medical issues. I realized there was a huge gap in what I want to be. I've only been able to fulfill a part of my mission, but I have neglected a big part of who I am. To me getting sick was a blessing in disguise. It led me back to where I should be. 

Make each day count. Let go of things that bring negativity. Be happy. Be helpful. Be kind. 


The past couple of months I've been watching family vlogs. Most of them used to have corporate jobs. They quit and followed their dream. They traveled a lot and eventually settled in the province to live a simpler life. They spend their time at home with their kid/s. 

I've always led a very busy life. I struggled a lot when I was forced to slow down. It took me four months before I calmed down. I tell my friends who are taking a break to do a long one. It really takes time to reach the right headspace to think about what you want in life. 

Live life in love and don't forget to pray. 

Happy Sunday everyone!

CB///*Yr2/161 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/184 #NewG286 #Home45 #Xmas97 #StayHome #BeKind 



Saturday, September 18, 2021

My Ouchie Bestie for Now

Ouchie! My arm was so sore yesterday after getting vaccinated. I promptly fell asleep after lunch and woke up because my arm felt like a dinosaur was biting it. I just iced it as the doctor advised. Tried to avoid drinking meds, but by evening it felt like Godzilla was biting my arm. I couldn't move my arm anymore. I had Panadol and that helped a lot. By morning it just felt like a huge dog was biting my arm so I think I have survived the worst of it. 

I'm used to experiencing pain by now. Childbirth and open heart surgery were the most painful episodes I've been through. My doctor said it's bad to get used to pain because you could end up ignoring important symptoms. My Mom told me when I was growing up to lift any pain to Jesus. I do that and I have a collection of pain tools all titas own (Salonpas, Panaway, Tiger Balm etc.). My ouchie bestie for now is ice and Panadol (doc said don't put anything on the site, it'll make things worse). 

To make sure that my symptoms were not out of the ordinary I read the literature on the MOH website and watched a few videos. I learned it's good sign if you feel side effects because it means the vaccine is working. Oh boy, it's working Godzilla size for me! That's a good perspective to hold onto as you go through it. I'm relieved that so far it's just a sore arm. So I'll be a good girl and really rest for now.

It's just a bummer for me that I have to stop my exercise regime again. It's been a start-stop-recover-start cycle for me. I've been doing a lot of tests every other week so my progress has been very slow. I'm glad though that I have the scary thing behind me now and I finally got my first dose. My doctor wants me to just see one more doctor, a rheumatogist, to clear up a finding from the biopsy. I'll do it just to put a period to all their concerns.

My head now is buzzing with preparations to go back home, Christmas and all the things I want to eat again back home! Hahaha. I have a few weeks of quiet before I go for my second shot. I'll resume sorting once the forced rest period is over, again

CB///*Yr2/160 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/183 #NewG287 #Home46 #Xmas98 #StayHome #BeKind 


Friday, September 17, 2021

I Got Vaccinated on My Clotiversary!

Thank you everyone for keeping me in your prayers. It's been a monumental day for me today. I had two major appointments, first one was to get the results of the test I had last week. Second, I got vaccinated. 

I was really anxious about both appointments today. I couldn't sleep last night! I'm just so grateful now many prayers (and your prayers) have been answered. I don't have cancer and I don't have any adverse reactions to the vaccine. Whew! God is amazing!

To most people getting vaccinated is easy. My apprehension stemmed from my doctor's advise after I had a venogram in June. He said it would be too risky for me to get vaccinated because they couldn't pinpoint clearly the cause of my PEs. So I was originally medically ineligible to get vaccinated. 

Good thing my respiratory doctor nudged me to get vaccinated so I re-checked with my two other doctors. They both said yes, but they wanted me to be admitted for monitoring when I get vaccinated. I tried, but there was no clear process for it so I just asked my doctor if I could just get it from a clinic. He agreed and asked for all my appointment details. I'm so lucky to have doctors who care so much. 

It's a bright, sunny and hot day today and I just felt that things would go smoothly. I told Sweetie I wasn't sure which appointment I was apprehensive about. He reassured me that things will go well. My favorite titas in Australia and Japan also gave me extra good vibes. 

I think I was the only one set to get vaccinated at the clinic. The doctor reassured me also and he was cheerful throughout the process. He also allowed me to take a video haha. It happened so fast I didn't even feel the pinch of the needle (or maybe coz I'm so used to getting blood drawn hrhr). Then I went outside to wait out the 30 minute monitoring time. My Tita told me, "Don't even think about getting a headache or any side effects coz it will happen." So I just played Pokemon Go and I the staff pointed two electric fans towards me (it's truly my lucky day!). 

Yeah, and today is my third clotiversary. It's year 3 since a huge blood clot was discovered in my left lung. I survived that and survived another one last January. My doctor earlier told me maybe we'll never really know why it happened. I'm fine with that because I know God has my back :)

CB///*Yr2/159 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/182 #NewG288 #Home46 #Xmas99 #StayHome #BeKind 



Thursday, September 16, 2021

Let's Calm Down

A lot of crazy things have been happening back home. I chanced upon a word-war between a government official and the husband of an actress. It started when the government official insulted the actress. Naturally the husband reacted and challenged the official to a fist fight. 

This is happening among other more important issues back home. I read and watch the news everyday to keep tabs on current issues. I also go through updates about our city. It's been important for me to do this for my family back home. 

I rarely comment about issues because I have to manage my stress levels. If my Dad was still alive he'd probably be sending opinion letters to newspapers frequently. Sadly though a lot of what's happening back home could be avoided if people were just plainly decent and kind. Love your neighbor is the golden rule. 

It's hard enough that we're all going the pandemic. We're all going through some form of pain. Hurt people, hurt other people. Let's just calm down a bit so we can think more clearly. I know things are going to get worse because the elections are coming up. 

In the meantime, if you are too busy to meditate or have quiet time, one thing that helps me everyday are wall push-ups. I pair it with deep breathing exercises. It helps strengthen my lungs, firm up my glutes, relieve back pain and it calms me down. I do 15 at a time with my eyes closed. I do this while waiting for my coffee to drip. Try it :D

CB///*Yr2/158 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/181 #NewG289 #Home47 #Xmas100 #StayHome #BeKind 

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Organized Chaos

I'm taking a bite-sized approach to sorting the decade I've been in Singapore. I started with a shelf and I'm tackling it by row. I tend to put things in cute boxes as I keep them. What happens though is I forget about the items I keep and end up buying new things. That's what I discovered yesterday when I found several small boxes of office supplies. Can you guess how many scissors I have? Hahaha. 

At our old place before we moved.


So I'm going to take this opportunity to collate and reduce our things. I'll probably ban myself also from window online shopping (there's so many kawaii items out there!). I hope to get some headway in clearing out things in the next week since there are people interested to view our place already. 

And the same goes for my mind. I have been working on clearing out unhealthy thoughts. I think I have improved in compartmentalizing and it's now time to flush out the bad stuff. I've been excited about finally getting vaccinated, but tbh I'm scared too. 

I've been processing this fear by getting more information about it's safety for me. I don't have a genetic clotting disorder, my platelets are in order and similar patients did not have issues. The virus can cause myocarditis and clots much, much more than the vaccine. I have to clear out these unhealthy thoughts and tell my body to cooperate. 

Praying that this transition time will go smoothly. 

CB///*Yr2/157 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/180 #NewG290 #Home48 #Xmas101 #StayHome #BeKind 


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

How Managing My Money Better Made Me Happier

When my Kuya gave me advise on how to manage my money better I realized I wasn't enjoying my hard earned money. Whenever making a purchase I would debate with myself if it was a need. It prevented me from growing and being happy. 

I was that way because I was fearful about saddling my family with medical expenses. I was leading my life in fear and that was wrong. It showed I had very little faith. It also showed that I wasn't truly living. I just followed a routine and it was a huge disservice to my family. We could've made more happy memories.

Managing your money better helped in my healing journey. Changing how I budgeted helped me grow and be happier. I find reasons to celebrate and reward this with good food. My quilting skills have improved because I invested in learning new things. I worried less because I worked on my investments. I've been able to focus on recovering. Here's the breakdown my Kuya gave me - 


I'm now transitioning to a new phase in my life. With faith and a lot of prayer I hope I've made the right decisions to be financially free. It's also a good thing that I stuck to the same spending habits I had when I had before moving to SG. I missed out on a lot of experiences, but at least I won't have a hard time adjusting again to life back home. 

CB///*Yr2/156 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/179 #NewG291 #Home49 #Xmas102 #StayHome #BeKind 



Monday, September 13, 2021

The Saint Who Brought Me My Forever

My Mom brought me up to get to know the saints. They also taught it in school. I love the fact that I'm remembering this part of me and I could ask for their intercession for my prayers and intentions. Something missing? Pray to St. Anthony. Pandemic? Pray to St. Roch. Need a miracle? Pray to Padre Pio* and ask your guardian angel to whisper to his ear. Anxiety? Pray to St. Dymphna. Teaching? Of course, St. La Salle is the one. 

At the La Salle Generalate, Rome.


I'm happy I bounced back quickly from last week's procedure. It was a blessing in disguise it was rescheduled because I can get feedback from my doctor before I get vaxxed this week. I've been praying a lot and I realized that's what was lacking in me the past few years. I think after OHS** I got too brazen and thought I was invincible. I was doing my mission and took it for granted that all systems would just run smoothly. 

I prayed every night, but my head would always be buzzing with other things. A couple of weeks ago I thought I could improve with how I did my prayers. I always hear people say that you have to be specific about your requests. I downloaded two prayer apps and started to pray novenas (now I know why my Mom always uses her prayer books). It was then I remembered the saint who led me to Sweetie. 

St. Jude, the patron saint of impossible causes. At some point in my life I gave up on love. I was badly heartbroken and kept meeting the wrong kind of guys. I felt it was impossible to find true love. I heard about St. Jude, so thought I'd pray to him. I did and eventually met Sweetie. I think I never thanked St. Jude for helping write my love story. I thank him every night now and I'm requesting for a couple of impossible things. Have anything that you think is impossible? Pray to St. Jude. He gave me my forever (#sanaol). 

CB///*Yr2/155 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/178 #NewG292 #Home50 #Xmas103 #StayHome #BeKind 


*Padre Pio novena starts tomorrow

**OHS - open heart surgery

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Sorting Out a Decade

October 2011, moved to SG.
Where do you start sorting 10 years of your life? Our apartment is a huge mess right now because we've started to look through our things. When I moved to Singapore I came with only two suitcases and I only shipped a mattress, a sack of rice and a folding table. 

I was able to keep things the same for five years. I was lucky because my housemate had everything and kept telling me not to buy stuff. Things changed when Miggy and Sweetie moved here. We eventually moved to our own place. That meant I had to make our place into a home. 

"This is just temporary," was a thought that was always at the back of my mind. It reflected also when I had to buy things for the house. It was limiting because it prevented me from doing things I liked to do, i.e. baking. The pandemic though changed things because I wanted to try out new things. Kuya also advised to allot a percentage of your money for self-development (see how I budget my money here). Ahh, that really changed things. 

Started our with just two bags 10 years ago (one was Sweetie's)...


I spent a bit of time sorting three bags of random stuff yesterday. I know Marie Kondo said you should do this last haha. I went through receipts, concert and movie tickets, boarding passes, museum leaflets and a gazillion business cards. All of those reminded me that once upon a time my life wasn't just confined in the four walls of our apartment. Proof of life. 

So yeah, that's the challenge I need to work on for the next few weeks. I have to do it slowly to make sure I don't get sick. I wanted to do more yesterday, but remembered I just had a biopsy. I hope to be able to get rid of stuff I don't need and donate it. We started this with our old devices. Oh boy, sorting out a decade of your life is hard. 

CB///*Yr2/154 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/177 #NewG293 #Home51 #Xmas104 #StayHome #BeKind 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Mysteries, Miracles

One of the causes of anxiety is a perception that you do not have control over something. The best way to get a hold of feeling anxious is to manage how you perceive things. Kuya told me to look up when you're starting to feel anxious. It works because when you look up what you see immediately changes. That prevents you from falling into the ugly black hole. 

Dr. Joe Dispenza, on the other hand, says that we keep going back to these negative feelings because it becomes an addiction. An example is when you keep going back to a toxic relationship even though you already know it's bad for you. Or when you keep accepting too much work, but you still feel good even if it's affecting your health. That's why Dr. Joe wrote the book, "Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself". 

I know I've fallen in the trap so many times throughout my life. I think the hardest thing to learn is letting go. Getting your grip off something you're so used to doing is hard. Trying to solve a mystery that doesn't have an answer can make you go gaga. There are things in life that you cannot control and best left as a mystery. 

I actually said that to the doctor the other day when he was briefing me before the procedure. He asked me what caused my PEs. I told him I got poked some many times already by different doctors. They couldn't explain clearly the cause of my clots. I don't worry about it now because I think mysteries can be disguised as miracles. 

Back in 2008 to 2009, the results of my blood test showed that the the tumor marker CA125 reached 5x normal level. It was so bad the medtech at Makati Med said she was so sorry for the results. My doctor did more tests, but did not find anything. After a visit to Kamay ni Hesus, the tumor marker went down to normal in a span of six months. My doctor couldn't explain why and said that he wished all his patients were like me. To me it was a miracle. 


So don't stress, the mysteries or the things in your life you cannot be control may be a miracle in disguise. Just leave it up to God to solve <3

CB///*Yr2/153 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/176 #NewG294 #Home52 #Xmas105 #StayHome #BeKind 

Friday, September 10, 2021

My Buying Habits have Changed

So much has changed in the last 2 years. I don't know about you, but I previously preferred to go to the mall and supermarket to buy things I need. Malling was my official exercise on record on my doctor's notes. I made him laugh so hard when I told him what my favorite exercise was. I didn't really like buying things online, but the situation forced me to change my buying habits. 

I started with buying groceries online. It was a huge pain because items were not always available. We also always did not get everything we ordered. Eventually though things improved and we only go to the grocery if we happen to pass by one when doing other errands (like every other month?). I only expanded to buying other things when I needed to buy craft materials. 

Well, that opened the floodgates for me haha. I've joined a couple of online hobby groups and started to learn more about tools that I can use to make quilting easier. Remember, my Mom taught me how to quilt using basic sewing materials and it's been fun to discover that there are things you can use to hasten the process. 



One of my favorite things to do is finding the best deal and sources. Buying craft materials/tools can be challenging. I was so proud of myself when I finally found the right sewing machine extension table haha. I look forward to discovering new online sources when I get home. What I look forward to trying are new food providers, especially the ones that are home made. 

Budol is real every month. I survived 8.8 but not 9.9 haha! I think it's worse than the sweldo sale that malls do back home. We avoided those mall sale days because of the heavy traffic and that's why I think these monthly online sale hosted by Lazada and Shopee is seriously risky! Hahaha. I've learned though and I make a running list of things I need. Hrhrhr. 

My fave Plaza Singapura


I still miss going to the mall. I've been able to still go every other month here in Singapore, but I don't think I'll get to do it when I go home. The funny thing is I've started to take photos of my favorite shops lately. Haha! Do you do that too?

P.S. I'm back home from my daycation at the hospital. Just reminiscing my malling days haha.

CB///*Yr2/152 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/175 #NewG295 #Home53 #Xmas106 #StayHome #BeKind 


Thursday, September 9, 2021

The Second Time

Oh what an adventurous day for me. It's the second time of the second test I was supposed to do last Friday. I usually get anxious when I have tests because you can't predict the pain and my body sometimes have weird reactions.

I went to the hospital by myself so Sweetie could work. They don't allow anyway for relatives to hang around. In the morning I was cared for by a nurturing nurse. She kept calling me sayang which is a bahasa term of endearment. I'm not sure if she's from Malaysia or Indonesia. She tucked me in with a blanket and told me to rest. I complied haha.


It was a few hours later when I was finally brought to the OT by chariot, I mean by hospital bed. I was wheeled by an uncle and a friendly Pinoy nurse who reassured me every step of the way. We wheezed through wards and a maze of hallways to get to the other building. Never saw so many different types of ceilings in one ride haha.

Eventually met the doctor who was going to poke me today. He was so full of energy and positive vibes. My kind of doctor! I knew he'd take care of me well. The theater team were also all in high spirits. 

I was awake throughout the procedure and it wasn't scary. At some point the doctor shushed the team outside because they were noisy. I didn't know why he suddenly became serious so I just prayed. It was soon over and the doctor told me it was harder than he thought it would be, but he was able to get what he needed. Hopefully it will solve the question of my doctors.

Why am I sharing this? Unlike our favorite medical dramas, getting diagnosed and treated realistically doesn't happen at a snap of a finger. Usually doctors refer to a norm based on your gender, age group and ethnicity. The challenge happens when you don't fit the model. That's how my original respiratory doctor missed diagnosing my ginormous clots. So it's really important to advocate for yourself. 

On the other hand, be ready also for unsolved mysteries. Just leave it to God to heal in His time.

CB///*Yr2/151 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/174 #NewG296 #Home54 #Xmas107 #StayHome #BeKind 

 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Atas!

Atas is a term they use here in Singapore. It refers to "VIP/being treated like a VIP" or in colloquial term in the Philippines it means "sushal". I've known about the term, but it was the first time today it was used for me. 

After my doctor's appointment I jumped in a cab. The taxi driver was quite friendly and asked me if everything was alright with my hospital visit. I said my doctor was happy with my progress and that we spent an hour for the consultation. He said, "Wow! You're atas!" I laughed at his exclamation. He explained that doctors usually don't take that long when they see their patients. In the short ride he said atas several more times because he couldn't believe my doctor spent so much time with me. 

Well, he would have probably hit the roof if I told him my doctor has written a six-page report about me. He started the report in February and updates it whenever I have something new. The one-hour consultation isn't really a new thing because he really spends a long time with his patients (most are elderly, I'm the odd one usually hehe). It is unusual for a doctor to write a mega report, but he's been keen to solve the mystery of my blood clots. He explained that it's really unusual because my tests do not clearly show the cause and they don't add up. He said my case is more exciting than a Kdrama. Hahaha! 

I used to be so anxious about not knowing. Other similar patients like me usually get a full explanation from their doctor. I've had several doctors in different hospitals try to crack the mystery, but no answer has been found. After three years of chasing to solve the mystery and getting poked so many times I've given up. I'm just leaving it all to God. I've also re-connected with one of my favorite saints, St. Jude, to pray for another impossible request. 

So I'm atas. I look at the mystery now as a special challenge for me from God. It must be the next miracle He will provide for me soon :)

 CB///*Yr2/150 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/173 #NewG297 #Home55 #Xmas108 #StayHome #BeKind 


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

An Amazing Milestone, Congratulations GEG Philippines!

Congratulations are in order for GEG Philippines! DepEd has recognized the community as a professional learning community! This is a huge milestone for the community that started 7 years ago. My heart is bursting with so much pride and happiness.

The first GEG APAC Leaders Summit was hosted in Manila (2015). 

The teacher community was piloted in the Philippines. The first one was founded in Baguio City and launched in January 2014. Teachers from both the public and private sector came together for the first meet-up. It was a fun day of sharing ideas and challenges on what to do with the community. What was great about it was getting the support also of the business community. 

GEG Baguio launch (January 2014).


Many people ask me why people volunteer to join and lead communities. It stems from the passion to learn, share and help others do the same. I always believed that many people want to help, they just need to be empowered to do great things. I have seen this also in the other communities I have incubated - the GDG, GBG, the mappers and those who volunteered when I did crisis response. 

I've been on medical leave twice now (second one still ongoing). When I had heart surgery I was gone for four months. My colleagues asked me how come my communities were still active even though I wasn't around. I told them it was never about me. It's about the people behind the community. They are spurred by their passion to help others. And that's why I know they will continue to flourish even without me. 

The journey to what GEG Philippines has achieved wasn't an easy one. Teachers are very busy people, but when the pandemic started they all jumped at the chance to help others learn how to use online tools. I have lost count on how many webinars they have hosted. And there's a lot to learn from them, I always pick up something new when I watch their sessions. 

Congratulations GEG Philippines! I won't mention any names here because I might not be able to list everyone (brain fog is real guyz), but always know that all of you are always in my heart and I am grateful for all you do. Give yourselves a pat in the back for all the help you have provided for other teachers. I hope something I could see all of you in person again! 

*I wanted to share more photos, but I have a gazillion! Ping me if you're looking for any photos. 

 CB///*Yr2/149 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/172 #NewG298 #Home56 #Xmas109 #StayHome #BeKind 

Monday, September 6, 2021

Comfort Food

One of the things I had a hard time adjusting to here in Singapore is the food. It was always difficult to choose what to eat because I'm so used to eating Filipino food. Well, I've also been pihikan with food since I was a child. Well it spurred me to learn to cook more Filipino dishes. I also always brought back longganisa, tocino, hotdog and Purefoods corned beef whenever I had the chance.

In the past few years more and more consumables from home has been imported here in Singapore. I used to have to go to Lucky Plaza or specialty shops to buy what I needed. They slowly added more products in supermarkets and eventually in online supermarkets. Items were easily snapped up and there was a time I panicked when I ran out of suka and toyo. Haha! 

So today I cooked some Mama Sita champorado. It certainly brought back happy childhood memories. We always had this at home for merienda. Daddy always paired it with tuyo. I still remember the aroma of chocolate plus tuyo and suka. It was the good old days. 



I look forward to going home. I've been praying for a smooth transition back home (no untoward incidents please!). A few months ago I ordered a specialty recipe book on traditional food from Quezon (I'm also looking for a Bicol one). One of the things I want to do is learn how to cook Daddy's favorites from Lucban (his hometown). I wish I had him teach me more dishes when he was still around. It was hard though because he never measured anything. So I only learned to make his mustasa and beef dish (recipe here).

It's raining hard outside, bagyo levels with howling winds. We don't have typhoons here in Singapore, but we've been getting heavy rain lately. It's strangely comforting and I guess a way for me to be prepared for home. 

What's your comfort food?

 CB///*Yr2/148 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/171 #NewG299 #Home57 #Xmas110 #StayHome #BeKind

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Indestructible

"There's nothing you cannot do," is a lesson my parents taught me growing up. They impressed this on me whenever I would share my fears (like recitation!). They also told me how Ate topped the chemical engineering board exam. She set aside her nervousness while taking the exam. I learned to take a deep breath and pray to calm myself before I do anything that makes me nervous. 

Abating fears is not easy especially if you have anxiety. It's often hard to quiet down the voices in your head. I've recently had to deal with being medically ineligible to get vaccinated. At the prodding of my respiratory doctor I rechecked with my vascular doctor if I could get vaccinated. He said yes. I also checked with my cardiovascular surgeon and he said yes too. I trust my doctors, but of course I'm still scared because of the previous risks that were raised to me. 

So I prayed and asked God to remove my fears. My doctor gave instructions on how I should go about it. I then did some research and slowly started to understand why I should not be scared to get vaccinated. The NUH website gave advise for those medically ineligible. There were two important points that struck me:

(1) If medically ineligible check back with your specialist every few months because more data may be available (I was told no in June and by end August there was more information available for my doctor), (2) You are ineligible if you have low platelet count. [Source: NUH Infographic]

It was a blessing in disguise my other doctor ordered for a blood test. It included my blood count and I'm in the normal range (in fact it increased the past few months). Whew! What also helped me was Dr. Mike Hansen's video explaining the death of a doctor (video here). All of these just unfolded a few days after I prayed for help. I really want to do this for my family. 

I wasn't sure about writing about this today. I read first today's Kerygma reflection and was surprised to see the headline, "Do not fear, God is here". So I went ahead and wrote about how my parents taught me how to be resilient -- just have faith and trust in God! <3

"Say to the fearful of heart: Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. – Isaiah 35:4"

CB///*Yr2/147 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/170 #NewG300 #Home58 #Xmas111 #StayHome #BeKind


Saturday, September 4, 2021

The Secret to Being Happy

Whew! Things are going back to normal. The past few days have been a bit hairy when I had to stop taking blood thinners for the test that was postponed. I'm not sure why I felt unwell. I even had a fever. It must have been caused by stress. I was really hoping that I wouldn't have to be poked for another test. I had prayed really hard that it wouldn't have to be done again. Well it wasn't, but it's going to be rescheduled haha. I think I need to make my prayer request clearer! 

My doctor sent me a nice video this morning. It's the speech of Gaur Gopal about how to increase happiness. To sum it up he said you cannot get away from problems, but you can make your life happier by living a life of thankfulness.

Being grateful is key to being happy. I shared to a friend something I learned from Chade Meng Tan on how you can immediately bring joy back. In the class I attended he shared you can simply be grateful for others. It goes this way... Yesterday, I saw a friend post about a nurse who took care of her family when they got infected by the coronavirus. It was a post to show her appreciation and gratefulness for the help. I immediately felt grateful for the help her family got from the nurse. God really sends guardian angels to help us. 

And that sustained me yesterday through my hospital stay. I was still feeling unwell last night, so I did a gratefulness exercise to feel better. I started by feeling grateful for the nurse who inserted the plot on my hand. When I ripped off the bandage I saw just a small dot from the needle, no bruising (that's rare!). Then I was grateful for the grumpy Gojek drive who still picked us up (he was insisting we put the wrong point lol). And best of all, I was grateful for Sweetie for staying with me the whole day. Sitting on a chair just waiting must've been very painful for him. My feet were still icy cold, but I felt much better when we went to sleep.

I realized that a lot of the life coaches are saying the same thing - be grateful to be happy. 

CB///*Yr2/146 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/169 #NewG301 #Home59 #Xmas112 #StayHome #BeKind

Friday, September 3, 2021

When You Can't Perform...

"When you can't perform...
Japorms!"

This is a quotable quote from my friend Marc Macalua. He said this over ten years ago when we used to play badminton. So basically, if you can't be productive or give your best, just dress up for the occasion. LOL.

And that's what happened to me today. I woke up early for my appointment at the hospital. Sweetie accompanied me and we arrived at the center ahead of schedule. I was promptly checked in and the nurse called me to get my vitals. I had a slight fever. I was ushered to my room and started the long wait.

After two hours one of the doctors came to my room and said I was required to be swabbed. It was my second time to be swabbed so I wasn't freaked out about it anymore. Lucky me, the doctor conducted the swab. It wasn't so bad.

I fell asleep after that and a nurse came in a few hours later to let me know that the swab results was going to take longer than expected. Yikes! By this time I was quite hungry and thirsty already because I was asked to fast after eating breakfast. 


We thought things were going to proceed already because I was asked to change. They also installed the plot on my hand and got some blood. An hour later I was told that they would have to reschedule the test.

And that's how I ended up dressing for the part today. I told Sweetie I want to have a nice sumptuous dinner. Hrhrhr.


CB///*Yr2/145 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/168 #NewG302 #Home60 #Xmas113 #StayHome #BeKind  

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Managing Triggers

I haven't been sleeping well again the past few days. I'm scheduled for a test again tomorrow and I'm a bit anxious about it. My doctors have poked me so many times this year, but I never get used to it (and you shouldn't!). Aside from that I've had to deal with other things that set off my PTSD. 

The past year has been a test of patience and resilience. It's something a lot of pulmonary embolism survivors go through. In our patient group there's always someone who asks for help to deal with anxiety. This stems from the feat that you can clot again and you can die from it. I've had two clotting episodes and the second one has been really hard to recover from because the first one is still around! 

To recover from an illness you have to be strong mentally. I only started getting better when I got help. My doctor advised that you need to understand your triggers. You also need to be able to arrest the trigger and purposely pull yourself to another direction. It's not easy to do. I cried the other day because my doctor scolded me for asking too many questions. He apologized after a few minutes, but it already made me feel so bad. 

When the tears started to fall Sweetie asked what was wrong. I told him I got super stressed. In between hiccups I told him I needed milk tea haha. The tears immediately stopped. To be honest I had a hard time sleeping that night because of the incident. I felt better yesterday, but was once again triggered when a friend said I was fat. It took me hours to fall asleep again. I finally did when I thought about my dog Jolly. 

Yesterday's Didache reflection by Bo Sanchez was helpful of putting things in proper perspective. He said instead of battling "demons" think of the incident as God's way. You can think of the triggers as a way to deal with issues or as a way of learning. Now I will always ask myself, "What is God trying to teach me?". This will help me stay away from feeling bad and getting emotional. 

Please pray for me tomorrow as I undergo another test. May God bless the hands of the experts who will poke me again. 

CB///*Yr2/144 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/167 #NewG303 #Home61 #Xmas114 #StayHome #BeKind  

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Hello Ber Months, Day 1 of the Christmas Season!

Oh wow it's already the ber months! Today marks the first day of the Christmas season in the Philippines. I wonder if they've started to play holiday songs on the radio and in malls. It wasn't always like this. We used to start celebrating only in November. My Mom would normally set November 30 as the day we set-up the tree since it's a holiday. I don't know when  it was declared that the Christmas season starts when the ber months come. 

I think celebrating Christmas for 100 days is a good idea. It always feels like your daily grind changes, since there's something to look forward to. I remember in my previous jobs we'd start preparing for the Christmas party towards the end of November. I was also usually part of the holiday party committee. It was always a busy time where you try to see all of your friends before the deluge of family reunions. 

I must admit in the past few years I've been so busy. We didn't even set-up a tree in 2019. I made up for it last year and set-up our decorations early. It was a good thing I did because my health went downhill by mid-December. It was really hard for our family to be miles part last year, but we managed. We're all looking forward to be complete this Christmas. Family is everything. 


I haven't really planned what we'll do for Christmas. I expect movement would still be very restricted. We also have to continue following all measures to keep safe. We'll probably just have a nice family meal at home, exchange gifts and I hope I'd be able to send some personally baked cupcakes to family and friends. Let's all hope for a happier and safer Christmas this year!

Merry Christmas!

CB///*Yr2/143 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/166 #NewG304 #Home62 #StayHome #BeKind 


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Finally Got This After 40 Years

My parents were very strict about what kinds of toys I had when I was growing up. Titay showered me with Barbie dolls and I got my first Lego set from my Ninang when I was 4 years old. I also got a Cabbage Patch which was the rage back then. Mommy though did not allow me to have ET, Yoda and Alf. Someone gave me an ET figure and it was one of my favorite toys. Mom always cringed whenever she saw it. 

I was never allowed to have gaming devices. We did not have a Family Computer or Atari. I was also in college when I got to try my friend's Family Computer. And I was already working when I learned how to play Pokemon on my PC. I think I managed to wear down my Dad because I remember I had a Game & Watch Mickey Mouse device and a PacMan watch. Those were the only devices I owned. 


What I really wanted to play was Super Mario. Sweetie finally made my dream come true. On my birthday he presented me a huge box. He put me to work unboxing one box after another until I finally got to his gift. It was a Super Mario Bros. Game & Watch. Waaaaaawwwww! It was a super huge surprise for me! 


Of course I immediately started playing the game. I also put it beside me when I went to sleep (just like a kid would haha). I've been using it the past few days and I realized I don't have enough gaming skills! I so far couldn't get past level 1-3! Hahaha. 

Thank you Sweetie for the surprise! I think I'm going to spend more hours on this than my Switch. LOL. Love you <3

CB///*Yr2/142 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/165 #NewG305 #Home63 #StayHome #BeKind 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Breakthrough Coming!

My respiratory doctor told me last week I need to get vaccinated before I go back home. We've been working on my transition the past few months. He's the one who saved my life three years ago when he discovered I had a huge clot in my left lung. He saved my life again when he instinctively tested me and saw I had multiple clots in my left lung. A nurse told me that he said I was a challenging case, but he really took care of me. He's a rockstar doctor. 

The discussion about getting vaccinated started when I asked him if I should get the flu vaccine. He said we'll do it in my next appointment. He then asked me if I've been vaccinated for COVID-19. I said no because my vascular surgeon said it wasn't safe for me. He reassured me it was safe for me and I should definitely get it before I go home. The next day I tracked down my cardiovascular surgeon and vascular surgeon to get clearance. 

My cardiovascular surgeon is in the UK right now, but he kindly responded to my Whatsapp message. He gave clearance for me to get vaccinated. On my birthday, my vascular surgeon, the one who said I shouldn't get vaccinated, also gave his clearance for me to get vaccinated. Yaaaaasssss! That really made my birthday happy since I want my family to be less worried for me. Of course, we still need to take precautions. 

I did some research over the weekend and saw the MOH has some guidelines for those who are medically ineligible. One should check back with your specialist every few months since more research and data become available. I guess my doctors finally gave clearance because there's more data to support that it's safe for me. I'm now trying to find out how I can get vaccinated at a hospital. MOH website stated that if you are immuno-compromised or have health issues you can request to have it done at a hospital. I'm just waiting for my doctor's nurse to respond to my request. 

I'm also happy that Miggy and my Mom got their first dose. They only felt sore for a few days, but have been fine so far. We've had to remind Mom everyday not to do any gardening for the meantime. The rest of my family have been fully vaccinated. Thank you Lord :D

Day 30 Minimalism challenge, Re-purge your wardrobe. This is what I started to do at the beginning of the month. I realized though that I didn't have the space to keep those clothes that I plan to bring back home. As it is our home is currently really messy since we've started to sort things that will be brought home. We stalled sorting for now until we finalize plans with the movers. For my wardrobe I'm thinking what I should do with my winter clothes. I used to use it a lot when I traveled, but I think it's going to take years before I use them again. What about you? What have you done with your wardrobe? 


CB///*Yr2/141 #StuckAtHomeDay/Yr2/164 #NewG306 #Home64 #StayHome #BeKind