Sunday, January 31, 2021

Where Did January Go?

On the way home I realized I spent most of the month in the hospital. It's not been a good start for the new year for me. I'm hopeful though that things would be better in the coming weeks. The experience of going home yesterday was so much different from my first discharge. I wasn't in a daze like last time and was able to take a short walk downstairs last night. I feared I'd be back to zero. 

On the way home yesterday.


I haven't had a chance to write down my plans for the year. Well, the plans unfolded by itself. In 2020 I declared it to be the year for self-love. After reviewing the list I realized I was only able to do 3 out of the 10 things I listed. I changed my priority to learning new things because of the situation. I forgot about myself again. 

So that's probably why I'm in this situation now. This year I'm bring back my resolution for self-love. I think I made a headstart after I got out of the hospital last January 15. I just had another pothole on the road and I'm sure things will get better in the coming weeks. I just need to give myself time to heal and be ready to have a better year. 

When I got home yesterday I was so happy to see the spring onion I am trying to root. I cooked steamed soy ginger fish yesterday and used the spring onions to garnish the dish. I decided to again to root the stems. I had failed at it several times already and that's why I was so happy to see it flourishing. I'll blog about what I did differently on The Balcony Farmer soon. Hopeful!

CB///297 #StuckAtHomeDay/327 #StayHome #BeKind

Saturday, January 30, 2021

I'm Going Home Today!

Woke up early and energized today. I finally had a good night's sleep! The evening nurse took pity on me last night and removed the plug on my hand. It was starting to swell and I suspect it was the reason why my arm was hurting already. Doc had it scanned yesterday to be sure it wasn't clotting. I was so relieved when the nurse said my arm was clear. I'm going home with just a small bruise which is much better than what I had early this month.

An Apple a Day by Hello Kitty! One of my favorite shirts.

I feel much better today compared to when I was discharged 15 days ago. I was able to fix my stuff. Sweetie will just need to zip up the luggage when he comes later. I still need to take it slow and doctor said to come back at the first sign of bleeding. My blood test came back with good stats. When my doctor is happy I'm happy.

I'm not going back to work immediately. I'm going to focus on getting well first. I already made the mistake of pushing my body too hard many times. That's a huge reason why my body is like this now. I will need to find the right balance first before I go back. I know my manager is super excited to have me back, but I don't want to come back so soon and get sick again. I need my body to heal without stress. (I always tell my team they will survive without me. That's how I've been training them.)

I'm so glad I'm going home today. Sweetie will be able to sleep soundly again. I'm his sleep elixir. He immediately conks out when he sits beside me on the couch (I have plenty of pictures to prove this point). 

Thank you for all your prayers and love. It's what makes me strong. One of my nurses told me yesterday, "You have gone through a lot. You're willpower is the most important factor for you to be well. Promise me you won't come back!" That willpower is powered by prayers and love. So if you have a loved one who is I'll, show them they are loved and needed and pray for them. That will surely boost their morale and fire up their willpower to survive anything. 

CB///296 #StuckAtHomeDay/326 #StayHome #BeKind


Friday, January 29, 2021

Professional Patient?

When you have pulmonary embolism issues don't end once you get a heparin shot and drink anticoagulants (blood thinners). There would be days (or hours) where you can function like normal and then you suddenly feel fatigued. Breathing issues, nausea and feeling unwell is an everyday thing. Every ache and pain can make you think you're having another clot. It's very hard to determine when you should go to your doctor or the emergency room. A wrong move can be your end.

Day 1, smiling helps make you feel better (and keep Sweetie from worrying too much).

I did not have maintenance meds for five years after surgery. I was lucky. I travelled like crazy during those five years, but things changed in 2018. I started taking lots of meds. I abhorred it. It was when my PE was found that I started to understand my body better. 

I listened to my body more and understood better it's limits. In 2020 I made it my goal to reduce the medications I had to drink. I was successful in reducing it. The situation has been tricky because there are still unknowns in my condition. One thing I know is my mind, heart and body can fight back. As my friend Match keeps telling me, "You're heart is resilient. Just allow it (to heal)." 

Today's morning visitor. This birdie has been dropping by everyday.

And that's why I did not panic when I started to bleed last Sunday. I listened to my body. And that's why one of my nurses said I'm a professional patient. I understand my limits and know when to seek help. Sometimes though I need to remind myself to seek help earlier. I'm grateful my doctors also understand my needs better now. Hopefully this year we'll find out what's causing all the issues. In the meantime I hope to recover properly with no more potholes along the way.

CB///295 #StuckAtHomeDay/325 #StayHome #BeKind

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Middle of the Night Interruption

My former colleague, Olive, explained to me before that spirits get attracted to the light people emit. They come to you for help and the best that you can do is pray for them and encourage them to go to the light. Since then I was never bothered by ghosts/spirits. I still get scared, but I immediately start praying. 


Last night I was jolted awake by a code blue call. I don't know why, but they always announce it hospital-wide. We also got one yesterday afternoon. So I woke up and immediately felt a presence. I remembered what Olive told me many years ago and started praying the rosary. I told her it's okay and she should just go on. It was only at the end of the first mystery when she went away and I drifted off to sleep.

That hasn't happened to me for a long time now. I don't know if it's real or just my hyperactive imagination (or the medication). I was scared and I just naturally turned to prayer. The nurse told me that it was common for that room to code blue. I told her I stayed in that room for 30 minutes when I was at ICU early this month. The room felt weird and I'm glad they moved me to another room immediately. Maybe they should have that room and the room next to it blessed. 

I'm going to take a nap now since a fire alarm went off earlier and interrupted my sleep again. I have a headache from being jolted awake twice. Need more sleep so my body can work in repairing itself. 

Have you experienced the same thing? Wish I could go home soon.

CB///294 #StuckAtHomeDay/324 #StayHome #BeKind


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Thank You for Your Love

I realized last night that whenever I get hospitalized for a long time it comes in twos. The same thing happened in 2013 after heart surgery. I was confined again then because they had to open me up again. That was more challenging, but back then my will was made of steel. I faced everything bravely. I was unfazed even when my doctor told me years later they almost lost me back then.

Slowly getting their again (I'm still on sloth pace). Thanks Sweetie for the cute shirt.

It was only last December when I realized I'm getting older. My ENT (who I believe is a genius) years ago told me I was still young and should continue to be active. He reminded me he's been my doctor for 8 years now and that we're all older and our bodies change. My cardiologist and cardiovascular surgeon have also changed the advise they've been giving, also because they're getting on with age. 

I got a book from Kerygma Books "The Beauty of 40" by Dr. Michelle Alignay. I'm going through it slowly and learning things about this phase of my life. I should have gotten this book 5 years ago. As my doctor said, "You can't continue living like you're still in your 20s."


I had a good cry last night. The most heartbreaking thing about this challenge is seeing Sweetie and Miggy worried. I realized though that God only gives you challenges you can manage and learn from. I cried also because I'm so tired from being well for a few hours then fatigued for the rest of the day. That's not me. I can usually go on and on and on. 

I'm grateful for so many things. The love from Sweetie, Miggy, my family, my friends, my community. The care of my doctors, nurses, housekeeping and the uncles and aunties who feed me (I noticed th let give me a muffin for supper if I finish my food haha). Everyone wants me to be well and that's what I'm holding onto. I believe Jesus will heal me in His time.

CB///293 #StuckAtHomeDay/323 #StayHome #BeKind


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Here We Go Again

I was feeling so unwell this morning. I had Sweetie call my doctor to let him know what I was going through. My doctor had me come see him for a check-up. I've been admitted to the hospital again since bleeding after a PE is dangerous. I have to stop the medication until the bleeding stops.


It's been a challenging day and I couldn't help but cry already this morning because I was feeling worse than when I was first admitted early this month. I was upset because I was feeling better already and had been increasing my daily step count. This is a huge setback for me since I was hoping to go back to work before CNY. I just hope and pray I won't be in the hospital for a long time.

Please pray for me.

CB///292 #StuckAtHomeDay/322 #StayHome #BeKind


Monday, January 25, 2021

Not a Good Day Again

I must have pushed too hard again yesterday. Woke up not feeling well. I felt nauseous the whole day and have some bleeding going on. I had some bleeding issues in the past but I don't remember feeling nauseous.



Yesterday was good day and I just need to remember that this is part of the process when you're recovering from PE. Will call my doctor tomorrow and ask if I should come see him. My other doctors have been checking in me. They really want to figure out what's causing my clots.

CB///291 #StuckAtHomeDay/321 #StayHome #BeKind

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Spent the Day at the Park

I'm glad my tummy was better when I woke up. I don't exactly know what happened to the food I ate yesterday afternoon that made me sick. I drank a lot of water after and just ate crackers and soup for dinner. The probiotics I drink daily probably helped settle my stomach and I felt okay when I woke up this morning. 


We had to make up for not walking yesterday so we went to the park today. There was a Pokemon event today so that was pretty good motivation to walk around. It's really nice to live across a park. The best times

to go is early morning, late afternoon or after dinner. The weather has been really nice the past week. At night the breeze is so cool. It's really helped me enjoy our walks. 

It was quite hot when we went to the park. Good thing the trees provided a lot of shade. We saw a lot of squirrels darting from one tree to another. I guess it was their mealtime too because they kept picking up stuff from the ground to chew on. They were so cute and are used to people walking around, sometimes stopping to take photos of them. 

I think I improved a lot in the last few days. I've been able to monitor my vitals through my Fitbit. Both my heart rate and oxygen saturation finally improved in the last two nights. It still needs some improvement and I hope it will be much better this week. I also hope my doctor adjusts the dosage of my medications. Still praying there won't be any bleeding so I can recover faster. 

Hope you all had a blessed Sunday. 


CB///290 #StuckAtHomeDay/320 #StayHome #BeKind

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Food Poisoning

The most unfortunate thing happened today, I got sick from food poisoning from one of my favorite restos.

I think I got all of it out after being nauseous for an hour. Going to rest for now. Hope tomorrow will be a better day.

CB///289 #StuckAtHomeDay/319 #StayHome #BeKind

Friday, January 22, 2021

What I Miss Most from Home

This day a year ago Miggy and I flew back to Singapore. I'm glad I was able to take a break and stay home for six weeks. We were also able to go to Baguio and Bohol during that time. We had planned to go to Tagaytay also in early January. Good thing I decided just to stay home because Taal Volcano erupted. 

Bohol, December 2019.

I've lived in Singapore for almost ten years now and this is the first time I've been away this long. I would normally get to go home once or twice a quarter. Being away this long has been very hard for me. I wouldn't be surprised if my doctors say that one reason why I've been sickly is due to homesickness. 

Here's what I miss most about being home:

1. Being with Miggy and my Mom. It was truly heartbreaking we were not complete for Christmas. It was certainly odd not to be with them during noche buena and media noche. And truly incomplete not to see the rest of my family and friends for Christmas. 

2. Christmas in the Philippines. I've spent several Christmases outside of the Philippines (sometimes in Jakarta, sometimes in Singapore). The best place to celebrate Christmas is at home. A big part that we missed was simbang gabi and the midnight Christmas eve mass. And as much as the fireworks during new year is annoying, I missed that too (even though they usually keep me inside because of the smoke). 

3. Filipino food. Jollibee and some Filipino restos has helped us here, but it's just not the same from what's available at home. That's also the reason why I started learning how to bake Pinoy buns. All the silogs, I miss you!

4. Shopping at home. SM! Glorietta! MOA! I miss shopping at our malls. I normally buy my clothes from Manila since the quality is better, a lot cheaper, and there are more options. It's been also hard to find Filipino ingredients here. There are times it's hard to find toyo, suka and it's been a few months since I've been able to buy Del Monte Italian spaghetti sauce (grrr). 

5. Vacation places. Back home there are so many places you can visit. We have five different types of sand, so many different types of beaches, mountains, hills, forests etc. The options are bottomless. Our last family vacation was in Bohol. I took a lot of videos, but I just can't bring myself to edit it until now. 

I know realistically it's going to be awhile before we can go back home. I'm just praying that we will be complete this Christmas. 


CB///288 #StuckAtHomeDay/318 #StayHome #BeKind 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Why Filipino Nurses are the Best

In the last few weeks I have been under the care of many nurses, most of them are Filipinos. I was honestly more at ease when it was a Filipino nurse tending to me (especially when they needed to draw blood). The first Pinoy nurse who took care at me at the ICU was Ate Benny. She has been working at that hospital for over 20 years already. She said she would have remembered me if she was around when I had heart surgery. It was the first week of new year so she was on leave that time in 2013. I really felt her concern for me and she made sure I was comfortable. 

Beautiful Thank You cards from Ms. Myna. 


The Filipino nurses I met were from different parts of the Philippines. From Valenzuela, Binan, Batangas, Iloilo, Bacolod, Davao and even Sarangani. They always spent time talking to me and I'd always share my favorite things from their provinces. They also shared how hard it's been for them since they haven't been able to go home for over a year already. They're just thankful that the situation here has eased up a bit and they're not as busy. 

Filipino nurses are the best because they show a lot of empathy to patients. When my arm was already hurting from the plot (that thing they stick on your vein with a needle), they looked for a doctor to properly place it on me (it's normally nurses who put it on here). They also understood my need to clean up in the morning and evening. And they always made sure I was comfortable. At the ICU, I knew they would check on me while I was sleeping (probably when my vitals were not good). And they were always on point for my treatment.

My cardiovascular surgeon has a lot to say about Filipino nurses. He said they are the best people to be with during a crisis. He said they are resilient, always full of good vibes, and they never give up. I think he was also referring to Ate Benny because she told me she's worked with him a lot. 

Happy selfie after visiting my nurses :)


So today I visited the nurses who took care of me at the ward and ICU. I brought them a nice thank you card and some chocolates. They were so happy to see me when I dropped by and wished me well. I thought it was important for me to show how grateful I was for their care. They work so hard and hope they would enjoy the chocolates I left for all of them. 

Of course, I am also grateful for the non-Filipino nurses. They also took care of me very well. In fact, the last nurse who took care of me made sure I wasn't hurt when she drew blood from my arm. She had a magic trick up her sleeve and I didn't even feel the 6 vials of blood she got from me. Haha. 

They are true heroes <3

CB///287 #StuckAtHomeDay/317 #StayHome #BeKind 


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

New Gadget for Our Balik Alindog Program

As I was finishing yesterday's blog post our new gadget arrived. For many years I used a MiBand 1. I got one because I wanted to monitor my steps and know if I'm getting enough deep sleep. I didn't upgrade because I didn't want a step counter with a display screen. Eventually I needed to track more things, my pulse, BP and oxygen saturation. My doctor told me to get an oximeter last May. My physiotherapist monitors it while I exercise. 


I've been wanting to upgrade my MiBand since early last year. As usual I took so long to decide what to get. After some research I decided to get a Fitbit Versa 3. Aside from the usual step count and sleep monitoring feature, it also monitors SPO2 and heart rate while you sleep. It's important for me to monitor those while I'm being treated for pulmonary embolism. 


Used it for the first time last night when we went for our evening walk. Wore it also to sleep. I was happy to review the data in the morning. I still kept waking up at odd hours, but the data reassured me that my breathing was normal. I can also show it to my doctor when I go for my check-up tomorrow. It would be interesting to see how much progress I'll be making through this gadget. And I hope next week I can go back to my PT sessions. 

I made sure I didn't push myself too hard last night. I kept myself moving after lunch by making some leche flan and walked about 1,500 steps after dinner. It was a different experience walking outside at night. It was a bit windy and that made it easier for me to breathe through the mask (yaaas!). I usually struggle breathing through a mask, I hope the monsoon sticks around for awhile. 

Thank you to everyone who reached out last night. Really appreciate your prayers and messages. 


CB///286 #StuckAtHomeDay/316 #StayHome #BeKind 



Tuesday, January 19, 2021

I'm Scared

I have been waking up in the middle of the night since my doctor told me I have another PE*. I know others who had PEs can commiserate. The medication you take for the blood clots does not dissolve the clot. What it does is thin your blood and it should hopefully break down the clot. The scary part is if it is dislodged and goes somewhere it shouldn't. 

A year ago today, Miggy and I got to eat at one of our
favorite restos in Glorietta. Missing home a lot.


The last nurse who took care of me said she was surprised I was still in the hospital. She said I looked well the week before. She didn't know I was moved to ICU. I told her that my doctor discovered I have clots in my lungs. She agreed when I told her that PE is a silent killer. In the US, a well-known pregnant blogger passed away recently at the age of 36. The cause of death was pulmonary embolism (source). PE can happen to anyone, even very active athletes. 

I was lucky again because my doctor wanted to be assured I was fit before discharging me. In the last three months I survived myocarditis and pulmonary embolism. As my Mom would say when I face challenges, "God really loves you." I never questioned Him on why I've been getting ill. What's important is I'm slowly getting well and I still probably have a purpose for being here. That part I learned from my Dad. 

It doesn't take away the fact that I get scared. I wake up in the wee hours of the morning to check if I'm breathing properly. My doctor always asks me if I woke up because I'm having breathing problems or if I need to pee. It's neither. I just think that maybe my guardian angel woke me up so I can change position or drink some water. In time I'll probably sleep through the night again. 

PE messes with your mind. Blogging helps me be more positive. I'm also trying to do more activities at home. Yesterday, Sweetie and I made hummus. Today I made leche flan. It was a bit hard because my hands were shaking. That happens to me when I drink too many medicines. I was determined to do it though because I know Sweetie will enjoy eating leche flan. I'm mindful that I still need to take it easy, so I rest whenever I feel tired. 

Tomorrow I'll unbox something that will help me and Sweetie with our balik alindog program! 

CB///285 #StuckAtHomeDay/315 #StayHome #BeKind 


*pulmonary embolism

Monday, January 18, 2021

The Bad Days


Today was a bad day. I wasn't able to do any exercise because I felt extremely exhausted even with 8 hours of sleep. This is one of the things that happens when you have a PE. I may have pushed myself too hard yesterday or it may be one of those days. 

I wanted to go to the park again today. It's so windy now here in Singapore. Yesterday, I sat on a bench at the park and just enjoyed the cool breeze. I wanted to experience that again because it reminds me of summer at my childhood home. Mom set-up a hammock in her garden where I usually had afternoon naps. That's what I always think about when I meditate. 

After my afternoon nap I fought off the heavy feeling and made hummus with Sweetie. I'm so glad I got a food processor last year. We finished making it in a jiffy. I was quite dizzy though after the activity. We made hummus because we read it's good food for those who are on blood thinners. Yup, we've been watching what I eat. I'm probably going crazy because I haven't had coffee for three weeks now. 

Homemade hummus ftw!


I've also been doing some research about pulmonary embolism and DVT in the Philippines. I'm surprised that there's not much stuff written about it. I was also misdiagnosed several times before my PE was discovered. 

I think more awareness should be put on this disease since there are cases where patients who recover from COVID19 eventually have blood clots (source/there's a lot of articles about this, just search on Google). My illness though was not caused by the coronavirus. My doctors are still trying to determine what caused it. If you have friends who had COVID19, please remind them to exercise and keep moving. 

Hopeful that tomorrow will be a better day.

CB///284 #StuckAtHomeDay/314 #StayHome #BeKind


  

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Exercise After a Blood Clot (Pulmonary Embolism)

My body got de-conditioned even before my first pulmonary embolism (PE) was discovered. It came to a point I would be breathless after walking just a few steps. I experienced that again just before Christmas. When you have a blood clot in your lungs you're going to feel suffocated. It gets worse when you are going uphill or going up a stairway. This means, you become allergic to exercise. 

What I did not know after my first PE was I needed to exercise. I was travelling a lot that time and it did not cross my mind that I needed physiotherapy. It was over a year later after experiencing severe back pains when I was mandated by my spine doctor to do physiotherapy. I improved a lot in a few months and then the circuit breaker started. All PT clinics were closed, I couldn't swim and we were too scared to go out. I got de-conditioned again. 

My doctors have different ideas about exercise, so I did some research and found several videos on YouTube about post-PE exercise. They all said that it is beneficial. It takes a lot to get up and start exercising after your PE treatment starts. At the hospital I was just making 150 to 200 steps per day at the ward and almost none when I was at ICU. 

When I was moved back to the regular room from the ICU I made it a point to sit on a chair from breakfast to dinner. I told myself I had to move around because I don't want to wear compression socks all the time. I only registered 500+ steps when Sweetie brought me home. The next day Sweetie encouraged me to do some walking. I walked at sloth-pace, but managed 1,000 steps and had to rest in-between. I felt woozy and had to hold onto Sweetie's arm. 


Yesterday, I managed 1,250+steps. Still felt a bit woozy and wasn't confident yet to walk without Sweetie by my side. I noticed that breathing wasn't as labored anymore. Today I woke up early and bravely asked Sweetie if we can have breakfast at McDonald's. It's an 8-minute walk at normal pace, it took us 15 minutes because I had to rest at the bus stop. I was wheezing a little too, but I told myself I need to graduate from sloth pace to turtle pace in the next few days. 

Made it back home in one-piece and even cooked lunch (steamed fish ftw!). I was wiped out by 2pm. I think I may have pushed too hard today (4,500+ steps), but I'm happy I did. I need to be confident again about moving around independently before I can resume physiotherapy. I need to gain that confidence this week while Sweetie is still home. I can only go back to work when I'm breathing better and have the stamina to last staying up the whole day. 

I'm still pretty tired now and thinking whether I should take a walk tomorrow. Alternatively I can do some light exercises at home. We'll see when I wake up tomorrow. 

Some resources on exercise after pulmonary embolism (of course check with your doctor first):

Getting active after a blood clot

Patient Pulse: Exercising Safely After a Blood Clot


CB///283 #StuckAtHomeDay/313 #StayHome #BeKind


Saturday, January 16, 2021

How Sweetie Took Care of Me

"In sickness and health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part."

Even before Sweetie and I got married he already experienced staying at the hospital with me. He volunteered to stay because my Mom's helper couldn't stay with me for a night. He's had to do this a few more times (twice in the last 4 weeks). My doctors and nurses always tell me I have a great, supportive husband. I do! 


I know I scared Sweetie a lot in the last two weeks. I know he wasn't sleeping well because he was really worried. When I had my first PE I was treated as an outpatient, but things have become complicated in the last two years. I am so thankful Sweetie has been my rock throughout this ordeal. 

Everyone gets sick. That's why it's important to find the right person to spend your life with. In the patient group I'm part of, I've read some patients experience getting abandoned by their partners. Taking care of someone is a huge responsibility. It is the most unglamorous side of marriage. I think the hardest we've been through was when I had heart surgery (twice) and when Sweetie had knee surgery. We're also lucky we have Miggy who's always been supportive too.

The key to taking care of your spouse when they're sick is to have a level head. Do not panic! You have to be calm because your energy will rub off on your spouse. Sweetie is the best at that, he never really panics. Here's what he does whenever I'm hospitalized:

(1) He's my spokesperson - we picked up this term when Sweetie had knee surgery. You need to appoint a spokesperson who can make decisions when needed. 

(2) Prepare things for hospital stay - I had Sweetie bring me a few essentials for the hospital. Some essentials include underwear, water bottle, toiletry bag and maintenance medication. He also brought my tablet which helped a lot when I was in ICU (they actually encouraged me to use it). 

(3) Help with meals - meals came wrapped in cling wrap that's so hard to remove. A nurse told me they've been doing that to protect patients. Sweetie had to unwrap the food for me since my arm always had a plot in it. We stuck to the diet they gave me and I only ate Skyflakes once when I got so hungry. 

(4) Jaybucks expands to hair styling! - haha, yes, my hair has grown so long and unruly. I asked Sweetie to help fix my hair and he made a nice braid for me. 

(5) Pack up and bring me home - we learned in previous hospital stays that it's best to put all your stuff in luggage. It's more manageable and Sweetie still had a free hand to hold me as we walked out of the hospital. 

(6) Others - took care of business center matters and communicating with my other doctors. 

"Let all that you do be done with love."

1 Corinthians 16:!4

Road to recovery update: still at sloth pace, but managed at least 1,250 steps (+25% from yesterday). Still experiencing some dizziness and not yet confident to walk outside on my own. Got knocked out from meds in the afternoon. Some back pain after drinking meds. 

CB///282 #StuckAtHomeDay/312 #StayHome #BeKind

Friday, January 15, 2021

Road to Recovery: One Step at a Time

I never went back to normal after my first pulmonary embolism (PE) in 2018. It was really hard for me especially since part of my job requires me to travel. Many health articles say that it takes one to two years to recover. You also basically become allergic to exercise. Just before my doctor diagnosed my second PE last week I would be out of breath walking ten steps to and from the bathroom. 

Enjoying the fresh air by the pool.


The medication will not dissolve the clots in my lungs. With thinner blood it will hopefully disintegrate as blood flows or it can become a scar. The danger lies when a clot gets dislodged and travel somewhere where it blocks the flow of blood. It's like getting bubble tea pearls stuck in the straw. I did some research about post-PE exercise and it is a must. 

Yesterday I insisted on walking to the taxi stand. I didn't want a wheelchair because I wanted to see how far I could walk without huffing and puffing. It was adrenaline haha. I hope to go back to my physiotherapy sessions next week, but that would only work if I don't get easily exhausted (the first step is to commute to the clinic!). Today Sweetie accompanied me on a short walk to the pool. It was just a thousand steps and I'm now exhausted. 

My doctor told me to take it easy, but I have to work on getting my stamina back. I hope to add more steps when we go out for a walk tomorrow. I'm also doing some stretching exercise (more on the legs) to get my blood circulating properly. I'm also walking around every 30 minutes so my legs won't swell. 

Sweetie said we should set a goal so I can get myself moving more. We'll set this during dinner tonight :)

CB///281 #StuckAtHomeDay/311 #StayHome #BeKind

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Home Sweetie Home!

Thank you Lord I'm finally home after 11 days at the hospital. I'm so thankful my doctor followed his instincts and figured out what was wrong. It is the second time he saved my life. I am grateful to the teams of health workers who took care of me 24 hours a day, and the uncles and aunties who made sure I ate properly and kept my room clean. And thank you to Sweetie, Miggy, my siblings and friends who supported and prayed for me throughout the ordeal.

Today my doctor finally discharged me! At one-thirty in the afternoon I finally stepped out of the room and was greeted by so many nurses at their station. It was probably two shifts of nurses because they usually change teams at 2pm. It was so overwhelming because all of them were wishing me well. I wish I could send them something to show my gratitude. Maybe I'll bring something next week for my follow-up appointment. 

Now that I am home I will focus first on getting well. My doctor said to monitor my symptoms and immediately come back if I bleed. I bled a lot when my first PE was treated. I have to rest, eat properly and move around as much as i could. It takes months to dissolve the clots and one to two years to fully recover. I hope and pray it won't happen again. 


CB///280 #StuckAtHomeDay/310 #StayHome #BeKind


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Don't Want to Clot Again

To be honest I did not really want to write about my ordeal. It is something very personal and only my closest friends know I've been sickly. It was on Christmas day when I started having severe asthma. I prayed to Baby Jesus to let me know what path I should go on next. 

The asthma attacks went on and I saw my doctor on the 28th. By new year I was in bad shape and I was admitted on the day of my follow-up checkup. Things took a serious turn when my doctor sent me for more tests and determined I had multiple blood clots in my left lung.

I decided to write about my ordeal because pulmonary embolism is very hard to detect. I suffered from it for 7 months before it was found after I insisted on getting a second opinion. I don't fall under the profile of people who are prone to PEs so it never occurred to my long-time doctors that it would happen to me. We all thought I was just having severe asthma and my lungs were clear as of mid-December. No one in my family had this issue, it can happen to anyone.

You can learn more about what pulmonary embolism is by watching this short video (please watch, who knows you may save a life) --

I'm part of a group of PE survivors. We provide support to each other because there's so many things you will go through when you have a PE. Joining the group helped me understand better what I was going through and the adjustments I had to make to have a better quality of life. You need to have a very strong will to survive a PE. It helps to have a strong support system of family and friends too.

I went through an additional test to check my brain today. My doctor wanted to make sure the blobs in my head are stable and not bleeding. I was really scared, but thankful it was a group of Filipino radiologists who took care of me today (actually the other scans too). They helped me relax by playing 80s music (Eternal Flame, Stand by Me etc). The blobs are stable. Whew! We still need to make sure I don't bleed from the medication. 

As a patient it is important to keep yourself informed. I started watching videos last night about what kind of nutrition plan I should follow and whether I could exercise already. There are a lot of resources online to understand dos and donts. If you have a loved one who is in a similar situation, it's best for you to be well informed too.

My doctor said he is sending me home tomorrow. That means he is happy now. Still have a blood test tomorrow and I hope my ddimer will be lower. I'm still out of breath and will have to rest to recover fully. 

Don't take for granted breathlessness. Pulmonary embolism is a killer clot.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

CB///279 #StuckAtHomeDay/309 #StayHome #BeKind





Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Watching the World from the Window

I finally have a view from my window. My first room only had the wall of the hospital outside. At the ICU at least it was the window where the lifts of the doctor offices were located. Now i could see the hotel across the street, a major thoroughfare, some patches of green, and a school. It's hopefully a sign that I'd soon be out of the woods. The school is also serving a reminder that I still have a mission.



After tea break today I stood by the window to watch what was going on outside. Saw one of our buses pass by, several luxury cars, students just out from school about to cross the street, and construction workers draining the water brought by the heavy rains. Life goes on outside while i stay put for now.


I still follow my doctor's advise to stay offline. This is to reduce stress and focus my mind in getting well. I've been using the digital wellbeing function of my phone. It helps a lot and it's forced me to rest. I still read the news and all i can do now is pray that things would get better. Seeing so many countries go on lockdown again is sad. Here in the hospital, they have been vaccinating the frontline workers already. 

My doctor had me scanned again today. We took the risk to rule out anything serious. He brought good news that my scan was clear. It doesnt explain though why I had clots again. He said that it's good news that there's nothing serious to worry about. We just need to plan what to do to prevent another clot. My other doctor suggested an IVC filter, but my other doctors are not convinced. We'll have to discuss more in the next few days. What's important for now is I get a good night's sleep.

CB///278 #StuckAtHomeDay/308 #StayHome #BeKind



Monday, January 11, 2021

Back at the Ward

Spent three gruelling nights at the ICU. Blood clots in the lungs is serious business. Hourly checks of your vitals means you can't get any proper sleep. My arms are bruised from the drip which had to be moved several times because my veins are too small. I am grateful for the care the nurses. I was fully dependent on them. 

I think it's important to smile through challenges.

My doctor said I could go back to the regular room this morning. That came with two needle pricks for a blood test (the first one did not produce enough blood huhu). I didn't care since I was looking forward to going back to a regular room (since that means maybe I can go home soon). My doctor though isn't happy yet which means I am not out of the woods yet. 

The hardest part of this ordeal is the anxiety that comes with having pulmonary embolism. You have to depend on your body to respond to the treatment. You can't really control a clot and the only way to know its location is through a CT scan. We also don't know the cause of the clotting (oddball forever!). I barely slept last Saturday because I was worried. Changed tactics last night and focused on praying. 

The first time I had it I believe I recovered because of my faith. Everything I've been through I survived because of faith. I still want to do a lot of things and pray I'll pull through.

Pray for me?


CB///277 #StuckAtHomeDay/307 #StayHome #BeKind




Sunday, January 10, 2021

Voice Typing Today's Blog

Hi everyone! It has been a challenging day today. They had to switch my drip to my right arm. My veins are too small and keep swelling up, so I was told not to move my right arm for now. I'm right-handed so this is proving to be difficult.



I remembered that with Google Assistant you can use it to voice type. This is the first time I'm using it to blog. I remember that time I taught Lasallian Brothers in Rome how to use this feature together with Google translate. They said some of them had difficulty typing and some shared that it was hard not to have a common language to communicate with each other.

If my dad was alive today he'd be using this feature a lot. Growing up he used to ask me to type his writings but he had the most difficult handwriting to understand. Eventually I got used to it that's probably why Mom gave me his love letters to her. It's one of my treasures. 

Isn't technology amazing? What about you what new technologies are you using to make your life easier? What features have you used with your parents?

Happy Sunday everyone!

CB///276 #StuckAtHomeDay/306 #StayHome #BeKind 


Saturday, January 9, 2021

Life at ICU

Yesterday I was diagnosed with pulmonary embolism. It means I have several blood clots in my lungs. The cause has been a mystery for my doctors. Common causes for PE are DVT (deep vein thrombosis from your legs), your genes, birth control pills (never took them), May Thurners Syndrome (compression of a vein and artery), or from a trauma (or surgery). It was originally thought I have May Thurners Syndrome, but my doctors are not convinced about it. I'm truly an oddball and so the investigation continues.



My doctor was unhappy that I was still breathless after 5 days of treatment. Blood test showed my ddimer was elevated so I had a CT scan (I'm glowing again probably!). PE was confirmed a few minutes after I was sent to my room via a chariot (a bed lol). Few hours later I was sent to the ICU. 

It's my fourth time in the ICU. Twice after open heart surgery, once last month, and now. I'm one of the few patients in the ICU this weekend. The nurses told me they're glad things are under control here now. Most of the nurses taking care of me are Filipinos. They're the best!

My day starts with the nurse taking my vitals and they give me a sponge bath, then I dozed off until they give me my pre-breakfast meds. I'm happy I have more options for breakfast here! I had french toast with poached egg this morning (ala Toastbox!), tomorrow I'll have pancakes. 

My doctor usually shows up as I finish breakfast. By that time Sweetie is up too so I update him about what the doctor discussed. Then I nap for an hour, wake up, do the nebulizer and then eat lunch. Visiting hours are from 12 to 2pm so usually Sweetie is around while I eat lunch. I hope tomorrow he can spend more time with me. I dozed off again (hello drowsiness meds) and wake up for 4pm nebulizer. Chat with the boys, watch vids/read a book. 

Dinner is around 6:30pm and then I drink a cocktail of meds. I fight getting knocked out by it so I can chat with Sweetie, Miggy and some friends. The nurse took pity on me tonight and gave me another sponge bath since I really feel antsy if I don't wash up before going to bed. And now I blog, after this I'll say goodnight to the boys and then do my evening prayers, Didache reading and reflection. 

Things are rad, but the wires and drip stuck on me remind me I'm here because I'm sick. I'm thinking it's a little pain for now and I'll get well soon. I'm in bed all day, but I'm still exhausted (my body is working harder so I can breathe). 

Looks like they're turning off the lights now. It means I need to sleep soon.

Good night, don't let the bed bugs bite.

CB///275 #StuckAtHomeDay/305 #StayHome #BeKind 


Friday, January 8, 2021

Uh-oh Not Again

I got up earlier than usual today. Showered earlier also so I can be fresh for today's activities. I thought I was going to be discharged, but my doctor wanted to keep me for another day. 



After his visit I had a flurry of activities. A blood test, then my spine doctor came by, then it was back and forth in other areas in the hospital. Things became serious in the afternoon when my doctor came and said he wanted to do a test. I said yes because I thought it would be better if we knew what was wrong.

I have another PE*. Ugh. And now I'm in the ICU again for monitoring. I went through this two years ago, but didn't get hospitalized back then. I hope this one isn't as bad since it was detected earlier. So, here we go again. I hope they discharge me soon.

 CB///274 #StuckAtHomeDay/304 #StayHome #BeKind 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

It's 8!

I was reminded today by FB about a momentous occasion that transpired 8 years ago -- my heart surgery. I usually remember it, but it totally slipped my mind today.


I just remembered because FB showed an old photo of my friend Tappy visiting me at the hospital (photo above). The photo was from a week later when I finally got out of ICU. I saw the photo while I was going through treatment today.

I read somewhere that all the cells in your body are supposed to be refreshed every seven years (something like that). I was really hoping 2020 would have been a good year health-wise for me. Things were going well until the lockdown happened. Then things started going haywire. I guess it's a mix of things, laced with a lot of stress and being away from family. 

My 8-year old repaired mitral valve is beautiful as ever according to my cardiovascular surgeon. The last eight years have been spectacular. Here's a few amazing things I've done with my repaired heart -

1. Climb Borobudur Temple four months after surgery (I had a second one a few weeks after the first)
2. Did a treetop walk in Singapore. I remember there was a crazy zipline adventure included.
3. Braved a cold snap in Zurich. Had to skip going to the Alps though.
4. Redwoods adventure with my teammates. I managed some of the crazy activities.
5. Kept level headed through crazy boat rides.
6. Survived almost weekly travels until end of 2019. 

I may not have achieved my original goal post surgery - to run a marathon. There were just some things that never went back to normal. What I lacked in physical strength I made up for it by giving all my heart in everything I did. 


Looking back I should have probably slowed down after I had PE in 2018, but that's just me. I can never do anything half-heartedly. Since I was young my Mom would always bust me out at night to tell me it's time to rest. My doctors have also noted that my A+++ personality is a problem (yes they said it's A plus plus plus lol). But let's leave that for another day.

Today I celebrate my second chance at being alive. I am grateful everyday for the many people who made that possible and who supported me through the journey: my work dads who saved my life, my doctors, nurses and everyone in the hospital who took care of me, my family who took care of me, my teammates, my friends who prayed for me, and that person who wrote the book about going through heart surgeries. Remembering what I've been through when I had two open heart surgeries is a good reminder for me that the my recent and current hospital boarding is a tiny drop of what I went through 8 years ago. If I survived that, I should certainly bounce back soon.

CB///273 #StuckAtHomeDay/303 #StayHome #BeKind 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Foiled

I had a good idea about what i wanted to blog about today, but I've been having a hideous roll of headaches and migraine the whhole day. My doctor said, "Let's terminate it now!" Ohhh, it did for about two hours and then it came back.



So now I'm in a semi-dark room trying to blog on my tablet while watching super cute puppies on BBC. My grand post got lost because of the headache. Oh well, maybe tomorrow will be a better day. 

CB///272 #StuckAtHomeDay/302 #StayHome #BeKind 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Muffin Time and Positivity

Day two today at the hospital and it is supper time. Auntie brought in a muffin and Milo. This is what I was looking forward to all day haha.



It's been an exhausting day with the tests and treatment. My doctor hopes we're on the right track because he said I'm a special case (it's complicated hehe). Looks like we are because my breathing has been okay. Once this is resolved I hope the giddiness will be gone too, that's imperative before I can go back to work.

I had Sweetie bring me the books I ordered from Manila. I was so busy today I haven't gotten around to reading it. Hope to read before I go to sleep. I should probably stop watching BBC Earth noh? Since we don't have cable this is a channel I usually watch when I travel. Got to keep learning! 

I'm so grateful a number of Pinoy nurses are on my floor. They come in every so often to check on me. Sometimes it's hard to describe what you're feeling in English! I remember the nurse at the other hospital who was so worried that not all my allergies were listed. I ended up having more flags on my bed dashboard lol. I hope by the end of this ordeal I can send something for the nurses who took care of me in both hospitals.

My other doctor messaged me to send some reminders and said, "Keep positive!" He told me before how amazed he is with my spirit. A few years after my surgery he said they almost lost me and said he believed that it was my fighting spirit that got me through. I've overcome several illnesses that have high mortality rates, so I should be able to get through this small hump soon enough. It's just weirdly taking so long.

I'm on a strict diet right now, but since muffins make me happy I wonder if auntie can give me more heehee. 

CB///271 #StuckAtHomeDay/301 #StayHome #BeKind 






Monday, January 4, 2021

Whoops I Did it Again

I know its not good to start the year like this.



I'm back in the hospital again. I just went in for my follow up consultation, but since I've been unwell my doctor decided to keep me in to figure this out properly. 

Please pray for me.

CB///270 #StuckAtHomeDay/300 #StayHome #BeKind 


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Sweater Weather with Cobra Kai and Karate Kid

Ohhhh yesterday the weather yesterday was pretty cool here in Singapore. It's quite rare for the temp to go down to 21'C during the day. It was raining all day thus the cool weather. It was one of the rare days we did not use the a/c. The wind blew so hard it made low town howling sounds. 


Since the weather was cozy we spent the day watching more episodes of Cobra Kai. I loved Karate Kid when it came out in 1984 and I had a crush back then with Ralph Macchio (who didn't?). I super loved the movie I named one of my programs as Project Miyagi

Only discovered Cobra Kai a few months ago and we loved watching it, so we looked forward to watching the third season. Glad it came out earlier than planned. It's really interesting to see the story continue 35 years after the movie came out. We're now retracing the show and just watched the original Karate Kid which is finally available in Netflix. We'll probably watch the other installments next weekend. 

I was just in third grade when the original Karate Kid was shown. My other favorite movies at the time were ET and Star Wars. I guess it was an impressionable age because I carry thoughts about those movies to this day. I told Sweetie that Kreese from Cobra Kai is like the new generation Darth Vadar, haha. What about you? What movies from your childhood would you want to see resurrected 30 years from now?

CB///269 #StuckAtHomeDay/299 #StayHome #BeKind 


Saturday, January 2, 2021

"Fan Girl" on New Year's Day

Every year I try to watch a few movies from the MMFF roster. I once watched three movies in a row with friends haha. My favorite was that year they had a lot of indie films. I don't get to watch a lot of movies, but I like watching Pinoy made movies. When I was a child my Tita Olive used to bring me with her to watch movies and they were usually tagalog


So yesterday I suggested to Sweetie we watch the MMFF best picture, Fan Girl. It took awhile for me to find the best way to watch it because the news articles weren't very clear. The easiest way to watch it is through GMovies Stream Now. If you have a GCash account it only costs PhP250 and US$10 if you use other payment methods (I think it's US$10 when you're abroad). I signed up for a GMovies account and paid using GCash, then used Chromecast to stream it to my TV. It worked perfectly. 

I got curious to watch the movie because of the trailer. It tells the story of a fan who managed to spend time with her idol by stowing away in his truck. It's a slow burn movie with revelations coming on the latter part. And wow, the events in the latter part of the movie were unexpected. 

I think most of us have gone through that feeling of fan girling for an artist. I fan girled really bad for Menudo when I was in third/fourth grade. I had posters of them inside of my cabinet and went to watch their concerts. I don't know what happened, but eventually I realized it was impractical since I would never really meet them in person lol.  Since then I have drawn the line and just admire artists without going gaga. 

For Jane, the fan girl, she was probably very disappointed to learn about the real person behind her idol. She loved him too much she was willing to overlook his faults. The turn of events eventually woke her up from her fantasy. The way it happened was very jarring and would make you think how much those two days changed the life of Jane after. 

I don't remember exactly what happened when I realized that it was impractical to fan girl. Since then I prefer to admire my favorite artists from a distance. If you ask me, I'd prefer not to know them in person because I don't want to get disappointed. I'd like to preserve that idea I have of an artist, but things are changing now since artists now have vlogs where they share more about themselves. 

Fan Girl is a great movie to watch. The concept is quite interesting and I'm sure you can relate to it. If you're going to watch it, please watch via legitimate means!

CB///268 #StuckAtHomeDay/298 #StayHome #BeKind 

  

Friday, January 1, 2021

2021, New Year in Singapore

Happy new year everyone! I hope you and your family had a safe and happy new year's eve. 

It feels a little weird that it's the new year already. I opened my new planner today. It's a cute planner I ordered online and it's supposed to help you "collect happy days". When I leafed through it I was surprised with the many pages for planning, setting goals, those things one does for new year. I quickly closed it since I'm not ready to work on my 2021 plans. I'll probably end up sticking Grab Food resto stickers on it like last year hehe. 

I still had to catch up with lost sleep so I woke up really late. Sweetie and I stayed up late and hung out with Miggy for the new year countdown. I cooked meatball spaghetti, ham and made potato salad for our media noche. Midnight came quickly and we were surprised our neighbors started screaming and making noise using pots and pans. We never experienced that before in our old place. 

New year's eve was very quiet here save for our neighbors banging pots and pans at midnight. We read that fireworks were going to happen in different parts of Singapore where people can watch from their window. We did hear some fireworks from Miggy's end, but unlike in previous years it was very short. 

We just spent a quiet day fixing a few things and watching Cobra Kai. We're going to check out some of the MMFF movies to see if there's anything worth watching. I heard that Fan Girl won best picture and more awards so that might be good to watch. Have you watched any of the MMFF movies?

Sweetie congratulated me this morning for completing 365 days of blogging! He asked me if I was going to continue and I said I'm not sure. We'll see how things go since my priority is to sort out my health. 

Happy new year! May this year be a better year for all of us. 

CB///267 #StuckAtHomeDay/297 #StayHome #BeKind