Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm not superwoman

I have this sudden thought that I'm very lousy.

People always tell me how capable I am to be handling so many things at one go, how I could juggle work, tuition and private life so well 24/7 and how they have always known me to be strong and determined etc. However, I don't feel that I'm like what they've described at all. I'm not that zai3 you know?

I get more and more emails and sms from friends and strangers telling me how they really appreciate me doing so much for Cynthia and Charmaine and how they think that it's really admirable. Truth is... I don't really think I'm that competent and there's really nothing admirable about it. I'm just doing what I wanna do.

I'm running a temperature with a headache. I was on my way to work when I had to step outta the mrt and take the opposite direction coz my mum was screaming and shouting that she could not find her keys at home. I then decided that I was too exhausted and I needed to go home to have a good rest.

I'm so lethargic whenever I'm working and I suffer from headache and nausea every single day. I cannot finish my food every meal. I sleep 2-3 hours every night and I just cannot get myself to sleep more. There is simply too many things to do than to sleep.

I pushed back my wedding preparation, pushed back photoshoot date and basically pushed back everything. The only consolation was that we managed to squeeze in ring fitting and meeting of PG and VG.

I have many understanding people around me, especially at work. I've got nice colleagues to help me ease the workload a lot and a compassionate superior who totally understands my situation. In fact, I feel so bad that I can't really give my 100% at work. I kept taking half days and time offs. I still owe my superior a very important doc and I've been pushing back the deadline.

Now that exhaustion have taken a toll on me, I feel like I'm really very lousy. Truly capable people whould be juggling everything all with ease whereas I'm struggling to handle everything. I just wanna do things which I want but I obviously cannot do them well.

Kh said, "You think you superwoman ah?"

The doc said, "You think you superwoman ah?"

I guess I was dreaming that I could be superwoman.

Ignore me please... I'm rattling off and I hope to feel better after the ramblings.

On a happier note, Cyn's friend has contacted me and we would be working together to spruce up charmaine's weblog. We are looking into making the site more user-friendly and adding more details of the treatment costs. Everything would be more transparent so please rest assured that your donations would be put into good use.

A little goes a long way. We would be more than thankful with any amount you donate so please spread the word around.

Feisty Char needs bullets to fight!

A sudden conviction... Is that a sign?

If Cynthia had clearly made up her mind and stuck to what she last informed me a few hours ago, Charmaine would be starting on her chemotherapy tomorrow or rather, later today.

Yes, yes people who talked to me would know that I'm not a great supporter of putting Charmaine through chemotherapy with only 10% chance. Cynthia used to have the same thoughts too. Even her pragmatic brother who used to always go by treatments backed by doctors and hospital (in cyn's words) was also having 2nd thoughts about putting Charmaine through chemo. On Monday, we just kept thinking of alternative treatments.

I really hate all the side effects of chemo which would cause Charmaine to be a totally changed person. We really could not bear the thoughts of putting her through all the pain, changing her lifestyle and subsequently, her character.

I cannot bear the thoughts that the strongest chemo would be used on Charmaine who is just a little girl. I cannot imagine all her healthy cells being killed and her organs affected. I cannot imagine confining her at home. (She is not allowed to go out as her immunity system would be low and she is forbidden to play with other children as well.) What kind of life would that be for our active little girl?

There were certain incidents which threw up new light and made Cynthia decide that putting Charmaine through chemo is the best option. I would think that Cynthia's decision would be prudent as she knows what's best for her daughter and I totally support her decision.

This is quite random but being the 10%-is-akin-to-0% chance Jolene that I am, I suddenly had a very strong conviction while having warm water running over my head. A conviction which tells me that miracles can happen. This conviction rang so clearly in my mind that I truly believe it's a sign.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Updates after the family conference at KK

In a nutshell, Charmaine would have:

- 10% chance of recovery after undergoing the strongest chemotherapy available
- 30% to 40% chance of recovery if surgery to remove the tumours and bone marrow transplant are performed after the chemotherapy

It does sound grim but on the bright side, Little Charmaine was so cheerful today. She didn’t throw any tantrum and she had her cute cheeky smile plastered on her face most of the time. She was clearly very happy and her mood had certainly changed ever since she was brought home.

I seriously think that the mind is a very powerful tool to control how one’s body would respond.

Guess what our princess said today with great determination?

"I want to fight the monster in my tummy!"

That's our feisty little girl!


Click here to read more.

I found a cute banner button specially made for little charmaine!

Feisty Char needs bullets to fight!

I dunno if I can reveal where I got this from. Anyway, I realise that the person who made it is a friend of my good friend. The relation to charmaine is so distant and I really appreciate this little act of creating a button for her. Thank you!

Edited to add:
Got the code!!!! Thanx Alvin! It's really uncanny to know that our degree of contact is actually not so distant! =)

Copy the HTML in your blog/website to show the badge:

<a href="http://ourfeistyprincess.blogspot.com" target="_blank"><img src="http://shootingpixie.com/wp-content/themes/nishita/i/charbanner.jpg" alt="Feisty Char needs bullets to fight!" /></a>



Ok this is dumb coz I've disabled the right click function on my blog. Please get the code from Char's blog.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Waiting yet not willing for this day to come

Doctors have confirmed that char is at the 4th stage of neuroblastoma. =(

I'll be taking leave to accompany cyn and her bro for the family conference tomorrow. I wish to be well-informed about char's condition yet I dun wish to know all the negative aspects of it at the same time.

We really have to brace ourselves for tomorrow.

Please help us to pray for hope.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I've just created a weblog for Charmaine @ http://ourfeistyprincess.blogspot.com

I can't believe I took half the day to do such an incomplete work. I'm a noob at IT stuff.

It's pretty raw and I've still got lots to add. Will do in time to come.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to raise funds for Charmaine's treatments. Do drop me an email or sms me if you are interested in donating. Please also click on the nuffnang ads on my blog and on char's weblog. All proceeds would go to char's funds.

Edited to add:
- Please help me to spread her blog link to people you know.
- The nuffnang ads on char's weblog is still not working as nuffnang requires some time to monitor the blog traffic before inputting clickable ads. Pls help to click the ads here instead. They're linked. Thank u very much.
- I really din expect the good response. An account would be set up soon. In the meantime, pls continue to inform me of your interest in helping cyn and char in any way. =)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Please help me pray for little Charmaine

Last updated 19th February 2009

Dear friends & readers,

My cute little god daughter, Charmaine, has a 12cm tumour in her liver. From tests today, it's confirmed to be cancerous.

It is too big to be operated on and the doctors are holding back lots of information. We're all very worried.

She is still her cute and active self albeit a few tubes pierced into her small little veins. Tomorrow, would be the day when more tests would be carried out which may include a few minor ops. By then, she would not be her usual self anymore and it really pains me to have that thoughts.

To all who read this, please help me to pray for her well-being.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,
Jolene

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Backdated Sunday, 15th February 2009

Decided to surprise little char with a Barbie doll and some other toys.

Took a long time choosing a Barbie doll. 21st century Barbies suck big time. They look like bitches, sluts or trannies with their huge slanted eyes and gaudy eyeshadows, pouty glossy lips and much too high nose bridges. Let's not even go into their fashion sense, which all along had actually been a disaster only that it had been overlooked since Barbie was gorgeous then.

Was enthralled by the DIY wooden toys and finally decided upon a dining table set which consisted of a table, 4 chairs and a cabinet which doors could be opened and closed.

Rushed to KK with chicken rice in toll. Little Char was craving for chicken rice after 3 days of porridge diet. There was no food restriction then.

Lil Char looked tired when I arrived. She was lying down looking very nua. I was shocked as cyn told me that she was still quite her chirpy, cheeky self since being diagnosed with a tumour in her liver.

Upon hearing that there was chicken rice, she immediately brightened up. We were all so happy to see her having such huge appetite as she ate the most during that meal out of the 3 days there. She looked so cute each time she opened her mouth so big to ask for more.

She was doodling on many pieces of paper and playing with us (cyn, cyn's relatives, maid and me). I was glad to see her back to normal.

She also fiddled with her Dora lunchbox with kokokrunch inside and told me that she had been saving it for korkor. So sweet!

After she was done eating her portion, we told her that there would be a surprise and out popped Barbie. You should have seen that joyful look on her merry little face as she gave a delightful squeal and said, "BARBIEEEE!"

That clever girl saw something else in the bag and asked if there were anymore surprises.

Just then, cyn’s family arrived. Jase was so interested by the wooden toys that he wanted to open it immediately. He politely asked mei mei if he could open and mei mei agreed. Really very sweet.

In no time, we were all constructing little chairs, tables and cabinet with the relatives going “so cute” every now and then.

The 2 kids did many sweet things. They hugged and kissed each other and I even heard lil char say, “Kor kor I love you.”

Lil char was well-liked by the nurses there. Whenever, she took a walk around the ward, the nurses would call her and she would turn and flash her cute smile. They kept walking to the height measuring chart, each being so happy to almost reach 110cm and 100cm.

I carried lil char every now and then coz I really dunno when is the next time I would be able to carry her normally.

There was once she asked to come down. Hence, I squatted to put her down. When she had both her feet on the floor, she flung her arms around me and gave me a BIG and LONG hug.

It made me all so warm and fuzzy. However, I felt like crying when I felt her huge and hard tummy.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Backdated Monday, 16th February 2009

Cyn broke the news that lil char’s tumour is found to be cancerous.

Went online to search for info regarding liver cancer, printed them out and digested them whenever I’ve got the time on the mrt.

There was a mixture of positive and negative results and outlook. I concentrated on the positive ones.

We have to remain positive and strong.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Updated Tuesday/Wednesday, 17th/18th February 2009 midnightish

Just came back from KK with my parents. Little Char was sound asleep with her back facing up. She had her "bone marrow extraction" in the day. I dun exactly know the scientific term but I found out that it was for conducting tests on the sample.

Cyn showed us the huge plaster across char's lower back. It pains me to see the small of her back being plastered like that.

Cyn said that char was still quite feisty as usual. When she woke up after the op, she was unaware of what had happened. She seemed oblivious to pain if there was any and could even get up and walk. (Ketamine was given)

It was only at night when she felt the plaster behind for the first time. She became conscious and from then on, she felt the pain and started being very grouchy.

Lil Char would be undergoing a biopsy on Thursday where tissues from the liver would be removed and taken for tests.

I hope she would be strong enough to endure the pain and the after effects.

On Monday, docs found a tumour growing outside the liver on the lymph node. Whether the tumour is primary (coming from the liver itself) or secondary (coming from other organs but has spread to the liver) or has spread from the liver to other parts cannot be confirmed even till now.

For now, we are all hoping and praying that the tumour is primary.

Thank you all who replied my sms:
gera, char, ems, hs, pauline, joyce, monica, kevin, lian, evan, yihong, sam, junie jie jie, viv, maggie, candice, wy, suyin, wx, sandra, canny, yiz, reg, elsa, bwilly, shir, sunny, pris, cheryl

I haven't been able to reply and thank everyone.

Thanx for keeping lil char in your thoughts and prayers. Thanx for asking for her name. Thanx for sending your regards to cyn and char. Thanx for all your care and concern.

I was quite touched that I teared on the mrt.

Please continue to keep her in your prayers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Updated Wednesday, 18th February 2009

Received news from cyn this evening that the bone marrow test result is out... there are traces of cancer in the bone marrow too. This sucks coz it really complicates things a lot. I was still hoping for only the liver to be affected and that it would be primary.

=(

At that time when the sms came, I was out shopping for my bridal shoes for the photoshoot.

My heart was stirring with such emotions that I really could not hang outside any longer.

I was angry.

REALLY ANGRY that such a thing could happen to an innocent child.

WHY must it be Charmaine?

WHY must it happen to Cynthia who had already undergone so many turmoils in life?

I'm online now and I don't even dare to google for bone marrow cancer coz I'm afraid of what I would have to read.

I don't even wanna go to the hospital now even though I'm not bogged down by work coz I have to be strong for cyn... and I know I cannot face her now with my tear-streaked face and wavering voice.

I'm not as strong as before, not as positive as before.

But I have to be...

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Looking at all the photos of Charmaine now...

2006

slowly but surely walking and getting used to sand under her feet






2007

basically a play day at their place





This video never fails to put a smile on my face.



2008

an outing with cyn ended up with me missing them and dropping by to play with them





char's birthday celebration





poser queen



such a cute family







Many more of her cute poses in the zoo entry.


2009




Theses are the latest photo I have of char taken during this year's cny at my place. Looking at the photos make me feel like updating my blog with backdated entries again.

Seeing the photos really cheered me up a lot. =)

She's so cute and cheerful always. God will definitely bless her.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Updated Thursday, 19th February 2009

Charmaine had her biopsy op this morning. It was a 4-hour procedure.

Besides the biopsy, cyn informed me that an "equipment" was inserted/hooked around the heart to "release chemotherapy stuff" to see if her "cells are receptive" to it.

The equipment is a kinda "port" to draw blood from. Subsequent chemotherapy would be input to the body via this port too.

The double quotation marks ["...."] are added as I'm explaining it in layman's term and that my explanation could be inaccurate.

Charmaine has been transferred to the children's cancer ward after the op. None of us like it there. The nurses are quite strict and unfriendly. We can perfectly understand them for being strict as the environment is definitely different. However, being rude and unfriendly is another matter.

Number of visitors is definitely restricted too.

When kh and I arrived, char was cradled in cyn's maid's arm sleeping. Cyn's maid informed us that cyn had just gone to take a shower. ONE thing to be thankful for is good maid who has been with char since she was a baby. I can see that she really loves her a lot.

Char's hair was drenched with perspiration despite the air-conditioning. She was clearly in great pain! Her mouth was opened and she had to breathe with the aid of an oxygen mask which was held near her nose and mouth by cyn's maid. They were doing that the whole time after the op. Her stomach and other organs had to be pushed slightly upwards during the op which are pressing upwards onto her diaphragm resulting in her difficulty in breathing.

There were many tubes on her wrists and toe linked to various machines which showed readings I didn't quite understand. Fortunately, cyn understood what the readings meant and this she found out with the help of another friend. The nurses simply asked her not to bother and were often chiding her. With her new-found knowledge, she could easily monitor char's breathing, pressure etc.

Cyn told me that when char woke up after the op, she was in such great pain. Cyn assured her that she was gonna be alright and the feisty little char said "ok". She's such a darling.

They also tried breathing together naturally w/o the oxygen mask to try to reach 100 on the screen. However, after a few minutes, char complained of giddiness. So poor thing.

Cyn also promised char that she would not to cry anymore and she was doing quite well till she spoke to me about the latest updates on char's condition. Since cyn promised char not to cry, I must also be strong and not let my tears flow.

Char's emotions has been greatly affected from all the pain and turmoil. She knows that she is different now and as a young child, she is unable to understand why this is happening. She is unable to express herself clearly. She is unable to control her temper and is highly irritable. She does not like many visitors and would often throw her temper when she sees new faces.

She woke up halfway and I didn't even dare to go near her for fear of aggravating her. She was aware that I was around as she was eyeing me with great pain and irritation as I smiled and waved to her at a distance. Jase went up to tell her "I love you" and she screamed with irritation.

Why does a young child have to go through all these?

Cyn's frenz and bro did a lot of research and from all the results so far, we suspect that Char is suffering from neuroblastoma. This is worse than primary liver cancer. With tumour found outside the liver on lymph nodes and nerves with traces of cancer in her bone marrow, we braced ourselves that char could possibly be in the 3rd or 4th stage.

Next Monday would be the day when the doctor would sit down and have a talk to cyn about all the reports and results. We really have to brace ourselves for the worst possible outcome and yet at the same time hope that we are so damn wrong.

Meanwhile, we're also looking into natural healing for cancer with a change in diet. So far research on this have been quite positive.

Thank you xtina, tif, anson, jw and sushi for your smses. I may not have replied to everyone of you but I definitely appreciate all your care and concern.

Thank you maggie and june for following up on char's condition even tho we only knew each other from LD. Sorry june for the inconvenience today. Cyn and I are glad that you understand.

Thank you evan for all your efforts and tots of doing something meaningful for cyn and char. Very sweet of you and do keep me posted on the "something meaningful" updates. It's also really very sweet of your colleague to buy a care bear even though the relation is so distant. Do help me thank your colleagues and the one in the cell group too. I'm really speechless with gratitude for the concern shown by total strangers.

Thank you to all the dames in LD who left messages on the thread and for the pm-s.

Thank you to all who left messages here. You know who you are.

Thank you to colleagues who know about this matter and for your concern.

Thank you to my family members for caring and supporting.

=)


NB: Actually many people mentioned here dun have my blog url or have stopped coming here but I still wanna leave a mark on my blog to remember by.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Who, being loved, is poor? -- Oscar Wilde

zwani.com myspace graphic comments


Happy Valentine's Day to all my friends!

Whether you are single, attached or happily married, you are definitely loved by people around you.

=D


zwani.com myspace graphic comments


Happy V-Day and 8th Year Anniversary to my silly tail tail!

As usual, we won't be celebrating today or even at all this year.

It doesn't matter where you go or what you do. It's who you are with. And I know that I wanna be with him, not going anywhere, not doing anything special but just being with him makes me happy.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Recounting December Chapter 3 -- And then came the season to be jolly

Last updated on 10th February

The first reason for the jolly season…



Christmas came early this year when I gave myself a long wallet. Yipee!

It took me 2 months to decide to splurge on/ “invest” in a branded one.

I fell in love with this classic prada one ever since I felt the soft velvety lambskin in my hands.

When I saw it in my dream, I knew it was a sign.

Only that in my dream, it was the brown one and it felt as buttery as foie gras.

It sometimes amazes me how my 5 senses are so sharp in dreams.

The almost-a-decade-old wallet has since been tucked away neatly in my drawer. I can’t bear to throw it away even though it had been an embarrassment to me for quite some time.



What embarrassment you ask?

Whenever I took out a broken wallet, people around me would go "tsk" and begged me to change a new one.

Whenever I met up with long lost friends, they would exclaim in surprise that I was still using the same old wallet.

Whenever I paid for my purchases, the cashiers would never fail to eye my wallet and at me then at my wallet again, giving a condescending look.

Hence, I told kh I was gonna get the prada one and did the math for him telling him about the investment per year.

“But but… If you buy a $30 wallet and divide by the years, you’ll save even more!” he quipped.

That silly tailtail does not believe in spending on luxury goods whereas he would not even bat an eyelid to splurge on food and entertainment.

Now you see why all the labels I own are paid for by myself?

The second reason for the jolly season…

Pretty Christmas nails!







Gera did it for me. They’re fake tips. I told her I love the purple and black combi with ribbons and blings and she came up with this design.

I do think they’re really pretty but I felt handicapped with them.

I felt like I had claws instead of nails and I can’t even do daily things like buttoning my clothes, washing myself and pushing the flush button.

When I tried to pick up my vitamin C on the table, I made so much clickety cluck noises that my dad asked what the problem with my fingers was.

My mum and kh called them “monster claws” and my students thought they were disgusting. However, the bulk of people who met me gave their compliments.

Pretty pretty… but I don’t think I’ll ever do it again. It isn't very practical.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Christmas party at work

On the 23rd, we were to report to work sporting retro get up. Most of the ladies looked so “agogo” with huge hair bands and psychedelic print dresses while the guys simply looked casual with shirts untucked.

It was work as per normal, monthly co meeting and then dinner in the evening.

I threw on a green dress which I’ve worn only once during cny 2 years back, placed an obiang yellow hair band over my head, wore yellow plastic hoop earrings to match and cursed that I didn’t have a gaudy yellow bauble bead necklace.



I felt transported to the 60s and was glad that I could dress to the theme without much effort.

However, I knew I overdid the retro do when I took a cab and the uncle asked:

“你去 party huh?”

Dinner was held at a club nearby. The dark wooden railings and floor boards coupled with the rocky surroundings of the pool certainly gave a pseudo resort feel. We spent the next few seconds deceiving ourselves that we were away from Singapore. My colleagues and I pretended to be in BALI as we walked across the wooden corridor… haha…

While waiting for dinner to start, a bunch of bored curriculum dept colleagues decided to go take some pictures of the “resort”. We begged the person at the turnstile of the pool entrance to let us in for 10 minutes for photo-taking.













Time to head back indoors…





The food wasn’t too good. The soup was bland and so was the spaghetti sauce. The mussel tasted odd, the prawn was blah and the pie tasted bitter and sourish.



In short, the food sux.


The turkey was fine tho.



After dinner, we had some scavenger hunt game.

Bitchy colleague frantically trying to draw polka dots cos we did not have any item with polka dots.



Next was the Limbo Rock game.



Our group emerged winner. Bitchy colleague was indeed a smooth operator when it comes to going under the rod at waist level.

Next, the lame drinking game commenced.



Our group did very well in this. We were so proud of our female colleague representative who is almost 40 years of age and could drink as much and as fast as the guys.

The next game was even lamer than the drinking game that I refused to take any photos. It was a stripping game for the males.

We ended off the night with a mambo dance to the tune of Mercy by Duffy.



The 4 groups combined



The northerners went home via mrt and had a whale of a time chatting to and making fun of the high bitchy colleague.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Christmas Party

Christmas day was spent at byng and wl’s house.

It was a potluck lunch, tea and dinner affair.



Kh and I brought otah and curry puffs. Funny jeff brought shriveled hotdogs and that became the joke of that afternoon.

The hosts also prepared some other dishes and I love their beer vodka fruit cocktail very much. A refreshing drink!


Playing wii sports.



I really sucked at wii sports but it was fun.


I love the Win, Lose or Draw segment. It was really fun and we laughed our hearts out at all the funny drawings and guesses.



Our team was winning initially. Then along came "Barney" and spoilt the day.

Who on earth can draw Barney during Win, Lose or Draw, you tell me?

Byng really did her best at drawing a "Barney" tho. Kudos to her.


The winning team


Thanx to wl for coming up with the words. wl had a thick stack of cards and we managed to finish drawing everything. We were even hoping for more.

Actually the presents you see above weren’t the prizes for the winning team. wl tricked them and after taking photos, he whipped out more presents for the losing team and said they were actually meant as door gifts to be given when we arrived but it slipped their minds.

How thoughtful of the couple!

The losing team’s forfeit was to finish up the curry puffs coz kh and I bought too much.



Everybody was blaming us (actually only kh.. haha..) for buying too many.

I really could not shove any more food into my mouth so I passed my half eaten curry puff to him. Then when it was time to exchange gift, everyone was ready except kh who was still eating.

I happily asked:


Kh answered so pathetically and everyone laughed coz I’ve forgotten that I’ve given my curry puff to him.


Flor took a pic of us and the curry puff.



wl tried to snatch the curry puff’s main focus.




Time for gift exchange.



It was a unique gift exchange idea coz we had to go through 3 rounds of exchanging before the gift in our hands was considered ours. Suspense, anticipation and laughter filled the air.

Us with our final presents





Kh almost snagged the mini mahjong set but was taken away during the 3rd round. He was really very twee.

I got a webcam.

What's xmas without a shot with everyone and the xmas tree?



Photobucket


Sweetness to end it all











The hua chi




Late in the night, some of us played wii again while the rest played mahjong.

It was a lovely Christmas.

Thank you to byng and wl for being such great hosts!




Random

Mum’s present



My sisters have been using a lot of my leftover scrap paper to make envelops during the festive season.

I did not have much paper left to make a proper envelop for mum. The silver paper strips were scrap remains from my last cardmaking. My da jie managed to make use of these curly wurly strips of paper to “wrap” mum’s present from us and she wanted me to take a photo of it.


Dirty joke on my bubble tea cover some time back.



Kh absolutely can’t stand his bro’s cat sleeping on his shoes. However, I think she’s cute.



New year's eve to be continued...

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