Last Thursday, I met a gastro-intestinologist at Assunta Hospital who earned his medical degree in India.
I told him that : I have neurofibromatosis. I had a tumor removed from my brain stem on 1 February 2016. I could not swallow well before surgery so doctors put in a Peg tube. I was supposed to continue using it for at least 3 more months after surgery. It has been 1,2,3……8 months. My tube is yellow. I am here to get it changed.
Mum told him that I was swallowing better.
He then told me to lie down for him to examine my tube. He pressed my stomach and some fluid came up in the tube, so he decided that in another month when I could swallow better, we will take it all out.
I then asked him whether he needed a swallow study. He said “Waste of money”.
Surgery was set to take place on 10 November 2016, 10:30 at Assunta Hospital.
It is true what they say about doctors trained in India. They are good.
Like how a good hairdresser could cut my hair nicely in 5 minutes for RM10.
Economic recessions are a good opportunity for us to love and support each other. Just like how natural disasters can bring out the best in people. Recently, I asked a friend of mine to tidy up my old lap tops and electonics that I did not need anymore, so that I could pass them on to people I know who were in need for additional income urgently, such as a friend of mine who needed extra income to take care of her aging parents daily living expenses including their medical costs. I also passed on some copies of a book given to me by a local editor to another friend who lost her job few months ago and have difficulty finding a new employment. She resorted to borrowing money from people to pay rent or else she would lose the roof over head too.
Sometimes, I heard people say how unkind and heartless the world seemed to have become. This perception of ours would change when we take the first initiative to help and care for other people. When we do that, we will feel much love emerging from within ourselves. No need to search for love from others. We have it already inherently. Open your hearts.
Within the last few years, the global economy steadily declined slowly and gradually, more people lost their jobs. Those who are generally unstable as individuals, find it hard to cope – mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They are fun lament their predicaments to me. I can see many income opportunities that they cannot. I can see many ways to create income but they cannot . So let me just tell a story.
At the age of 59, my mother was a sales promoter at Carrefour, Giant hyper market and Jaya Jusco, She sold many things including sushi, rice and DIAPERS. She worked full time standing on her feet 8 to 10 hours, 6 days a week. She earned RM800-RM1000 a month. My mother was living with hyper – para – thyroidism. It made her bones lose calcium and her body hormones imbalanced. It was very tiring and often painful but she did it. Why? Because she had dependents on home. Loved ones counting on her for food. That is me and my post stroke father.
Beggars cannot be choosers.
Now and then, I have people with neurofibromatosis opening up to me. They tell me about their conditions, situations, and how they feel. Some of them have yet to undergo as many surgeries as I have and have yet to develop as many physical challenges as I have. Some others have been through more in their journey in other ways such as parental divorse and having witnessed other family members dying from NF complications.
All these timesI am being given the opportunity to learn how to empower others to empower themselves. Originally, I did not know how to do that. Like many humans, I was very tempted to save people at the expense of myself. Now I am learning to be patient, to have faith in others and trust that they too can learn to be strong. I am learning tough love.
It is not easy. I used to be afraid that other will fall and try to prevent it, because I had fallen many times and did not want my pain to happen again even on others.
What I had to realise was that, I had become strong from all the pain and falls that I went through and over came since my early childhood. I might not be as strong as I am today without these experiences.
Whenever another NF patient opens up to me, I relate to the person with empathy especially on how they feel. I would advice them to take affirmative and proactive action, and say words that guide them forward practically. In my heart, I know that the truth – this is not going to be easy for you. I don’t say that out loud of course. I know it will not be easy and I don’t want to lie by giving false assurances to people. So what I do know is that, I guide others to be firm, decisive and resolved. Come what may. Whatever that comes face it anyway with courage.
No one can make us strong. Only we can make ourselves strong.
I once heard the term “equal portions” from a bishop in Africa but never checked what it meant. This year God showed it to me through my life experience unwittingly.
After having three major surgeries in US early this year, of which two were brain surgeries, I returned to Malaysia and found that many people has changed. It was partly due to the worsen economy. People who were in a limbo previously, were now worse off.
When I first came back, I felt very weak and lethargic so I had to sleep most of the day and stayed home all the time. During my time alone, I looked around my house and realized that I had many treasures stored up in this simple little house of mine. I usually overlooked them because my house was cluttered up. One day, I pulled out a drawer in my bedroom and saw many boxes of costume jewelries that I had accumulated over two decades. They were colorful and chic but I hardly wore them. I felt that keeping them to myself but took away and unused was wasteful. Plus, I was going to turn thirty years old this year. Time to grow up. So I decided to give them away. I considered who to give when a friend situation came to my mind. Her mother suffered a stroke within the last two years and became negative. My friend was unmarried and lived with both her parents. Aside from attending to her day job, my friend had to look after both her parents, shoulder the household expenses, do house chores, take her parents to medical appointments and even pay for their medical bills to an extent. My friend was having a tough time financially, emotionally and physically. That was why she came to my mind. I had also grown up with a post stroke father while my mum crumbled. I could relate with the stress so I gave my colorful collection of costume jewelries, some with deep sentimental values, a few kilograms in total. but did not tell anyone what I had done.
Few months later, a relative of mine living overseas, who had no idea what I just did, bought me a set of genuine Swarovski crystal jewelries as gifts.
God saw what I did for one of his children even when I did not expect him to see. He blessed us in equal portions. The amount of true love we give out is the amount of true love we receive in return.