Friday, April 23, 2010

How is it when a loved one is sick?
Not just a regular flu sick, but seriously sick?

It's been just a couple months into our relationship, but then we figured out this news.
What do you do when your boyfriend has cancer?

It's been a couple months now, and we've settled into a quasi-routine.
The illness and the treatment takes a lot out of him. And it's a tough battle that he fights. But he is strong and he fights on.

The helplessness that I feel in this situation is terrible.
The sadness and pain and panic I feel in empathizing with him is agonizing.
How terrible it is to have someone you love (even fledgling love) go through this?

I can do little around him except just try to keep good spirits and try to keep him in good spirits as well. At first, though, I had a hearty cry whenever I saw him, but I stay stronger now. I try to remember that this disease does not wholly define him, though it certainly handicaps him greatly now. We just try to get through this tough trial as we can.

I try to keep a smile on around him and around my friends and family, and in some respects, it isn't too difficult because I know that it all works out in the end (philosophically, religiously, etc.). It's the optimism shining through, not necessarily of him getting better because the possibility of death is very real. It's the optimism of knowing that everything works out in the end.

But when I'm away from him or friends or family or anyone who knows me, when I'm in the midst of strangers, panic and sadness and fear grips at me. It clouds my heart, my vision unfocuses, and I just want to find somewhere quiet to sit and contemplate. It's especially hard when I walk past places that we spent time together, or of situations that remind me of him.

It can seem as though I'm self pitying myself, and maybe I am, but that doesn't mean that I fully deny myself all chances of expressing whatever emotion I feel. Moderation is key. Shutting down and saying that abject feelings are not good, are not helpful, are a waste is the other extreme of wallowing in self pity and hoarding the negativity. I feel as though I'm justifying my feelings right now, and I don't think I need to do so.

What have I felt so far? Confusion, shock, mild denial, ANGER, disbelief, grief, depression, hope, and many other emotions which are hard to name and give a face to.

I believe that he is God's hands. Whatever God wills, will happen, whether it be that he lives or dies. And I know that there is life after death, and I suspect we fear death because we are afraid of this unknown afterlife - the undiscover'd country from whose bourne no traveller has returned.
So I pray.

I pray, and I try to keep him in good spirits.
I deal with the tangle of emotions I feel through as many productive means as I need - friends, family, letters to myself, this blog, etc.

If you're reading this, you've surely figured out that my thoughts are in tangles and rambles. This is definitely not straightforward.
Life is not straightforward.
You take it as it comes, and trust that you can handle it.

* * *
I've been trying to brainstorm what I could do to cheer him up and keep him happy in whatever ways I can.

There's the obvious like visiting him. We keep in contact through the phone and email when schedules become hectic.
I've made some food for him.

I'm thinking of sending a homemade card through the old fashioned snail mail - he's a romantic, so he would appreciate that I think :)
Calling up the florist and getting some plants for him - some that are hardy and live a long life, with a bit of tending. He always did have a nurturing side to him - for easy-to-care-for plants, I'm sure of that!

What other things could I do?

First kiss?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I've been casually searching through Google, about the 'normal' age that people have their first kiss. Now, I imagine that the sample I gathered was not strongly representative of the overall population, but it's interesting to see that there are lots of the people who worry about getting their first kiss by their early teens, and that there are lots of other people who are in their late teens or 20s and just got or are still waiting for that first kiss.
It's such a romantic notion that Hollywood sells to us - this magical first kiss filled with fireworks and doe-eyes.
But there seems to be a slight more of a fixation on the kiss itself than the parties involved.
Isn't it the person that you kiss that makes it special?

hehe I've never worried too much about that first kiss, assuredly thinking that once I found someone special, it would naturally follow. And so it did (at the age of 20). :)

It makes me wonder also: I initiated the kiss with my boyfriend. I had previously told him I was uncomfortable with the notion, and it wasn't until a couple months in that I finally told him I was ready. I was more than ready -- I whole-heartedly wanted it! And I dove in for it :)
Now I can't stop thinking about it and just want more! hehe

I wonder what age people have their kiss at - not just the early teens, but the late bloomers as well. And thoughts on guy or girl initiating it?

The Teeth of Wisdom

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I recently got all four of my wisdom teeth extracted and, boy, what a scare they gave me! Like most other people, I was really worried and scared going in. The dentist was very pleasant and the team was supportive, making the entire ordeal a little more bearable. Being totally knocked out during the procedure helped immensely as well!


Now, the day before going in, I decided to google for words of wisdom. I didn't get a chance to try all of the advice, but here were some that stuck out at me:

NOTE! If you're going to try this, follow with caution! I am in no way an expert in this and this info may or may not be accurate!

- The dentist prescribed for me painkillers and antibiotics.
- Stay ahead of the pain! I've been taking the painkillers right on schedule, and I currently feel no pain - a bit of dull numbness, but nothing bad at all.

Dry socket
- I haven't got it, and I don't want to either.
- What is it? It's apparently where the blood clot over the wound is dislodged prematurely, exposing the bone and nerves to the air. The result is a ton of pain, and not much can be done to help. In the case I do get it (knock on wood!) I could visit the dentist, and they can pack it with some cloves and gauze, but nonetheless, healing time will be delayed.
- How can I avoid it?
Do NOT use a straw afterwards - the sucking action is not good for the healing area.
Avoid coughing and sneezing because that could dislodge the clot.
No touching the area with tongue or fingers.
Don't rinse mouth rigorously.
Avoid playing a wind instrument (bye bye flute *tear*).
Luckily I don't smoke, since smoking increases the chance of getting a dry socket!
It's also lucky that I don't drink - drinking is a big no-no if I don't want dry socket.
I didn't hear about this before, so I scheduled the surgery near the beginning of my cycle. I should have tried to get the teeth out at the end of my cycle, when estrogen levels are lowest - this would have decreased the chances of developing dry socket.

- Pain and swelling peaks after 2-3 days of surgery, after which they slowly subside.
- For the first 24 hours after the surgery, I used an ice pack on my cheek. 20 min on one cheek, and then switched the ice pack over to the other cheek for 20 min.
- It's the second day now, so I'm going to be using a warm, damp towel on my cheeks. I'll use the warmth treatment tomorrow as well.
- Hopefully this works so I don't end up swelling like a chipmunk!
- I found that a tiny bit of swelling is happening this second day, but it's nothing major. I do feel a bit of soreness in the jaw area though, and today, it's a little harder to open my mouth. Then again, yesterday, I couldn't really open my mouth at all.

Salt water rinses
- The first 24 hours, I wasn't allowed to rinse out my mouth.
- After 24 hours, I'm now supposed to gargle/gently rinse my mouth with warm salt water. Something like 1tsp salt per cup of water.
- I'm supposed to do this 10-20 times a day, or as many times as I can manage.
- It helps reduce the chances of infection.

Tea bags
- These can help with excessive bleeding.
- How to use it? Dip the tea bag in a bit of water, squeeze to drain excess water, wrap it in some gauze, and put it over the wound and bite down.
- How does it work? The tea helps draw out the blood, and the tannic acid helps stop bleeding.

Pineapple juice
- The bromelain in the pineapple helps reduce swelling.
- Drink a few days before, to prepare your body. You can drink it after as well, though be careful because it can burn the wound a little.


The most important part! :D

It's just a few days after the surgery, and I'm already missing all my regular food. I'm a food lover, so it's hard not being able to eat all the food that I love. Even this morning, my family had BBQ chicken and some pasta that I couldn't indulge in.

I should eat just soft foods.
The first day was mostly liquids. The second day, I was able to start eating more solid foods.
I should avoid small particles that can get stuck in the wound, like rice and coconut.

Sometimes I don't feel like in the mood for eating because opening my mouth is a bit difficult, but of course, I need to get nutrients in order to get better! I've been using a small teaspoon to feed myself, or I've just been using a mug to drink out of.

I also need to stay well hydrated, so I should be drinking lots of water.

So far, I've found that the percocet (the painkiller) made me feel kind of nauseous especially when I had it with just liquids. The side effects go away if I have it with some food, though apparently taking percocet with some food lessens the painkilling effect - I still feel fine though, as in no major pains.

* My diet over the past few days has been:

Day 1
- congee (no rice!)
- chocolate milk
- water

Day 2
- congee again
- mashed potatoes - with homogenized milk and lots of butter yum. I'm going to find some gravy for it soon because there's only so much I can eat before being tired of just plain mashed potatoes
- chocolate pudding
- orange Jello - this one was harder to eat than the pudding because it was a bit harder and required some chewing; I ended up mashing up the Jello before eating it
- water

Day 3
- mashed potatoes (I'll eat it for breakfast, but otherwise have gotten sick of it already)
- banana smoothie
- strawberry Jello
- chocolate pudding
- Pizza pops cut up into tiny pieces and chewed carefully in the front
- slices of white bread, dipped in hot chocolate (I wanted to dip it in sweet condensed milk melted in hot water, but ran out of that milk at home)

* Food I haven't eaten yet but can eat right now:
Ice cream, sherbet, yoghurt, applesauce, avocadoes, etc.

* Food I'm planning to try and eat once I've healed up a little more:
Softly scrambled eggs, miso soup, well-cooked pasta, soft-boiled eggs, pho (noodle soup without the beef), crackers dipped in coca-cola (I swear by this! It tastes so good!)

March update: So I'm back to eating normally now, and it's fantastic.
Now looking back, it doesn't seem so bad. I'm just glad the doctors fully knocked me out before the extraction!