Sunday, November 25, 2012

screwwy spine

So Hubby has had a back problem for many years now. It comes and goes, getting worse with activity like golf especially.

This current episode started around 3 weeks ago, when he started playing golf again. He has been going gym crazy and doing strength training for the past 2 months but it didn't seem to cause any harm to his back. It seems that golf is the trigger factor.

This time it was extremely painful, so much so that he was walking with his butt sticking out to one side! Thus he finally decided  it was time to pay the doctor a visit.

So yesterday, after seeing the orthopaedic surgeon, and an x-ray and an MRI later, we were told that he had a slipped disc.

Discs are jelly-like circular cushion pads which go in between the spinal bones. Apparently Hubby's disc at lumbar 5 was dried out and fragmented and sticking out. It was pressing on a nerve which caused the pain and worse; numbness down the legs.

So we were told that an operation was the best option. After a second opinion from a spine specialist, Hubby decided to go ahead with the op that night itself. Have I ever mentioned that Hubby likes to do things straight away, chop chop, no wasting time, that kinda thing? This can be a good thing at most times, but also very stressful and scary for the faint-hearted like me!!

The first surgeon didn't help, by making it sound like it was an emergency and couldn't wait, whereas the second, more qualified surgeon was more relaxed about it. But anyway, by then Hubby had already set his mind to go ahead. He wants an active lifestyle and knew this was the only way to go.

The spine specialist reassured us that it was a very common procedure and he does a few every week. Mum's friend Aunty Lillian, an orthopaedic nurse at GH also assured us that he was the right man to do the op.

So yesterday morning, we set out for a casual appointment to see a doc, and by 4pm found ourselves 'checking in' to the hospital as an inpatient, prepping for major surgery! (on the spine nonetheless!!)

Anyway the op went well, thank God, and Hubby is home and resting now, albeit in a lot of pain.

He now has 4 very expensive titanium screws in his spine which will set off metal detectors! The doctor gave him a card which explains this.

So the doc went in, through two small incisions (around 3" vertical slits) on either side of his lower spine. He removed the L5 disc which he said was already so dried up and damaged it was almost like an empty space. Then he fused the two bones together using the pedicle screws. So basically there is no more joint there and the two bones will fuse into one over the course of 6-9 months.

Hubby's birthday is tomorrow so this is his birthday present to himself! A new back! Hopefully in 9 months time, he will be able to play golf without any pain!

Latest update: We found out that the first surgeon has a reputation for recommending surgery straight away even when it is not the best route of action! It was a good thing I felt uneasy with his hasty demeanour and talked to Big Sis who insisted an immediate second opinion was the way to go and suggested I ask Aunty Lillian who to see.

Thank God Aunty Lillian was very adamant that we request for Dr Wong for a second opinion and to do the procedure. Turns out Dr Wong is one of the best we have here in Kuching, and also happens to be a visiting doctor at that very hospital and was in town! Everything fell into place as usual. Time and again, we are amazed by how God puts everything into place. I'll bet God even made sure Hubby went to the gym for 2 months to strengthen his back muscles in preparation for this!!

I've also learnt that we must trust our gut feeling. With the first doctor, even though my brain told me he was extremely qualified and we should trust what he says, I felt very uncomfortable. When he suggested surgery in such a hurry and was just a little bit shifty (I now realize, in hindsight) when asked whether the urgency was warranted, something felt amiss. It didn't help that Hubby was totally comfortable with the idea and was in agreement straight away! I was near panic and he was not the least bit ruffled!! (Your spine?! Hello?!)

Anyway, in the end we got the best doctor and everything went as well as it possibly could have. Thank God.

2012 academic acheivements

So we're now about 2 weeks into the long year-end school holidays! There were prize-giving ceremonies and graduations to attend before school was out. Let's re-cap the academic achievements of this year...

Firstly, Eva graduated from kindergarten and she will be attending Annie and Claire jie jie's school next year! She also surprised us by receiving the prize for third place in class. A couple of weeks before this, she was also awarded a third place trophy for a maths competition organized for her year.

This year, Claire came in first in her class and was very proud to receive her certificate and book voucher. Claire is very meticulous with her work and puts a lot of effort into getting things right.

Annie was third in class and also bagged the progress prize. She studied extra hard for the second semester exams so she deserves it. So mummy was very busy taking photos this year! :)

Solomon has completed kindy A and will be proceeding to kindy B next year. He will be all alone, while the 3 jie jies are in the other school. I hope this won't be a problem!! I will be psycho-ing him before the school year begins! At least now he keeps saying that he is a big boy already and will be going to 'big boy class'! :D

Eva always brings Solomon to his classroom first

Mummy and Daddy are so very proud of the four of you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Country style

So you all know Kenny Rogers right? The country dude who sang "Islands in the Stream" with Dolly Parton? Well, he has this chain of restaurants, Kenny Roger's Roasters, and a couple of weeks ago, we went there for dinner with the kids.

After a lovely chicken dinner, we got up to leave and Solomon spotted the framed photos of him hanging on the wall.

He asked, "Is that Jesus?"


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween 2013

It's been a couple of years since we went for a Halloween party. So this year, I pestered everyone to go to the one at Sarawak Club. We had better take the opportunity to attend such activities, before our kids become surly teens and refuse to wear cute costumes or be seen out with Mummy!! (so lame!) lol!

It's not easy to find costumes here and even if we could, they would, more likely than not, cost a mini fortune. Moreover, I have to multiply by four!!

That's a bicycle helmet in disguise!!

So I bought a few pieces of Halloween knick knacks, when I was in KL for the reunion, and the rest were hand-made. We made lotsa Witches' hats using coloured paper and also simple robes using pieces of cloth with a slit cut down the middle for sticking the head in!! Brooms were made of bamboo sticks and palm leaves! Sis no.2 made an adorable pumpkin costume which unfortunately no one wanted to wear!! There were also some fairy wings recycled from years past...

Eva the fairy princess

This year however, the decor at the party was too scary for the little ones! Previous parties were very child-friendly, so we were not prepared for the scary material they had waiting for the kids! It was obviously organized by a MAN who does not have little children who will keep him awake at nights when frightened!!

Solomon refused to wear his costume after just 5 mins

The kids had to walk through a dark room with cobwebs, scary masks and skeletons hanging around. I carried Solomon through the room while he kept his eyes tightly shut! We were also 'treated' to a scary 'Thriller" dance performed by  spookily costumed characters who even came up close to the kids!! I was this near to kicking one of them away!! But I must admit that they did put a lot of effort into the props and decor.

Claire the orange witch...

Entertaining the kids once again was the clown, Uncle Banana, a.k.a. Uncle Jerry.... Kuching is really in dire  need of new clowns....

Annie the wicked witch...

Well anyway, luckily the kids were too tired to have nightmares by the time we went home to sleep! It was quite an experience for them, let's see if they want to go again next year.....

P1/97 first reunion

Thanks KP for this great group shot! One for the record...

On October 14th, I attended the first reunion for my uni-mates. We were class of  P1/97, the second batch of pharmacy students from International Medical College (now known as International Medical University), KL. We spent 1 1/2 years together in the old campus which was then at PJ old town. Then we went to Glasgow for another year, where we studied through summer!

It has been 13 years since we graduated and most of us have not seen each other since then! However, some of us are friends through Facebook, and it was when one of our classmates, KP, posted an old class photo, that the idea of a reunion began taking root.

So just via Facebook, we managed to get almost half of the class together at One World Hotel, KL, for a Sunday afternoon lunch. It was amazing and I'm so happy and proud that our ex-classmates are still so sporting and could make such an event happen so easily. It is not so simple to get everyone together, as most of us have family, work and business commitments (a lot of us have retail outlets to run). Not to mention the fact that many are no longer based in Malaysia.

ex-flat mates

So we had friends coming from Ireland, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Penang, Ipoh, Sarawak and Singapore. I myself, flew in for a day trip. It was awesome catching up with everyone and some brought  along their spouses and their adorable 'mini me's'!! lol!

We spent hours chatting, finding out what everyone had been up to since we graduated and reminiscing the good ol' days! It was great seeing you guys again! We most definitely must do this again soon!!

Gorgeous photo stolen from Kah Fei's FB! :)

Ballet Concert 2012

This post is way overdue! I was kinda waiting for the professional photographs, so I could post prettier photos! (though I did get the photos last month...)

So The Dance Academy had their biennial reporting concert on 31 August, our national day, at The Pullman Hotel. It wasn't such a good setting, as the floor was level and not banked, so the audience at the back could hardly see anything. Also, the kids were told to arrive at 4, when the concert began at 7pm and ended close to 10pm! Worse still, they were not given food to eat! I do hope they will consider letting smaller children leave earlier next time! After all the parents' complaints they must have received, I think it should be better thought out next time.

Anyway, all that aside, it was a beautiful performance and everyone did extremely well! Annie and cousin Allyson are pretty much veterans when it comes to ballet concerts! They've been dancing since they were 4 years old I think.

that's Annie (middle) in  her first ballet concert in 2006!

 For Claire, cousin Alaena and Eva though, this was their very first ballet concert. Alaena and Eva are in the same class, so they did one item, and Claire performed one dance as well. Annie and Allyson are also in the same classical ballet and modern jazz class, so they both performed two dances.

Annie's modern jazz item

Claire dancing to Disney's, Tarzan's "You'll be in my heart" by Phil Collins

Eva's number was Disney's, Lion King's "Just can't wait to be king"

All the girls were extra beautiful and danced so gracefully! Even though they were nervous, especially the small ones, they overcame their fears and made us proud! They are all growing up to be pretty, young ladies!
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