Growing up in sunny Singapore in the Katong School by the Sea, I’m a free-spirited Patrician born in the post independence era. Life’s been pretty good to me despite the usual twists & turns for most part in the first 54 years of my existence.
After returning from Cambodia, my last teaching stint in SCIA as a pioneering Gr 1-9 faculty, I started experiencing difficulty in my bladder & bowel; & walking became a laborious task even as I strive to work in HopeHouse with the De Lasalle Brothers of St Patrick’s Community where I was nurtured.
It was a scary, dark phase and it did occur to me to make my alma mater my resting ground. Yet the love for my family & friends kept me going. In early Feb 2020, I lost all confidence in walking safely and sought out my eldest to bring me for a lumbar x-ray ordered by my endocrinologist.
I am fortunate he was in office early and I got to see him. Thus began my metamorphosis into a SpinalAVM Warrior @55, joining a 1% in the world with this very rare genetic and crippling condition.
A battery of major medical tests culminated in a T4-7 opened surgery to dissect 3 AVMs out. Took 20 months of physiotherapy amidst channeling on the Healthcare Conveyor belt of SGH (5weeks), OCH (5weeks) & a Chinatown Care Home (2.5 years) before I was discharged in untidy manner home with my walker, wheelies and my scooter!
It was a major psychological, physical & financial battle (on-going), to reintegrate back into the Land of the Living, after a 3 year absence from family, Church and society in Kg Glam where we’ve resided for 33 years!
Sheer grit, silent contemplations & patient love became my mainstay even as I continue to be stronger & better with the help of pain meds, mindfulness methods, acupuncture, continued rehab twice weekly and even weekly chiropractic treatment session, managing family, mobility, bladder & bowel as well as chronic fibromyalgia issues.
The alternative option would have been an easy return to a nursing home, have assisted living and fade away. Such is not for me! I have much to do, to surmount the living environment for wheelies, to regain respect & dignity even as a PwD and live life meaningfully with dreams of travel, a SpinalAVM Foundation to assist fellow warriors & their families to alleviate life’s pains a little and live to a 100! I’m on my way!