Friday, 18 December 2015

Word Search Adventure

A friend of mine told us (when we visited them in Melbourne earlier this year) she started her first born on Word Search because she couldn't focus. What started out to be a form of method to polish her concentration, now becomes a leisure hobby.

I got the Jumbo Word Search for her, and then my friend pointed that I've already bought her the very same book when we met in KL.

So, the book is kinda "owner-less". I believe I could make use of it, but I pretty much prefer Sudoku anytime, thanks.

IZ, like many children his age, is not able to focus on a task for long (except for his drawing and every 3 days iPad sessions). I decided to let him try.

Boy, it was not easy. The first time I brought out the book (few months ago), I quickly kept it again, before my BP start rising and scared IZ out of his skin. He had absolutely no clue what it was all about and had difficulty "reading" diagonally or reversed for that matter.

Few weeks ago, I brought it out again. I observed that he could read more words now. At least he tries. Thanks Kinderland, Thanks Phonics.

This time round, I am amazed. He now knows what is diagonal. He has tons to work on his concentration span, but I feel we are on the right path.

Other than searching for words, he actually learns spelling as well as some general information too.

For eg: Asian countries - he roughly know the countries by looking at the words (oh well, of course he can't spell them) ;-)

1st Topic - Asian Countries
Sweet Tooth
He is currently working on "I want to be...."

PS: Of course he didn't finish one whole page everyday! I asked for 2-3 words a day, so I can work on my Sudoku for that 10mins just for fun! But I believe he can slowly find them quicker, and by next year he probably can finish one page on one day. I can't wait, I hope he likes words or numbers related games, just like me!

Updated on 21st Dec'15:

Updated on 30th Dec'15:

Another one

Updated on 3rd Jan'16:

Updated on 26th Jan'16:

Session #9

Since I started befriending X in July, we have had lots of hiccups. Mainly on my side due to the poor health I have.

Fever, lumps, flu, cold you name it.

I had to stay away from X as he's undergoing chemotherapy and his immunity is all time low. And there were days he just came back from his protocol, I couldn't visit.

So, from July to now (Dec), we have had only 9 sessions.

All this while, he has never really talked about his "illness". NEVER.

He has always been joyful, bubbly, chatty, calling "Aunty Colleen! Aunty Colleen!"

There were once he told me about taking cab to KKH. That's about it.

So you can imagine my surprise when he said "Aunty Colleen, doctor told said I cannot go out, need to stay at home".

That was a multi-million statement.

I reflected the same statement, he acknowledged, and he changed topic. Didn't bring it up again.

Then he chased me away as he wanted to eat noodles.

Next week will be his last protocol. Then after he'll have to take oral chemo pills. I learnt that we will not be able to know if he'll recover completely until 2 years later.

X and his family taught me valuable lessons every time I see them. Be strong, be happy. If not for I know of his illness, I wouldn't suspect anything amiss.

I wish, I pray for his good health.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Random drawings..

He can colour much better now :-)

Bricks Creations

Transformers Logo
One of the Transformers head

Optimus Prime Truck

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Art People

IZ went to InnoArt for drawing close to a year ago. I don't know when, the teacher changed. And then he started to dread going to class. For a class that he would want to go despite running temperature, we were surprised.

We didn't receive notification that the teacher changed. No proper introduction either. We thought new teacher was an intern/assistant.

Later on, IZ completely give up going to class and told us he didn't want to go the class anymore.

I learnt from a fellow parent that the new teacher didn't have the patience with young kids. Maybe that's why IZ didn't want to go. We also didn't like that IZ learnt to draw by looking at tablet, on top of teacher's sketches. That's not what we want.

Our take is simple. We send him to art/drawing class because he loves it. Period.

If he detests going to the class, we'll not force him. So we were about to give up the remaining 3 lessons credits, but InnoArt agreed to let us pass on the credits to another friend.

To be honest, after a year of class, I didn't see there's any improvement on IZ's drawing other than the ability to copy things from iPad.

So, I had to search for another school so he can continue to learn and do more with his passion. And I found one that is really near us, and what's even better, the class is on weekday afternoon. Yippie!

On the assessment day
At first when he was given the blank piece of fish, he couldn't draw anything, but once he started, he could add a little details to it

Happy at 1st lesson
For his portfolio cover
2nd lesson
Teacher commented he got tired at the end
But we were more than amazed at the work

Something really different after 2 lessons.
This is the first time his robots actually look nice after colouring. 
I hope the lernen-reise here will be beneficial for him..

Fingers crossed for now..

Updated on 16th Dec'15:
3rd lesson

The lump on my thyroid..

Updated on 16th Dec'15

And so I went for my review on Monday, all ready to make appointment for a surgery. I was told it's unlikely cancerous and the doctor wouldn't be too worried about it. Doctor said I could opt for some small incision surgery behind my lower lip or armpit (he didn't say armpit, he used a medical term). He suggested the options as I am prone to keloid and the nodule is small enough to be removed such. At the end of our few minutes conversation, I switched off a couple of times when he told me the names of the glands, possibility of bleeding, etc.

And so, coz I was not ready for anything for my lower lip nor armpit, I chickened out. I could live with the lump on my throat or neck. No one notices that anyway. At least so far only one friend on that ONE occasion.

So, I chose not to do the surgery, and asked for a review 6 months later instead for surveillance.

4th Dec'15

Glad to update here that the scan went well. The radiographer told me the nodule doesn't look harmful, and there's minimal blood flows in the nodule. So the nodule is not feeding (something like that). That really lifted the whole big rock off my shoulders.

And oh ya, the doctor is still talking about the very same nodule! Heehe!

And I feel like I could live normally again.

Really thankful of YJ who offered to keep me company for every visit. She was with me this scan, boy, was I glad and R.E.L.I.E.V.E.D!

Next review: 14th Dec!

Note to self: Remember to ask Dr Tan if I can continue my befriending role with CCF

30th Nov'15

As hubby had to send IZ for his eye review in KKH, I told him I could make my own way to SGH, from the office.

Registration was easy, the staffs were very friendly.

After waited for a while, there was a handsome young 3rd year medical student asked me into a room and started an interview. As we spoke, I realised there were some symptoms that may or may not be related to the lump.

Dr.  Tan came to introduce himself and told me he'll be back to me after the interview. He checked the lump and told me it's highly possible that it's not cancerous. I don't know what to say. Maybe deep down, I asked "how would you know?" Later, I regretted not asking.

He told me he'll do another ultrasound scan to confirm. So there were him, 2 other medical students, and a nurse around the treatment room while I had my neck scanned. He hesitated a while and then moved on to ask for FNAC (fine needed aspiration cytology) to be carried out. Then they left me in the room with the nurse.

I asked if the procedure would be painful. The helpful nurse gave me a piece of instructions to read. It'll be fine needle, so I don't suppose it'll be too much of pain. But in some events, I may be poked a few times. Technicians were called. They will be checking the specimens if there's enough cells to be checked.

Came a Dr. Stefan Mueller, asking me for my authorisation signature for the cytology. And he said he was highly confident that I'll be alright. It worried me as Dr Mueller is from oncology dept. Later, I also noticed he was the one who signed on my MC. I don't know if it's the SOP.

So, I was poked. I was surprised by how painless it was. And I thought it was all done when Dr Tan retracted the needle the first time. And then he did it again.. and again. Total 3 needles. By the time he was done with the 3rd one, I felt all the blood in me drained. My head started to feel light, my hands were heavy. I was passing out. I called out to them saying I was giddy.

Dr Tan was very assuring. Dr Mueller lifted my legs. Slowly I "regained" consciousness.

Later Dr. Tan told me what happened was normal. But I was not listening to the term he used. I was thinking of "hyper-ventilating" and "anxiety attack". Hahaha useless me!

So after rested for what seemed eternity, I told the nurse I could leave on my own already. She asked me to wait at the waiting area for payment and next appointment.

Was shocked when I was told I actually had to do another round of ultrasound scan. I had to go to Radiology Dept which was just across Head & Neck dept to fix an appointment. I peeped at the referral form "noted new right thyroid nodule (sloid/cystic) for assessment. WHAT?!?! Did they mean they found another one? Or was it the very same one?!

To be found out on 4th Dec.

25th Nov'15

Clinic called and told my referral letter is ready. My appointment is fixed at Head & Neck Centre in SGH on 30th Nov'15 with Dr. Tan Hiang Khoon, a senior consultant.

I didn't collect the referral letter until 29th Nov.

23rd Nov'15

Review with Dr. Chong. She said the growth is partly cystic and partly solid. It doesn't look like normal thyroid, so she'll recommend to refer me to specialist. I told her I'd prefer govt hospital.

You know, the part "partly cystic and partly solid" couldn't register in my mind. I had to ask her to repeat a few times, before I can remember. Was it my memory or was I in denial?

22nd Nov'15

No news about the ultrasound scan so I decided to drop by the clinic physically to check. They told me the result has just arrived.

18th Nov'15

Went for ultrasound in AMK.

17th Nov'15

All thanks for the shifu's pointer about taking extra good care of my health and about early intervention, I decided to see doc immediately. Waited for a good 2 hours, to be told I'll get a referral for ultrasound.

16th Nov'15

I caught a glimpse of the lump on my neck on the mirror. I already walked past it, but I went back to the mirror and took a good look at it. It was obviously a growth on my neck.

Then I thought of the day YJ pointed out something unusual with my neck. She used her phone to take a photo to show me. But I can't remember when was that.

Little I did know, that would be one of the questions to be asked. When exactly was the lump first noticed?

Months.. how many months, I'm not sure anymore.. Neither can YJ..

IZ's 5th Birthday

He started counting down to his 5th birthday the month he turned 4 year old.

It was amusing, when he started to tell us what he wanted for his birthday, like yeah, 11 months ahead. And he kept adding to the list changing his mind every other week.

Transformers, tobots, transformers..

And so I asked him what theme he wanted for the birthday. I've made the decisions for him the past few years, I think it's the time for him to decide for himself. Afterall, now he knows what birthday is all about.

Started with the cake, he couldn't decide between Spiderman and Transformers. At one point, I told him, I'll just cover a cake with white fondant and let him draw on them. Unfortunately, I couldn't get nice edible marker pens. Read bad reviews on Wilton's ones too.

So, it was Transformers. I told him I did not have the confidence to make complicated cakes (read Optimus Prime figurines etc), he told me he's good with just its logo. It was decided it'd be a chocolate Transformers cake.

Until a few days before the celebration, he decided he wanted a rainbow Transformers cake instead. Frantically, but luckily, I have a recipe from a friend's friend who appeared in a magazine before. So ta-rah.. my first attempt making rainbow cake!

It was a success, I didn't even have to trim the cake at all!

So we had a simple celebration at home as usual, with his gang and close friends.

His wish this year?

"I wish I can jump from building to building"


When will my son wish for something more realistic? **waiting with my long neck**

Happy birthday boy!

Not bad, isn't it?
PS: So, we saved over $100 on a birthday cake this year! Putting my limited skills to use!