Beauty in Chaos

End of the year, and *facepalm* can’t believe my last post was in June!

But if I were to fill in the gap between June to December, let me tell you it’s filled with boring routine mumster, mid-life stories.

I think life have become pretty standard (ZzzZzzzZz): Come back from office, pick cheeky-boo Daniel up from the nanny’s, stuck in traffic, rendam the vegetables, defrost the meat, feed Daniel his dinner porridge while watching TVB drama, wash him up, cook the rice and cuts up the dishes while watching my son delightfully open-close-open-close-open-close the washing machine before pressing on all the buttons on the (read: destroying), and many times goes inside the washing machine to see if papa’s sock or mum’s panties still stuck in the roof (my machine is side-loading). Then, I feed my boy some fruits puree, read him some fire engine and old Macdonald’s farm animals, while letting him watch some BabyTV (Billy Bam Bam is my son’s favourite). When papa’s back, I will dump my son to him, run straight to the kitchen to cook a bunch of chinese delicious (subjective) cuisine for 2 pax.

His favourite grand-uncle and grand-aunty aka babysitter’s family.

I will go upstairs and get a shower while my son watches me happily playing peekaboo at the bathroom door with his naked mama. Daniel will be saying “chak, chak“, squinting his eye signaling (hurrying) me for a feedback of chakkks, smiling widely. He dare not go into the bathroom (kena scold before, and he knows he shouldn’t), but will surely cry if  I had to have a peekaboo intermittent because you tell me lahh how to chakkk with shampoo on my face ok. He absolutely hates peekaboo intermittent, and I must do this chak-chak-chak thingy in my whole 10 min in the shower. Papa will be left alone at the kitchen doing all the dirty dishes and then makes his fruits/vege juice with the juicer. Then, when my son sleeps at exacly 9.30pm, I will handwash all his clothes. If you are asking, yes, I still handwash my baby’s clothes every damn blardy night since he was born. I can be such an OCD piece of shit sometimes.

Peekaboo!

As a mum, I don’t know how to compare (btw, we shouldn’t compare our kids), but Daniel is definitely a textbook baby. Meaning, his developmental milestones are exactly as what you google month-after-month in BabyCentre or WebMD. He is quite predictable and easy to take care! <–my mum claimed, not me.

He has been speaking a few words which are meaningful – put, take, give, “tit tit tit” when he holds the Astro remote controls and points it to the tv, “mai” (Hokkien for ‘No’), “puyaoo” (<–Mandarin for ‘No’), “yallooooo” when he puts the phone to his ears, “cat-cat” when he sees a cat in the book, or real cat. “Nennen”&”Mam mam”, if he wants milk/food and “Papa” are his first ever words. He still can’t say “mummy” yet to his kiasu mummy although he’s with me all the time, manja and playing with me. Sux wei. And of course, he has been getting more and more talkative bablebablellele babbles baa booo goo gaga aiyooh sumida all day, and I believe my son was a Korean guy reincarnate.

He is already holding his own milk bottle himself to drink, and I swear I was delighted because less one task for the parents with an independent child. LOL! Can marry him off already lah. Can. Hahaha.

After work, I try to take him to the playground nearby.

After 14 months, I realised how my son has changed me. I am born like this: over-dominating, big headed career woman, ever the high achiever at whatever I try/do even though I am not talented in it, reads 4 books a month, perfectionist-bitch, and quite kiasu. But when my son is born (also when I met my husband), I find it easier to let go of certain things. I find it easier to let go of perfection. I let people take care of my son and close one-eye in many things, while I catch a movie alone, go for a facial, takes 1 year to finish 3 books, not making the bed, living in a untidy hall, bedroom, etc. This is because I don’t want to be trapped in the cycle of woman-doing-every-thing-in-the-house-and-takes-care-of-children-too-and-earns-a-bunch-of-salary-back-home. I don’t want to do everything for the household or my family. And want people to help me. I allow my hubby to help me out in anything he can (no matter what tasks), not caring about the outcome, let my son fall down and bump his head, let my son eat hair, food he picked up from the floor, let my son eat junk food and kacang puteh, loads of sugary vitagen (vitagen keeps him quiet in the car and when I watch TVB drama), let my floor be dusty for a week, forgot to wash the vegetable and cook it, simply cut the vege, the eggs are hangus, the meat is hancur, Really, nevermind, Because I feel quite happy being imperfect!

 

His coconut hair-do. It makes him look cute, but I cut the unruly hair off to be ready for CNY.

He can be quite a good boy. Often listens to us and afraid of scolding. A bit sensitive (like Papa)

Going kai-kai is his favourite past time.

He loves flipping books, but also enjoys his BabyTV and unexpectedly, loves to watch Berita (the RTM version)

Sorry, but bash me all you want you breastfeeding advocates, but the KEY to my current happiness was: Stop breastfeeding. There!

Gosh, I felt so liberated once I stopped bf because I hate that my son keep latching to me and I have absolutely no farking time to do any farking thing. I honestly hate the pumping regime both at home and at work, and I can’t focus on my work or meetings. When I want to do some work/experiment, suddenly I need to pump. Soooo mah fun! After 6 months of essential breastfeeding, and when my son seemed to love solids more than breasts, I was extremely happy to quit the pump and that fugly bra. He was unhappy too because he kept getting scolded for biting my boob tits when he latches (6 months already got 4 teeth ok). He frustrated, I also frustrated. Without breastfeeding, Papa also get to play a role in feeding his son, and at least this empowers the man to hold the feeding bottle and do the feeding. More than 3/4 of Daniel’s feeding now is Papa’s job. And I have sooo much time after that. Sleeping also felt sooo good for 8 months already. I wake up a happier person each morning because I have good sleep every night with my son sleeping through without waking up hungry. I don’t like that feeding goes exclusively to the mother. Don’t like. Period. Btw, my son holds the feeding bottle himself and feeds all 7 ounces already! Both papa and mummy are proud of his independence, plans to marry him off soon). 😛

Semakin kaypoh

Fell from the bed and got his first manhood bruise.

His favourite Thor hammer. He fought well <-bruises everywhere

Truth: I wished I was a high-milk-supply-mum, so then I can pump like 100 bottles a day and leave them to the dad/nanny to feed. But obviously I am not. I am a low-supply-kais-pagi-makan-pagi milk supply mum and my son is a big eater and cries every time after breastmilk because still so hungry, so that’s why it’s not conducive for me to continue breastfeeding. Again, it’s all in the mind(!), and when I purportedly tell myself that I hated breastfeeding cause it wasted a lot of my goddamn time, milk definitely didn’t come anymore (yay! no more leaky breast). However, when I wanted to quit, I went to upset to depression because people that idk (the internet, forums) trying to throw such formula milk mums down as a “bad mums”. Perfectionist, high-achiever you may think I am, but this is one thing I am willing to give up for the love of MYSELF. No breast milk after 6 months, but my son is still alive and kicking and cuter than ever….but that is because I have great genes, kan….

Manja boy. Always golek around me, hug and kisses me frequently. I miss him daily when I am work.

Well, blink blink eye, it’s Christmas:

My 5-foot Christmas tree is up, my son dare not touch it after I warned him once only. Good dog boy. He was such a menace initially, but now will just say out loud: “WAHHHHhhhhHH” if I point him to any Christmas tree in the mall or at home, and absolutely dare not touch any ornaments on our tree. Because perfectionist mummy here doesn’t like heterogeneous placing of ornaments; the OCD me loves exact spatial placing of ornaments and symmetry. 😛

This year 2016 is awesome in many ways. I am optimistic about next year: career-wise: I hope the crude oil price will bounce up further; the ringgit will strengthen so that I can go more overseas holiday with my two boys, and I hope that my family and friends will be happier and achieve what they aim for. And lose weight.

Happy holidays and Happy New Year!

 

Doing naughty cheek face to his cousin, Amanda.

Love you both!

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Mid-30s

I just hit mid-thirties.

If you are going to enter a marathon race, you will be placed in the Veteran category. No shit. Hahaha.

My relatives say I have this motherly look. What that means is that with just a glance, people will know that I have kid(s). To me, motherly literally means – I have panda eyes, and my face looks puffy and wrinkly, and I pandai bargain in the wet market, I suddenly got very interested in kitchen-ware, and love sharing recipes. Basically, like an Ah Sou.

Nevertheless, there is nothing I love more about myself than achieving mid-30s. I feel mature, I feel empowered at work, I feel I am in control of my household. I am happy with my relationships at home with my hubby, siblings, with in-laws, and my own parents and relatives. I am happy with my job and being a career woman. I have some assets (properties, investments, not body assets). I am not bragging, but I am grateful to be given various opportunities in life to see and experience so many things in this world:

  • 1. I drank good coffee before
  • 2. I drank bad coffee before
  • 3. I got a many degrees – biology, Ph.D. and recently – chemistry.
  • 4. I have obtained a Scholarship before.
  • 5. I have been an exchanged student before overseas.
  • 6. I have completed a triathlon and a duathlon. I swam in the open-ocean before.
  • 7. I have 40 open water dives logged around SEA – Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia
  • 8. I have completed 6 full marathons.
  • 9. I have lived overseas – China, Netherlands, Singapore
  • 10. I have experienced blind dating, meeting a guy online and regretted it because he’s so not like his Friendster profile
  • 11. I have gotten drunk and drove drunk for 10 km (If I remember).
  • 12. I bribed a cop before.
  • 13. Got caught for DUI before.
  • 14. I have sung on the stage in public before
  • 15. I studied a foreign language before – Japanese
  • 16. I have traveled to many countries around the world before
  • 17. I have kissed a complete stranger before. <– drunk
  • 18. I have been embarrassed in public before – usually involving clothing malfunction
  • 19. I raced up KL Tower before. *proud*
  • 20. The highest I’ve been in Twin Towers is 74th floor.
  • 21. I own a luxury bag (relatively expensive)
  • 22. I have helped a stranger before by giving him/her my money, and not asking it back.
  • 23. I almost died due to a medical condition before.
  • 24. ….And came back alive and became a motherfarter…
  • 25. I stayed in a dorm with total strangers before.
  • 26. I acted like a bitch before, throwing tantrums and not giving in.
  • 27. I have experienced both bloody childbirth and c-sect. The pain!
  • 28. I must have had 6-7 dates including boyfriends, before I found my hubby. Wait, maybe 10.
  • 29. I met with 2 major car accidents before.
  • 31. My car got stolen before.
  • 32. I have been baptized a Christian.
  • 33. I am a landlady
  • 34. I am a wife
  • 35. I am a mother

Glad to announce:
I have not smoked before.
I have not taken drugs before.
I have not experienced studying overseas before (I really wish)
I have not done plastic surgery before.
I have not ate weird foods before and will never try – reptiles, fried insects, live octopus, raw herring, blue cheese, etc.
I have not seen the death of a human being before.

 

I know can never (but never say never!) be a stay-at-home-mum as my brains are constantly churning chemistry reactions for the development of new chemicals, thus I kinda think nobody at home would appreciate my brilliant, scientific (ahem!) mind. And tell you, I hate managing my home and my son 24 hours, 365 days a year. He can be so cute that I wanna kiss him all the time, but that’s just it. Otherwise, my son can be quite annoying because consciously I enjoy my freedom as an individual, hence I hope to just see him at night (kidding, but 50% truth) (I am a good mother ok but I need my ME-time back). I love my kid, but I also love the office, the laboratory, my colleagues, the rat race, and I like to get my brains work out hard…and most importantly: I get to bring back a chunk of salary.

 

To say I am an accomplished woman, nope. But to say I have hit some good milestones in life, then yes. I still think I have a long way to go to achieve –
1. financial freedom

2. having successful kids (though you have to define success)

3. leave a good legacy in this world (e.g. breakthrough in scientific discoveries, charity, save tigers,     😛 ).

4. sleep without anyone disturbing <– (never say never)

Ivy-out

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s December.

Time flies by me swiftly in 2015.

But there was this one month that I felt that time stood still: it was the month of October following the birth of Daniel. It felt long because I got very hormonal and pretty stressed out because of my son’s jaundice and my breastfeeding issues. Five days in the hospital did take a toll on myself and my hubby. At that time, I felt I should have chosen a nearer hospital because of my hubby’s frequent travels from home/office to hospital, but can swear that the service and facilities (i.e. doctors, nurses, staff, rooms) in Prince Court is pretty amazing, so it was a tradeoff.

Maybe I have not embraced motherhood yet, but many things didn’t feel right on the first week, and nothing went as planned upon my son’s birth. Funny, but it wasn’t really love at first sight with my son. In week-2, I had my C-sec wound broken and was admitted to Sunway MC. It made me so mad (at myself) because this incident has devastatingly troubled my mum, my MIL, my hubby, my dad and more so, my newborn son. I was still under confinement period; my mum had to cook confinement food and bring it to the hospital. I couldn’t see my son to latch; a day less of bonding with my son felt instinctively strange, like I’ve abandoned my son.

Time crawled too during the rest of the confinement period in Ipoh. I couldn’t bath all that much which made me feel really icky. I have always loved ginger but after 1 month of gingery foods, all food tasted so 1 dimensional, I did hate ginger at one point. What was worse, something triggered hives and itchy spots all over my body (exactly like the one I had last year in Chiang Mai). This allergy(?) worsens after direct intake of DOM or YOMEISHU. The alcohol must have aggravated the hives and itchiness further. I have yet to pinpoint the allergen. Blame it on hormones?

Daniel at exactly 1 month-old.
Papa doesn’t want to miss any of his growth!

November 2015 was intimidating nevertheless. After the default 1-month-confinement, I extended my confinement to 40 days at my MIL’s house in Ipoh. And hubby felt terribly left-out because he missed a lot of baby’s development milestone when he was in KL. The terrifying thing was that after confinement, I decided to return to KL and take care of my son all by myself without help of my own parents nor in-laws. I was terrified because I fear I may not be able to juggle between baby and managing my home. But guess what, as of now, it’s been 6 weeks since I last took care of my son all alone during the day. For that, I have to give myself a pat in the back – for raising my child who put on ample weight/height and having witness first hand his development milestones, AND still didn’t burn the house down 🙂 Well done, Ivy.

Hao-kong-chai pose

By now, time flies by me a bit too quickly! My son turns 12-weeks old today. One thing I am thankful for was that he doesn’t wail like a newborn anymore. His cries have ‘meaning’, like a language (=short cries, long cries, angry cries, complaining cries etc.) telling you whether he’s hungry, he has pooped or he is not happy with my nipples. These development makes things so much easier for me. He socially interacts with me and papa: cooing, laughing, smiling, talking, ang gugu me, loving Christmas lights and music. He can sleep through the night too. Now I am so in love with my son! Only now I appreciate motherhood and my newborn son antics (not so newborn anymore eh?). He is such a happy kiddo and quite cheeky, with new development milestones achieved day after day, I now am terrified to send him to the babysitter in January. All because I am afraid to miss his milestones and yes, it’s termed: separation anxiety.

Work is about to begin. Now I feel that time flies way too quickly. I was relieved to have found a 1-to-1 babysitter in Puchong but on the other hand, I fear I might have separation anxiety at office. Thank God Daniel loves sitting on the car seat which makes my life a notch much easier when I want to run errands and sending him to babysitter. Also, he loves going kai-kai. I think the 1st week at office after this 3-month maternity leave would be the hardest.

Daniel loves the car seat and kai-kai

Anyways, cutting the story short – I feel awesome as a mum now. It took me 1.5 months to embrace motherhood as a first-time mum. So much more for me and papa to learn, but for me, it’s all about being PATIENT.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Fongs.

Thank you for an awesome Year 2015.

 

Til Next Year 2016. Ivy-out.

 

Intervention

It was week 39.

I was already on leave for a 4 days before the bloody show on Friday. I was still reluctant to go to the hospital because it was just like pink spots. However I did call my mum to confirm if pink spotting indicates a bloody show. She confirms yes. So, I grabbed my clothes bag, and called my hubby at work. He drove me straight PCMC and at the labour room, the nurse cilok in (gosh, terribly uncomfortable!) and confirmed I was 3-4 cm opened. I was at first stage labour.

But the opening of 3-4 cm remained stagnant for probably 12 hours. I’ve got mild contractions going on in the night but at that time I chose to go on without medical intervention. The contractions were far apart and still bearable. The nurses came in to ask if I wanted epidural as I must decide soon because if contractions comes in closer and closer, the anesthetician will have a hard time injecting the epidural to my back (because I need to be very, very still). I got confused. I looked at my husband, and he didn’t say a thing, because it’s really up to me. It’s entirely my decision. I am the one who understand myself and how much pain I could endure. The pain is manageable for now, but I knew it will get worse. I finally said yes to the nurse for epidural.

Got jabbed in the back. After that the pain seems to have gone away and I got to rest for 4-5 hours at night. On Saturday early morning, the nurses cilok again, and still 4-5 cm?!?!?!?! Little progress. Then out of no where, I felt stronger contractions. PAIN became real. But I asked the nurses “Why is there still so much pain?!?!? I cringed, held on hard to the bedding’s rail and breath in-out deeply every single time a contraction sets in. Wow, that was painful. Wait, even with epidural?!?!?! I was so in pain that I scolded the nurses “Are you sure you injected the correct dose of epidural? If yes, why still sooooo painful?” The nurses explained that (slight?!?) pain is required for pushing out the baby. I screamed “Whatever la, just top up the dose, ok?!! NOW!!!”. As if I were a medical doctor.

It was a cold, hazy, long day.
It was a cold, hazy, long day at Labour room

Not a single tear from my eyes. I made sure every contraction (5 minutes apart!) I tahan and tahan (I don’t want to be that sissy girl, crying, screaming, as I knew pain endurance was my forte from my burst appendix, and marathons. LOL). Cringing and almost tearing down the bed’s railing was all I did. Was making conversations with my hubby whenever I could catch a breath. I was particularly glad that my hubby was supportive beside me all this while and not like those panicky/worried ones. It was around 10 am where they cilok me again: Oh, 8 cm dilated. Yippee. They broke my water, and bb should come out soon. Kan? Kan? But nope, baby’s heart beat still sooo strong and blood pressure still cantik, and refused to leave my tummy. I was now angry. With everyone and everything.

At 2.45 pm, the bidan cilok me and said: you still at 8 cm despite so many intervention – water broke, induced, bloody flow like a murder scene, they felt the baby’s head stuck for 5 hours at my pelvic bone and my pelvic wouldn’t open to 10 cm. The bidan trying to calm me by saying: it’s nobody’s fault. And I could murder that somebody who once mentioned that I have a huge pelvic and that childbirth was easy-peasy for big as* people like me, haa? At that time, the contractions were soooo close and pain was very intense. My hubby checked the machine measuring my contractions and let me know that the highest intensity I endured was 70++ (whatever unit that is) and that number was already off the charts for me in terms of pain. Tell you, even that intensity hasn’t made me cry. YET. (Later my hubby told me that without epidural, the pain intensity could have doubled – 150 whatever unit, so thank God I had epidural).

I only cried when my doctor came in and told me I needed an Emergency c-sec. I suddenly cried out loud because:

1. “Wah lau, 27-28 hours of labour pain, now u said it’s ALL going to be over in 45 minutes?!?!?!”

2. “This 27-28 hours of waiting finally end up bearing no ‘fruits’. Nothing is coming out after all this suffering? Not fair to me lah”.

An emergency c-sec was not what I expected. My baby was measuring small leading to the weeks of my full-term pregnancy, therefore I thought I could give birth naturally w/o medical intervention. I thought all the exercises during pregnancy – swimming and walking in Holland and my big as* would have made delivery easy, but nope.

In 45 minutes, it was over. My O&G doctor in the OT said: “Your baby is really, really cute” as he was pulled out from my broken body. I was like, “I know, right?” 😛 First thing I noticed while still in OT was that my baby was white like albino, and had chinky eyes. Oh well, all babies looked the same when they first come into this world – water-bloated and chinky eyes and loud mouths crying. The paed doctor held him close to me, I got to kiss him, and then I cried again: The whole childbirth process, is finally OVER (though the shivering didn’t).

I said a little prayer when baby was first pushed into my ward. Hubby said looks like mummy; I say look like papa. Whatever it is, I felt so blessed and glad that baby Daniel has finally arrived in style, gobbling/chewing up my entire nipple ever since until both nipples cracked and super painful. But no pain could beat the pain of childbirth, so what the heck, bring on the nipple sore!!

Just pushed bb into my ward
Just pushed bb into my ward

Ivy-out

Times have changed

My first post of year 2015 is on February. I know I am getting lazier by the days on blogging because updating a blogpost is actually a lot of hassle relative to microblogging platforms such as FB, Twitter, etc. January was also busy for many people because well, it’s early of the year and everyone seemed busy with something new. Second, I was given the task as project leader for a particular project, and that got me a bit jittery and ‘busy’. This is my first role as PL, and now engaged in management role that has crept in and I have to give up a bit of my comfort as a hermit in the laboratory. It’s a refreshing transition though, but that just means I’ve got extra responsibilities in the near future.

I am also going into a project that has elements of quantum mechanics and computational chemistry, which means, what I have got to learnt up on stuffs that has nothing to do with chemistry: computer scripts (oh dear!), and physics. And I thought chemistry was all that was needed in my career after studying super hard to be a Certified Chemist. Now this? But again, it’s all marvelous for the forever-want-to-learn-everything-in-this-world me. Call me jack of all trades (an insult, actually). ut because of this new computational element in chemistry, or whatever that means, I would have to be attached to a company in The Netherlands to learn up these computer scripting. I am delighted to be, for once, not in China. Lol!! So, Leiden Holland, which turns out to be the birthplace of Rembrandt….here I come!

Rembrandt was the famous painter that born in the little town of Leiden, Netherlands.
Self-potrait of Rembrandt: a well-remembered painter that was born in the little town of Leiden, Netherlands.
Keukenhof
Keukenhof, the infamous tulips farm and park is located just 15 min from Leiden.

This February would be the first Chinese New Year for me to give out angpows in doubles to relatives, family and friends. Also comes the responsibility to buy all the CNY visiting (‘pai-lin’) stuffs for relatives/family when going visiting during CNY, ranging from abalone, clams, ‘kei-chi’, red dates, fish maw, cookies, peanuts, etc, etc. that is somewhat obligatory and part of the Chinese culture. Married life has changed me rather in this sort of context: making sure I am a good wife, to be a good daughter-in-law, and at the same time still the same ‘interesting’, talkative, fierce daughter to my own parents. Quite a tough job, but I am not complaining; in fact, I am the one who wants to follow back these traditions which is set for thousands of years for our own good, and for good karma (not that I believe in karma, hehehe)

'Pai-lin' stuffs for CNY 2015
‘Pai-lin’ stuffs for CNY 2015 for various family members and relatives

I am also reducing running to ZERO (yes, not bluffing you), because I am trying for a kid just recently. Hormone testosterone rages in my body each time I run long distances, so it’s natural to give up some heavy running/sports to maintain my beautiful estrogen and still-pretty-amazing menstrual cycle. Yes, people said that’s a myth that one must stop doing heavy exercises to get preggers, but old wives tales are something you’d like to know when it comes to pregnancy. I am a scientific person, so, this testosterone vs. estrogen is pretty true, you know. I am willing to give up something to gain something else.

As a woman, we have many limitations but we cannot deny natural demands, and the childbirth ability that deteriorates drastically over time. Many people said I am at a critical age for childbirth which is undeniably true. This instinct to have a kid just crop up all of a sudden. Tell you, this feeling of wanting a baby has never crossed my mind until just recently (after I’ve nothing to study anymore, bored). And hello, it’s not like I’ve not achieve a milestone of running and sports, kan? I have completed over 40++ races throughout my 6 years of running career, so I’ve missed absolutely nothing if I quit. Let’s just say I have done competitive swimming, marathons, triathlons, duathlon, badminton, climbed up Mt Kinabalu, Aikido, traveled some cool places around the world, meet many people. So yes, I have a whole bunch of things in my bucket crossed out: next is having a child.

Nobody can have it all. But a silver-lining always, always appear even if you think you are in a grey cloud of uncertainty. Hanging up my shoes for good may be something drastic to many, but knowing me, I might go running after having a kid or two.

Til then, Ivy-out.

“Thinking Forensics”

I was suffering from a bout of skin disease and boyy, I didn’t know I was allergic to anything in this world (is it even an allergy?). Or bacterial/fungal attack?

I am in my early 30s and since I was a baby ’til now, as far as I am concerned, I wasn’t allergic to any foods or environmental factors (e.g. pollen, sunlight, sweat). I once thought I was allergic to vegetables, but that surely wasn’t true – was just an excuse to my mum not to eat them when I was in my primary school years. I was very lactic tolerant, no problems at all with any sort of seafoods, and no damn problems with gluten (I wish I did!).

Recalling back, I used to have occasional hives, or what Chinese people termed it: “fong mok” where red spots aggregate into large raised red & itchy surfaces that appear due to intolerant to some dust mites or maybe hyper-reaction of some antibiotics I took and then I went straight to some stressful physical workout like swimming. Nevertheless, I will encounter “fong mok” and usually it heals in 1 night after a jab of antihistamines into my ass. I have not had any skin conditions besides face acne (cause I am still young) for say…..15-20 years already.

Therefore, I was worried because I had this very bad itchiness on my entire legs (especially knees and elbows) just this Hari Raya 2014. I was worried because this was so not the “fong mok” symptoms like I’ve previously encountered. And what if I am suddenly allergic to some common ingredient like say eggs in my adulthood and not childhood, which would be unbecoming because…hei, eggs are common in any local dish!

Skin-thinning after continuous application of anti-itch creams – side effects of steroids-based topical creams. 

 

So I decided to do a thinking-forensics examination, where what you do is track back your steps to what you ate, what you did, what you saw, and who you met, before the outbreak. Btw, thinking forensics is only in my own dictionary, so don’t bother to Google:

1.

It was Raya eve this year when I went back Ipoh to celebrate my father-in-laws birthday at East Ocean. In the evening, we went swimming at the deplorable public pool at DBI, Ipoh bring my niece and nephew there for a splash. Despite 20 yrs of not stepping foot at DBI pool, nothing has changed since. 20 years and the changing/locker rooms were fungus-filled esp. at the shower and tiles. Even if I am not OCD, I couldn’t stand the sight of the lockers.

Hubby brought back really fresh (and expensive!) fish and sea-cucumber (lagi expensive!) from Sabah when we were there for our marathon. We let the restaurant cook it as our dinner – both fish and mollusks were steamed. I took a lot of fish, but just maybe 2 slices of sea-cucumber because not that big a portion. Share share marrr.

2.

After dinner, I went home, slept, and when I woke up the next day, my back and calf was itching. I spotted one red spot on my back, and one at my right calf. And it was super-itchy. The itch on this 2 spots didn’t subside even till the next day because I continued scratching it. It’s called the itch-scratch-itch cycle (this one is a term on Google), whereby, the more you scratch, the more the spots will itch (and spread), and you start scratching more.

3.

Then I came back to KL to work on Raya 3rd day. I spotted some new red spots on my legs (femur) and knee. Because I am the only one at office, I just roll up my pants and scratch…whole day. Well, no one looking and it was sooooo syiok to scratch.

4.

The 4th day of Raya, my boss came back and knew that I was studying to be a certified chemist. He dug out a very, very, very super brown old text book on Organic Chemistry from his office cupboard and said that he used to use this textbook for his studies 30 years ago. Hmmphh…I said I would really love to borrow it. When I opened the book, it has this super-dusty-old-hapak smell, and the paper was crisp. Guess what, I took the book home, opened it on my lap and read the book with full enthusiasm whole evening and night and made it my bedtime storybook.

More like chicken pox, but I’ve got chicken pox when young.

 

5.

My itch worsened the Saturday morning. I was supposed to go Chiang Mai with my bff on the same evening, but I felt like ripping off my jeans because there’s this one spot on my knee that was super itchy, but I just can’t scratch beyond my thick jeans. On the plane, I boh care already and start scratching the knee because whattodo, damn syiok weiii!

6.

Reaching Chiang Mai just in time for dinner, we had tomyam kai, a coconut drink, and paku-pakis in garlic sauce. That’s when the itch became unbearable: one spot became 100 raised red spots and aggregating as I keep scratching them. Luckily I traveled with my pharmacist bff (yay!), and she took me to this drugstore and recommended me some oral antihistamines and topical ones too. At night, the itch was unbearable, and even with antihistamines in my system, I woke up in the middle of the night to top-up on the antihis cream.

Back in Malaysia, the doctor commanded like Caesar: “Take steroids, and be gone is your urticaria!” But I refused to take steroids and willing to bare the itch with spreading Tiger Balm menthol cream. Tiger Balm burns my spots and causes me to temporary to forget about my itch. I somehow think I need antibiotics/antifungal (bacteria spores attack?/ fungal attack?) and not steroids. Never listen to doctor advice is like dat lu.

The itchiest spots are in this feet area!!

 

Old spots has since turned into pustules. Pustules are painful, but I felt super great with them around because pustules means that the whatever “foreign thing” in my body is in the process of being eliminated out from the body in the form of nanah fluids. And these pustules are no longer itchy! (yes!) Let’s see, I have 20-30 pustules all around my legs and heels which no longer itches, but I look terrible in my shorts or miniskirts. People asked if I had Chicken pox or…Ebola. Like what, Ebola!?! (Do you even freaking know what Ebola’s symptoms are?!)

4th week into this disease, it just got completely healed (no itch and no new spots, but scarred!).

 

Based on my thinking forensics, the culprit could be: 

1. Fungal infection from public pool or changing rooms.

2. Fish, prawns and/or seacucumber from Sabah.

3. Mites on my Ipoh bed or sofa. Bed bugs are likely.

4. Dust mites or dust bacteria on the vintage organic chemistry textbook of 30 years.

5. Unwashed jeans of 1 year.

6. Tom yam chicken in Chiang Mai

7. Stir fry Paku Pakis with garlic dish in Chiang Mai

8. Coconut juice in Chiang Mai

9. Stress. No way jose, I am not stressful lately. I swear 🙂

10. Genetic predisposal. My family especially Dad has very bad skin sensitivity problems – to ants, to spiders, to caterpillar, while Mum can’t eat too much beef. Elder brother has eczema problems on and off.

My forensic findings: No.1, 2 or 4 are likely primary factors that led me to my ugly scars. Then, the elevation of severity (or seriousness) is caused by consumption of “toxic” foods such as tomyam and paku-pakis vege, while in Totality: genetics played a huge role in causing the sensitivity.

**Just pray I am not allergic to anything as I get all, especially not to common ingredients. Some people’s sensitivity to things change as they grow older. I have a friend that was never allergic to pineapple when young, but now can’t take pineapples in any form. She had allergies to squid (only!) and is now no longer allergic to any seafood, not even squid. I have another friend who was allergic to eggs, but could now take them as adults.

Your thoughts?

 

Life Changing 2013

Happy New Year 2014!

Last year 2013, I didn’t have time to recap the moments of the entire year. I was so caught up with events in December that I kinda forgot all about blogging.

In short, 2013 was one of the greatest years in my life (well, I said that every end of the year, don’t I?). Hmmpph. But really, 2013 was not only great but was life-changing. I have gotten my long awaited double promotion, and long-awaited chance to be married. Sounds desperate, but I am not desperate. I do work hard for it. Stuffs sometimes just happen and it goes in your favour. God’s will.

Highlights:

1. I was being proposed to by one of the most amazing guy on earth (ok lah, exaggerate a bit here), but I love him; my family and relatives adores him; we share the same passion. etc. And with that, came a diamond ring. If you know me well, naturally I don’t really care how many carats it was, but the 2-weeks secret proposal effort did make me cry, and that was all that matters. Read it all here.

2. Malaysia General Election clogged up almost all conversations in the office, coffeeshops, homes, etc. during first quarter of the year. Read my thoughts and experiences in one of the most dramatic and ‘dirtiest’ GE of all times.

3. My birthday was also my ROM. There was I, signing my name off. Sounds morbid but it was actually my mum and dad’s dream to see me married off, as many would have said: Ivy might never get married cause her character is….(insert masculine adjective(s) here)…. Of course, the myth was debunked.

4. We signed up for a wedding photography package and made Cameron Highlands our outdoor location shoot. Thanks to Jacky from Bridal Collection and some luck with the cooling weather and sunset, we’ve got ourselves some breathtaking photographs. At the same time, we really had lots of fun doing the whole shoot, and it was sooo cooling. No sweat, literally! Read the experiences and my current take of weddings here.

5. Fong has gotten a new double-storey link house for us to begin our lives together, and so we worked hard, day and night to personalized our pad. With much money thrown in, I think we are both happy to get ourselves a place in Klang Valley, where many young people could only dream of – a landed property. A lot of sweat poured in into doing our own painting, fixing of own cabinets, knobs, hinges, with no help of an ID. From there, I found that Fong does make full use of his PE in civil engineering – such a great handyman and has much knowledge in renovation, he could be a salaried Renovator himself. Plus, I remembered going IKEA 5 times in one month.

6. Just like every year …*ZzzzZzZzZ*….I had to prepare for my naik-pangkat assessment. This year, I did it! Promotion! Smiling from cheek-to-cheek when my payslip arrived just the other month.

7. I went to Beijing twice for meetings and another for a business attachment. Me being me, I make sure I explore the city like a tourist, but on the other hand, going to many roads less traveled. I try to absorb in as much as I could about the country, while maintaining my own cultural integrity, also making every trip a time for self-discovery and a learning process. From there, I never had the same thought about China ever again. Funny, but I love China, and my colleagues were jokingly asking me to ‘balik China’ again as I was bragging about my VIP treatments in Beijing, oh well….so much better compared to my treatment as a chinese in my own country.

Photos of my 1.5 months business attachment will soon be posted on my PICASA. Here are some sneak peeks:

8.  My appraisal/performance this year scored me another promotion and consequently, a long-awaited salary upgrade that brings to my face, a larger smile. That makes it a double-promotion this year alone! I worked my ass out this year (harder!) and finally, finally…phew…got noticed.

9. Achieved the best full marathon time ever with at 5hrs 24 mins in the SCKLM. And I could proudly say that I ran this race alone. I gave myself a pat in the back before retiring from races for the rest of this year ’til my wedding in March 2014.

10. I have gotten myself a beautiful sister-in-law (Ipoh girl mahh), as my elder brother tiba-tiba preceded me in getting married. I said “tiba-tiba” because it was Fong and I who announced our marriage first, but their wedding was done earlier than ours. I am so happy for them both and wish them both the best as husband and wife. At the same time, our family moved into our new bungalow in Tambun. My parents were so proud this year alone; it shows in their faces every time I go back to Ipoh.

I pray that this year 2014 would be another memorable one for me. This will be the year of my wedding, and I have great hopes for my career to be a Certified Chemist (just in case you didn’t know, I am a biologist working my ass off as a chemist). This is also the year where our government will be imposing the GST and has had many items increase in prices including electricity, water (ice!), food, toll, etc….in response to the bad results they obtain in GE(?). Some sort of revenge, eh?  Meh, I am not surprised that our federal government is retaliating. Hah! Happy BN (Barang Naik) year of 2014.

God bless and lots of hugs to my loyal readers.