My Fitness Journey Part 1: How it All Began

Superhero

Fit to be a Wonder Woman… or not.

Sometime first week of October 2017…

So there we were one morning, the hubby and I, waiting outside the clinic of our Orthopedic Surgeon friend.

The hubby has been complaining of back pains for several days. After going to the gym and then boxing and then cleaning the garage, his back started aching (I blamed the house chores but he didn’t find it funny). He tried to dismiss the discomfort for some time until he couldn’t anymore, so off we went for a consult with our favorite ortho. 

As we waited for his turn, I noticed a sign in the clinic that says “free bone density test upstairs.” I teased the hubby about it. Told him he probably needed it because of his age and because he was complaining of back aches. He just shrugged.

Finally we were inside the doctor’s clinic. The good doctor asked what was wrong, hubby told her about his routine, then she made him do some bending– front, back, left side, right side, a little squats, etc.  She said there doesn’t appear to be any broken bones since the pain isn’t excruciating. There’s no swelling, either. It was most likely just muscle pains. He was given some pain medication and we were told to just observe for a few more days. 

I, on the other hand, was not done teasing the hubby, and wouldn’t let up. So I blurted out, “There’s a bone density test upstairs. Maybe he should take it!

The doctor’s face lit up when she remembered the test and said, “Oh yes! That’s free. Why not take the test?” I gave my husband a smug look.

Women have higher risk of osteoporosis and weakening bones.” she continued.

Only then did I realize that she was talking to ME. Not my hubby-with-the-back-pains. Her full attention was directed towards me. 

“How old are you again?” she asked. I was so tempted to give her a fake age (like I always do when asked), but she’s a doctor so I couldn’t lie. When I told her how old I was, she replied, “Go ahead. Take the bone density test upstairs. It’s free anyway! Just come back to me for the results. It won’t take long.”

Okay, so my teasing pretty much backfired.

Half an hour later, bone density test done, we were back at the orthopedic doctor’s clinic… And she was giving me tips on how to strengthen my bones. 

Suffice it to say, I failed the bone density test miserably. No, I don’t have osteoporosis* yet, but my results were pretty much gearing towards that end. I got a negative T-score which meant I had low bone density (medical term is osteopenia). And it was a high negative, ergo closer to osteoporosis… and I mean really close.

Osteo- what?! Weak bones?? All I could think of was — At my age?! But I’m still young! 

I was in a daze as the doctor rattled along. “Your bone density is way below normal so you are more prone to bone injuries and fractures. But you can still fix that by drinking milk… Walk in the mornings so you’ll get a good dose of Vitamin D… Exercise to strengthen your bones. Do these before your bones get brittle.” 

Milk? Sun?! Exercise??!! Is she enumerating the things I dislike? I never liked drinking milk… In fact, coffee flows through my veins!… I totally loathe staying under the sun, getting all sticky and sweaty… And exercise?! Didn’t I just say that I don’t like getting sweaty? My idea of exercise is taking long walks — at the mall!! 

Am I being punished??

“You need a lifestyle check,” she continues, “I don’t want you to just rely on calcium supplements, also to avoid developing kidney stones. So drink milk, eat veggies, have proper diet, sunlight for vitamin D, exercise. Do these first. We’ll do full body bone density scan after a year.”

She lost me at ‘You need a lifestyle check…’

On the side I could hear the hubby saying, “See? I have been telling you for the longest time to exercise. Not for aesthetics but to strengthen yourself,” he said emphatically.  I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. I heard voices but the words were swimming in my head.

Before leaving the clinic, still overwhelmed and very confused, I had one last question… “Looking at my bone density results, how old do you say are my bones?” I asked.

Without batting an eyelash, the doctor replied, “Oh, about ten years older than your actual age.”

Ouch.

And so we left her clinic that morning with my husband having muscle pains, and me having, well, weak bones.

Guess who came out the clinic with a smug look on the face? Wasn’t me. 😦 

Watch out for My Fitness Journey Part 2! 

 

Credits: Wonder Woman photo via google images (highbrownmagazine.com file) 

*Osteoporosis is a condition of fragile bone with an increased susceptibility to fracture. Osteoporosis weakens bone and increases risk of bones breaking (source: Medicinenet.com). Osteopenia refers to bone density that is lower than normal peak density but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. Bone density is a measurement of how dense and strong the bones are. If your bone density is low compared to normal peak density, you are said to have osteopenia (source: Webmd.com).

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A Not-so-Happy Monthsary

Hello November! 

Tomorrow marks the first month since my unico’s accident at the dorm. To those who still haven’t heard — or read– about it, please see previous (trending) blog

I promised I’ll share with you how our weeklong, extended stay in Singapore went. So here goes (and with photos, too!)…

Okay, so my husband and I took an early morning flight that arrived in Singapore at 9:00am. From the airport, we checked in at the hotel really fast, just dropped our bags in the room, then rushed straight to National University Hospital. 

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First selfie for this trip… How sad is that?? 😦 

Patient B32 was taking a shower when we arrived. Don’t ask me how, I’ll probably just answer, “With great difficulty…” 😦 

2

Tadah! 

We were told that the hospital is ready to discharge the unico. We waited for about half an hour for everything to be settled, and for the instructions regarding his medication. 

And then we were off… (to the Campus)…

3

Goodbye photo-op with one of the nurses

Pushing unico’s wheelchair is Toto, one of his awesome roommates, who was there to pick him up and bring him back to the dorm in case we didn’t arrive. How sweet was that??? ❤ 

In the previous blog, I mentioned that my husband and I were really scheduled to go to Singapore to attend the Parents’ Orientation Weekend. Unfortunately, because of the accident, it became quite a challenge to join the activities.

For the most part of that Friday afternoon, we were just at my son’s dorm (which they call a suite), helping him settle back in, fixing his room (which looked exactly the way he left it when he was rushed to the hospital… meaning, there was still a pillow with blood on the floor, books strewn all over, etc.). Besides, we didn’t have an elevator pass, so we can’t just go in and out the residential college. We were pretty much stuck in the suite. 

At some point, the Residential College Vice Rector came to meet with me and my husband so we can discuss how the school can help my son in the coming days as he goes back to his classes. Can’t help but be truly grateful that my son is in a very supportive college

🙂 

Back to the Orientation Weekend… The activity for that evening was Performance Night. Students (and some parents) were invited to perform for the visiting parents. My unico, was supposed to be part of said activity. But because of the accident, they were not sure if he can (or will) still perform. 

Being the true performer that he is, well, of course he couldn’t pass up the chance… And so sans practice, the show had to go on… While in a wheelchair, too!

Song choice: Vienna, by Billy Joel

“Slow down, you crazy child…” as the song goes. How apt. 

6

Success!

The Performance Night ended around 9:30pm. We brought him back up to his suite and planned for the following day before going back to our hotel. We decided to leave him at the dorm so he could already rest. My husband and I told him we’ll be back early enough so we can have brunch together.

The bus ride to the hotel took about forty minutes. I was craving for coffee but the nearby Starbucks was already closed. I was already getting lightheaded because of exhaustion and lack of sleep (been awake since early morning for our flight). It was a long day.

And I expected the following day to be another long one. 

Saturday…

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We got back to the campus in time for brunch! Yey! 🙂 

We spent Saturday planning how the unico will do his day to day activities while in crutches or wheelchair.

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The adventure begins…

We looked for easy routes going to his classrooms. We went to the laundry room so he can do his laundry. We walked with him to the dining hall. 

And so we walked and walked until we have covered practically most of the campus (some of his classrooms were like two buildings away). My husband pushed the wheelchair, while I walked behind, lugging the crutches, and a water bottle, with me. It was exhausting. I was exhausted. And to think I had feet to walk with. 

It wasn’t easy, believe me. It made me realize how blessed we are that we have functioning legs and feet. We really should never take any part of our body for granted.

At some point during our “campus tour,” I told my husband I believed it would be better if both of us would stay for a week — or at least, up to the unico’s first post-surgery consult with his doctor.

My son had shown nothing but courage all through out, but I wanted to be there to provide whatever support I can while he was recuperating. His friends and dormmates were the best and the school had been very helpful and supportive, yet I wanted to do my job as a parent.  

Sometime late Saturday afternoon, my husband and I were able and attend one sample class (it was still Parents’ Orientation Weekend, after all, and there were several sessions going on).

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Filipino parents, represent! 

Afterwards, we brought the unico to the hotel with us so he can rest on a bigger bed, at least for most of Sunday.

Couldn’t really do anything much at the hotel… 

And so school week came…

My son started attending his classes (crutches and all)… we would check on him whenever possible… treated him to Japanese dinner outside school so he can get a breath of non-campus air…

My husband and I spent the week not necessarily in school the whole time, but just close enough to be there anytime our son needed us. 

Traveled to school by Grab, bus, MRT… enjoyed the non-polluted walks, too.

 

 

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Yale-NUS at night… Or at least the view from Clementi overpass 🙂

At last it was Friday… day of the post-surgery consult. We were able to talk to the doctor who explained to us how they fixed the broken bone.

He checked the wire, checked the wound, had it dressed, told us that it’s healing beautifully and as long as my son takes care of it — make sure that it doesn’t get wet and infected, and that the wire inside doesn’t break — then they can remove the wire come November 10 (even earlier than original November 24 schedule). Doctor even added, “Nah, you don’t have to be here when I remove the wire. I’ll just tell him to look away as I pull it out.” Yes, he said he’ll pull it out. *Gulp.*

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That’s one tough guy you’re looking at!

So after meeting with the doctor and knowing that everything is well, hubby and I were ready to go back home. 

And so we did, the following day.

 Saturday, bye bye day… Can I just stay??

19

This was the hardest part 😦 

So tomorrow –the tenth of November –the first monthsary of his accident, he is going back to NUH to hopefully have the wire removed. 

It was quite an experience. For all of us, actually, but of course, most especially for my son. It was a freak accident. He had a bad fall. Who would have thought that he would break his toe so badly? 

Accidents do happen. But then despite the accident, God’s grace shone through… and we felt it in more ways than one. We were surrounded by good, helpful people. People who assisted in different ways, people who reached out and who prayed with us. My son was blessed with caring, loving friends who still help him up to now.  

We were given strength, comfort and peace even when we were tired. My son was given the courage he needed while we were still away… and the yes, he still had the same courage after we left. 

And yeah, as bad as the original reason was, well, we were able to spend longer time with him because we decided to extend our stay. 

Though I am not really celebrating the monthsary — it was still an accident, after all, I guess I cannot say that I am not happy. Because I am. I am happy because he is now okay.

More than that, I am thankful. Things could have been much, much worse. 

But God is good. He is always good. 🙂 

WARNING!! The following is not for the faint-hearted… So stop here if you are not ready… You don’t have to look…

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

🙂

 Those who are intrigued about the “wire” that I kept talking about, let me give you an idea how it looks like…

My, what big foot you have! 😉

And the good doctor is scheduled to pull that wire out tomorrow.

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photos were mostly mine…except for the foot which was unico’s (Don’t worry, i asked permission before i posted)

Love thyself

tiffany

Elsa Peretti Open Heart ring in 18k rose gold

Every once in a while, I submit write ups to the Brew Your Best Year webpage of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Last night they posted my latest contribution. 

I wrote this piece in time for Valentine’s month. Nothing mushy or sentimental, though it talks about an experience that had something to do with my heartYou may read about it here: Matters of the Heart.

It’s the first of two parts, actually. The second part should be mushier… though as of the moment, the whole story is still just in my head. Hopefully I get to write it soon. 🙂

Hope you’ll  learn something from this one… ❤

🙂

Photo of Elsa Peretti Open Heart ring from Tiffany & Co. website, Elsa Peretti collection. *No connection to the write up, but thought of using it because it’s just so pretty — and what girl doesn’t like ogling Tiffany jewelry? I believe it’s good for the heart. ❤ 

 

Being a Better Me

The last two weeks of December pretty much breezed by. 

There were endless get-togethers, last-minute shopping sprees and gift wrappings, family reunions with overabundance of food (with everything seemingly delectable, yummy but utterly sinful, and totally irresistible)… And we wonder how we gained those unwanted pounds. 😦

I can personally say, though, that aside from the full stomach, December left me with a full heart, too.  A heart full of love and joy.

Spending time with family and friends reminded me what true joy is about… what love is about. It is about having a certain sense of belonging and acceptance. It is about knowing that you are with people you love and who also love you back, regardless of who you are, what you have been through… People who are ready and willing to accept your flaws and quirks.  

It is about feeling at home and armed with the knowledge that there are people who value you, who will stand by you and protect you when need be. 

When you have joy and love in your heart, you are somewhat braver to face whatever tomorrow brings.  It gives you courage to conquer the new year and whatever surprises it has in store.

❤ ❤ ❤

I am a “New Year’s Resolutions” person. It has been a childhood practice of mine to list down the things I ‘promise’  I will do (or in some cases, not do) in the coming year.  

Yes, I normally start with : Lose five pounds… And truth be told, I don’t think I ever lost those five pounds.  Maybe sometimes I do, but I most likely gain them back when December comes… plus a couple more. 😦 

When no one else knows about your resolutions, chances are you will end up ignoring them or forgetting them altogether. It is never easy to lose those five pounds, you know. It IS easier to forget that you even thought of wanting to lose weight.

And so, to challenge myself this year, let me share with you my 2017 resolutions. 

If you are a friend and you see that I am getting off track, feel free to tap me on the shoulder — or send me a text message– and let me know. I will try not to feel bad nor get offended (…nor punch you on the face). Promise. 🙂 

Here goes — in no particular order of importance…

My 2017 ‘Be a Better Me’ list:

I will…

  • lose at least five (5) pounds. Yes, this still tops the list.
  • eat healthier.
  • walk more.
  • have regular spa treatments (facial, massage, etc.)
  • not scrimp on good moisturizers and body lotions.
  • wear more skirts and dresses.
  • be more positive; get rid of negativity and grudges.
  • leave hurtful events, people, memories behind.
  • do my best not to get easily offended by other people.
  • smile more; be friendlier.
  • learn how to take a compliment.
  • laugh at/make fun of myself more; learn how to loosen up.
  • be more patient with people, even the difficult ones — most especially, the difficult and overbearing ones. 
  • read my bible daily.
  • fill my head and my heart with worship and praise songs.
  • NOT listen to sad songs, especially when I am having an off day… they simply don’t help.
  • talk to my parents and spend time with them regularly.
  • make more time for my friends.
  • write more.
  • start writing my next book.
  • NOT be embarrassed to share my work, my talent and my thoughts.
  • still take selfies as much as I can, and enjoy every minute of it!
  • take photos to document my day.
  • make more picture books / photo albums.
  • read more books — one book a month, at the very least.
  • learn — really learn —  a new language.
  • travel to a country I have never been to.
  • always be grateful for the blessings, whether big or small.

Phew, that was quite a lot. I can still think of others, but this should do for now…

I know I will have hits and misses along the way… But aren’t we so blessed to have the chance to start on a clean slate? We have twelve new months ahead of us. 

Twelve months that we can spend trying to be a better version of what we already are. 

Twelve months of keeping the joy in our hearts… in our lives.

Because I said I’ll take more selfies (I guess I have this one covered)…

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And because I also said I will laugh at/make fun of myself more… 🙂 

Happy new year, everyone! Here’s to an exciting year.

********

photos are all mine, obviously… 😉 

#guiltypleasure

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hmmm…

Saying see you later, yet again, to CBTL’s Mocha Ice Blend.

Why is it such a big deal?

Because to me it is.

Hope I don’t get grumpy.

See the paper bag on the table? Inside is my salad lunch.

Muffin top begone!

🙂

*****

photo via my Instagram account. (Yep, that’s me!)