Monday, 12 March 2012

Cheeky and 4Life Transfer Factor- by Syahidah

It has been so long since I wrote anything in this blog. Today, I want to share with you my own experience, with one of my beloved cat, Cheeky.

Some people call me insane. But when it comes to a matter of life decision, people will do whatever it takes to overcome it. It is not insanity, but I love her.

In the middle of January 2012, Cheeky fell from Level 3 of my apartment. That evening when I came back from work, I saw her at my balcony of my apartment. As usual, Cheeky and the other cats are so excited to see me. When I climbed the stairs suddenly, I heard something and when I turn around, I saw Cheeky at the ground floor of the stairs. I was so shocked and afraid. Oh God! She fell from the balcony!!

I took her up to the house first with my hands (full of bags & etc). That evening, I wrapped her with a blanket and rushed her to the animal hospital. I felt Cheeky was shaking all the time and all the way in the journey to the hospital. She looked as if she was so dumbfounded. Cheeky is usually an active cat however this was totally the opposite. I became so frighten and without even realizing, tears were coming out from my eyes. I don’t know what she is feeling  at that moment. Cheeky kept on looking at me all the way to the hospital. But all I can do at that moment was to send her to the animal hospital as fast as I can.

That night, after reaching the hospital and briefing the doctor, he straight away conducted some minor examination, such as her walking, her eyes, her tummy, and her temperature.  That night, Cheeky was having a fever. She lost weight from 5.3kg to 4.2kg. She could barely walk. An X-Ray  test was to be carried out to the next day soon after Cheeky is in stable condition.

When I called the doctor, the X-ray showed that her liver has been affected due to the fall. There were no broken bones. One more thing that the doctor highlighted to me was that Cheeky may be suffered from a shocked due to the fall. It was my mistake because I let the sliding door at the balcony open during the day as I go off to work. I don’t want this to happen in the future. So from now on, I will close the sliding door even though for a few minutes I go out.

I brought Cheeky home after 5 days in the animal hospital. There were 2 medicines for her, one was antibiotic and one was for her liver. Cheeky next appointment was in two weeks time. It was very very very difficult situation for me to gives Cheeky her medicines. Any pet owners will know the torture of trying to give your pets meds. The doctor showed me how to give the medicine. Her medicine comes in a tablet form. Unfortunately, my two hands were not strong enough because of my condition at that moment.  I grind the medicines and mix it with her wet food. She was so smart because she smells the food first, and after that she doesn’t want to eat it anymore. There goes the food and the medicines.

I then try mixing her food and her medicines with 4Life Transfer Factor. She smells the food but this time she eats it. Yeah.. Finally Cheeky eats her food after 2 days at home because she doesn’t want to eat anything. Even though she only eats less than half of the bowl, but she eats it, and I am happy with it.

I didn’t bring Cheeky to the animal hospital for the appointment since Cheeky was recovering so fast. After 4 days at home, she started climbing my bed already, the chairs, and the table. After a week, she back to her active mood again; where she likes disturbing the other cats. She thinks she is human, that is why she is like that. 

Now, when I want to chew my 4Life Transfer Factor Chewable, Cheeky will interrupt me because she wants it. She will put her hands (her paws) to my lips. So, I give one to her. Well guys, the other cats also following Cheeky because they also want the 4Life Transfer Factor Chewable too. They smell it and they like it. OMG, I always found the 4Life Transfer Factor’s bottle below the table. I put the other bottle too but only the 4Life Transfer Factor Chewable bottle is below the table. The cats are communicating to me by telling me that it is time to feed 4Life Transfer Factor. Below is the video of my other cat who loves 4Life Transfer Factor as much as Cheeky does.

I have to keep the bottle inside the kitchen cabinet so that the bottles won’t go missing again due to my furry friends! Well guys, guess what, when I come back from work, the door of the kitchen cabinet was open and the bottle of 4Life Transfer Factor was already on the floor! I know they have done it because no one else in my house except the cats. Now, I will keep the 4Life Transfer Factor bottle inside my room and never left it outside of my room.

Latest photo of Cheeky, healthy and naughty.


Sunday, 19 February 2012

All’s in the Past by Sabrena

Frankly, I had no idea what I was doing or what I was looking for when I made that decision that day. I just resigned to giving fate a chance. So there I was being extremely and weirdly obese, with huge  stretch marks in the most unimaginable places, having difficulty to climb up even three steps of stairs let alone a whole flight of them, feeling miserable and wanting to be left alone most of the time. I hated to look at myself in the mirror and lost interest to even make myself presentable to work. Mimi as always tried to cheer me up while Syahidah and other friends tried to make me feel normal. Most treated me kindly though I still get stared at like a freak.

A few weeks after the hospital, a friend of ours asked Mimi and I to meet her up for lunch. It has been quite sometime since we met and I welcomed the idea. We were introduced to another friend of hers who explained that my autoimmune disorder is due to an over reactive immune system where the immune system could not differentiate which is a foreign virus or bacteria to attack or have problems in deciding the amount of white blood cells to be sent to a particular area. It is the opposite of cancer where the immune system is too low that it could not defend itself or allows a foreign cell etc to manifest itself.

After the lengthy explanation, the friend introduced us to 4Life’s Transfer Factor. A non-plant based supplement used to improve overall health. Considering the crash I had and I would not dare touch anything that could boost my immune system in any way, I decided to give it a try. I was sure that my body system would need all the help it could get to overcome the shock it had to undergo. What have I got to lose?

I have been taking 4Life’s Transfer Factor for seven months now, and I have to say that I am no longer taking my diabetes and high-blood pressure meds. I am still on Azathioprine and Prednisone though since my pemphigus vulgaris of the oral mucosa is still with me and I need them to keep the oral inflammation controlled. I shed a few kilos and though stretch marks are still there, at least it is not as angry as it was then. I have to say, my quality of life and health has improved since I could climb stairs and I get to occasionally enjoy some sweet drinks instead of settling for warm plain water all the time. (I don’t drink carbonated drinks.) I started to join my dance classes again since my knee pain has improved and I could walk faster too.

Guess this whole experience has taught me to appreciate what I have and value the friendships I have. Despite the adversities I had to endure, I was lucky that I have a strong support system and I was eventually introduced to something which helped me regain my health, slowly but surely. It is one of life’s creative ways of teaching me to endure and have faith I think. Not that my journey is over. 

 me before being admitted.

After two weeks being discharged from the hospital, still puffy.

After one month taking 4Life Transfer Factor. The color on my skin is back.

After 4 months of 4Life Transfer Factor, no more steroid induced diabetic and high blood, no more puffiness (except for the cheeks), no more water retention..thank goodness.

Below are my pictures recently. I gain my confidence back, happier, lighter (hahaha) and healthier. Till next time...

                       Mimi and I (picture taken in December)

Most recent photo (Jan)

The Road not Taken by Sabrena

Hey there..been ages since the last time I wrote. Guess, keeping up with the changes around me has taken a toll on this particular project of mine…anyway, where did I left off? Hmm..the hospital.

OK..apparently the real reason my body crashed that day which led me to be treated at the High Dependency Unit (HDU) – pretty much the place they prep people up for surgery or for any cases in which the patients’ condition are not serious enough to be placed in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) – was quite cloudy. But the doctor in charge of my case did highlighted the obvious, it is steroid induced.

This revelation struck me on the potency of over-medication, if there is such a term. You see, every time I was prescribed a drug, I would Google it up to know what I am putting in my body. I am sure you are aware that drugs actually tell certain parts of your body to react in an unnatural way. It could tell the brain to release or reduce certain enzymes or body fluids. The thing is, these prescribed drugs could actually turn your body haywired especially in cases like mine, where I was prescribed to various types of drugs. The best analogy I could think of from the top of my head is imagine what would happen to a ship if the captain has too many people advising him as to how to handle a crisis. Each advisor has his or her own interior motives and each suggestion given would have an adverse effect to the ship in both the long and short run. The best part is, most of the time none of these advisors actually care about the well being of the ship or the crew and passengers.

The ship here is obviously the human body whereas the captain is our brain while the advisors are the drugs and the doctors prescribing them while the crew and passengers would be the internal organs of the human body. Please do not get me wrong. I respect doctors a great deal, and it is an extremely noble profession to be in. However, doctors in general tend to throw medicines at the wall and see which one sticks. These medications prescribed are not tailor-made to your body’s health needs and they are rather generic based on studies and experiments. Hence the reason why some people need to visit their doctors a few times – the meds prescribed are not strong enough or there were allergic reactions etc – before they are cured. Learning and experiencing the side-effects of taking in too much medication first hand opened my eyes.

Previously, whenever anyone suggested alternative medicine, I would shy away without even bothering to think much about it. After all, doctors spend so many years to be qualified to do their job. The night before I was discharged from the hospital, I felt that I do not care about following doctor’s orders any more. The side effects of the meds combination on me were too much for me to bear. I spent half the night questioning God, why me? Seriously, why me? It was a very emotional moment since I have never felt so broken in my whole entire life. The experience shattered my confidence, stripped me financially bare and battered me to the point of wanting to give up fighting. I felt like there was nowhere for me to go and no one whom which I could turn to. I was alone. I do not think I could ever recover from this nor could I ever fully describe it to anyone. I know I could not go through the pain anymore and I would be heartbroken to see if anyone I care about had to go through the same experience. I ended up muffling my cries in the pillow, not wanting to wake Mimi up because I know she would worry and fuss over me.

The very next morning, I told Mimi and Syahidah that I would be open to anything to get better because I was tired of following the logical path to recovery. My autoimmune disorder was only getting worse. I might end up getting cancer (my baby brother passed on at the age of eight due to leukemia and my mum and I were the only ones present during his crucial final hours at the hospital) thanks to my meds knowing that it suppresses my immune system at the bone marrow and so many other worse possibilities. In other words, I do not want my health to be dictated by meds. So when the doctor wanted me to take further tests, I said I wanted to go home; and home I went to that day.

Dancing with Psoriasis by Mimi

It’s been a while since I wrote anything in this blog. What have I been up to lately? Practically busy doing a bit of this and that. Let’s talk about the weather for a second (I know, it's interesting right?! Hahahah); when the weather changes from cold to hot; my psoriasis will also act up. So far, after taking 4Life Transfer Factor for nearly about 7 months, my skin has not had an outbreak since then.

Anyway, I am busy preparing myself for the dance examination Silver Level in July. Like I told you before, I appraised as 'highly commended' for my bronze level dance exam. The only problem that was highlighted by the examiner was that my ankles are weak to point and turn when dancing. So basically I have about 5-6 months left to learn new dance and routines plus try to strengthen my ankles.

I remembered when it was the crunch time last year, both of my feet were swollen especially my ankles. They were so swollen I could not fit in my dancing shoes. Thank God on the day of the exam I could just manage to fit in my dancing shoes and dance. My instructor told me my feet are “flat footed” so I need to have a sole specially customized for my feet. I asked her, why do that the swell come on and off? I noticed that it did not  only swell due to rigorous training. Sometimes my ankles started to flare up just by climbing the stairs . Asked my doctor about it, one look at my ankles, he said that was due to psoriasis. It will flare up and swell every now and then. That’s why my feet and ankles are so hideous all the time.

Above picture is my ankle - swelling and the skin cracking up..

This is my hideous feet swelled up like little sausages and the skin is so dried. Am so embarrassed.

Currently, in my dancing class, we are studying the dance called PasoDoble, here the ladies will dance as if they were either the bull or the cape hence, and you need to have a good straight posture and strong ankles to do the sharp turns. I thought for sure “there goes my ankles”.

For warming up my instructor made us dance to fast and long routines such as Mr. Sexobeat, Dedication to my Ex, Jai Ho (Long routine but cool) etc. A lot of jumps, hops, flicks, points (I think I dance till my tongue fell out hahah);  surprisingly, my ankles do not swell like balloons anymore. Still weak but even that is a huge improvement and I could feel that they are much stronger and I could climb the stairs faster without feeling like I am carrying a heavy luggage at the end of my feet. Right now I am trying the 4Life Enummi Body Lotion for my ankles to reduce the crack and dry skins on my feet and ankles. Will let you know how the progress of my skins soon.

On the lighter note, I would like to share the lyric : I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack. This lyric and song means a whole lot to me I hope for you to.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed;

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,
I hope you dance...I hope you dance...

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance,
Living might mean taking chances but they're worth taking,
Loving might be a mistake but it's worth making;

Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to selling out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance;

I hope you dance...I hope you dance..
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along, tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone)

Hope you like the song as much as I did, I forget to mentioned last Sunday 12 Feb 2012 Sabrena and I join a Flash Mob at Sunway Pyramid for a couple’s 60th Anniversary. Hah, it was so cool!! We dance to the September song by Earth Wind and Fire. I am so happy I could hop without damaging my ankles anymore. It’s was quite of an experience. Take care and till then .

 Me chilling out, after the Flash Mob..still in one piece hahaha


Sunday, 8 January 2012

And the Battle Rages On – side-effects from the prolonged use of medications - by Sabrena

I have to say, throughout the one year of under-going the medication (the Prednisolone and Azathioprine) had really changed my outlook towards life. I literally lost my self-confidence and every time I looked into the mirror, I do not even recognize the person who was staring back at me. I hated myself. In fact, I still do. I no longer posses the eloquence of a language teacher since I pretty much have lost my ‘groove’. I mean who would want to listen to a fat and grumpy teacher any way? I stammer a lot and I could not even bring myself to share any opinions with anyone.

I was bloated to the point of no return and the physical condition was worrying. Don’t say I have not tried to keep the water retention and puffiness at bay. I did Yoga and exercised with dumb bells every morning; unfortunately, the weight just kept on coming. Sometimes I wished I could have super powers. Nope, I do not want super strength or the ability to fly or transform into a guinea pig. I just wanted the ability to transfer fat to the villains (any part of their bodies for that matter). Can you imagine a foxy villain in a leather suit having a bum cheek bigger than the other, fleeing away from me because he/she couldn’t bear to be weirdly fat? Just how could the villain shed that extra baggage away? (snicker J) Just something for personal trainers to ponder upon.

Anyway, the dermatologist I was seeing was concerned with my overall health especially when I highlighted that small red spots have started to appear on my skin. These spots if I am not mistaken are warning signs of consuming too much Azathioprine. Bruises (which appeared out of nowhere) have also started to show its ugly face. This is one of the early signs indicating my liver has been affected by the medication. He then sent me to see an endocrinologist. The endocrinologist poked my foot (bloated as ever) with a wooden stick and asked me to guess whether he was using the sharp pointy end or the blunt one. I got it wrong a number of times. In a rather grave tone, he said my nerves were already damaged. Then he did a blood test and checked my blood pressure only to confirm that I have steroid-induced diabetes and steroid –induced hyper-tension. So, as expected, I was given more medications to control the blood sugar levels (glucophage) and blood pressure (cozaar). I was also asked to see a nutritionist to devise a proper diet to curb the conditions.

Picture of stretch marks all over my body due to water retention and sudden weight gain

Some of my friends were very concerned about my failing state of health and advised me to seek alternative solutions. The question is, how could I find one, when most of them promise to boost a person’s immune system one way or another? As much as I wanted to try, having an over-reactive immune system does not permit me to do so. It would only make matters worse. So, despite the condition I was in, I kept on taking my meds as prescribed, hating myself more and more each day. There were days where I felt like not wanting to go to work. My body was also stiff due to the steroid-induced rheumatoid arthritis. It would take around half an hour to muster the strength to get up to take a bath. Due to this, I wished I could just hide away in a cave, far away from those menacing eyes of civilization.

I got angry a lot during this period. When I go to work, I would bury myself with the tasks given to me and I snapped a lot. I have no idea how Mimi managed to withstand my self-pity and frustration derived temper tantrums. (Thanks Mim!) I know that she doesn’t like to be treated like that and that is a lesson learned for me. I forget that we sometimes would hurt the ones closest to us because we tend to take them for granted. (Love ya lots, Mim).

Anyway, one day I had a late lunch, and a very late dinner. I did not think much about it though; so the next morning, I took my meds as always and I started experiencing vertigo. I went to work despite the dizziness, thinking I could get to the panel clinic later. At the office, I was too bogged down with the students and work that Mimi had to force me to go to the doctor. I explained to the doc on my current medication and medical history. She checked my blood pressure and said that it is perfectly normal, so I returned to the office and resumed work. That night, I started vomiting and had to go to the toilet, so many times, I lost count!

Soon I became dehydrated and tired from the lack of sleep. I went to the clinic near to home first thing in the morning. Somehow rather, despite my appearance and weakness, the blood pressure is still fine.  I honestly find that to be rather odd. So, I continued taking the meds for diabetes and hypertension in addition to the steroids and immunosuppressant, Azathioprine. By late afternoon, I literally started seeing stars. You know those neon lights (from the lamp posts or car headlights) we see each night? The stars pretty much looked like that; and I saw them everywhere I looked and every time I opened my eyes. The only difference was, I saw them as groups of different hues of yellow lights. The intensity of the colour varies depending on the object/person in front of me. I had to hold onto the walls and furniture to walk and as soon as I reach the bed, I would just collapse. 

 This is how I looked like all puffy and unhealthy. Picture taken a week before I collapsed.

Mimi took a leave that day, and she began to worry. She insisted I go to the clinic again. This time, it was my regular GP. Just one look at me and she informed Mimi that I need to be taken to the Emergency Room as I was gravely ill. I was rushed to one of the nearest private hospitals by Mimi and upon reaching the Emergency Room door, a doctor, two nurses and a wheel chair was waiting for me. My vision was a blur and the next thing I know, I was hoisted to a bed, a drip line was made and I heard Mimi answering a few questions. At around 5pm, after 3 hours in the Emergency Room, I was sent to the High Dependency Unit (HDU). It was then when I was informed that my blood pressure was below 50 upon my arrival and the docs at the Emergency Room had to ensure that the pressure reached 50 before I could be sent to the HDU. Apparently, given my situation, taking a hypertension controlling drug was an extremely bad idea as it makes the blood pressure drop even further, leaving me in a life-threatening condition.

I think this is long enough for this week. I promise to continue on the recovery and what I have learned next week.

Ms. Invictus

Monday, 2 January 2012

A New Light-by Mimi

Psoriasis? Flaky, red, itchy and inflamed skin? Joint pains? Anyway that’s all a new term for me (back then I mean). I found out that psoriasis is basically a skin disease when rapid production of skin cells that is triggered by abnormal lymphocytes from the blood. Hmm…that is the purpose of the medication I was prescribed to. The doctor told me that they should help me “clean up my blood”. I felt as if I am a vampire or something but I guess that was his layman term in explaining the situation to me so that I won’t panic.

I also found out that psoriasis commonly affects your knees, ankles, elbow and that explained why mine is so flaky and hideous all the time. But before knowing this I thought I was not cleaning myself hard enough. I used to brush my ankles and knees long and hard until my skin bled and became raw. That was 20 years ago, I never do that anymore because I know it is not because of my hygiene. But I can vouch for it, after taking Transfer factor from 4Life Research that part of the area is still hideous but not as bad as before (besides it only has been 3 months since I started taking TF).

I learned that there are several different types of psoriasis including psoriasis vulgaris (normal type), pustular psoriasis (something like small blisters), guttate psoriasis (small, drop like spots) and inverse psoriasis (in the folds like of the underarms, breast, navel, and buttocks which normally makes your skin so smooth and red or inflamed).

Don’t ask me which one I have because honestly I don’t know. All I can tell you is that at first my psoriasis affected my whole body and face with inflamed wounds, skin breaks and flakes. After the treatment it all seems to subside except for my scalp, knees, ankles and elbow and I have been living with it since. Then a few years back I had a huge outbreak at my thigh, navel, butt and under my breasts. The doctor gave me pills and topical cream to soothe the skin. The outbreak seems to have subsided but there is still a huge area on my thigh and butt; where my skin cells are still affected by psoriasis. I am telling you it is hard to lecture a group of students when your skin is experiencing that uncomfortable burning sensation.

The scars were very noticeable; I have tried everything and all sorts of creams to make the scars fade away. I learned to live with the scars and have been trying hard to prevent any further outbreaks. These all changed when I started taking 4Life Transfer Factor about 3 months back, I also applied their lotion called 4Life Enummi and guess what?!! My thighs and butt are now cleared without any scars in sight and I feel great because I no longer live with the fear of scraping my scars unnecessarily whenever I put on clothes. Isn’t it grand??

Looking at the different perspective with all the things that had happened to me, I would be fooling you if I say that I am peachy about everything. My mood swing was like a roller coaster especially when it comes to my perspective towards life (doc says the effect of the steroids could explain the mood swings but I like to think it is me instead of the tablet).  As I grow older, I think God would have never tested me on all of this if I couldn’t endure it. I guess I am lucky to have experienced this and I won’t take things for granted since I now will have to compromise a large part of my life with psoriasis. So I guess no matter what just be thankful for everything you have and do and take time to do the small stuff just to remind ourselves that we are human.
Even though we need reminders that we are just human sometimes its fun to be ANYTHING BUT human..that's me with Syidah the Pirate..