G

sungladys

my first surgery

 

Exactly a week ago i underwent my first ever surgery in my 26 years of life. It was daunting and scary to say the least. But before i get ahead of myself, it's only right that i give you a bit of background of what surgery it was and why i had to go through it.

More than a month ago, my period was delayed for almost 1.5 weeks – which is not completely unusual. I've had delayed periods before due to stress (especially during exams) but i'm not sure why this time i just felt that they delay could be more than just stress. I then did a pregnancy test which showed to be negative. A few days after taking the test, i suddenly realised there was a small lump on my right breast. This was unusual because it was never there before this. In all honesty, the first thought that came to my very human mind was "Could this be cancerous?" I then told Sung (my husband) about my latest discovery and we both agreed that i should see a gynaecologist to run further tests. We always believe that there's no harm checking because if it really is something that requires more attention, at least we have the upper hand of early detection. And if it's nothing to be worried about, at least we got ourselves the peace of mind – which to us, is far more precious than worrying ourselves away just because we don't wanna spend those few extra hundred bucks for a check-up. 

So that's what we did the following day! We went to a nearby women's clinic and the doctor did an ultrasound scan for me. He scanned my womb, my left ovary looked perfectly fine according to him, but when he moved the ultrasound scan towards my right ovary, we saw a strange dark circular patch located on my right ovary. The doctor zoomed in and did the scan in a few different angles and he explained to us that he found what appeared to be an ovarian cyst on my right ovary. The cyst was measured up to 7.5cm in width and about 4.5cm in length. 

I was lost for words. Not in a good way, but in a manner of disbelief and disappointment.

I visited the gynae to just check if i was really not pregnant, and to see if the lump on my breast was anything i should be worried about. Little or never did i expect to receive such a news.

Many people, including the doctor, comforted me by telling me that ovarian cysts are a very common thing amongst women. It just happens to random women for no particular reason. But knowing that you're diagnosed with a common 'disease' (for lack of a better medical word) does not in any way take away the worry, stress and anxiety that come with it. So many questions ran through my head at once:

"Why me?"
"Why a cyst?"
"Why 7.5cm?"
"How long has it been there?"
"Is there anything else in my body that's yet to be discovered?"
"Why can't my body be a normal healthy body?"
"Why is my body so weak?"

Not gonna lie. I cried. I cried a whole lot that day, from the moment the word 'cyst' came out from the doctor's mouth to the very moment i went to bed that night. I cried when i went for lunch, when i was munching my food, when i was in the shower, i could even be having a completely normal conversation with Sung in the car and i'd suddenly tear up for no reason. 

I was an emotional wreck. 

Sung just held me in his arms whenever he could, made sure i eat even though that was the last thing i felt like doing, and he would patiently and gently ask me...

"What's going through your head, dear?"

I couldn't utter a single word to explain to him why i was crying because....i didn't know for sure why i was crying in the first place. I just knew that i was sad. But i thank God for having him by my side the entire time. I can only imagine how tough it must have been for him, equally as shocked and sad as i was but he still had to make sure he's strong enough for me – his wife who's incapable of proper speech; only uncontrollable tearing.

I did a cancer marker test (CA-125) in the clinic on that very day, just to check if the cyst could by any chance be cancerous. The result only came out a week after. Thank God, the result showed that i was tested negative for any sign/risk of cancer. However, my doctor friend, Debbie, told us that even though the cancer marker test may be negative, it does not guarantee that the cyst has no potential to be cancerous. Sometimes the cyst could be what they call a 'borderline cyst'. Meaning it's not cancerous yet. But it has the potential to become cancerous given the 'right' environment/circumstances. 

So we were given the option to let the cyst just sit in there without doing anything to it because it wasn't giving me any sort of pain or discomfort. In fact, if i didn't get my body checked that day i wouldn't have known about the cyst until today. I thank God for all the unforeseen circumstances that led me to go for the checkup. Though the finding wasn't favourable, but i wouldn't have it any other way. But the risk of letting the cyst be is that it might twist or even burst – which would result in an immediate emergency surgery to get it removed. If the cyst bursts and is found to be cancerous, it will elevate a cancer stage from a stage two to stage three or four. That's how risky it was.

Another option was to surgically remove it through a laparoscopic surgery. It's a minimally invasive surgery, also known as a keyhole surgery, to have the cyst removed through three small incisions near by womb area. The risk is of course surgical risks. There are risks that come with every/any form of surgery, no matter how minimally invasive they are. There's a risk of me having to remove my right ovary or even my entire womb if things were to end up more complicated than expected. And then of course there's a risk of reoccurrence. Just because i've gotten it removed doesn't mean it's the last cyst i'll ever have.

We carefully thought through each option and considered all the risks, and we decided to go for the surgery. We don't wanna risk having the cyst twist itself or even burst. We'd rather have it removed then pray and believe that it will not reoccur. Even if it does, at least i'll be more experienced (and less emotional. hopefully. haha) and more familiarised with the procedures. By then i'd be like, "KEEP CALM AND REMOVE THE CYST." Kidding. Hoping i'll never go through it again. Lol.

So yes! We're finally down to the part of the surgery. 

My biggest fear wasn't the surgery itself, but the fact that i'll be under GA (general anaesthetics) freaked me out. BIG. TIME. The thought of losing my consciousness completely to a group of people i barely know, having to trust them with my life for that good 1.5 hours of surgery really worried me to the core. 

A week before my surgery i was having a conversation with Sung's sister, Ian Zing, and she recently just went for a surgery to remove her tonsils which required her to be fully under GA. I asked her:

"Didn't you feel scared?"

Of course i felt scared! But that’s when you realise how fragile life is, and at that point you really have no choice but to fully trust God that as you slowly lose control of your own life – He will take full control of it. Remember, your life is not in the hands of the doctor or nurses. Your life is in God’s hands.

That spoke to me so much. So profound yet such simple truths that i've failed to grasp. I'm putting so much faith in my doctor that i failed to realise that it is God who gives doctors the wisdom, understanding and skills to carry out whatever it is that they do. God; the Doctor of all doctors. The ultimate surgeon. The giver of life. 

With that, i felt so much more at peace. Fears were still present. They were still real. But what's more real to me was/is Him. 

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my hospital tag

in the words of Sung,
"OMG babe! You have a permanent pass to Sunway Lagoon now!"

i'm ready for surgery!

this is the photo i sent to my family and friends upon checking in.
i'm pretty sure nobody has looked this happy to be on a hospital bed before.
i must have confused many nurses that day.

They cleared my bowel (weirdest thing ever) and first time in my life i pooped with such ease. Thank God for all these medical tools. I wasn't allowed to eat nor drink from 8am onwards until after my surgery. 

12:50pm: I was wheeled off from my room to the floor where the operation will be held. The moment the nurses wheeled me away from Sung, i started tearing. I couldn't believe it was actually happening. I dreaded that moment so much, yet i was seriously looking forward to the very moment i get wheeled back into my room – knowing that the cyst has been removed and i'm all right now. Seeing me tear, Sung teared too. Two emotional fur balls walking towards the lift with two very comforting nurses who just smiled and nodded at us and told us everything is gonna be okay.

1pm: I was transferred to another bed. Nurses got my details checked again and again, made sure i knew what surgery it was gonna be and etc. Soon after, i was wheeled into a corner of the waiting room. It was just me staring at the ceiling. Complete silence. It was the best moment to sleep. And so i did. 

2pm: Got woken up by a nurse when she called my name. It was time. She then wheeled me into the operation theatre. It was the strangest feeling ever. I wasn't scared. If all goes according to what i've rehearsed in my mind, this should be the very moment where i freak out, cry the most and say my most desperate prayers. But to my surprise, i felt such sense of peace and courage. I smiled to the nurses and my anaesthetist, and was then transferred to yet another bed. The room was really cold, but thank God for this heated operation bed! It played a big part in calming my nerves. I got my IV drip on, blood pressure monitored, details checked yet again, and i was just waiting for the arrival of the doctor.

230pm: The doctor came into the room, he smiled and asked me how am i. He then said, "Ok! We're ready for the operation. You'll take a little nap now ya, Gladys. Just enjoy your short nap. I'll see you in a bit." It was a nap most unfamiliar to me. Never have i felt this nervous to sleep in my life. My anaesthetist put the GA gas mask on my nose and he said, "Ok Gladys, just breathe in and out. It's gonna be a short nap." 

And so i breathed... inhaled, exhaled, inhaled, exhaled, inha... 

I was out.

To be honest i'm a lil' disappointed because i didn't get to do they always do in movies. I was really hoping they'd ask me to count backwards from 100 to 0. "100, 99, 98, 97, 96..." Oh well. Another time. Hopefully never. Lol.

4:15pm: I woke up with a sharp sharp pain in my lower abdomen. I've never felt such sharp and cramping pain before. On a pain scale of 1-10, it was an 8. I was maximum dizzy and drowsy from the GA, and i wanted to shout so badly but i couldn't. A nurse saw that i was awake and he came to me, i could only utter one word to him "Pain....pain...." He just nodded and asked me to hang in there because they just administered the pain killers into my IV and it'll take awhile before it takes effect on my body. I was in the recovery room for almost 20 minutes – by far the most painful 20 minutes i've ever experienced (at least for now until labor pain takes over this award). 

4:35pm: Finally. The moment i've been looking forward to finally arrived. I was wheeled back into my room. I was greeted by familiar faces of friends Terry, Steph and Tabby – and soon after, Sung. Nothing is more comforting than to see the people you love when you're struggling with pain. Almost immediately, i felt less dizzy and drowsy. I guess that's what love does to you. It heals you faster than any pain killers can. 

--

Long story short (even though it's already very long), i'm back at home now, discharged from the hospital 2 days after the surgery and i'm on a 2-week medical leave to rest and recuperate at home. Rest has been great thus far. I've been resting well, sleeping well, eating well (hopefully not too well) and recovering well. I've been binge watching Masterchef US Season 8 (waiting for episode four), Masterchef Canada and Gordon Ramsay videos. And nope, i still can't cook. That's why i'm watching people cook food that i won't possibly cook in my life to make myself feel less sad about my limited culinary skills. By 'limited' i mean Shimramyun and fried eggs limited. 

I'll be seeing the doctor in a couple more days for my follow-up checkup where he'll reveal to me photos of my cyst and the lab report of it. 

Till then, i just wanna thank God for showing Himself so real and true to both Sung and i throughout this season. He is always present, though sometimes silent, yet i know so well in my heart that silence doesn't equate to absence. He blessed us with so many good and wise counsels, great support from family members, close friends and leaders who constantly checked up on us to ask how we are doing, constantly praying for/with us. We're also grateful to God for a successful operation, for putting the right doctors and nurses into our lives. The whole process of being admitted into the hospital, to the surgery itself, to the recovery process have been nothing but pleasant – and we're so thankful for that.

And i'm also extremely (x1000) thankful for my amazing husband. My constant supporter and strength from day one all the way till today. Someone who has so lovingly, patiently, gently and generously give of himself to me. Wouldn't have made it out victorious if it weren't for him by my side. He makes every challenge in life a little more bearable and purposeful.

 

I hope to write more since i'm gonna home bound for awhile more. So here's a hospital giraffe signing off,

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thank you for your love.

no longer afraid of GA and no longer possessing the 24/7 Sunway Lagoon pass.

 

 

 

 

 

Lost For Words: Bridal Shower

Wow. 

Where do i even begin? This happened exactly two weeks back, yet i still feel like it happened yesterday. Everything is still so vivid in my memories – and i'm pretty sure it'll stay so for a really long time.

Off we went! 
I was blindfolded and was chauffeured by my sister Loveen, accompanied by my other sister Serene, to a mysterious land that was 45 minutes away. Man, being blindfolded in a moving vehicle for 45 minutes is no joke. My head was spinning and i felt like vomiting. Thank God i didn't because if i did i'd be a really smelly bride-to-be.

While i was trying not to puke...
These amazing girls woke up at 7am (or earlier) to setup the place. Words can never fully express my gratitude towards each and every single one of them when i saw these photos. After the surprise, i found out that they actually started planning for this surprise bridal shower 3 weeks ago :') I'm beyond touched. 
 

The arrival.
After getting lost at the carpark for a good 15 minutes (thanks to Loveen lol), i finally arrived at this mysterious land. I heard birds chirping, and it definitely sounded a lot like nature and i was 100% sure it was outdoors. I didn't try to guess where, but i couldn't wait to take off that blindfold!

As i regained my sight,
I couldn't believe my eyes. I was greeted by an incredibly beautiful picnic setup that was placed right in front of me. I immediately turned around and i saw all the girls, all dressed in white and all of them wore a hairband that read 'best babe' and they put on a 'wifey' hairband on my head. It has gotta be the pinkest and cutest item i ever had on my head!

Absolutely loved these punny balloons! Thank you jie Careen for getting them!

The details.

The very Pinterest-worthy table setup.
Everything was so pretty and too beautiful to be eaten. Couldn't take my eyes off the details!

Presenting my picnic buddies for the day!
We asked a random aunty who so happened to be nearby to help us snap some photos. We gave her instructions to just keep snapping as we looked at each other doing the 'fake laughter' thing which eventually turned out to be a series of genuine laughters when we realised how silly we actually looked. Hahahaha. I must say that the aunty's photography skills are pretty legit!

One of the games we played! Special thanks to Ju Yinn and Sophia for preparing the games. They were so creative and meaningful. Another game was for me to answer a series of questions (which they already got the answers from Sung) to see if our answers matched. It was fun getting to know what my fiancé through those random questions!

Girls: "The bride-to-be must have her milo." They know me too well :')

Endless laughters under the scorching sun,
Getting sun burnt while having fun,
To celebrate two tans becoming one tan.

I can't believe it actually happened. Everything was just perfect. The plan, surprise, food, games, company and more. I couldn't have asked for a better day. Thank you Careen, Serene, Loveen, Stephanie, Sophia, QQ, Kar Mun, Ju Yinn and Addy for showering me with so much love. Thank you for sacrificing your sleep amid all your very hectic schedules just to make sure i have the best time of my life on this special day. Thank you for giving me the best seating spot that protects me from the sun while all of you get tanner by the minute. Thank you for driving around to buy and collect stuff from various places. Thank you for waking up so early on a Saturday - the only day in the week where you can actually sleep in. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. 

Love all of you!

WEDDING COUNTDOWN: 8 DAYS

 

Gladys TanComment
The Wedding Card

One of the things i really wanted to do since the start of our wedding prep is to document all the milestones we have and will achieve together, no matter how big or small they may be. And one of the milestones has gotta be our wedding card!

With Pinterest at our fingertips these days, i must say we're really spoilt for choice. There are so many options available and the more you scroll and pin them to your 'wedding ideas' board, the more confused you become. We shortlisted a few photos which we think are simple, nice and timeless and sent them over to our very talented and capable designer friend, Anna. We met up one Sunday afternoon and had a super quick 10minutes meeting with her where we told her roughly how we want the card to look like & etc. It was 10minutes because she got what we were trying to say almost immediately and there was no need for further explanations. 

You can check out her work here: https://www.behance.net/annaleong

We wanted our names 'Sung & Gladys' to be written at the front of the card but we simply couldn't find a suitable calligraphy font online. But i suddenly remembered receiving a beautifully written calligraphy card from Michelle Young at the launch of an event – so i immediately contacted her to ask if she could write our names on a piece of paper and we'll digitalise her writings onto the card. And she said yes! In just a couple of days she sent me multiple drafts for us to choose from. We had a really hard time deciding because all of them looked beautiful in their own way. After much deliberation and trying out different writings on the card, we finally settled with one:

Caligrapher: Michelle Young

And then it was the printing day!

We went to Mummy Design at Sunway (just a store beside and above Vision Art) to get the cards printed. I love it there because the staff will attend to you, and only you, until you're done with your printing. With both of us being the ultimate noobs in design and all things related to Adobe, the staff helped us to edit some last minute minor details here and there, and was very patient in explaining to us on which paper is best, which size is better and etc. We had a really pleasant experience with this printing shop. I hope they remain this way!

We did a test print and here's Sung cutting the card. Hahaha.

And taadaaaaaa! Here's the end result! 

The end result.

We had an explainable moment of joy and relieve when we saw the end result of the card. That joy of seeing what you had in mind becoming reality is simply fulfilling. 

After we got the card printed, we immediately busied ourselves into starting a project called 'hunting-people-down-to-pass-them-the-wedding-card'. I must say it's not an easy task. Until today we still have a remaining of 10% wedding cards that have yet to be passed out because we haven't got the chance to see these people. But it's all good! Things are slowly taking shape!

Next on the schedule: Food tasting. Gonna be yums!

Just in case you wanna check out the works of the talented people who made our wedding card possible, here's how you can find em'. And no, i'm not paid to say any of these. I just believe that good things are meant to be shared :)

Designer: Anna Leong
Caligrapher: Michelle Young (Bakesandinks)
Image captured by: Vincent Cheng Photography

Till the next update! 

Gladys TanComment
How I Feel As A Bride-To-Be...

...whose wedding is coming up in just one month's time.

Happy because i'm getting married to the man i love.
Sad because i don't wanna move out. I don't wanna start packing even though i should totally start doing that already.
Excited because i'm moving into a new home with my husband, and we get to decorate the house the way we like it to be.
Anxious because time seems to be ticking faster by the day and your mind just can't stop thinking about what you might have missed out.
Nervous because i have absolutely no idea what to expect on that day, and how everything will turn out. I mean, what if i trip and fall on my guests?! What if the food is too nice?! What if my gown is too tight?!
Stressed out because there are so many more details to look into even though you feel like you've already looked into most of them. The list just never ends.
Afraid that we'll forget to invite important people. Hence, the need to look through our guest list again and again. And there's always this fear at the back of my head that we might miss out names and when they come on the wedding day, they don't have an allocated seat because we forgot to include them in the list. That'd be the ultimate nightmare.
Angry because i'm still fat.
Furious because i've never been not-fat.
Pinterest-obsessed because that's where all good ideas (and unrealistic expectations) come from. Yet i can't wait to see how these ideas will turn out on that day!

Last but not least...

Grateful.

Grateful for all the people that God has placed in our lives to journey with us through this season of our lives. Parents, siblings, friends, leaders, members and more. Grateful to have an understanding fiancé who allows me to be anal-retentive about certain design stuff and other minute details that nobody will ever notice but me. Grateful to have God at the centre of our relationship, wedding planning and soon - marriage. 

So just imagine putting all those emotions into a blender and mixing them up together. The result is me. My current state. No complaints. Only prayers of gratefulness and hope. Finding rest, peace, joy and security in Him...and also him :)

Can't wait for the day to come!
 

Gladys TanComment
Sunburnt at Melaka

Yeap, that's pretty much what happened at our pre-wedding photoshoot 2 days ago! I woke up at 520am, and Suyen my hair & makeup artist arrived at 530am to get everything going! Man, I've not woken up this early before in my life just to get my makeup and hair done. I must say I really admire Suyen as well as every other makeup artist whose job starts at wee hours in the morning when majority of Earth's humans are in deep sleep.  Yet when you see them, they already have their own makeup on, and they look fresher than anyone else ever would at 530am in the morning. 

If you're looking for a good makeup artist who does hairstyling as well, I'd highly recommend Suyen. She's so punctual, very professional, ever so friendly and most importantly, I love her makeup style! It's elaborate enough to enhance your features and overlook look, yet at the same time it's simple enough to make sure you don't look like a totally different person. For someone who doesn't put on makeup on a daily basis, the last thing I want is to be unrecognizable because of my makeup. I'm so glad I found her to be my makeup artist. She'll be doing my actual day hair and makeup as well :)

So, yes. Back to the shoot! Once my make up was done, we departed from KL around 8am and arrived at Pasir Klebang at 10am.

(Left) Andrew Teo (Right) Vincent Cheng

The weather was perfect. Even though all of us ended up being burned by the sun, we really thank God for the perfect weather for the shoot. It wasn't scorching hot and we didn't even see the sun, actually! It was a sky full of clouds. But we could feel every degree of its heat nonetheless. We shot from 1030am to 130pm. 3 hours of direct contact with sunlight. So just imagine my already tanned skin getting two tones darker. Yeap, that's me now. Hence, the post title. 

The 'desert' place can't be accessed by car, so we had to park by the road side and continue the rest of the journey by foot. It took us about 15-20minutes to get to our desired destination. 

Our amazing photographer, Vincent Cheng!  

My pre-pre-wedding shoot #ootd with flip flops on and the flower bouquet still nicely packed in the paper bag.  

A big shoutout to the guy on the left who so willingly offered himself to assist us with the shoot on a working Monday. He brought his colorful umbrella, bought us breakfast, water and was our official porter throughout the shoot - just helping us with the bags & everything else. How blessed we are to have such a friend like him! If you're reading this, Teo, we want you to know that we really love you and we're so grateful for your time and your love. You're the best photoshoot assistant ever! 

#thisisreallove

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I must admit that when we first got started with the shoot, I was so awkward with my poses - especially when we're told to kiss each other! We've never kissed in public and definitely not with a camera pointing at us! The awkwardness level was extremely high, but after doing it for a few times in a row, you just sorta get a hang of it I guess? I told myself to 'just do it' because the heat on our skin was real and ain't nobody got time for shyness. 

One thing I really loved about Vincent was how he directed us with our poses. He would give very specific instructions without making the poses look too mechanical or 'serious'. That's really an art that he has very well mastered. My favorite instruction from him was "Ok, now laugh uncontrollably!" I would soon burst out in a genuine series of laughter just by thinking how impossible a task it is to laugh uncontrollably outta nowhere. And by doing so, I just proved that this method actually works! Well, at least for me. Hahaha. 

BTS.  

Candid.  

We found this hidden gem somewhere in between the mountains of sand. The reflection on the water is just unbelievable. I can't wait to see the outcome of the photos we took here! 

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A sneak peek of the polaroid photos we took throughout the shoot! Loved every single one of them. 

A sneak peek of the polaroid photos we took throughout the shoot! Loved every single one of them. 

My love.  

My love.  

My beloved man. The very person whom I can always lean on (literally and figuratively speaking) no matter what happens. When asked by Teo on a Facebook live interview (lol) on "what (his) plans are for the day", he replied:

"I'm gonna try my best to magnify Gladys, and make her look the best."

Those were the sweetest words. Thank you for always prioritizing me above yourself, and for always making sure that I know how good you think I look. Thank you for going outta the way to make the shoot such a memorable and priceless one.

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We shot from 10am to 6pm, with a couple of hours break in between to indulge our dehydrated selves with the famous klebang coconut milkshake, heavenly nasi lemak ayam and chicken rice ball - the must-eats when you're in town. 

And here ends our pre-wedding shoot adventure! We can't wait to see the photos. What's next? It'd be designing our wedding invitations and assembling our bridal party - and of course, saving up for the big day! 

It's been such an enjoyable journey thus far. Of course we have our stressful days, but we're learning to focus on the things that are truly important, that is each other and our marriage ahead :) 

 

 

Signing off,

The (very) sunburnt bride-to-be  

Gladys TanComment