Archive for November 2012
This week I have friends from California visiting. They are on a 2-week vacation visiting Laos and Thailand. Their first time in the two countries. They visited four provinces in Thailand: Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, and Bangkok. Tomorrow they will fly back home. I hope it has been an enjoyable trip for them.
These days, our lives are still revolving around hospital visits. Nan is healthy and I am doing my best to avoid going to see yet another doctor anytime soon, but our close family member had to have a surgery. Today we went to Siriraj hospital to visit him. The operation had turned out well, thankfully.
After Siriraj, I went to Chatuchak weekend market. Walked around, bought nothing, got lost a few times. The place is like the city of Bangkok. Messy, but colorful.
Not much new development on running. As the pain flared up, I’ve been back to not running and back to taking painkillers again. Going to do a light jog tomorrow, which will be my only run this week.
Can’t train the body much, but been training the mind to live consciously. It’s been interesting to (try to) be aware of my thoughts and emotions at all time.
A consciousness of wrongdoing is the first step to salvation…you have to catch yourself doing it before you can correct it.
Marty loaned me a book called “Running with the Kenyans”. Haven’t finished it yet but learned the basics of how to become a fast runner:
Run, eat, sleep.
In fact, as I can’t run much these days, inspiration I get from the book is not so much about running. I am inspired to lead a simple life.
To become great, Kenyan runners train hard, and when they rest, they rest fully. Their foods aren’t fancy, but efficient. They don’t waste energy with things that don’t help them reach their goals.
It’s important to identify things that don’t matter and disregard them, so that you have time to spend doing things things you love.
Right now the thing I love to do (and can physically do) is cooking. It helps me with my goal of having the body and mind in the right place. On the physical side, cooking allows me to eat clean, nutritious food. On the mental side, it trains me to calmly be in the moment.
Did plenty of cooking this past week. All five breakfasts and five dinners were prepared at home. As a result of good eating and low activity level, the weight I lost during the c-scope prep has quickly returned.
Though still low, the activity level has actually increased somewhat, as I have started jogging again. The jogs have been very short and easy, up to 2-2.5 km so far.
It’s good enough for now.
As the treatment for septic arthritis was about to be over, I was hit with a new, seemingly unrelated, symptom. During the vacation to Koh Kood I discovered blood in the stool. Second time this year that there was blood where it shouldn’t be. At first I didn’t bring it up to anyone as I just wanted to deal with one thing at a time. After having thought about it some more, which took about a week, I decided I need to get it checked out. So last Monday I went to a hospital (National Cancer Institute) to have a brief chat with a doctor. He suggested a colonoscopy. My mind was already set to having it done so it was an easy decision. The appointment was arranged and the process began.
I had the colonoscopy scheduled at 4pm on Friday. The food prep began after Monday dinner. The instruction sheet advised eating white starch (rice and bread), clear soda, fruit juices, jello. It told me to avoid fibrous vegetables, fruits, and tough meats. I didn’t want to eat so much sugar so I devised my own eating plan. In 4 days, my meals were
Tue 6 Nov:
- breakfast: scrambled eggs in butter, red oak lettuce, olive oil
- lunch: grilled chicken, grilled pork neck, grilled beef, squid
- dinner: fried king mackerel, pork rib soup, chocolate lava cake
Wed 7 Nov:
- b: boiled egg, cheddar cheese
- l: banana
- d: chicken broth, sour cream
Thu 8 Nov:
- b: chicken broth, fried egg, sour cream
- l: banana and coconut water
- d: chicken broth
Fri 9 Nov:
- b: coconut water
Being deprived of real wholesome food was hard, but it was necessary. I even ate less than instructed. The more it goes in, the more it has to come out.
Took liquid laxative (Swiff) at 6:10 am on Friday. It was chilled in the refrigerator and I drank it with a straw. 45 ml of it. Sucked on a lime and drank coconut water in between. It turned out not too bad.
In less than an hour my stomach started croaking and I started going to the bathroom. The colon evacuation business, which was frequent, ensued. Drank 1 pack of oreda r.o. electrolyte as I felt light-headed.
Lost 3 kg in 3 days. My weight hit 53.8 kg. Never felt so light and empty.
At the hospital, I had to sit and wait for a long time in front of the gastroenterology clinic. It was my first time having this done, so there was a lot of unknowns. Uncertainty makes me nervous.
My thoughts ran wild. what’s next? has anyone ever reacted negatively to anesthetics? a tube inside me? that can’t be natural. will it hurt? how much? how long will I be asleep? will they find something wrong? will a surgery be needed? what then?
I closed my eyes and stopped the rambling thoughts. Let’s consider the situation, calmly.
This is a standard medical routine. Lots of people have had these done. Tonight alone there are 10-20 people going through the same thing as I am. It can’t be that bad. Nan’s father also recently had it done. The hospital staffs here are all pros. They know what they are doing.
Imagine the worst thing that could happen. What could they be?
tumor? colon cancer? surgery? death?
So what, it’s life. It’s fleeting. Everyone’s life will end at some point. Be fine with dying.
Anxiety discarded. Then I was ready. Whatever happens happens.
Changed into a green patient robe. Pants off, shirt on. Got called into a room. A nurse did an enema, which felt weird. Then I went to the toilet for one last time.
After that I got on a rolling bed. Got a saline drip in my vein. A nurse asked me about my medical history. Then I was told to lay on my left side. Heard other nurses talking to other patients, informing them that the scoping was over. Then it was my turn.
Wheeled into the room. Saw three medical staffs in there, with a lot of equipment. They put breathing tubes into my nostrils. Oxygen probably. One of the staffs told me that she will take my pressure and then put me to sleep. She warned that my hand may feel a slight burning sensation. She held my right hand and was about to inject something, probably the anesthetic.
That was the last thing I remembered.
A nurse woke me up by calling my name. I slowly opened my eyes. I was completely out and didn’t remember anything about the scoping itself. A long tube was inside of my colon and I didn’t know anything about it.
It was a really nice sleep. Felt rested.
Slightly dazed. It’s done, the nurse said. I was told to sit on a chair for a while to stabilize myself. A nice lady sitting next to me offer me some herbal liquid to inhale.
I had read that, after a colonoscopy, patients usually have a belly full of air and tend to break wind often afterward. That didn’t happen to me, strangely.
I took a change of clothes. Then waited with Nan to be called in to see the doctor. I was also allowed to finally eat. At 6 pm, it’s been 7 hours since I had the last drink of water and about 30 hours since my last solid food (banana). Nan packed some food and it tasted so good. Coconut water, grilled pork, apple.
moment of truth
Got called in to see the doctor. He saw the inside of my bowel. Time to listen what he had to say. The diagnosis was positive. No problem in the colon. Hemorrhoid is what I have. That is considered a good news. The doctor told me to just treat it with a good diet. Eat more fibrous fruits and vegetables, and avoid raw or spicy food. Then he said I can go home.
Finally, time to go eat. After a long drive in Friday night traffic, we got to have our dinner. A quiet celebration in a packed, but low-key, restaurant.
No more doctor appointment to look forward to and there are no pills to take, at least for the moment.
Last week I went to the hospital 3 times. Mon, Wed, and Thu. 2.5 months of treatment is over. Will go to another hospital tomorrow though. This has been a strangely unhealthy year. Started off so well with a good marathon in January and a nice trip to London in April.
It’s just life and its unpredictability.
Keep calm and things will be fine. Stress does not help.
This weekend the schedule was light. We took the opportunity to go to Rot Fai park again this morning. Nan brought her mom too. We did some light jogging for about 3 km. Nice to be moving. Lots of people braved the sun out there today. No sign of winter yet.
The aftermath of hurricane Sandy reminds me of the Japan tsunami and Thailand flood last year.
New York City marathon 2012 was cancelled, just like Bangkok marathon 2011 was.
The nature is true. I think it’s best to accept it as it is. It’s neither good or evil. It can be beautiful and devastating at the same time.
Keep calm and things will be fine.