Squatting Positions

Daily Prompt: Squat

Due to the chronic swelling of my legs and thighs, I’ve gone through physical therapy a few cycles. Part of my exercise is squatting. When I had the personal training at the gym, interestingly, it started with squatting. Therefore, I have been doing squatting for many years. The benefit shows on the bone scan. My hip bone scored 110% compared to women of similar age. I asked further how to interpret the score. The doctor said that my hip bone was strong and was equivalent to a young adult. It was less lightly that I would fall due to the strength of the hip bone.

It was a great encouragement for me to continue doing yoga, in addition to other exercises.


Gratitude Moments #4

February 17, 2009

The original treatment plan was that I would go through four cycles of bio-chemo treatments, and have a surgery to remove the shrunk tumors, and then have two more cycles of treatments. After the second cycle of in-patient treatment, I did my routine lab work before the third cycle.

I met with the Melanoma doctor and the surgeon. During the meeting, the doctors reviewed the lab result with me. There was minor bad news but major good news.  The lab work showed 20 categories in hematology. Five categories were low.  Blood count was 7.9 with the normal range being 11.5 – 15.0. The lab work also showed 22 categories in chemistry with 4 being low. In addition, I had been running a temperature as high as 102.4 ever since I came home from the hospital on February 1, 2009 (more than two weeks).  I survived on Tylenol.

For the low blood count, I needed 2 units of blood transfusion within the following two weeks (1 unit = I pint or 450 ml). Rich in iron food was my diet but didn’t help fast enough to boost up my blood count.  My temperature was caused by some kind of infection that my body couldn’t fight off.  Antibiotic was prescribed to take care of that.  With low blood count and temperature, I was so weak that I felt there was no life left in me. I knew that I had to be strong to go through the treatment. There was not enough blood to keep my body warm, so I bundled up and walked every day back and forth in the neighborhood. My neighbors couldn’t recognize me.

This was my prayer: “God, you gave me clear indications of which direction to go as far as treatment options.  I listened and followed your direction.  You took my hand and I followed you to near-death with no doubt because your direction was so clear. You’re the God of miracles and I believe in miracles.  Now if it is your will, please carry me back to life.”

Now back to the meeting, the doctors also reviewed CT scan done on February 13. It showed encouraging improvement. The tumors in the lymph nodes had shrunk and were contained, so the cancer cells did not spread.  As a result, instead of having two more cycles of bio-chemo, the doctor now could have surgery to remove the shrunk tumors.  After the surgery, I could rest longer before the final two cycles of bi-chemo. Altogether, I only needed 4 cycles instead of 6 cycles of bio-chemo! What great news!

When I heard the doctor’s plan for me, even though I didn’t have too much energy, I almost jumped up to thank them, but I knew that it was God’s Healing Power.

After the meeting, I was given a longer time to rest, got blood transfusion, tried to get rid of the temperature. The schedule of surgery would depend on my progress.

My family and friends continue to pray, bring food, send me cards and emails. I was wrapped around with love, friendship, and prayer support to keep me going this dark journey.

To be continued……


Where do you go hiking, biking, or horse riding? We are fortunate to live in a city where trails and trails are intertwined throughout the city. Some biking trails are along the homes’ backyards.

The crosswalk is horse friendly. The people walk and horse walk buttons are equally important.

When my husband and I go hiking, he likes to hike in the biking trails for it seems to be more challenging. Of course the bikers and hikers are good dancers when it comes to sharing the trail!

Daily Prompt: Hike                                                              – Photos by Miriam Hurdle


Coffee, Cake

coffee and cakes

I don’t mean coffeecake. I literally mean coffee and Cake.

After years getting gether with friends, having dinner or potluck at each others homes. Friends know by now I can’t drink coffee for dinner or eat cake for dessert. They simply keep me awake for hours at night.

My friends take me seriously when I say I could eat cake for breakfast. That’s the time I could eat sweet without affecting my sleep.

I went to a Baby Shower breakfast lately. The hostess served me hot water instead of coffee. She knows I drink hot water, not coffee. Perhaps I failed to tell her that I could drink coffee for breakfast.

It was a beautiful morning. I enjoyed this delightful Baby Shower with my coffee and cake.

Daily Prompt: Cake

Chill and Shiver


Daily Prompt: Shiver

The unstoppable chill and Shiver

Are still as vivid as present.

Lying in the hospital bed,

While chemo drugs

Dripping into my vein.

“As the side effect of chemo drugs,

You’ll have flu-like symptoms

Such as chill and shiver.” The nurse said.

With anticipation yet not knowing

When it would happened,

I was helplessly waiting.

Oh, it came!

I clenched my teeth,

Tightened my fists,

Curled up my body,

Tried to hold it still.

No! Useless effort!

A button I had to press.

The nurse came with

A shot to the IV into my vein.

The muscles relaxed,

The shiver subsided.

I was good for the time being,

Prayed for strength and endurance

Until the next round coming.



You Can Be Your Own Expert

A couple years ago, I was diagnosed with an esophageal diverticulum.

What is Zenker’s Diverticulum?

Zenker’s Diverticulum is an esophageal pouch that develops in the upper esophagus that causes debilitating dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and regurgitation of food. It is named after Friedrich Albert von Zenker (1825-1898) who in 1877 published a series of patients with this disorder and described its anatomic pathophysiology.



Prior to the diagnosis, for almost a year, I had acid reflux. The acid burned my throat terribly. To someone who sings, this is a nightmare. Another problem was that when I swallowed, I could feel the food scratching the “pouch” and caused a pitching sensation.  I told the doctor that I wanted to make sure the valve between the stomach and esophagus is open and closed properly.

The doctor prescribed videofluoroscopic swallow study. The was the most difficult test I had ever taken. My throat was not numbed. A tube with a video camera was put through my throat into my esophagus, almost touch my stomach. I made a swallow, then hold my breath and my throat movement until the fluid went all the way to my stomach. The nurses and I could watch it on the video monitor. If I breath, or move my throat muscle, that swallow wouldn’t count. I had to do 10 swallow. In retrospect, I had to congratulate myself as a trooper, I tolerated it with only messing it up by one count.

As a result, the doctor said I was fine. The diverticulum was small enough that didn’t require surgery. He prescribed prilosec to reduce the acid in my stomach.

I am not keen on taking medication. I would do anything to avoid taking medication. So I started doing research on alkaline/acid balance diet. I discovered all the pretty charts! I printed out one and taped it on the inside door of my pantry as my daily diet consultant. I follow it religiously and stay on the alkaline rich diet as much as possible.

Alkaline.Acid Balance Food

It has been two years now. I think my “pouch” is gone. I have no more acid reflux. I am not taking Prilosec. I just stay on the alkaline rich diet. In that sense, I am my own Expert!

– Chart from Google images

Daily Prompt: Expert