Bald 'n Sassy

Life is for the living. Live simply. Expect less.

Archive for the month “January, 2011”

The Power of Attitude

Over the last 6 months, the most common feedback received from family and friends is my positive attitude.  Though at times such as after each chemo session where I am sick and lethargic for at least a week, the positive attitude comes to a halt. There are times that I tell ask myself, I don’t like being sick every few weeks.  However, I kept reminding myself that this one week is temporary and that it will get better.  As you’re reading this, you must be thinking “How can you have the courage to keep up that positive outlook all the time”.  To me, there are two choices available. The first choice is to take each day in stride and knowing things will get better.  Second choice is expected failure and nothing will work.

Well, for me I made the conscious decision to choose the first option.  During my many visits to the clinic, I do see some other patients who has share the same chemotherapy schedule as myself. We do have small chats with one another for a few minutes and had the opportunity to meet another woman who is in her early 60’s diagnosed with breast cancer.  I am going to call her “my cancer buddy”.  Her daughter openly shared with my sister and I about her mother has coped with the big C.  My cancer buddy has been crying everyday since her diagnosis.  She even cries when visitors’ pay her social visits. She prefers to stay home even if she is feeling well.  I completely understand how she feels.  I have shared with her how I have dealt with the cancer and chemo.  Despite the strong encouragement and support she receives from her family  together with my stories, it seems that my cancer buddy has predetermined herself to allow the cancer become the focus of her life and how she choose to live with the cancer.

I am by no means a psychologist or psychiatrist nor am I trained as one but I believe that each of us has the innate ability to program ourselves to possess a positive attitude regardless whether you have cancer or not.  When I’m starting each chemo session, I visualize that the drugs entering my body are attacking killing all the cancer cells.  I also tell myself after the 1 week of being unwell that I can go out and do what I want to do. Simple things such as catching up with my friends dinner/coffee, and resume my swimming.  I am planning to reward myself for completing the chemotherapy with a trip somewhere. Not sure of the destination yet.  These are the simple things that motivates me from one chemo session to the next.

There are so many ways positive attitude can be manifested.  I tend to use visualization, hearing/reading inspirational stories as my motivation.  But my best motivational tool are my family and my closest friends.  They are my foundation block and they are the ones who keep me sane and a good part insane too!  For now this works for me.  Maybe I will find something new and I can incorporate that too. I just take day to day right now.

The best way I can summarize is with a quote from Bill Clinton:

“If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit”


Give me a break!

Yep, I do need a break.  A break from my chemotherapy.  I have one more session to complete and that should be it.  Well I am crossing fingers that it ends here.  The finishing line is within reach.  Having to be sick every 3 weeks is not something I look forward to.  That is why I need a change of scenery.  Today, I decided to take a trip to another city over the upcoming Chinese New Year break.  My sister and her family are returning to Johor, Malaysia for their mandatory visit to the husband’s family.  I decided to be a rebel and not join her :).  I am going to Chiang Mai, Thailand instead – the land of smiles.  Flights and accommodation all booked.

I am excited to the idea of soaking up to another city’s food, people and the culture.  I have visited other parts of Thailand before.  In my younger days of travel, I am one of those that didn’t like to waste and see as much of the place.  And at the end of the trip, I feel that I need another holiday just to get over it.  Now my idea of a vacation is to take my time and see what I want to see, do what I want to do in my own time.  If one day I don’t feel like doing any sight-seeing, then I am more than happy to find a quiet cafe somewhere order a coffee or lazing by the pool reading.

Thailand is well-known for their food and markets. When I am in a new city,  I always make an effort to visit the food markets where the local go to buy their day-to-day food.  I love soaking in the colours, breathe in the aroma and feeling the textures.  Being a foodie, I am always learning what ingredients are available and discover those I have yet seen.  This my kind of sight-seeing.  I also researching on Thai culinary schools to learn a few more recipes.  Not that I am boasting about my cooking skills but I want to learn just more than the typical Tom Yum, green curry or pad Thai dishes.  I shall continue to google and see what is out there.

Oh the other “must” do when I am in Thailand is to visit a day spa.  I certainly don’t mind spending half a day pampering myself with a massage- a necessary indulgence in my opinion :).

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Counting to my getaway begins!

Chronicles of Chemotherapy – Cycle #2

Oh my!  It has been 4 days since my last post. It has been a very active 4 days.  I had a follow-up appointment with the surgeon to see how my wound has been healing and any problematic symptoms since I started my chemo.  So far so good and the next follow-up will be in 4 month time.  Phew – one less doctor to see for now. Resumed my swimming exercise and squeezed in a lunch with some ex-colleagues.

I am going to reflect back on my second chemotherapy.  Initially, the scheduled date was 28 October but I didn’t want to be sick for my birthday.  It was my 40th and I had plans with family and friends.  The doctor agreed to allow me to postpone my date with the drip to 2 November 2010 🙂 . I was awake by 7am but didn’t crawl out of bed by 7.30am.  All dressed by 8.30am.  Prepared my cooler bag with ice pack to hold my 3 boxes of Neupogen injections.  Neupogen is a clear liquid prescribed to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy to help stimulate white blood cells production.  It is very common for patients white blood cells to be very low when chemo drugs are administered.  Hence, our body immunity is very low in the first week post chemo session and susceptible to catching colds or fever.

Arrived at the clinic before my appointment time.  The nurse called for the external lab to send a nurse to draw blood to conduct a tumor marker/CEA test.  It was a different nurse this time.  Will she be gentle with me and not make me pull “that hurts” face.  Thinking of happy thoughts to distract me and I braced myself as soon as she straps the small belt around my arms.  She forewarned me that she is about to insert the needle.  Took a deep breath while it is being done.  I could feel the pinch into my skin and needle sliding into my veins.  It was bearable pain.  She filled 2 test tubes with my blood, applied pressure on the wound and put a band-aid.  All over in less than 10 mins.  So the waiting for the results begins.  It is supposedly take around 1.5 hours to complete the test.  Since I skipped breakfast that morning, I left to fill my tummy with some food.

My sister and I were back at the clinic waiting to see the doctor and study the results.  One of the first data the oncologist scans for are the CEA markers and any abnormality numbers in white/red blood counts or liver functions.  These abnormality would be highlighted in red.  My CEA markers has reduced by 10% from 28.4 to 26. Always happy to see the numbers reduce.  A normal persons CEA markers is between 0 to 4.7 ug/l.  As you can gather my markers are almost 6 times higher than an average non cancer patients. From my understanding at this point, the cancer cells were very active multiplying.  We have to put a stop these cells breeding!  Once the doctor checked my blood pressure, any other physical signs of side effects, I was given the nod to start the chemo.

Being the second session, I was fearing that the nurse would have a tough time with my small veins again.  It was a different nurse who attempted to poke the needle.  She tried with my left hand first.  A vein was found that could be good enough perhaps.  Sprayed the antiseptic and she attempts to poke me.  Felt the first poke but when she tried to push in a little further, I yelped! Sigh, that hurt and a failed attempt. The nurse panicked.  I should be more nervous than her.  Another nurse stepped in to help!  She had to pull out the needle and stop the bleeding. I will have a bruise from this 😦 .  Time to switch to other hand.  The second nurse attempted and tried a few minutes to find a good vein.  She felt a few and now deciding one would be the ideal one to use.  She is hopeful that it would the one.  Needle goes in.  The nurse waits a few seconds before she tries to push the needle in a little more.  No screams of pain from me means it’s good.  Alas, it was a success.  Everyone breaths a sigh of relief.

Whipped out my Kindle to read my book.  Around an hour into my treatment, I was feeling drowsy, barely keeping my eyes open.  After hearing about the vein expedition, the doctor came in to check how I was. Not long after that, I dozed off.  It was a deep 1.5 hour sleep.  The nurse had to wake me up to tell me that it was over.

When I reached home, the tiredness feeling was still lingering.  Climbed into bed and napped for a few hours.  I am happy to have cycle number 2 ticked on the calendar.  The next 7 days is when I am confined to home nursing the side effects of the chemo.

Thats it from me for tonight.

Chronicles of Chemotherapy – Cycle #3

It is a week ago since my chemo cycle #5.  I’ve rested at home for the past few days battling with the constant headache.  Today, I am back to my normal self and energy is back too.  Ok, time to look back at my other chemo sessions.

It’s Tuesday 23 November and cycle # 3.  This marks the half way point of my treatment. Yeah to me! The appointment was set at the usual time of 10am.  Blood test needed to be done and as soon as I stepped into the clinic, my favourite nurse turned up to do her duties.

It was back to the clinic after having my breakfast to find out my results.  I am always eager to find out if the tumour markers (CEA) figures has decreased.  Indeed it has dropped to 17.4 from the last test of 26.  I’m making good progress if I say so myself 🙂  A positive sign that the drugs it’s doing the trick.  Aside from reviewing the blood tests, she prodded my legs and tummy to check if I was in any discomfort or show any signs of any physical side effects from the treatment.  So far no major problems detected.  Time to start the session.

As you may or may not figured out, I am not a fan of needles.  To make it even more challenging for the nurses, I have small veins. That means it is more difficult for any medical staff to find my veins to do blood test or even administer simple saline solution.  When it is time to do poke me, it is a hunting game for the nurse.  They tap on hand first to see if there is a good vein.  For this session, the nurse was confident that she found one and proceeded to poke me.  Ouch!  I could feel the needle going in.  But that’s not the end of it.  Even though the needle is in, she has to test to make sure the solution can flow through my veins.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good vein after all and proceeded to withdraw the needle 😦 . Put some pressure and band-aid on and on to find another one.

The nurse tried the other hand hoping that she would find a better vein. She finds one and crosses her fingers that this time it works. Bingo!  Thank goodness it was successful.  Gosh, I was poked with needles 3 times in a one day.  Not fun at all and I bruise very easily.  In the next few days, I expect my hands to turn purplish green.

Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife” book kept me company in this session. I started to get very sleepy after an hour into the session.  I didn’t fight it and took a nap in the chair.  I wasn’t completely asleep as I could hear the nurses shuffling in and out attending to all the patients in the room.  I woke up around 45 mins left into the 2.5 hour session.

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On the way home, I still felt very tired.  Not too sure if was the drugs that was causing the drowsiness or the lack of sleep from the night before.  In any case, I resisted to sleep in the car.  I was just eager to get home and sleep in my own bed .  I did just that.  I managed to catch a 3 hour nap and woke up in time for some light dinner.  The following 7 days, I place myself under house arrest.  This period is where the side effects kick in.  Oh what fun eh!

It’s way past my bedtime now.  Time to head under the covers.  Good night from me!

Bald is beautiful even on Asian women

“Hair is our crowning glory!”  A statement that holds water in modern western society.  I’m one of those women who used to spend many hours at the hairdresser having my tresses trimmed, coloured, bleached and treated to achieve a look.  Then there is the maintenance of the look – shampoo & conditioner for coloured hair, mousse, gels, leave in conditioner and blow drying.  I am sure this sounds so familiar to most women and maybe to some men out there.

On 9th October 2010, I decided to cross to the other end of the spectrum and join what I call the elite group people – the bald people. No, I didn’t lose my marbles like Britney. Shaving my head was my way to mentally prepare for the expected hair loss as chemotherapy progress.  You would have seen some of the pictures in inaugural day.  I have to be truthfully honest to say that I do feel liberated being bald.

When someone dons a new look, it is normal to expect some sort of reaction.  Stares, pointing fingers and even giggling behind my back are just the typical reaction I receive for being a bald woman who happens to be Asian.  If an adult stares at me, sometimes I stare back or make funny faces to throw them off guard. With young kids, they would either stare and pointing.  I just smile back at the kids and enjoy their innocence.

It is human nature to look at something or someone who pleases the eye.  So this begs the question, “why do men/women look at bald women differently versus bald men?”  Yes, I can hear the argument that it is more socially acceptable for a guy to be bald.  When we see Hollywood celebrities like Britney Spears, Sigourney Weaver, Demi Moore or Natalie Portman  shave their heads, their status is elevated for being cool and some say “they get paid to do so”.  There is only one Asian celebrity whom I believe carry a bald look and yet stay beautiful is non other Persis Khambatta from Star Trek. So, why is then that women especially Asian women over react when they need to shave their heads.   Ladies, “is hair a sign of beauty ?”  It just hair, it will grow back.

Well for the last 4 months, I haven’t had the need to pick up a hair brush or use any sort hair related products. I don’t have bad hair days ever :).  I love being bald that I will keep this “Persis Khambatta” look for a while.

To those women who embrace the bald look regardless of the reason, I salute you!  No matter what others say you are courageous, amazing, strong and beautiful.

BALD WOMEN ARE GORGEOUS!

Chronicles of Chemotherapy – Cycle #4

It’s day 5 since my chemo cycle #5.  Most of the days, I am so darn tired and feeling nauseous.  I’ve been fighting the ongoing headache that stays with me regardless how much I rest or sleep.  I won’t let this headache get to me.

It’s time to pen down my chemo session number 4.  My doctor was taking an early Christmas vacation till 20 Dec.  This mean I had to postpone my chemo session from 14 Dec to 21 Dec 2010.  Yep, it was too close to Christmas but I had no choice.  The appointment was set at the usual timing of 10am.

Grabbed my smaller cooler bag and left the house by 9.15am.  Arrived on time and this time, I had my favourite nurse from the lab to take my blood.  She sat down next to me and took out the necessary equipment ready for the extraction.  It took her a few moments to find a good vein and insert the needle to fill 2 tubes.  I didn’t feel the needle at all – it was painless!  Phew!  Once the band aid was applied, I rested for a few minutes before leaving the clinic to grab my morning meal while the tests are carried out.  Was getting a little peckish.

Time to see the oncologist to review the blood test results.  She was concerned that my white cell counts was low and contemplated to delay the session if other factors in the blood test was not good enough.  I was having a runny nose over the last week leading up to this session and this contributed to the less desirable results.  Luckily enough, the remaining blood work was satisfactory to continue.  I just had to let my body battle the sinus on its own.

The other important result in blood test is the tumour markers otherwise known as CEA. The markers have reduced to 17.4 from 26.0.  It is always a good sign to see this number decreasing.  A big sigh of relief.  Time to start the chemo.

There was another patient who had a head start.  Took my place at the back sofa while the nurse rolls out the drip.  We’re choosing the left hand as the lucky hand to insert the needle.  As usual, I was squeezing away my little red heart to aid in finding a good vein.  Tap, tap, tap and alas she thinks she finds one.  She sprays my hand with some antiseptic and the needles goes in.  I look straight, take a deep breath and think nice thoughts.  I could feel the pinch when it hits my veins.  Thank goodness the pain was bearable. 

Somehow I always find a way to take a single-handedly take a picture with my phone to mark the memory. That’s just me!  Luckily, I had my book with me.  This time I was reading up on a book about stock market wizards – intriguing.  Even had time to chat via instant messaging with some friends.  That certainly helps me to pass the time.

In the first hour of the treatment, I could feel my chest getting very warm.  It was getting uncomfortably warm and for a few moments found it hard to breath normally.  I remained calm as much as possible. I gathered that the drugs are just working through my body.  As I expected, it took around 2.5 hours to complete this session.

I left the clinic shortly after picking up my medication for the next week and confirming the next appointment.  I was feeling a little chilly and craved for some hot soup to warm my body.  As long as I can remember, this would be my first Christmas where my mood is not very festive at all. Even though we had guests over,  I spent a lot of time in bed resting and sleeping.  I had to avoid crowds because I fear of catching any colds or fever.

The finishing line to the end of my chemotherapy is in sight.  Just 2 more sessions to go.

Chronicles of Chemotherapy – Dealing with side effects and how I deal with it

What I am about to share about dealing with chemo and the side effects are purely from my own personal experience. Each cancer patient may encounter different side effects depending on the type of drugs administered by their specialist.

Prior to starting chemo, I have done my fair share of research on the drugs to further understand what they are and their possible side effects. The two drugs my doctor has prescribed to treat my cervical cancer is Carboplatin and Taxotere. As you can imagine, the search engine spewed a whole bunch of medical websites and some of the articles are just not meant for patients to digest.  One of the very first sites I stumbled upon that was easy to comprehend is http://www.chemocare.com presented by Scott Hamilton, the former American Champion figure skater who has a benign brain tumor removed.

The side effects usually occur in the first week after chemo. I put myself on a 7 day house arrest after each session.  Reason being is my immunity level drops considerably which means I have to avoid large crowds and anyone that may have fever/cold. Here is a snapshot of what I experienced thus far.

  • Hair loss: The medical term is Alopecia. This is a very common side effects (and a very visible one too) to almost all cancer patients.  To minimize the sudden hair loss, I decided to shave my hair after the first chemo.  By the second chemo session, my scalp was smooth.

From the pictures here, it looks like I am having a good time shaving my head.                    To be brutally honest, I was eager to go bald.  I mentally prepared myself . When                I sat in the hairdresser’s chair and told him what I wanted to do, he was                                apprehensive to do so.  But I assured him that it is what I wanted to do.

  • Lethargic.  I get tired very easily.  I take naps whenever I needed.  Listen to your body.
  • Sleeping pattern goes haywire. I then to wake up several times during the night having to go to the toilet.
  • Lack of appetite. I still have my 3 main meals in the day. I eat small amounts to give me some energy. I believe that it is important to maintain a good nutrition throughout the treatment.  This may help to deal with other side effects better.
  • Headache: This is my least favourite effect. A constant headache or hangover feeling that lingers on for a good few days. Feeling stoned throughout the day is not a pleasant feeling. I don’t take any medication to deal with this.
  • Nauseous: I do have nauseous feeling at least 2 days after chemo and this disappears around 4th/5th day.  I am given Emend (Aprepitant) tablets prescribed by my doctor before and post chemo. This assists in reducing vomiting and triggering nausea.
  • Susceptibility to common bugs, fever: As briefly mentioned above, your immunity is very weak in the first week post chemo.  It is best to stay away from large crowds in public places and lay low from those who may have fever or common cold.
  • Scars, freckles gets darker: Any cuts, scars or freckles becomes darker as each chemo progresses.  But don’t worry, according to my doctor the skin tone of the freckles will return to normal once all the chemo rounds are completed.
  • Brittle Nails: Nails are very brittle once I started chemo.  I have noticed that my nail bed shows one dark line indicating when I had chemo and one white line when my nail is growing.  It is safe to put some nail strengthener to help your nail from chipping from doing day-to-day tasks.
  • Psychological: Apart from the physical side effects, I must not forget the psychological side effects.  No words can describe how difficult it is to deal with the cancer, let alone endure the treatments.  I urge you to be talk to your family and/or friends about how your feel.  Tell them about every little thing you are experiencing from brittle nails to lack appetite. They are there to support you every step of the way.

Hope my experience helps you or someone who you know who is tolerating chemotherapy.   Now, I am feeling tired.

Signing off now to get some shut-eye.

Chronicles of Chemotheraphy – Cycle #5

Dark clouds coupled with showers outside my windows. This was the weather that greeted me yesterday morning. It is the second Tuesday in the new year but it was another in schedule where I had to go for chemotherapy. This mark as my fifth treatment. I wanted to spend a few minutes to blog this last night but I just didn’t have enough energy to write one sentence.

As you would have gathered from reading my other blogs, I am taking my time to scribble my experiences. But at least I can say “anytime is a good time”. So this is a good time for me.

My sister drove me to the appointment. Arrived a few minutes after 10am. First thing as soon as I stepped into the clinic, I took myself to the treatment room to have my blood test. A nurse from an external lab services came in to do the necessary. My favourite nurse wasn’t available. And not being big fan of needles and it hurt a teeny bit this time. I had to wait for at least 1.5 hours before the results are back. In the meantime, I would step out to a shopping mall across the road to have my late breakfast.

Headed back to the clinic to see the oncologist and have a catch up session before I begin my chemo. She went through the result and said my immunity is looking good except the white blood cells (which was to be expected). She asked me what I did differently from the previous session. I replied that eating habits pretty much the same but the only thing I started to do is swimming. Exercise was one of my to do list from the start of the new year. She commended that it was good and advised me to include some exercise in between cycles. Doctor said exercise could potentially slow down the dormant cancer cells. I am even more motivated to continue with swimming. The other positive result in the blood test is the CEA (Carcinoembryonic Antigen) markers. The markers level has reduced from 8 to 6.7. It indicates that the drugs are reducing new cancer cells from producing and spreading to other parts of the body. This was music to my ears 🙂 Thereafter, I walked out of the office, had some medications whilst the nurses prepared the drugs for the chemo.

Made my myself comfortable on the sofa and while a nurse hunts for a good vein by tapping my right hand. It took a good 5 minutes before she was confident one was a good vein. Then she inserted the needle. I looked away taking deep breaths to calm myself while she does the insertion. No matter how calm I try to be, I could still feel the needle going in. Once again, it did feel a little painful but tolerable. It takes approximately 2.5 hours to administer the drugs. In this period, I had my book with me to help me kill time. My session ended by 2.45pm. Waited a few minutes to compose myself, picked up my post chemo meds, paid the bill and left to grab myself a small bite to eat. Reached home just before 4pm. Even during the car ride home, I could feel the onset of tirenes. All I wanted to when is to take a shower and take a nap as soon as I get home. The nap wasn’t a comfortable one either. My body was aching and kept tossing and turning. I felt even more drowsier and stoned than before the nap. I know I have to endure this for a little while longer. That’s about it from me for this chapter. I’ll be back with more posts with my other chemo sessions. Stay tuned!

Sleepless in Singapore

Yes, I am having one of those nights where my body is feeling tired but my mind is still active at this hour. But oh no,  this out of sync mode has operated for the last several nights – tsk tsk. I should be in bed by now especially when I have wake up by 7.30am.  My alarm is all set.

I had plans to continue with my regular swimming exercise but the it didn’t help when it rained for the entire day.  So I took the time to spring clean my notebook to create more space on the hard drive.  One of my tasks that is has been on going for the last many months is sorting out my travel photos.  I have only managed to upload about 4 different cities.  There are over 6,000 pictures taken during my adventure.  As you can imagine, it will take a little time to filter them through.  I shall endeavour to finish this ASAP!

The date 11.1.11 marks the 5th cycle of chemotherapy treatment.  This would be second last treatment as planned by the oncologist. You may scratching your head and wondering what is going on? Let’s speed up the timeline a little.  I was first diagnosed in early Nov 2008.  I had my surgery and radiation.  I was in remission with my cancer since early 2009 till June 2010. Upon my return from my travels,  I discovered my cancer has relapsed.  This time the tumor has grown outside my vaginal walls and started to spread to my gall bladder.

Just like my other posts, I will take the time to share my experience going through my second obstacle.  I hope I have the energy to take some time to pen down my thoughts after chemo.

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What’s next?

What’s next after cancer and treatment?  That is the question that patients such as myself are always asked by family and friends.  Though I can’t speak for all cancer patients but that thought continues to swirl around throughout the time when I was undergoing treatments.  I always remember my gynaecologist said to me is that “life must go on”.  That motto stayed with me till now.

With all the post treatment tests and medical appointments, I was eagerly waiting to hear the good news from the doctors’ to declare that treatment was successful.  The auspicious date is 20 January 2008.  It was such a huge relief for me.  But I couldn’t escape from visiting the doctors’ so easily.  The next 2 years are critical for any cancer patient post diagnosis/treatment.  The cancer could relapse within this period.  Hence, every quarter for the next 12 months was essential to monitor my progress.  I diligently followed the scheduled and performed all the necessary scans.  Each appointment when scans and PAP Smears are done, I was waiting in trepidation for the results.  It was two thumbs up each time.  What a HUGE sigh of relief!

After all the daily visits to radiation and medical appointments, I decided to reward my mum, sister and myself by going for a 5 day vacation to Hanoi.  The getaway is my way to say thank you to my family for the unconditional support and looking after me throughout the treatment. Yep, the three ladies was going to have a good time exploring the sites and streets of city.

I returned to work after the vacation after 2.5 months.  My then employer was very understanding of my situation to grant me the time off. I was ever so grateful to them.  Returning to work was a way a distraction away from what I had to endure over the last few months.  It wasn’t too long before I was travelling around Asia.  It may sound crazy to some people to throw myself back into a hectic schedule but this was my normality.  Well at least I am living to one of my nicknames, Crazy Chris.

I plodded along with work over the next few months.  Along the way, I had several in-depth discussions with close friends about my experience.  Going through a life changing incident, I keep coming back on the question of  “what’s next?”.  Whilst having coffee with a dear friend one afternoon in June 2009, he suggested for me to quit work and take some time off.  Do what I want to do.  One of my passions is travelling. I always love to do is to see what the world has to offer and smell the roses.  Later that evening, I was thinking about the conversation and contemplating the idea of quitting work to fulfill this dream.  By the early afternoon of the following day, I chatted to my boss and shared my plans with him.  He supported me with my idea 100% and accepted my decision to resign from my post.  The plan is stop work by end of 2009 and the first half of 2010 was ME time.

If you are curious, here was my travel itinerary for 2010:

26 January to 13 February 2010 – India with 2 other friends

20 February to  1 June 2010 – I was travelling alone around 10 countries in Eastern Europe, Austria.  Italy was added to the list where my mum joined me for 3 weeks.

Yeah to me!  If you must ask, I had a remarkable, fabulous, fantastic time experiencing the people and cultures.

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