Hahaha.

I’ve decided to write about this because of:

  • How relevant it is
  • How mysterious it is
  • How emotional it is
  • How tragic it is

Yes.

I am literally going to write about my latest allergy reaction.

And I am demanding you to read about it.

Before you decide to click away, let us just hold hands and hope this shall never happen to us ever (again, if applicable).

Ok feel free to leave if this bores you.

The human body is truly a big fat (if applicable) mystery.

You see, I’ve always had a couple of strange things going on.

This sounds worse than it really is.

Growing up, I had frequent nose bleeds, frequent ringworm infections (my mother must think I’m a dirty child), frequent ankle sprains (really my fault more than nature’s)…

And also extremely poor blood circulation in my lower limbs, which explain my odd body proportions a little. Lack of exercise and poor diet explains the rest. But I’m attempting to live more healthily okay.

My point is:

 

How is the body built?!

 

It’s so strange.

Okay, I’ll let you in on a secret.

If you press on one of FBN’s nostrils, he wouldn’t be able to breathe because one side is completely blocked… He found out only recently, which is amazing, because how can you not know one of your airways are blocked?! Apparently you can.

You guys test it out on yourselves!!!!

Not on FBN, because I’ll be very mad at you (it’s a 50/50 chance just saying).

And yes I asked for permission and his response:

Are you using me to boost your blog readership??

… No so I think it is ok.

But I asked again to be sure and he said ok. So ok.

I actually wanted to share about my experience with my skin.

The first time I realised something was very wrong:

1. My sister bought a new foamy face wash. It was from Biore.

2. She loved it. She said it gave her nice smooth skin and she was very pleased with it.

3. We shared a toilet.

4. I used it because we idolise older siblings and their belongings, and it’s always exciting to use their things without them knowing.

5. My face felt like it was on fire immediately.

6. I was confused and wondered: how could my sister like this feeling on her face? Does this give smooth skin because it removes your entire face?!

7. Of course she didnt, and of course it didn’t (or rather, shouldn’t).

8. I learnt that my skin was very sensitive.

And from then on, I’ve stuck to Cetaphil and products given by the dermatologist.

Occasionally I use things that aren’t dermatologically-approved, but very seldomly.

This also means I don’t use face masks or most beauty products in the market because I don’t want my face to feel like it’s on fire. Sometimes I want to rave about cool skincare products or make-up (not really), but I don’t have the proper tools (i.e. a non-sensitive face) for them.

I am not wallowing in self-pity okay in fact I’m laughing to myself because I’m so ridiculous.

I also realised I had eczema when I had patches of dry flaky skin.

In primary school, I had them near my joints – elbows and knees…

Then they ascended and went to my shoulders…

Then it moved on to my face…

And because there’s nothing above my face on my body (I think), they couldn’t go anywhere else.  So right now, flare-ups happen on my face. Not really the best place to have them, but I’ve gotten used to them.

This also led to me to have scalp psoriasis (horrifying experience I will never wish on anybody) which is an immune condition, and if you want to have an idea what it is, feel free to hit Google up.

Just felt that I needed to give some background story to the real story.

The Main Mystery

In December, after my happy Hong Kong trip, I started to have really, really tight lips.

Tight and dry.

The normal person will drink more water and apply lip balm.

I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so I drank HEAP LOADS OF WATER (I even downloaded a stupid plant-watering app: whenever you drink a cup of water, you log it into the app, and the plant grows. I gave up after one day.) and applied at least 5 different lip balms.

This went on for about a week. Nothing was improving.

I started thinking it could be an allergy reaction.

I’ve never had an allergic reaction up till two weeks ago, but thank god for Med School amirite?

Type 1 Hypersensitivity reaction…

Went to the doctor’s because nobody likes walking around with tight dry lips – it’s pretty scary also. I started to get little spots on my chin at that point, and my chin and ears were getting pretty damn itchy. My neck started to have rashes too.

Took me one week to get to the doctor’s, but the family doctor said:

Eh. Allergic reaction. Eat some Loratidine and apply this cream.

This is also why Loratidine is my favourite anti-histamine among all 3 generations because I actually have a love story and personal connection with it.

Anyway it is something obviously very common, and being a very stupid patient, I asked how long it’ll take for the symptoms to fade. Bear in mind I was still studying for CA2 at that point, and the discomfort was not nice to deal with.

She said empathetically: (not really)

Depends when you stop using whatever that’s causing the allergy!

NOW THAT WAS THE QUESTION.

WHAT WAS I ALLERGIC TO?

I didn’t even know!

I seriously had no idea ok.

Can you imagine how unsettling it is because I could be using the offending agent day after day after day without knowing it!!

ANYWAY.

Obviously I had to find out what it was.

Okay so I had to break it down.

1. The other day I went to Sephora with my sister and I got this lip scrub nonsense (serves me right I know) which I used only once. It was not the most comfortable and The Allergen struck shortly after. But I only used it once you see.

Conclusion: CANNOT BE. Since my reaction was prolonged.

2. I kept eating Korean roasted seaweed those few days. I was starting to suspect it was the seaweed because I had nothing else to blame. But I also didn’t stop eating it because what a ridiculous accusation.

Conclusion: CANNOT BE since only on my face.

3. I ate crabs a couple of times… before/during/after The Allergen struck. I was so scared my body is developing some adult allergy to shellfish. If you know how much I love crabs you can see how this is very scary for me. MY FAVOURITE THING IN THE WORLD!!!!!!

Conclusion: BETTER NOT BE if not I’ll cry. Ya so I’m still eating them when I can la. But shellfish = known to trigger allergic reactions/worsen them so I also ate them in moderation.

I still don’t know what it is.

And so the identity of The Allergen remains…

[unsolved]

Haha I love watching that Buzzfeed series… pretty much the only thing I ever watch on Buzzfeed.

But ya I really had no idea.

.

.

.

Then it struck me.

I used my sister’s pimple relief cream a few times…… and I thought it was really effective (Biore Part II) and so I stole a brand new tube from her toilet.

Really huo2 gai1.

I used it the first time in Hong Kong. Once.

~ first exposure to The Allergen ~ 

And when I came back, I used it a couple more times whenever I had red spots.

~ second/third/fourth/fifth/you-get-it exposure to The Allergen ~ 

Which explains why it never really went away!

Even after the good old Loratidine/calamine lotion!

Because I was still dotting it on my red spots from time to time!!!!!!!!

So I stopped using it. My heart was beating so quickly because finally LET THESE DRY LIPS  AND ITCHY FACE BE GONE.

And goodness gracious…

I really got better.

Lips felt a lot less like death and my chin/ears didn’t itch anymore.

But there were still some residual symptoms left… and I didn’t worry too much because HELLO I SOLVED THE MYSTERY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They’ll be gone… right?

.

.

.

Plot thickens.

NO!

I think after about a week or two, my lips started feeling like death again.

At this point Im just giving up on my face already ok.

I started wearing lip balm excessively (and not just any, because the typical ones in the market set my lips on fire) which is not like me!!! I’m not a typical girly girl. I’m a girl with dying lips!!!!!

You can sense my exasperation.

Anyway right now as I’m typing this my lips aren’t so bad anymore but they’ve definitely not resumed to normal la.

I went down to see my dermatologist again because my mother cannot deal with my incessant whining anymore.

I told her the full story from the start to the end.

And she looked at me pointedly and said:

It’s not an allergic reaction.

WHAT?????????

WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!?

WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At that point I was just like /jaw drop/

Then is it this is normal?!?!

Then she continued:

It’s just eczema.

“JUST”?!?!

Okay I’m going to try to contain my feelings a little bit better.

But ya, FBN was there with me and he was just enjoying the show.

She rejected “Allergic reaction” as the diagnosis because if I were to be allergic to that pimple cream, it would have been allergic dermatitis at the spots I’m applying the cream on.

And that was not the case!

But I really had all the symptoms and I believe I did have an allergic reaction… but not sure to what and I think I’ll really never know.

Like allergic reaction setting off eczema flare ups you know??

But ya it’s actually really like a Buzzfeed Unsolved episode I have no idea why I’m having such a reaction and how…

:-(

When I was first writing this post, I hadn’t gone to see the dermatologist.

So now she messed up my mystery story and I have no idea what The Allergen is…

… or if there was an allergen at all.

HAHAHA I am really just making fun of myself.

Sorry for wasting your time reading this x)

Just thought it was going to be fun writing about this!

Making light of the situation la but this is really not comfortable and I’m having neck rashes that come and go + pretty dry lips that the dermatologist blames on eczema ON TOP of my usual eczema hotspots (ya IT IS NOT A BLUSH), but I shall see how everything goes!

There was this point when NYH had really really dry lips (that red circle around his lips ahahahaha) and I made fun of him so much so I guess the point of this post is that karma really bites you in the butt and that you shouldn’t steal your older sibling’s belongings.

Don’t laugh at me ah y’all.

Light read today yes?

Hope all of you are having a great time playing/studying/doing nothing!!

Simple is good.

This week has been spent with all my lovely friends and catching up with them, and I love them so much please always stay in my life!! (Even if I didn’t meet you this week you know who you are)

Please look forward to my next post.

I think they’ll come once every two weeks.

Hahahahaha seey’all!

Sweet Elements

Remember I said I had the list of things I wanted to blog about at some point?

I decided that the first thing I wanted to blog about was my allergic reaction (that is still ongoing).

Yes.

I even titled it “The Allergen”.

It was slated to be my comeback post!

I was halfway through it, and then I just stopped and thought to myself:

WHO ON EARTH CARES ABOUT YOUR ALLERGIC REACTION?

Ya… but I was still about to publish it because I’ve already written half of it (I was getting to the exciting bit…) but I decided something else was more important.

If this were to be the only post you’ll ever read on this space, I hope this post will serve more purpose.

So here I go!

I tend to ramble a lot I apologise.

Okay, so the standard ritual behind every blog post (which typically comes on Saturday night):

I’ll think of the content. Start phrasing it in my head whenever I’m free – before sleeping, while I’m showering, while I’m sitting around doing nothing, while I’m sitting around doing something, while I’m webcasting lectures.. you get it. Then I’ll write the post.

I haven’t had much time to process this post though so it’s a little incoherent (as in real-life).

Warning: word vomit! 

While I was doing my social media hop around, I landed in Dayre – I love that microblogging platform, and I’ve been a silent reader for a really long time. For some reason, there are many doctors there who write about their lives, and it’s always exciting to read about their lives and stories from the wards.

I would share the post over here but the post doesn’t show up in browsers due to Dayre’s privacy policy… so I’ll just summarise (and quote bits of) the post here:
(Dr Jing’s story)

A 30-year-old gentleman had a flare of bad diarrhoea about a fortnight ago and came in with a funny numbness in his feet, the working diagnosis from a peripheral hospital was something called Guillain-Barré Syndrome (rare autoimmune disorder which can cause weakness and numbness in muscles, usually due to prior infection).

However, his findings were very inconsistent with the presumed diagnosis – acute kidney injury, abnormal liver scans (innumerable spots) and chest pains which he complained after lifting weights in the gym – he was bulking up for his wedding in four weeks.

After going through various scans and lab tests, Stage IV Colorectal Cancer was the diagnosis – it has metastasised from the bowels, to the kidneys and liver, and even the bones of his ribs (explaining the chest pain).

It’s a heavy story, isn’t it?

The thing is, it’s real life and it is happening right now to this gentleman (and his fiancé) and to so many other people across the world.

2 weeks of diarrhoea turning out to be something else…

Life really hits you in the most unpredictable ways. :-(

It has been a few days since I read this, but I’m still thinking about it and feeling upset and unfair for him.

But what purpose does this serve?

When life hits, you hit back harder.

Being a doctor has been my ambition from a young age.

I’m not going to go all-out personal-statementy on you, but this seems to be incredulous to many many people.

I’ve talked to a couple of friends about it, I’ve talked to adults about this, and some of them seem to think that “saving lives” isn’t a good-enough reason to sustain the passion for medicine. (…which begs the question what is?)

There are seniors (however old) who are extremely jaded, and even my family doctor tells me:

“Wah all these pimples… you’re too stressed, see la, told you not to be a doctor!”

Haha she’s so cute. She’s the seemingly cynical kind of doctor with tough love and only the best for her patients.

Everybody calls the Year 1 Medical Student the bright-eyed bushy-tailed one, and over the years, it has been predicted (and proven?) that the eyes will get a little less bright and the tail will get a little less bushy (hair loss as a result of stress!)…

What’s left could be a bald and dull potato, but I think what’s most important is what lies between the lungs (….. I mean the heart).

Yes I hear the crickets that was super corny yucks but still true to a certain extent.

Even though there are the doctors do not persuade (read: actively dissuade) others to join the field, you can bet that they are still dedicated to their patients and treat them with the love and respect they deserve.

(I love potatoes by the way. Especially when they’re fried and shoestring thin. But not my doctors.)

ANYWAY nonsense aside…

I’m on my second year into Medicine, and these two years have mostly been academic work – the foundations have to be firm (regretfully not so firm at this point for me I think), so it’s essential to know the pathophysiology behind everything, all the microorganisms in the world from bacteria to fungi to helminths (one of my favourites is Orientia Tsutsugamushi for its exotic name), corresponding drugs for all conditions (my least favourite is Hydrochlorothiazide because I now associate it with a terrifying encounter with a simulated patient) and not to forget basic anatomy (alongside many other things).

When I was little, I had a bad case of constipation.

This used to be embarrassing as heck for me to share, because EEYER CANNOT POOP!! MY FRIENDS WILL LAUGH AT ME!! 

But sharing this now for the greater good okay. And there are plenty of drugs for constipation that I now know exist.

It was a traumatising experience because my pain level shot up to 10 – I was in deeeeeeeeeeeep pain and I couldn’t even move or sit up.

Worried parents sent me to A&E.

BAM!

Young-looking female doctor.

Dad sighs. Mum paces the floor.

Young girl presents with: Abdominal pain which localises near right lower quadrant, rebound tenderness, loss of appetite, inability to urinate/pass gas…

Diagnosis: Appendicitis

If the nine-year-old me knew what I knew today, I would have self-diagnosed appendicitis as well.

But nine-year-old me obviously didn’t, and my dad freaked out when the doctor said “WE GOTTA OPERATE AND REMOVE HER APPENDIX!!”, they ran a couple of tests and ya… (thankfully) anti-climatic: constipation.

I also made an uneventful recovery.

But I can’t say I didn’t bear a tiny grudge towards Ms Young Doctor over the years because she could have removed my adorable little appendix – though its function is questionable.

BUT NOW I KNOW.

I KNOW YOU DIDNT MEAN HARM!!

Moral of the story: be tolerant, forgiving, and poop when you have to

I feel like (read: know that) in the future I’d be the Ms Young Doctor in question but I will promise to work harder and become a good and reliable doc in the future, as much as possible.

DONT TUNE OUT!

I wanted to write this post in the first place because of the little story I shared above.

Medicine is really a combination of both art and science, and it definitely isn’t easy to have a good grasp of both.

In order to be a good doctor, you HAVE to know everything and you HAVE to have soft skills, e.g. breaking bad news and giving enough love to your patients.

But it’s way harder being a caretaker to a patient, especially to a patient you love deeply whose time is running out.

I remember going to the ICU department last year, and we came across a young gentleman who was admitted to the hospital after a car accident. He had a form of intra-cranial bleeding and was not fully conscious/responsive, and he was also unable to move his limbs. I remember his father being there (from work), just sitting there and watching him… and the thing is, this gentleman couldn’t be more than 2 or 3 years older than me. Life is so fragile. I cannot fully empathise with his father of course, but I can only imagine how nerve-wrecking and anxious and worried and upset and heartbroken he must be for his son, who could potentially lose basic functions like communicating and moving around on his own.

I think at the end of the day, I just want to drive across the following points:

  • Take good care of your health (and safety)
  • Treasure your loved ones
  • If anyone’s not feeling well, get them to check it out and not gungho-it-out

I think our (grand)parents are usually reluctant to go for health check-ups and it takes huge amounts of effort for them to see a doctor because they have the magical powers of knowing themselves best, and “nothing is wrong“… And I sure definitely hope so!!

But it’s still important to ensure everybody is in good health – encourage them to go for routine check-ups (mammogram and pap smears for ladies too)!!

While making sure your loved ones are healthy, it’s important to check yourself also.

Sleep a little more.

Eat a little better.

Relax a little longer.

Dont stress yourself out too much, everything is going okay.

Yes, even if finals is in 5 weeks.

/breathes in and out calmly/ 

I think you can give your loved ones a little hug tonight. Or tomorrow.

Or do something nice for them.

Or just tell them you love them.

But don’t neglect yourself either!

Love yourself and take care!!

Alright, thanks for reading this post up till here :-)

You’re a special one.

Stay hale and hearty!

Good night.

Also, I read the messages you guys left behind on the previous post….

Relationship advice?? Heh??

My mum’s answer to that was tell your parents”.

HAHAHAHAHAHA.

Okay so heres a little poll for the ones who reached this point.


I’m not expecting (m)any to vote but if you did and clicked “yes”, I’m sure they will appreciate it greatly :-) You’ve committed to this ah!!

Okay this post is really a little disorganised.

Oops.

P.S. I won’t be sharing my posts on social media all the time, so if you miss me, just come back over the weekends! Hahaha.