To Those Who Had Fought

Last week I attended the wake of a beloved friend’s father who died of cancer. Last year around this time, a relative succumbed and passed away. Most friends I know have someone in their family who is living under the torment of this ruthless killer. My dad is a cancer survivor himself.

2012 was a gloomy year where my friend’s father, a close relative and my dad were diagnosed with cancer. My dad had almost half of his stomach removed but thankfully his cancer was in the early stage thus chemotherapy was not required. With only half a stomach left, he now takes small meals, chews his food well and watches what he eats. He has since lost considerable amount of weight but is still leading an active life. He cycles and goes for walks everyday.

It’s good to slay the demon. It’s good to wake up to another day of sun rise, to breathe another breath of fresh air and watch the world go by.

It’s good to be living and moving.

Unfortunately both my friend’s dad and relative weren’t so lucky. They have battled and succumbed to the disease. And I can’t help but to feel angry at how brutal this killer is. Each surgery and chemotherapy session promises hope. Yet a relapse would often follow and another relentless battle begins.

It’s cruel to be lifted by hope and then have it shattered by another life sentence. All we could do is to helplessly watch them shrivel and succumb.

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This Sunday, I will be running in the Singtel cancer run. It will be my 3rd year running but my first since I busted my knee last December.

I have yet to regain full mobility of my left knee but the regular cycling trips have helped strengthen my thighs and build up my stamina.

2 months ago, I finally mustered enough courage to go onto the treadmill. It was in a spur of the moment, I was not attired, clad in my denim shorts without my usual jogging accessories. (music and drink) My boys watched on while I stepped onto the machine, I told them I just wanted to test out my leg. Half of me was worried that I would wreck my knee further, the other half knew that I would never find out if I don’t try.

Alas, I lasted half an hour on the treadmill! I was thrilled. I was exhilarated. I could run!

After trying out a couple more times on the treadmill, I finally made it outdoors last Friday for my first 10km run for the year. The beginning of the run was awful; my legs weighed a tonne; I couldn’t stop thinking about the bad air I was breathing in due to the haze. It also didn’t help that I had to stop multiple times to answer my phone. It was the first day of school holiday and I had snuck out in the morning while the boys were asleep. When they finally woke up, the younger one had to call me multiple times to check on me. Arrrggghh!

My pace was erratic; I couldn’t maintain a good pace; my posture was poor and it caused my calf muscles to tense up and ache; it was only much later that my muscles started to ease up but by then I was already gasping for air. I took much longer than usual to complete the run. It was demoralizing; I felt so not ready for the run.

I know I would be a nervous wreck at the starting point and my energy would probably be sapped by the hot sun (the race starts at 7am, which is a tad late, if you ask me). I worry that my heart would thump too hard and my legs might decide to go on strike that day. I could foresee that it is not going to be an easy run and I have thoughts of chickening out.

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But I thought of my friend’s father who passed away, my relative and my Dad. Things were put into perspective and I was reminded why I am running.

For me it’s a 15 km race to the finishing line but for many of the cancer patients, their race is one with an uncertain destination, a race with no finishing line.

My mind was set. This Sunday, come what may, I shall run and complete the race.

I will run.
To honor those who had fought.
To celebrate those who had won.
To remember those who had lost.
To cheer those who are still fighting.

 
Note : This is not a sponsored post, do head over here if you wish to make a donation to the Singapore Cancer Society

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Images of Singapore – A Little Something For SG50

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This post is a compilation of images of Singapore captured during my many cycling trips, usually morning.

I marvel at how beautiful this little red dot has become, how much she has transformed and how far we have come. As cliche as it may sound, I feel really privileged to call myself Singaporean.

Her last 50 years have been nothing short of spectacular and miraculous. I hope that the next 50 years will be as good if not better than the last and I wish to live long enough to celebrate her centennial.

Happy 50th Birthday my country, my sanctuary, my home!

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A Morning With Beautiful Finds

So my 5 year old kindy class organised a trip to the wax museum which we decided to give it a miss as I didn’t think it would mean much to him to ‘meet’ Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and the likes.

We were reading about volcanoes the night before and he was eager to make one with the usual baking soda and vinegar concoction which his brother used for making rockets and bombs.

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We woke up to a beautiful morning and I have to admit that part of me was longing for my morning ride. And as if he could read my mind, he suggested bringing our bikes along.

I know I am probably biased, but I think he’s like the coolest kid, all geared up with helmet, gloves and water bag. He might be slower in speed, with wheel size only a fraction of mine but his ‘coolness’ more or less make up for it. I couldn’t keep up with his rpm which made him looked like a hamster on a wheel.

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He found a perfect spot to park our bikes. It was under an old tree, right next to the beach. I was hoping that he would agree to cycle more before stopping (so that I could burn off some of the pandan cake I had that morning) but he was focused on building his volcano.

So there we were, with his shovels and bucket. He was determined to dig a tunnel for his volcano. It was amazing how water and sand could keep him entertained and occupied.

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Before long into our sand play, he dangled something in front of me. It was a tiny little fish, presumably dead and he tried dissecting it to see what was inside.

We were making trips back and forth the sea to fetch more water and saw something bobbing in and out of the water. No, it was not a log nor debris. It was something moving and alive. You could imagine our excitement when we realised that it was a sea otter. It scurried up the water breaker and dove back into the water again.

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We found this huge rock that resembled a pumice stone. He thought it was quite unbelievable to have a volcanic rock appear on the shore of Singapore. Upon closer scrutiny and some research on my phone, we concluded that it was probably a dead coral.

Just when he had enough of digging and shovelling, we saw something huge being washed onto the shore.

For a while, we just stood and watched from a distance, thinking that it might be a sea turtle. Seeing that it wasn’t moving, we slowly made our way towards the strange creature.

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Lo and behold, to our astonishment, it was a gigantic jellyfish!

We were gagging with excitement.
Was it alive? Would it sting? What should we do with it?

We did what we usually do when we came across unusual finds in the park, we called our ever trusty National Parks Hotline. I was hoping that they would be as excited as me, or at least half as excited as when they found a dead sperm whale on our shore.

Unfortunately, I was told that they would usually have the carcass cleared away. No preservation or keeping it as a specimen. I would love to if I could find a way to carry this thing home!

It was heavy and we broke a few branches trying to flip it over. We observed the different parts, its huge arms and the hood which was perhaps 3 times the size of my boy’s head. It felt rubbery and cool to the touch. He thought it looked like ‘Ang Gu Kueh’, a humongous one.

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Doesn’t it remind you of a sea turtle? or maybe the jellyfish cold plate appetizer served during wedding banquet?

I would have usually cycled past this place with music plugged in my ears, fervently trying to maintain my speed, oblivious to these little surprises.

Thanks to my little man, we had a leisure and unhurried morning discovering beautiful finds from nature’s treasure trove and boy, was I glad we ditched the school trip to the wax museum.

 

 

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