Since my AML diagnosis on 11th Oct, I have spent a long time in hospital and only got to return home for 5 days in between treatment. AML stands for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
I am now just done with round 2 of chemo. Do not ask me when round 3 will be.
FEW DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS EVE
I knew that Christmas this time round would clearly not be the same as before.
I thought I had been really clever to still be able to do my Christmas shopping online and through some friend bosses of mine – to support their businesses also at the same time. But I forgot that when the goods arrived at my home address, I wasn’t the one there to sort and wrap the presents. There was some frustration and misunderstanding as I wanted to control who to give what to….
Other things I wanted to control –
Food for Christmas eve and Christmas lunch – this was a big one for me considering I used to be the one to plan everything from the menu to the cooking…
Parenting – so I do not video call my teens every single day. I used to pride myself in those days where I travelled to US and Malaysia that my kids and I had it handled. We did not video call everyday then when I was overseas too. So why? UPSET? I trained them to be that way right? I should be glad they are independent and are thinking for themselves now.
Yes. It took talking to a good friend to realise how silly I sounded. I had asked. Was it really ok for me to let go of micromanaging the kids and focus on my own healing journey?
God’s answer was a resounding YES.
Guess it was time to let go. IN A BIG WAY.
TRUSTING IN THE PROCESS
One of the bummer things about having AML for now is that since my white blood count is low, it means that I am more susceptible to infections. Imagine your foot soldiers are down. Meaning your defence is down. Therefore, I mostly stay home or in the hospital. I have to rely on good friends, family and especially my Dad to get my supplies n such. Thank God for them! Oh and online shopping is a God send! Heehee! #queenofonlineshopping
On one such mission, I had sent my Dad to Artfriend to get more watercolour paper. While there he sees these watercolour postcards ands asks if I want them. On a whim, I told him to get one just to try out. Each A6 size bundle has 12 cards inside. The rest as they say – is
When in hospital the 2nd time round, I just started doing Christmas theme cards instinctively. Not really deciding whom I wanted to give them to or anything. One of the nurses commented … oh you doing cards for us ah? Instinctively I replied – No lah! But in my heart I knew what I was going to do.
So I did card after card. Basic themes like Christmas trees, wreaths and such. Mostly traditional colours. I started giving them out to the nurses. My Doctor would like to think it was because he gave me the idea to give it to them. He is partially right. Haha.. I think I had that intention all along but needed a little nudge to get going?
THE CHRISTMAS POSTCARD EFFECT
I noticed that the service I got started to get even better. Don’t get me wrong. It was good to begin with. Then the conversations started to change a little. Some conversation on who they (the nurses) were, their families that they had to leave behind, the struggles they had and the difficulties…made even harder with our dear friend covid. Really touching, everyone of their stories. Uniquely theirs and I totally got it….about how blessed I am.
What I never ever expected – that some of the cards made it to the Christmas tree outside in the ward. You see, I never am able to step outside my room so I never saw it myself until I went for home leave on Christmas eve. So so very touching that I contributed in some way to their décor and Christmas spirit.
It is so amazing a gesture so small can have such a ripple effect of joy.
I started posting some of my cards online and soon I had people asking me if I am selling my cards! Wow!
Over 90 cards given out or sold in total! The list of people extended to my doctors, all nurses who came in, the cleaning aunty, kitchen aunty (by the way, I call them aunty but they could very well be younger than me lol!) and even one friend who happened to be in the same hospital for a day procedure. I found out about him being where I was on facebook!
So what is Christmas truly about?
GRATITUDE, LETTING GO & TRUSTING IN GOD
COMPLAINING & BEING STUCK
To my beloved Dad – Yes you are right about your daughter. I have strength that amazes even myself. Never in a million years would I imagine that I’d be battling AML. 2021 was supposed to be an awesome year for me. But wait. I think because of AML, it really became such an awesome year. I end the year with so many new highs.
My art has improved amazingly, I was able to touch lots of people through my art, whom I never knew before and I have a new relationship with my teens. And more…it is only just the beginning.
That strength and fortitude comes from an internal voice, telling me who to gift my art to, because you never know what that someone else is going through.
So clearly, God reminds me that he is in charge and I am his instrument.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Cinderella had a gown – I have a hospital gown
Cinderella had glass slippers – I have bed room slippers
Cinderella had a farewell and welcome party of carriage and footmen. I have angels and lots of them. Aka – the nurses and hospital staff that look after me.
Besides Cinderella’s carriage and footmen turned back into mice n such at the stroke of midnight. Talk about being reliable! My angels are constants!
God is bringing me on a deep dive mission. I can feel it. My art is just one of my instruments. My writings are another. There most definitely will be more revelations I’m sure…so stay tuned?
Meanwhile, some reflective questions for you…
What does the holiday break mean to you?
Would you have done anything differently this year and why?
If you’d like to text me your response to these questions or share then with everyone else, please do!
Thanks to all those who purchased my Christmas Postcards. Look out for the CNY ones coming soon!
Those of you who want to view my Christmas Postcards can click here ...