Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jessica Alba was exactly where I was....

Who would think that I would actually have something in common with Jessica Alba? Even if it was just for a few days? And it wasn't even pleasant. Let me explain.

When I was all groggy after my appendix op last week, the surgeon warned me I might get severe gastric as a side effect *oh great!* Could I possibly get more uncomfortable than I already was? Interestingly, Jessica Alba came to see my doctor (she was only 19 at the time) with a terrible case of gastric when she was here in Malaysia to film the Sleeping Dictionary.

He said she was warded for a couple of days at the hospital as his patient (goodness, to think she was marooned here at Damansara Specialist Hospital). He had no idea who she was at the time. She told him she was filming a series called "Dark Angel" but he said he'd never heard of it (but that's coz it never hit this part of the world till 2 years later ;)

So I said to my surgeon, "Well, you certainly know who Jessica Alba is NOW, right?" He laughed "of course, of course" And you know what? Jessica Alba personally wrote him a thank you card which is stuck on his wall amongst the hundreds of other thank you cards he's collected over the years but when he leaves his clinic every day, he told me seriously "I just glance at it, you know to make sure it's still there" Can you blame him??? How many doctors can say they had Jessica Alba as a patient, don't play play! lol ;)

So there I was at the hospital today for my follow-up check up so I started looking for that card. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack but I found it! Really friendly handwriting and a very heartfelt thank you to my doctor from a very young Miss Alba *smile*

For those of you who don't know, straight after my appendix op last week, the surgeon said I should recover quite rapidly since they used keyhole surgery to remove my appendix. The incisions are very small and they basically put a camera through one of the "holes" so they can view the working space. Incredibly, this tiny camera actually records the whole op and there's only one copy of it which they give to the patient. That's me!

All I can say is, OMG!!! I felt faint when I was watching it. This isn't some ultra sound with grey shadows. You're really in there!! taking a look inside and all the organs are in sharp crystal clear focus. That in itself almost turned my bandaged stomach yikes ;)

Watching my own operation when I got home was morbid yet so purely scientific. I found myself being part horrified part fascinated watching WHAT they did while I was on that operating table and HOW they did it. I've been on cam before, up close n personal but never like this lol ;)

If you ever have sharp pains low down on the RIGHT hand side of yr abdomen, go see a doctor!

It's quite mind boggling to think my entire appendix was removed from an incision so small! There are 3 entry points and unlike appendectomies which can leave quite a scar, I was left with only three small white band aids on my abdomen. Oh, and the bandages were removed only today yay! But this doesn't mean I can hit the gym or start doing yoga just yet but at least I'm walking around at a normal pace again (coz I kid you not, all of last week, I was moving round my house like a was a hundred years old! :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Celebrities who left us too soon...

I'm at home watching MTV and all Michael Jackson's old videos are playing right now. It's making me sentimental. Death is so final and as usual, it always serves as a reminder to all of us to not waste our own lives.

Justin Timberlake wrote on his site, "We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of not only Pop music but of all music. He has been an inspiration to multiple generations and I will always cherish the moments I shared with him on stage and all of the things I learned about music from him and the time we spent together. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones"

Whenever someone dies young, it really hits us coz we just don't expect it. Especially when you've seen them in print, TV or films, larger than life. Let's take a walk down memory lane...

James Dean died when he was only 24. He was breathing heavily from the scene of the car crash and put into an ambulance but he didn't make it and was pronounced dead on arrival.

On Jan 22nd 2008, Heath Ledger was found dead in his bedroom. He was only 28. I used to study in Perth and I have a couple of guy friends who went to school with Heath. It was such a shock to hear of his sudden death.

On Aug 31st, 1997, Princess Diana passed away. She was only 36. She was one of the first public figures photographed touching a person infected with HIV, changing public opinions on AIDs sufferers

Princess Di once said "I think the biggest disease the world suffers from is the disease of people feeling unloved. Hugs can do great amounts of good, especially for children"

On August 25, 2001, Aaliyah and crew completed filming the music video for "Rock The Boat" in the Bahamas islands. They originally had a flight scheduled for the following day, but Aaliyah and her entourage were eager to return to the US due to the filming finishing early, so they demanded that their heavy equipment be on the plane rather than leave it behind. It resulted in the aircraft being well beyond the standard weight and balance tolerance provided by a Cessna aircraft.

The plane crashed shortly after takeoff, about 200 feet (60 m) from the runway. It's really sad. Aaliyah was only 22 and she was scheduled to be filmed for the sequel of the Matrix as the character "Zee" after she finished shooting "Queen of The Damned" but who could've predicted her death?

It's important to make the very most of our lives coz "Life is short" and for some, even shorter than others. Aaliyah once said, "You have to love what you do to want to do it every day"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hanging Out at Home

Wow, this is kinda weird, no filming, no shoots, no constant messaging on my berry when I'm rushing everywhere and no meetings for the whole week! Hey, I could get used to this ;) Since I can't exactly go anywhere straight after my appendix op, I've decided to pamper myself at home with a honey and oatmeal face masque. It smells so nice, you could almost have it for breakfast. I've even done a home hair treatment.

I haven't worn a drop of make up for a week. It's given my skin a good rest. Having so much free time on my hands without feeling guilty about it is quite a luxury. So, I've decided to do all the things I don't usually have the time to do. For starters, I don't set the alarm (coz there's nowhere to be hehe) and I've been averaging more than 10 hours a night. So glorious! Mind you the painkillers do make me drowsy in the afternoons so I have afternoon siestas as well.

I've just finished the very last season of Prison Break. I'm sad it has all come to an end. Was that a good series or what? Loved it! Such incredible scriptwriting. My pug, Pickle grabbed Desperate Housewives out of the cupboard. After a few "no, no, let go" shrieks from me, we all settled down and started watching Season 5. I'm really getting into it. So many real life stories and the kids have grown up so all these new challenges for the parents. It has really evolved and it's set 5 years later.

I've had time to stay in touch with everyone on my lap top. Pickle (above) was waiting for me to get off the computer coz she wanted to contact her chihuaha boyfriend on facebook. She set up her own account and everything! lol (no, I'm not delirious, just kidding!!) hehehe

Ruby is the still a puppy and she always looks so concerned when I speak to her. I'm not sure if I'm meant to laugh or cry. They all have such amusing faces ;) lol Thank you guys for all your "get well" messages. I'm sure I'll be up and running in no time but for now, as you can see, I'm keeping myself happily occupied round the house. For those of you who living quite a hectic life, try to make it a point to slow down and have some quiet time. Spending a whole day at home can really recharge your batteries. Don't accept any invitations that day. Have a date with yourself and do whatever you feel like doing! :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Operation time!

OMG, my teeth were chattering when I was wheeled into the operating theatre. Part nerves and partly because I was freezing!

I noticed how everyone wore boots in this spotless, clinical zone. The walls were white, the ceiling was white.

The huge silver lights I was placed under reminded me of outer space. I felt so small in that big white room. Like a tiny speck under a microscope.

I was taking in the details on the wall trying not to think about the needle. I didn't dare look down when they started strapping my hand up "here goes, here goes" I was telling myself. A mask descended on my face and I was told to inhale, exhale. I started breathing in the gas and I was out before the needle hit me. It's the last thing I remembered. General anaesthesia is so strange. It's like stepping into a time machine. One blink and the whole op was over.

I vaguely remember seeing my appendix in a small jar and someone saying "Can you see how it's inflamed?" Uh, nope! Aside from the fact I was disoriented I didn't even know what it's meant to look like! ;)

It surprised me tho how such a tiny thing could cause me so much trouble. Last night was pretty rough. I basically couldn't move. Just so sore so they gave me a painkillers jab (Gosh, I hate needles!) but it really took the edge off the pain. In fact, I felt sorta floaty, a bit high and I fell into a deep sleep.

I feel a hundred times better today. I'm off the drip, eating like a normal human being again and they said I can leave tomorrow. Yay!

Thank you all ever so much for your well wishes. I received them through my black berry and it made me feel less alone. Till later, when I'm back home, wishing you all good night! :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

I can't sleep

I've had a strange couple of weeks. I went to a doctor coz I thought I had gastric but who has gastric for 5 or 6 days straight? I've never had such a thing.

She gave me a 3 day course which I finished but I still had cramps which sometimes made me double over at certain points in the day. I've never experienced ANYTHING like this and I've been eating well so I was really quite disturbed.

I went to a stomach specialist yesterday and he has diagnosed me with appendicitis. I was taken aback. I didn't see it coming and I'm going to be hospitalised in the morning for surgery. It took a while for all this to sink in when the doctor said I need an operation.

Whoa, slow down. I asked the doctor "But why am I not on the floor crawling around? This has been with me for 2 weeks! I'm in pain and 24/7 discomfort, yes but not agony"

Turns out, I don't have the usual kind of appendicitis called "acute". Or I wouldn't be writing to you now ;) This is chronic appendicitis which is quite rare and the pain is prolonged over a period of time. It is more dangerous than the normal "acute" kind coz it's hard to detect it. I mean, I've been functioning for 2 weeks. Even did a magazine shoot yesterday. So the problem with chronic appendicitis is people think they have gastric but they don't and it can go on and on for ages but if the appendix ruptures, shudder, it can even be fatal.

So I can't take that risk. Surgery it is *groan* Please wish me luck. I can't wait for this to be over.

Well, that's why I can't sleep. Can't eat or drink water either before the op. So I thought I'd blog.

If we have a soul, I wonder where "it" goes under general anasthesia? Well, if I have any ideas tomorrow and I'm not too drugged out after my operation, I'll def let you know, nightey :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The "natural" look

I know a lot of guys who say they like the "natural look" without realizing that it may be using just as much make-up as a fully made-up face. It's just that the natural look would use more natural colours or pale pink tones compared to deeper, darker colours to create a more "attitude" look.

When a face is shot so close up, creating a flawless natural look is quite a challenge to make sure everything is equal on both sides. On this shoot, the make up artist had to keep running back and forth to balance Amber and my eye brows until she got it just right.

Smoky eyes can make the eye look bigger, more deep set. When I take my make up off after a shoot, I always clean one side first before the other and that's when I realise how much difference the make up made. Makes me feel like a cartoon character out of balance with one big eye and one tiny one ;)

There's no doubt about it that make up enables us to radically change our looks far more than the opposite sex (but fellas, ur welcome to borrow my make up kit if you ever have a fancy dress hehe)

It's important not to lose the plot though. Make up is like a mask. You wear it to a party and you had a lot of fun in character but go home just as "you" and make sure you find a guy who can see past the colours, no matter how gorgeous your face has been painted coz he shouldn't be there for the mask. That's perishable and just a cleanser and wash basin away. He better be there for "you" :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mother of 3 :)

Pickle, Ruby and Harley

Someone commented on my blog "oh I can't believe you have 3 kids" Just to clarify, that these are my "kids" :) After a long day, it's such a joy to see them. Work requires me to attend so many events but nothing beats the welcoming committee waiting for me at home lol and they're always SO thrilled to see me. Makes me feel really special :) and just look at their faces? How to not be amused *chuckle"

Such great companions regardless of what ur doing round the house

When my sister first met them, she burst out laughing "oh my goodness! They're so ugly with faces only a mother can love" What nonsense! *eyes rolling* "They're adorable" I said to her though they have been called "fagly" as a breed yes, yes, I know. Well, moment she started hanging out with them, they grew on her like you can't imagine and now she looks forward to visiting them so there! *humph*

Harley as a puppy. Pugs always have so much facial expression!

They look perpetually concerned or deep in thought. Just cracks me up! If you talk to them, they will look straight at you and sometimes move their heads left to right (like a human would in conversation) as if they're really trying to understand what you're saying.

Scientific studies have said that petting a dog or cat can lower blood pressure and trigger the release of endorphins. Endorphins are your 'happy' hormones which put you in a good mood. They're also released through laughter, sex, exercise and having chocolates :)

And it's not just dogs and cats with therapeutic benefits. Even fish are said to lower blood pressure and have a calming effect on the brain.

You know there was this study done where those who watched fish in a corridor where they were seated opposite an aquarium had a lower pulse than those who didn't watch fish before their operation.

So if you don't have sex which is an excellent way to release endorphins *wink*, make sure you laugh A LOT and exercise regularly. Or you could also buy yourself a dog, fish, rabbit, bird or cat lol Hey, it's all pet therapy and it's really good for the soul! :)

The Legend of Hachiko

Have you heard the story about Japan's most faithful dog Hachiko? It was very challenging for me to capture the essence of it in 30 seconds when I recorded it for MIX fm so now that I have the space, let me share with you the whole story about this incredible dog. I almost cried just reading about it.

Shibuya, Tokyo by night

Every morning, Hachiko sent his owner off at the front door and he would wait for him to return from work in the evening at the Shibuya train station. I'm not sure how Hachiko knew what time it was but he was always waiting at precisely the right time for his owner to return from work. This routine carried on for at least a year until his owner suffered a stroke a stroke and died at work. His dog, Hachiko was faithfully waiting for him at the train station not knowing that his owner would never return.

Shot of Hachiko

Hachiko was given away to be looked after by another family but he kept breaking out and was showing up again and again at his old house. He realised after some time that the owner was no longer living there so he went to wait for him at the train station every evening at that precise time.

Shibuya train platform

Hachiko was seen every evening without fail at the Shibuya train station waiting for that same train his owner used to return on. Hachiko continued to do this for 10 years until his death. The nation was moved by Hachiko's incredible loyalty and built a bronze statue in honour of him a year before Hachiko died. Interestingly, Hachiko himself was present during the unveiling ceremony.

Bronze statue of Hachiko

There was even a Japanese film made about Hachiko in 1987. And can you imagine, Richard Gere will be starring in a movie scheduled to be released this year about Hachiko!

Hachiko Exit of Shibuya Train Station

Shibuya train station is one of the busiest train stations not just in Japan, but the whole world and the legend of Hachiko lives on. His memory is etched forever in our hearts and minds. In fact, the exit he was always seen at is called the "Hachiko Exit"

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A figure in the moonlight

There's something mysterious about moonlight. It's almost creepy. I guess that's why we see it in so many horror flicks. You know how there would be wolves howling under the moon or vampires crawling out from their graves at dusk, shudder ;) Well, when I was doing my creative writing assignment at uni in Australia, I decided to write a poem against a moonlit backdrop.

I saw in my mind's eye a really lonely woman staring out the windowsill. She looked almost transparent and her hair was blowing in the wind so I decided to make her a spirit. When I started writing, the words were just flowing unplugged, which usually happens when we are inspired about something.

I knocked on my flat mate's door when I was finished with it, all excited to read it out to him. This would be Craig, my ultra sarcastic cousin who was always mean to me (but I knew he loved me la *wink*. Just too macho to admit it! *eyes rolling upward* ;) So anyway, I read my poem out which was handwritten on different pieces of paper...

"So, what do you think of it?" I asked him.

"My goodness, Jo. Don't you ever write anything happy? I was in a perfectly good mood till you read me your poem" Ah ha! *chuckle* Well, at least I got a reaction! I KNEW he liked it despite him grumbling about how 'dark' it was. And he's right, it's sad but this depends on how you look at it. What I was trying to get across is that we shouldn't take things for granted. Don't wait for "death" to appreciate "life" Live every day like it's your last, as the saying goes...well, here's the poem.

"For Just One Day"
I stand by the windowsill
like the whisper of a shadow
The finger of a breeze
is a tease on my skin

The night is my only companion
my only joy
I feel strangely alive
although I know I am mistaken

I am but a dream by the window,
a naked figure in the moonlight
my hair is my only cloak,
wrapped around me tight

the ghost of a smile plays on my lips
and from their redness drips,
a bittersweet moan,
a soundless sigh,
painfully alone

Salty tears that can't be tasted
and deep regrets I know are wasted
but the well of images are present in me
so I will drink them for a memory

Take me back, take me back into time
when I was a child, my senses wild
or to when I when I was a woman
filled with hope and longing

I dream a dream that's not be

For just one day,
let me feel the heat of the sun
or the wetness of rain
Let me dance in the flame of fires
or drown in my own desires

Just let me feel again,
I don't mind bleeding
Just let me hurt again,
I don't mind crying

Just let me breathe
so I can live again

I dream a dream that's not to be

I will not wake
for I never sleep
I'm just a walking shadow
with memories to keep

I turn to gaze at the picture of my love
resting on rose coloured sheets
and that ghostly smile returns to my lips

The picture is almost perfect
I am even present in the room as he sleeps
but I'm no longer a part of it

I stare out the windowsill
and he stares right at me
so I moved much closer
making sure he would see

But then,
he fell asleep again
and the knowledge that I had
painful in my chest
tore at me that morning
He could never see me

I gazed out sadly at the start of a new day
the sun had reared its burning head on the pink horizon

It was time for me to leave
and I would go the way I had come
through the open window sill
the place he always used to find me by

the curtains rustled aside at my departure
I was the parting breeze that had caressed his cheeks
He turned his face in sleep
and I was gone

Monday, June 8, 2009

Stretch yourself!

If you spend hours in front of a computer every day, you can't imagine how much tension you'll be accumulating in your neck, shoulders and back. If you watch any animal, at work or play, they're stretching ALL the time because they're listening to their body. How often have we sat in front of our screens feeling the pain in our lower backs without stopping to relieve it?

Over time, sitting for prolonged periods in the same position while you are driving, typing or watching TV can lead to really bad posture and back problems. The trick is to NOT sit for more than an hour in the same position.

Just coz you have some sexy ergonomic chair, doesn't mean you shouldn't be stretching at your desk! Just stand up every so often, place your palms at the base of your back and slowly lean backwards but remember to hold this position for at least 20 seconds to allow the muscles to really stretch out properly.

And if your neck is hurting, just tilt your head to the side (bringing your ear toward your shoulder) and try to hold it there for about 20 seconds, then repeat on the other side. It seriously helps. A physiotherapist friend taught me this. You can also reach your right hand round to push the left side of your head closer to your shoulder to deepen the stretch (then repeat on other side)

Animals do all this naturally. When they get up from a nap, they usually stretch first before they even start going anywhere.

Yoga is a great way to stretch. Even cats can do the downward dog, don't mess! hehe

Check out her form. Her front paws are fully stretched out like the child's pose in yoga :)

So, just remember to MOVE or change your body position every hour. Force yourself to take a short break, even if it means just getting off your chair and walking to the bathroom or the kitchen to get a drink.

I'm not suggesting you do moves like this at your work desk (though that would be quite impressive ;) but doing a few simple shoulder rotations only takes a few moments and it really helps you to loosen up. Do a few going backwards, then forwards. Very straightforward!

No such thing as no time for a stretch. Gotta make the time :) Even while waiting for the cameras to set up on Health Buzz, Jehan and I managed to squeeze in this balancing stretch between takes :)

Stretching doesn't just relieve tension, it's so important to stretch before exercise so that your muscles are less likely to tear during a work out. Tight muscles actually WASTE energy and can become tired FASTER than relaxed, warmed up muscles. So, stretching helps prevent injury AND the muscles themselves also heal quicker!

I've only heard great things about tai chi so when I saw a group in the park at Taman Tun, I jumped in and tried to follow them.

What a great way to start my morning. Tai chi is so relaxing, physically AND mentally. Every movement is so graceful yet precise. I could feel the circulation in my body rising even though we all seemed to be moving in slow mo. Now imagine, if it was sped up, I could've morphed into Chun Li :)

My last word on this is to pretty please stretch if you're in the same position for AGES ok? Listen to your body, especially when you start feeling pain. A little bit of a stretch here and there goes a long way...

Jojo's Tweets

    follow me on Twitter

    About Me

    My photo
    I find blogging quite therapeutic. It gives me a chance to express my thoughts. I'm currently a TV host living in KL and the mother of 3 confused looking pugs! ;) If u have the time, my modelling shots, tap dancing clips, full biography and TV trailers are all on www.jojostruys.com :-)

    Follow Jojo Struys' Thoughts