Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Messing with the Hormones

Up till 2 weeks ago, Auntie Flow has not visited even after 9 months post- surgery. When Mum knew about it, she said I could’ve delivered a baby already! Well, to be frank, I was not worried at all and I truly enjoyed the whole pain-free 9 months! (period-pain free). How could this happen you may ask? Well, right after the surgery I was put on a 6-month Lupron Depot treatment. Every month, for 6 months, I was given an injection of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). It’s a hormone that stimulates the ovaries to decline its production of estrogen. And with that, I reached the state of menopause after the surgery and was down with menopause-like side effects for 6 months.

I was prescribed with the hormone as advised by the gynae to cure my endometriosis and to certain extent, lower the probability of recurrence of the endometriosis, fibroid and cysts. Lupron immediately stopped the bleeding and whatever pains and cramps I was suffering with before. That was really cool, ay? The gynae told me that the benefits of the treatment could last me for 3-5 years. What?? Five years of pain-free period? SOLD! The idea of being pain-free delighted me and that was the exact selling point that made me agree to the gynae’s pitch. Well, there’s a BUT. The start of the injection means the onset of unbelievable hot flashes. Sometimes I would have to hold my breath because the heat fully surrounded me. To me, it’s truly a sneak peek to what’s menopause is all about! The gynae forewarned me of the side-effects such as hot flashes, night sweats, palpitations, headaches, nausea, fluid retention, joint pain, loss of sexual desire (really?), dizziness, nervousness, and breast changes (huh?- such as tenderness and pain). But Alhamdulillah, I suffered from only hot flashes.

Anyway, last 3 weeks, after almost 9 months of enjoying the pain-free state, I realised that my period has still not come. It’s roughly 3 months delayed bcoz I was told that I’ll be free from menopause after the end of the 6-month treatment. I wanted to just wait and enjoy the pain-free state but with my pending Umrah trip (yes, am visiting the Holy Lands in 2 weeks time) I wanted to be sure that Auntie Flow does not visit while I’m there because I plan to spend a lot of time talking to the Almighty in His and Prophet’s mosques. So, popped-in the gynae’s clinic last 3 weeks and she said that the time of Auntie Flow’s visit after Lupron treatment is varied between individuals but in ensuring that I’ll be period-free during the Umrah trip, she could prescribe me with some medication. After scanning my ovaries and saw that my womb is ready for menstrual flow, she gave me Duphaston to induce my period. Yes, there was a really bloody flow last 2 weeks and it was painful! Earlier, while expecting my period, I tried making mental notes to be prepared for the kinda pain I might face. But I kinda have forgotten how painful my period-pain was after 9 months. But when it finally came after a week being put on Duphaston, of dear, it all came back to me and the pain became so very familiar. Well, I was pretty disappointed because it wasn’t as pain-free as what it was supposed to be, but then again, that’s what I had to endure for messing with the cycle by inducing it, kan? Let’s hope the next ‘uninterrupted’ cycle will be painless. And when I saw the gynae again earlier last week, she gave me Norcolut to be taken in 2 weeks time for the 2 whole weeks of my Umrah trip. This is to delay my period for the upcoming cycle. According to her, right after I stop taking it, I should be getting my period again and the cycle will continue normally in the next one. And I’ll update you whether Lupron really works for me, ay?

Well, that’s the deal between me and my hormones. And the take-aways for you guys? Hmm..

1) Those trying to cure endometriosis, fibroid and the likes, you may check out Lupron Depot
2) Those planning to induce your period, find out about Duphaston
3) Those planning to delay your period, read about Norcolut

Happy Googling!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Confessions of a Bagaholic

Yours truly is one happy bunny today. Thanks to my gal pal who just got back from States, I finally got hold of something that I’ve been drooling over for months! And now, with this purchase, I, a confessed bagaholic, pledge not to splurge on handbags for many, many months to come. Haha! And for now, I’ll be happy painting the town red with whatever I have ;)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Modestly stylish and beautiful

I came across this video on youtube when I was looking for inspiration for blouses designs. I would say that I am pretty much intrigued with this lovely fashion designer, Rabia Z from Dubai.

I read that she took a big risk when she had all her runway models fully covered during the Dubai's Fashion Week. But it all paid off when she bagged the Fashion Week’s “Emerging Talent Winner” award and subsequently became the winner of the British Council’s “Young Entrepreneur of the Gulf” award. In this video, she said, “I want to make modesty look beautiful and also show a more beautiful side of Islam in media…I want my designs to be a bridge between practicing Muslims and non-practicing. You don’t always have to show skin to look beautiful, you can look beautiful and remain covered at the same time.”

Having her designs exported to many countries now, Rabia has definitely merged modern fashion design and tradition. A designer definitely worth keeping an eye out for.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

An apple, a blue box and the Andaman

This is an overdue entry on our (Hubby and me) birthdays. Celebrated mine 2 months ago and Hubby’s was 2 weeks earlier. After spending quite some amount for our Europe trip, we made a pact to not give each other birthday gifts this year.

But me, being me, couldn’t resist surprising Hubby and ended up buying him an Ipod Touch. He’s been eyeing the PSP but I think Ipod Touch is nicer. Eventhough overall, the functions are more or less the same, but I think it’s nicer to browse the net using the Ipod Touch compared to the PSP. And hubby browses the net a lot! Plus, I think Ipod is a lot better looking! Bought it online and the process was seamless. What more when I could personalise the Ipod by engraving it! Hubby was pleasantly surprise when he got the gift and he now brings it everywhere.

And of course, he couldn’t resist surprising me either! Mestilah nak balas my jasa baik for getting him a gift jugak kan? Hehe..Well, he truly surprised me, you bet. On the eve of my birthday, when I was at mum’s place, he got everyone at home to lepak at the living room together. Then he brought a slice of cake and everyone started singing me birthday song. It was the oreo cheesecake that I absolutely love from Marmalade. I was delighted. And I was even more delighted when he handed me the signature blue box tied with the white ribbon! Seeing the box, without even having to open it, I started to jump up and down with joy! I already knew what was inside the box! Yupp, it was the Tiffany & Co’s bracelet I was salivating over in Paris! Yippee..He held the celebration early because the next day, on my birthday itself, he brought me for a one nite stay in Langkawi and we stayed at the Andaman. Gosh, the place was nice. It reminded me of our Tanjong Jara stay few years ago. The good thing was the place was not fully occupied and we had the pool, the coffee house, the gym to ourselves. It was even nicer when the manager brought in a birthday cake for me when he noticed upon checking in that it was my birthday that day. was indeed a nice birthday celebration this year. Seems like it gets better and better every year. Thanks Sayang! Love you!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Eiffel, I'm in Love

Magnifique..that’s how I can sum up our trip to Paris in one word!

We didn’t know what to expect when we first stepped on the French soil. Being Asians, specifically Muslims, we were skeptical that we’d pass through the immigration smoothly. You know, with all the hoo haa's about terrorism and the likes being linked to our kinda people. Well, we were dead wrong, after our bon jour’s and merci’s, we passed immigration in a flash. Talk about being paranoid!

At the time of arrival at CDG airport, the temperature was 0° Celcius. Sampai2 aje, we were pretty much still in the state of disbelief that we had finally reached Europe especially after the last minute planning and all.

Transportation :

1) Emirates from KL to Paris via Dubai - total return trip inclusive of everything was RM4,400. Booked online a month before the trip.
2) Around Paris, we went around by the metro, one way trip to any chosen destination within Zones 1-3 at Euro 1.60 or a day pass at Euro 8. To travel out of Zone 3, we took RER (express regional train) on the day we went to La Merne Valle area (Zone 5).

Hotel :
On the day of arrival, we stayed at a 2 star hotel – Comfort Hotel, near the airport as we needed to leave for Venice early the next morning. We were worried that the hotel would be a dodgy place after reading reviews on various websites. But considering that it was gonna be a less than 24-hour stay and the hotel provided free airport shuttle, plus the rate per nite was only Euro 50, we decided to just stay there. Well, obviously we worried about nothing. The hotel was not bad after all. Yes, it was crammy, but it was clean. It kinda reminded me of my room in the student hall back in Uni days. The reception lady was nice, she greeted us well and gave us maps and directions to go around. The next morning, we left the hotel around 5am with the airport shuttle.

Upon returning to Paris from Italy, we stayed at the St Augustin Elysees Hotel. We came across the hotel in several boutique hotel websites. Yupp, I’m a sucker for boutique hotels. After much thought, we decided to book a room at the hotel for the location. Located in the centre of Paris - in the 9th arrondissement. The hotel was refurbished 2 years ago to mimic a more contemporary style. Like the hotel in Milan, I absolutely loved the lift deco. It’s white with red floral design. The hotel's also located in between 2 Metros which are 5 min walk away. It has a balcony overlooking a quiet Parisian street. We only went out once to take pics on the last day coz it was very cold! Brrrr…Breakfast was normal but the lady that served us, Renata, was very attentive. Desk personnel were all courteous. Who said Parisians are snobs?

1) Trip to Paris won’t be complete without visiting the hot tourist spots rite? We covered Paris mostly on foot and also via Metro rides. From one end to another end of the Siene River, we walked to Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Notre Dame, Les Invalides, Arch De Triomphe, Sacre Couer etc. Most memorable day was when Hubby first set foot on Eiffel Tower. . We took the lift to the highest floor (Euro 12 per pax). It was pretty funny when he said “Lerr, besi macam ni aje rupanya”. Eventhough he said that, I could see that he was indeed amazed by one of the world’s famous landmarks, as he busied himself capturing images of every aspect of the tower with his camera, went to all souvenir shops within the tower to buy something memorable and even pulled me to one corner to give me a kiss and said “Lets cherish this romantic moment in this City of Love”. Romantic jugak laki aku ni! Well, what better place to French kiss if it’s not on top of the Eiffel Tower kan? Haha. We also discovered how big the Louvre was. Satu hari pun tak cukup. But was so glad when I could go to the frontline amidst the hundreds of people catching a glimpse of the original Mona Lisa. Apa lagi, snap! snap!

2) Disneyland & Disney Studio Park, Marne La Vallee- - It was Hubby’s first time in Disneyland. Throughout, he tried comparing the park with Movie World in Gold Coast. Euro Disney is a lot smaller compared to Movie World he said. Queues for rides were so long and we only went on a few. But I went crazy buying gifts for my 2 nieces who absolutely adore Disney princesses!
3) La Vallee Village Outlet – The outlet is situated 5 min train ride away from Disneyland. Not many shops compared to the ones in Italy but I ended up buying myself Porsche tees (Euro 19), Porsche cap for bro-in law (Euro 10), Hackett belt for baby bro (Euro 25), Armani tee for another bro (Euro 20) etc
4) Champs Elysees – The ultimate goal going to this avenue was to go to the Louis Vuitton flagship store to buy my mum the bag she wanted. We were personally assigned a sales assistant when we got in and he attended to us like real VIPs. We went to every floor and every corner of the store. I touched most bags and tried on so many accessories but only ended up with one Hampstead for mum (Euro 620). Was toying with the idea whether to get the Inclusion bracelet (Euro 190) but then decided not to in the end. Ended up with nothing for me from the store but the experience and feeling of having shopped there? Priceless!
5) There was another shop on Champs Elysees that I absolutely loved – Sephora. It’s a beauty and perfume shop originated from USA actually. They have all perfume, skincare and beauty products sold. Think of a brand and oui! you’ll find it there. I spent a long time here. Managed to get Sephora in house nature-based perfume for souvenirs @ Euro 2 each. Wonderful stuff – perfume from chocolate, papaya. Their in-house brand stuff are pretty similar to what Body Shop has, but better, I think. Every sales assistants and promoters in the shop dressed smartly in black and hot new songs were blasted from all corners. I could remember Britney’s Circus and Womanizer played everytime I entered any of the Sephora outlet in Paris.
6) Galleries La Fayette - I would personally say that this is the Harrods of Paris. I thought I would never buy anything here. But having still a lot of money in the pocket and we went there on our last day in Paris, plus they were having Christmas sale at that time, I ended up buying 2 Longchamps Le Pliage back packs at Euro 50 each for my sis and me, 1 Furla suede handbag (Euro 150), gourmet coffee powder at Euro 3 for 250g etc. The store was beautifully decorated and before leaving the place, I stopped at the Tiffany & Co store and salivated over the Return to Tiffany heart tag toggle sterling silver bracelet. Ooooh, cantiknya! The price tag was Euro 210 but thinking that I could get it bit cheaper in KL, I decided not to buy it..

Talking about these great places, Paris is not a place without an eyesore though. There were many Morrocans selling souvenirs and begging for money illegally at the tourist spots. And from my observation, every time they heard the police sirens they would pack their stuff and ran away as fast as they could. Paling sedih when I saw this one lady begged a Caucasian guy for money, but instead of money, the guy gave her his unfinished drink. The lady happily gulped the drink away! My, kesiannya!

1) Abundance of good halal food in Paris tapi mostly Middle Eastern stuff lah. Kebabs, falafels, briyani etc. Even in the Louvre foodcourt, there were 2 halal food counters. Along Champs Elysees, pun ada banyak halal restaurants – Turkish, Lebanese, Syrian, Morrocan (they all tasted the same to me!) We searched for Burger King Muslim, a halal burger joint we read about before leaving KL, but to no avail. Rupa2nya it was somewhere in Zone 5 and not in the city actually! Kempunan!
2) Morrocan restaurant at the Grand Mosque in Paris. Slightly pricey but if you wish to dine in a Morrocan ambience, this is the place to go. Our dinner there costed us Euro 34.

3) We survived mostly on pastries and chocolates while we were there. Paris is an absolute heaven for pastries and chocolates. Yummy!

Paris? You get 5/5 from me! Everything negative we heard and read about Parisians were absolute myths to us. We love the place, love the people. I spoke a little French there and was very delighted when people could understand me. There was one time when I was queueing to get coffee, I told a French lady in the queue who was friendly enough to chat with me that I could only speak a little French but she pointed out that what I spoke was not little and my diction was good! Fantastique! Je suis heureux! Wouldn’t mind setting foot in Paris again for the third time ;) Perhaps, via Euro Star or Easy Jet from London next year, kan Hubby? ;)