Saturday, 31 October 2015

A Nice (and Experienced) Doctor Helps

My neck feels bruised.

The biopsy was done relatively quickly although the soft-spoken doctor spent some time examining me, going through my ultrasound scans and giving me the options of whether I would go ahead with the biopsy. He also addressed my concerns about a possible wrong diagnosis.

An acquaintance had a wrong diagnosis done at a restructured hospital, having the test showing that her nodule in her thyroid was cancerous. She heeded the advice of the doctor and had her thyroid removed just to be informed that it was actually not cancerous! The absence of a thyroid means that she needs medication to help produce thyroid hormones and she has to suffer the consequence of taking pills for hypothyroidism for the rest of her life.

The doctor assured me that the doctors in private practice are more careful and would not hasten to remove a thyroid at the first suspicion, and so he allayed my fears of having a wrong diagnosis and removing my thyroid for his convenience.

The local anaesthesia was injected very quickly with a little bit of pain. Taking a blood test is comparatively longer and more painful.

After that, the doctor did three separate extractions from my nodule.

Each time, I could feel the tugging sensation which reminded me of the caesarean surgery I had when my gynaecologist pulled Baby out of me.

The doctor was very kind. He understood the fear his patients experienced. He explained,"I will tell you before I do something." "I will count to three before I insert the needle. I am not inserting the needle yet ... I am inserting the needle after I count '1, 2, 3'."

He would also explain that he was inserting the needle another time to get the sample, or he was doing it the third time in a different direction to get extra sample for more accurate results.

He would ask if the insertion was painful and which one was more painful.

Only the first jab to inject the local anaesthesia was a quick shallow bite. Other than that, the other three jabs were not. However, it leaves me with a bruised feeling at the neck now. The tiny wound is covered with a little round plaster and I should be able to remove it at the end of the day.

Upon paying the bill, the clinic assistant informed me that the biopsy was not a day surgery. It was just an outpatient treatment, so my wish of having the costs covered could go up in smoke. :(

But at least I can get this biopsy out of the way.

The Journey to a Biopsy

It's 10.05am.

I am waiting for a biopsy to be done.

It's a lonely feeling walking to the hospital, imagining how the doctor would carry out the procedure: prick a needle into your neck and extract a sample of the nodule in your thyroid.

Is this how all patients who need to go for a biopsy feel?

Is this how middle-age single women feel like when they need a surgery or biopsy, with no one by their side?

I understand that the actual procedure takes just five minutes, but when it's painful, even a split second feels like an eternity.

I have requested for local anaesthesia though. I hope it works.

My prayer for the biopsy: painless and quick, in that order.

My endocrinologist has detected a nodule (a solid) in my left thyroid 6 months ago. When she suggested a biopsy, I got a shock of my life and refused to discuss more. I did my own research and read that when you have hyperthyroidism, a nodule in the thyroid is likely to be non-cancerous, so I went about my life happy for the next 6 months.

However, half a year later, it was still there, so the doctor suggested the biopsy again 'to rule out the possibility of a thyroid cancer'.

I also found out that this procedure could be classified under 'day surgery' and my insurance would cover the cost as well as the costs incurred for treating my condition up to the previous 6 months. That comes up to more than $2000, excluding today's biopsy.

So here I am.

Pray for me that the procedure will be a pain-free one, and the test comes out well.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

A Tribute to Stanny Beauty

I have always had sensitive skin for as far as I could remember.

Even as a child in primary school, after playing 'ye-ye' or 'zero-point', my cheeks would grow as red as tomatoes. I remember how I got a shock when I saw my reddened cheeks in the toilet mirror. I thought something was wrong with me.

So, in my teens, I started to have these rough little bumps on my cheeks after using some snowy Hazeline moisturiser. I thought they were pimples.

My father took me to a skin doctor in Katong and he diagnosed that I had sensitive skin. Besides giving me some pills which he never explained what they were for, he asked me to stay away from the sun and slept early, not to go to beauty salons as they would not know how to treat my skin and use only water to wash my face.

That was when I was 19 or 20.

For the rest of the years, I struggled with my facial skin, trying out different products hoping that the bumps would go away. However, the more I tried, the more bumps I got. Of course I stopped going to the doctor as his treatment did not help me, and I reverted to using facial foam as it was impossible to cleanse the face of oil if I had used only water.

20 years later, my face was just about covered with bumps, and makeup was not helpful in covering them up. I could feel that my makeup was not 'sticking' to my face. It felt 'separated' from my skin.

Of course, for so long, I never felt good about my skin. Sales assistants for facial products would approach me and they would cruelly point out that my skin looked 'tired' or needed help. Even my own Malaysian cousin who runs a beauty salon would stare at my skin and remark,"Why do you look so '残'(haggard)?" Their merciless sales pitch only drove me away from them. If they would say such derogatory words to me on our first meeting, what else would they say to me if I receive treatment from them? And of course, what the doctors (I had seen at least one more doctor for my skin) warned me about beauty salons had stuck in my mind. One even said that those beauticians may promise you lots of things but they would do nothing for you if they 'destroy' your skin. Highly educated, professionally trained doctors versus lowly educated, briefly trained beauticians - who would you believe?

However, this year, my Malaysian-born-and-bred beautician sister-in-law, Stanny, had quit her job at a beauty salon and opened a small start-up on her own.

She is never pushy, and never commented on any of our skin.

I showed up at her salon's opening day to give her my support. She said I could try one facial session to see how it would go since I had sensitive skin. She also did not want to impose treatments on me in case it was not suitable.

So I did. Stanny recommended a hydration treatment for me as my skin was clearly lacking in hydration.

She commented that I indeed had sensitive skin as the moment she trimmed my eyebrows, my skin turned red immediately. Most people's would not.

She explained to me that the little bumps I had were not pimples or acne as what the doctors had diagnosed. They were clogged pores, or what beauticians would term as 'rice grains'. The lack of extraction and treatment had caused them to build up over the years.

She extracted the large and obvious ones in the first session and in the subsequent sessions, in the interval of three weeks, she extracted most of them, big and small.

After five sessions, my skin certainly feels a lot smoother now. Each time after a facial session, I feel more confident in her skills and my skin. It really does my self-esteem a lot better.

Besides the treatment, she has asked me to stop using cream-based moisturiser as it clogs pores. Instead, she recommends me to use water-based serums which she carries in her store. So far, they have worked well. They do not cause the tiny bumps to reoccur like creams or lotions do and they hydrate my skin as 'serums are made of very small molecules, so the skin absorbs them quickly and deeply' (as what I have googled).

As Stanny Beauty is a small start-up, Stanny does not have a website yet. However, she does have a Facebook page which potential customers can contact her at.

Stanny has always been interested in facials and her first trip to Singapore was to attend a comprehensive facial course. In our private talks, she revealed that she had spent more than S$10k on her courses alone as these courses at recognised institutions progress in stages. Some of her coursemates took up Stages 1 and 2 while she went all the way to Stage 4 or the final stage in order to have a full grasp of the beauty line.

I asked her if she had ever been tempted to try out treatments at reputable beauty salons like BioSkin, which is currently advertising on TV like nobody's business. She quipped,"That was the first beauty salon I worked at after graduation." In fact, the female boss who is starred in her own commercials was the one who interviewed her. However, she had her own beliefs about facial treatments and she left the salon 3 months after she started working there.

She also doesn't believe in making potential or existing customers feel lousy or inferior about their skin. She once had an employer who insisted that her beauticians should show their customers how sorry the state their skin is at before the start of any treatment so that they would know how miraculous the treatments are later on. She didn't stay at the salon for long either as it contradicted with her belief in building good relationships with customers.

Another thing that draws most of us to Stanny Beauty is Stanny's nil pushy sales tactics. Unlike most beauticians who do sales pitches during the facial treatments, Stanny does not sell her products during the treatments. She understands that it is very stressful for customers when beauticians do that. She would only recommend products after the session if you enquire, and even then, she does not make it sound like your skin would shrivel up and die of dehydration if you don't buy them. It is entirely up to you. I often feel empowered with more knowledge but never obliged to buy. I only buy what I need. As of now, I only have a bottle of serum which cost $100 which will last me for a few months.

Most of my sisters and I have become Stanny's customers after experiencing her good service and products. My third sister and her friend have switched to Stanny's because she does not push sales and gives good advice on skin care. My fifth sister has two facial treatment packages with another salon. However, upon seeing that my skin condition has improved quite phenomenally, coupled with the fact that her cleansing package has aggravated her skin, she is considering switching to Stanny's as well after she has finished utilising her package.

You would know how critical and skeptical my sisters and I are, especially of family members and what they do. So if we ever say something nice about something, it would be rare but definitely worth checking out eg. my elder sister used to work in Hewlett Packard and she mentioned that it was a good company and its printers are 'very good'. I have no doubt that it must truly be a good company and its printers must be superior machines since she had asked my brother to apply for a job there when he first graduated and she uses HP printers.

If you have been reading my blog, you would know that I am crazy enough to advertise for free when services or products are fantastic and I would shoot it down like crazy when I experience lousy or sucky service or products.

And I have been to Stanny for 5 x 3 weeks, which means a good four months. If I had meant to advertise for my sister-in-law, I would not have waited for so long. I wanted to see if it really works and provide a truthful write-up.

After interacting with Stanny during my sessions with her, I feel that she is very passionate about facial treatments and she is very knowledgeable about them. Those doctors turned out to know nuts about treatments for face! And worse than that, they gave the wrong advice!

I feel very safe with Stanny. Each time she wants to do something new with my face, she would try it once and would only continue if it does not cause an allergic or adverse reaction.

I don't feel so self-conscious without makeup now, and with makeup, I can feel that it is making contact with my skin. It does not feel like it is separated from the skin anymore. I can even touch my own skin and feel happy about it. It used to be rough and 'thick and hard'. Now, it is smooth and tender, no longer rough and bumpy! I used to hate looking into the mirror to examine my own skin, now I can look at it and feel comforted that the condition has improved dramatically.

I will definitely recommend Stanny Beauty to anyone.

Where to go

Stanny Beauty
Facebook page:
Orchard Plaza
150 Orchard Road
#03-75 Singapore 238841

Sunday, 11 October 2015



Friday, 9 October 2015

Hardly The Anti:dote for A Great Tea at Fairmont

After seeing the dainty and pretty chest of drawer presentation on various websites, I had always wanted to try The Anti:dote out.

The items looked aplenty, varied colourful and appetising, and I could not wait to pull out the drawers for myself to see what surprises await.

So I took Coco and Baby for a tea on a weekend afternoon.

The service was by far the lousiest.

We were guided to a seat and waited for 15 minutes in vain. Nobody asked us what tea we would like.

I got up from my seat and walked over to a lady at the entrance and asked nicely,"Do we have to get the food ourselves?"

Of course we didn't.

Then the service started on a 'Play' mode.
We were served an egg container with two sticks of bread. 
Runny egg with truffle

I quite liked the taste. The truffle was not overpowering like most truffle-accompanied food. 
After that, we were served the chest of drawers.
It was a pretty sight with the sweets on the mirrored top tier 
and the savouries in the drawer tiers. 

The items look better than they taste.
The waitress actually said the 'towels' were in the bottom tier! 
We opened the 'towels' to wipe our lips just to find plain and raisin scones inside! 

The third drawer hid the clotted cream and jams and some cookies for us to take home. 
Apparently, the clotted cream was too little for us.

Food was mediocre. Service was terrible. Knowledge of waitress was terrible. 

Price was $45++ per adult. I believe child's price was half that of the adult's.

I'll place this under: might go back when I have forgotten that the food was plain ordinary and the service sucked.