Intellectual Mind Stimulation Preview

It is estimated we only use 1% of our mind, imagine if we are able to use it at the optimum level.
Join this preview to find out more!

AGENDA
📈Fact sharing at optimum stage
🤸🏽‍♂Impact thru demonstration
❓Q&A session

Suitable for
🧔🏽👩🏽‍🦱Adults and Parents
👨🏽🧒🏽13 year old and above
👦🏽👧🏽6-12 year old children

Benefits
👨🏽‍🏫Knowing the potential of the mind
💡Boost learning capacity
🤔Increase focus and self-esteem
🧘🏽‍♀Reduce stress and any mental disorder.

Day: Saturday
Date: 10th August 2019
Time: 8pm-9pm
Venue: LiveWIRE Development Unit, No: 61, 1st Floor, BT-Hj Uthman Complex,
Spg 13, Jln Komersil Jaya Setia, Kg Jaya Setia, Mukim Berakas A
Location: In front of Times Square, Berakas

Confirm your attendance by
Filling in the following form:
https://forms.gle/tZ18vq5MvzPCb5vSA

For more info please whatsapp Steven Song at wa.me/6737370772

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We are on Keto Diet

Lemon Garlic Salmon

I’ve mentioned in my previous video that my husband and I were on an extended 7-day water fast.

Since that 7-day extended water fast, we did another 4-day extended water fast the following week from Monday to Thursday.

After we were done with the 4-day water fast, we decided to try keto diet.

In it’s simplicity, it’s a diet where we get most of our energy from fats and protein. It’s similar to the low carb diet that we adopted years ago.

Currently we’re doing keto diet with intermittent fasting.

Switching from the water fast to keto diet is roughly easy for us since we had tried low carb diet before.

When we tried the low card diet, we ate 3 meals a day.

When Bobby found intermittent fasting by Dr Jason Fung, we gave intermittent fasting a try.

We started off with skipping breakfast and only had lunch and dinner.

Then in a couple of weeks, we started to eat lunch much much later to the point we fasted for more than 16-18 hours a day and this eventually resulted us in having one meal a day which is dinner.

I also want to share that because I did the extended 7-day water fast and the 4-day water fast, I experienced the following goodness as a result!

    1. I don’t crave fast food anymore! Their smell has surprisingly turn me off.
      I remember when we used to visit at least 1 fast food restaurant a day.
      I was addicted to spicy chicken KFC, spicy chicken Jollibee and pancakes and breakfast meals from McD.
      Ever since the first day of the 7-day water fast, we have stopped eating fast food.
    2. What about pastry and baked goods? Same thing! M turned off.
      When I see baked goods sold at bakery, I’m reminded by the amount of sugar and flour that they contain.
      Since I bake cakes once in a while, seeing 10g of sugar is already freaking me out.
    3. I have zero interest in eating out in restaurants just because I don’t know if they add sugar/flour into their cooking.
      I found out that some people put sugar in their chicken curry!
    4. Having said that, I do eat out when I have my cheat days.
      These are the days when I allow myself to eat all the carbohydrates that I want and that includes my favourite pepperoni pizza.
    5. I used to be addicted to Oreos and cheese flavoured Twisties.
      I used to had to have them daily and after the extended water fast, I’m not addicted anymore.
      I stop buying them.
    6. What I learned about myself during the extended water fast was that I missed prepping and cooking food.
      I had forgotten how I love eating and cooking my own food.
      So because of that, I’m back cooking my own food.
      It helps a lot when my husband loves to eat my cooked food.
    7. Ever since we’re on keto diet, we eat more veggies daily when compared to when we were on low carb diet.
      I get to shop for fresh veggies weekly!
    8. I’m now more mindful when buying prepacked food.
      I looked at the nutritional content and checked whether they have artificial sweeteners, how much sugar, flour, fat content and carbohydrates they have.
      Because of this, we become very selective and we don’t buy most of the prepacked food that are advertised as “healthy”.
    9. I’ve learnt to love baking as well.
      I used to be put off by the ridiculous amount of ingredients that it takes to bake something.
      And with the Keto diet, there are quite a lot of easy ways to make keto desserts recipes out there and I’m willing to give a few of them a try.
    10. I’m losing weight slowly.
      The losing weight is from intermittent fasting couple with the keto diet.
      Last week, my weight was 67.8kg when I started the keto diet and on the 5th day in the morning, my weight was 64.7kg.
      This week, my weight started at 65.5kg and today is the 3rd day and I’m at 64.7kg.
      Currently my goal is to be at 60kg.
      And once I hit 60kg, my new weight goal would be 55kg.

I remember the time when I did intermittent fasting with one meal a day and I ate carbs with no veggies and not enough protein.

To be honest, I felt sluggish.

And I hate that feeling.

With the keto diet with plenty of veggies and protein, I can feel the difference.

I’m not sluggish anymore.

I’m awake.

And I love that!

Owh before I end this post, the picture above is a shot of lemon garlic Salmon that I cooked for our dinner.

It was surprisingly fulfilling!

It’s the perfect meal for keto.

If you’re interested in the recipe, click here.

Life isn’t always a bed of roses

I’ve been wanting to write about this part of my life that I don’t openly share with people. Previously whenever I thought about writing it, I often ended up feeling angry and hurting. Therefore, I had decided to wait for the right time. It’s mostly for me to have the right mindset so that I am able to share my experience at best without judgement on most of my part.

At the time of writing this post, I’ve been married for more than 11 years. While some other married couples have at least a child with them, my husband and I have none.

If you’re asking have we tried to have children, my answer is yes, we did.

We were entering 3 years of marriage when I finally decided to get pregnant.

The good news was after 2-3 months of trying, I was pregnant and we were to be honest surprised with the news because we didn’t expect it at all.

The bad news was the pregnancy ended up to be ectopic.

We were in the hospital when the doctor told us that my urine test was positive.

We went to the hospital that morning because the night before I had a severe cramp (it was like a menstrual cramp) to the point I couldn’t bear the pain and I passed out from the pain. I was lucky, I was at home when it happened.

I woke up the next morning. I went to toilet to pee and I felt “something” hanging out of my vagina. I held it by its edge, pulled it out and it was a thick pink flesh. I called my husband, showed him the flesh and he said, “Better go to the hospital.”

Since the pregnancy was confirmed ectopic, I was admitted into a ward for the doctor to monitor my condition. I kept on having painful cramps since the that night I passed out. There was a day when I was in so much pain that one of the doctors injected me with something to help ease the pain.

They did several ultrasound just to be sure that there was no fetus in my uterus. They checked that my left ovary was swollen. Looks like the fertilization process happened and got stuck in my ovary. They also took my blood to check the level of my β-hCG (pregnancy hormone).

After all the check ups, 2 doctors came to see me in the ward the next morning. They mentioned that I have to undergo surgery to remove one of my ovaries. I was shocked and my mind immediately went into shut down. I had stopped listening at all. Thank God my husband was there with me. He heard whatever it was that they needed to inform us.

After the doctors left, I turned and said to my husband I don’t want surgery. I don’t want doctors to wreck my body and remove anything. My husband, being the smart and intelligent man that he is, did his research on ectopic pregnancy.

Turns out there are several methods to treat ectopic pregnancy. Surgery is one of them and it is an invasive method. There was an alternative non-invasive method.

The next day, we informed the doctors that we don’t want surgery and we opted for the non-invasive method which was using methotrexate.

One of the doctors didn’t like it that we chose methotrexate. We were told that methotrexate only works on early pregnancy and they needed to confirm with my β-hCG level. So more blood was taken from me. It felt like once we made the choice of no surgery, that one doctor, lost interest in me.

In my head I was thinking of course that doctor wanted me to opt for surgery. I was just another money in the bank for him.

His concern was he didn’t know how far along I was and it was to prevent internal bleeding just in case my fallopian tube ruptured which could happened at any time.

During the whole time I was in the ward, I was already scared and I felt vulnerable. I didn’t need a doctor to scare me further with the possibility of death by internal bleeding.

The other doctor was nicer. She said I don’t have to go through surgery if I don’t want. I remember she hustled the nurses to take my blood and also to order methotrexate asap.

A few days later, after a different doctor had confirmed my β-hCG level, she administered methotrexate injection into my upper arm.

The doctor informed me that methotrexate stops any fetal growth and it’s like a poison. Her advice was for us to stop trying to conceive for a year because methotrexate can cause birth defects.

I was released from the ward (despite having several cramps) after the doctor has seen the decline of β-hCG level in my blood. I was unfortunately got admitted again because of the painful cramps.

I got my period weeks later.

A year had passed and I had my first fertility related appointment. I remember the doctor was asking if I wanted to get pregnant and I said yes. She then signed me up for a second appointment.

It was before I attended the second appointment that I had a big realization.

I realized that I held a belief that there was something wrong with me for not being able to get pregnant and have children.

And I was also quick to realize that having a belief that something is wrong with me (just because I’m not pregnant and not having any children) can damage my own mental health.

That was a light bulb moment for me and that was when I made the choice to believe that nothing is wrong with me. For me, not pregnant and not having any children is not wrong.

I also made the decision to not continue with the appointments anymore. I told my husband that I wanted to stop. My husband respected and still respects my decision.

I remember that was the moment when I told myself that I didn’t need to undergo all the hassle just to get pregnant. I wanted no drugs whatsoever. I didn’t want to put my body nor my mind in distress. I said to myself, if it happens then it happens and if it’s not then it’s not.

Fast forward today, I don’t deny that there were times when I had thoughts of what my life would look like if I had children. The thing is I can only imagine it and there’s no way for me to truly experience it.

Do I indulge my imagination? Most of the time no. If I did, often they don’t last more than mere seconds.

Do I regret for not continuing the fertility appointments? My answer is not at all. I made the right choice for me at that time.

I’ve come a long way to be okay and even to be able to be grateful at my current situation. (Believe me because I used to bitch about this a lot)

I used to believe that it was my fault that I had the ectopic pregnancy. I had blamed myself for years.

Facts are, it happened and we don’t know why it happened. If we’re looking at the science of it of course anything was possible. However, it happened inside me and it was not in my control. And so I came to accept that there was nothing more that I could do about it other than moving on with my life.

Along the way I also encountered several rude people (interestingly, they’re women themselves) who made snide comments about me not having children.

Dealing with these rude people who clearly don’t care about my feelings took a huge toll on me. My own mental health spiral down hill. Those were my dark times. For years, I was the worst version of myself. I was suicidal, my own negative thoughts were my close companions and the constant thought that I had everyday was to end my life.

The only person who kept me sane was my husband. He comforted me and he was there for me whenever I had my breakdowns.

All these negativity that was happening affected our relationship. I even remember asking for a divorce from my husband. I was a fucking mess, I was depressed and I could see that my husband was slowly being affected by my own negativity.

In the midst of my own turmoil, all I wanted was to be happy and to reciprocate the unconditional love that my husband has for me. It was a struggle for me to do just that being depressed and suicidal.

I knew it wasn’t easy for my husband and I had a rough idea of the tremendous emotional pain that I had caused him. At some point, it was just too painful for me to see how “broken” we were as a couple and I knew it was because of me. Finally, I couldn’t stand for us to continue living in (my) hell anymore.

I had to step up. I confronted my own demon and I had to make difficult choices.

With persistence over time, I eventually found my own inner strength to crawl out of the hell hole to transform my life and save my marriage.

I admit my journey isn’t a pretty one. Most of the time, I was suffering mentally and emotionally til I decided enough was enough. I told myself that I had to toughen my mind for the sake of my own mental health.

Once in a while, I still come across women (either relatives or strangers, married women with children) who think it’s appropriate to ask me if I’ve checked myself at the hospital after they hear that I’m married for more than 5 years with no children.

I used to be angry at that.

Now I get it.

For these women, they believe that it’s not normal to be married and have no children. To them, since it’s not normal, there has to be something wrong with the wife or the husband.

The part that used to get me really pissed was when they wanted me to buy in their beliefs, saying it’s not right for a married woman to have no children, saying (stupid) things like husbands would leave their wives if their wives don’t give them children or (bullshits like) how lonely our life must have been since we don’t have children and also we won’t be happy for the rest of our lives til we have children.

In my head, I thought to myself, why these women don’t try to understand my situation? Instead they paved (for me) the road to hell with their “so called” good intentions.

I used to blame these women for not understanding my current situation.

Now that I’m wiser, I realized that there is no way for these women to understand and fully grasp my situation.

For these married women with kids, there’s no way for them to truly understand married women with no kids. Being married and have no kids is not in their reality because that is not their experience.

And of course vice-versa.

I got “don’t you want to be happy?” question when I told some people I don’t have children.

That question made me really think.

It made me question myself. “Am I not happy?”

After I attended The Landmark Forum, a huge insight that I got was for me to be happy, I choose to be happy. My own happiness isn’t attached to “things” or of me having “things”. My own happiness isn’t depleted just because I don’t have certain “things”.

My answer is I am happy regardless.

It’s rather unwise to be unhappy just because you don’t have children, “things” or “whatever”. If one person’s happiness is attached to them having children, “things” or “whatever”, what happens to him/her when they don’t? Are they just going to be unhappy for the rest of their lives until they have whatever it is that they want? What if that day never comes? What then?

I also got “you don’t know what you’re missing” speech from these people.

I agree. I don’t because I don’t have children to begin with. And I am fine with that. There’s no way to miss something if you don’t have it in the first place. Just like fasting. The only way for you to miss food is when you have it and then you have to fast and refrain yourself from eating it. If you don’t know what food is and never tasted food, there’s no way for you to miss it.

Another question that I got is “don’t you want to have kids so they can take care of you when you’re old?”

I say bullshit to this. Look around. If you’re that old and you can’t take care of yourself and you have your children who are willingly to take care of you then, you’re very lucky. I don’t see that for myself. So I’ve made a deal with God. I told Him, the moment I’m incapable to take care of myself, I give Him the green light to pull the plug.

Have you heard this little gem, “don’t you want your DNA to live on forever?”

You know what, knowing what I know about DNA and topics related to it and more, I’m happy to put it at end with my death. Enough said.

Now, here’s a bonus question, “what about your husband? don’t you want to give him children”.

To be honest, I find that question irrelevant.

When I chose to marry my husband, my first and foremost intention was for companionship. And to this day it still is. The question “when or will we start a family?”, my answer is it’s not a priority for me.

And I’m not going to lie, one of the best things of being married is to have sex. Believe me, sex was an incentive for us to get married. (I said that because it’s haram (illegal) to have sexual intercourse when you’re not married in Islamic religion)

I know some people said sex is for procreation. However, for me, as much as sex is sacred, we do it because we wanna have fun and experience pleasure at the same time. Getting pregnant is just a side effect.

I have to say that my husband is one of a kind. He doesn’t fret about us not having kids. He doesn’t push me. He doesn’t stress about these petty little things. He genuinely doesn’t care what other people say/think. He accepts the reality as it is. We don’t have kids because we don’t have kids.

I also used to get people around me pushing me to get pregnant. And these people are often married people with kids. My reaction is often to ignore them. I remember thinking to myself that I won’t be pushed and battered into it just because other people are expecting me to join the club. I’ll fucking do it at my own time.

I get that some people may think that I am selfish for the choices that I have made.

As much as I want to say f**k off, I say just mind your own damn business please. You don’t get anywhere in your life by being nosy in someone else’s. And yes, I have a right to be selfish. It is my life afterall. I get to call the shots about me and my life. I choose how I live my life. Other people’s advise and opinions mean nothing to me.

I acknowledge that I am not getting any younger. I am soon to be in the veteran category in any sports.

The older I become, the more apparent to me that I’m in no hurry to catch the motherhood fever.

I realized that I have a choice.

I can choose what I want to experience.

I can choose to be upset just because I don’t have any children, I can be stressed about it, I can blame God or my body or I can accept it as it is and go with the flow.

I am done feeling sucky about me not having kids anymore. So I chose the later.

I’ve accepted that it is okay for me to be married and have no children. I am good with just being a wife and I am also good that I am not a mother.

I don’t see me not having children as wrong anymore. I’ve adopted a new perspective. Married with no kids is just different, that’s all. My husband and I often joked about this, saying that we’ve been single for the last 11 years. Despite the hardships and ugliness that we went through, I love being married to my husband with no kids. I’d rather appreciate it.

The truth is, I am reeling in my existing freedom, I am grateful that my husband loves me unconditionally and I am mostly in gratitude for my life the way it is.

I am happy with where I am.

Face to face with my dark side

I am aware that I don’t share much of what’s going on emotionally with me.

However, this time I feel compelled to share.

For the past few months I had been noticing a certain emotional energy that came up. Often times I was quick to dismiss this energy. What happened next was the more I dismissed it, it came back with stronger energy to the point it had started to bother me and my mental health.

I started to question myself why this energy come up out of nowhere. I even tried to identify what the hell is it. I only got bits and pieces. I was clueless to why I was harassed by it.

It made me feel uncomfortable and this energy scarred me a bit.

Two nights ago, while I was getting ready to sleep, it came up with full force. It confronted me face to face and it showed itself to me. What I saw scared me. My mind freaked out and I was 100% scared for my life. I didn’t know what to do but I reminded myself that energy needed to flow and so I just allowed the energy to be released without engaging my mind. I shut down my mind and I fell asleep. Unfortunately, I didn’t have pleasant sleep. It showed up in my dream and my sleep was continuously disturbed throughout the night.

I woke up in the morning feeling distraught.

I finally knew what it was.

It was extreme animosity towards the universe.

And what I got is that it wants to hurt the people that I love and ultimately to hurt me so that either I took my own life or continue to live life with full of regrets.

I finally told my husband about it.

Apparently my husband is familiar with this energy and he has been pointing out to me for months and years now and I, unfortunately didn’t take it seriously.

I felt immediate relief after I shared with my husband and that had allowed me the space to internalize what was going on with me.

Knowing how destructive this energy can be, I need to remain alert so I’m not consumed by it. I need to be aware that decisions that I make and actions that I take aren’t from this destructive space. One wrong action, that’s it, I’m going to regret it for the rest of my life.

What I noticed for myself is that the moment I’m emotionally involved with this energy, I dig a hell hole for myself. The more I engaged with it, the more I’m vulnerable and susceptible to its destructive ways.

To be honest, right now, I’m exhausted physically, emotionally and mentally.

This whole experience brought me back to the time when I was depressed and suicidal years ago.

I had the thoughts to end my life.

But I didn’t do it.

What had stopped me from ending my life was when I heard a voice in my head that said, “If you do it, you’re going to regret it for the rest of your life.

And the reason why I’m still alive is because I believe that voice.

It wasn’t easy to choose to live when all I wanted was to die. I wanted to die because I felt that life was too fucking hard and strangely enough I felt that I didn’t belong and I just wanted to go “home”.

But I keep on choosing to live everyday because I want to see how life unfolds for me along the way and I want to experience magic and miracles that I’ve created for myself and my life.

It’s not easy to share this “stuff” with the people that I love. I’m very lucky that my husband supported me when I went through this disempowering phase in my life. If I share this with my sisters, they probably ask me to “go back to God”. Do prayers and stuff like that.

I have no issues with believing the existence of God. I love God. It’s because of Him, I’m here in the first place. He created me and gave me life. (Let’s not get into the procreation bits) This led me to think about how I create my own reality.

While I was on my own the whole day yesterday, I’ve come to the realization that I was the one who created that side of me who harbors that extreme animosity towards the universe. I also realize that it was created out of the need for me to survive situation/challenge that I went through long time ago. It looks like it’s also deeply ingrained in my subconscious.

At first I was stressed because I didn’t know how to handle this situation. If this is a person, what I can do is I just don’t see this person. But this isn’t a person. It’s a part of me that I found that I should be wary of and in my personal opinion, it should not be allowed to live in this world.

Now that I know I was the one created it and now that it shows up at full force at this time, I guess it is time for me to let it go and release it. I have no use for it anymore.

I don’t know how long is this process for me. What I know is the intense is the energy, the longer time it takes to be released.

It’s so good to have the support from my husband. He’s very well aware of my current situation. It’s just that he’s away for work for 3 days and I don’t think being alone while going through what I’m going through is healthy for my own mind. Right now, I’m staying at my sister with her family until my husband is back.

Additionally, to ease my situation, I turn to energy healing and crystal healing. I started to wear my black obsidian necklace since yesterday. It helps to remove build up negativity caused by me. I cleanse my chakras daily with energy healing, I activated a crystal grid for further emotional healing and I sleep with black tourmaline for protection, rose quarts for it’s soothing loving energy and selenite for aura cleansing. I also tune in for guidance using tarot cards and my intuition.

My black Obsidian necklace

It sucks if I think that I’m the only one who is going through this emotional upheaval but I’m aware that I’m not the one. There are others who are battling their own demon and whoever and wherever they are, I hope they find their strength to move through it with grace and ease.

With Love
Hayatti

My experience of using Iriscup

What is Iriscup?

It’s one of the many brands that are selling menstrual cups.

What is a menstrual cup?

A menstrual cup is a feminine hygiene product that is inserted into the vagina during menstruation. Its purpose is to prevent menstrual fluid (blood containing uterine lining) from leaking onto clothes. Menstrual cups are usually made of flexible medical grade silicone and shaped like a bell with a stem. The stem is used for insertion and removal. The bell-shaped cup seals against the vaginal wall just below the cervix. Every 4–12 hours (depending on the amount of flow), the cup is removed, emptied, rinsed, and reinserted.

Unlike tampons and pads, cups collect menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it. One cup is reusable for up to five years or more. This makes their long-term cost lower than that of disposable tampons or pads, though the initial cost is higher. Menstrual cups are also promoted as more practical and eco-friendly than pads and tampons.

Source: Wikipedia

I discovered menstrual cup by accident in 2016. I researched more about it and after I settled on the brand that I wanted to buy, I made my purchase and it arrived in October 2016.

For the first few months of using Iriscup during my period, I was struggling to get it “right”. It was challenging for me to make sure that the mouth of the cup to open once it was inside my vagina. Due to my inexperience of using the menstrual cup, I leaked at least once month. It was rather messy to be honest. These were the few times when I had the thoughts of wearing tampons or just switched to pads.

I read someone else’s experience in the internet, she said to use menstrual cup, best start with using tampon. I guess this is to get women to familiarise themselves with the process of inserting feminine product into their body. I do feel using a tampon is so much easier than the Iriscup and I had been using tampons back in A levels in 1999 and restarted to use them in 2014.

I find that inserting either tampon or Iriscup isn’t the problem for me. I could insert them easily. With tampon, once it’s inside my body, I’m done. I don’t have to worry about leakage etc. However, with Iriscup, after I insert it, I had to “work” it so the mouth opens up so that it collects the blood into it. Otherwise I risk of leakage.

If you aren’t getting it, here’s a wiki info on how to use menstrual cup with pictures.

Despite my struggles, I persistently use Iriscup every time Aunt Flo is coming to town. Iriscup isn’t cheap and I do want to get my money’s worth. I, of course, had to work on a few tricks of my own to make sure the mouth opens up after inserting Iriscup into my vagina.

I finally found the one trick that works every single time and I had been testing it for a few months now.

Here’s what I do.

I fold the cup using the C-fold (refer to the wiki info above if you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about) and then insert it into my vagina. After that, I insert one finger to check whether the cup is still folded or not. If it still is then I slowly pull it out using the stem and push it back in and again I insert one finger to feel the cup. If the mouth of the cup is opened then I can feel the roundness of the cup. If not, I repeat the pull out and push in movement. Most of the time, I just do this once and it works and I haven’t had leakage incidents so far with this trick.

After more than a year of using Iriscup, I am finally consistently leakage free!

Why I choose to use menstrual cup?

Because I don’t prefer to use pads. Using pad is annoyingly uncomfortable for me which was why I used tampons. However, there are risks of infection with wearing tampons. Plus my favourite brand isn’t sold in Brunei anymore. I personally feel using menstrual cup is a lot safer than tampons. I also save money from buying tampons and pads. I stopped buying pads and tampons for over a year now since I use Iriscup.

Here’s the best part of using menstrual cup during my period, I sleep comfortably with it without worrying about infections and such. Pretty cool huh.

Why I choose Iriscup?

Because it’s made from 100% silicone platinum, it is an inert material (does not react with anything) and is completely safe in contact with the body. It has been certified with ISO 10993 Biocompatibility. This guarantees that the material used in its manufacture, 100% silicone platinum, is safe in terms of cytotoxicity, hypersensitivity and irritation of the vaginal mucosa. It has an exceptional shelf-life of 10 years. Cheaper than other menstrual cups in the market (at the time that I bought it).

I can’t say much about other menstrual cups as Iriscup is the first menstrual cup that I’ve been using so far.

If you are interested to know more about menstrual cups, you can just google it. There are so many brands popping up now with so many designs.

Kindly do your own due diligence before switching to menstrual cup.

I’m sharing for the purpose of information only. This is not an advice nor recommendation.

 

Until next time

The Climb of Mount Kinabalu

I went to climb Mount Kinabalu on the 22nd February 2018. This was my second attempt. My first attempt was almost a decade ago in 2010.

When I had decided to climb Mount Kinabalu again, I had started to be consistent in my training in December 2017.

I went for short (less than 5km) and long hikes (more than 7km) twice a week. I also ran for short distance (less than 5km) 2 to 3 times a week.

In my first attempt, I made the mistake of thinking that climbing Mount Kinabalu was going to be easy. Having that thought in mind, I didn’t bother to train as much as I should have. I pretty much lived an unhealthy lifestyle. This time, I vowed to not make the same mistakes that I did.

On the 21st February, Bobby and I drove to Kota Kinabalu.

A tour bus picked us up at 6 am in the next morning. Drove for 2 hours and arrived at Kinabalu National Park before 9 am.

Clear sky and we could see the Mount Kinabalu from the Kinabalu National Park

After we were done with the paper work, and getting our packed lunch, we drove for another 15 mins in a van to reach Timpohon Gate. This is where we started our climbing journey. We started exactly at 10am.

Seeing porters carrying heavy load climbing up and down Mount Kinabalu is a common sight

I would say that the first 5km was an easy climb for me. In fact I did really well. I reminded myself to sip water whenever I was thirsty and eat the food in the packed lunch.

With my average pace at that time, I hiked 1km for every 45 mins.

This video was taken on our way up, showing we were above the clouds.

Me at 5km point. Before migraine strike

After a few metres that I passed 5km, out of nowhere my migraine kicked in. I was taken by surprised when I felt the sudden thumping in my head. I told Bobby and Bobby asked me to slow down.

Both of us had to monitor my heart rate from there onwards.

What I had noticed was that whenever my heart rate reached 150, the thumping got stronger, it became painful and I couldn’t bear the pain.

My walking pace became slower and I had to stop many many times so that I can slow down my heart rate and the pain in my head was bearable for me. I cried several time because I couldn’t bear the pain.

From 5km to 6km and we had to walk for a bit to reach the base camp. It took almost 2 hours for from the 5km point to reach Laban Rata restaurant/resthouse.

We arrived at the 6km point. The building behind us is Laban Rata restaurant/resthouse

Imagined my relief when we finally arrived at the door step of Laban Rata. It was 4.40pm.

One of the guides who accompanied us had chuckled and asked me why I cried on my way up. Was it because I felt overwhelm?

I replied no, and explained that I had a migraine.

Once inside the guide handed a key to our room and advised us to rest first before we eat our dinner. He reminded us that the restaurant closes at 7pm.

My legs were already sore from climbing and I couldn’t believe that I had to walk up the stairs to the first floor to go to our room.

After we settled in our room, we went downstairs to have dinner. I made sure that I ate just enough. With the thumping in my head, I preferred not to eat but then I needed to feed myself so I have the energy to continue to climb to the summit the next morning.

After Bobby and I were done with dinner, we both went to sleep at 6pm. I took 2 panadol hoping that the migraine subsided. I also put my healing wands next to me when I slept.

I woke up at 8pm with the thumping in my head. Having the migraine made me think twice of whether I can climb to the summit. I was considering of not joining but the reminder that the whole trip cost about BND 700/person really made me think twice of not going. If I didn’t climb to the summit, then I’ve wasted BND 700 and it will be the same with my first attempt long ago.

I took another 2 panadol, hoping the panadol worked their magic and continued my sleep.

At 10pm, I woke up and the migraine hasn’t subsided at all. Bobby was up and I told him that I took panadol and my migraine was still there. Bobby asked me if I drank enough water. I said I didn’t. He gave me a bottle of water and asked me to drink. I took small sips and that was when I realized that I was thirsty and I was probably dehydrated!

I told Bobby if my migraine wasn’t going away at 12am, I didn’t think that I could climb to the summit. I took 2 more panadol then I went back to sleep.

Woke up at 12am and the thumping has lessen. I guess I was dehydrated. I drank more water and just for precaution I took another 2 panadol and went back to sleep again.

At 1am, I woke up and my head felt better. There was a slight thumping but it was manageable.

At 2am, we went downstairs to the restaurant to have a light meal before climbing to the summit.

Ready for briefing

At 2.30am, while other climbers were leaving, our guide brief us on the summit climb. At 3am, we started our climb.

Climbing up in the wee really cold morning was something I wasn’t prepared mentally. It didn’t help at all that I wore the wrong attire, my wool gloves were thin, despite wearing 2 tights, they weren’t able to protect me from the super cold wind.

However, I was fine for a few hundred meters when the trees shielded me from the cold wind.

It was when there were no more trees surrounding us and we started to climb up guided by the white rope that I felt the cold wind.

The cold wind was howling non-stop.

A few hundred metres from Sayat Sayat hut, I felt I couldn’t take it anymore. I was tired, I sat down, cried and I was shivering. I was thinking about quitting already.

Bobby sat down on my side and hugged me so that I could feel his warmth but sadly it wasn’t enough. He persuaded me to continue the climb until we reach the Sayat Sayat hut.

I was mentally exhausted from trying to withstand the cold.

I got up and continued to use the white rope to climb. At some point I had to crawl on all fours as well.

We arrived at Sayat Sayat hut at 5am. We were required to show our name tag when we passed the hut.

Next to the hut there was a small room. Bobby asked if I wanted to rest there. I said yes.

The room was thankfully wasn’t as cold when compared to the outside environment.

I told Bobby I didn’t want to continue to the summit. Tears was flowing. I was shivering and my teeth chattering. I just wanted to hide in there.

Bobby again persuaded me to continue. He even gave me his blue jacket and his neoprene gloves. He gave me time to rest.

After 20 minutes of persuasion, I came out of the little room and continued my climb.

Bobby was holding my hand and he literally had to pull me to walk forward/up. Bobby reminded me to take one step and took a breath and repeat. We monitored my heart rate to make sure it was less then 140 and so to keep the thumping in my head minimal.

I was still on my way, but to reach the 8km point felt like forever to me. The cold wind was still howling. It was so freaking cold.

Bobby pointed out to me that the sun was coming up. I turned my head several times to see the sunrise and handed Bobby my phone to take pictures of the sunrise.

Picture cannot do justice of what we saw that early morning.

Bobby also took a video of me walking up to the 8km point.

To be honest, I didn’t get to enjoy the sunrise because all of my focus went to withstanding the cold wind. I also didn’t enjoy the experience.

We finally arrived at 8km point and the sun was already out. The air was still cold but with less wind. Time was 6.20am.

I wanted to take pictures but my fingers felt numb inside my jacket. Bobby took our selfie.

From here, it was just another 500m to the summit.

I sat down next to the sign. I was tired, I felt pain on my left knee, and I told Bobby I gave up. I was putting my foot down that I wasn’t going to walk further up. I told myself, that was it. No more. My mind was telling me that I was insane for trying this out for the second time. I felt very much disempowered.

I told Bobby to continue his climb because I knew that he wanted to reach the summit but Bobby didn’t want to leave me alone. Thankfully there was another couple who was on their way back and I just went with them and Bobby continued to the summit.

Bobby reached the Low’s Peak for the second time. The above picture was taken by Jinus using Haji Zainal’s camera.

Below is what was shared by our mountain guide, Jinus.

 

I had never been exposed to a cold weather of 3°C until that day. Since I was struggling to cope with the cold weather and wind, my thought was no wonder I was born and raised in the equator. I’m really not a fan of the cold weather.

I also don’t recall feeling that cold when I was at Laban Rata a decade ago. I was even out in the early morning in my normal clothing and walked around to take pictures of my surrounding. I guess it wasn’t 3°C back then.

I then began my descend with the couple.

The sun was getting higher and yet it was still cold. I tested the coldness of the air by removing Bobby’s glove in one hand and let my hand out. When it was really cold, I shivered and put on the glove back.

On my way, I was still very emotional. My face was wet with my own tears. It was after I had calmed down, I finally began to look around my surrounding and see opportunities to take pictures. I could only do it when my hand could withstand the cold air.

This picture is one of the few that I managed to take

On my way back to Laban Rata, I felt pain slowly creeping up in my left knee. I slowed down and at some point the couple went on their own pace and I was left behind.

Despite me leaving early, Bobby managed to catch up with me when we were closer to Laban Rata.

We arrived at Laban Rata after 9.30am. We had breakfast and we got ready to leave at 10.30am.

I told Bobby that I wanted to leave early because I knew that I was going to be slow because of the pain in my left knee.

For the first 2km, the pain was manageable. We even had a few brief stops to take pictures and videos.

I think this is one of the few areas at the mountain that was affected by the 2015 earthquake

It was after the 2km going down that the knee pain started to become unbearable. It was painful for me walked down the stairs. Since the pain was on my left knee, I compensated with my right knee and it didn’t take long for both of my knees suffered for the rest of the distance. My toes also in pain mainly from hitting rocks accidentally and the rubber shoes that I wore didn’t have the toe protection.

I became upset at myself, at the condition of my knees and toes. I relied on Bobby to support me and I could tell that we were significantly slowed down by me.

Bobby asked me to take panadol again. He thought they might help to reduce inflammation in both of my knees.

Not long after that, there was a group of young adults. One of them saw me having difficulty stepping down stairs and she offered both painkiller and spray. I said no to painkiller and yes to the spray. She sprayed both of my knees. Unfortunately it didn’t give me the desired effect that I had hoped. I was still in pain and deep down I really wished that I stopped moving and just stay put. I had to use my anger to literally forced myself to walk because I wanted to reach Timpohon Gate before it’s dark.

We arrived at Timpohon gate at 4pm. We waited for a van to pick us up and transported us back to Kinabalu National Park. When we got there, our mountain guide handed us our colourful certificates.

We had to wait for the rest of our group to arrive at Kinabalu National Park. We had waited for several hours. We finally left the park at 8pm and arrived at KK at 9.30pm.

Both of my knees were hurting and I couldn’t lift my knees without screaming in pain. My knees and thighs suffered for about a week after coming back from the climb. I hated stairs very much that week.

Day 2 after Mount Kinabalu climb in a Hotel. Happy that we were about to go home

Here are a few lessons and highlights from my climb

Going up from Timpohon Gate to Panalaban Base Camp

  • This part of the journey is the easiest. I was fine until I reached 5km. If I didn’t have the migraine, and able to maintain my pace, we could have reached the base camp in less than 5 hours.
  • Always listen to my body. I took sips of water when I felt thirsty and ate my lunch pack which consisted of 1 piece fried chicken wing, 1 hard boiled egg, 2 bananas and 3 sandwiches whenever I felt hungry.
  • I packed light. I wore a running vest. I put my phones, my healing wands, a box of panadol, a small Oreo, 2 chocolate bars and my lunch pack in it. Bobby brought bottles of water in his bag along with other things that I needed for the resthouse.
  • I made sure I was fully covered and put on sunscreen to avoid sunburn.

At Laban Rata restaurant/resthouse

  • It was advantageous to arrive in the afternoon. The sooner we were up there, the sooner we acclimatized to the environment and of course we get to rest and have more sleep for recovery.
  • Water was cold. It made me reluctant to go to toilet but when I had to go, I had no choice. There was a heater but it wasn’t working. No hot shower at all. I think a couple of people tried to switch it on and every time they did, electricity went out. This happened several times which interrupted my sleep.

When we first got into our room, it was so freaking cold! Someone left the window open. I tell you, you don’t need air conditioner up there! The bedsheets, blankets and pillows were cold. That made my sleep at 6pm more than uncomfortable. I was shivering, I was already wearing my jacket and I was under the blanket.

Thankfully when I woke up at 8pm, I could feel that my body had already adjusted to the environment. It wasn’t that cold anymore. I was comfortable without my jacket and my feet were no longer ice cold.

I never like to take pills to treat my migraine because my body is sensitive to their after effects. However, I do take them sparingly and only if I tried my own natural healing methods and they didn’t work fast enough to get rid of my migraine. Those 2 days were the most ever I’ve taken panadol in so many years!

Going up from Panalaban Base Camp to the 8km point

  • Taking one step at a time with a breath is necessary as well as continuous climb without stopping
  • Appropriate attire is important and necessary to be able to withstand the cold wind. What I was wearing (2 long sleeves, 2 tights, thin gloves) weren’t a sufficient attire for the cold environment. (One of the other climbers shared he was wearing 7 layers!)
  • Might be best to wear heat tech clothings (sold at Uniqlo), loose pants, thicker jacket and wool gloves and balaclava.
  • I regretted that I wasted 20 minutes being in the room next to Sayat-Sayat hut when I could have used that time to continue my climb. If I did, I might have arrived a lot earlier and might be able to view sunrise from the 8km point.
  • There also wasn’t much drinking when going up. I didn’t drink at all.

Climbing down from 8km point to Panalaban Base Camp

  • As I descended, the closer I got to Laban Rata, the thirstier I became. Unfortunately I didn’t bring a bottle of water with me because Bobby was carrying them in his bag. Bobby caught up with me when it was less than 100m to reach Laban Rata.

Climbing down from Panalaban Base Camp to Timpohon Gate

  • Wear appropriate shoes. My toes accidentally hit rocks several times on my way down. My toes were bruised and they were in pain while I was still walking.
  • Might be better to wear hiking shoes/boots. The reason why I was wearing rubber shoes is because of the grip. It has excellent grip but unfortunately it doesn’t protect my toes.
  • It could have been a better experience if I wasn’t in pain. And the muscle spray may be able to numb the pain if I had sprayed a lot earlier when I wasn’t in so much pain. And that was just my speculation. I’ve never use those sprays before and now I do think to bring it along with me when I do my long hike.
  • I was fully covered and put on sunscreen to avoid sunburn.

Overall experience

This experience really showed me how when I was under duress, it is so easy for me to want to give up (it reminded me a lot when I did my first open water swim in Labuan).  I had wanted to give up several times but Bobby wouldn’t let me. He knew that I would be more upset at myself if I had given up.

All the training that I had done to prepare myself for this climb didn’t prepare me for the altitude and the cold wind, weather and environment.

The longest that I hiked so far is 16km and I could finished it in 4.5 hours or less. But the hike from Laban Rata to the 8km point and back to Timpohon gate was almost 12km but it took me close to 12 hours to complete. I have never done a workout that took me 12 hours ever in my life! No wonder my knees gave away.

After experiencing climbing Mount Kinabalu all the way to 8km point and back, I have to say that I have a new found respect for those who can withstand the cold and still able to reach to the summit within the allocated time. Previously I didn’t know how hard and difficult it was to climb under such cold environment and now I know.

Despite my painful knees and thighs, bruised toes; I noticed that my ass is a lot nicer after the climb and my stretch marks in my inner thighs had disappeared! Magic eh!

As much as I was in pain for most of the time, this experience made me addicted to hike or climb other easier mountains. I know… Crazy isn’t it.

I have more videos and pictures than I posted here. I have uploaded the videos on YouTube. I put the link below. They are in the order that I took them.

Below is the collection of images that we took during our climb.

Images and videos are copyright of the owner of this blog as well as those credited to their respective owners.

Until my next adventure!

My Sprint Panaga Triathlon

I decided to sign up  for the Panaga Triathlon as Bobby will be there as life saver and he encouraged me to participate.

Categories offered were sprint and Olympic distance.

Sprint distance is

  • 750m open water swim (1 loop)
  • 27km cycle (2 loops)
  • 5km run (2 loops)

Olympic distance is

  • 1500m open water swim (2 loops)
  • 35km cycle (3 loops)
  • 10km run (4 loops)

I had to consider how slow I was and I also didn’t want to finish late and so I signed for the sprint distance.

3 weeks prior to the event, I practiced open water swim at Berakas Beach and also Tungku Beach, I cycled twice and I took an easy walk instead of running.

A week before the event, I was just resting my body. I didn’t do much activities either.

The day before the event, I already made a plan to be home by 5pm because I wanted to be in bed by 6pm and slept at 7pm.

Since the event was at Panaga Seria, I wanted to be there by 6 am to collect my race pack. I planned to leave home at 4.30am and that means, I had to wake up at 3.30am to get ready.

Last time, when I was participating for another sprint triathlon, it was easy for me to sleep at 7pm the night before. Somehow I was struggling this time.

I had trouble sleeping because I was nervous about the event. Plus, my body had decided to release a lot of emotional baggage instead. I could barely sleep at all.  I probably had 1-2 hours sleep only.

The morning of the event, after I arrived at Panaga Club, I went straight to get my race pack. While I walking towards the hut where the organizer was, I saw the huge waves from a far.

I was so so surprised at the huge waves.

My thought was it shouldn’t have been a huge waves that morning because the night before was a full moon. Usually when there’s full moon during sunset or sunrise, the sea would usually be calm with low tide.

I have a good reason to be scared of the huge waves.

I’ve tried to swim in those condition before and I failed to get pass the waves. To be honest, I would rather run than swim in the ocean that morning.

Unfortunately, the organizer decided to continue the open water swim instead of replacing it with a pool swim or even with a run.

I decided to not use my swimming buoy because from my previous experience before, the buoy won’t help me much in those huge waves. In fact it becomes a hindrance.

Below is the video that I took of the ocean before we started the swim.

We all started when the organizer sounded the horn.

I braced myself as I got into the water. My focus was to swim and get passed the waves.

Fives minutes in the water and I was no where getting closer to passing the waves. Waves were crashing and to make the condition worst, the huge waves were close together. When waves crashed, I made sure that I went into the water and hold my breath. I could feel that I was pushed back by the waves. This happened several times and I could see that I wasn’t moving forward. All my efforts felt futile.

I started to feel tired and I felt very much that I was struggling. Right there and then I asked myself do I want to continue or do I want go back to shore.

I was accessing my own condition and considering how tired I was and I didn’t want to risk it, I decided to turn back.

I tried to swim back but I had to be cautious of the waves crashing behind and on top of me. At some point I almost tumbled like in a washing machine but realizing my mistake I quickly straighten my body. As I couldn’t held my breath frequently anymore, I managed to get my head above water to breath and I lifted my hand and waved.

Thankfully someone saw me and I heard a shout. Someone came with a paddle board and asked me to hang on tight. I did although I felt like I didn’t have anymore energy in me.

I was safely brought back to shore.

That open water swim was definitely one of the toughest that I’ve tried.

I asked if I was disqualified but was told I could continue to bike and run if I wanted to and I did.

I was mostly bike and ran out of breath because I was tired from the swim.

My concern with the cycling route was that I had to cross several roundabouts. I had got to be extra vigilant.

However, I was pleasantly surprised when there was at least one police officer on every roundabouts and at important turns and junctions. Having their presence made the ride a lot smoother.

The run route was a short loop of 2.5km. Since I was doing a 5km run, I had to run twice through the same route.

Since I wasn’t familiar with the run route, route marshals were there to direct the participants.

 

I managed to finish in under 2 hours 30 minutes. I received a medal for it.

I can’t say that I completed the sprint distance because I didn’t swim the official 750m that day. However, I did complete the cycle and the run.

Bobby said I gotta practice to swim through rough waves and learn to get pass them, but I’m so not freaking ready to go through that again.

Images are by Ruben Bholasing

To more future triathlon!