Saturday, December 23, 2006
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Thalassemia (American English) or thalassaemia (British English) is an inherited disease of the red blood cells. In thalassemia, the genetic defect results in reduced rate of synthesis of normal globin chains(c.f. hemoglobinopathy which is a structural change in a globin chain leading to instability or abnormal oxygen transport). The blood cells are vulnerable to mechanical injury and die easily. Blood transfusions on a regular basis (two to three week intervals) are used by many patients to cope with the disease and maintain a healthier lifestyle than living with no treatment; bone marrow transplants can be performed if the transfusion's main side effect - build-up of iron - itself begins to be a problem. A bone marrow transplant requires careful matching to avoid rejection and further complications.
The disease's geographical association with the Mediterranean sea was responsible for its naming: Thalassa is Greek for the sea, Haima is Greek for blood. Thalassemia occurs in all populations and ethnic groups, however the prevalence differs among different populations.
I was planning to blog this on Monday 18 Dec to promote our charity classes today(23 Dec) at The Curve, Damansara Uptown & Summit USJ but was too busy spending time on the toilet seats.
This holiday season, Herny, my counterpart from Menara Axis had an idea for this community project that we could all do instead of staging big big Les Mills launches. Besides, after 2 very stupendous launches in June & Sept, I think we're can't really get any bigger(maybe Bukit Jalil next year?).
Back to the project, Riyo, Jeremy & I decided to raise funds for a charity home this time so I thought of this Thalassaemia Association of Malaysia(TAM), one of the more low-profile NGOs in Malaysia. Almost everyone knows about the AIDS Council or National Cancer Society but not many know of TAM or the hereditary condition Thalassaemia.
With the help of GF, I've managed to contact the TAM office and spoke to Zanel, a Thalassaemia patient who works with TAM. After explaining our intention, they were very helpful to provide us with their organization logo for our club posters. It was then that I decided that I should pay them a visit in Cheras.
The office is located somewhere near SMK Amiruddin Baki, just above a 7-11 outlet.
When I reached there, Zanel wasn't around but her mom(can't recall her name), who works as a volunteer, was being interviewed by 2 reporters from the NST group. Zanel had gone to the hospital to do his blood transfusion. Anyhow, I waited patiently for the interview to end and in the mean time I took the opportunity to look around the office.
One thing for sure, they don't spend money to make the office look beautiful. It's a simple place for them to work and maybe provide counselling to family members of Thalassaemia patients. From the pictures there, I discovered that their patron is actually the wife of the DPM Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor. She seems to be involved in a lot of their activities.
After the interview was over, it was my turn to talk to Zanel's mom. She's actually also the treasurer of TAM, and has been helping out for a very long time. Most of the committee members are actually parents of Thalassaemia patients, except the president Prof Dr Zulkifli Ismail, who's one of the pioneers of the organization.
Speaking to Zanel's mom helped me to understand better what this condition is all about. Previously, I've heard the term Thalassaemia before but I've never known what exactly it was.
There are 2 types of people with the defective gene: Thalassaemia minor & Thalassaemia major. A person with Thalassaemia minor is a carrier. He/she has inherited one normal gene and one thalassaemia gene. A carrier will have less haemogblobin in each red blood cell and their red blood cells are smaller than usual. However, a carrier may not show any symptoms and can live a healthy and normal life- at most, he/she may appear slightly anaemic. A carrier can only be detected through blood screening.
A person with Thalassaemia major is one who has the very serious inherited blood disorder. At birth, he/she will appear normal but from 3-18 months' time, he/she will slowly show signs of anaemia which eventually becomes severe, due to the inability of the body to produce enough haemoglobin. If not taken care of, a Thalassaemia patient usually dies between one and eight years of age.
Without proper treatment, the child will develope:
- Distended abdomen due to enlargement of liver & spleen
- Stunted growth
- Changes in facial bone structures
Zanel's mom showed me the picture of Zanel whom I've only spoken to through the phone. I had thought that Zanel sounded very young on the phone and I was so surprised that Zanel looked like a 14-15 year old boy while he is actually in his early twenties.
Basically, there are a few treatments for thalassaemia:
- Blood transfusion
- Chelation therapy
- bone marrow transplant(only if they have suitable donors)
For blood transfusion, thalassaemia patients need to do it on a monthly basis. Zanel had to go for transfusion that day because he was feeling very weak and tired(his last transfusion was 6 weeks ago). Blood transfusion must always be followed by chelating therapy to reduce the amount of iron in the blood. Complications from iron overload include heart failure, multiple organ malfucntion & endocrine disorder.
It was only until recently that the government hospitals are giving free treatment to thalassaemia patients. Before that, the patients will have to bear the cost of everything. The older the patient, the more Desferal he/she will use and the more expensive it will become. Just for a 3-year-old patient the estimated cost is about RM1000 a month.
So how does one become a thalassaemia patient? Please take a look at the picture below:
Only if both parents are thalassemia carriers, that their offsprings will have 25% chance of getting thalassaemia major. Therefore it is important for everyone to know if he/she is a carrier of the thalassaemia gene. The danger is: 5 in every 100 people are thalassaemia carriers.
Therefore it is important to know if you are a carrier or not. It provides you an opportunity to choose a partner who is not a carrier. When you are getting married, it is vital that both of you go for genetic screening. If both of you are carriers, there is a 1 in 4 chance that your child will have thalassaemia major. However, if one parent is not a carrier, then all your offspriings will be healthy.
What can you do to help the TAM or the thalassaemia patients in general? Well, through donations of course. There's the normal monetary donation which can be written to the association- if you really want to help, I will post the address for you later in my blog.
If you're short on cash, there's another donation you can do- donate your blood to the blood bank or the government hospitals. Besides surgical operation & treatment of burn, your blood can also be used by the thalassaemia patients.
I don't know about you, but I'm going to follow the advice of TAM before I ever thought of having children: Find out if you are a carrier.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I started feeling unwell on Sunday morning- I suspect it must be the food from our GX Party the night before. Dunno exactly what food caused it, but I suspect it's the fishballs from Cheng.
3 days before I balik kampung!!!! Woo Hoo!!!!
Friday, December 15, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Dunno what I've never thought of this before, but exercising is really like going to the toilet. When you haven't been exercising(or bombing) for a while and you suddenly do it again, the experience will be HARD & PAINFUL. However, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Sure you will still sweat, but it will be pleasurable.....
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Apparently it was going to be an eat-and-sing night, with special guests from Singapore, Hong Kong & Thailand. Sorry, only had pictures of Ben Tang & Leonard Koh from Singapore and not Phyllis Lee(Hong Kong) & Khun Ton(Thailand). The rest who were there were the usual people like FDI, FSI, FCI & gf, Richelle, GW, TianJin#1 & gf plus of course, the host & his wonderful wife.
As always, we started with cheese & crackers.
This time, however, we also had of "unclean food".
The main course were Ipoh Kuey Teow & Nasi Lemak, with chicken & duck. No lamb meat though...
We also had some desserts.
Were the desserts fabulous? It doesn't matter really, judging from the way the guests swarmed in like locusts.
Food was secondary to the highlight of the night....
Fatboy actually took the trouble to get the lyrics from musicals like Sunset Boulavard, Les Mis, Phantom of the Opera, Miss Saigon, Evita, printed.... though we also broke into spontaneous rendition of songs from Disney's animated movies.
Lucky for all of us, I had recorded a bit of the singing for all to enjoy:
You're probably wondering if the overall singing were any good. Well, Teoh's expression seems to sum up the whole thing.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
As of today, "Perspiration of a Fitness Instructor" is now renamed "Perspiration of a Group Exercise Coordinator". I think it is a more suitable name as it now links to my job and the mental perspiration I have as a GXC.
About a month ago, 2 days after the IOI launch 4 of us were sent to Penang for the launch up north. The GXCs who went were Riyo, Jeremy, Eric and yours truly. We met at USJ Summit at about 8am on 2 Oct before going in my car.
It was more or less a relaxing drive, playing Family Feud on Jeremy's laptop along the way. By the time we reach Penang, it was just perfect for lunch in Mt Erskine.
After food, we checked-in to the hotel formerly known as Crown Prince Hotel in Tanjung Bungah(can't remember the new name). There we didn't rest much as Everyone was trying to do some last minute practice.
The first launch was BODYSTEP® by Jeremy & Eric.
Downstairs, I was getting ready for the RPM™ launch with Catherine Sae-Ang - we went for BODYCOMBAT® & RPM™ trainings together back in 2004.
After RPM®, it was time for BODYPUMP® with Paul, Celia and myself. I took a pic of us after the class but somehow could find it as I blog this entry. Will try to add later.
The last launch of the day was BODYJAM®... with Riyo, Jeremy & Eric.
I took a couple of pictures and then went for a quick meal with Paul, just to catch up with him. After that, I went back to fetch the others and guess where we went? To the same kopitiam... since it was nearby.
After a quick walk around the Batu Ferringhi pasar, I sent them back to hotel and I went home to Air Itam. By then it was already 12 plus midnight. The next day I had to wake up for an early 7am BP with Celia. Didn't take any picture but it was a good turnout for a early morning class.
Can't recall what I actually did the whole day, I think I went back home for sleep as well. Later I also went to Bangkok Lane in Pulau Tikus for mee goreng and wan tan soup.
Later, I picked up the rest and off we go to another day of launch!
BODYATTACK® kick-started with Jeremy & Alan working the members.
It was BODYPUMP® again, this time with Riyo & Brandon.
I also did another RPM™ class with Alan - no pic this time. I left right around the cooldown tracks as I had to get ready for my fav launch- BODYCOMBAT® with the twins Celia & Agnes.
The building air-con wasn't working well so you can imagine how hot the studio was when we did the class. One word describe the feeling after the class - TIRED!!!
With all the work done, it was again time for the most important thing of the night.... DINNER/SUPPER. This time, I took them to Macalister Road and we really spent our time eating and
gossiping discussing some stuff.
Again, by the time I went home it was again way past midnight. Still didn't get to see mom though I'd been back for 2 days.
Woke up the next morning and found mom(at last!) in the kitchen. It was time to leave though, so said my goodbyes and went to fetch the others for breakfast with Kim, our counterpart in Penang. We had to leave early coz I got a class at 5.40pm & 7.30pm.
As opposed to the trip to Penang, the return trip was less noisy. I think we were all very tired. Since I was driving, I couldn't take a nap but the rest took the opportunity to slumber. One way of getting back at them for letting me drive alone is, of course, to take pictures of them sleeping - don't ask how I managed to take pictures while driving.
Too short lah the trip... will there be another launch like this in Dec? Well, I will be in Penang end of Dec on leave, so it won't be a problem for me to do it again.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Remember a couple of months ago they said I was gay?
Now they said I'm resigning from Fitness First, joining a competitor in the Klang Valley.
What's next? I'm getting married?
On another note, I've updated the GX blog - it's been a while since anything was posted there. So drop by the GX blog for pictures of the IOI mall on 30 Sept. I will be posting pictures from the Penang launch shortly too...
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Hazrin is quite a friendly person. I only got to know him early this year at our BODYATTACK® tuition. For 2 quarterly BODYATTACK® tuition we had lunch together at Summit so you can understand during the last tuition I sort of missed him - He's moved to Penang.
After makan, gf & I went to Cineleisure to watch "The Prestige". Excellent movie that managed to capture our attention, despite the lack of action which I'm used to. Every scene somehow will keep you hooked on, eager to find out what was going on.
Speaking of being hooked on, we window-shopped The Curve after the movie and decided to eat dinner. We walked around before finally made up our mind to try this restaurant on the first floor abover TGIF called "HOOKED".
Nice ambiance and not too crowded either.
With a name like that, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to tell that its a seafood restaurant. We both ordered F&C and I added a mushroom soup to my order.
Good food and friendly staff makes it a place worth going... oh, they also have set meals with free refils.
So day 1 was quite full with activities. The second day of Raya turns out to be a bit long and boring because we were basically stuck in Desa Sri Hartamas from morning to evening, doing album recording.
YUP, MUSICAL ALBUM RECORDING.... go to gf's blog for the story.