Never Stop Fighting

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Venturing into a new place is never easy. There are lots of uncertainties abound. You don’t know anybody there, you don’t know how to get around. You’re alone, despite being surrounded by people. That’s just the way it is, till you’ve settled down more securely.

I’m still trying to settle down, I’m still trying to find my way— I’m often lost in my own world, searching for a way out of this fog. It is extremely difficult, what with having thrown into a tense place. One with lots of sadness and frustration shimmering in the air, of dissatisfaction and anger. Not many are happy here, and it fills the atmosphere with a murkiness that makes it hard to breathe sometimes.

“Don’t trust anyone.”

Despair fills me with those words. Why? Why is everyone so caught up in this cycle of fear and sorrow?

It is truly a difficult time for me to cope and manage in this place.

And yet—

There is unbridled joy, joy at finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do. This happiness bubbles out of me at the end of a long tiring day. I may have been shouted at, belittled, and talked down upon— I may have been out of my wits end, faced with new problems and issues— But at the end of the day, at night, when I’m lying in my bed, I feel so much happiness at being able to do the things that I’ve always envisioned doing.

That I’m able to care and try my best for the kids, the little ones. It fills me with such pleasure and satisfaction. It is truly something I do not want to lose. (On the days that I may lose someone, this joy might fade to the distance but I hope it doesn’t disappear.)

They told me, “Don’t stop loving Paediatrics because of this place.” And I really really hope I never lose this joy. The work is hard, it really is— Nothing is ever easy in life, nothing comes without a bit of suffering. Still, I never want to be deprived of the contentment in doing this work.

To the future me,

I do pray that despite the obstacles that you will face, the hurt that you will encounter, and the unjustness of things that may unravel, that you will continue to stay strong and to fight.

May you never lose your love for Paediatrics.

Love, Nicole.

P/S: Ending this with a poem that I found online.

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Grateful Endings, Faithful Beginnings

It starts, with this.

A fairly normal morning at work. I was feeling anxious then, more focused on the fact that I needed to get my boss’ signature on my leave form just so I could book the flights tonight.

Halfway writing down plans for a particularly sick patient, my colleague beside me suddenly laughed. He said my name then, and I hadn’t really focused on what it was that he mentioned. After a while it suddenly hit me.

“Nicole, Nicole got Likas! Wow, SWACH!”

… Wait, what?

I froze, my hands stilled, and suddenly I couldn’t write down the things that I was supposed to during rounds.

“What about Sarvin?” Shit, this isn’t going according to our plans. Maybe he’ll get Kota Kinabalu too— Desperation— Hope—

“HDOK.”

Shattered.

After spending nearly 7 years together, in the same class, the same group, the same posting— It was a shock to know that we would be separated for the first time after so long. I spent that entire morning in a daze, unsure of what I felt, unsure of what to do.

I was happy that I got the department of my choice — Paediatrics. And yet shocked that I had gotten Likas, seeing as how I did not even apply to that hospital. The thought of going to Likas was terrifying and alien. I’ve heard so many stories about that place and they did not inspire feelings of happiness.

On the other hand, it was a good training centre, (if I survive the tough parts), and would eventually be a good start to continuing Paediatrics!

And yet— It would be far easier to stay at HDOK, and I could still be with Sarvin! But—

Oh, so many buts and maybes and what-ifs—

It’s surreal. It’s a change.

 


 

Man proposes, God disposes. It’s a fairly common saying in my household, one my Mum often used whenever we had plans for something, and yet never went through.

A more biblical version would be this:

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.  Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV) 

We had plans, we had a dream, and now

Lord, guide us, lead us, carry us through.

 


 

There’s sorrow in my heart, of unfinished plans and distress of not fulfilling what I’ve wanted.

It’s not as if I’ll be away forever, it’s only a short flight distance away. Yet it’s the sentiment that remains, that I will not drive pass this roads on a daily basis. That I cannot simply think in my head, maybe I’ll go to RDC today, but did not go. Maybe brunch at the Agnes Keith House, and yet did not. I’ve not even gone to the main attraction at Sandakan — Sepilok, and isn’t that laughable.

It’s the thought that I would not have the luxury of making whimsical plans that pains me.

I could always come back, yes, but it isn’t quite the same anymore. It becomes a trip, a planned activity of weekend fun. It’s different.

There are small stalls and delicious food that I’ve not explored. There are so many hidden treasures in Sandakan that I’ve yet to try.

2 years seems like a long time, and yet, I’ve squandered it away, and have not explored enough. I had thought that I would have years more in this place. But what did I know? I did not expect to be placed in a new city.

In my new home,  I do hope I’ll have the time to explore it the way it should be explored. Till then, I guess, it’s goodbye Sandakan. Thanks for having me, thanks for taking care of me. It was a good two years with you. I’ve never regretted the decision to work here. It has been amazing. 

Here’s to celebrating the end of a chapter, and the beginning of entirely new adventure.

Nothing

Tears run down my face. The chaos of anger, despair and frustration mix together in a colourful tornado, tearing me apart – leaving me breathless. It is the unfairness of it all, that they’ve left me alone. It could have been different if anyone had cared. Yet they choose to do it this way, and in turn, breaking my heart in the process.

In the moment of solitude, when the quiet pierces my skin, I can feel the tendrils of sorrow slowly wrapping around my heart. Sorrow deftly makes its way around, slowly but surely destroying me. Every so often, it squeezes my heart, reminding me that sorrow remains. It leaves whispers of despair imprinted in my mind, assuring me that there’s nothing for me, that there will never be. Nothing.

Describing the hurt always makes me cry. As if acknowledging it merely opens up a dam within me that has slowly been filling up with pain.

There is a small part of me that speaks up, shouting – there are those that care. Yet it is often drowned out by the persistence of sorrow. Sadness does not care. There is only me, myself and I. Everything else is blurred out into the distance.

I used to carve lines into my skin, the pain pleasing to sorrow. I used to wish I was brave enough to pierce through completely, letting the blood run free, just to see it end. I don’t do it anymore, but when my control slips, in times like these… I just wish, and wish and wish, and I take the blade, the cold against the warmth of my skin–

I can’t even tell anyone, because I do not think they will understand. Even if I did, what can they do?

Nothing.

And that leaves me….

Alone.

 

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In the silence, I cry.

Nicole.

Plans

“The lot is cast into the lap,
    but its every decision is from the Lord.” – Proverbs 16:33

In my eagerness to plan my life, I have forgotten something very important — that it is pointless to worry. I need not force a path to form where it will not. I need not bulldoze my way through walls.

“The heart of man plans his way,
    but the Lord establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9 

He has a plan, far greater than mine will ever be. And it is He who will open doors for me. It is He who will guide me to the path I am meant to walk on.

I can only put forth what I desire, pray over it, and allow Him to lead me to what is right.

It may not be what I want, and there may be many hurdles ahead. Yet, I will continue to worship Him, to be the salt of the earth and light of the world.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'” – Jeremiah 29:11

Here’s to a great adventure ahead of me.

 


 

 

Thank you for reading.

Nicole.

 

Crossroads

Once again I stand at the crossroads, torn between decisions. I am to choose one road, one path. One choice against the other.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—


I am nearing the end of the beginning, and it is time for a new start as a Medical Officer.

Where do I choose to continue my journey as a Doctor?

I find it hard to make a decision, simply because this is a time which may bring forth great change in my life. Either choice has its own set of pros and cons, and I keep mulling about them over and over, wondering which options resonates with me more.

If I am to choose to go back to my hometown, I will be able to spend more time with family. I will be able to see them more often, to drive down the highway and spend the weekend with them.

If I am to choose to stay, I will be amongst wonderful people, in a place of familiarity and comfort. I may also be able to study for MRCP/MRCPCH and perhaps, then opt to go back and get the department that I want.

There are uncertainties with either choice. There may be many twists and turns to either decision. And I can only wonder — will regret chase my every step? Will failure haunt me? Will I dread waking up every morning, will my nights be filled with sorrow?

The decision is made harder by the fact that Sarvin has to make a choice as well. There is no certainty that we will even get the same place, no guarantee that we will end up together.

The future lies ahead, in a grey gloom of unpredictability.


I stand at the crossroads; afraid, uncertain, and in doubt. Which path do I take? Which road do I tread?

 

I can only pray right now, and pray that He will guide me to the right place.

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He has a plan for me, and I will trust in Him.

Please guide me under Your unfaltering hand.

 


Thank you for reading,

Nicole.

 

 

Farewell 2017

I begin 2018 alone, just as I did, in the year 2017. In the beginning (or the ending of 2016), it made me melancholic, washed in the throes of sorrow. As if loneliness is synonym to abandonment, as if being alone is synonym to outcast.

I know it is not true, but as my darkest self rages on, caught in the bittersweet moment of endings – it is far too easy to be dragged down in desolation. It is then that I thought that 2017 would be laced with the undercurrents of hopelessness.

No. It was not so.

I had begun 2017 with sorrow, and yet the year 2017 has only been a blessing, with much of God’s grace in my life. He brought so much light into my life, and there were so many times that I would end up being so surprised at the happiness that life could give me.

Yet, it wasn’t as if there weren’t moments of despair, for which there were plenty.

Those were the times when I would pray for God not to test me, not to bring too much pain. “I cannot take it,” I would cry out, I would beg. But ultimately, I survived with His guidance, with the strength He has given me.

And so I would say that I end 2017 with mercy and grace. I end 2017 in quiet exultation, awaiting great things ahead. It is the end of another wonderful year of growth, but the work is not finished yet.

I have not finished learning. I have not finished becoming. I have not finished.

Therefore I declare the year 2018 to be a year of change.

I had been afraid in the year 2017. So frightened of the possibility that I might be consumed by unhappiness, by pain that I prayed for mercy. I could not bear the thought of my heart being broken, much like the years before this.

I will not be afraid in the year 2018.

I will not be afraid for the tumultuous times that will come. For there will be storms, the darkest of nights. If not for those, we will never truly see the brightest of skies.

I will welcome change, I will welcome a metamorphosis.

I will conquer 2018 with His power.

Even as I write those words, they are becoming true; morphing in the space of tomorrow, evolving into absolution.

Silence those fears, and embrace the change to come.

That will be my motto for 2018.

What will be yours?

 


 

Thank you for reading! I’m sorry for the sparsity of posts. A resolution for 2018 will be to blog more. And I do hope I keep at it. Anyhoo, thanks for joining me in this journey. Here’s to welcoming the year ahead. Cheers!

Nicole.

memories

once,

it rained with tears,

the beat of it drums into my mind,

curling into the darkest corners,

heart twisting, breaking,

sorrow. 

 

once,

sunshine danced,

like joy bursting through every seam,

lighting up lonely rooms,

keeping hope alive,

happiness. 

 

once,

twice,

always.

 

memories,

they were once wrapped around my mind,

curling, unfurling, refusing to leave,

yet not.

 

days, into weeks, into years,

time becomes an enemy,

and now forgetting is too easy to do,

and memories disappear.

 

like mist, upon the horizon,

when the sun comes up,

when darkness chases light,

when time passes.

 

leaving nothing but dewdrops,

leaving nothing but a hint,

just a taste of something missed,

of something once was, and lost.

 

yet, words upon a page,

the erratic play of it, the chaos, the simplicity,

triggers the taste, the sight, the emotions,

evoking memories,

and once again–

 

 

I remember.

 

 

Oh, it is so hard to write now. The words don’t come as easily, and I’m more afraid of posting them up. A simple wordy play on memories as I couldn’t quite find the words to turn them into a short story.

This idea came about as I was scrolling through my previous blogs. (I think I’ve had at least 10 blogs to this date, with each created at a certain time in my life.) I was rereading a different blog with posts dating back to 6 years ago, and I found myself reminiscing. I cannot remember certain events clearly anymore, and yet upon rereading old posts, the emotions felt during those moments came rushing back.

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So cliche! So funny! And yet I’ve forgotten about this moment till I reread this. And now I remember, and I cannot believe I had lost this memory.

Writing can be extremely powerful, and I wish I had the drive to write about daily events again. Maybe someday I’ll write about certain impactful memories in the wards, about certain friends that light up each day, about certain painful moments.

And till then, thank you for reading whatever small snippet I choose to post up.

Love, Nicole.

 

Secret Sessions

Once, I dreamt of nothing.  I could not envisioned myself having that kind of torture. What kind of person would put themselves through that kind of pain, I questioned. I did not understand. Nor did I want to understand.

And as the years went by, and as people began to hurt themselves, or to heal themselves with this particular defining moment – I wonder, will I be next?

Yes, yes I was. It was then that I slowly learnt that while it may be torture, it did bring joy. It brought some life into me, and a confidence I did not expect. It is as though there is freedom through chains.

Now I’ve made a choice, a choice to break free from the norm. And with it I find judgemental and shocking retaliations from close friends. It hurt me for a moment, and with it came loneliness. Am I really alone in this stand?

It is difficult for me to talk about it because I do not know who would truly understand. And so, I will keep silent, and continue to do so despite my discomfort. After all, loose lips sinks ships.

In any case, Step 1 is ready, and onward to Step 2. The preparation that comes will be long and tiring, but I will be ready. My dreams has changed since then, and there will be more than nothing beyond this horizon.

Perhaps one day I’ll be brave enough to talk about what has changed. Till then, there is only the exercise of secrecy.

Nicole.

Amnesia

Occasionally I reread drafts in my writing folder and I wonder – did I really write this? 

There are times I cringe at my horrible writing, and then there are times where I go – holy shit I wrote this? When? How? And why did I stop? 

Today I read something interesting that I wrote that was apparently the prologue for a new novel I was planning for. Unfortunately I have lost most of my files for that particular idea and so I have no idea what I was thinking then, and what I wanted to do with it, haha!

Oh well, I would have procrastinated from writing it anyway.

This just goes to show that I should continue writing little by little everyday, even if it is a 50 word story. Skills rust with disuse, and I do not want to lose this small skill that I have.

So yes, maybe to more writing? (And now writing is an escape from studying for exams – oh self, why you gotta be this way.)


Thank you for reading.

Love, Nicole.

Day 4 – Why You Gotta Be So Mean

Day 4 of tagging in the Surgical department and it has been an exhilarating experience. It has been a tremendously enlightening experience, and I’ve learned so much in just a few days and yet I know that it’s not enough, far from enough and that I’ll learn even more and more each day.

The days are long and tiring but I get the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve finally begun the journey of becoming a better doctor than yesterday. Each and every day is a learning process and I’m enjoying it.

It can be terrifying, doing new things on the go, with little preparation. I find myself clueless, fumbling for answers and generally trying to get things done while being completely stunned by the responsibility I’m holding.

What a strange, new experience.

I’ve been feeling so stressed up by the amount of things I do not know and I’ve been struggling and trying to do things right. Eventually this emotion overflows and I cry.

Getting yelled at after crying and chased away from the wards isn’t a nice feeling as well, but I suppose every new HO will feel this way at some point in their journey to becoming a good doctor.

I will persevere. Each day is a new day, and I’ll become better than yesterday.

Yes.

Fight on, dear self.

 

Love,

Nicole.