Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lump on Tail


I noticed a lump the size of a pea on Rainbow's tail after her spaying surgery in April (3 months ago). The vet then said it was just a cyst and poked to let the blood / pus out.
However, the lump never really healed and has always been there.

Lump on Tail
Last week, I decided to get rid of the lump because well, it scares me to always wonder if it's cancerous or not. I took her to the vet near us at Country Animal Clinic in Somerset West. The vet did the same thing, poked it and tried to get as much out as possible. She then gave me an antiseptic cream to apply on the lump, and asked me to bring Rainbow again if the lump is still there.

Forward 5 days later, lump still there although a bit smaller after a bit of blood was pressed out. I knew that if I were to take Rainbow back to the vet, she would recommend surgery to take the lump out. I obviously did some Googling about lumps on tails, etc.

I found out that :
  1. Lumps on tails are not common.
  2. If it is on a tail, it would be hard for  surgery because there is not enough skin to stitch it back together
  3. Cancerous lumps are normally hard.
  4. It is very difficult to know if a lump is cancerous or not by just looking. If tested first one is benign, a second one with the exact size and feel might be cancerous.
I first contemplated on taking Rainbow to Acuvet, a veterinary that practises Homeopathy. However, the Vet that was recommended by many Dr. Barry Hindmarch was on long leave recovering from a cycling accident.

I then took Rainbow to Panorama Veterinary Clinic, which was a bit of a drive for 45 minutes. Reason being it being a very well equipped clinic, and if should there be any surgery necessary, I know they have the tools and machines that are more advanced and complete. Also, I made sure that I made the appointment with Dr.Prins, who is the head of General Practice in the clinic (He did the spaying surgery on Rainbow perfectly, no scar after a month!)

Panorama Veterinary Clinic

During the consultation, the first thing Dr.Prins said was that the tail would not be a good place to remove a lump on because there was not enough skin to close it (Like what I Googled! I wonder why the first vet that I went to recommended a surgery to remove the lump). Dr.Prins recommended to let Rainbow into surgery, not to remove the whole lump but to take a sample out for the lab to test. He said he will not risk cutting the whole lump out, but he will  try to take out as much as possible. I did not like the idea of having Rainbow to go through General Anesthesia and asked to have it done locally instead. The doctor agreed to put local anesthesia on the tail, but he said he will have to still put a light sedation on Rainbow as the tail is a very sensitive area.

Next - the decision whether or not to let her go through the surgery?
After a long thought, I decided my first step is to find out if the lump is cancerous or not. Even if Rainbow were to be consulted at Acuvet, they will still need to refer her back to a conventional vet to do a biopsy. Then only they can start treatment. 
I am completely comfortable with Dr.Prins because I am very clear to him that I would like as little "drugs" on Rainbow as possible, and also prefer homeopathy ways to heal her body.

Day of surgery : 28 July 2010

Dropped her off at 9.00am, reminded the Doctor for as little sedation as possible *paranoid*
Picked her up at 3.00pm, greeted by a lively dog (unlike from her spaying surgery).
Will know the results 5 days later.

After surgery in the car, with her "hospital tag"
Part of the tail was shaved for the sample to be taken
Rainbow Tan
Guess what is Rainbow's full name?

Min / Yin - What are you thinking?
Stitch Apple Rainbow Lai Bow Bow Hou Ek Ek

    Friday, July 30, 2010

    Pure Pleasure

    Nothing compares to getting in a warm bed.
    We got ourselves a Pure Pleasure Electric Blanket (fitted under-blankets).

    Standard Double Pure Pleasure Electric Blanket

    What's cool about the under-blankets is that it has dual heat-switches for each side, each working independently. Meaning if you can choose how warm you want your bed to be, while your partner can also choose for himself / herself their preference. It is also made of a washable non-allergenic polyester fabric.

    The blanket is fitted under the bed sheet and it also double up as a protective cover for the mattress.
    There are 3 heat settings to choose from : 1, 2 and Preheat (the warmest).

    Heat settings

    I normally leave it on Preheat settings before I run my bath. Of course, I put the duvet blanket over the bed to keep the warmth in. After around 30-45 minutes, the bed is ready... 'Ngam ngam ho'  after finishing my bath!

    Two things that usually come to a person's mind before getting an electric blanket is Price and Safety. Me too :)

    Price : With this brand, it is economical, costing less than a 60 watt light bulb to run.
    Safety : It has a safeguard protection against overheating.

    Overall, I am very happy with the product. Not sure how the brand compared to others as this is only my first electric blanket.

    Ah, I'm gonna go snuggle in the warm bed now. Pure Pleasure :)

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    First Appt in SA : Ceramic Braces - Lower Teeth

    I am probably one of the longest braces-wearing patient in the country.

    I started my braces in July 2008 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Less than a month after they put the braces on (and that means pulling out 3 healthy teeth of mine), I've been told to work in South Africa for half a year.
    The orthodontist would not allow me to take off my braces in fear that the teeth might move and fill up the spaces (the extra spaces I have after the teeth extraction). After half a year in SA, my contract extended for another half year.
    Please bear in mind that the whole time while I was in SA, my teeth is still with braces, but no progress has been made - no orthodontist / dentist visits.

    I finally made a permanent move to SA in November 2009. I stopped the contract with my Malaysian Orthondontist, and started to look for an Orthodontist in SA.
    I first started trying the government Orthodontist (hoping for a much cheaper price) but have been told that  they do not accept patients that already have braces on - they only accept new patients. Until now, I do not quite understand why, maybe the trainee that is on training in government hospitals need to start from the beginning or something? They did say something about legal issues, etc. But whatever it is, my application was declined.

    Finally after my medical aid in SA has been approved, I made my first appointment with Dr.Combrink in Stellenbosch. He did a check up of my teeth, but again another bad news.
    He cannot proceed straight away because of the condition of my gums. Because of the long duration that the braces has been on my teeth without any progress (19 months at that time), the gums was red and swelling badly. In other words, I have started to get gingivitis.

    Gingivitis is a word I am very familiar with when i buy mouth rinse, toothpastes. But I never thought I will GET gingivitis. I do not feel any pain or discomfort. The Orthodontist says that I must start going to the Oral Hygienist to sort it out before he will proceed. After numerous visits to the OH, at last after 24 months (2 whole years, shit!), the Ortho gave the GREEN LIGHT. *ching ching*

    On the 19th of July 2010, my lower teeth is fitted with braces.
    Oh ya, the Ortho wanted to fit with the conventional silver braces, but I said I prefer the ceramic ones. So he said he will put ceramic ones in front, silver ones behind. Okay, contented.

     *WARNING! Disgusting image below*

    Okay, I guess it's too late :)

    Next appointment, 2 weeks later for the upper teeth.

    Monday, July 19, 2010

    Rainbow's Birthday Outing

    Weather has been cold and windy for the past week that I never got the chance to take Rainbow to the beach.
    I can see she wants to get out because she always runs out from the front door to the small gate, waiting for me to open it. However, I try not to walk on the streets with her because the street is narrow and we had a close encounter with a car driving fast in the streets.

    So yesterday (18 July), seeing as it is Rainbow's birthday and weather is sunny, we decided to bring her to the place she loves.  The beach at Gordon's Bay! (Mum / Dad / Min - if you can remember, this is where the big bookstore is)
    For the first time in many weeks, I can actually wear a 3/4 pants instead of long pants/jeans in the 22 deg C warmy Sunday.

     Rainbow looking shy after her pee pee on the sandy beach

    Carefully walking on the pebbly sand

    Okay, Rainbow is actually very small compared to the large space she has to explore!

    With happy Mummy!

    Rainbow started slow, walking around, carefully exploring. She has not been to Gordon's Bay Beach before, I always took her to the beach in Strand. The sand here is more pebbly, the landscape more unpredictable and little mountains of sand dunes.
    Not long after Rainbow got her momentum, she started "jogging" and climbing up the dunes!

    Rainbow picking up her pace

    Catch me if you can!

    We came to the more "challenging" part of the beach, where Rainbow has to practice her climbing skills.

    Caught in the act

    Rainbow went up to this very high hill which has a too steep slope

    Mummy coaxing her away from the danger spot


    Don't worry, I do not over-protect her. I do let her build her confidence, going through branches and holes and finding her steps. But I also keep in mind that she is around 80% blind (according to the vet) and only see shadows. Because of that, she is obviously a very careful dog and needs time to feel comfortable. I am also glad these minor "obstacles" in the beach also helps to build up her confidence.

      Rainbow enjoying the dunes

    Loving the beach

    We left the beach later and had Chicken Cordon Bleu while Rainbow sits with us, watching the people on bikes whizzing by. We then drove to nice stop to catch the sunset.

    Sunset view from Gordon's Bay

    This is definitely a wonderful day with wonderful weather to complement.

    Rainbow at the backseat, exhausted but contented.

    Saturday, July 17, 2010

    Nobbly Wobbly Ball

    Bought a Nobbly Wobbly Ball as a birthday present for Rainbow.
    It is made of extra-tough rubber, interlaced to form heavy ball.

    We have had our bit of "experiencing" before we found the Perfect Ball for Rainbow.

    When we play with her with her football-sized ball, she becomes frustrated because the more she tries to hold it, the further the ball moves away from her because her mouth cannot fit over the whole ball.
    We also tried to buy the small ball, just big enough for her to hold it in the mouth. Unfortunately because Rainbow's eyesight is not very good (which I will explain more about in later post), she always cannot find the small ball after I throw for her to retrieve.

    The Nobbly Wobbly is just perfect with the rainbow colours to make it more noticeable,  rolls and bounces, and Rainbow can easily fit her teeth between the rubber to hold it.

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Big Move

    Recently we have been told that our company will be moving from Somerset West to Century City.
    This is not a good news for me because of the distance from my house to work after the move.
    Or I should rather say, the VERY bad traffic in the morning as well as after work.
    I will spend at least 3 hours daily sitting in the traffic :(

    Right now, it takes me only 10 minutes drive to work without any traffic (mainly driving in housing areas).
    Once the company move to Century City, i will have to drive for at least 1 1/2 hours - with bad traffic.

    C - Location of house
    B - Location of company now
    D - Location of company soon

    This means i probably have to leave at 6am to be work on time, and reach home at 7pm.
    I am very disappointed and sad because I really love the job I am doing now, but this work-lifestyle of early mornings and late nights are what I look forward to avoid when I am in South Africa.
    Now it is back to what it used to be working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. *sigh*

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Dr. Gowoonsesang Brightening Balm SPF 30++ PA

    I used to not feel comfortable if I go out without wearing foundation to cover my pimples scar. I would normally use Loreal's True Match Foundation and that seemed to be the best foundation I could find so far that did not oily nor look too cakey.

    Loreal True Match Foundation

    While using it, I do realize the disadvantages of using foundation. They clog pores, pimples will grow, hence more foundation to use.

    While surfing in the internet, I found a lot of people raving about BB creams.

    What are BB creams?
    BB Cream is an abbreviation for 'Blemish Balm Cream' or 'Brightening Balm Cream'. This cream is said to be an ointment prescribed by dermatologists to patients who have undergone laser skin surgery for its soothing and skin-regenerating properties, especially for highly sensitive skin while also providing good coverage for post-laser scars and redness.

    BB Cream is an all-in-one of foundation, concealer, moisturizer and sunscreen.
    BB Creams are highly moisturizing, contain SPF, have acne fighting and anti-aging ingredients, plus conceal and lay a foundation for your other makeup.
    This is especially good for me, because I could not find the time to put moisturizer and sunscreen every single day! *lazy*

    Two years ago, i was looking for a suitable BB Cream for me. Please be aware that most BB Creams are very light in colour and might not be suitable for your skin colour.
    Because it is so popular in Asia, there are many brands available. To name some, Skin Food, Skin79 and Missha are the famous ones.

    I am lucky enough to chance upon Dr. Gowoonsesang (Or known as Dr.G) Brightening Balm SPF 30++ PA while shopping in Sasa at Sungai Wang Plaza.
    I decided to part with my RM99 and i bought a tube to try.

    Dr. Gowoonsesang Brightening Balm SPF 30++ PA

    The verdict
    I did not use it immediately after I bought it (I still have to finish my Loreal Foundation!)
    But in summary, I can only say good things about the cream.

    It is non-oily, non-sticky and glides easily on the skin.
    Although it has SPF coverage, it is easy to blend unlike normal sunscreens.

    On the first few applications, I feel that it does not have enough coverage on my skin.
    But after a few days, I begin to like the feel of it as less coverage = more natural.
    Because of the high SPF coverage, night photos with flash might make your face looks pale.

    My skin started clearing up and my blemishes lightened. I see huge improvements in only 1-2 months of using it.
    (I am sorry I did not think of taking a before and after photo at that time, because I did not realise it would help that much!)

    For the first few months, i usde it almost for the whole face.
    After the improvement on my skin, I only use it to balance my face on the uneven patches of redness.
    Nowadays, I will only use at the side of my nose where it is normally reddish as well as my forehead and chin because it tends to be oily. I only need to use very little because I do not need that much coverage as before anymore. Then i will sweep a little over the whole face for my  SPF 30 coverage (Sun is bad in South Africa!).

    Value for Money
    It's not very cheap but a tube of 60ml for RM99 lasted me for more than 6 months, plus I know it is actually helping my skin.

    (If you are buying at Sasa and they recommend you another BB Cream for Dr.G but for blemished skin, do not go for that! The colour of the cream is very light (for me) and will look like a ghost after applying them)

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    Is Tea Tree Oil toxic for dogs?

    Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) is a multi-purpose herb that traces its roots to the Aboriginal people of Australia.
    For humans, it can be used for acne, boils, bug bites, antiseptic, cuts, diaper rash, fungus, skin problems and the list goes on.

    What about dogs? Is Tea Tree Oil effective for dogs as well?

    Tea Tree oil is promoted for the treatment of many skin problems and to control external parasites. Tea Tree oil lotions, shampoos and wipes are readily available from pet stores.
    If you do a quick google search for "tea tree oil for dogs", you will see numerous reports of Tea Tree Oil being toxic to cats as well as small dogs.
    My Own Experience with Tea Tree Oil on Rainbow

    Rainbow is having some skin rashes / reaction on her whole chest. It might be due to the BARF diet i started and she might be in the stage of detox-ing.
    So, thinking of making her feel better, I bought a bottle of 100% Tea Tree Oil (It's expensive!) from the health store and rub on her whole chest.

    Immediately I feel she stopped scratching and calmed down. She had been keeping me awake the whole night the day before with her scratching.
    The next day I checked her chest again, her whole chest is no more inflamed and her skin has started flaking.
    But I noticed that the skin that is flaking is actually healing. It is revealing pink and healthy skin as compared to her red and inflamed skin the day before.
    It is really a miracle to watch the effectiveness in just one night.

    So, should I continue to use Tea Tree Oil on Rainbow?

    I was really happy and started googling away for other homepathic treatment I can help her further. Then I stumbled upon more and more reports of the toxicity of Tea Tree Oils on animals.
    I was indecisive. It worked so well on Rainbow, so now what?
    I finally decided that I will not continue with the use of Tea Tree Oil. I asked myself, what happens if it affected Rainbow the second time I used it and I would blame myself for using it even when I know of the danger involved.

    I began researching for other alternative that hopefully will work as good as the Tea Tree Oil.
    I chanced upon Neem Oil.

    I will blog about Neem Oil in my next post.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    Books from Kalahari

    I have recently ordered books from
    The package arrived yesterday, heavily wrapped.

    After reading tons of reviews of different kind of books in Amazon, I've finally picked 2 of them to buy for now. There are still others with great recommendation, I will leave it for the near future.

    Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats
    Author: Richard H.Pitcairn; Susan Hubble Pitcairn

    The Complete Holistic Dog Book: Home Health Care for Our Canine Companions
    Author: Jan Allegretti; Katy Sommers

    Will give a review once I am done with both of them.
    466 + 372 = 838 pages to go :)

    It's okay, I am a fast-reader.
    Can't wait to get home from work now to get started!

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    MCTS Certified



    I miss the way u make nice food for me on that brown table in the kitchen. Your Or Tau Iu Bak, Steamed Fish, Ang Zhau Soup, where you mixed them all together with rice and mash it the way i like it. You always put it in the stainless steel plate that I love to use until now.

    I miss the smell of your skin. I can still remember clearly how it smells like.

    I miss the stories you tell me about the World War and when you were a child.

    I miss the way you use your tissue and wipe your eyes. Ever so delicately.

    I miss when you used to scold me whenever i climbed up the bathtub to look through the hole in the wall from the bathroom.

    I miss the way you speak Hokkien with the Hockchew slang, there are many words that I speak the way i hear it from you.

    I miss the powder you put on your face from the yellow square box. I also used to put it on my face so that I can look as lovely as you.

    I miss the way you call my name. Nobody will call it the same as you do.

    I wish I can be there now.

    I really miss you.