I was hospitalised this week to remove my appendix.
The whole story began with a mild discomfort in my tummy after I finished a run at the gym on Monday evening. Thinking nothing of it, I then had dinner and proceeded to conduct my weekly Forex Webinar.
The pain seemed to subside then – so much for being in the zone when you love what you do.
However, the intensity of the pain gradually increased and it didn’t go away even after I turned in for bed. After tossing and turning for several hours, I woke Shalyn up to send me to the A&E.
That’s how the story of my appendix unfolded. The rest, is history.
Suffice to say, after lying on the hospital bed for 5 days, I had more than my fair share of personal reflection.
I would like to share my 7 lessons with you:
Event #1 – The diagnosis of appendicitis by the doctor.
One X-Ray and one CT scan later, the doctor confirmed that I had appendicitis. In his own words, the appendix “is a useless organ that serves no purpose to the human body.”
Luckily for me, I didn’t get all of the symptoms, which included vomiting and high fever. I “only experienced” abdominal pain.
My first reaction was “A useless, inconsequential organ can cause so much pain to the human body?”
Without batting an eyelid, the doctor said, “Yes – if you don’t do anything about it. It can even rupture and cause fatality.”
Learning Lesson #1 – Deal with crap fast.
Too many times in our life, we have allowed “useless, inconsequential things” to dominate our thoughts, decisions, actions and lifestyle.
These “things” could be anything from a traumatic experience, a failed relationship or a bad business venture. The list goes on.
If left untreated, these “things” can cause bitterness and unforgiveness to swell in our hearts. I read a great quote once that said, “Bitterness is a poison I drink hoping you die.”
Life is far too precious to allow these “things” to affect our personal well-being. It’s always best to treat it immediately and cut it off from our system before it ruptures and causes permanent damage to our body, mind, soul and spirit.
Here’s a confirmation statement from the USA Department of Health and Human Services too: “Scientists are not sure what the appendix does, but removing it does not appear to affect a person’s health.”
Event #2 – Lying on the operation table waiting for the big moment.
After getting a brief from the doctor, I was wheeled into the operating theatre on a roller bed. The anaesthetist had a chat with me before he administered the “sleeping gas.”
This is it I thought. Will I make it out alive? Anything can go wrong from here. In fact, during the doctor’s brief, he actually mentioned that there’s a small risk of a heart attack or stroke once the general anaesthetic is administered.
Ironically, I remember being totally calm from head to toe at that moment. I was at peace.
Learning Lesson #2 – When you’re at the end of the road, it’s always best to surrender.
Have you ever been in a critical situation where you felt totally paralysed? You gave it your best shot, you went all the way, you tried every possible solution, but things just somehow didn’t seem to get better. You then realised you had reached the end of the road, and in your desperate situation, admitted that you had no more “control” over your life or your destiny.
My friend, we have all been there.
Do you also remember that when you reached the point of no return, you finally surrendered?
There was nothing else you could do, except pray a silent prayer and ask God to make everything all right.
And didn’t things work out after you prayed? Well if you think about it, doesn’t it always work out?
God is real – and the more you count on Him, the less you need to count on yourself.
Remember, when the rubber meets the road, let go and let God.
Event #3 – The Operation.
My operation was scheduled for an hour, but it took three and a half. I later learnt that it was because of two reasons: Firstly, my appendix was longer than usual (it measured 10cm), and it was hidden behind the large intestines.
The doctor had to “dissect” the large intestines and pry the adhesions of the appendix from the large intestines. Summarised in two words this basically means, “DOUBLE OUCH!”
All this time, someone was with me. I had a constant stream of “family members” come in: my immediate family, my childhood friends, my staff and my cell group members.
Learning Lesson #3 – When you’re going through hell, the closest ones go through it with you.
My GM Kok Seong was with Shalyn and me when I was admitted. My brother Mark, sister Maria and Mum came next.
My cell group leader Lina then popped by and prayed for me. Cell member Katherine also came to pray for me and drop off a fruit basket, courtesy of all my cell mates.
I had my close friend and top insurance agent Mark sneak in after visiting hours to spend some time with me and chat.
When I was wheeled into the Operating Theatre, I realised that my three childhood buddies Zed, Jerome and Wilbur waited over 2 hours for me.
Over the next few days of recovery, other cell members like Teck Seng and Puay Hong also dropped by. All this time, the entire cell group was continuously praying for a speedy recovery.
My mother-in-law, brother-in-law Joel, sister-in-law Kellyn and her hubby Eric showed up with a smile, armed with fruits and Brands essence of chicken.
My brilliant team popped by to spend some quality time with me. Heng Whye, Tim, Fadzali and Charles. They gave me an update of how they handled “Traders’ Nite” all by themselves. It was a full house event with over 150 attendees. I am so proud of them.
Besides personal calls from FXPRIMUS directors, I also had countless emails and Facebook messages from the FX1 and the FXPRIMUS community of traders. Thank you all for your well-wishes, encouragement and love.
Event #4 – “Are you in pain?”
This was the mantra that the nurses chanted each time they came to check up on me. Almost like clock-work, they would drop by my room every four hours, ask me if I was in pain, then proceed to take my blood pressure and temperature.
If I was in pain, the nurses would either give me a jab or some oral medication to ease the pain.
Learning Lesson #4 – Pain is NOT normal.
Are you in pain? Are you living in a constant state of stress, fear, anxiety or anger?
If you are, let me say this – it is NOT normal because that’s not how we were created.
You then retort – “But it’s the environment that’s causing me to behave like this! We live in a pressure cooker! It’s not my fault!”
My friend, have you heard of the story about the good wolf and the bad wolf? Life is such that it is always skewed to the “bad wolf.”
Look around and see it for yourself. “Bad news” is always reported in the media. Both home and abroad. Inflation is high. Home prices are high. Unemployment is high. Governments are defaulting on their sovereign debt.
You hear the national anthem of “times are bad” far too many MORE times than you hear “its rollin’ good times.”
But why do we have to be a part of it? Why do you have to be a part of it?
Haven’t we all heard the sage advice that “whatever we focus on tends to expand?” Is it any wonder then that our problems somehow never seem to go away?
Let’s have a paradigm shift and stop focusing on the “bad wolf.”
Stop throwing a pity party. If it makes you feel any better, as long as we are living on this earth, problems will come – to both you AND me. We humans tend to face similar circumstances. So there – sorry to spoil the party but somehow you’re not so “special” anymore.
Remember – it’s never what happens to you that counts; but what you do with what happens that makes all the difference.
Let’s channel positive energy into positive thoughts. Let’s “feed” the good wolf with thoughts of confidence, gratitude, passion, abundance and love.
I promise, things will change.
Life is a cycle, and cycles move in flow. It’s time to find yours.
Stop living in pain and stop asking for a miracle. BE the miracle you want in your life.
Event #5 – This is the way I move my feet.
The day after the operation, I had difficulty sitting up on the bed, not to mention getting out to move around. The second day was better, and my mobility improved.
I could get out of bed, but walking was a real problem. I had to take baby steps, and had to hold on to the nurse for support.
It seemed like forever to walk to the bathroom, and simple things like the movable table and the chair seemed like massive obstacles – too big and too heavy to push away.
Learning Lesson #5 – Keep going.
We face many “obstacles” or challenges in life, regardless of which phase in life we are at. I lead two organisations and I have challenges.
You may be doing the same and I’m sure you have your fair share. Whether we’re employed, self-employed, studying, doing national service, retired or staying at home taking care of the kids, I’m sure you can rattle off a long list of challenges.
Some of them are daily tasks that we have to deal with, others are more complicated which require careful thought and action.
Regardless of the situation, the key here is to solve them, one by one. Don’t quit when the going gets tough. Keep going, and keep moving forward.
Newton’s third law tells us that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. No great milestone has ever been achieved when resistance was absent.
Let’s make a conscious effort to turn our “stumbling blocks” into stepping stones. As simple as it sounds, we will reach our goal if we just simply refuse to quit.
Event #6 – Chantelle laughing.
Shalyn brought my two kids, Chantelle and Elliot to see me several times in the hospital. Elliot is 4 months, and Chantelle is 2 and a half years old.
Each time Chantelle came, she would ask, “Daddy are you ok?” She would then launch into her antics – climbing onto my bed, play with Shalyn’s iPhone or just run around the room.
Regardless of what she did, something was always constant – she was in high spirits.
Learning Lesson #6 – There’s always a reason to laugh despite the circumstance.
Laughter is the best medicine to combat stress and pain. Despite my pain, I found my mood getting lighter and happier each time Chantelle laughed and giggled.
There’s three reasons for this:
- Laughter boosts the immune system by decreasing stress hormones and increasing infection-fighting antibodies
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals
- Laughter protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increasing blood flow
So the next time you find yourself stuck in a rut, find a reason to laugh. Not only will it help you to “break the pattern of negativity”, it’ll also clear your head to make way for the very answer you need.
Oh and did I mention that it does wonders for your body already?
Event #7 – Removal of stitches.
I’m scheduled to pay another visit to the doctor in a week’s time to remove the stitches. I just realised that the doctor used blue thread to sew me up. Since when did fashion and aesthetics become a part of modern day surgery?
Anyway, once the stitches are removed, the wound will continue to heal and before I know it, all that is left will be a faint mark on the bottom right corner of my tummy.
Learning Lesson #7 – Our bodies are amazing.
The human body is a wonder, isn’t it? The next time you need proof of that, go watch a live birth. Every father on this planet can attest to this fact.
Do you also know that the human body gives birth to 100 billion red blood cells everyday? Figuratively speaking, that’s like 14 times the world population every single day!
Our eyes can also distinguish up to one million surfaces and take in more information than the largest telescope known to mankind!
Yes – our bodies are amazing. We are amazing.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
Now that means only one thing. We were sown with the seeds of greatness. We were engineered for success. We were born to win.
Now that you know, why are you selling yourself short? Why are you giving up on your dream? Why are you settling for mediocrity?
The Dalai Lama once said that man is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present, the result being that he does not live in the present or the future. He lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.
So to all family, friends, colleagues, leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, game-changers, world-shakers and history-makers in the seven pillars of society – namely Business, Education, Family, Government, Arts & Entertainment, Media and Religion:
To you I say – YOU are amazing.
So let’s play the game of life.
Let’s play flat-out.
Let’s make magic.