Finished Strong

Another school year has ended. Now it’s officially summer for me. Well, at least I have summer break from school now. Still a reason to be happy because I finally have more time to my family and myself. I never thought in the beginning that I would survive this school year because of some personal issues. Being a student is hard in this pandemic times. Most of our lectures and almost all of our group presentations were moved online. Even the final exam was also held online. Also, I think I got depression too because I missed to socialize outside of my home. However, I’m still grateful that I have completed all the requirements and group projects to finish this school year. I’m fortunate because first my groupmates are hard working and very cooperative during our group projects and presentations. Second, my partner’s patience of my study situation. Third, my family and friends who never forget to cheer me up when I’m down and about to give up. Now it’s only one year to go and I can’t already wait! 🙂

When you have to review for the exam but fitness is life!

Not my Battle

For some cultures, talking with the opposite sex specially when one or both are married is still a bad thing to do even though the conversation doesn’t have any sexual tone. Still for some, it counts as flirting. A simple hi and hello is enough to get lawsuit threats.

Image courtesy of fotografierende

This week, I was verbally assaulted by my friend’s wife. My friend and I have been friends since college days and that was almost twenty years ago. The wife asked who am I on my friend’s Messenger account. I answered her politely, but she won’t believe me. She said that I’m a flirt because I’m writing to her husband! I was like, wth woman it was actually his husband who first wrote to me! She called me ten times. Then because I was getting tired of her and to put an end to her speculations, I answered her call and introduced myself. I was apologetic for the stir that I have caused between them. However, my politeness and my explanation were not enough. She called me a liar and then she hanged up because she didn’t want her husband catching her talking to me. So, I sent her a message saying that I don’t want any drama and that I want them to reconcile and sent her all the screenshots of my conversation with his husband. Yet, it’s still not enough. Though she replied that yeah she believes that my friend and I have no relationship but still I was writing to him and it is flirting.

Before I blocked the both of them, I reflected and reread all the conversation that my friend and I had for the past years/months. Almost all of them are simple hi and hellos and sometimes my friend would try to videocall me, but I never took his calls because I didn’t have time and I didn’t want to talk to him on Messenger.

She has insulted me and called me a hore and even said that I ruined a family. She also wrote that I’m not a decent woman because I’m cohabitating with my partner (not married). I didn’t get offended but I find it discriminating. However, she thinks that my pictures are nice so it might be photoshopped or applied filter to them, because she said that unlike her, women/girls like me need to prove something. Deep inside me, I wanted to answer her back that at least my partner is loyal to me and tells me everything and we don’t need to get married for that, but I didn’t because I don’t want to escalate the situation. Besides, this is not my battle.

I could have answered her back, but no. It came to me that she’s irrational because of her jealousy and I didn’t want to add fuel to the fire. I didn’t reply to her messages anymore but she sent me a lengthy one saying that she would sue me for concubinage and adultery if I don’t stop writing to her husband.

I have mixed feelings and thoughts about this situation. First, I find it funny because of the whole lawsuit idea thing. If you’re going to sue someone because of adultery and concubinage, check with your husband first and make sure that the girl he was writing to is flirting with him. Because there is a difference with keeping in touch with friends and flirting with someone. Second, I feel sorry for the wife, because she’s so blinded by her jealousy that she refused to listen to me and blamed me for his husband’s attitude. Third, just because someone chose to not get married doesn’t mean he/she is a wife/husband stealer.

Radiotheraphy Clinicals

Time flies, indeed when you love what you’re doing. My radiation theraphy (radiotheraphy) clinical has already come to an end and there are still lots of stuff to learn and master. Three weeks in the department is not enough. I’m sure going to miss the patients, the staffs and the linac (linear accelerator) machine. However, it would also be nice to go back to school again and prepare for the last exam this semester. The exam is going to be an oral exam via Zoom. Nerve recking but it saves a lot of time rather than a home exam for eight freaking hours!

Before the radiotheraphy clinical, I thought that this is the same as PET (Positron Emission Tomography) but no it is not. While PET is also used in the Oncology Department, its purpose is different from radiotheraphy. Radiotheraphy is used to treat sickness by killing cancer cells/tumors and relieve pain by ionizing radiation. PET on the other hand is used for visualizing the metabolic and physiological process of the cells in the body. In short, PET is used for imaging and examination only.

The first week in the department was both exciting and challenging for me and my classmate because we never had any lectures yet since this course about radiotheraphy and oncology is a third year course. However, the department’s adviser has given us some of her time and gave us an introduction and short lecture about the department and what radiotherapists do. We were also introduced to our respective supervisors and showed the treatment rooms that we were assigned to. My classmate was assigned at the treatment room for patients with prostate cancer and I was assigned at the treatment room with almost all kinds of cancer patients. Then my supervisor showed me around the department and of course showed me the linac machines. Linacs are used for external beam radiation treatments. External beam radiation treatment means that cancer cells are targeted and shot from the outside of the body. Then before the first week ended I got the chance to “drive” the linac and give my very first radiation treatment to a cancer patient. It was a great feeling and at the same time I was also tensed because it was my first time to operate a linac. 🙂

Varian True Beam at lab 3. A newer linac.

The treatment room I was assigned to has an old linac from 2007. I feel fortunate to be able to operate it because the department is going to replace it soon with a newer one. Unlike the newer models, this linac has two pedals (not in the pictures). Then, the newer ones are of course more automated and quicker. Thus, saving a lot of time and can treat more patients.

The control panel of Rapid Arc

The lab that I’m assigned to. The linac machine is a Varian Rapid Arc system from 2007.

During the second week of the clinical, I was again allowed to operate the linac and my supervisor gave me some “matching” tasks offline on the computer. When we say matching, it means that we match the CT images taken before the radiation dosage planning to the images that we’ve taken during the radiation treatment. Because radiation treatment is not just only done once but multiple times. To avoid unnecessary exposure and damage to other parts of the body or organs, the point of entry should exactly be the same every time.

Then my classmate and I was given short lectures about dosage planning, the software that they use, side effects of radiation theraphy, brachytherapy and hyperthermia treatment. Brachytherapy is an internal radiation treatment using a radioactive material enclosed in a capsule and hyperthermia treatment is a cancer treatment where the cancer cells are heated up at around 40 degrees Celsius to damage and kill the cancer cells. This old hyperthermia chamber (the picture below) is the only one in Norway. We were told that when this machine stops working, the patients who would need hyperthermia treatment should go to Germany because Norway has no plans of replacing it. Financial reasons, I guess?

A hyperthermia chamber.

Since the hyperthermia chamber doesn’t use/emit ionizing radiation, we were allowed to give it a try. Well, at least feel the pressure as the bag is being filled with water.

My classmate Magnus trying out the hyperthermia chamber.

Anyway, I can say that my clinical in the oncology department is a unique experience and very educational. I’ve learned a lot of new stuff and met wonderful people. The days varied as there were no days are the same even though most of the patients that I met are the same. There were the happy shifts and there were some sad as well because some of the patients displayed worsening symptoms and some had to stop the treatment because of the unresponsiveness of the cancer to the radiation.

At what cost?

Some say that dreaming and dreams are free and that should be enough to reach it. My parents, mentors and friends have actually said the same. Of course I also did. But when I became independent and started deciding for my life, I have never looked back at dreaming the way I did when I was young.

For those of you who are new to my blog, I am taking up Bachelor in Radiography in Bergen and this is actually going to be my second degree. Most of my friends and family told me that I am lucky that I do not have to think about money when studying, because they know that Norway is kind to all its citizens. Well, I cannot say that I am lucky but I cannot say I am not either. I do not go to school for free despite of the student support from the government because it is still loan. Only a certain percentage is given to us students when we pass the exams.

This semester, I had two OJT’s. The first one is more inclined to basic nursing at the ortopedic department at the hospital and the second one is at the ER, taking x-rays of patients with suspected bone fractures. I had lots of fun and there are lots to learn that I got sad during the last days of my duty. However, my days (and evening/night) shifts did not go flawless because of lack of sleep and being a mom at the same time is exhausting. But exhaustion did not stop me from waking up early in the morning and driving late at night because I love what I was doing.

My microeconomic professor once told us during one of his lectures that nothing in this world is free. That we never get a free ride in life. In one way or another, we have to pay whether it is in monetary form, energy or for instance time. If you choose to stay at home rather than attend a lecture to save lunch money, yes you have probably added more to your savings but at the same time you pay for the missed information/knowledge.

Both of my OJT’s this year made me realized that it is never easy to work for your dreams. There is always turbulence along the way even though the skies are clear. In my case, every day at the hospital and the ER is very educational and memorable but at the same time stressfull and sometimes filled with anxiety because some shifts are just really busy and energy draining.

So, the cost of my dream this semester is two weeks of migraine attacks, stiff neck, a trip to the ER, time away from my little one, tears and a minor car accident.

Unknown Water

Staying at home for the past weeks has been though for everyone. Though I understand the sentiments people who complain about the community quarantine, I find it hard to accept that rudeness around the globe arises. I was like, they should just shut their mouth and focus on other things rather than hating on other people in this time of crisis.

Then it came to me that fear and angst lead to anger and despair when they are for instance get exposed to a sudden change. I should have known this because I act kinda same when my inner balance is being threatened. Social media is one of the factors why people are rude against each other, because we cannot accept the fact that people are different and think differently. So knowing other people’s reaction through comments on Facebook/Twitter is like having the ability to read someone’s mind and getting a clue about a person’s character.

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Sunset view from our terrace.

 

Pasalubong

Pasalubong is a Filipino term for gift/s usually from people who have been on a trip to other places or even just after a trip to the grocery. It could be anything from snacks to toys. The one who is buying the pasalubong does it out of love and expects nothing in return. So, as I’ve said it’s a gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive too. Because the idea of pasalubong is sharing your blessings and at the same time showing the person who is receiving it that you think about him/her while you travel. It is also a part of the Filipino culture.

Last month, my parents came back from their vacation from the Philippines and they bought us lots of pasalubong. I was surprised because I never expected that they’ll buy me more than 2 packs of banana chips. They bought us 2 small Purefoods corned beef, 2 packs of Sustagen chocolate drink, 10 packs of Quaker Oat cereals, a pack of Lengua (a butter cookie type), pajamas and books for my L.O., and 2 packs of Meiji Macadamia chocolate. I guess they just missed me and their grandchild a lot! 😀 lol! Aside from that, they asked me for a list of stuff that I wanted them to buy for me (will make a separate blog post about that). Like for instance, some prescription free meds. My parents know that I miss the Philippines so much and my favorite snacks are there. 🙂

How about in your culture? Do you buy pasalubong to your love ones as well?

Tita’s Banana Chips. The best banana chips ever! It’s thin and crispy.

 

Filipino children’s books!

 

Pajamas from Landmark for the little one

 

The Driving Force

Motivation is one of the most important things that helps me get a certain task done or pursue my goal. It applies of course not only to me, but for everyone. Its intention is actually good. That is when it is around, when we have it. However without motivation, life could actually be boring and meaningless. I think that the word motivation is often misunderstood and misused, because many uses it as a reason to just wait for the right time or timing.

A friend of mine who is a psychologist find motivation both positive and dangerous. Positive in the sense that it helps someone to find purpose in life and dangerous too because it can paralyze someone’s ability to act. It’s like, hello, it’s alright to feel unmotivated in gloomy times too, you know!

I admit that I’m guilty of using the lack motivation as a reason to procrastinate. But later on I found out that it’s not motivation that I lack, because I have plans, goals and the reason to execute these goals. What I actually lack is nutrients that my body needs on order to function properly. So yes, sometimes food is just the perfect solution when I feel that the muse is not around!

Work and Pleasure

One of the perks of working as a home nurse assistant aside from meeting new people is the opportunity to see new places. That’s why I’m grateful for this job of mine even though it’s exhausting and the salary is not on top.

A month ago, I applied for extra jobs near my new place. Out of 10 applications that I sent, I got 50 percent feedback from the companies. Not bad but it would be nice if they let me know the reason why they won’t consider hiring me or bother reading my application letter. They just told me that they appreciate me considering them as my employer/workplace and blah blahs. However there was this one company who sent me an email after 4 weeks asking me if I’m still interested in the position as a home nurse assistant in their county. I replied right away and got scheduled for an interview just a couple of days after.

To make the story short, I got the job! I’m so happy. 🙂 Now I have 2 jobs in 2 different places which is the city and the countryside.

Today’s my first day on the neighboring county and I had a blast! Imagine being paid for these car trips. I feel like an influencer! Haha! Don’t get me wrong though. The job can be tough both physically and mentally. So, this is not a flawless job.

One of the views at work today.

Tall Ships Races 2019

The Tall Ships Races is one of the biggest events in Europe every summer. The idea is to build good relationships between the different countries and cultures through sail training “tall” ships or sail boats. The participants should be at least 50 percent young people.

This year, we are fortunate enough to have witnessed this event because Bergen is one of the hosts. Even though Bergen is just 45 minutes away drive from where we live, we booked a room for 3 nights because we really wanted to see the festivities and to make most out of our city trip. The first days were rainy but it did not stop the people in checking out the sail boats.

It’s raining here but still beautiful. This was taken late in the evening, from the hotel room.

The weather has finally cleared up the following day and up to the day the ships had to sail to their next destination which is Aarhus Denmark.

The dream summer weather. Sunny and just with few clouds.
The last night of Tall Ships Races in Bergen was ended with the amazing firework show.
Sail day. Au revoir! Vi ses igjen!

I hope you enjoyed the photos. 🙂 Have a nice day!