Healing from odontogenic myxoma

Hello! I’m writing this post as I didn’t find a lot of first-person experience of odontogenic myxoma while I was researching on how to treat this weird illness.

If you’ve been told that you have odontogenic myxoma, I hope my story can help you during this period.

How I discovered I have odontogenic myxoma

A bit of background on my health. I’m a healthy person. I rarely get the flu or colds. I’m quite hardy.

I’m also a bit vain. I had been worried about my slightly protruding front teeth which kept cutting into my lower lip so I decided to get braces in June 2020.

During the jaw scanning, my orthodontist discovered that I had a small tumour that was pushing my wisdom tooth away in my right jaw.

There was concern that the tooth’s placement meant that my jaw bone was too thin and could break. So I went for surgery to remove the tumour, the tooth and four other teeth so I would have space for my teeth to move during my braces.

Thankfully the surgery went well.

It was a day surgery and I could walk normally after being discharged on the same day.

The doctors ran routine tests on the tumour. I didn’t give it a second thought.

Then I was called into the doctor’s. They said the tumour seems to be odontogenic myxoma which is a very rare tumour. They’re having another test done just to confirm.

The doctors told me not to panic about this.

I didn’t panic, at first, but I thought about reading up on it. There weren’t much information as most articles are by medical experts with no patient first-hand account.

Here was what I found:

Odontogenic myxoma is a very rare benign tumor that may arise in the maxilla or mandible, but which can be locally aggressive. It accounts for 3–6% of all odontogenic tumors.

Wikipedia

Wow, an interesting tumour! How fascinating.

Then I got called into the doctor’s. I was sure there wasn’t an issue with my tumour. Then the doctors confirmed that it was odontogenic myxoma.

My hands turned cold and I didn’t know what to do.

Treatment options for odontogenic myxoma

I had three options for this:

  1. Don’t do anything and only treat it when it becomes worse. But we don’t know when that would happen. [One of the research had a man who didn’t have any reoccurrence for 20+ years and counting.)
  2. “Chemically” treat the bone area. But odontogenic myxoma is “wet” so we aren’t sure if we’re able to get rid of it 100%.
  3. Saw off the jaw area and replace it with my leg bone.

At this point, I was still at the private hospital so there was a plastic surgeon who would help with transplanting part of my leg bone to my jaw to make sure that the jaw still has blood supply.

But, the whole cost was six figures. I thought to myself, “I’d rather die than pay that sort of money.”

Thankfully, my braces doctor suggested that I get a referral to the National Dental Centre of Singapore (NDCS) for subsidized treatment.

I had to wait a while before I was scheduled to meet with a specialist at NDCS–you can skip the queue if you’re willing to pay the price as a private patient.

I was told the same ways of treatment for odontogenic myxoma, the only difference was for Option 3: We’ll saw off the jaw but replace it with bone graft.

The original option from the private hospital was a lot more complicated as it involved taking bones from my leg while bone graft is harvested from my hip bone.

The doctor also said he’d rather split the sawing of jaw bone and bone graft in two sessions since he’d rather have the wound recover well before the bone graft implants.

I also needed a dental implant as most of my jaw bones were going to be sawed off.

(Later, I had complications with my healing so I had two extra surgeries.)

A quick summary here about my surgeries:

  • I had my first surgery in January 2021 to saw off a part of my jaw bone to remove the affected areas. The doctors placed two metal plates and a silicon in the affected area.
  • In March 2021, I had a second surgery to reconstruct my jaw. A metal plate was taken out (because I complained how it made my jaw look bulky). The silicon was removed and bone graft from my hip and other sources were placed.
  • [In May 2021, I had a weird swelling but no bacteria was found in the surgery site. The swelling has caused my bone graft to slowly dissolved.]
  • In October 2021, I had a surgery to plant my dental implant’s root and minor bone graft. [Some swelling occured after this too.]
  • In April 2022, I had gum graft surgery to fill up the affected area with my own gums.
  • In December 2022, I had bone graft surgery since most of the bone graft from March and October were dissolved.

Healing from jaw surgeries

Recovery from the first surgery was the worst. I had a feeding tube for two weeks and the tube had a kink at the back of my throat so I was constantly in pain.

Tube feeding was also a nightmare since I never felt full. I’d lose the will to live if I were required to be fed through a tube for the rest of my life.

I’m thankful that I have hospitalisation leave so I’m able to rest while still having a job.

Why I chose the surgery route

I’m about three weeks after my last surgery (December 2022), my face is messed up and my braces is taking longer to finish.

I don’t like living in regret so I don’t regret my choice to go for the “sawing off my jaw bone” route but the road to recovery isn’t smooth.

I chose the surgery option because I wanted it out of my body. I don’t want to live in constant fear of “what if odontogenic myxoma spreads?”

I don’t regret the surgery based on that. (Though I keep thinking about the man who didn’t have a recurrance for 20+ years.)

I’ll pause the writing now and add in more when I’m inspired. I’m not sure if I’m ready to become the go-to person to answer any odontogenic myxoma questions. Do ask your doctors for more accurate informaiton.

Singapore 3-room HDB renovation update

So I finally bought a resale HDB house as a single Singaporean after failing at getting a Sale of Balance or good Open Booking of Flat unit.

I had a contractor help with the renovation. I didn’t want to spend extra on an interior designer since what I want is not that complicated–Japandi feel kind of home.

In the video, I talk about the biggest change I made–tearing down the store room and pushing the space in so I have a bigger living room space.

The walls still need to be painted and the floor needs to be vinyled (is that a word?)

I hope to film more of the house renovation progress. And also make more videos after moving in.

Let me know your advice for renovation.

Nine years after my round-the-world trip

Every April to August, I would get a tinge of nostalgia as I get updates from my phone about my 2013 round-the-world trip.

It has been nine years since. I’ve stopped travelling intensively after the trip–just too tired. And I’ve tried many other things.

I sometimes get hit by jolts of memories of my trip while I’m doing regular old stuff:

The YQ(travelling) then feels so distant from the YQ(magic) now.

Who am I today?

At this point, I’m in a state of limbo when it comes to actively living off my life.

I’m at a cruising point–doing the same thing again and again without making any changes.

I have the excuse that I will start living more consciously after I move into my new house. (Oh, I became a Singaporean in late 2021 so I could buy a house on my own.)

I am working as an e-commerce operations person at a local supplements wholesaler. But I never use this identity when I meet people–my job is just not as exciting for me to use an identifier.

I co-run a monthly comedy show–PowerPoint Karaoke.

I alone-run a monthly book club–Read Aloud SG Book Club.

I almost forgot to mention that I sometimes teach tarot.

I had major surgeries in 2021 to remove a tumour in my jaw. I now have braces which I might be able to remove in a year’s time.

Who am I?

Hello, this is me in a dress.

As you can see, I don’t exactly have a coherent identity. I have too many things I like to do.

All of them are me. But each one of them alone is not the whole me.

I sometimes wonder if I’m being deceptive about my identity. But I can honestly say I am not so that’s not true.

I wasn’t so sure what I wanted to say with the post but I want to say “Hi” to anyone who drops by. I hope to write more here but it wouldn’t be coming from the point of YQtravelling who travels to different countries.

Maybe YQtravelling means “moving”–which at this point I’m not but I hope to get back to it.

Step by Step Guide to Open Booking of Flats

Update: August 2022
Seems like the government has updated Open Booking of Flats and more units are available each month.

Hi, I’m YQ from YQtravelling.

I’m a new citizen in Singapore.

I’m single and 35 years old. This means I can get a subsidized flat from HDB–Housing Development Board.

I tried my luck during a round of Open Booking of Flats in September 2021 and successfully got a queue number.

Read on to find out how I did it and if I accepted the flat.

What is Open Booking of Flats?

Open Booking of Flats is one of the ways you can get a flat directly from HDB.

Open Booking of Flats is the leftover flats from Build-to-Order (BTO) and Sale of Balance of Flats.

OBF opens two times a year–March and September. I managed to catch the one in September 2021.

Before you even start your process

Before the Open Booking of Flat, you want to get your HDB Loan Eligibility (HLE) Letter If you’re planning to get a loan from HDB.

I was very lucky that my HLE letter was approved the weekend before the Open Booking of Flat exercise.

Do note there’s a difference between a HLE letter for a new flat and for a resale.

I had initially applied for a resale (which caused a bit of a problem during the selection of flat at HDB).

Once or before you have your letter (which you will need if you do have the queue number to head down), find out which flats are leftover for this round of OBF.

I’m unfortunately in the C-word era so many flats developments are stalled and the ones available for OBF for singles haven’t been finished yet.

The leftover flats have lower floors and a very tight ethnic quota. So the houses that I can buy are not very ideal.

But I did manage to look around and found one in Yishun that I would consider.

The worst part was that even the earliest I could get my keys was late 2022. (And that’s being optimistic.)

You can filter the houses according to race and time.

But the flats are definitely very cheap. The one I looked at was only about $110,000–but prices can change depending on the location.

On the day of Open Booking of Flats, you want to have your Singpass app and PayNow payment ready because you’ll need them.

I was already camping at the website at 11.50pm. I think many people had the same idea since the computer hung for many minutes.

When midnight came, I tried logging in my desktop and it didn’t move. I hopped on to my phone but it was very difficult to navigate. So I went back to my computer and by that time, it was 12.06am when I logged in.

Most of the details you need to fill in are those that were from the HLE letter application. You can also use an easy “Retrieve my Info with Singpass” to fill in parts of the form.

I did finally get a queue number and I heaved a sigh of relief.

It was 00195 and the queue was for the next day at 3.45pm.

Before going to HDB to pick your flat

You will need to track which flats are sold out before heading over.

Have a list of which flat units you are ok with so you can actually pick when you’re there.

I knew that I was only considering Yishun Glen (and I didn’t want it that much neither.)

Documents to prepare

Here are the items they require:

  • Identity card(s) of all person(s) listed in your application (bring a copy too)
  • Income documents for latest 3 or 6 months (depending on your nature of employment) — bring 12 months of payslip and CPF contributions
  • Option Fee (payable by NETS)

It’s C-vid season now so don’t bring too many people to HDB with you.

Wait for your queue number and put your option feed down for the flat.

My final decision

At first I planned to put $500 option fee down to “book” a unit while I hunted for resale flats.

Then the HDB lady said that should I decide to pull out, I won’t be able to buy a new house for a whole year.

So I decided not to take the flat this time.

I still have a choice of Sale of Balance of Flats in November, and also looking for a resale unit.

Wish me luck on my house hunting!

I was in the papers today! Not for what you think it is.

On Tuesday, the Malaysian railway company announced that it was launching a new service called Shuttle Tebrau which will link Woodlands Station to JB Sentral.

A reporter from local broadsheet Straits Times found me through my most popular post and wanted to ask for my comments on the new service. Thankfully, I caught his e-mail in time as my e-mail notification pinged while I was staring at my phone.

I prepared for the interview by reading on the background of the new service. I even jotted down “juicy” quotes that would make me look slightly unhinged but endearingly colorful to the audience.

The reporter called and we had a 12-minute chat during which I sounded bipolar. I was totally against the service at one point, talking passionately about its cons but at another point, I discovered its merits. I couldn’t make up my mind.

Still, the reporter summed it up in two sentences and made me look like a very practical traveller (which I am).

I did request that he use “travel blogger” as my job title as “marketing exec” seems like a totally irrelevant commenter on this subject. He obliged. Thank you, good sir.

Liau Yun Qing in the news as travel blogger
My sister sent this this morning.

The report came out on Page A2 on Straits Times and also on My Paper. I can now officially say that I was on the news as a travel blogger. 

You can read the full report and my not-juicy quotes on My Paper “New JB-Woodlands train service from July 1”.

Shanghai: My first solo trip destination

busy shanghai

I’ll be travelling to Shanghai this long weekend. Thought of bumping up this old post that talks about my first solo trip.

YQtravelling

Prompt #2: When, where, what, and with who is the story of your travel origin?

I used to hate travelling when I was a kid. I didn’t like that I couldn’t sleep in my bed. I didn’t like having to meet strange new adults whom my mother seem to know.

I rarely went for any sleepovers while I grew up so I ended up terribly homesick in the first year in university. Almost every evening, I would secretly cry in my room.

It was a tough time. Then I decided to end it. Enough was enough. Crying is a tiring business and I really need to stop.

So I did. I stopped crying for home and decided to enjoy life.

My very first solo trip was when I was on student exchange in the second half of my second year at university. I was studying in the south of China…

View original post 181 more words

YQtravelling with mom

Mother’s Day is this weekend. Pamela from Pam Goes Traveling has a Mother’s Day feature and my guest post is in it: Mothers’ Day Special – Travel with Mum featuring YQ.

yq mom epheseus fb

Besides reminiscing my travels with my mother, I also share tips on how to survive a trip with  your mother (as in the plural “you”). You should also check out the previous guest blogger on Pamela’s website, Agnes, who has really good tips on how to travel with your mother.

Read the full Mother’s Day feature on Pam Goes Traveling.

How can I get to Westeros? : Prompt 16 of #indie30

map of westeros

Prompt #16: What city in Europe would you like to visit the most?

Having visited Paris in 2011, I can’t really think of any other European city that I would like to visit. I think my imagination has been eroded from too much travelling.

Although I don’t have a a particular city in Europe that I’m dying to visit, if I were dying, I would choose to go to the fictional land of Westeros in Game of Thrones (which is kind of in Europe and filmed in Europe).

Map of Westeros

Credit: Robert whose handsome face I’ve cropped out

Compared to my current life, Westeros has 1000 times more swords and an infinity times more shadows dragons. Those are good enough reasons to go.

I would love have been a part of the storyline but based on my karma, I’d probably end up as Character Who Crosses The Road in the books or the film. Plus, I wouldn’t have survived a day in Flea Bottom.

Actually, come to think of it, I don’t feel like dying that soon. The one reason I want to be in Westeros is so that I can wear fantastic braids all year long (which I have been doing in a mini scale these days).

More on Game of Thrones filming locations:

 

This post is part of 30 Days of Indie Travel Art Project.