TL;DR – In the year 2019, she almost gave up on herself.
The year 2019 was off to a rocky start for Yvonne who was warded in March after she experienced severe nerve pain and numbness.
What followed was a harrowing experience of trying to figure out what exactly she was suffering from – a drug allergy, potential stroke or even a rare type of bone cancer. She did numerous blood tests (at one point even drawing 8 tubes of blood at a go), X-rays, MRIs, allergy tests, scopes and many more doctor visits.
For months, the pain would grip her physically, sometimes she would be too weak or dizzy to get up from the bed or even have a meal. She had bouts of vomiting and the severe pain in her brain would affect her eyesight at times. In the meantime, doctors prescribed all sorts of medication in hope of alleviating her symptoms.
But not knowing what was causing her nerve and brain pain and the waiting as each test, scan, blood work came back with uncertain results was the worst.
It took months of testing before she was finally diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia.
*Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic pain condition that affects the trigeminal nerve. This nerve is responsible for carrying sensations from your face to your brain and a slight stimulation to the face when you have this condition can trigger jolts of excruciating pain.
Even though the doctors were finally able to pinpoint her condition, it was still a blow to Yvonne.
It was not like she had not been through enough.
Since birth, Yvonne only had clear eyesight in one eye and scarring in her other eye due to severe lazy eye. At a tender age of 21, she discovered she had lymphoma cancer and had to go through chemotherapy and radiotherapy which affected her spine, worsened her eyesight. It even affected her womb and chances of starting a family.
But Yvonne’s mettle and resilience shone through despite the sometimes insurmountable obstacles in her life. She peppers her posts on social media with funny captions and quips even when lying in pain in her hospital bed. Her ability to make light of her situation and remain positive in all circumstances is truly admirable.
As she waited for doctors to diagnose her illness, she took to Facebook to craft a post about thankfulness:
“Treasure our time with family as you don’t know when you will just fall. I fell and I’m glad I can still type this message and still be breathing. I’m thankful my life is not taken away. Living with pain is really tough. But I rather be alive then dead. Thankful for more time with family.”
Mention Yvonne’s daughter, Chloe, and immediately her face lights up.
Chloe is her miracle baby as Yvonne had, unfortunately, suffered multiple miscarriages. Yvonne’s Facebook posts document precious moments when her pain is more manageable and she gets to spend time with her daughter.
In spite of the pain that Yvonne has to manage with routine medication and follow-up check ups, she juggles two businesses!
She manages HR, the finances and accounts in the family business as well as her own business – Supreme Parents. The latter started out as a hobby, with her curating fun events for families that turned into a full-fledged company which runs events every month.
Most of Supreme Parents’ events are either low-cost or free, allowing many children (especially those from low income families) to experience different indoor playgrounds, sensory play activities and crafts. In this year alone, Yvonne expanded operations for her company, grew her team and increased their base of parents to almost 20,000 people – an amazing feat given that she was in and out of the hospital multiple times throughout the year.
She rounds up her year and wishes for 2020 in her typical tongue-in-cheek fashion:
“This year, I have given more me time to myself since I’ve been spending alot time in hospital. Bleah.
This year I almost gave up on myself due to the incurable nerve pain that’s killing me daily for a good period of 3 months,
but I have also picked myself up once again.
Next year, I wish for the same or better (including temper).
I wish for everyone I love to be healthy and happy. Always.”
Yvonne is certainly a true embodiment of how it is not situations that define people, but how one responds to these situations that do.
Well, it is my hope that for 2020, she is healthier and happier! <3
More stories of how fellow Singaporeans’ lives took a drastic turn in 2019