Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing Spondylitis - pronounced ank-kih-low-sing spon-dill-eye-tiss. Pronouncing it is already hard enough. Imagine a whole lifetime with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). There is only meds to slow down the effect and hopefully diagnosis in the early stages. And too often diagnosis is a little too late.

I chatted an AS patient and his parents. Life wasn't easy with AS. I can't imagine myself living a lifetime with it especially when I can barely sit still. So I decided that I would join #MoveWithAS, a fun run of 3km with obstacles and challenges thrown in to simulate the experiences that an AS patient goes through.
The running was fun and I would say pretty easy. But when the first challenge came along, followed by another and another, as it progressed, I realised that an AS patient moves with great difficulty.
A sense of imbalance with additional weight in my hand.
Combat crawl or belly movement...every step is with difficulty. One struggles to move every limb as an AS patient.
Crawling on my belly and I tried to stand up to run after that...I felt disoriented.
Feel the world spin under your feet. Each step is hard when one is hunched.
Unbalanced extra weight on one's back. This short distance of walk took more effort than a normal walk. Even making a turn was more difficult. Imagine a lifetime of this sensation?

AS is an autoimmune inflammatory of the spine and over time causes the vertebrae in in the spine to fuse. When the fusing happens, this results in a hunched-forward posture. With it, comes a lifelong feeling of moving with an extra load on your back, a spinning feeling in the head and instability on the feet. Simple acts of eating or feeding one self may be difficult as well.

This is a form of arthritis disease and unlike the other arthritis disease, AS usually begins in adolescents and young adults, with men having higher chances of developing AS. Patients with this degenerative disease often live life unaware. Often times, when patients are diagnosed with AS, they would have developed advanced stages of AS, making it harder to slow down the progression of the disease.
The progressive hunching of an AS patient.
Using the chopstick is easy. It is a different level or ball game when you are moving with stiffness in your joint. Here, all participants had a feel of trying to pick up beans, ball etc with additional weight on their wrist and neck. Totally uncoordinated and it took almost forever just to pick something up without it dropping back to the plate again.

The cause of AS is still currently unknown but is likely caused by both gene and environmental factors. And some symptoms include:
Back pain and stiffness are usually the main symptoms of AS. One may find that the the pain gets better with exercise, but doesn't improve or gets worse with rest. For some, the pain and stiffness is worse in the morning and at night – you may wake up regularly during the night because of the pain.
Lower back pain for no apparent reason is not typical in young people. Teens and young adults who complain of stiffness or pain in the lower back or hips should be evaluated for AS by a doctor. Pain is often located in the sacroiliac joints, where the pelvis and spine meet.

• You have a family history of AS. People with certain genetic markers are susceptible to AS. But not all people who have the genes develop the disease, for reasons that remain unclear. If you have a relative with either AS, psoriatic arthritis, or arthritis related to inflammatory bowel disease, you may have inherited genes that put you at greater risk for AS.
Young people with unexplained pain in the heel(s), joints, or chest.
A hunchback AS young adult patient

For all who signed up for the fun run by the folks at Arthritis Foundation Malaysia (AFM) and Novartis Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd to drive awareness for AS and to raise funds to help needy patients get access to treatment. 100% of the registration fees i.e. RM55,000 has been channeled to Arthritis Foundation Malaysia (AFM) to subsidize the treatment for needy AS patients.
RM55,000 goes to Arthritis Foundation Malaysia (AFM)
A morning of fun among friends for a good cause. Kudos to all participants!
Old and young came along. Do lend your support when they call for this again next year!
Local community came out to support including free dental check up, games to win freebies etc.
And of course there was the Milo truck too!
I made a new friend. He joined his parents who came to support the event and he even ran close to the 3km on his own too!

For more information on Ankylosing Spondylitis:

THANX for reading this post. Do head on over to the following channels to stalk me (and show some love too)! 

Sensodyne - Pledge No to Sensitivity

I took a pledge last week. Saying no to sensitive teeth with Sensodyne. Saying yes to the freedom of being able to eat cold or sour food without having to go through some painful shudders or sharp pain.

Banana Bread - Mad Scientist Style

Banana bread? Banana cake? To be honest I think there is probably a fine line between them two but I can't figure it out despite reading up a little too much for my own good. However, say what one likes or want, the aroma of banana bread / cake baking in the kitchen evokes a happy feel and tummy rumbles. And if you baked with the kitchen windows open and front door open like I did, then be prepared to offer them some if you happened to catch them looking at your direction. In my case, I didn't dare offer until I took a bite and was sure that my mad scientist version based on feel and whatever memory turned out good.

Heroes at Heart

Today I met a few of our local heroes. Our local boys who showed us that determination and hard work brings us places. Heroes At Heart by Pavilion KL celebrates the achievements of Malaysians Qobin Mokhtarrudim, Shahrom Abdullah and Muhammad Irwan Yusoff Abdullah for their recent accomplishments in completing the 111-kilometre skiing expedition to the North Pole with the Malaysian Seven Continents Exploration Club (KE7B).

It’s car shopping season again. We are looking for a new daily ride (not to replace our wedding car though) to ferry the little troopers to and fro school and run everyday errands. Although I’m not looking for anything fancy, I still get a headache when I think of having to peruse car reviews and brochures, visiting car dealerships, making a budget blah blah blah. The last time we purchased a car, it took us more than 2 months before shortlisting a few rides for viewing.

RM5 Coffee - Room 203 Living Platform

No kidding! It is RM5 for a good cup of coffee

RM5 coffee, black or white. Nothing wrong with your vision nor mine. And that very sign made me hit the emergency STOP. Apparently Room 203 Living Platform has been operating in a simple, no frills hut outside the Bank of China and RHB along Jalan Ampang.

PappaRich RM9.90 Lite Meals

So I went away for 2 weeks plus to Kerala, India. Technically the longest time I spent away from the hubster since we were married 15 years plus ago. I did some food prep for him at home but most days he had to eat out. Plenty of eateries in our neighbourhood and with PappaRich being one of the recently opened ones, it was no surprise that he happily parked himself there for a meal or two and tagging me of my comfort food of toast, kaya, eggs and iced white coffee when I was nowhere near anything like that.

Ankylosing Spondylitis - #MOVEwithAS

Ankylosing Spondylitis

A mouthful to pronounce isn’t it? Living with it would be even harder.
Those 2 words made me stop what I was doing. I listened and I went on to read up a little on Ankylosing Spondylitis or also known as AS:
• An autoimmune inflammatory disease of the spine.
• A form of arthritis often affecting people since adolescence.
• Irreversible damage that significantly reduces patients’ mobility and quality of life.
• AS occurs in approximately 1% of the general population and typically affects young men and women in their teens and 20s.
• AS affects more males than females with an approximate ratio of 2:1.

Kerala - God's Own Country

നമസ്കാര namaskaram!

15 days covering over 1,500km around Kerala, India. I bring home with me fascinating postcard memories of cuisine, culture, panaromic sceneries and most of all the lovely people of Kerala.
I am grateful for the memories in Kerala. A tick off my travel and runcation bucket list. Not possible without the votes that I have received from all who took the time off to vote for me to pakai sari, makan kari dan lari (wear a saree, eat curry and run in my National language Bahasa Malaysia) in Kerala. A trip of a lifetime with 28 other bloggers from 28 other countries went by too fast. From strangers to being friends and buddies, it is amazing how we all bonded over 15 days in our funky bus.
The comfortable and funky looking bus that we travelled in over 15 days.

Running in a saree pics made possible thanx to my roomie Carla Mota who's a darn great photographer and who I picked up many travelling tips too. Shalini from Neeleshwar Hermitage - thank you for agreeing to help dress me up at 630am while your working hours only starts at 8am. And thank you Shalini for being so thoughtful to bring along the inner skirt and blouse in anticipation that all I would only have bought just the saree cloth.
Running in a saree wasn't easy. It grew heavier as I got wet from sweating and the sea water. It amazes me how the women wearing saree go about doing their daily chores in it while looking so good and graceful in it.
നദി Thank you Shalini

And this post is not complete unless I share with you the song Kuttanadan Punjayile - Kerala Boat Song with its very catchy chorus. Pretty much the official song that we were all singing too during Kerala Blog Express Season 4. Thi thi thara thi thi thei thi thei thaka thei thei thom. Thi thi thara thi thi thei thi thei thaka thei thei thom.

Back home in Malaysia, sinking back into the reality of working and training for my next race. Stay tuned as I share more pics and thoughts of the amazing trip. And a special mention and thank you to the following brands who made my trip to Kerala seamless and comfortable.
SilkAir for flying me to and fro with all the comforts that a traveller needs.
Maxis for ensuring that I was able to keep up with my social updates throughout the trip.
For more updates on this trip and what my trip mates are updating:

Thank you once again for the votes and do continue showing me love at the following channels:

Being A Child (Again) in Kerala

Me: Happy burpday Daddyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.
Daddy: How is Kerala treating you?
Me: So much fun that I feel like a child again.
Daddy: It is OK. That is how life should be.

Waste Bottle School in Kumarakom

Today as we explore Kumarakom in the state of Kerala, India, ABM Government UP School caught our attention at the end of our visit the local villages by the river bank. Vibrant and colourful like how all schools should be, this one stood out because of its walls. Walls made of waste / plastic bottles.

My Experience During PowerKids By Kieran Goh

As I walked to the starting line, I was told to stay in the back to avoid heavy traffic. We did the warm-up,and got in line. We were informed of the rules,and we got ready. As I went off, people started getting further apart and I started overtaking other runners. I was overtaken by a few people later, but I got through transition (where you get your bike and start cycling) fairly fast.

Fitbit Flex 2: Stylish and Water Friendly

When Fitbit announced that they have a water baby in the family I jumped for joy. At last I am able to track my water workouts that I use to supplement my run training and as a form of cross training. Hello there Fitbit Flex 2! Welcome to my Fitbit family of a Surge and Charge.

SpongeBob Run Malaysia 2017

SULK! SpongeBob SquarePants and friends are heading to the first ever SpongeBob Run in Malaysia and I will be travelling elsewhere! I am terribly upset that I will be missing out on this fun run and carnival happening at Setia City Park on Sunday 26 March 2017.

W2 Coffee Co

latte and nasi lemak
"You must go try the nasi lemak at W2. The coffee is very good too." Imagine this being said a few times over lunch... and again and again when we met up a few weeks later for a meeting. Now how was I going to give W2 Coffee Co a miss especially when I love both nasi lemak and coffee?


If its not some nut butter then it will be Nutella spread on my bread, crackers, mixed with my overnight oats or eaten on its own from a spoon. You can call me a Nutella monster and I really don't mind it at all. And it gets even more fun and tasty when it is from a personalised jar of this delicious hazelnut spread which you can now during the #NutellaMessenger campaign.

Race Review: TwinCity Marathon 2017

One of my (running) resolutions in 2017 was to better my last full marathon #GCAM15's time. I wanted also to nail a PB in tropical Malaysia since all my sub 5 full marathons were in cooler climates. Let's say, I was targeting 2017 to be a year of getting myself out for my comfort zone. And when I signed up for Twincity Marathon 5 weeks from race day, I wasn't too confident that I was able to tick off any of my resolutions. Falling sick for a week, missing training for another week because of my sick child and waking up on race day with a case of heartburn weren't quite perfect formulas for a race PB. However, I went ahead with turning up on race day with the idea that I was to try my best and have fun along the way - the good and sound advice from Sifu Terence Poon.

CNY Prawn Avocado Salad

And the FAQ Frequently Asked Question that I received for this year was "What are you going to cook and / or eat for the CNY reunion dinners this year?". The answer is pretty simple - yee sang. However, that will only mean more questions being flung at me. So the last few reunion gatherings has been a simple prawn avocado salad when it was potluck style.  Simple, quick, nutritious and the main ingredients have an auspicious Chinese New Year meaning to it!

Savvy Duty Free Shopping

Duty free shopping...yay or nay?

For me, I love the savings from duty free shopping. I also love the travel editions that sometimes are practical and of course for novelty reasons. Perusing through the duty free catalogues while on air is a good way to while away flight time. Walking through the airport scouring for duty free bargains is also a good way to burn some calories and get blood going in the legs after hours of sitting down.

Carbo loading with Fruits

Strange as it may be, I love fruits and nuts as part of my carbo load meal before a race. Even when I was running 100km over a weekend as part of my preparation for Craze Ultra or for that matter any endurance run, I love the juicy goodness of such meals that works to nourish and hydrate the body. And there's more to carbo loading than just stuffing our faces with bananas!

Rise to Opulence with Pavilion KL

CNY calls for bright and rich colours. Pavilion KL is all decked in a glamourous play of red and gold. Auspicious and prosperous with the largest phoenix replica at the mall's iconic Centre Court.

Breathtaking view from whatever angle or floor that you are at. And if you are wondering why a phoenix, this is to be the year where the humble rooster transforms into a majestic phoenix, rising into sky, full of pride and beauty. Take a walk under the magnificent phoenix to enjoy a year of opulence and good fortune!

Race Review: MPI Generali Run 2017

MPI Generali Run 2017 @ 1:03:43. Not too shabby for my first race for 2017 considering I was chatting away or making traffic announcements along the race. A very well organised race that has grown bigger and better ever since I first ran in it in 2013.

Woof of PAWS Street

It hurts to see the number of strays on the street. And it breaks my heart to know that many strays are put to sleep (in other words killed) because there are so many of them running around. And I certainly look forward to the day that these furkids can have a forever loving home or a comfortable shelter to call home.
PAWS UP! Malaysia’s first shelter community project by two animal lovers em-“barks” will be putting up their second  photography fundraiser for the shelter dogs series entitled “Woof of PAWS Street” The first round entitled “Paws Up! Meow Around the City in collaboration, Zungz Photography raised RM10,000 through the auction of 13 photographs.