St Mary's Primary and Secondary School was where I grew up.
Where I made lifelong friends.
Friends who may not be in immediate touch, what with my lack of communication except for this blog, occasional text messages, and rather strict moderation of our Yahoo!Group. But we St Marians (and I make this statement based not just on my batch!) have been blessed with this community-mindedness, this cohesiveness, this friendship that continues despite the "realities" of adult life, including, as all too common in Malaysia, shall we say, racial polarization?
Aaaaannnnyway... what I'm getting at is I've always looked back on my time in St Mary's with great fondness. My last 2 years especially - Form 4 & 5 - was where I kinda joined my "gang" ... nothing gangsterly laaaa, more like, finally, a group of people with whom I actually ... belonged. Among the people in this gang is someone we fondly call Ojai. She was the more loud and outspoken one, dynamic, outgoing, and also the first of the gang to get hitched. Over thirteen years of the ups and downs of married life, some of which was shared with me the last time we met, and my that was one of those last-minute things that just kinda happened the night before my flight out, Neome and I met her at Bangsar and chatted for *how* long??!! :)
... and then ...
On Friday 5th September 2008, around 5:40 am, while having sahur (eating before the start of fasting), Ojai's husband complained of dizziness and numbness on one side of his body. Got him to a clinic, suspected a stroke, but that was eliminated.
A CT scan told the cold hard truth - a brain tumour.
A big one.
Like 25% of the brain was the tumor. And it was intimately involved in the blood supply to the brain, thus complete removal would not be possible. But removal needed to be done. He went under the knife on Monday 8th September. There were major complications during the op, but he emerged, and is now recovering better than the doctor's expectations.
I can only imagine, and poorly, how her and her family's life changed that day.
And it is with pride I share her advice to us, which reflects how she healthily she is dealing with what has happened:
Friends..please dont ever take ur health, ur life for granted... go for regular check-ups (it wont prevent the disease but it can help early detection & cure), maintain health insurance (at least have 1, small if not big) to assist u should God honour u with test such as this.
Most of all, Value your time with those who matters as u cant be sure of how much time u've got left.
Well... A lot may feel this is sad..but I feel blessed.. as God has given us...a second chance to make better paths in our lives...
Friends.. I'm taking this opportunity to thank all of you for your prayers/thoughts/support.... if I ever missed telling you guys, I'm telling u guys now... I'm glad to have friends like u... mmmmmmmuuuuuuaaaahhhhhhh!!!!!
A sloppy mmmmmmmuuuuuuaaaahhhhhhh!!!!! right back at ya, dearie!
My prayers are with you and your family, Ojai.