With double knee replacement surgeries and another surgery for the bunions on her toes, today Ng not just manages her own life well but is also a caregiver to her husband who has some health issues. This is her courageous story.
Ng Moi Wah was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2000. She was only 44 years old with young school-going children. Ng says, “I had been suffering from bad pain in my lower back for a while, so I went to see my doctor. He recommended I do some blood tests. When my results came, it revealed that my rheumatoid factor was elevated and I was informed that I had rheumatoid arthritis”.
At that point unfortunately, there was not much awareness or information about arthritis. So when she heard the diagnosis, she did not really comprehend the enormity of the toll of the disease or the struggles that lay ahead. As she was “ignorant of the disease”, her biggest regret is that she did not take her treatment seriously. At one point, even though her medication was working well and her body was responding too, she discontinued her medication and started taking alternative medications and supplements recommended by a direct selling company. This completely setback her condition and her body deteriorated.
A High Price To Pay
She had deformities in all her joints including her fingers, elbows, wrists,shoulders and knees. Says Ng, “on bad days, I could not even hold a cup of water to drink. Writing was a struggle as I could not hold a pen. It was hard to get in and out of a car so driving took a lot of effort. Even the shape and functioning of my jaw was affected. My jaw was dislocated and I could not even chew my food”. But she was still very hesitant to go back to her rheumatologist, “I knew that it was because of my own negligence. I had not continued with the prescribed medication and my body deteriorated as a result”. So she opted to see another doctor instead.She resumed her medication and started on biologics. But she had to change her drugs for the biologics three times over these last few years because of the intensity of the side-effects including nausea and breathing difficulties. Ng has gone through two operations so far. The first was in2009 for the bunions on her big toes. Subsequently in 2012, she underwent knee replacements for both her knees together. Ng reveals, “I am so used to bearing pain that I actually stopped taking painkillers a week after the operation. Having lived in constant pain over the years, I am able to tolerate it well”.
Ng shares some Lifestyle Changes
- I keep myself fit and active. I exercise every day. I recently took up “Bagua energy walk” in a park which I do with my friends almost every day. I also exercise at home if I am unable to go out. I love gardening and grow my own herbs, pumpkin and other vegetables.
- After attending a talk organized by AFM RASG, I am very conscious of what I consume. I eat more vegetables and plant-based protein.
- I cut down on sugar and carbohydrates. I consume less flour which means less cakes, biscuits etc.
- I also take multivitamins and probiotics.
- State of mind is very important and I have accepted my condition as a part of life and I do my best under the circumstances.
- I am deeply spiritual and prayers and my faith in miracles have supported me under the most difficult circumstance.
- I always seek out the things that make me happy. On days that my body feels good, I go out to have a meal with my family members or catch up with my friends.
- I am thankful for the understanding and support of my family members. They are the ones who keep me going through the tough times. I am also blessed with a good friend, my god-sister, Wei Nee who has stood by me over the years and supported me whenever I was down.