HEALTH: Live My Sunshine!

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I have always been very close with my family and with the upcoming wedding and the move to Philippines on the cards, I want to share these milestones with them.

Valerie Lim Mom Eugine Soh

In recent months, I have been more conscious of my health and the health of the people around me. My grandpa turns 80 this year and although he is still in the pink of health, he isn’t as strong as he used to be. He has never had to be admitted to hospital for anything but just last year, doctors found some scarring in his liver. This incident has made me think a lot about the health of the people around me, and how important it is for us to take control of it whenever possible. By writing this post, I want to encourage people to take control of their health and protect their sunshine in their lives.

In my last post, I wrote about the Human Papillomavirus and shared some facts and figures about its related diseases. In this post, I will share with you who the sunshine in my life is and a personal story about why I decided to front the #livemysunshinehpv campaign.

My sunshine

If you have read my posts and followed my Instagram, you will know that I am very close to my family. We hang out like friends, love going to new restaurants, and spend every Sunday with my grandparents.

So, there are no prizes for guessing who the sunshine in my life is. If you said it is someone from within my family, you are right! Specifically, the sunshine in my life is none other than my mom!

Valerie Lim and Mom

She is my biggest cheerleader; supporting me in every decision I make and catches me if I fall. She watches out for my well-being and has the biggest, most giving personality I know.

Although I say she is my sunshine in this post, she isn’t the only one in my life. HPV affects both men AND women. So in reality, my mom, dad, brother, grandma and grandpa are my sunshines too. Regardless the circumstance, I always want to protect my ENTIRE family and keep them shining in my life, and thus have already talked to them about the HPV vaccination.

Valerie Lim CLEO 2013

Mother’s Day was particularly special for mom and the family because this year, during my mom’s routine pap smear, the doctors found a grape-sized lump that was not there the year before. The discovery shocked and caused a scare within the family because we did not realize that the lump could grow so quickly within a span of one year.

But because the doctors managed to detect the growth early, it was thankfully quickly operated on and removed within a month.

It was not too long after my mom’s surgery that the organisers of #livemysunshinehpv campaign approached me to be part of it. The coincidence was quite timely. In light of the recent events, I immediately said yes to the honor of being the #livemysunshinehpv ambassador.

Facts and figures about the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Previously, I shared some facts about HPV. If you have not already read it, you can read the post here.

To add to that, these are 5 other facts about HPV.

1) There are over 200 over strains of Human Papillomavirus that can be found in the human body.

2) There are no specific reasons how the viruses and infections occur in the body but about 90% of the infections spontaneously disappear over a period of time.

3) There is no approved HPV test to find HPV in the mouth or the throat.

4) There are only several strains of HPV that are aggressive and deadly. These specific ones cause cervical cancer, genital warts and even anal cancer.

5) HPV infection is very common in women AND men,

Protecting yourself against the HPV and its diseases

This #livemysunshinehpv campaign initiated by MSD Pharma in partnership with Singapore Cancer Society (SCS), Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology Singapore (SCCPS), and Singapore Pediatric Society (SPS) aims to get people to go for regular pap smear screenings and get vaccinated.

There are so many cancers in the world and there are women-only cancers that we have to take precaution against. We cannot really control the onset of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, but HPV and its associated cervical cancer IS preventable.

After all these years, doctors still recommend the HPV vaccination and pap smear as the gold standard against prevention of cervical cancer. Early detection never fails to help save lives. I am fully in support of these because if it was not for the regular pap smears that my mom and I go for, we would have never been able to quickly remove the growth in her womb earlier this year.

SG Livemysunshinehpv

If you have a story about cervical cancer, just like I did about your sunshine, you can also share the word about protecting your sunshine via the microsite below:

Here are the steps on how you can share the sunshine:

1) Select a background that you like best
2) Select a caption that best expresses your wish to your sunshine
3) Share the image that you’ve created on Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms, tag your sunshine, and help spread the message

After reading the nuggets of information, you will get a better understanding of HPV and be better prepared for your appointment with your doctor. But you should also clarify with your doctor if you have any other questions just like I did. I read the FAQs within the microsite before I had a chat with my doctor, Dr Christopher Chong Y.L, who is the gynaecologist and urogynaecologist at Gleneagles Hospital. He gave me a more thorough insight about HPV when I spoke with him a couple of week ago before my U.S trip.

The information on the #livemysunshinehpv site has been approved and verified by the Singapore Health Promotion Board so you can share the message without any worry.

Live and spread the sunshine!

Dr Christopher Chong Yew Luen
Consultant obstetrician, gynaecologist & urogynaecologist
Chris Chong Clinic Pte Ltd
Gleneagles Hospital
6A Napier Road, Annexe Block, #02-35
Singapore 258500

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