It has been over three-and-a-half years now since Sheila became the first woman to undergo a successful bilateral hand transplant in the United States. One can only marvel at the significant changes it has made in her life. She has worked exceedingly hard on her occupational therapy and, through stubborn persistence, has accomplished a lot to reclaim her independence. She gives speeches, paints, cooks, drives, and leads an active social life. It is important to remember, though, that it isn't always rosy for her. There are still problems and snags with medication, her leg prosthetics, or even routine stuff that are overshadowed by her amazing progress. She just puts on a brave, smiling face all the time. Our hats off to you, Sheila!
I love children's stories but never imagined that I would write one. When I was a young girl, I had my share of household chores. When I was tired and faced with a big stack of dishes to wash (by hand), I wished there were little elves that would get them all clean through their magic while I slept.
This little story has been formed out of bits and pieces from my childhood. That it may not sell does not worry me; but I was cautious enough to have it published as an e-book. Perhaps, in future, I will have it in print.
We just came back from a long trip (Honolulu, Kiritimati or Christmas Island, Manila, Bangkok, Siem Reap, UK) which took almost two months. There were lots of mishaps in the beginning including (for me) a 2-hour flight delay from DC to Honolulu, (for us) an18-hour flight delay from Honolulu to Christmas Island, (for me) a dog attack/bite on the beach there, a missed art class in Honolulu I was hoping to attend, and my husband cutting his fishing trip short due to a skin infection. From Manila, he flew to England to see his parents and was welcomed by rainy, cold, and windy weather.
I was luckier. It was hot in Manila but not that unbearable. The Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn in Bangkok was nowhere near the scene of anti-government riots and demonstrations and the street food around there was just delicious. Siem Reap was a wonderful experience. The temples were magnificent, the people friendly and gentle. I stayed at the Golden Temple Hotel and the staff could not do enough for its guests. I will never forget the traditional Khmer massage I had there. It was the best massage I've ever had.
I am sending good wishes your way for 2014. To artists and writers: may lots of inspiration spur your creative juices to flow. To lovers of art, poetry, and prose: may these vehicles of expressions continue to brighten your daily lives.
A dear friend, Michael Lesparre, who helped edit my book, A Life Reclaimed, passed away Sunday, December 8. He was 91. We were supposed to meet for drinks and a light meal on Monday, the 9th. I called and emailed him that day, but no reply. I thought he must have been busy; but it wasn't like him not to get back to me. A couple of days later, I ran into a mutual friend who told me about his passing. I feel so bad that I didn't get to have a drink with him before he died. I will miss him. He was a good soul.
I finally completed the cover and the illustrations for my children's book, My Lola and I, and sent it to Booklocker for BePub conversion. The ebook version is now available through the following links:
Barnes and Noble:
Booklocker (my publisher):
Sheila was given a rare opportunity to do what she wants. For several months now, she has been traveling to different states to speak about her experiences: first, as a quadruple amputee; and second, as a bilateral hand transplant recipient. In the beginning, she simply shared her story without notes. Later on, she developed a power point presentation which made it easier to reach a bigger audience. She does this confidently and competently. She has even traveled by herself a few times, We are very proud of her!
I finally decided to paint the cover for my children's book, My Lola and I. It is finished now, but I realized that the book needs a few illustrations. Since it will be costly to hire an illustrator, I will try to do the drawings myself. This is not my forte, but children are forgiving.
I have just written a children's book set in the Philippines. I cannot illustrate it because my drawing style may not appeal to children so I have asked Sheila to help me out. Once I have the cover page drawn, I will have it published.
I have also started writing a short story based on snippets of my childhood and my long journey to where I am now. I don't plan to have it published for public consumption but writing it has unleashed memories that I haven't revisited for a long time, giving me joy in the process.
It has been two-and-a half years since Sheila's surgery and what she has accomplished since then never ceases to amaze me. She put me to shame even before she had the bilateral hand transplant because she was a good driver even with prosthetic hands; and because I am a failed driver. I am scared of driving and other drivers; plus, I don't enjoy it at all. My dream is to have a chauffeur at my beck and call but I can't afford one.
Anyway, back to Sheila. She is very much into cooking these days. Given her limitations (she can't chop veggies, etc. yet), she has turned out delicious dishes and invited family and friends to her apartment for dinner. She goes shopping alone if she doesn't have to carry heavy stuff. She even sewed a button on her blouse once. She is also now a Certified Peer Counselor. Well done, dear!