Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Last Friday, a professional photographer came to my house to do some portrait photos - a very generous gift from a friend.  These photos were meant to be a gift to my children after I'm gone, but my husband has told me to post them on my Blog to show other women with chemo-bald heads that they can still look great.  And I always do what my husband tells me to do (chuckle, chuckle). 


The photographer is Phil Date, based in Singapore.  Very easy-going, funny guy.
Mobile phone:  +65 9848-3907


leighbee said...

I think you have the added advantage of being a bit too gorgeous in the first place........! Good photography/bad photography, hair/no hair.....I think many of us would have trouble trying to compete! Ha ha! No creeping just the truth! Thats WHY Tony wants to show you off ;-) Good for him! Great photographer too - really caught the "real you" which is sooooooo important especially right now.

Deb said...

Shin I love these pictures!
I was going to ask Michelle to take some of you when she gets there but these are great.
You beautiful girl, I am going to paint your portrait and these are perfect.

Big Hugs XXX

Mylinh said...

Shin, I was wondering when you might post some pics up and I took my camera over to your place the other day to see if I can snap a few pics but totally forgot about it, thanks to the movie and food distractions. These photos are stunning! I love the first one with you and the shadows and the one with you and all the toys. The photographer has done a great job capturing your beauty (inner and out), yes, beauty. Can I post them on my blog and show you off too:)? Great photos hon. The kids will love it. xx Mylinh

Shin said...


Sure, you can post these photos on your Blog... as long as you Photoshop some hair onto my head first.

Anonymous said...

Great photos! Just look at that smile!

Sasha said...

Gorgeous photos!! Knew you'd love Phil and that he'd do a brilliant job! Just to say though that Phil did them for free, I didn't pay. It is just typical of that guy.
See you next week to see them all when we get back from Oz?
Love Sasha x

Angela said...

Absolutely stunning. I have a photo of you taken just before your first ever chemo, back in the days when you had poker straight hair. Beautiful picture but you had sadness in your eyes. I'll email it to you. In these pictures, you are so alive.

Angela x

Anonymous said...

Brought tears to my eyes, seeing you smile out of my computer screen!

I've just copied the "In My Heart" picture and put it on the fridge so the boys have a daily reminder of the face of the beautiful friend who we pray for each night!

You shine!

God bless you,


Michelle said...

Where will you be when I can't see you?
In my heart!
I love you Shin.

Evelyn Teo said...

The pictures are beautiful! You are simply gorgeous! XXX Evelyn

Christine Raza said...

You are soooooooooooo beautiful! Your picture is now my desktop background so I can see your smiling face all day :)

amangler said...

Gorgeous. Any chance you could post those in high-resolution form?


(not the photographer Phil)

Elaine said...

Now I know why you don't mind the bald look!

Did you get my note on Essiac tea? Will be organising a lunch probably next week with the lass who's been knocking it back for the last five years. If you feel as good as you look please join us. I'm reluctant to phone you for obvious reasons.

Always in my thoughts


Marge said...

Fabulocity and fabuliciousness!!
Wait til I get to Singapore and show you the ones I found the other night from our college days.
You're even more gorgeous today - and you were pretty goddamn cute then!

love you,

karen said...

stunning photos, love them, love them. Oh , how i love the one with all the cuddly toys, made me laugh out loud.
Just saw your reply from the other night. Don't you worry i will pass it on!

Jin said...

Hey sis! I love the photos! It’s great to see you smiling! And I think they’ll be wonderful for Josie and Toby to see when they’re older! Actually, the photos made me think of an addendum to my response to Deb’s question about the relationship between stress and anger and cancer under your “What Causes Cancer?” blog entry.

Much as stress and anger can have a negative impact on our health, there are multiple factors that can serve as a buffer from various psychological and medical problems, or counteract their negative impact and strengthen our immune systems. One such factor is laughter. There are psychological as well as physiological bases for this.

Laughter increases the production and release of serotonin in our brains. Serotonin is the “happy” chemical. Lower levels of serotonin are associated with multiple psychological problems including anxiety and depression. This is why the majority of anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants specifically target serotonin levels in the brain (i.e., increase serotonin levels). Increased serotonin levels increases stress tolerance, helps improve anxiety and depression, and strengthens our immune systems.

There’s also some evidence suggesting that laughter helps manage, and even relieve pain. Several studies have shown that patients who are able to laugh out loud are better able to handle pain when suffering from medical conditions.

A relevant, relatively recent finding is that there is in fact a physiological, biochemical basis for the fact that chronic pain patients suffer from higher rates of depression. Specifically, chronic pain decreases serotonin levels in the brain over time, which in turn manifests as depression.

The funny thing about laughter (no pun intended) is that the brain can’t tell if our laughter is genuine or forced, much like our brains can’t tell the difference between tasting something sweetened from sugar vs. a sugar substitute. This is why people who consume “diet” sodas and foods containing artificial sweeteners tend to be significantly more obese than those who don’t. The experience of tasting something sweet, even if artificially based, makes us crave more sweets and carbohydrates, so people who drink large amounts of diet soda tend to crave and therefore consume more sweets and carbohydrates in general.

But I digress. Back to the laughter issue: Since your brain doesn’t know the difference between genuine and forced laughter, the old adage of “fake it ‘til you make it” is applicable here. This is the basis for the increasingly prevalent “laugh clubs” in India. Some of you may already know about this, but for those who don’t, these are basically clubs where people meet regularly with the purpose of increasing overall wellbeing and quality of life through laugher. The meetings are literally groups of people forcing themselves to laugh with each other. (There’s actually a short independent documentary film about the laugh clubs of India available on DVD.)

So it appears that there’s some truth to the idea that laughter is the best medicine. And the “humour gene,” as Leigh called it, is indeed a good thing in so many ways. The take-home message here is to laugh and laugh often!

Something that those of you with families (or even those who don’t – you can do this by phone, via e-mail with friends on a regular basis) can do to incorporate more humor and laughter into your lives is to ask each other at the dinner table, "What was the funniest thing that happened to you today?” Or, “What made you laugh today?” Try it with your spouse, partner, children and friends. In fact, ask yourself the question, "What was the funniest thing that happened to me today?" Then have a good laugh about it! It’s a great way to connect with the ones you love, while boosting those serotonin levels and your immune systems. You can do the same thing with gratitude. We generally only ask people what they’re grateful for during Thanksgiving, but try doing it more regularly. Reflect on it yourself, keep a gratitude journal, and ask others as well!

One last tidbit about laughter: When asked what characteristics attract them in men, an overwhelming majority of women respond that it’s a sense of humor or the ability to make them laugh. In light of the current findings about the biochemistry of laughter, it follows that if someone makes us laugh and thereby increases the production and release of serotonin in the brain, that person probably makes us feel good. Consequently, we’re likely to be drawn to them.

So laugh on Shin and enjoy the laughter everyone!


P.S. Sorry to be so didactic (I know how much you hate that Shin!). I realize that my “addendum” somehow morphed into a full-blown essay. Who knew that my foray into the internet world of blogging would result in such ramblings! I don’t mean to hog your blog (there goes my inner Dr. Seuss again!)… :)

Alka said...

Absolutely stunning. You're looking awesome. Any chance of getting one in high res? I'd love to be able to print and keep one.

Shin said...

Wow, Jin. I had no idea you were so smart. ; )

Some people think it's sick to make jokes about death and cancer, but hey, it's my cancer... I can laugh if I want to!

Tax time is coming up and I've been reminding Tony to file his taxes early. I told him, "They say there are only two certain things in life: death and taxes. I'll do the death; you do the taxes."

Okay. Maybe you had to be there...

Shin said...

Anybody know how to do this "high resolution" thing?

It took me a few hours just to get those five photos up.

Shin said...

About laughter...

I stubbed my toe once and it hurt a lot, so I started laughing very loudly. Josie asked why I was laughing and I told her because it hurt. She was puzzled - shouldn't I be CRYING instead of laughing if it hurts? I told her I was laughing so I wouldn't cry. It was bad enough that my toe hurt; no point in adding crying to the hurt, so I thought I'd try laughing.

Several weeks later, she knocked her head against the table and started crying and then switched to laughing. She told me she did that because it was better to laugh than to cry. What a clever girl.

I don't know if I believe the science behind it. I just know I like laughing. Don't need a Ph.D. for that!

Fiona said...

u look terrific! sorta like a punkish stylo-mylo rebel =) now i feel inspired to shave it all off!

Phil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Shin, these pictures are fantastic!
They capture YOU, don't know how you were feeling at the time, but I can see peace and happiness in your eyes!
Big hugs,
Angela x
P.S.When the kids are feeling a bit better, just send them up for a play as don't think this weather is going to change soon....

Phil said...

Phil the photog here - thanks to everyone who has posted comments about the photos but as many point out, when you have a beautiful subject, it's much easier to get great photographs.

Shin, I've posted a couple of higher res images on my Flickr site and I am happy for people to download and print, if you are:

Deb said...

Hey Guys,
I couldn't get to Phils site so I wrote to him to double check and he missed and "s"

In his own words, Pesky plurals...

So here is the correct one.


Mylinh said...

Shin, you probably know I can't do Photoshop to save myself, is this your polite way of saying no to me!! :).

On Must Do list:
- add hair to Shin's head with my zero photoshop skills, and risk ruining her beautiful face. (NOT!)

Shin said...

Phil-the-Photographer, Mylinh, etc.

No prob with people downloading and printing the photos or adding them to their Blogs. I might be naive in thinking that there's not some cyber-creep out there who might do something weird with the photos, but I'm pretty sure the warnings of my cyber-savvy friends don't apply here.

Anonymous said...

You look gorgeous even without hair, please do not give up hope because there are a lot of people hoping, wishing & praying you get better. x

Tony said...

Phil, thanks so much again. I'm really surprised how these photos have turned out to be so precious to me.

Shin, as always, you are beautiful.

Jin, what a great post.

Jin said...

Josie is clever like her mother! I'm so proud of my sweet little niece I could bust!

I can't wait to squeeze her and Toby - I'm counting down the days!


Larry Sopala said...

Great photos! Roxana took a look at your blog and let me know that these were out there. Take care - we're praying for you! I'll send you some recent photos tonight.
-Larry, Roxana, Alex, Claire & Olivia Sopala

A|iCiA` said...

Blog hopped.
Those pictures were really well-taken, not to add that you're beautiful as well.


Anonymous said...

Dearest Shin, Mark and I have been reading your blog. We think of you, Tony and the kids often, especially during Bring A Fried Week at The Little Gym. We miss you lots and are praying for you. Seeing these pictures just made my day. You look great and I love the last pic with your hand on your heart. That's so you! Hugs & Kisses from Verdayne, Mark, Sonya & Oliver

Jen Kim said...

Beautiful really!

Will try and download the one where you are holding your heart! My favorite.

BTW, I enjoyed the comments, esp about laughter. And yes, Josie is a smart one.

Shin, the tax joke was funny even from :)

Love, Jenny

leighbee said...

I have just had an insight as to how important taking time to stop, look, enjoy and remember is...........

Yesterday I was due a tooth extraction - nothing major (or so I thought!) as always (so it seems!) there were a few complications........mainly due to my MS refusing to send the "anaesthesia messages" to my brain ......... hence after two hours of shere hell my Dentist finally admitted complete defeat and sent me to Mount Alveria for a general anaesthetic! I guess those ramblings aren't important BUT its a background to why today (having to rest) I decided I would try to start painting the portrait I promised I would do for Shin and family.........I finally slowed down my fast revolving world, took out their photo and stopped to look closely at what was before was only now that I realised crawling.......I'm not sure I can do it! Not because I can't paint....Not because I "fear" I won't do the subject justice BUT because of something I was taught in art school....... "Be careful when you try to paint something that appears perfect as you may find you will never create the piece it warrants" I guessed at the time the teacher was referring to a perfectly symmetrical shape or something similar but now I am not sure.........GO ON.......I urge you..........TAKE A GOOD LONG HARD LOOK at Shins family...the love, light and happiness that shines out of EVERYONES eyes is I believe almost impossible to capture? I remember reading a couple of other "posters" on this site said they were hoping to paint her???? If you have started, please let me know how its going! Any tips would be lapped up! For the time being though, I am going to head back to my blank piece of canvas and ponder once more...........!

Mylinh said...

Shin, Thanks for letting me post your beautiful photos. Hang in there babe.

Anonymous said...

I chanced upon yr blog today and as someone with medical background, I was still sadden by the many trials you are going through. I looked for pictures among the words and finally saw your portrait pictures which immediately brought tears to my eyes. Why? For someone who is going through this period of darkness, your light of joy within you has shone through in your pictures. It makes me reflect on the unnecessary anguish as we sweat the small stuff. Soldier on Shin!!You must pull through this!!

Love from Jocelyn Tay