Save money this holiday season by making your own gift tags. I was about to purchase a pack of customized gift tags for P16 EACH TAG. So I decided to make my own. Sharing is caring so here’s one of my creations.. You can access the PDF file below the preview picture. Let me know what you think and maybe I’ll post more printables🙂

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Download the printables here.

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I’ve had black sesame paste and green tea matcha powder that my parents bought in Japan sitting on my kitchen counter for months now. Thank goodness none of them have been opened nor exposed. I used both ingredients in separate ice cream flavors a couple weeks ago and wanted to replicate the flavor profile in a cupcake (still a sucker for them!)

It wasn’t that hard to find a cupcake recipe with this flavor combination but I decided on trying out this one from Delicious Coma. I liked how the recipe used both black sesame paste and toasted black sesame, which I thought would intensify the flavor. I don’t have a spice grinder so I ground the seeds the old fashioned way, with a mortar and pestle. I had to be patient with this step. You can’t grind too much at once or else everything will just go flying out of your mortar.

My tweaks: Nothing with the cupcake recipe. With the green tea cream cheese frosting: I used close to a tablespoon (3 tsp) of green tea powder and lessened the powdered sugar to 1/2 cup. I think this was a good choice. The tang of the cream cheese and the green tea flavor really came through.

Cupcake result: The cupcake was nice and moist but dense. I’m more of a light and fluffy cupcake type of gal (maybe so I can eat more?) From my baking experience, which hasn’t been that long, if you want fluffy and light cupcakes, your batter should be more of the dissolved kind- using vegetable oil instead of butter and incorporating boiled water with milk. Milk was used in the recipe but if you want a richer cupcake, try using buttermilk (always easy to make your own by just adding lemon juice or vinegar to your milk). However, this all depends on the recipe.

It was a pretty decent cupcake in general. Try the recipe out if you can get your hands on these ingredients for an out-of-the-ordinary cupcake experience🙂

After crying my eyes out several times today, I decided that it was time to write a post and share what’s going on with me right now. I always found encouragement in all of your supportive comments whenever I wrote a post and your words help me get through tough situations like this.

I think I spoke too soon and it annoys me to see my last post and how happy I was to share my updates. Where to even begin? Two weeks ago, I had all my tests done to prepare for my follow up appointment for Singapore scheduled last week. I had my cortisol (steroid) levels checked and another MRI. Before leaving for Singapore last Wednesday, I made sure to squeeze in an appointment with my endocrinologist to discuss the results of my tests. As soon as I got my MRI results and read the report, I never knew I could feel like someone in a movie. It was like a scene where everything around you blurs and all you want to do is disappear because you don’t want anybody to see you. It was back. The main line that stuck in my head from the report: “no significant change in size of the mass..” I didn’t know what to feel. I was devastated and frustrated. I went to my appointment with my endocrinologist feeling numb and trying not to show my emotions. To cut the story short, she was also disappointed and just told me to ask my neurosurgeon in Singapore what exactly happened.

Wednesday was a horrible day filled with anxiety as I awaited Thursday, the day of the consultation with Dr. Ang, my neurosurgeon. My cousin joined us at the consultation because she was also not expecting such results. We had so many questions. But I had the biggest question of all, when will this be over? Dr. Ang passed us in the waiting area and asked if he could see the MRI while we were waiting. I knew he was anxious to see us as well since the time that lapsed from the consult of the patient before me seemed fairly short.

The consultation went a little like this. Dr. Ang tells us that he told us of a chance of a recurrence and this type has a high chance of recurring. *My comment: he failed to mention the latter part.. He said it was mostly cystic and that he believes it is not a tumor based on the *inconclusive* biopsy. So he said he drained out the fluid and got the little solid mass that was in there. We ask about the “sac” of the cyst, was it taken out? Dr. Ang said he didn’t take it out because it could have caused more damage. His advise is to observe for any growth, repeat another MRI in about 3-4 months and monitor my vision and hormone levels. There is a chance the mass won’t grow and I can live with this for the rest of my life. But if it does grow, then he will have to operate because then I can lose my peripheral vision and my hormones will also be affected. He said if he will operate a second time, then he will make sure to extract the sac. My cousin kept repeating the question: “Why didn’t you just do that in the first place?”

That question was the one thing that stayed with me and it was only today that it started to sink in. My mom and I saw another neurosurgeon today, Dr. Sabalza. He says he’s the only one in the whole of Makati area who does the endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery. The consultation was very informative. He said that if he were the one who operated, he would have taken out the sac. The life of the mass lies with the sac. So if it wasn’t taken out, then it will really recur. We told him that Dr. Ang said he didn’t take it out because it was detrimental. His response was yes that is true but it doesn’t mean it’s not doable. It can be done with extreme caution. He also said that he believes this is still a tumor since the biopsy was inconclusive and the MRI shows the mass as “enhanced”. Which he says, cysts don’t enhance under contrast MRI.

With everything said, I left his office angry. I started to recollect what happened after the surgery back in Singapore. Dr. Ang telling me that they COMPLETELY removed EVERYTHING. When he obviously did not because he left the sac and never even mentioned that he ran into this complication. He never once mentioned anything about the sac when it is obviously the most important part of the mass! Just imagine a blister. You pop it and squeeze the fluid out. If you leave the skin, the blister comes back. That’s what happened to my mass (I call it a mass because up to this point, nobody knows what it is).

I feel so disappointed and cheated on. I had so much faith in Dr. Ang but he let me down. Right now we are not considering another surgery. It is too soon. I’m due for an eye test tomorrow and another MRI in October/November. It does give me hope to think that this mass might never grow and I can just live with it. But I will live my life like I’m on the edge of my seat. Always wondering if my next MRI will show if it has grown or not. I know I have to be tough and be optimistic. It’s just hard living the rest of my life knowing that there’s that horrible possibility. I posted a question on facebook on how to live a worry free life if you’re given a specific reason to worry.. And I’ve been so encouraged by the responses I got. Thank you all for the continued support! For all of you, I will try to stay strong. You just have to grant me moments of brokenness and this day is one of them. Tomorrow might be better! I leave you guys with this picture my friend told me to check out. It’s easier said than done but when you think about it, it makes sense.

Thanks Des!

Last Saturday, June 9, marked the one month anniversary since my brain tumor operation. Yep, I can’t believe it myself that a month has already passed! I know I promised an update post a while back but I didn’t realize how much time I’ve wasted just thinking about how to lay out all the things I want to share. But no worries, now I can write a whole post about how my month’s been so far. Let’s catch up!

The surgery was done on May 9, Wednesday. It took a total of 4 hours when it was only supposed to take half the time. The reason was a minor complication- a brain fluid leak which is the most common complication so I’ve been told. The ENT doctor who was part of the surgical team explained to me that the leak was only small and that they used existing septum tissue around the area to patch it up. For those of you who know that I was diagnosed with diabetes insipidus (DI), a complication that came about from the tumor formation, it was not healed from the extraction of the mass. The doctors really did not promise for it to go away, an improvement might be plausible and it is currently maintained through medication. After the surgery, I was in the ICA (a tier down from an ICU) for about 2.5 days. That Friday I was moved to general ward to complete the rest of my post-op recovery. It wasn’t a glamorous experience- I was attached to a catheter because they had to measure my urine output to monitor my DI, bedpans, being roomies with 70 year old grannies (who were cute and friendly but snored at night), sharing bathrooms.. Let’s just say it was a huge relief for me to go back home when I was discharged on May 14.

After I was discharged, my mom and I stayed for two more weeks in Singapore since I had some follow-up appointments with doctors to plan out the rest of my recovery period. I didn’t feel any pain whatsoever and the only inconvenience I experienced was some nosebleeds for two days after I left the ward and all the other discomfort I felt from my nose since the operation was transsphenoidal. I wasn’t allowed to blow, sneeze nor cough and I was to breathe only through my mouth. I was also mostly frustrated about not being able to taste anything for a good three weeks.😦

During that two week period I was able to catch up with a lot of my friends from high school who now work in Singapore. On our last week, my brother/fellow AFS blogger, Frank arrived for his three month internship with Exxon Mobil. There was a lot of shopping, sightseeing and eating involved, which we will both write posts on soon!

I was only back in Manila for about a week and I was already off to Seoul! This trip was originally scheduled in May but was postponed due to my surgery. It was 5 more days of shopping, sightseeing and eating (probably what seems like the only activities I’ve been doing lately) with the parents. So the bags are all unpacked again and won’t be used for a while until July when I have to go back to Singapore for yet another round of check-ups.

Whew! I know. That was a lot wasn’t it.

What now??

The biopsy is still inconclusive since the doctors had very little solid mass to work with. So what could have caused this? Who knows! As hard as my mom wants to blame it on my “partying ways”, the doctor said it could have been anything. It’s like cancer.. we don’t really know the cause and we don’t know if we ever will. It can be anything from diet, to stress, to radiation from cellphones, to pollution and second hand smoking. ANYTHING. All that I learned from this is that I have to live a balanced life as much as I can. And I actually thought I was already.. So please, take my advice and just try to keep healthy!

I know I said I might be getting my masters sometime soon but I’m putting that plan on hold. I’m back in the province working again. I want to show my family how grateful I am for all their support that’s why I’m putting my family’s needs first before my own. And while we’re on the subject, I just wanted to thank EVERYONE again for being there for me. I was completely surprised and overwhelmed with all of you who showed their care and concern for me during this ordeal. From friends and family who sent me messages on Facebook, to my AKPsi brothers back at U of I who even raised money to show their support.. I know I must sound repetitive, but you all left me speechless and so touched by your thoughtfulness. Just goes to show that no matter what, there will be people who care about you, regardless of the distance and how often you keep in touch. You are all such a blessing!

I’ve been seeing more and more people since I got back and the whole experience has been so surreal. People who don’t know me or didn’t know what I just went through won’t even be able to tell that I was diagnosed with a brain tumor and just had surgery. I look perfectly fine. The only evidence I have from the experience is a small scar hidden deep in the confines of my right nostril. Sometimes I can’t help but think silly thoughts like I don’t feel special anymore. Gone are the days that people gave me care and attention since my diagnosis. But I bring myself back to a better reality that I am even more special having survived this trial in my life. Only at 24 years old and I’ve already conquered so many challenges. I know this is just the beginning of many more to come. Every step creates a stronger me and now I can say I am ready more than ever🙂

I leave you with some pictures from my stay in Singapore. Pictures taken after the operation.

Dinner with friends at Mario Batali’s Mozza

With the BEST mom in the world! At Wee Nam Kee Chicken Rice

My two little monsters- my nephews Alexios and Ellis @ Clarke Quay

I have to admit I am a bit nervous. It’s been almost two months since I discovered that I have this brain tumor and it has been a roller coaster ride of a journey. Emotionally, I was scared and shocked at first. I obsessed over getting to know more about my condition through research and consultations with doctors. It became a way to cope with the fear because being more knowledgeable about it made the negative feelings subside. Physically, I am tired. After going to all the several doctors, back and forth between Manila and Singapore, I’m just glad that it’s all finally going to be over.

My parents and I arrived in Singapore last Wednesday. We met with my neurosurgeon, Dr. Ang the next day. I was glad that my parents became less worried about everything. It was then that they understood why I chose to have the surgery done in Singapore- Dr. Ang is well known in his field and SGH is a very reputable hospital where they know I will be well taken cared of.  On Friday, we met with an endocrinologist, Dr. Kek. He gave me signs of hope regarding my diabetes insipidus (DI) that it might be cured after the surgery, but no promises. This may require a miracle because the tumor already caused some damage to my posterior pituitary. The question now lies with whether the damage can be treated or heal overtime. It has been so bothersome to live with this disease, to feel so thirsty and urinate every so often.

Along with the consultation with Dr. Kek, my pre-admission tests were done last Friday as well. It was a whole morning affair, several blood tests and scans were administered just to make sure that I’m fit for surgery. Lastly, I met with my anesthetist where she interviewed me on my medical history and drug allergies. She also briefed me on what to expect for the surgery. As I knew of specific risks from my actual surgery (transsphenoidal), she added on to the list more of the common risks that come with any type of surgery. I wouldn’t want to worry you all with these as the chances of these happening are small with my surgery being non invasive.

An hour or two ago, I was trying to help my 6 year old nephew (my cousin’s son) go to sleep. Ellis kept holding my hand and didn’t want to let go. I realized that he was sad that he knew I was leaving to stay at the hospital for a couple of days. My cousin made up this story to tell him and his 8 year old brother that I have this seed (tumor) in my head and that I needed an operation to get it out or else I will turn into a fruit head! Ellis would put his hand on my forehead and feel for the “seed” but I told him that only the doctor can find it so he just had to pray for me. A while ago, I knew Ellis was worried for me. And I realized it was then that I felt legitimately scared.

I’ve come up with a list of things to look forward to for me to think more positively:

  1. Becoming an auntie to my brother and sister-in-law’s first child, Fiona Lynn
  2. Maybe going back to school to get my masters
  3. Being able to bake again
  4. Going out to see my friends without my parents worrying so much (had a 10.30pm curfew imposed since I’ve been diagnosed- would love to spend more time with friends once I’m better. I only had one weekend of rebellion before I left for Singapore when I went home at 2am *Shhh…*)
  5. Wearing the clothes I bought the other day so I can feel pretty🙂
  6. Writing a legit food post on this blog, no more medical posts!
  7. My little brother’s return- I’m going to have my best friend and eating partner back!

Some of these things may not be huge things to look forward to (okay, maybe just #5). But they are important enough for me to stay strong and think positively. Even though my surgery is non invasive, it is still surgery (my first ever) and it is surgery for my brain. These things on this list and of course the people in my life really help me survive each day. No words can describe how much I appreciate every thought and prayer you all have given me! I know I will get through this because of all of you. THANK YOU!

I know a lot of you have been wondering what happened at my appointment last Thursday. My cousin, who I’m staying with, was the one who recommended that I get a check up in Singapore. She said Singapore is well renowned for their research in neuroscience, that they even have an institute that focuses on exactly that- the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI). NNI then paired me up with a neurosurgeon, Dr. Ang, with whom I had my consultation.

My appointment was actually at the Singapore National Eye Center (SNEC), which is part of the whole Singapore General Hospital (SGH) campus. The whole campus is huge, with each department having its own building or ‘block’. The SNEC building was very impressive, about six levels, all devoted to eyes! Since it was a public hospital, it is very unlikely that walk-ins are welcome, all patients must come in with an appointment. I’ve never experienced such efficient processes for a consultation (compared to my experience in Manila where it’s usually a first come first serve basis or also with an appointment but you still end up waiting for hours because the doctors come in late!). You come in, get a number for registration, soon a nurse calls your name for pre-consult check-ups. Since it was an eye center, eye checks were done. Then they let you wait for your turn for the consultation. The whole process only took an hour at most, including the consultation (in Manila, I usually wait about 30-45 minutes before I get my vitals checked then another hour or so for my consult..).

Now for the consultation. My tita of course was with me, never leaving my side. I tried not to show her that I was actually nervous because then she would worry about me. So I go in with clammy hands but with spirits aiming high. Dr. Ang then requests to see my MRI images via DVD discs that I brought from home. As I look at the images, which is obviously not the first time for me, I am taken back to reality. I sometimes forget that I have this tumor. Luckily, it hasn’t caused me any pain, well aside from the complication it brought- my diabetes insipidus. But other than that, nothing. No severe headaches and no blurring of vision. I’m actually very thankful that I haven’t experienced any of these. So I look at the images and there it is.. my brain tumor, about the size of a coin.

Dr. Ang explains to me the images and the current situation. I try to follow him, almost predicting what he would say as I’ve heard the same explanation before and I’ve done my research. He would explain to me in layman’s terms but I would follow it up using medical terms. At some point he had to ask me if I was in the medical field, I laughed saying no and that I’ve just been reading so much about my condition.

I liked that everything was pretty much consistent. All the things he said were also what doctors back home told me. He asked if the other doctors suspect it was something else aside from a pituitary adenoma. I didn’t want to give him any hints and I was curious to hear what he had to say. He said the tumor could actually be another type: a craniopharyngioma. This is also a benign tumor. I didn’t tell him I was already told of this probable diagnosis when I had a consult with one of the heads of neurosurgery in the Philippines- Dr. Mercado of Cardinal Santos.

Another issue worth noting is the black shadow or debris near the tumor. Before I left, another neuro from home, a friend of my tita’s, recommended to have my second MRI done because of this discovery. The debris is in question whether it is blood (that could be a hemorrhage) or proteinous fluid. I was told to get lots of bed rest before getting my second MRI done to see if any changes would occur. I believe it was still there but its form was inconclusive.

The good news: whether it is a pituitary tumor or a craniopharyngioma OR if the debris is a hemorrhage or proteinous fluid, there’s just one way to find out and that is through the transsphenoidal surgery. This was another thing I was glad about that was consistent with what the doctors back home recommended as the form of treatment.

Surgery really was the answer compared to the other types of treatment:

1) oral medication- this would have been suitable if my hormone levels were abnormal but since they’re normal, this treatment would only complicate things further.

2) radiation- since the diagnosis is inconclusive, radiation is not recommended. Dr. Ang explained that radiation wouldn’t even get rid of the tumor, it would just stop it from growing. My tumor’s position is near the optic nerve, which explains why the doctors are observing my vision so closely. The significance of this when considering radiation is that it could further harm my optic nerve. Therefore, my vision might not get affected by the tumor if radiation was performed but then it could still damage my optic nerve- so this was not the procedure for my condition.

Two choices were given to me: get the surgery anytime I was ready or observe for another 3 months and perform another round of tests to see any progress or changes. I told Dr. Ang that the latter was definitely out of the question. I really don’t want to wait any longer to experience other complications. I mean, was I going to wait until I get severe headaches, until my hormones go haywire or until I go blind?? Obviously not.

So it was surgery time. Now the choice was between getting it done in Singapore or Manila. Dr. Ang was gracious enough to praise our doctors back home saying I could get it done there because we have really good doctors. But then he talked to me about the risks of the surgery:
1) brain fluid leakage- wherein they would need to get skin from my thigh to fill the cavity to prevent any leakage
2) bacteria from the nasal passageway ascending to the brain causing meningitis
3) further damage to the pituitary gland, affecting overall hormonal function
4) further damage to the optic nerve, which would affect my vision

Dr. Ang emphasized that my age and the position of this tumor that makes the diagnosis inconclusive are factors to consider for surgery. At such a young age, the surgery should be done because we don’t want any damage to happen to my vision. If the tumor grows, it would eventually cut my vision in half, causing bitemporal hemianopsia. He was basically saying that since I’m only 24 years old, it would be a shame if my vision was already affected hereon and for the rest of my life.

There was only one surgeon I would have wanted to perform the surgery if I decide to get it in Manila and it was Dr. Mercado. However, he explained his technique which involved an incision under the lip to enter the nasal passageway. I wasn’t quite sure I was comfortable with this. So I asked Dr. Ang and he said that was the traditional way of doing the procedure but they don’t do that anymore. It is done endoscopically straight through the nose. With the risks explained and no other surgeons from home I would consider performing it, I decided to tell my parents that I’d prefer getting the surgery done in Singapore.

Since there is no need for immediate surgery, my parents decided that I would go back home and wait for their return on April 22 from Europe and we would all go back together next month for the surgery. Even though my family asked about the cost of the surgery in Singapore to compare with how much it would cost if done in Manila, I felt warmth in my heart when they told me that cost is really not an issue- that wherever I want it done is up to me and they supported me with my decision. I had no words to explain how loved I felt at that moment since the surgery in Singapore will cost a lot of money, a pretty significant difference from the cost back home.

So there you go. That’s the latest update. I’m hoping to catch a flight home tomorrow, Tuesday. I will be making a lot of calls to finalize some things before I leave. Details I know so far about the surgery:

-Surgery will be in May, first or second week
-I need to be back the week before the surgery for pre-surgery check ups, just to confirm that I’m fit for surgery
-Dr. Ang will perform the surgery
-Will be performed at the Singapore General Hospital theater surgery room
-Surgery shouldn’t take more than 4hrs
-I will be completely sedated during the surgery
-Surgery to recovery period will last 7-10 days
-I will be at the ICU for 1-2 days after the surgery then I will be confined for the rest of the recovery period
-I will have to ask how long after the recovery period at the hospital is needed before I can travel (to go back to Manila) and other additional costs (like having a companion stay with me at the hospital, etc.)

If you have any other questions you’d like to ask me about my consultation and the surgery, feel free to write a comment below!🙂

It’s officially Good Friday. As this is usually the time for reflection and prayer (or vacation?), I decided to share some thoughts on faith and religion. I know. Such a touchy topic. But really, there’s no better time. I promise it’s nothing too heavy though. And I know this was supposed to be a food blog. However, when I created the name appetite for sanity, this blog was meant to be an outlet for me (and now my brother as well) to keep our sanity intact. I’ve always thought a lot about things but kept a number to myself, so now’s a rare moment to be generous.

If you’ve read my post about my current medical condition, then good, you’re up to speed. As someone who obsesses about finding reasons to why things happen or turn out the way they do, I make sure to come up with at least two or three answers. Why do I even do this? I find the reason for my success to make sure I keep up what I did to achieve it or improve on what I’ve done so I can get somewhere else better. I believe we can always do better than where we are now- continuous improvement, “kaizen”. On the other hand, if the outcome was not in my favor (let’s say a tumor..) then I think about what I could’ve done differently. A natural feeling of hopelessness is an immediate reaction but I give myself a slap to realize that changes can be made if the willingness is there.

Things have a funny way of perfectly aligning that when you realize it, you understand that there was a purpose. Was it coincidental that my tumor was discovered during Lent? Maybe, we really don’t know and can never be sure. It’s been years since I’ve lost my way. Spiritually, I am impaired but am not beyond repair. I still believe in God. There are just some aspects about my religion that I don’t agree with anymore. I have personal reasons that made me question my faith. But since the discovery of my tumor, I’ve had some time to think and evaluate the possible causes for my fate.

I finally had to admit to myself that I’ve been silently angry all these years. I started thinking that praying was such a selfish action. We always prayed whenever we wanted something. Physically, I would attend church but I would not be spiritually present. I also believe that when we accomplish something, we did it through our own merits, not through any holy intercession. So many other thoughts have been flooding my head that I knew I was secretly and silently holding a protest against my own faith. Why in secret? My mom. She must be one of the most religious people I know. She already is disappointed that I didn’t take a liking for the religious practices of constant prayer and adoration. It would break her heart if she knew just how lost I’ve been.

If you think I’ve gone on a tangent, please bear with me, I promise it will all tie together. So yes, a reason and purpose for everything and anything can be changed if we want to. My tumor, was it a call for me to return to my faith? I decided this could be a possibility.

The usual and all too familiar emotion of frustration and anger kicked in when my mom and so many other people kept telling me to pray for my speedy recovery. That anything can be solved through prayer. I was stubborn for so long, fighting the temptation to give in because I knew praying would be my declaration of defeat. But more than frustration and anger, weakness overpowered me. I’ve honestly been feeling helpless which I’ve kept hidden from so many people throughout this ordeal. I’m not the type to make people worry about me so I put up a front and act like nothing really bothers me but I do crack like any other person with emotion. Since I can’t bear worrying the people I care about any further, I knew there was only one way to deal.

For those of you who slightly agreed to my belief that people pray so much more when they need something and are probably thinking I’m such a hypocrite for starting to pray only because of my condition, well in a way, yes consider me a hypocrite. However, I’d like to think my prayers are constructed differently. 1) I pray for the people I love. They’re not the ones diagnosed with this brain tumor, but I pray that everything does get better so that they don’t worry about me anymore. I pray that they be given strength so that through them I feel stronger. 2) I pray to thank for the people in my life. I noticed that I’ve started loathing myself for being such a burden to everyone. My immediate family has been so supportive. I couldn’t ask for another group of people to call my own. But a Europe trip was already planned out almost a year before I was diagnosed. I wouldn’t have wanted them to cancel everything so my relatives stepped in to make sure that I would be attended to while they are away. My tita who accompanied me here to Singapore and my cousin who opened her home to me have been such a blessing. So I stopped giving myself a pity party and digested the fact that people don’t think I’m a burden, I’m just being loved and cared for.

I promise I’m almost done! It hasn’t been too heavy has it? Thank you to those who took the time and interest in reading this whole post. These are just some of the thoughts that have been running through my head the past several weeks. I still cringe a bit when I think about prayer because I honestly don’t feel I’m worthy of such a privilege. I do consider it a privilege because I always thought you had to be a certain person who met certain standards to be able to do such a powerful action. But I still remember what I’ve learned from my religion classes, that everyone was born with original sin so hey, nobody’s perfect. Prayer is still for everyone. So taking each day one at a time, I find that slowly, I’m trying to find my way back. I’ve decided I’m keeping the faith.🙂

P.S. I had my first appointment with the doctor here in Singapore yesterday. I will write a follow up post on the latest updates.

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