by The Dreamcatcher Team

Welcome, reader, to the first redesigned issue of The Dreamcatcher, a quarterly publication for the National University Hospital’s peer group for youths living with varied forms of childhood chronic illnesses.

When we were first approached by the hospital’s social work department to put out an issue of essays and opinions by the end of October, we knew it was going to be a monumental task to turn an in-house newsletter into a professional publication over a short period.

We thought optimistically about the potential of a publication like this. Today, we envision the ideal role a socially conscious publication could play in our society, to serve the greater good of improving the lives of people living with chronic illnesses and of people living with mobility issues.

Art remedy

By Agnes Tung

A single table leg supported by a medical gauze, catheters and syringes that branch into medical bills folded into roses, and pills that form a back-lit world map highlighting personal dream destinations around the globe.

For six days in July, the gallery space of Sculpture Square at Middle Road was the playground to the hopes, dreams and abstract creativity of chronically ill patients like me from the National University Hospital’s (NUH) Dreamcatchers project. Our canvas? Medical instruments at the centre of our lives and conditions that were turned into 18 featured artworks at the event.

Sprinting to recovery

by Mark Goh

They’ve gone through life-threatening illnesses and complicated surgeries. Yet today, they’re sprinting across finishing lines, spiking points, serving aces and scoring strikes.

From 28 July to 4 August, I had the chance with Team Singapore to compete against hundreds of athletes from around the world in Durban, South Africa, all competing at the highest possible level at The World Transplant Games 2013. What set us apart from many athletes is another triumph we’ve achieved in our lives - that of completing life-saving organ transplants.

And then someone special comes along

by Tan Swee Heng

I’ve had moments of difficulty growing up, a life fraught with droughts of confidence and floods of depression.

When I was born on that difficult 27th day of January in 1988, doctors had to cut open my mother’s tummy because of an abnormality in my head, only to diagnose me with spina bifida. A few months later, they had to put a shunt in my head to drain fluid.

The show's over, I'm not from Mars

by Agnes Tung

We’ve all been judged, intentionally or unintentionally. It’s normal. Many people are judged immediately on their physical appearance alone, and whatever is “normal” has a varying degree from person to person.

But for me, being wheelchair-bound, do I really have to feel under all those judging eyes like I’m from Mars?

At 19, I was diagnosed with bone cancer, and I’ve been wheelchair-bound since. I’m not looking for pity and I really don’t care much for the comments and whispers. I just want to feel like less of a sideshow.

Even in illness, rewards are to be gained

by Sarah Tan

Everything happens for a reason, and I would have been better off without this “end-stage kidney failure”. I would have been better off without the arsenal of medication. I would have been better off without my dialysis.

It would have saved me and my family the trouble, let alone, the financial burden. Everything costs money and needless to say, my illness, with its long receipt of treatments and medications, just piles on the costs.

The People Behind the Smiles

by the Editorial Team

Behind the smiles and determination of recovering patients of either acute or chronic medical conditions are a handful of career professionals who act as pillars of support.

It’s not exactly an enviable career for Singapore’s medical social workers (MSW) in an economy where the rising cost of living and goods force many to prioritise monetary gains when picking their first job.