Photos: Teo Sijia
Video: Tay Yixuan
“I didn’t take my thyroid medication for half a year," revealed Julie Tan, "When I went to the doctor, he told me that my heart could have failed because of that.”
The actress, who suffers from Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (an autoimmune problem), is experiencing a flare-up of her medical condition which, we learned, is caused by infrequent consumption of medication which she is required to take on a daily basis.
She recently posted a video of her receiving an injection for her thyroid problem and expressed regret over her "willful" ways during an interview with Toggle, at the press conference of upcoming Channel 8 drama, Peace & Prosperity, on Thursday afternoon.
Despite showing symptoms of the illness ("being in a bad mood, easily agitated and weight fluctuations"), Julie shared that she could not connect with these tell-tale signs and attributed it to her role, Zi Hong, Peace & Prosperity. She only decided to go for a checkup when a friend asked after her and alerted the actress to her fluctuating emotions.
"My character in the drama is emotional and very energetic," she explained, "That made it hard for me to control my own emotions [in real life] as well."
Having gained a deeper understanding of Chinese medicine through Peace & Prosperity, the actress says she is currently looking into using traditional Chinese medicine to relieve her sickness.
The young starlet also shared that she hopes to raise awareness on "the importance of being healthy" among her young followers when she posted the video of her injection. “A lot of us eat and drink whatever we want and stay up all night, thinking that our bodies are strong and that we can take it.
"But illnesses are usually developed over a period of time. So please, take good care of yourselves while you’re still young, or you might regret it when you fall sick, like me," she implored.
The 23-year-old added that both her mother and her boyfriend have been kept in the dark on the extent and severity of her thyroid sickness until recently. "When my mum sees this article, she’ll probably nag at me," she laughed.
As for her boyfriend, Julie only told him about her condition yesterday, explaining that she "did not dare to tell him about it" as he was busy with work. Now that he is in the know, he reminds the actress to take her medicine daily.
(Continued on next page)
Speaking of her boyfriend, who is 11 years her senior, Julie revealed that they will be going on a short break together next week and will be flying to Melbourne, Australia to attend a friend’s wedding.
This will be the couple's first overseas trip together and she’s looking forward to it for more than one reason, said Julie.
Her boyfriend had lived in Melbourne for over ten years and she hopes to learn more about his life there through this trip. She also hopes to know more about his daily habits and quirks, "from where he puts his toothbrush to whether he makes his bed after he wakes up."
“In a relationship, while you might know his personality, you might not know his habits... A few of the married couples I know have shared that they tend to quarrel because of small issues like not making the bed after they wake up," she added.
Apart from bonding "intimately" with her onscreen sisters, Julie revealed that she also has heart-to-heart talks with veteran actress and onscreen mum, Xiang Yun, who has been married for 26 years to former actor Edmund Chen. Julie also learned through her that "tolerance is needed" in all relationships.
“Actually during this period of time, I not only learnt about acting from her, but also about relationships – that’s why I think I really gained a lot through this drama."
Peace and Prosperity debuts April 4, 7.30 pm on Channel 8; watch it now on Toggle-It-First