Saturday, December 16, 2017

When Health Problem Strikes In: Part 5 - Realizations in Life

         I was planning to delete this blog after I found out that I have cancer. I realize that it would be senseless and irrelevant to pursue my financial advocacy in this blog with the current condition that I have today. But I also realize that I need to release some thoughts running in my head after the operation and this blog is a perfect platform for it since it has been my witness in all the trials and difficulties I've experienced for the past four years. Here are some thoughts I'd like to share here:

1. Trust God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

          I have a classmate who has been my constant guidance from the day I met her in TUP and until now. She was calling after the operation but I was constantly rejecting her calls, and texted her that I am not prepared to talk to her. Like I said, I was kind of rebellious that day but after few days she visited me in our house.
         " I was crying to her and I told her my sentiments -- "Bakit binigay ng Diyos sa akin to' Ate Marl, alam mo kung gaano ako ka-pessimistic sa buhay noon, kung kelan ako naging positibo, di bumitaw sa pagsubok at nangarap ngayon pa nangyari to...Ang sagot lang nya sa akin ---Kasi mas matatag ka ngayon kesa noon, hindi ka nya bibigyan ng pagsubok noon kasi di mo pa kaya pero ngayon alam ng Diyos na kakayanin mo na."
          "Ate, parang nawala lahat ng pangarap ko, naka-graduate nga ako ng college at nakapasa sa board exam pero ang haharapin kong pagsubok ngayon "Cancer" naman... At sabi ni Ate Marl, "Umasa ka at magtiwala ka ng lubos sa Diyos at wag sa sarili mong talino at kalakasan." Yan ang gustong mangyari at mabago ng Diyos sa yo."
         Her words enlighten me. I've been too focused with my goals and my worries as well that I forgot that God is the one who's in control of my life and I should trust and rely on HIM completely.

2. We all have the same destiny. (Ecclesiates 9:2)

          The first doctor who first examined and suggested that I should undergo an operation asap paid me a visit after my operation and her words marked in my head. These are her words:
          "Hija, How are you? So your ultrasound is right. Be strong and don't be sad. 
We all have the same destiny. We are all destined to die. The moment we were born, we are also destined to die in the future. No one is exempted, not even the doctors. We just don't know when and how, but the why or our "purpose here on earth" will determine the length of your stay here.
You now have your own battle. A battle you have to fight and win. Know your purpose and fight cancer. Believe me you will have a different perspective in life after you win this battle.

3. Family and friends are gift from God.
         True enough "No man is an island" and prove that it is true while I was recovering.
          First, confinement in a charity ward wasn't really bad. I was surrounded by seven patients, three of them just gave birth so I am surrounded by three angels who cries alternately at night. It helped me a lot not to feel so alone while I was trying recover there. During daytime, we talk and share our experiences in recovering, we try to console one another if someone is crying and misses their family and we also had fun when someone is sharing some stories, pictures of their kids and family to us. Well, the only disadvantage there is their strict rules in visiting hours but aside from that disadvantage I will still prefer to be confined in a charity ward.
          Second, it was only there that I realize how lucky I am to have a family. It was during the lowest moment in life when your family will definitely steps in not just an act of obligation but an act of love and concern. I really felt that - my kuya who has been constantly monitoring me, giving me a light massage, putting socks on my feet and assisting whenever I want to sit, stand or walk, our bunso who stays at night to watch over me even if he has a job in the morning, my younger brother who gave financial help to me, comforts me and tells me not to worry too much and my mother, who gave an utmost care to me - that time I felt so special, the kind of feeling I never felt before. Well, I used to pretend that I am the strongest in the family and now that I am weakest they gave their full support to me.
        Yes, our family and friends are the living proof sent by God to help us in our most difficult days of our lives.

4. Listen to your body and prioritize your health.
        Based on an article I read last week, "ovarian cancer" is a silent killer. All the symptoms are common - fatigue, back pain, pelvic pain, loss of appetite, weight loss and frequent urination but I ignore it thinking that they are after effects of my hard work. Another thing, my kuya who has a background on reflexology was constantly telling me that the nodules I felt on my sole foot is a sign that I have a problem on reproductive system but I also ignore his warning. I also ignore the importance of monitoring - two years ago I found out that my cyst on my left ovary was gone but after that I become too complacent that miss my schedule in ultrasound and pasmear so when the cyst on my left ovary grew again it is now malignant. Have I had a regular check up every six months, I would have prevented the growth of this malignant cyst.

Note: Have a regular check up, ultrasound and papsmear every six month not annually. I've talked to one of the patient in the charity ward and she told me that she has a regular check up annually but after a year her cyst came back and grew bigger that she had to undergo operation again.

5. People are more important than material things.
        I love going to the malls. I love looking at the display of expensive bags and clothes dreaming that one day I'd be able to wear them, ( I just dream of it anyway, no plans on buying them). I love looking at the furnitures, appliances and house decors thinking that in few years I'd be able to buy them and put them in my newly renovated house (one of my dream goal too). Everyone will agree with me that the world is full of material stuffs and people are being too materialistic today. I'm one of the guilty ones but after the surgical operation my attitude towards these material stuffs changed. They became irrelevant to me. I realized that people around me are more important than those material stuffs and would prefer to spend time with them instead of having those things. Believe me, you wont be able to think of those material things if your lying on a hospital bed.

         These are some of the realization I can share for now and hope that it can help others to appreciate their life more.

Just in the mood for sharing.
Have a great day! God Bless and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

When Health Problem Strikes In: Part 4 - Recovery and Release


          Recovery after the operation was difficult. I was trying so hard to accept my present condition mentally but I am so weak physically. "Nahihilo, nanginginig, nasusuka, sinisikmura at kumakabog ang dibdib" -- it was really alarming to experience those feelings and so I asked the doctor who's in-charge that day,..and he answered, "Mam, after effects po ng anaesthesia yan, nasa katawan nyo pa kasi yung tira." And the suggestion was to move, to drink water and urinate as frequent as possible to flash out the remaining meds inside my body. "Bukod sa hirap kang bumangon at nahihilo pa, hirap kayang umihi ng bagong opera." I know those who had a cesarian operation will definitely agree with me. Funny because after operation you need to do these three important things - "Umihi, Umutot at Tumae" before the doctor can approve your release.

        While I was recuperating I realize how delicate and connected our body is. In every simple gestures that I do it I felt the pain and reaction on the affected part of my body. "Sa simpleng paghigop ng tubig, pag-nguya at paglunok ng pagkain, pigil na pag-inat at paghikab, pag-ngiti, pag-iyak at pagtawa, at lalo ang pagbahing at pigil na pigil na pag-ubo -- lahat konektado sa katawan natin apektado." Really amazing - how God was able to create a sturdy and durable body we have on the outside but a soft and delicate one on the inside.


          Three days after the operation, finally I was able to "fart" six times but before that they administered a suppository first on the second day to help me release that "fart" and that gave the doctor's approval to finally sign my release. The hospital bill went up to P94,239.48 (no doctor's fee included since I am under social service) and went down to P 79,853.66 (less another discount from social service) but still my mother doesn't have enough money on hand to pay for it. There was only an approximate P20k plus  left from the P55k I withdraw for my operation (Note: I already gave an initial P30k downpayment  before I was admitted). My Philhealth was not credited also since they require a minimum of 3 months contribution to qualify for their benefit (Note: I started my voluntary contribution last October 30 only). So my mother had to beg again to the social service but they require me to stay again in that ward for another three days for further investigation I think. But I told my mother that I cannot stay another night anymore, good thing my younger brother was able to produce the remaining amount. And finally I was home December 4 at 8pm and I was so happy to be with my family again especially with my two cuties - baby Sam and Kenji.

Note: Don't be like me, prioritize your Philhealth contribution even if you don't have a job. Take note that you need a minimum of three to six months contribution before you can use your Philhealth benefits in your hospitalization needs.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

When Health Problem Strikes In: Part 3 - Operation and Findings


        December 1, the day I faced my fear. I was brought to the operating room at 10am and the operation lasted for almost seven hours. Yes, I was in the operating room for almost seven hours and damn I woke up twice during the operation, "nagising, nakita at nadinig ko sila habang inooperahan ako". I was trying to voice out something but they couldn't hear but I managed to move my hands and the anaesthesiologist saw and gave me another shot to get me to sleep again. And when I woke up, I asked the nurse, is it total? and she nodded. I was brought out of the operating room and my cousin who is a nurse in that hospital assisted me and I asked her, " Ate, total ba?... Oo ging, total -nag rapture e? I saw my mother and my brothers from afar because my cousin won't allow them to go near me because I might cry which is bad for someone who had undergone an operation.

         Though there were patients around me in that charity ward that night still I felt so alone and lonely. I have no complaints with regards to the services and facilities in that charity ward but one of the disadvantages there is that no relative or visitor is allowed inside especially at night except for the visiting hours (5pm to 6pm & 11am to 12pm. I wanted to cry but managed to control it. While everyone was asleep my mind is wandering, flashing back all the mistakes and memories that I had before. There's no one to talk to but to God alone - asking Him what I have done wrong or what I should give up again. Honestly, I was kind of rebellious that night because I knew there was something wrong with me that's why it took seven hours to finish the operation but I also knew that there's a reason or purpose why I am still alive. I wanted the presence of my family especially my mother but I had no choice but to pray that the time will pass by quickly so I can see my family.


          I managed to get some sleep and when I woke up my brother/bunso's already beside me and he asked me, what I want? I just smile (since I can't still move) and tell him, "dyan ka lang muna" and I hold his hands but after few minutes the nurse announced about the visiting hours so I told my brother to just go outside and have his breakfast.

         And then the doctor came,..."Miss. Grace, kumusta ka? nangalay ang paa ko kahapon, ang tagal natin, then I smiled and she continued, "I have to be honest to you, malignant yung cyst sa left ovary mo and nakadikit pa sya sa uterus mo so kailangan kong tanggalin lahat pati yung mga kulane sa paligid", Initially, nasa stage 1c yung cyst mo pero yung kalat nya we still need to find out about it."

       And so I have cancer but I don't have reaction when the doctor explained it to me.I just don't know what to think and what to say. I felt so helpless and senseless good thing my mother arrive and somehow I felt like a little child again. The nurse advice me to move my body little by little and my mother assisted me. Really thankful that my mother was there, her presence at least gave me some comfort while trying to process what the doctor have said.

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