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Posts Tagged ‘health’


We are all on the alert. Every time there is a storm signal here in Metro Manila, I feel so insecure. There was a time when I used to appreciate the rain when it gently pours and makes the green countryside even greener and fresher. Our experience with typhoon Ondoy almost five years ago changed all that.  Glenda is the seventh storm signal this year. Most of the provinces in Luzon are affected by this latest weather disturbance, we are under storm signal number 2. I am praying it won’t bring so much rain that would cause flash flood in Metro Manila.

There is this quote that I’ve often read and pondered about  for a long time now and it was even made into a lot of internet meme. It’s from Vivian Green (sorry, I don’t know  much about her except through this quote)  and it says:

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Yesterday, I celebrated my 5th year in remission.  It’s really one good reason to celebrate and to offer it in thanksgiving . I thank God for all the blessings and graces. As I’ve always said in my previous blog posts, this blog exists because I wanted to share my journey as a cancer patient/survivor. The first two years of this blog were almost about my everyday experiences going to and from the hospital, weekly lab tests and the pain and anguish of having to undergo chemotherapy every three weeks. Miracles do happen in our everyday life and it is always a blessing to wake up each morning seeing the sun and the day’s unfolding. We are richly blessed by the love and care of family and friends, just sometimes, we forget to appreciate what we have and take everything for granted. I am always of the thought that life is one lovely journey despite the odds and the pain it brings us now and then. I am looking forward to a new day despite the storm.  I love this beautiful quote from the late Maya Angelou.

IMG_6123

 

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I knew that I won’t go back to being 100% fit the first time I heard the word “cancer” more than four years ago.  I have enough of hospital and doctor visits so I gave up visiting one. A month ago, I felt an excruciating pain on my left knee so I have to look for a doctor near our place and it was my first time to visit a government hospital. Consultation is free of course but there are charges for laboratory tests. Compared to private hospitals, they charge a bit lower than the normal rate. It turned out I have gout and I have to take medications for three months before I go back there again.  Visiting doctors and hospitals always reminds me of the ordeal I went through when I was having chemotherapy.

Last Sunday, I underwent Quantum Resonance Magnetic Analysis. The QRMA is a rapid (it only takes a minute), accurate, non-invasive testing method. “The main analysis items are over 30, including cardiovascular and cerebrovascular condition, bone mineral density, trace elements, blood lead, rheumatism, lung and respiratory tract, nephropathy, blood sugar, stomach and intestines, liver and gall, cranial nerves, gynecology, prostate, bone disease, the trace elements of selenium, iron, zinc and calcium, etc.”  Suffice to say, I need to have a detox for three days and have to change my diet and eat more fruits and vegetables. I’ve been so careful with  my diet since I had surgery for  colon cancer so I’ve wondered why there are still so many health risks that need to be addressed. It is so frustrating to know that  despite being so careful about it all, the results are not good.  Lack of calcium intake when I was a kid contributed to the weak bones that affect me now. I don’t drink milk  and I never like its taste and mom used to say that I was completely breastfed as a baby. I could tolerate milk products though as long as it is not pure milk. 

The things you do to stay healthy but then how sure are we that the things we eat nowadays are free from chemicals that ravage our bodies? Even fruits and vegetables are not safe unless they are locally grown in your own backyard.

Health is wealth so they say and I agree.

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Last Christmas, my daughter gifted me with a lovely glass infusion bottle and told me I can use it every day for whatever veggies and fruits I would like to use. I’ve been using it ever since.

water infusion

The first time I encountered the healthy benefits of water infusion was during our visit at Regina RICA in Tanay, Rizal two years ago. The Dominican sisters who manage the place had a big jug of water infused with some herbs which tasted so refreshing. I forgot what it was but that introduced me to an alternative way to drink water instead of just pouring it in a glass. I haven’t actually researched on the health benefits of water infusion but some of my friends say it is healthy. I found this site which featured lemon as its ingredient.  Interesting read,  lemon is used not just to flavor your drinks but  it adds more benefits.  I’ve tried combining celery stalks with cucumber and it was great. For some of us who are conscious of  our health (not getting any younger) and would love to try an alternative way to stay well, this is it.  You can use fresh herbs or fruits like lemon, oranges, lime, mint and other fruits available in the market.

  • orange
  • lemon
  • lime
  • grapefruit
  • cucumber
  • mint
  • orange
  • lemon
  • lime
  • grapefruit
  • cucumber
  • mint

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thnaks

Sometimes, you  walk through life full of anguish and pain but those are same moments when you realize that you are stronger than most, that you could face life and all its challenges because you are one blessed soul.

I do remember and I feel grateful and blessed today. Thank You for making me realize that the past four years of being in remission is  Your way of making me closer to You. I bow my head in thanksgiving for all the wonderful graces, for the gift of family and friends who were there during my journey, sharing my pain and making me feel loved.

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I must really be getting old. No, let me amend that, I am definitely growing older. And I always think that growing older is always getting wiser with age. Got this throbbing headache  that won’t go away or maybe it is just a sign of normal wear and tear. I was exchanging texts with a friend  yesterday  (we are both cancer survivors) and I told her, I easily get tired nowadays  and I need to catch up on my siesta every day. Make that an hour or more instead of the usual thirty minutes shuteye that I used to have. She told me she underwent Zometa infusion just last week.   Her doctor advised her to have it when she had a recent bone scan. And I thought, I am not going back to the hospital just to learn that you need more series of tests despite the fact that you are now living a normal life being a survivor. The last time I found out that everything was back to normal, including my CEA marker, I left everything to God. He will take care of me because He gave me a second chance. Living in faith and believing in God’s will.

I spent  part of the morning reading articles by Barbara Gonzales. For the past years, I’ve followed her writings under her byline called Second  Wind every Sunday. I like how she touches on her hobbies, writing and how she get on with life despite living alone. She said that one of her favorite books is Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy written by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  I can’t help but smile at the thought that it is one of my favorite books too. When I am feeling so low, this book always gives me a lift. She always put her contact number at the end of her posts so I tried getting in touch and wrote:

Read your article with interest Ms. Barbara. Re: Simple Abundance. I have that book  too for several years now. It’s like a daily bible  for women like us. I even blog about it from time to time. I am a cancer survivor. It’s the reason why I keep a blog because I have this dream of inspiring people through my journey, that life is even more meaningful when God gives you a second chance. Thank you for your nice articles, I am a fan.

She texted back and said thank you. One other writer that I admire is Lucy  Torres. I don’t care much about her political career but I love how she shares her thoughts and family life  in Love Lucy at Philippine Star. Somehow, every time I read her posts, I always get the feeling that she is a close friend, the way she talks about anything under the sun.  Reading her posts also makes me feel that she is writing about my own experiences in life, they’re closer to home, so to speak.

Having no internet connection for the past several days gave me the chance to watch a little TV and catch up on my reading. I watched Maid in Manhattan a few days ago  (for the nth time). I am in the middle of reading Exile by Richard North Patterson, a thick book on Israel’s history as background.  Now I understand why the Jews and Palestinians don’t see eye to eye.

How was your day?

 

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I am quite speechless and so happy because the past three  years have been full of  blessings, health-wise. And I say, I could not ask for more except to utter a fervent prayer of thanks for the gift of life and health. Every day, I feel His loving embrace  and it made me realize that having a life-threatening disease is not the end of the world. The recovery may not be a walk in the park but it is where I draw strength and courage to go on with life.  THANK YOU LORD.

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“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

What a lovely day to start the month!  When you are simply blessed, you can’t help but share your blessings with others. I was perusing my earlier posts because I was looking for something I could share at our segment “Health Watch” at our Catholic  page in Facebook in which I am one of the admins. I recall I did a  blog two years ago on herbs and spices so I have to  search the exact date that I posted it here.  Perfect time to read my previous blogs and 2010 seemed to be so full of reflections, maybe because those were the days that I have to struggle with  my health. And I always say that this blog exists because of my journey, health-wise, although lately it has become an eclectic mix of different subjects.  A friend asked if I’ve changed my site to a political blog. Nope, it’s just that, since January and the 44 days that there was an impeachment trial, I was glued to the television. I jokingly told him that I had perfect attendance and  blogging about it was like taking exams whether I actually understood what was going on or not. Mind you, I kept notes.

Odette, my friend who sent me those Richard Paul Evans’ books two days ago told me that she’s coming home for a brief vacation in a few months. She told me, no, it’s more like she commanded me to shop online at Barnes  &  Noble so she can order them early. Gosh, when it comes to books, I really can’t resist. Some titles are hard to find here though so I have written my wish list last night. Never mind the fiction books, we have a lot of them here but the truly lovely titles are nowhere in site. So here’s my list:

  1. Poems and Prayers of Helen Steiner Rice, hardbound. Back in my college days, I used to collect quotes of Rice, even those I saw printed on greeting cards.
  2. Alone by Rod McKuen. I’ve always wondered if I ever get the chance to own another McKuen book.  His Seasons in the Sun was a rare find and I enjoyed every word.  I even blogged about him here.
  3. New and Selected Poems – Volume One by Mary Oliver. I never owned a Mary Oliver book because I can’t find one here but I enjoy her poems and writing by searching the net.
  4. Why I Wake Early – Mary Oliver. There’s a paperback copy of this at B & N
  5. Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton. Back in college, I devoured Merton’s books in the library. How come I could not find any copy here?
  6. Facing Your  Giants by Max Lucado. He is one of my favorite inspirational authors.
  7. Selected Poems by E.E. Cummings. Who could forget the lovely lines “the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses?”
  8. The Christmas Box Collection and Lost December by Richard Paul Evans. I’ve read almost all of his earlier books except these.
  9. QB VII by Leon Uris – a wonderful work of fiction about the holocaust and lots of nerve-racking courtroom scenes. Would love to have a hardbound copy for a change.

What about you, what’s on your wish list?

 

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I went back to the Philhealth office at Brickroad Cainta Branch and was delighted to see the quick and friendly way the people at the counter do their job. What a big difference from the Philhealth I knew of five years ago when I followed up my father’s claims when he underwent dialysis for six months before he died.  Back in those days, the Philhealth office somewhere along Shaw Blvd. was a typical government office where you have to ask thrice before you reach the proper person to address your requirement and mind you, some of them were not that polite. I  almost gave up hope of ever seeing a  government agency with an excellent service.

Kudos Philhealth!

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I received this wonderful message from a close friend who is also a cancer survivor like I am. It’s a one-line prayer that says:

Dear God,  I pray for a cure for cancer.  Amen 


Don’t we all wish  and pray that they would finally find a cure for cancer? And yes, I guess it’s a prayer that would change the world
.  If cancer is like your common cough and colds, you wouldn’t  really mind so much  because you are assured that in a few days, a week at most, you would be back to your normal self.  And your family would not be burdened with worry whether you will get well or not and they would not need to scratch their heads every time you are scheduled for that much-needed chemotherapy  because shelling out a hundred thousand pesos for every session of chemo is not a walk in the park.  And your hubby, whom you thought would best understand would not say, “naubos ang ipon natin dahil sa pagpapagamot mo.”  And those words hurt more than having that life-changing disease  because in his eyes the money you’ve saved is more important than you getting well.   And I have always said that you can’t really emphatize with a person all that much unless you have experienced the same thing yourself.  The anguish of knowing that you are not hundred percent fit and you know that you are living on borrowed time,  the feeling is all the more acute because at some point, you would ask,  am I on the complete road to recovery?  Pardon the sentimentality attached to this blog because right this moment, everything is so vivid in my memory – the surgery, the long stay at the hospital, the endless visits to the doctors, the heart palpitations every time you get the lab results, the feeling of being so helpless while  on chemotherapy, the endless prayers and knocks on every friend close to you to include you in their prayers as well, the times that you really tried to show you were brave and strong  in front of your kids, and  the uncertainty of knowing when you’ll get well.

And here’s another picture attached to the message:

All  you are asked to do is keep this circulating,  even if it’s
Only to one more person.  In memory of anyone you know
Who has been  struck down by cancer or is still living with  it.

A Candle Loses Nothing by Lighting  Another Candle..

So instead of forwarding it to my list of contacts, I chose to share this in a blog,there is a wider reach that way. In the past, I often wondered why breast cancer awareness campaigns always use  pink ribbon as a symbol. Why not other colors like yellow or blue or any other color for that matter?

Imagine, it took me three long years to learn this, that the symbol for colon cancer is blue.  If I were to choose, the last ribbon (All Cancers) would be appropriate.

Would it be okay if you say a prayer for us, cancer survivors, cancer patients and those who are presently undergoing treatments right now? Thank you so much.

Dear God,  I pray for a cure for cancer.  Amen 


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Aging is when you add years to your life -

But growing old makes you wiser through the years!

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