Archive for September, 2009

Life is a dance. Sometimes, it is a harmonious fluid movement. We are in sync with the music, utterly attuned to the dance steps, well synchronized with the motion – two steps forward, one step back. Others may lead and others may follow. It is a mad dash to a world of perfect twists and turns, but the journey is not one long road to success and happiness. One wrong move, one wrong turn, one missed step would spell disaster.

We are constantly seeking perfection and excellence in everything we do but there is really nothing perfect in this world that we live in. Life is a meaningless pursuit without challenge. They say that the journeys walked in solitude are always the most remembered. There is something we always learn along the uneven pathways and the most profound events in our lives do not end with the six o-clock news and the setting sun.

Sometimes, I am amused by other people’s reaction upon learning that I have colon cancer and their usual question is “Are you really undergoing chemotherapy? You are looking good“. “Thank you“, I say. My big question is, how should one act and how should one look if you are diagnosed with this kind of ailment? True, it is a life-changing situation but I never think of it as a major setback. I believe that God won’t give us problems that we can’t bear. The agonizing moments that I have endured during the last few months have drawn me closer to God. God has been profoundly real to me, opening my eyes to the realization that not everyone  is privileged to endure even just a tiny prick from what He suffered on the cross. Martin Luther King aptly put it this way, “beneath and above the shifting sands of time, the uncertainties that darken our days, and the vicissitudes that cloud our nights is a wise and loving God“.

Life is a dance, and when we falter in our steps, God is there to do the rest.


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Four am –
It’s a bit early you think
But the gentle wind
Keeps the curtains dancing
through my open window
Sending shivers
Where are you?
Or were you just a dream
After all?

I cried myself  to sleep last night
Silly, you might say,
But then, crying is one such necessity
That I need to do
Cleansing my soul
You are in my thoughts for now
And I smile despite the tears
Memories are reborn.

Goodbye Dad, I miss you!

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It’s final – Sen. Mar Roxas has accepted the vice-presidential bid under the Liberal Party in a simple ceremony held at Club Filipino a few hours ago.  It started with a prayer led by Fr. Tito Caluag of Ateneo.  I love the way Noynoy made his introduction of Mar in a precise, clear and sometimes witty speech delivery. He also acknowledged the presence of his sister Viel who was there to give him her moral support and he jokingly said that, “lahat ng mga kapatid ko tahimik maliban lang dun sa bunso, referring of course to his youngest sister Kris Aquino.

Mar Roxas was in yellow T-shirt, the proverbial color of Tita Cory.  The crowd were chanting “Noynoy, Mar even before Mar started his acceptance speech. “Salamat Noynoy sa tiwalang ipinagkaloob mo sa akin“.  What a short but powerful acceptance speech.  He said that they are after a government that puts the people’s interest first. And it is about a collective search for change.

“Mga kababayan, taos-puso ko pong tinatanggap ang maging katambal ni Noynoy Aquino”.

“But this fight is not just about Noynoy and me. Tungkol ito sa matuwid laban sa baluktot. Tungkol ito sa tapat laban sa tiwali. Tungkol ito sa tama laban sa mali.”

“We are up against forces who will fight tooth and nail, fair and unfair, legal and illegal, against us. Sa kanila,  tuloy ang ligaya; sa atin naman, tuloy ang laban”.

“Kailangan nating isulong ang bandila ni Noy at ng reporma. Mahirap ang laban na ito, pero nasa kamay natin ang ating kapalaran”.

He urged the public not to be complacent since this is a tough battle to face.  Noynoy announced his presidential bid last Sept. 09, 2009.

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September 09, 2009 BCI – UST Hospital

I was mentally drafting what to write about while we were traversing Ortigas Avenue. As usual, the approach to Greenhills was a gridlock.  Hubby was so sure it was because of Noynoy’s press conference at Club Filipino.  I told him the place is not directly along Ortigas Avenue.  It’s a perennial problem, the only time that you could pass through without a hitch is when there are no classes at La Salle.

We were at BCI early despite the traffic and the heavy rains in some areas.  Whereas before, I was groping my way like some nursery kids in a new school, this time I was confident enough to see my way  through, unaided by the hubby. Brave New World, to borrow Aldous Huxley’s famous book title.  Unknown territory! Untrodden path! But you are willing to embrace it because you want to get well.  I’m halfway through with the book on alternative way to battle the big C.  If truth be known,  I have this quiet reservation whether to continue my chemotherapy or to try the natural way of healing.  Much like having an experienced medical oncologist, you also need a good doctor to guide  you if you choose the other non-traditional path to wellness.  Sr. Thea, FMM, a close friend suggested that I try this free acupuncture service at Biosafe Center tomorrow but it is quite impossible for me to go there right after my chemo.  Chances of getting infection are quite high when you are still under the effect of the chemo drug.  Technically though, I will still have two weeks of treatment starting tomorrow, with my Xeloda tablets.

Just to give you an idea of how BCI looks like, chemo treatments are confined at the third level. The adult suite has eight hospital beds and two lazy boy chairs.  I chose bed one (they are numbered, by the way) because it’s very near the ladies’ room, easier to navigate with two IVs in tow.  The walls are painted in a soft touch of ecru, the curtains are of caramel and the sheets are in egg yellow.  I’ve always loved the sunny effect of yellow colors.  I’ve read that “color has been used as healer since time immemorial and simply surrounding yourself with life-affirming color changes your way of thinking”. Yellow is a color of cheer, warmth and light.  Days and months from now, I’ll probably always associate this shade at this phase in my life – my chemotherapy.

I had some sort of nightmare during my first chemo.  A few minutes after they removed the IV, I was vomiting like crazy and the doctors were alarmed.  Four hours of the procedure became six because they have to attach another IV so I won’t get dehydrated.  They even suggested that I be confined overnight.  I chose to go home of course and I was the last to leave BCI among the patients who checked in early.

This morning, I would have laughed out loud if not for the serious mien of the nurse trying to locate a good vein to inject the needle and start the drip. “Close, open, close open“.  I opened and closed my fingers ten times I guess, much like a child trying to learn his first set of finger exercise.  I spent the next four hours staring at the ceiling, with lots of thoughts playing in my head – having a cup of sinful chocolate or vanilla ice cream, eating one or two slices of pizza with lots of veggies and cheesy melts, haha! No meat please, just a simple Hawaiian flavor will do (just dreaming) I know it is “bawal”. I didn’t eat lunch until we reached home at around 3:30 pm.  I took a half  glass of Gogi herbs and a packet of wheat grass juice. They are both food supplement to help the immune system.

Upbeat? Yes, because I feel so much better today than the first time I had my chemotherapy.  There is just that feeling of discomfort, you want to rest but you can’t sleep.  My right arm felt like it has gone to sleep.  Have you experienced that kind of electric shock when you dip your fingers in ice cold water?  My veins from the wrist up are sensitive to the touch.

Another day of miracle! Answered prayers!  Thank you Mama Mary.  God is ever so good.

I’ve survived kindergarten and I am now accelerated to grade two, isn’t that wonderful?

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Sometimes it is hard to be upbeat when you know that you will be facing another challenge in your life.  I’ll be having my second session of chemotherapy tomorrow and I am supposed to rest but I feel restless, how’s that?  I would not let this feeling affect me.  This morning, we went through the usual route  going to the New World Diagnostic Center for my required laboratory in preparation for my chemo.  The hubby and I were just listening to the good old music of RJ radio while waiting for the long traffic at Ortigas Avenue.  Greenhills could really be a pain in the neck during rush hours especially in front of La Salle Greenhills.  It’s never even worth to have your blood pressure go up because of it, you just have to wait patiently  and do something worthwhile instead. We enjoyed humming along with the 70’s and 80’s music.  What a way to start an early morning huh?  I heard my stomach growl before we reached New World.  There’s a required fasting for my laboratory exams, and we were thinking where to have a good breakfast before we hit the road again for our church visits.

First stop was the Adoration Chapel of the Sto. Domingo Convent then a short visit with Lovell later. Sharing with friends is something I treasure in my life. It is always a bliss to communicate and talk to someone who knows how to listen and who knows how to understand.  And I thank God for giving me the gift of friends because their presence in my life is always a constant reminder that there are people who truly care, you never have to weigh your words with them.  Lovell lent me the book The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.  Got a big lump in my throat when I saw it because I was so touched and even cried when I watched his video more than a year ago. He died at at the age 47 from pancreatic cancer.  Got to have a copy of this book soon.

Next stop was the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. I took a few shots of the church and I am posting them here.

IMGP2566It was our first time to visit the place and I was struck by the beauty of it.  Spent sometime in prayer before going to the Pink  Sisters.

IMGP2568This is the image of Our Lady Of Lourdes.  I was using a flash but it still came out this way.  The interior of the Church was a little dark, but the image is so beautiful. I was thinking, we must come back here soon.IMGP2570In spite of the rain and cloudy skies I took  a few shots of the facade of the Shrine of Our lady of Lourdes, beautiful, isn’t it?  We managed to swing by St. Joseph Adoration Chapel (Pink Sisters ) at Hemady St. in New Manila a few minutes after. I used to visit this  place when we were still living in Kamuning.  Attending their masses is always a beautiful experience.

IMGP2573You can leave petitions there and the Sisters will pray for you.

Our last stop was at Mt. Carmel Church in Broadway.  I like visiting here even if there are no masses because the place is very conducive for meditation.

It’s Mama Mary’s birthday today and this is my tribute to her.

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Most Holy Virgin Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, you were pleased to appear to the children of Fatima and reveal a glorious message. We implore you, inspire in our hearts a fervent love for the recitation of the Rosary.

By meditating on the mysteries of the redemption that are recalled therein, may we obtain the graces and virtues that we ask, through the merits of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.

(took this shot a year ago at Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Binakayan, Kawit, Cavite)

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Wheat Grass Juice

Got a taste of this when we went to Frontera Verde Tiendesitas several months ago. It tasted like grass of course but I didn’t know that it has healing properties and it is now promoted as immune system booster.

Wheat grass refers to grass grown indoors in trays for approximately ten days and is squeezed into fresh juice.  It is used primarily for therapeutic purposes. while the 60 + day old field grown grasses are primarily used for nutritional supplements.  I don’t know how effective this juice is in treating certain ailments but it was recently featured in the program Sweet Life.

According to research, wheat grass juice is 70% chlorophyll and its chemical composition closely resembles hemoglobin.  It is said to heal tissues, help purify the liver, improve blood sugar levels and help flush out accumulated toxins.

Lately I’ve been doing readings and research on the alternative way to treat cancer and this was mentioned as one.  I got curious so I sourced for an outlet where I could buy a pack. One of my friends has been raving about it.WheatgrassI bought a pack and started with it three days ago. You can visit http://www.shirleys-wellness-cafe.com/greens.htm#healing for further info.

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And here’s the simple rule:

Don’t take too long to think about it. 15 books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First 15 you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag 15 (or more) friends, including me because I’m interested in seeing what books my friends choose.

I got tagged by Michelle, a friend from FFP.  I have more than fifteen books that I could recall right now but I don’t have the time to include  their pictures in fifteen minutes flat.  And here are my  choices in no particular order:

1. Markings – Dag Hammarskjold
2. Seasons in the Sun – Rod McKuen
3. All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten – Robert Fulghum
4. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint Exupery
5. The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran
6. Tuesdays With Morrie – Mitch Albom
7.  Letting Go – Morrie Schwartz
8. The Heart of Loving – Eugene Kennedy
9. Gift from the Sea – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
10. Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Richard Bach
11. Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am – John Powell
12. Simple Moments – Fr. Jerry Orbos, SVD
13. Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White
14. I Like You Just Because – Albert Nimeth, OFM
15. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl
16. The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
17. Embraced By the Light – Betty J. Eadie
18. It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It – Robert  Fulghum
19. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
20. Grow Something Besides Old – Laurie Beth Jones.

And these books are my personal favorites, the kind that you’ll reread over and over again.

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Anything But Old

I wonder what my Shelfari friends and my FFP buddies would say if they have the chance to read this blog. Hear, hear, I am laughing at myself as I write this.

Spent a few hours in front of the PC last night and I thought of visiting my Shelfari account and update my virtual library there. Gosh, I could not even remember my password to log in to the site. What’s happening to me? Have I been suddenly struck with the “I am too old to remember syndrome”? It took me a while to figure out that I haven’t changed my password there for quite sometime. So after a few attempts, I was able to take a glimpse of my account. They have added lots of features that weren’t there the last time I looked, and that is about almost three months now probably. And I have a sizable stash here that I want to add to my shelf. I added two new friends, and I am ashamed that it took me this long to visit it again. I could not even recognize most of the avatars of all my friends, where have they got to? There was a time a few months back when my FFP buddies would post a theme for each month along with what book to tackle and discuss. They keep changing their pictures and I am getting confused. I simply could not keep up. Patience is the name of the game, I think. I just can’t find and clearly can’t remember how to upload books and update my shelf. I have around 12 pending group invitations, one or two book recommendation, several posts from our hyper active group, Flips Flipping Pages (FFP) , around 480 books on my shelf, 57 friends, 9 groups but where the heck is that thingy that says “upload”. Silly, silly me, I should have opened “search” then type the title of the book and voila, you can choose the edition that you have, you can update the exact date you purchased it, is it “on loan” to a friend, so many options and I am getting lost again. What I just want to do is to add this stash that my daughter and I have accumulated lately. The advantage of having an account there is that you can review a certain book you want to buy before you make that big plunge of parting with your hard-earned dough.

Yesterday, the hubby and I met a friend at Ever Ortigas, the mall so close to our place and before going home, we passed by the friendly book lady at Booksale. She asked me why I haven’t been there lately, there were so many titles that I might have liked. Oh well, talk about buying and splurging on books like there is no tomorrow, or is this an addiction that is hard to cure? I have to restrain myself when it comes to books so I just bought a copy of Amy Tan’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter. Yes, she is the same Amy Tan of the Joy Luck Club fame and it speaks about family relationships, mother-daughter bonding. Can’t wait to start it but I am still in thick of reading The Time Traveler’s Wife which I could hardly put down.

And I’ve changed the theme of my WordPress blog, it’s now sporting a new look, Quentin by Mike Purdy. For quite a while, I just could not let go with the Misty Look by Sadish. It’s just anything, but old.

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It always touches me to receive notes, e-mails and any sort of communication from friends and relatives who inquire about my health and how I am coping at the moment, but when it comes to receiving moral support from people who barely know me, it really makes me cry.  New found friends, yes, my angel warriors, yes, I think they are.  But more than the knowledge that there are people out there who reach out and give a helping hand, it’s their unsolicited gestures of concern and willingness to help that makes my heart sing.

His name is Jeff, I have never met him but  I know that he is a friend.  This morning, I received an e-mail from my brother Noel telling me that one of his office mates gave a gift for my treatment.  How amazing!  My brother once told me that he did the same thing when my Dad was undergoing dialysis two years ago.  My sincerest thanks Jeff for your generosity, and in behalf of the family, I say, Salamat!

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