Posts Tagged ‘a bit of myself’

September came and went like lightning,  a dry September if you ask me because the days were just like summer, so hot with  thunderstorms in the late afternoon or early evening. I can’t recall any particular event worth-remembering except Nissa’s birthday and having Nate around over the weekend.  And yes, the endless gardening task  trimming the grass, deadheading my Gardenia and Crossandra  and replanting some Ruellias. Gardening is sometimes a bit boring if you have to wake up early in the morning while the sun is still in slumber. It gets too hot even at seven in the morning.

October started with early morning drizzle then at exactly 3 o’clock this afternoon, the heavy downpour drenched our garden and our garage. Manila Water chose to replace our water meter today (of all days) and according to the contractors, they replace water meters every five years. The new gate valve has to be connected to our existing water line, bringing in a spray of mud and water that reached our car. The pressure was too strong.  The rain has stopped a while ago but they haven’t cemented yet the concrete that they have to break up  earlier to change the meter.  There is a storm coming although we are not in its direct path but it would surely bring monsoon rains until early Saturday morning.  What a start for a new month.

Still and all, I welcome October with joy and anticipation. It is my birth month after all. I am always thankful for all the graces and blessings  that came and will come my way. It is a celebration of another year ahead, a celebration of life, a celebration of  joys and pains that give life its meaning.  Even in times of adversity, even when we feel sometimes that we are alone in this world, it is always a blessing to feel that inner strength, that unshakable faith that all would be well in the end. We learn through tears (sometimes) and we embrace gladness in our hearts. Growing old has its rewards.

Happy new month. a blessed October to all!

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose. – BT Bradford (Hidden)

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I wonder if I ever shared this picture here, I can’t remember. I only did a few write-ups about my chemo days, the early years of blogging have been about getting well, getting on with life and trying to live it the best way a cancer survivor can. Would you believe that I met online friends here who shared and underwent similar journeys with me?

Facebook reminds you of a previous post you did years ago on the same day and month that you posted it and I got this.

I remember this....spending my 53rd birthday at the UST Benavidez Cancer Institute while having my 4th chemotherapy. With one of my oncologists, Doc Julie!

I remember this….spending my 53rd birthday at the UST Benavidez Cancer Institute while having my 4th chemotherapy. With one of my oncologists, Doc Julie!

Really, it made me smile and memories are reborn. A former classmate in high school prepared snacks for the doctors and nurses at the Ambulatory Care Unit of the UST Benavidez  Cancer Institute. She brought a large tray of  Pancit Malabon, drinks and cookies. Despite the two IV drips attached to my arm, I enjoyed those moments I spent with the staff. The first time I saw that Oxaliplatin IV drip wrapped in a black cloth bag, I just can’t help but think….that’s poison but still I have to convince myself that it would make me get well.I asked the oncology nurse why it has to be wrapped in black and she said that it should not be exposed to the light.

It was one of the best birthdays ever, because back then, listening to them singing happy birthday made me think that life even at its worse makes you feel happy too.

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You might be wondering at the title of this blog post. I smile at the thought of using this beautiful tin box, once filled with pixies, toffees and dark chocolate – a gift from a friend.  I remember those days when I was in grade school and my maternal grandma and Mom had one each of those lovely rectangular biscuit tins which they used for their sewing needs. I loved tracing my hands on those lovely drawings (pictures of ladies in gowns  carrying dainty parasols and lovely hand fans). Nowadays, there are stores in the metropolis that carry these lovely items without the biscuits inside.

I found this lovely book (I wouldn’t know how to classify it, whether it is a chick lit  book or a contemporary one). Think of Sophie Kinsella. It’s a paperback edition of The Someday Jar by Allison Morgan. I was attracted to the book cover, a lovely jar of thoughts that revolves around inspiring life message. I am on the first few chapters but it had me smiling from the start.  It gives me the idea of keeping a beautiful glass jar with all the trimmings and full of colorful papers and short writings inside instead of this old tin box that has been with me for a number of years.

Back in 2011, I made use of one of the topics on the daily digest of WordPress, that of keeping an idea box. The wonder of participating in a Daily Writing Challenge was that they suggested topics which you have never thought of.  I keep small notebooks on hand, with lots of pens, sharpened pencils and markers. They come in handy when you think of something to write about but that is not practical when you are outside holding a gardening host and watering the plants or staying in the kitchen while cooking something for lunch. I collect journals too by the way. The tin box comes in handy for those times that you can’t make use of those small notebooks that you keep on your night table. Sometimes, those life thoughts come at the most inopportune moments, they play in your head for a little while and unless you immortalize them on paper, they would vanish in thin air and you can never capture them back, the way you thought of them a few minutes ago.

I just thought of opening my Fanny May tin box and smiled finding a list of books that I want to read, book quotes, cellphone numbers without names, medicine prescriptions, short lines, single words on small scratch papers but what I found so lovely is this prayer. I could not remember where I copied them from (senior moments working here) so whoever composed these lovely words, I will just say thank you.

LORD, in this life, I am often confronted with situations that make it difficult for me to think clearly. Grant me the patience and strength to handle anything I may encounter. Fill me with divine understanding so that I can quickly respond to the negative forces that would try to bring me down. May I find the peace and tranquility and calm that is only found in You.

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Yes, I know. I could do with three more hours of sleep but it’s hard go back to bed. Here I am, drinking a hot cup of green tea and lemon with a delicious butter mamon from Red Ribbon which Josef’s girlfriend brought yesterday. The past days, we lived on take out food and what Jovy managed to prepare when she was here. My appetite for food is not back yet so I eat  fruits mostly. It makes  my stomach ache sometime but it is the only food I can tolerate for a while, without that bitter taste, forcing a tablespoon or two so I can take medicine. I’ve been sick again. the past four days have been real agony for me – high fever (it reached a high 39.5 C), body malaise, achy joints, gargantuan headaches  and runny nose that developed into a full-blown cold. The other week, Josef was at the hospital for some lab tests and x-ray. Everything was normal except that upper respiratory tract infection. He said the emergency room was full. This is that time of year where the change of weather brings  the flu virus out with a vengeance. A few days later, that pesky headache reared its ugly head and I had fever for three straight days without break.  Have you ever experienced perspiring from head to foot but you felt so cold and your skin was clammy and felt like ice water was poured down on you? It was frightening.

I sleep every night clutching my rosary, it’s the only way I could sleep but sometimes I feel guilty that I could not finish the five decades.  I could hear one of my friends saying now, it is okay, the prayer intentions are good. Yes I know, I always pray for good health for the whole family, for friends and relatives in general and I always believe in the adage that health is wealth.

It’s a little surprising to see a steady rise on my stats here despite not being updated for almost a week. And I am dying to read all the blog posts on my reader feed when I am well enough to stay in front of the computer.

Will you pray for me? Thank you so much.

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There are moments when we want to reminisce about those things we enjoyed doing in the past. It’s not exactly a different world, just simple reminders of how life should be.  Life is a continuous struggle but then amidst such pain and suffering we see the light and still enjoy whatever life deals us along the way.

Last night, I woke up to this ungodly hour of 1 am and it was hard to go back to sleep. My mind was full of images of places I’ve been to not long ago. I can’t even recall if they were just snippets of dreams I had earlier.  I had this fear of going back to the hospital even for a simple check-up. I had phobia of  those people lined up outside a doctor’s clinic  waiting endlessly and patiently for the doctor to arrive.That feeling of being treated for a simple allergy then they find something more serious than those red marks on your skin.  Fifteen  years ago, I was hospitalized  for almost a week because of allergy and then one of my doctors  (my OB-Gyn) suggested that I undergo TVS ultrasound since I was already there.  After two years of treatment, there was no option but to undergo a first major operation …total hysterectomy because of endemetriosis.  My second major operation was in July 2009. They had to cut a portion of my sigmoid colon and remove the affected parts.  A few months after my last chemotherapy, I underwent a kidney bypass and had to be hospitalized again. For almost six years now, I am in remission from colon cancer. I thank God for second chances at life, I thank God that He let me see the beauty of life despite all the setbacks.

Three weeks  after my so-called “graduation” from chemotherapy, our friendly neighbors invited us to join them to visit a place in Tanay, Rizal, a two-hour trip by car from our place. I was even hesitant to go, I was thinking I would not be able to endure that trek down the place and the climb back later to civilization but it was one of those trips that I would remember vividly.  We brought along my then six-year old niece who stayed with us during the Christmas break.  The log cabin where we stayed was still in the middle of construction so we fetched a tent and enjoyed the cold breeze of the countryside. All you can see was the long-range of the Sierra Madre mountains from afar.

Sierra Madre Mountains

Sierra Madre Mountains

Simple life, simple joys...

Simple life, simple joys…

We roasted marshmallows, grilled hotdogs and milkfish and brought along a big pot of adobo and a pan of pancit. Everything tasted so good but the company was even better.

the best place to commune with nature...

the best place to commune with nature…

And the best sharing about life was done inside that tent with Jane, our neighbor and Nissa, my daughter while the two younger kids were looking for ants and other insects just outside the tent  and the men in our group explored the place. Looking back, I felt so happy that I was able to endure  the 15-minute walk, a kind of litmus test after six  months of treatment/chemotherapy. I felt so good that it was nice again  to go back to being normal, if normal means there were no more pain of the IV and the effects of the drug, if normal means going out  and bonding with friends and family, if normal means you could forget the endless laboratory  tests and the hospital and seeing your oncologists.

the trek back to the top

the trek back to the top

Chasing dreams and remembering the good old days, an escape from the ugly realities of life. Sometimes, life is full of angst and broken dreams but it’s nice to reminisce about something that would put a smile on your face again and you could face the world one more time with more dreams to pursue and happy memories to recall.

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I was so looking forward to the month of May but it came and went with nary a thing that I could remember it by except the intense heat that it brought to the country. There were the occasional thirty-minute rains late noon or early at night which made me clean our small pond manually since we haven’t attached our new submersible pump yet. I miss our Koi fish which I used to watch early in the morning as they did their morning exercise of swimming back and forth in their small abode. Such is life, a certain phase of the journey has to end sometimes or take a back seat to give way to a new adventure. I promise myself though that I won’t take care of Koi again. I am thinking of converting the vacant pond to a garden with lots or ornamental flowers but I miss the relaxing  and soothing sound of trickling water every time I visit it.

I think I forgot how to blog. The past few days have been all work  and to tell you the truth I wasn’t really inspired to write a few lines. Maybe, blogging has ingrained itself so much in my psyche that life feels a little wanting without writing my thoughts so here I am again trying to organize them.

June, what have you got in store for me?

A few nights ago, I dreamed of fireflies, those tiny insects that my cousins and I used to catch at night when we were kids. We would put them in empty glass jars and watch the tiny flames in their bodies. I dreamed I was in the middle of a meadow watching the fireflies dance and waiting for the stars to show themselves in the night sky. They are best seen in the darkest of night don’t you think? Sometimes I miss the simple life we had in the province.

My son Josef is turning thirty-one in three weeks. He asked me to suggest a place where we could spend dinner or maybe lunch and I jokingly told him, I haven’t seen a movie in a decade. And I mean, the big cinema is now a luxury that I haven’t enjoyed for the longest time. DVDs and occasional Star movies on television put a stop to that. We both laughed when I told him that I like a big bag of popcorn too. Why is eating popcorn so tempting when you are inside a movie house?

Welcome June, I hope you won’t pass us by too quickly.

“In early June the world of leaf and blade and flowers explodes, and every sunset is different.”  – John Steinbeck

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I am always reminded of the song of the Bee Gees every time  first of May comes. May (aside from October which is my favorite month) is the best month in the calendar to commune with nature. It’s the month of flowers, the month of Mama Mary  and the month anticipating a cooler weather because of the afternoon showers. Today is  an official holiday too for us here because we are celebrating Labor Day. It’s our village fiesta. Happy Feast Day St. Joseph The Worker.

We initially planned of going out for lunch and watch a movie later but the heat outside is really shimmering off the ground, no clouds to mar the azure blue skies.  It is better to stay indoors and enjoy the comfort of drinking cold glasses of water all day long. This is one of those days predicted by PAGASA which might reach a high 40 °C and that’s roughly about 104 °F. How hotter can it get? And I don’t want to labour in front of the stove in this heat so we ordered a big variety box from Pizza Hut with extra hot patatas.  Their big variety box has one regular Supreme Pan Pizza, two single Spaghetti Bolognese, four orders of flavored rice, four pieces fried chicken and a loaf of garlic bread. Just perfect for a pitcher of iced tea. I told Josef and Jovy,  I cook better Bolognese than they do…hahaha! They are planning to treat me to dinner on Mother’s Day but the restaurant they are talking about needs at least more than a week to reserve for you to get in. They don’t accept walk-in diners. I am intrigued.  Jovy tells me that it is an old house with a lush garden and was converted into a fine dining place and owned by the famous chef Laudico Guevarra.  I actually googled  “Guevarra’s” a few minutes  ago,  such mouth-watering choices of food.

I’ve grown taller than the average five-foot Christmas trees  but I haven’t forgotten the happy feeling of celebrating a season full of joy and glad tidings. It’s first day of May, may it be a happy month for you.

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