Dou­ble bur­den

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION - Mdelac­erna2001@ya­

When I was di­ag­nosed with chronic kid­ney disease stage 4 in June 2010, I was caught off guard for to­gether with the di­ag­no­sis there were four more ail­ments I had. There was a brief pe­riod of un­cer­tainty be­cause I was alone since my brother passed away the year be­fore so I stayed with my cousin in Banawa for six weeks. Af­ter my hys­terec­tomy, I went home. I de­cided on an early re­tire­ment (I was 63 then) and I have never re­gret­ted that de­ci­sion. In the first few months of my twice a week dial­y­sis I had two watch­ers one for Tues­day and the other for Fri­day whom I also uti­lized to clean up the stuff of my late brother.

In the first five years, be­cause my pen­sion started only five years af­ter I re­tired, I did some­thing which I have never done be­fore, to ask for fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance. “Ayaw kauwaw ug pan­gayo ha.”

This was the ad­vice given by an alum­nus be­fore he died. But the big­gest push was from my younger sis­ter based abroad who said that “There is no shame in ask­ing for as­sis­tance from the com­mu­nity be­cause you have given much to the com­mu­nity.” I am thank­ful to those who re­sponded. Their con­cern and sup­port helped me go through those five years.

I learned to be more in­de­pen­dent, liv­ing alone with no house­help. I hired some­one to do the gen­eral clean­ing and re­pairs on Sun­days, bring the laun­dry to nearby shops. I also learned much about time man­age­ment es­pe­cially with travel time con­sid­er­ing the traf­fic of Talam­ban and Bani­lad, the meet­ings for ad­vo­ca­cies and con­sul­tan­cies.

There have been pres­sures for me to un­dergo kid­ney trans­plant but I re­fused. I have been com­pli­ant to my nephrol­o­gist’s pre­scrip­tions and ad­vices and this brought a big change in my life­style.

I devel­oped a spe­cial bond­ing with a lit­tle boy, six year old son of my next door neigh­bor, who from age two to thep­re­sent­would­go­to­my­house­morningan­de­vening to play in my room and on my bed and calls me Lola. Since he has been go­ing to school for two years now he sel­dom comes but would call out loud ev­ery time he leaves or comes home. In one of our con­ver­sa­tions, he said, “You are not su­per alone, Lola, be­cause I al­ways come here.” When I had my surgery he sent me a get well soon let­ter through his mom. When I ar­rived home from the hospi­tal he greeted me with a tight hug.

Then this year came breast can­cer. From the de­tec­tion of the lit­tle lump early Jan­uary to the post surgery and treat­ment, my life greatly changed but sur­pris­ingly for the bet­ter. I was flooded with wishes, prayers, sup­port, fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance and other pledges of sup­port. It was heart warm­ing to see for­mer stu­dents, real friends com­ing out. I learned so much from talk­ing to sev­eral peo­ple who are prac­ti­tion­ers which helped me make de­ci­sions.

My friends have con­vinced me to have a care­giver for the day and the night which I did for a short while since I was up and mov­ing even af­ter the surgery. They also con­vinced me to fi­nally have a house help. Luck­ily the yaya of my lit­tle “apo” of­fered to bring me one.

My kid­ney disease and my breast can­cer are my dou­ble bur­den which de­mands that I should trans­form whichis­the­most­pow­er­ful­medicinebe­cause­whenyou trans­form, you have lis­tened to the In­tu­itive In­tel­li­gence ofy­our­body.Iamglad­to­havemet­peo­ple­whoen­cour­age can­cer pa­tients to treat the root cause of the can­cer, to detox, nour­ish, and med­i­tate, go plant based.

I also learned from them that Life­style Medicine is the only Medicine with pos­i­tive side ef­fects.

This in­volved pre­dom­i­nantly whole food, plant­based diet, reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, ad­e­quate sleep, stress man­age­ment, avoid­ance of risky sub­stance use, and other non-drug modal­i­ties to pre­vent treat, and of­ten­times re­verse the life­style-re­lated chronic disease that’s all too preva­lent.

I agree with them that can­cer can be cured by cur­ing the whole life. In car­ry­ing my dou­ble bur­den, I co­or­di­nate with my nephrol­o­gist and on­col­o­gist (some­times more than one) re­gard­ing treat­ment. So far, there has never been any con­flict.

With my dou­ble bur­den, my spir­i­tu­al­ity has dou­bly in­creased and en­hanced.

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