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.