Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The third option

Finally talked with my onco surgeon after my obgyn-onco referred me to him after seeing the whole abdomen ctscan result which showed a growing mass in my pelvic node. He initially gave me 2 options - get a PET CTscan or have the mass checked. Then after seeing the result he said that I should get a  PET CTscan to see if the mass is positive for CA since there is a 50-50 possibility for recurrence. If the result shows that the mass is positive but concentrated only in that area, then he would remove it through operation then I should get a chemo but if the result shows that there a more in different areas, then I should get chemo immediately, but if it turns to be negative then it would just be constantly monitored since it a big big. He says that a needle biopsy would be difficult due to the location since the procedure might puncture my intestine.

I told him there is a third option. Wait for the Lord's healing!
I just had ctscan so a PETScan aside from being expensive is also toxic and I want to rest my system before I have one... if ever.
Somehow it feels crazy, however, at the moment I feel that the Lord is asking to wait and pray and trust...
Am looking forward to a bigger miracle happening!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Three years!

It has been 3 years since my operation!
It feels good to be alive!
Thank you Lord!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Unite Against Cancer

I attended the Unite Against Cancer: A Prosure Fest at Saint Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City where there were discussion on Nutrition and Cancer and Food Innovations in the morning and Personality Development lecture in afternoon plus games, food and lots of freebies. There were so many participants and I got to interact with some other cancer patients and survivors who were in high spirit and full of life! The mood of the affair certainly felt like a fest but I could not finish the whole thing since I had to leave for my scheduled physical therapy.

I would have loved to stay and join the other participants in writing and signing in Commitment Wall (well it was actually a tarpaulin) but as I said I had to leave early so I thought I'd write my commitment in the paper cup I got over lunch with the other notes and thoughts I had while listening to the talks.

Here is my cup:

 The above quote is actually from William Ralph Inge but I could not remember the whole name when I wrote them in the cup.

 And thinking about his quote certainly made me realize that God could not have been bored working on me since I am certainly beautiful (hahaha, what can I say, I am biased!)

And since I could not write on the Fest's wall, I made my own wall... I mean cup where I could write my commitment that I will never lose my smile! There have been times before that I would worry but I know that God is in control so I should keep moving through life with a smile believing that my life is truly beautiful. :-)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

CT Scan update

I finally was able to go to my obgyne-onco for my follow up consult after I had my CT scan. I could not have it earlier because of my high creatinine result was high. I was only given clearance by the nephrologist when my blood test result and kidney ultrasound result did not show big concern plus my creatinine level improved. As always my doctor was happy which means I was happy too! He said 1 year and 2 months and No Evidence of Disease,  He also lessened my maintenance medicine and said that instead of a monthly checkup, it will now be every two months.

I like my doctor but I would not mind seeing him less frequently.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Bow in the Clouds


My brother and sister-in-law picked me up in the gas station where my boss dropped me off and we were on our way home when he took another route instead of our normal route. There were very dark clouds going east but from the west were I came from was orange bright with the setting of the sun. I was thinking what an extreme! The clouds were so dark yet the rain was not heavy… it was a little past 6 pm yet there were still some light despite the dark clouds. It seemed ironic…

I was still thinking about it when my sister-in-law mentioned a rainbow. I saw it and it was just faint since the clouds have not really cleared up. But I just kept on looking and as we were moving I followed the rainbow and noted that it was a full rainbow. And though it was faint in front of us the other end which was on our back now was really bright!

My brother thought he was avoiding traffic but got stuck instead and my sister-in-law was teasing him. I was silent but at the back of my mind I thought that maybe God told him to take that route so I get to see the rainbow...

Because today is the first year anniversary since I had my operation...

And God is reminding me of His promise to me last December when I was doubting if I could make it to my next birthday and He answered me with the quote from "The  Daily Bread" reflection book my sister gave me which says:
"Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace
and be healed of your affliction"
Just like with Noah, He has reminded me of His covenant! He is really a great God and he surprised me with something special for this anniversary. Pretty awesome!
Thank you Lord!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ablaze

Yesterday I had my preliminary blood test in preparation for my CT scan. I planned to have my CA 125 (tumor marker) test today after I get the creatinine result then schedule my CT scan. I was expecting good result but as it turned out my creatinine level was higher than normal, my RBC and WBC were low plus off result for the other blood test. That meant I could not have my CT scan so I just had my tumor marker and will get the result on Monday. I was going to wait for the doctor for consultation to improve my blood result but they told me that they are not sure what time or if he was coming and recommended that I just go to another clinic...

Well I could since there is another clinic nearby but instead I took a taxi and headed to the Metro Manila Quarterly Leaders Assembly my chapter head mentioned. I came in late and the place was full but I found a seat at the back with my co-chapter. I was awed when I came in because almost all were wearing RED in accord with the theme "Ablaze!"

They were already giving testimonies and as I sat there listening, I thought I have attended some of our sector's assembly but have never really thanked all for their prayers and it would be nice to be able to formally thank the community. I was so far from the stage and did not know how to go about it when I saw Sis Myra coming, she was the one who organized a "2000 Hail Mary" before I had my operation. I was bold to ask her if I could share to the group and she smiled and sat beside me saying that she was one of the processors and asked me to write on a piece of paper what I was going to share. I just wrote there I wanted to thank everybody for their prayers... Sis Myra said that I should also share some like losing my hair and I smiled. I did not really know what to say but I just suddenly felt the desire to share! I also was not sure if I'll have a chance since I knew there were others lined up but they called me...

And I stood and I talked...

I told them that mine was only going to be short talk to thank them and tell how blessed I am to be in a prayerful and supportive group but I found out that words flowed from my mouth and I continued to talk until I saw the cue from the timer.

I listened to the other sharers but I guess our last sharer put it pretty well. The Lord is good and He will never abandon us... sometimes it seems that things are not going good but the Lord will always give more so we should all be fired up with our love and service for Him. Ablaze!

Me... I'd rather write than talk but I guess the Lord set me ablaze and made be bold to speak of His goodness! He is really in control!

  


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mid year status

Half of the year has ended...
Time seems to fly fast...

I had my 6th checkup last June 16. It is earlier than my scheduled checkup on the 21st since I was not feeling too well the past weeks. I just missed the doctor when I came to the clinic since he went to a have a check in a surgery. The secretary said he'll just have a "look-see" and be back, however, there was a long list already. It was not my schedule but since I was not feeling too well, I texted my doctor if he'll see me and he said okay. I came around 11:00 am... then past 12:00 the other patients came... then more patients...he was supposed to be back by 1:00...2:00 he was still not around 3:00 still no sign... many patients left. I asked the secretary if he was coming back and she said he has not advised that he can't make it so it means that he might still come by but it was late already and she was sorry for my lost time... I said I was not wasting time since I was praying anyway  and I have already waited so I might as well wait some more...

So sometimes times seem to fly fast but other times it seem to drag forever...

But they say PATIENCE is a virtue and in the end it paid off.

He came and he saw me! He just prescribed medicine for the pain and said that so far, everything looks good. That definitely eased my mind and true enough with the medicine, my feeling improved on the following days. He did schedule my blood test and CT scan for July... the results will be a better gauge of my condition than the physical exam... so I am waiting again for the test and the result...



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Just what works?

Just what works if you have cancer?
Honestly I don't really know!
A lot of times I feel it is just trial and error 
using your best judgment. 
You could succeed...
You could fail. 

Sometimes you feel you're winning
then all of a sudden you're gone...
Or sometimes everything looks impossible
But in the end you'll make it...
So you don't really know!
 
This I am sure of though...
God works! 
In cancer and in everything else.
We do our best to succeed
But in the end everything is up to Him...
---<-@  beth

So it came to my mind again... What works? It has been several months since my last chemo and so far my checkup results have been positive. I am very happy of course. When an office mate who is usually on field assignment comes to our Head office, he would ask me "Are you a survivor, now?" And I would smile and say I guess so since it has been a while. Though at the back of my mind I would ask, Have I already survived cancer? Am I past through it?

I know of some people who were doing well when suddenly their cancer antigen level shoot up again and they have to undergo another round of chemo. There are others who swears by the effectiveness of food supplements and alternative treatment their family member or friends have been having and somehow you wonder if you should shift to such treatment. An office mate who has been inviting me to attend a health forum on naturapathic remedies has been glowing in the recovery of her sister through food supplements and the high technology natural remedies her sister has been undergoing when all of a sudden her health deteriorated after a bout with pneumonia and she died. Yet I would meet people who'd tell me they had cancer a long time ago but are still alive and doing pretty well. One lady from my doctor's clinic complained that she has been eating healthy, has completed the treatment before... so why is it back now? Yet there is another who says she has no resources yet through PCSO and the doctor's help she is able to get treatment and do pretty well.

One of the officers in our company whose wife has a cancer similar to mine also called me recently to show a clipping of stem cell treatment for cancer telling me that they are also thinking of such and maybe I too should consider saving up so I could have the same treatment...

Sometimes it could really be overwhelming on what to do to stay healthy so your body don't give in to your cancer cells. From seeing a lot of people I realized that it does not help to cry and be depressed when you have cancer so I try to be happy and positive. Yet I know that no matter how positive I can be, I still have no power over the big "C."

In the end, I know that only God has power over it. He decides whether to allow it to grow or to totally rid of it. He has His own plans for me and for others. All I can do is to do my best in living a healthy, positive life the best I can so I can properly cooperate on His design for me.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Immuni Tea for Cancer et al

Ingredients:
  2 inches turmeric, sliced
  2 inches ginger, sliced
  1 bulb lemongrass, sliced
  1 cinnamon stick
  2 cups water

Procedure:
Place turmeric, ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon stick and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and serve. 
Makes 2 cups.

That is one the recipes prepared by Chef Marie Gonzalez at the St. Luke's Cancer Institute's Corridor of Hope Cooking Demo I attended today.


I saw above brochure posted in one of my doctor's door during my checkup last Thursday so I made it a point to join thinking it will be neat to have new simple recipes added to my food selection.

Chef Marie was great and the dishes were good. Aside from the tea, she also prepared a Cancer Fighting Green Juice using a Hurom slow juicer,  Mineral Broth and Cancer Fighting Bean Salad using organic vegetables provided by Organic Manila and for dessert... black bean brownies using coconut sugar from Coco Natura.

They also provided the recipes for above but I am too lazy to type everything at the moment... hahaha!

Actually it was not just about the recipes, though that was the biggest part of the gathering. Chef Marie also shared the benefits of vegan cooking and of course the foods to avoid especially for cancer patients/survivors. There was also a sharing by Breast Cancer Patient - Haidee Ala of the Corridor of Hope which is inspiring considering that she has been battling cancer on and off for 9 years and even had a near-death experience but she still continues to LIVE the best that she can and bring hope to others. PLUS some nice things were the freebies of course. We got a bag and sample from Abbot's Prosure, nutrition for cancer induced weight loss. I have my ideal weight at the moment which I hope to maintain but I did enjoy the Mango shake I tasted during their demo :) I would have stayed longer to taste the other shakes to be prepared but I had to rush to another important function but I did have a good time there. Looking forward such other activities!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

10-5-NED

Today was my fifth checkup after my chemotherapy.
My doctor noted 10-5-NED...
That is 10 months since my operation;
5 months since my last chemo; and
No Evidence of Disease. :-)
I have gone back to work... and work meant work as it was before!
People say I don't look sick...
And that I look the same...
Well, not exactly the same...
Because my hair has become curly! Arghhh!
My hair always had a mind of its own and would not follow the style I want so it was tied it up most often but it was generally straight and still followed the law of gravity. My long hair strands then flowed down! But now, not only is it thicker but it is turning wavy which does not go down but up! The strands, especially near my neck, fly away and waves upward! Hahaha!
I guess the strands felt deprived of their existence during my chemo days that they are now coming back with a vengeance and now they are breaking free and would go in directions they want to...
Well they can go in any direction just as long as they do not leave my scalp again...
The only thing I want to leave my body and never return again are the CA cells.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Two months

Today I have been working for two months.
Everything is as the way it was before.
So much things to think about.
Still so much work! haha...
Of course I try my best not to be affected
and just remain calm all throughout.
Just do the best in each day without being tensed.
Time flies fast.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Fourth Checkup

Had my fourth monthly checkup yesterday.

My CA-125 was just a little bit higher than the result in January. My doctor was once again happy and of course so was I. But that wasn't the case before I had my blood checked as I could not sleep. It was 3 months since I had it checked and I guess I was worried a bit.

On the conscious level, I believe He is in control. Didn't He promise my healing? Am I not positive to people I talk with? Don't I look and feel good?

Yes... yes... yes... but could my disrupted sleep indicate some doubt?

Arghhh! Oh stubborn soul, why can't you just completely believe? Listen to your friend Jenny who tells you that the disrupted sleep is just part of getting old, a normal occurrence and nothing else. Hahaha!

So smile and laugh... be at peace, just do your best and let God take care of the rest.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Family that Facebooks Together Stays Together

I saw that sign in one of the billboards we passed by along EDSA. It is a Bayan DSL wifi advertisement.

Everyone in our household has a Facebook account except me and my mom. Even our help has her own Facebook account! I understand how popular Facebook is, however, I felt turned off and sad after seeing the billboard feeling that it desecrates Fr. Peyton's saying that "A Family that Prays Together Stays Together." Times have really changed.

Today our family once again got together to celebrate Easter. Home is once again filled with people from 4 generations, from my mom, me and my siblings and their spouses, nieces and nephews and grand niece and grand nephew. In the past we always have egg hunting and the home will be a riot after our Easter Lunch as the kids and the kids at heart searched for plastic eggs scattered in our yard then there will be cheering and teasing as prizes are distributed. It was fun but it was also tiring and a drain on my pocket so we decided not to have it this year.

And so for the first time in so many years, the home was quiet after our Easter lunch as people found their places with most getting their gadgets -laptop, netbook, iphone, ipad, samsung galaxy and me my old GPRS nokia phone (well I really did not intend use it but I was getting Easter sms greetings from some family & friends). Some partnered or just watched others playing as they waited for their turn. There were occasional talks but for the most part people were focused on their gadgets.

And surprisingly, I did not feel bad. I remembered my father. He liked having the family together at home. Back then, we really did not have to talk with each other but he was just happy seeing us around at home. I too was happy having the family together. Indeed, they were busy with their own thing --playing online games, facebook, tweet (ahh I also don't have a tweeter account!) or doing whatever in their gadgets for the most part but there will always be a break and we still get to interact, engage in small talks and eat together.

I don't know if they felt the sense of family I felt. But I was definitely happy seeing my family together.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

One month...

Been back to work for a month yesterday!
Today I get to rest once again to just recover from the everyday work stress. Of course I don't really want to get stressed but stress seems to enjoy sneaking in on you no matter how you condition yourself not to succumb to it. I am thankful though that I have learned to somehow stop when I do feel it or when I feel bad and try to clear my system so I don't get to be totally sucked in... Maybe in time I just get to really do the best I can in any circumstance and not let issues bother me. After all work is a good thing! Just do your work in the office then leave it there and try not to think of it when you get home... Haha hope though that my mind is really conditioned for that. So many times I am tempted to just take some stuff so I could work at it or take a look see at home BUT I keep reminding myself. NO! You have to rest too! You need it if you want to be able to work well...

But today I also got a lot of work call regarding some emergency issues that need to be addressed. I wasn't angry that I got disturbed from my day-off because honestly, I am also concerned when issues in the company arise plus I also get excited as my mind try to work on them... but have to remind myself not to get stressed and just think clearly and advice the best that I can then settle down and set the issues aside.

No stress! Just work and rest...there has to be balance.

One month working on it so far. Taking one day at a time.
I think I've done well so far, hope to do better in the coming months...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

NED

Had my third checkup after my chemo
and I saw the doctor wrote NED in my record
It is short for No Evidence of Disease!
I was relieved and happy!
Thank you Lord!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cancer is so Limited...

It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot eat away peace
It cannot destroy confidence
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot shut out memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot reduce eternal life
It cannot quench the Spirit
It cannot lessen the power of the Resurrection.


Above poem was given during the memorial service of Dan Richardson who demonstrated that his spirit remained triumphant over cancer.

I got that from Our Daily Bread and they added another quote "Our greatest enemy is not the disease but despair."

How so very true!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Back to work

I went back to work last March 1.

I had a really really long vacation and it is good to be working again. People in the office were happy to see me back though they are still concerned that I might overstress myself and constantly remind me to just take it easy. There is really no problem with work, it was just like doing the regular stuff. Like I just start on a normal working day from a previous day. The trip to the office is another thing though plus I don't get to exercise and move around too much which my body certainly needs. I've commuted through public transport only twice since my brother has volunteered to bring me to work and fetch me there or in most cases fetch me in my boss' home since I ride back with her. Her place is definitely nearer than my office.

Public commute from my home to the office is really "toxic" so many people so my brother's offer was really great relief. I hope he doesn't get tired bringing and fetching me.

The work place environment is still the same and is still a major concern because of pollution
and so many people. No problem in the office but down below on the street... Ahhhh! Good thing it is summer and I don't have to bother with rain and just walk fast to the office from the car with my mask and hanky as additional covering... and so I work and work in the meantime and worry later when the rainy season comes...(my eyes read your suggestion to yourself again! Worry later! haha)

One thing I really appreciated since I got back to the office, aside from the support from people there of course, was the mass we had on March 2. It is a first Friday mass which our office always have. I volunteered to be the mass commentator and I was so touched when our priest - a monsignor by the way, came to me during the Prayer for the Faithful and ask the people to raise their hands and pray for me. I could feel my eyes well up as he said the prayer! Okay... okay... tears actually fell! I am so blessed to have so many people praying and caring for me!

And I am blessed to be able to work again!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Trip to visit Mama Mary in Carmel Lipa

At last my sister and I were finally able to visit Carmel Lipa yesterday after planning a trip to visit Our Lady, Mary Mediatrix of All Grace for a long time.

A friend gave me a sticker of the Lady Mediatrix photo which my sister placed above my bed when I was in the hospital for my operation. She would always pray the healing prayer that went with the photo, and one of the resident surgeons said his mother was a devotee of our Lady and believed in the power of prayer.

I was discharged from the hospital with a tube on my lungs since there were still liquid coming out from the drain, one of my onco-surgeon told us that I might go into chemo with the drain since my lungs would most likely continue to produce liquid as an effect of the cancer cells in my plerual. Whoa! That was bad news for me. I did not want to leave the hospital with a drain but each day stay means money so I knew I had to leave. The resident surgeon cleaned my drain and changed the bottle before I was discharged and I told him my onco-surgeon's comment and he said "don't worry, it will dry up!" he then pointed on Mama Mary's sticker and said "I believe in that!" And true enough no additional liquid flowed on my bottle when we got home on a Friday. Comes Monday, my amazed onco-surgeon removed the drain.

And now finally we went to Carmel Lipa accompanied by Nana Antang, a gracious old lady we picked up in the airbase nearby. Carmel Lipa is a lovely place, not just its chapel but the garden around the chapel and we got to talk with the nun who was in-charge of the garden, Sister Celine, I think. She is 82 but looks really young with good sense of humor. Turns out she too had stage IV ovarian cancer 40 years ago and was even given 4 months to live but look at her now! Not only that, she had a major vehicular accident in the US and broke 7 ribs and could not move for 3 months yet you don't see any sign of it when you look at her plus the insurance money she got from winning the case in that accident allowed them to improve the structures in Carmel and even put up a view deck so devotees and believers of the apparition of our lady will have an opportunity to view and meditate on the actual apparition site. She was very consoling when she told me that my sickness is a way of being one with the suffering of the Lord for humanity and that she is certain that I can handle my sickness. The Lord has really been good to me and I could feel His presence all throughout my operation and chemotherapy. I believe that He has given me a miracle by allowing me to be alive and not feeling the burden so many others with cancer had.

I should not be asking for anything more... oh well but I do! And during my prayer while meditating at the apparition site, I asked in an endearing way "Lord could I also have my own miracle petal?" I was hoping for a rose petal to fall on my feet there but none fell. Hahaha, I really did not expect a rose shower but I was just pushing my luck... in case :-)

So we left Carmel and went back to the airbase to bring back Nana Antang and have lunch before going back to Manila. I have just alighted from the car when I noticed something on the ground and picked it up. It was a small odd seed with a film collar around it like the garlic skin but finer and more transparent, I picked it up and looked more closely saw a heart inside that seed. Showed it also to my sister just to make sure that it is not just my imagination... and there is indeed a heart shape at the center. Then I saw some more and picked them up... they all had heart at the center. I asked people around to know from what plant it is but nobody knows.

Here is the front and back of my odd looking seed...


I had it scanned with a black carbon paper so it could be seen better.

Notice the heart in the middle? I know it is just from one of the plants around the area but for me to have come upon it was already a miracle considering its size. I may not have had a shower of rose petals but I did get a shower of my own special faux petal :-)

It is my miracle faux petal! It is God's reminder that He loves me and that I will always be special to Him!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

HAir HAir HAir

Today I finally went out without hair cover.
It really felt nice especially since it was another warm day.

My hair was pretty long before I learned about my cancer but I had it cut short before I had my operation. Then on the onset of the 3rd week after my first chemo it started falling off. I would have wanted to see the extent of the fall off -- that is how long my hair would actually stay but it was a problem on the drain so I had it cut further just skin head, with 1 cm still on my head. Whoa... I thought I looked pretty cool! But even the very short strands were a problem in the pillow and it might just go in my nose so I decided for a full shave on the 3rd week after the second chemo. The hair fall was like a cycle, it would grow a bit but would always fall off on the onset of the 3rd week after chemo.

Even my body hair fell off and stopped growing but that was okay until my eyebrows and eyelashes started falling off on the 3rd week after the 3rd chemo. I was very careful in washing my face making sure that I don't scrub my eyebrows to make it last longer... but it started thinning and thinning until I could just count the number of strands in my eyebrows 20 on the left and 15 on the right... 7 and 5... 2 and 1. Now that didn't really look nice at all. With a bald head but with brows one could still look cool but with NO eyebrows one looked doubly bald! And since I don't use eyebrow pencil I looked pretty bald the last cycles of my chemo. As someone said, I looked like the portrait in the paintings (of women without eyebrows and large forehead). Hahaha!

But thanks God the hair came back, slowly at first then rushing out pretty fast the last days. The eyebrows came back fast and now my head is black as fine black hair are growing and there are lots of white hair sticking out also which are longer and coarse. The hair is still pretty short so they almost cling to my scalp and it feels nice to touch my head. Even without hair I would still shampoo my scalp and sometimes even ask my mom to smell it, telling her "It smells nice, huh?" then I would also borrow her comb and stroke it in my head as I look in the mirror and Esming, our help would smile at me and I would tell her "Just practicing!" But now it is no longer a practice ! My hair is back and I don't have to cover my head anymore!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Healing Mass with Fr. Fernando Suarez

There was a Healing Mass today at St. Peter Parish Church (Commonwealth) by Fr. Fernando Suarez, MMMP. We knew that the mass would start at 9:00 am but mama and I came early just in time for the 7 am mass.

There were a lot of people but it was organized and people were generally quiet and attentive to the whole service. There were 2 readings and the psalm and gospel which were different from the reading, psalm and gospel on the 7 am mass. I figured that it was an advanced Sunday Service which will be featured later on TV (I checked the readings and gospel later on my 366 Days with the Lord and true enough, they are for March 11, a Sunday and I guess they will feature the mass on that date in TV5 since I heard Fr. Suarez thanking TV5 at the end of the Eucharist).

After the mass, Fr. Suarez' coordinator told that Fr. Suarez will not only pray over the people there but would also pray for others whose pictures were brought by the people and he would also bless objects brought. Mama and I did not bring any picture of our family members but I brought my "Prayer" notebook which also contained the names of the people I am praying for, that meant that when my time comes to be prayed over, they too will be prayed over by Fr. Suarez! There were lots of ushers and guides who were directing the people on the procedure so the Pray Over was fast despite the church being full. We just fell in a horizontal line in front of the altar as Fr. Suarez comes to each, there were people in our backs ready to catch us if we fall. He did not really stay long in each person as he would just touch you. He did not lay his hand on me but actually poked his finger on my mid-left abdomen...

As in the past it made me wonder why he touched me there!

This is not the first time that I had the occasion of attending a Holy Eucharist he has presided since he celebrated the Holy Eucharist in our office already where I had the honor of being the commentator and even held hands with him during the singing of the Lord's prayer in one occasion. He visited our office trice already and I was there on two occasions, since the last time he came I was having my 6th chemotherapy. I wanted to be there but I could not and it is a good thing that he came to our parish so I could attend!

But back to his visits in our office -- his hands softly touched my belly during his Pray Over. He placed his hands on others head or shoulder but twice he placed his hands on my abdomen. That was before I learned of my cancer. Somehow, he could feel where your sickness is and I believe those touch helped in making my cancer level not too high despite it having metastasized to other organs already. And now he poked on my left abdomen, I wonder if God told him to zap the stone in my kidney? It showed in the CT-Scan before and the doctors did not touch it. I certainly hope he did!

There were instant physical healing in that service. People clapped every time someone testifies to their healing, after all physical healing is a clearer sign of a miracle. Fr. Suarez and other healing priests have said again and again that they are not the ones who heal but they are just instruments. God decides who is healed!

Yup, God decides! He knows what is best for us and He has His own perfect timing. We just have to believe in Him. He is reminding me again that he is in control of my life, those people in my Prayer notebook and all others who come to Him!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Thank You from the Heart

It is Valentine's day once again, a special day for lovers!

Of course we are all lovers and everyday is a day of love and we don't just wait for this day to express it BUT it is also good to really pause for a while and reflect on all the good things we shared and continually share with our family and friends and realize how blessed we are for all the love shared.

I've always felt so blessed to be surrounded with people who love me, care for me and look up to me that sometimes I feel embarrassed to get so much even if sometimes I feel that I do not even deserve them. I especially felt the love during my sickness when so many people prayed for me, cared for me, supported me and uplifted me. Their goodness and kindness, I could never repay so I ask God to bless them a thousand fold for all the goodness and love they've given me.

I also dedicate this song from The Carpenters. I wish I could have made my own video and even sung the song but nevertheless realize that the message comes from my heart.



Thank You so much! God bless you all!!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Presentation at the Altar

Today is the feast day of the Presentation of our Lord Jesus in the Temple. We also call this feast as “Candelaria” because people bring candles to church to be blessed.

The Presentation

I brought a lot of candles when I went to our chapel this morning and when I arrived the priest told us that we will light the candle and join in the entrance procession and we will stay in front as he says the prayer for the blessing of the candles, and that if you have many candles you just have to light one and just bring along with you the rest.

Some of the church people were not aware of the feast so they asked candle from me and I gave them, and since I already gave some of my candles to some people I decided to just retain one for myself and give the rest to those sitting in the pews so they too could join in the procession. Most who had extra candles saw that and also started giving to others. So it turned out that almost all the people in the chapel joined in the procession and were blessed together with the candles!

I was thinking “How great!” Oftentimes people are just asked to bring their candles in front and then the priest will bless them after mass but there we were lighting our candles and being blessed with our candles. It was like we were presenting ourselves to God!

I thought that I would light the remaining of the candle at home tonight when the family prays the rosary, an appropriate use of the blessed candle as the blessing is shared with my family. But something else came to mind, I too was presented at the altar and blessed by the priest, shouldn’t I be the LIGHT for others? Of course I should! That is the role of every Christian. BUT sometimes I don’t really know how to make my light shine properly… even with my good intention, some of my action backfires as people closest to me and whom I want to bring to the Lord seems to move away further…

That was answered by the priest’s homily…

Waiting

Fr. Mon’s homily did not focus on Jesus but on Simeon and Anna… their waiting!

They were two old people who were promised of Christ’s coming early on in their lives. That they would live to see His coming. And they had to wait… and wait… and wait. But they just did not wait, they patiently waited believing on God’s promise! And true enough they witnessed Christ’s coming.

I too am waiting… PRAYING for a lot of things to happen, waiting for some of my prayers to be answered… praying for complete healing for myself and others… waiting for the transformation of loved ones! Many people who grieve also wait for joy to come back to their lives… pray for their pains to go away… to finally find what they are looking for.

We should all follow the examples of Simeon and Anna. We wait with hope always believing in God’s promise for in His time and in His way our prayers will be answered!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Laughter, the best medicine

They say that laughter is the best medicine.

Well, I know that I have the greatest healer taking care of me but laughter certainly does help! And I certainly had a good laughter this afternoon.

My mother usually goes on siesta at around 1:30 to 2 pm then wakes up near 3:00 pm to watch her telenovelas (soaps) on TV in our living room, however, this afternoon she switched channel and was watching the news TV and they were showing the impeachment proceeding of Chief Justice Corona live. I just came from the bedroom when I saw the proceeding started and so standing I also looked and it was an interesting and funny proceeding. The prosecutors were definitely not prepared and they knew that what they wanted to happen is not actually acceptable yet they went to argue anyway hoping that they will be allowed to... "Palusot" is our word for it, I don't know the exact English equivalent of that word -- pushing your luck or maybe chancing your arm? Anyway, I was just smiling along with the leader of defense panel(well I can certainly see the grin on his face)listening to the long and funny argument of one of the prosecutor when the Honorable Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago took the stand and spoke angrily and colorfully starting in English and moving to Tagalog with a tinge of Ilonggo at the peak of her discourse. She was really lambasting the prosecutors and she has every right to but she did it in a very funny way. She is really one intelligent, witty,FUNNY and colorful woman. I couldn't help but laugh and a good thing that the Senate President called for a minute recess (I heard that it was the longest minute) since it was near my 3 pm prayer time. I really had to do some settling down before I could start my prayer!

I don't really like politics... such discussion usually cause distress and I definitely don't want to be distressed or stressed especially in my condition. However, today politics was not a source of distress but therapy as my heart and lungs had a good exercise from laughing! Maybe it is not a bad idea to watch some more?

Angelic Choir

I have been going to the chapel in our place once again for the morning mass. There has been a lot of changes there since 6 months ago. There are new priests, many of the people in charge are different, the bell is not regularly rang anymore before the mass, there were days with no choir and some of the regulars I saw are gone with new people attending.

Yesterday and today were days with no choir... well no regular choir that is.

Yesterday, while already seated on the pew and the commentator started reading the mass intentions and welcomed the priest presider, nobody sang the entrance song. There was no choir! The commentator knew me and know that I used to sing in the choir before and gave me an "eye." Knowing what she wanted, I sang as loud as I can, an appropriate entrance song and soon enough the congregation followed.

This morning, I arrived early in the chapel and I heard some people talking about the choir the other day. They could not see the people singing but there were voices. Must have been some of the kids or maybe angels?

Hmmm... Angelic choir??? That was me!!! :-)

Well not all of me. I just started it. The people sensed that there were no music coming from above so they followed and it actually sounded better since there was no powerful voice on the microphone but different voices everywhere.

There were no choir once again this morning and this time the commentator and I already talked. As the celebration started, I sang from where I was at one of the back pews and once again the people followed in the singing. There were still others whose heads turned up to where the choir sings, once again they found nobody!

Hmmm...angels once again? How I wish!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Doctors' verdict

My obgyn oncologist and oncologist-surgeon finally saw my blood result and CT-scans result and they we soooo happy. The chemo worked! No additional chemo needed.

If they are happy I am much much much much more happier! Thank you Lord!

Thank you... thank you... thank you! :-)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Healing Sounds

Today is the feast day of the Sto. NiƱo. A special feast day of the Child Jesus only in the Philippines. This is also one of the most festive feast day we have in our country with big celebrations in different areas of the country including Cebu where they have their yearly Sinulog Festival.

I have been to Cebu a couple of times including during their Sinulog Festival and what really strikes me each time is the "Sinulog Sound". I think the people there take the distinct sound seriously that you'll see a lot of practice going on in the streets and other busy areas the whole year. Young male adults with their drums and their trumpets and other instruments giving their strongest and best sound in harmony. Each time I hear the sounds especially of the drums, I feel them penetrating my body and their vibration are like healing energy reaching out to every cell of my being!

I keep remembering the healing sensation I have when I hear the "Sinulog" sounds when I hear the ringing in my ears --- which sounds like a hundred cicadas screaming! It has been there a long time after I started my chemo but I don't exactly know when it started. I don't get to notice this noise during the day when there are other sounds to compete with it... but during the night when everything else is silent... it is there, never stopping. I've learned to live with it... doesn't really bother me anymore. And sometimes during the night I actually concentrate on this sound thinking that like the healing effect of the drums they too are healing my body!

Visualization has always been difficult for me, but I allow the sound to slowly descend as I think of every part of my body starting from the head all the way to my feet... allowing it to linger more in my weak areas... imagining... praying that it drives away the bad cells and strengthen my good cells.

Don't know if this "noise" will ever go away but I will tap on its capacity to heal rather than allow it to irritate me!

FROG on CTScan Result

FROG that is an acronym for Fully Rely On God according to Fr. Fernando Suarez' homily in The Healing Eucharist today.

If I rely on myself, then something might still go wrong but if I rely on God, nothing can go wrong because He is in control of everything and wants the best thing for me.

My brother, who went to get my CT-Scan results yesterday came home very very late since he and his wife went to another function after so I was not able to see my result.

I saw the bag with the CT-scan results when I woke up this morning but did not want to check it out yet. I celebrated with mama the mass on TV presided by Fr. Suarez and afterwards said the rosary. My family started to come out of their rooms and I asked if anybody checked out the result, nobody did. Jenny, my sister was going to check it and I said No, I'll do it in a bit. My sis-in-law was smiling saying that the result will not change already. Of course we knew that... but I still wanted to delay it a bit.

Finally read the result after breakfast, I don't really understand all the stuff written there but I found something different and checked it out in the internet. It says I have mild Bronchiectatis, an uncommon lung condition. Well it probably explains the pain in still have in my chest. At least it is not cancer.

I will have to wait for my doctor's verdict but as Fr. Suarez say FROG... Fully Rely on God!
So like a frog, my faith leaps knowing that God is in control!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Blood Test Result

I had my Chest and whole abdominal CT scans today. After I had them, I went to the hospital to get my blood result for the cancer tumor marker CA-125.

The result was good!

It was not zero as I prayed, though the doctor told me that it will not really be zero, but it was reduced. From the previous level of 8.10 after my third chemo, it is now 6.20 which is within the normal level of 0 - 35.

Thank you Lord!

Tomorrow I get the result of my CT scans.

Take charge, O Lord!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blood test

Today I have my blood test to check on my cancer level.

I want it so much to be within normal range... even zero!

The gospel today from Mk 1:40-45 was reassuring as it talks about how Jesus cleaned a leper. The leper begged Jesus saying "If you wish, you can make me clean." and Jesus moved with pity stretched out His hands and touched him saying "I do will it. Be made clean." And I prayed to Him to clean my blood... my body of all cancer cells and I feel Him saying "Yes Beth, I do will it. Be clean of your cancer!"

After I had my blood extracted and was walking to the hospital lobby, I could hear the pianist playing "Impossible Dream". My brother still had to get his car from the parking on another building so I stood near the piano and facing him sang the lyrics softly. My nose and lips were covered by my mask but he could hear me and he smiled. He then played "I Believe" and I continued to sang along humming when I forgot some of the lyrics and thinking "Yes Lord, I believe... I believe that nothing is impossible with you!" He followed the music with "You'll Never Walk Alone" and I still sang with his music and continued with my thought "Lord, I know I am in a storm...a health crisis but I should never fear because you are always with me." I was still singing softly as I left him to proceed to the entrance and heard him play "Walk with faith in your heart" and continued singing softly while waiting for the car to come in view and thought further "How nice his choice of songs, they suit me perfectly!" then I added "You know Lord, I think You had a hand in his choice... thank you!"

And now here at home, I await my blood result and say "Lord make it clean!" and I imagine Him telling me "Yes Beth, I will it. It will be clean!"

Friday, January 6, 2012

How Blessed to be with Mama

I was talking with my cousin over Skype and we got to talk about my aunt, her mother, whose birthday is today. My aunt is in the province and has dementia. My cousin is in the Middle East. Most of her siblings are abroad or in other provinces. Only one brother is with her and he is out most of the time so there is no family to take care of her.

She called her mother on the mobile phone to wish her happy birthday but instead my aunt told her happy birthday and she answered back "No it is not my birthday but your birthday!" then my cousin said she cried. My aunt could not care for herself anymore, my cousin wants so much to take care of her but she is so far away! She could not really rely on her brother to give her the care and love that she wants to give her. Even the help they got could not give her the care that she wants my aunt to have!

I could feel how tormented she was and felt really sad for her. Then I looked at mama and thought how blessed I am to be with her. I am blessed because she takes care of me but I am also blessed because somehow I am able to take care of her and be with her.

Rony

Today, my former office mate's brother, Rony was buried. He is only 48 years old and he suffered a lot before his death on New Year's day.

I wrote earlier that he was finally discharged on the 17th of December after being in the hospital for 3 months. I was so happy to know about his coming home and thought he would recover faster in his own home.

Meldy was composed when I was talking with her but her eyes showed her grief! She talked about Rony's last days. They got to enjoy Christmas as he was okay though he had a full time caregiver with him. However, on the 30th of December they noticed that he just kept on sleeping and called his doctor who said that it was the effect of the medicine and they should just let him rest and observe him. They did not immediately panic because he has had such episodes before, however, when it was getting longer they already brought him to the hospital.

His was in bad condition and the doctor told them that something was wrong with the brain and that he might not live long and that even if he lives he would no longer be able to function normally, so they have to decide if they want him in life support. To put ones life into your hands... to decide whether one should live or die... that is heavy on the heart! They signed the waiver, only asked for ventilator so he could breathe. No life support and no reviving if he goes into an arrest.The doctor told them that something is wrong with his brain yet he was still able to respond with his head on their questions. He could not talk but he was able to communicate and he told his sisters that he was tired. And with heavy heart, they told him to rest.

Their hearts are heavy now... but Rony's life was not really in their hands. God decides! He decided that Rony should be with Him, he will be at peace and without pain. And in time Meldy and her whole family's hearts will be light again.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, New Beginnings

We have an orchid in our garden but it has not flowered for a long long time. However, just recently I saw some buds and was really excited. I kept watching it grow and soon I could see that the flowers would be of purple color. Most of the orchids that flower in our garden are the white ones and so I was more excited.

And this New Year, three flowers bloomed, they are really pretty! I was thinking how lovely to greet the new year. New life, new beginning!

I am certainly looking forward to a new beginning. I have finished my 6-cycle chemo last December 15, 2011 and would have my blood test and ct-scans on the 12th of this year. I'm recovering my health hoping for good results. My family and friends assure me that the result will be good, even the Lord reassured me from my readings that I will be healed! So I'm excited and happy. My family celebrated New year's eve at home and that made me more happy and blessed. Certainly a good feeling to start the year.

In the afternoon, I got a text message. It was from my friend Meldy. She said that her brother Rony died at 2 pm.

Remember Rony? I have been praying for him. He has been in the hospital a long time and Meldy is also losing hope. I was praying for an urgent miracle that he be healed so he can spend Christmas with his family. I was so glad when I got a message on my birthday that he was finally discharged from the hospital. So he will spend Christmas season with his family. And He did!

However, he did not stay long enough. I can feel from Meldy's text messages that he has not really fully recovered as her replies became short with a tinge of sadness. I used to write her longer messages for assurances but I could feel that it only made her more sad so I made them short so she just knows that someone is there for her.

When I got her text, I did not know how to write a comforting message. I wanted to comfort her so much but I knew that words would not make up. Maybe words were not necessary because she was thankful that I was around to pray with them. And she was somehow comforted knowing that her brother Rony is now in heaven where there is no more pain... where he will have a new beginning! A better beginning with God!

I was listening to Lifelines, a CD by Fr. Bob McConaghy. His first talk was on Miracles. he says that all miracles we experience are temporary except for one and that is our last miracle, when we finally spend our eternal life in heaven with God.

So this new year, I am looking forward to new beginnings, lots of miracles! The last miracle, I leave unto God's hands in His own time.

I know that there will be moments of doubts and fears but I will live feeling grateful thinking that everyday is God's miracle.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Don't worry Trust God

Yesterday, mama and I had our siesta late and it was already dark when I woke up and my hands touched my right breast. Under it I felt a lump that was painful. My right chest has been feeling some heaviness and pain the past days and I also have been feeling on my right breast and would check it but could not feel any lump until yesterday.

As mama was beside me, I also asked her to touch it and I told her that I do not want to have another operation and if I have another mass that I would try herbal or something else. We both felt sad but she prayed over me and that made my heart lighter.

Today, I wasn't feeling too well since I still feel the pain on the right chest and breast plus my stomach has been acting up for 4 days already. Well it is partly because I have been eating a lot during the past days also and so finally started to eat just banana and rice and grilled fish plus lots of fluid and oral rehydration salt. Anyway, I try not to think about it but after my afternoon prayer and while waiting to take my medicine before going on my siesta I was randomly reading reflections on the "Our Daily Bread 2012" my sister gave me for Christmas. I have been reading on several random days reading and reflections when my doubt on my health crept up again. And I prayed once more and asked the Lord to answer if I would still make it on my next birthday... my 50th birthday! I told Him I'll go to the page for December 19 and wait for His answer.

The quote for that day was from Mark 5:34:
"Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction."
The evangelist, Mark wrote "daughter" not son or anything else but daughter! God knew before hand that I would be asking the question and look at that page and He gave me His answer even before I asked it. He is truly a great God. I don't know why I still keep worrying. I should just trust Him completely and be at peace as I go through my healing.

My soul, don't worry! Trust God!

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Christmas Tradition

Our family as in the previous years is celebrating the Noche Buena.

We had our get-together in midnight sharing simple meal and the kids opening up their gifts. We could hear our neighbor having a sing-a-long earlier in the day but they stopped near midnight. We on the other hand opened our videoke but we only played Christmas songs. No one really sang-a-long, mostly it was just background music while we ate our Noche Buena. There was something new though. Earlier I asked my nephew to put the name of everyone in pieces of paper and fold them and after our meal we drew lots and you will have to do an act of kindness or service to the person whose name you picked on Christmas day.

It was funny but one nephew, Laurence who is 10 years old was wondering earlier what could he do it he picked up the name of my mother... and true enough he picked her name and suddenly went on the floor as he exclaimed "Oh men!" and we all laughed.

Christmas day I was up early and was having breakfast when Laurence came in with a mug in his hand. I asked him what he will do and he said he will prepare coffee for mama... ah his good deed since he knew mama loves coffee! I noticed that mama had coffee earlier and so I told him to ask her first. He went to her room and came out exclaiming "Oh men!" He was not able to accomplish his mission! I told mama about it and she said that she just wanted to rest and that the kids should not be noisy, so I told him that his good deed involved reminding his cousins not to be noisy.

I actually picked Laurence also and it was hard to do a good deed for him Christmas day as we had visitors and our help had their day off so I was able to do it the next day already.

I was thinking this year it was not easy to implement this act of kindness but in time I want it to be part of my family's Christmas Tradition where we don't just pick up the name on Christmas eve but much earlier so that we have a longer time to do our act of kindness. I certainly am looking forward to this!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

What Matter in Christmas is Mater, right?

I have been spared from materialism this Christmas!

I have not been going out much so I didn't get to see the crowded malls, the busy shopping areas, the bright lights and decors that adorn the streets, buildings and most areas during Christmas.

The decors we put at home were old Christmas lights (that still worked, thank God!) on our window, the Belen (nativity scene) with small Christmas tree that goes with the scene plus another small one (though slightly bigger than the other) on top of another cabinet where some of the gifts were placed. The church has been saying that we should focus Christmas back to Christ and I'm happy that we had a simple Christmas celebration this year.

As I was reflecting on the call to bring the focus of Christmas back to Christ, I thought that Mary's "Yes" to the Angel Gabriel was the best gift Christ had. Christ's Christmas gift was his mother, or "Mater" in Latin. Mary and Joseph on the other hand had Christ as their gift -- His presence in their lives! Yet, they had other good gifts in between. For like us, I figured that they too had moment of doubts when they said their "Yes" to God that they somehow need assurances too.

Mary's biggest assurance came when she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth to serve her. When Elizabeth proclaimed her greeting to her after John, the child in her womb leaped for Joy, Mary was so filled with happiness that she exclaimed her Magnificat. The Angel was right!

I also thought that the three magi's visit was more for Joseph than for Christ. Babies don't care for gifts and Christ like any baby would not have appreciated the gold, frankincense and myrrh they brought but would rather have His mother's milk and touch! But I could imagine the effect of the three magi's presence to Joseph! He would have been very happy and reassured that he made the right decision when he listened to the angel in his dream and took Mary as his wife even if she was with child. For now before him was Christ, the savior! And though not that important, their gifts had bearing too, for he would have used it to care for his family when they flee to Egypt.

So material gifts we give and receive on Christmas are good but our presence and love to our friends are better. And we should remember that Christ's presence in our life is our biggest gift not just on Christmas but everyday of our lives. He is always there for us even if we don't always feel His presence. However, it is always great to get reassurances of His presence and love.

A merry and blessed Christmas to all!

May we always be sensitive t0 Christ's presence in our lives! And may our presence to others remind them of Christ in their lives! (",)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Presentation

Our company field auditors are having their annual meeting in the conference room of one of our warehouses. I used to be in charge of this meeting and training but Raul took over since I am on leave. Actually he called me last week informing me of the meeting and told me that they would come to my home for my birthday and bring their dinner with them. I told him that we are having a family get-together that day and I would just go there the next day if I am up to since I also made a Training Presentation on Fraud Auditing.

I had time in my hands and I was able to get a book on Fraud Auditing and I knew that the information will help improve the skills of the auditors. At first, I thought I would make a manual which they could use but when Raul told me that they will push through with the meeting, I decided to turn it to a presentation instead thinking that my chemo would have been finished a week before and my body would have recovered from the usual pain and discomfort after the chemo.

The Powerpoint presentation was ready and so was I. I knew that my brother could easily bring me to our warehouse where the conference room is very nice and the location is far from the toxic environment of our office where there are so many people that vehicles would not be able to make it to our building. All was set until my mother had an accident on my birthday and I thought that I would not be able to make it after all but my mother was fine (thank God!) and I did make it.

It was nice to see the auditors including the new auditors that were hired since I was gone, there were a lot of them! The auditors also appreciated the presentation both the content and the manner it was presented... ahemmm! I, on my part felt happy to do the presentation even if I did not receive any salary being on leave without pay for a couple of months already. Yes I was tired after the 4 hours presentation but it was worth it! I have been with the company for a long long time and the auditors are not just my peers but my family. I don't know if I will still be with the company next December.... No, I'm not talking of death, it may come, only God knows but I am not really thinking about that. I just thought that the office area is really a toxic environment, pollution and people wise (sooooo many people there!) and the commute is difficult and I might just find it necessary to think of other work to provide for our financial needs. So, I'm grabbing the chance of still being able to share a part of myself to them until I can.

I did not put it off for tomorrow for tomorrow may not come.

Now, that should also be the case for my spiritual service to others... Not put for tomorrow what I can do now. My action is limited at the moment but whatever I am able to do, I should do. It is difficult Lord, so please push me!

Best Birthday Gift

I have been praying for a lot of people but for sometime now I have been praying fervently for the brother of my former office mate. I met Meldy one time when I went to the hospital for my test and she told me that her brother who has multiple sclerosis was also in the hospital so that I promised her that I would include him in my prayer. I would inquire about him from time to time and his condition was not getting better... for a long time he has been in the ICU and I told her we should continue praying, then he was finally moved to a room but it was a temporary victory since he would have seizures and seemed to have lost zest for life as he sit with his sad eyes. Even Meldy was losing hope and that's the time I ask God for an urgent action! Although I have not met him and don't really know him, I found myself waking up very early in the morning with a great desire to pray for him... and I did! I would tell God that it was really urgent. Please let him go home so he could spend Christmas with his family.

And yesterday, I got a text message early in the morning from Meldy telling me that his brother was finally discharged last Saturday! Oh I told her that it was one of the best birthday news I got!

Yup yesterday was my birthday and I got good news early which made me really happy. Well I'm always happy on my birthday feeling so blessed! And knowing that we will have a family get together was something to look forward to.

And the get-together was really happy! Well that is until mama collapsed and hit her head. Blood was oozing and we all panicked! My siblings brought her to the hospital and those of us at home prayed and prayed. It was late and we suddenly grew tired but we kept on praying. Oh God, please take care of mama! I also asked for prayers from people in my community and somehow I felt at peace... I suddenly knew that God will take care of mama that even if I was on my celfone waiting for news from my sibling , I dozed off for a few minutes until I noticed a text message from my sister that mama was okay, no internal bleeding! Mama is okay!

Mama and my siblings arrived from the hospital around 4:00 am the next morning. It seemed a long time they were in the hospital! And as I look at her sleeping, I could only thank God and tell Him that mama is the best birthday gift I got! Thank you Lord!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Psalm 34

Today is the day I will get the result of my blood exam and see my doctor for confirmation of my 6th chemo, my last chemo! My past chemo treatments were just fine, the side effects for one week are predictable so even if I was in pain and uncomfortable for a few days, I know it will pass and I don't really have to worry about my sickness as my treatment is on course. However, I was apprehensive the past days because I already took antibiotic for 7 days for colds and sore throat but I still feel that I have stuffy nose and I could not have chemo if I am sick and I so desperately want to have my chemo on schedule!

When I woke up early this morning, I told God that I am afraid and could He tell me what to do. Can He please give the answer when I do my readings? I sighed and begged "Oh God, You have to answer me!" And there I read Psalm 34! I love 2 verses from that psalm and would even sing it as God's assurance to me. He just did not give me an answer that would reassure me but He gave me something He knew I love. There was nothing to be afraid of, He is in control! I was at peace as I softly and gratefully sung repeatedly...
I sought You Lord and You and answered me; from all my fears You delivered me. I look to You and I'm radiant with joy, my face is never clouded with shame. (my version of Psalm 34:5-6)
True enough, my blood result was fine and my doctor said that the stuffiness was just allergic rhinitis and that I would have my chemo as scheduled!

Thank You so much dearest Lord! Sorry if I am anxious at times. Bear with me because You really are my only hope. I love you!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Magnificat

The Responsorial Psalm for today was not from the Book of Psalms but taken from Luke 1:46-55 or Mary's Magnificat.

I have written previously how I loved the second joyful mystery - The Visitation and would ask Mama Mary to visit me and care for me as she did her cousin Elizabeth. And as I was reading the Magnificat, I reflected on Mary's life.

When the Angel Gabriel came to her to announce the birth of the savior, I was thinking that she was a bit doubtful and scared but nevertheless consented because she knew of God's promise to Israel. The Angel Gabriel also told her that her cousin Elizabeth, who was barren, was also with child and she went to visit her and care for her. It was only after Elizabeth paid her homage when the child in her womb leapt with joy upon hearing her greeting as she exclaimed "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!" That was Mary's assurance of God's promise, an affirmation! Any doubt that she may have during the angel's visit was gone and she was happy! It was then that she proclaimed her Magnificat!

There are also lots of times when I feel that God is asking me to do something... something beyond my comfort zone and I am afraid to move... sometimes I even stall but when I feel God's push and consent and move despite fear of what is going to happen, that's the time I feel God's affirmation and I cannot help but be grateful and thank Him for giving me the grace to heed His call.

I wish that like Mary, I will ever consent to God's call. I should realize that doubt may come and God's assurance may not come immediately but if I persevere especially in serving others as He wants me to, then I would be certain that God will comfort me and assure me and I too will proclaim my own Magnificat of God's goodness!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Joey Velasco, the Heartist

Oftentimes I would be watching or listening to the live streaming radio broadcast of Pamilya Mo, Pamilya Ko (Your Family, My Family) at the Radio Veritas. I like listening to them not only because of their topics but also because of the broadcasters' hearty laughter that is contagious. They have different guests each day based on their topic and today, their guest was Queenie Velasco, the widow of the late Joey Velasco.

She talked about her husband - his art, his book, his passion, his projects, his dreams, his legacy; their life together including how they came to be together; their faith and beliefs; and the their children.

I did not catch his full name when I started to tune in, just his first name and his work Hapag ng Pag-asa (Table of Hope), his version of the Last Supper featuring Jesus with street children. I immediately thought "I know that!" and remembered how moved I was looking at the paintings taken from a calendar that covered part of the glass windows of the bus I was riding to work. Even if the bus was so full, I tried squeezing my way slowly so I get to see his different paintings and marveled at them. And I continue to be awed each time I get to see them as I rode the bus again.

I was listening and at the same time browsing about him. He died last year of kidney cancer complication at the age of 43. Forty Three! So young! And leaving a wife and 4 children! So who's going to take care of them? Listening to Quennie dispelled the fear of what was going to happen to them, I guess He left this world knowing that his family will be taken care of.

By the proceeds from his art collection you may ask? His art collection was great and would command a big price but they decided not the sell them -- not one of them! They are works not to be sold but to proclaim God's goodness in His life, in their lives! And through them Joey would continue to share God's goodness to others! And God, never to be outdone, will take care of his family!

I was joyfully laughing at some of the anecdotes shared by Quennie but mostly my eyes were welling up from listening to her. It was not tears of sadness but of joy of the life they shared -- even through their pain in difficulties, there was love and commitment... to each other, to their families and mostly to God!

And as I was reflecting on his life, I was thinking that 43 was just a number. Yes, he left us pretty early if you think about his age BUT he fulfilled so much in that lifetime! He has touched so many people's lives and will continue to touch more through his work, his foundation, and his family.

Then I thought of my life, I'm going to be 49 soon. How long will I be around? I really don't know! Does it matter??? Well I hope to stay around a lot longer but everything is in God's hands. I've realized that age is just a number... what matters most is life that comes with it.

I have LIFE and I'd like to live that to the best I can for myself, my family, my friends, others... and yes for my God. It doesn't matter whether I am strong or I am weak. I can do something! It doesn't matter if it is great or small... I can do something!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blessed are the Beautiful Feet!

I opened my email once again to read the daily reading, psalm and gospel and I was struck with the reading:
For, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. For the scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him. For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring (the) good news!" But not everyone has heeded the good news; for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what was heard from us?" Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

But I ask, did they not hear? Certainly they did; for "Their voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world." --Rm 10:9-18
I was particularly struck with those words I have typed in bold letters (Rm 10:13-15) as it made me reflect on the talks with some friends from the Netherlands. They say that they believe in God but do not see the need for the church. One in fact hates the church and would mock me when I tell that I give to the church, saying that I should instead just give to the people in need and I would say that I do that too but I like to support the church because I get my spiritual nourishment from her! I would say that somehow they are lucky to have parents and their church before that taught them about God and the faith but what about the next generation? Who would teach them about God???

Then I thought of all "sisters" in the community who are really very active in evangelizing the good news. Going out of their comfort zone, going to mission areas just to proclaim God's goodness. How beautiful and blessed they are! How beautiful are their feet that walks to proclaim Christ!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Joyful Visitation

I once told my cousin that I would pray the rosary apart from the family rosary we pray every night. And often times I'd pray the Joyful mysteries even if it not a Monday or Saturday because I particularly liked the second mystery -- the Visitation. And each time I say it, I would ask Mama Mary to visit me and care for me as she visited and cared for my namesake, her cousin Elizabeth more than 2000 years ago!

Today I was talking with my cousin in Skype, and she told me that now, she too asks Mary to visit her as she has visited her cousin Elizabeth more than 2000 years ago.

I am sure that Mary indeed visits us when we ask for her Joyful Visitation!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

St. Martin de Porres

Today is the feast day of St. Martin de Porres.

He is one of the Patron Saints of our family as we also ask for his intercession when we pray the rosary. I remember shouting his name when I was in the recovery room after my operation last July, I am just not sure if I was shouting it in my dream or I actually shouted his name.

He has a statue in Sto. Domingo Church on the right side (on the left is our Lady of La Naval) and they have a novena every Tuesday at 5:45 pm. I wonder if they still give bread (pandesal) to the people after the novena? Somehow I felt that he visited me during my operation so I thought I'd also visit him on his feast day.

Happy feast day! Please continue interceding for us.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fr. Chito Tagle, the new Archbishop of Manila

Bishop Luis Antonio "Chito" Tagle has recently been appointed the Archbishop of Manila. People who have approached me are always excited when they invite me to his talks and they have reason to be. I've heard him and he has a very nice and humorous way of expressing his reflections that makes you reflect too.

I thought I'd share his talk in the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec, Canada titled "The Eucharist, the life of Christ in our lives." It is a very good reflection especially his own sharing of his own experiences...







I was particularly drawn to his insight on how the Roman Centurion was a model of adoration. How he watched Christ suffer from the hands of the high priest till His death on the Cross... giving His life in obedience to the Father and for the love of the people including those who betrayed him. He watched Christ as part of his duty as a soldier... he did not care how he suffered after all the people condemned him to die as a criminal and he has seen a lot of those being nailed on the cross... but Christ continued to carry his cross with complaining... forgiving those who wronged him... bearing the pain and suffering even if He could not feel the presence of His Father but surrendering everything to Him... all because of LOVE! The centurion saw this and could not help but contemplate on the truth that in the end exclaimed "Truly, this man was the Son of God." (Mark 15:39)

Like the Roman soldier I should always contemplate on the love of Christ despite all the noise, pain, hate and injustice happening around me because there is so much goodness and love in so many people that surrounds me after all. Likewise, I hope that being able to carry my crosses without complaining will also make others reflect on Christ's love. I know that so many people care for me and would want me to overcome my sickness yet there are others too who don't really know me. I hope that when they see me cheerful, hopeful and open to God's action in my life, they too would be able to say that "truly she is a daughter of God" and maybe get inspired too.

I believe such happened today because after the mass, a lady approached me and smiled as she touched my arms and said "God bless you!" Maybe she was happy to see a bald lady in bandana who should be sick yet was joyfully participating and celebrating the Eucharist...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

My Third Chemo

My second chemo was postponed by a week because my white blood cell (WBC) count was very low and I had to be given injection to boost it and Thank God it improved.

After the discomfort and pain on the first week after my second chemo, I was again feeling better and and believed that the blood result test for my third chemo will be good that I just asked my brother to get it. Unfortunately there were several deviation from the normal level including the WBC which was lower than normal but not as low as before and the SGOT/SGPT which shoot up as compared to previous results. Oh Lord, I don't want another delay! I had to go to the doctor for his opinion praying all the way.

Indeed my result did not look good to me but my doctor, the specialist, had his own computation and reference and he says I can have my chemo as scheduled but I just have to take vitamin for my liver. I was happy!

I had my chemo and during his rounds he explained that he already anticipate the lowering of the results, it is part of the chemo process as the medicine targets the fast growing cells which are the cancer cells it also targets other good cells, so I just have to continue eating well and doing exercises to ensure that my body recovers for the next cycle.

I thought how it is with God. He has His own standard. he knows our weakness and loves us still. We just have to do the best we can so we experience His healing love.

I have to do my best and believe!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thinking Differently

Steve Jobs died yesterday. Although the cause of his death was not given, it is believed that he died of pancreatic cancer, the disease he was diagnosed with and has been battling for a long time.

I don't have a mac, an ipod, an iphone, an ipad or many of the gadgets Apple has introduced into the market but I have been at amazed at how he returned and transformed Apple to what it is today after being kicked out from the company he founded...how he continued to work on his passions despite his illness and how his products have so much following. He certainly changed the way many people lived their lives.

I was reading on him and was caught by the Apple's 1997 advertisement "Think Different" and thought that it finely captures his take on life.

On that video they featured prominent people who think/thought differently and had a great impact on people's lives. And I thought of people I'd include if I were to make my video of people who thought differently and had a great impact on my life.

Jesus also thought differently, he was considered a rebel in his time. He did not think like the Jews of his time or like the world does. But his thought was in accordance with His Father. He is also asking us to do the same.

The saints and the martyrs also did not think as the world does. And they never lost their focus on God and their faith as they fulfilled their vision and mission. They should be our model in our role as Christians.

In this age of information technology, we should likewise "think differently" without losing our focus on our vision of sharing the gospel to the ends of the earth. It is so easy to just go with the tide and be like the rest and use our computer and the internet for information, work, relaxation and entertainment. This is especially now for me especially since I am temporarily not able to move about while undergoing chemo. Maybe it is time to think differently and use it to fulfill my mission as a Christian?

Well I know it is but I sure need a push! Oh God, please give me the grace not to just think differently but to act on your inspirations!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Sign of Jonah

The Reading for the past 3 days has been from the Book of Jonah. It is one of the short books in the old testament and easy to read and it is also one of the books in the bible that strikes me most. Even Jesus made reference to it as he told the Jews asking for a sign that no sign will be given them except the "Sign of Jonah."
"In the same way that Jonah spent three days and nights in the belly of the monster fish, so will the Son of Man spend three days and three nights in the depths of the earth." Mt 12:40
Jonah's staying in the belly of the fish for 3 days and nights after he was thrown by the sailors to calm the sea is one of the greats stories and miracles in the Old testament. Yet Jonah is far from being an ideal prophet. He was so unlike Isaiah who immediately answered "Yes" to the Lord when called upon. He was a reluctant prophet full of pride and loves to complain, who would rather die than be proven wrong or be uncomfortable.

Sometimes I see myself as Jonah.

Oh how I could whine like Jonah over discomforts! I remember how I used to tell God a long time ago that He could take my life anytime for I was ready! Then I got sick and was in and out of the hospital for more than 3 months, having one operation after another. It was so distressful that I would cry and complain until one time I remembered how I keep telling God that I was ready to die anytime. I heard the words in my mind and I laughed! I actually laughed out loud and said what a hypocrite I was. There I was telling the Lord He could take me anytime, yet I complain from the pain and discomfort even if I was far from dying. I realized then that I look at death as the easy way out rather than bearing the cross of Christ!

I also feel like a reluctant prophet just like Jonah was! Sometimes I could feel God moving me to do something for Him but I stall or dilly dally, refusing to be out of my comfort zone or wonder if what I'm inspired to do would actually accomplish anything, afraid of failing or be laughed upon. Oh I could be stubborn but the Lord never gives up on me and arranges things so that I may do His will.

The Book of Jonah is open ended. God asked him if he had a right to be angry for feeling discomfort or for hurting his pride even if such would show God's mercy to a lot of people. The book did not say if he had a changed of heart and followed God's will and design but I certainly want it to have a happy ending.

My sickness... I didn't really asked God why or why me when I got to learn about it. Somehow I knew that He has something good in mind. Yet there are times that I lose heart also. I pray that I focus on the miracle Jonah experienced and not on his shortcomings. I pray that the miracle feels so BIG that I could no longer feel distracted by the discomforts. Just like Jonah being inside the fish for 3 days and nights, I hope that I appreciate the little miracles I have been experiencing while I am sick and I hope that such miracles move me to completely trust and believe in Him and to consent to His will!

Ahh yes and to act boldly on His inspirations!

So please dear God, give me the grace! Amen.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Family

Felt a lot of discomfort the past couple of days. Just thought how lucky I am to have a family that cares for me... especially a mother who despite being in pain also as you can see from her deformed body brought by osteoporosis just pours out her care for me.

Sometimes I would think of my family as dysfunctional, far from the ideal calm family. Our household is oftentimes like a riot especially with all the kids around... small kids... big kids (that would include me!) but in every crisis, you feel their concern.

It is a this moment that I truly feel blessed to have my family and I thank God for them!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Perseverance

I read Luke 8:4-15 (The parable of the sower), the gospel for today and was struck on the last word "Perseverance". Reflecting on it, I felt that I had a lot of working on my perseverance of being a true Christian. I realized that like many other people, I too am chocked by the anxieties (most of them useless actually), riches (though I don't really long for so much, I realized that I could be attached to some things also) and pleasures of life (well I look forward to enjoyment too), it is only through prayer and God's constant calling that I am somehow able to break free from most of these thorns that block my complete union with God. So I have to persevere in my prayer, not just babbling words but really believing every word I say... to have a prayer not from my mind but from my heart... and to be able to release that prayer in my action! It is a lot of work but that is what would make God happy!

I was still carrying the word when I remembered our talk on your attending a centering prayer and there is one thing that you can't understand from the practice, why would you disregard a consoling thought which you are certain is coming from the Lord. All I told you is that the practice is just a method the leads you to contemplation and being in union with God and that there are other methods, including the rosary that could lead you to contemplation. You know I've read books on centering prayer and attended retreats and workshop but I am not really one to be able to tell you exactly on what it is, what it covers. But I do know that I like the prayer because it is a simple prayer that allows you to just spend a moment with God with no expectation, that what is most important is your commitment and desire to spend it with Him. I like the idea of letting go of all thought (even holy thoughts), meaning not entertaining them but just letting them pass by and focus once again on the silence by saying so gently the sacred word, or doing the sacred gaze if you are in the adoration chapel. I like it because often times when I am not busy, my mind is full of thoughts that I would sometimes tell myself to just stop thinking!
I believe the idea in centering prayer of letting go of even those consoling thoughts you mentioned is a preparation for the time when you will no longer have them. You are lucky if you have consoling thoughts all through your life but I've learned that there will be moments when you will pray and you will not have the consolation of feeling God's presence, when only your faith tells you that He is there even if you can't feel Him so your persevere in your prayer and wait until He decides to give you consolation again... all in His own time.

This thought made me remember the 3 Teresas. Teresa of Avila (just finished rereading John Beevers' book on her), Therese of Lissuex and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. All three had consolations early on in their life but they experienced dark nights and the feeling of the absence of God. But they persevered because it is not their feeling that was important but God. Oh how I wish I could be like them!

Then I thought about you again Sis Dale, and thought how great it is to have consolations from God... your descriptions of your visions and your dialogue with Him could be so vivid and I know He has a purpose. You are bringing so many souls closer to Him!

I don't get that vivid vision, but I do feel His presence. I wish He'd show himself to me clearly like He does to you. But even without it, I know He is at work in my life because of the so many miracles happening in my life... and that is the revelation of Himself to me... of his love for me. That is why I know I have to persevere to show Him my love!

In mass when the priest raises the host, the body of Christ, the congregation would answer "My Lord and my God." I say that too, but often times I say "My God and my all!" and I know that I have to persevere so that it is not just in my lips but really in my heart.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Letter to Sis Dale

So I am finally going to start my journal my dear Sis Dale and I really don't know how!

You first told me to start one when I first opened to you about my inner thoughts before I had my operation, the start of my healing process after being diagnosed with the BIG "C!" That was in July yet. Even my siblings wanted me to write. I would have loved to write but every time I open my computer and start. I could not!

You told me again today to work on a journal to write about God's inspirations to me during these moments but honestly most of the time, I see no visions nor words. All I know is that He is with me all throughout. That He will see me through this all at His own perfect time and design. So I see myself as having an idyllic moment with Him with no expectation but just spending time in His presence. Like Mary waiting at the feet of Jesus just savoring His presence!

I know that there is something brighter coming my way after all this so I wait.

I wait for the Dawn!

Does that mean that I am currently in my NIGHT time spending my dark moments? Of course not! Night time is when you get your rest from all your preoccupations! And I certainly am setting aside my concerns just to rest in Him... Ahh that would not be the exact truth, sometimes small concerns do prop up in my head but praying, communicating with Him eases my mind and spirit.

You told us once that you had a vision from God and He gave you a new name... "Aurora"... Bukang Liwayway... DAWN! I thought I'd properly title this journal with reference to your new name and the title of a song I borrowed from a friend "Waiting for the Dawn." I hope that as I wait for a brighter vision and clearer mission from God, you will be my inspiration. Your zest for the service of Him, our beloved.

I don't know how long I will be in waiting, or what would come next! All I know it that Dawn will surely come and I eagerly await it!