Holy week this year came early, longer, and had more meaning for me. Actually, I was not able to attend any mass services, nor the Washing of the Feet mass and even the Salubong; and more heartbreakingly, Aljhon and I failed to keep our commitment to serve in our chapter’s Christian Life Program. But this year’s Holy Week will always be one that will surely stay closest to my heart.
Last March 6 2018, after eating a very spicy Bicol Express meal from our school canteen, I began to experience heartburn and acidity. I automatically down cut on my coffee, but the symptoms exploded on March 9 as I went home with a very bad case of stomachache. I already experienced that before so I just did what I normally do- vomited all the food I’d taken in that day, but I wasn’t relieved until the following day, that I already requested to be taken to the hospital. Aljhon took me to East Ave, was diagnosed with Gastritis, prescribed medications and all became well.
But that lasted for only 3 days, the stomach PAIN returned with full force on March 14, and it came with vomiting and diarrhea. By this time, I couldn’t eat or sleep properly. All the symptoms lasted until I couldn’t take it anymore, I was taken to the UST Hospital on March 16, and was confined until 19. Gastritis was changed into Gastro-enteritis, and I was given antibiotics. What I wanted by that time was to get home to Ella, so even though I was still having some stomachache, we went home on March 19. And the following days at home were both a nightmare and a miracle not just for me but for the whole family.
What I would always remember during that time were the hope and helplessness, the fatigue (of both puking and pooping EVERY SINGLE TIME), the sleep and food deprivation, and the PAIN. It was unbearable. A whole week passed without any improvement in my health albeit taking medications, and the pain was already wearing me, and my will to live, down. Maundy Thursday (March 29) came and I was once again rushed to UST ER. It was my father who decided to get me to the hospital, because I think he couldn’t bear to look at me and my suffering anymore. I already lost 10 kgs of weight that time.
I was not admitted on that day, but my medications were changed. The new drugs were too costly, but it hadn’t changed the situation for the better. I was still having terrible stomach cramps and the PAIN WAS STILL UNBEARABLE. Even Aljhon was becoming frustrated with me, and I knew he also suffered greatly. On April 5, we went to OPD for my follow up check up, and my doctor finally made an instruction for me to undergo Endoscopy. I knew the procedure would really cost us, but I was too desperate for the doctors to come see my insides so that they can already determine what is wrong and how they can make the pain go away.
I relented for the endoscopy and colonoscopy; however, I needed to change doctors so that the procedure can be covered by my health insurance. On April 6, Friday, with a terrible case of stomachache and a 9-month baby in tow (no one was left at home to take care of Ella), we came back to UST OPD, and met with my new doctor. She patiently listened to my horrible story, and was emphathetic enough to offer me options. But she broke my heart when she gave me an Admission slip for the hospital. She didn’t let me go home that day, because she also knew I was in pain.
And that was the day I cried. Wholeheartedly. Passionately. With all the pent-up anger and frustration on what was happening to me.
I cried in front of my doctor. I cried while waiting for the admissions officer to get me a room. And I cried much more when I was laid down on the hospital bed. I was filled with worry, doubt, and fears. Fears for myself, my family, and most especially Ella. I just couldn’t bear the pain anymore. But I am grateful that my family let me cry that night. Because that was the time when I completely surrendered everything I held even before all the ordeal began. That was the time that I finally stopped asking “bakit lord?” and started praying “ikaw na po ang bahala”.
I was put into procedure immediately the following day. Though it was an additional expense, I opted for an anesthesiologist to make me unconscious while they do the endoscopy and colonoscopy. After an hour, I woke up with pain all over my body. I was so weak, and even a slight movement in my lower body made me wince. Good thing my family was there when I was returned to my room. They helped me eat (I was starving- I hadn’t consumed food the previous day because I was vomiting the whole day), and seeing and having Ella greatly helped me as I recovered my strength. After 2 days, the terrible pain in my stomach returned. I was still puking and pooping all the time, and we were once again frustrated and devastated.
But God has then started to work his plan of healing.. Tuesday, April 10, was the last day I experienced the stomach pain. My doctor had gotten the results of my colonoscopy, and (once again) changed my medication. Gradually, I started to eat and actually contain them inside. I still had diarrhea, but the situation definitely improved. By this time, several of my co-workers including my boss, visited me in the hospital. Some friends also dropped by. And a facebook post by my sister opened a floodgate of concerned messages and well-wishes. All these love helped me recover. Friday, April 13, I took some lab tests as my clearance, and was finally discharged from the UST Hospital.
1 week after my last confinement, I am now feeling well and good, PRAISE GOD. I already gained 3 kgs, and I can now carry Ella. I am under medications until next month, but I think I can already return to work next week. Aljhon and I also managed to get Ella vaccinated this week, and I am so happy that our life is coming back to its normal grind. I am grateful to God because He has been very good and generous to me, I know that. I admit I was so hopeless before that I wanted to question God, but I realized HE DOESN’T OWE ME ANY EXPLANATION. He is the giver of my life, after all. He has the sole right to give, or to take it away. I am His creature, and I don’t have the right to demand anything from Him. And I am also thankful because this painful experience actually helped me gain insight to what was wrong with my life- physically, socially, spiritually, and even emotionally and mentally. My illness had made me aware that I started to backslide in taking care of myself. Because of the pain, I got to discover that I was already too stressed in expense of taking charge of my family and my work.
And so I decided to share my story so that I can be reminded of what happened. I know God has put me into the situation, however painful it had been, for me to evaluate myself and that I can make certain changes that will make my life more beautiful and fulfilling. And that I am hoping that sharing this can also help someone, especially those who are in pain. You might be suffering now, but all of these will pass. You will recover and be healed, certainly and eventually. Just trust God. Look for the meaning of what you’re feeling now, and offer all them back to God.