I told my sisters Rissa and Rinna this week, as well as my best friend John, that "I have had the most charmed life of any person I know". I have wonderful parents who sacrificed everything so that my brother and I could have the lives we have. We've always had a wonderful extended family and I have made the best of friends wherever I've gone. I got the best education, moved back to the country I dreamed to live in (the Philippines), married the absolute love of my life, have 3 beautiful children and have the privilege to be working for a great company with a job that has allowed me to see the world.
Yes, I now have cancer. For the past 3 weeks, I have been to the ICU 2 times, gotten a "code blue", lost my kidney functions, gotten a serious case of pneumonia and have developed a heart problem. I've experienced the difficulty of standing up, trying to walk 10 feet to go to the washroom, sitting up to reach for a glass of water, internal bleeding, and being scared out of my skull because I couldn't breathe.
I couldn't sleep last night. I kept waking up after 30 minute stints. This morning at 1am, I prayed. I prayed to God to give me the strength to get through this. I said many things but I felt that someone was holding my hands as I was praying.
I tried to sleep again, but after an hour of cold sweats, I realized I needed to go to the washroom. I had to struggle to unplug my heart monitors and walk with my IVs but I made it. Then, in something of an exercise that I've taken for granted for my entire life, I took a shower on my own without any assistance. This isn't exactly simple, as I have a dialysis catheter now, but I did it. I then shampooed my hair (had to do it separately), and then shaved, brushed my teeth again.
For the first time in weeks, I was standing on my own, without help, for over 10 minutes. Also for the first time in weeks, I really looked at myself in the mirror from head to toe (not sharing photos of this sorry!). My arms have gotten very thin. My neck is thinner. My stomach has large bruises from the subcutaneous Chemo injections. My arms have innumerable IV scars. My back had a rash from the antibiotics. My backside has atrophied from the lack of any form of physical exercise (I haven't been able to walk). My legs are swollen due to fluid build up. I am so not ready for any Men's Health cover. But, more than any other time in weeks, I FEEL STRONG.
The nurse heard me and came in. I told him that I was feeling very good. I saw a cross around his neck. He then said something that was so helpful. "Enjoy this moment".
God has given me this strength all along, it took for me at 230am looking in the mirror to see it once again. I am so lucky to have faith and the prayers of all family and friends. The road ahead will be a long one. There will be more bumps in the road than what I've had in these past two weeks. But I am ready for the bumps and whatever else the Amyloidosis and Multiple Myeloma throw at me. The doctors have been wonderful at addressing my physical ailments. God has been there all along to give me the inner strength to work with these doctors to beat this cancer. It's up to me to feed on His love for me and all of your prayers to help get through this. I still have the most charmed life of anyone I know.
Till next post!