I am reluctant to make any kind of “updates” the past few days, as putting my mind into words seems to be a hard “task” for me these days. It must be the long term effects of my medications that is slowing my neurons down, as I have been on these drugs for almost four months now. Good thing that two of them were already withdrawn and one is being tapered as my laboratories (except my liver profile) are almost normal. The plan is to have most of my medications removed before the end of August, as these drugs can cause potential harm when used for a prolonged period. Potential danger of prolonged use includes recurrence of leukemia, damage to other organs and myriads of changes in me physically, mentally and emotionally.
I am now in the period of re-adjusting myself back to “normal” and am starting with my youngest son who, among my three sons, was the most deprived in terms of time spent with me. Something indescribable beats in my heart whenever I try to lift him up but could not sustain for even five minutes. I can see in his eyes that he is as frustrated that I cannot cuddle him longer. I could not explain to him (he is only 19 months old) that my spine hurts real badly whenever I lift him up and try to play with him. The painful reality is not only that I could not play with him at his present age, but the fact that my physical ability may never return to me anymore. Every move I make is done in slow motion. It is as if my muscle had acquired a “mind” of its own, where it now controls the pacing of my physical activity. Even brushing my teeth and writing is an effort as my fingers would go into clonuses if forced to do work. If I walk fast, my calf muscle will suddenly contract itself painfully as if to remind me I am doing things very fast, that I am not calm, and that I am not fully resting.
Is this God’s way of fulfilling His word to me that “I will give you rest”? If I will be able to come into terms with this truth, the answer will be yes it is. My corporeal being is in the twilight of acceptance and struggle to regain complete control of my physical being. I find it hard to accept that at my age I have to slow things down already, that I will never be able to beat the day by accomplishing more than its number of hours. Being in a predicament beyond my control, I will have to come to terms with Him who is all knowing. For reasons He only knew, I am physically remolded. “MY OWN” strength is gone, and I am left with “SERENITY”! “…Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest….” (Matthew 11:28).
Organizing thoughts and putting them into words is one of the things I can do easily. It comes naturally for me that I never thought it can be “taken” away from me by anything, not even this sickness. The thought that I still have my mental faculty in its full capacity made my acceptance of my physical limitation a lot easier. Since I was confined, I do nothing but read, write, update myself on things both important and not. All these done to make sure that the seat of my human knowledge will not be affected by both the sickness and medicines. To my dismay, I guess this once unappreciated gift will not be spared. I feel it is being taken away too, as collecting and collating thoughts for me these days is an effort. I struggle and refuse to let go as I have to be the master of “MY OWN THOUGHTS”. My words should be chosen by my own brain, nothing should be spontaneous, and everything should be consciously picked so it will have an impact on those who are reached. Shamefully I use the name of my Deity, but in my heart is hidden the boasting that they are my words, therefore my credit.
In His great plan for me though, He needs to take away and remold even my human knowledge. Just like my body, my brain now is tired of struggling. I have come to terms with the fact of its limitations. HIS great purpose has to be revealed in HIS own words, not mine. The credit had to be HIS, not mine. I can never be wise or intelligent unless He feeds me with it. My effort to be one will only lead to my unrest. “MY OWN” knowledge is gone, and I am left with “WISDOM”! “…I am determined to be wise – but this was beyond me…” (Ecclesiastes 7:23).
Too caught up in my emotional web since I got sick, I feel nothing but pity for myself. Day after day I have to convince myself that I am alright, I am blessed, and that it is with reason that my life’s potential is cut off at its midst. With my training I have succeeded in counteracting this self pity for almost a year now. I smile in the face of nothingness, I blabber in the midst of uncertainty, and I even entertain others with my seemingly hopeless situation. I was able to solidly convince myself that I will survive the emotional turmoil brought by my illness, by being emotionally well balanced. I focused myself on myself alone, never looking at the periphery lest my balance will be toppling down. Two or three fellow patients attempted to talk to me, some non-cancer patients tried reaching out to me but I ignored them all. I am in too much pain that I cannot allow other people’s pain to add up, otherwise my balance will be disturbed and I may not survive even for a second. I labor to achieve a positive outlook. Let them find ways to heal themselves too.
I have built strong bricks around my heart. I am emotionally intangible. Always on my guard to keep the bricks on hold, I am starting to tire. Lately I am starting to become irrationally “emotional” over a lot of co-patients during my checkups at the BMT OPD. As if my eyes were suddenly opened, I am starting to see them from a different perspective and I could not make myself see their pain objectively. To the very young cancer patients, I feel that they are more deprived than I am. To the older ones, I feel their struggle to hold on to what little time they have. To some who have just been diagnosed, I sympathize with their hardship and struggle in accepting what had hit them. They are all pain, pain that I used to experience yet deny. Spontaneously and unknown to me, my guard for self preservation is out of my hands. I had allowed myself to be lost in other people’s pain. My heart not only bleeds for my fellow cancer patients but also for others who clearly manifests the heavy loads that maybe unknown to them. These people are all just like me, strong people who knew how to manipulate perfectly their emotions to their advantage, thinking that contentment is at hand. Unconsciously though, the shout for the search for something more quenching is clearly manifested in the manner they send their emails.
When I am conscious and lost in other people’s pain, when “MY OWN” emotional sense of stability is gone, I am left with “CONFIDENCE”. Confidence in Jesus Christ that HE is working in my life here on earth to secure my eternity by being a channel of HIS love for everyone. “….The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave HIMSELF for me…” (Galatians 2:20). The changes and still ongoing changes in me are not easy as it involves first and foremost HUMILITY. The acceptance that I now exist with so many limitations, require my utmost humility and obedience. Limitations on the matters I used to enjoy so much (seeing my patients which took up 80% of my time, going out with friends, playing badminton) but also take up so much of my time. I disregard the more important ones (I spend less than 5% with my children).
As they say “…All are permissible, but not all are beneficial…”. I thank the Lord for steering the course of my life to what is beneficial, and with gladness I accept the PEACE that comes along with it! The remolding that has been done and still being done entails PATIENCE! I thought I could not stand the wait, and that so much more will be asked. Then when I stopped struggling, I realized in fact that it was easy, for it only requires keeping a still and quiet heart.
I thank the Lord for teaching me the discipline of quietness, and with gladness I accept the PEACE that comes along with it! Like a larva ready to metamorphose into a beautiful butterfly, I am coming out soon! To enjoy God’s gifts that are vital and beneficial for my existence, and to radiate to many people the LOVE and COMPASSION of GOD through CHRIST JESUS! WHEN ALL ARE GONE, I AM PARADOXICALLY FULLER THAN I USED TO BE!
by: Maria Ella Regondola – Cabanlet
July 28, 2010
Tuesday at 7:22am