Since the day I was sentenced to live my life differently, it has been my husband who corresponded with friends and acquaintances in my behalf. Very much like a Press Relations Officer, he accounted for every detail of what was going on. I thought he was indeed talking about me. But as I try to profile all the writings he did, from the appeals up to the one published in the PDI, I realized that the only thing about me there was the sickness. Every single letter he wrote was his experience and not mine. I am writing this because I believe that those who walked with us in this journey deserved to benefit from my experience.
I am in my last few months of Residency Training in Psychiatry. I already had my plans of going back to CDO. In fact, I already talked to the lone psychiatrist there and he already told me that he would fix everything so that once I got there I would not have difficulty in finding client/patients. The cash register in my mind would no longer stop computing the amount I would get out of it. My husband and I thought that this is it! The Lord was finally blessing us and giving us our hearts desire.
When everything was just a grasp away, it was snatched! I was told that I had an Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. My hematologist congratulated me for not breaking down in front of her, she even acknowledged my being a psychiatrist as a BIG help in my dignified acceptance of my fate. That line was a joke as until now if i recall that judgment day I still have the feeling of wanting to crawl back in my mother’s womb to be born again so that I could take a different path. It was that hard to accept! The biggest question that filled my mind in the 47 days that I stayed in the hospital was “why now?” Why not when I was still single when I didn’t have a husband and children to think about. Why not when I did not have a clear path to take in terms of my career. Why wait until I am about to reap the fruits of my labor in my career.
These questions shook my faith! I did not want to go on anymore because it will be useless to go against God’s wishes. I lost the faith that He would want me to succeed in this lifetime. I blocked all communication to others by not accepting visitors, changing my sim and just allowing my husband to deal with everything and everyone. I felt bitter and angry and envious of my fellow graduating residents who were making their rounds on their last few months of training. I should have been like that! Two or three of our close friends asked in the text “di ba malakas kayo mag dasal?”. This statement toppled my already shaking faith. I succumbed to depression especially upon seeing myself ripped off (of my) physical prowess.
Bald and weak, unable to do the simple task of going to the bathroom, I could not imagine anything worse than that. I got tired of fighting the torturing effects of the chemo drugs, (as) my body gave in to sepsis. I was always staring blankly and only the voices of my children could make me come back into the room. My body was resting during my septic days (I could not feel anything anymore) but my mind was full of “memories”. So many things that happened in the past, good and bad crossed my mind just floating here and there. So many of them but worth mentioning was my recall of the time when my husband and I prayed to the Lord for water as it had been a week that our quarters had no water. Our money then was only a hundred pesos, as we had water delivery thrice that week. That night the rain poured and three drums were filled with water. I was expecting that the Lord’s answer to our prayer was someone would lend or give us money so water can be delivered. But we did not receive any money. What He gave us was what we prayed for – WATER!
The Lord’s way is just different from our way. Considering the mortality rate of sepsis, I did not die! The sepsis was God’s miracle! It was His way of telling me that I am more than blessed. He showed me that He had already surrounded me with the things I needed to surpass the test He is giving me right now. He gave me a husband who lives up to the meaning of his name Stephen (God’s martyr). My husband had never left my side from day one up to now, not minding what will happen to the career he dearly loved. He blessed me with children so sweet they gave me reason to live. As to the question why now?
If my disease happened before, I would not have (had) a husband who would be the channel to produce the enormous amount of 4.2M. If my disease happened when i did not have my Bitoy, Balot and Bilog yet, I would not brave the pains of chemotherapy that feels like a torture. There is nothing a mother would not do for her children, even to bargain with the Lord for more years and set aside the possibility that it was already God’s appointed time. It also happened now as the last part of my training in psychiatry. The good Lord has made me experience how it is to be a patient so that I could empathize better with my patients.
The Lord has given me a lot! He has walked with me the entire time. I thought I was also walking with Him. I have to have a Leukemia so that I would walk with Him closer. . . I will be posting more notes as tomorrow I will be admitted already for the bone marrow transplant. It is a month long procedure that I plan to share with everyone.
by: Maria Ella Regondola Cabanlet
March 16, 2010,
Tuesday, 6:45 PM