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Posts Tagged ‘blessings’


Happy Thanksgiving: 2015
November 25, 2015

HHappy Thanksgiving, everybody.  It is an American tradition but giving thanks is universal and is as basic as breathing.  One way or another we give thanks or acknowledge our blessing.

“Salamat sa Diyos” (Thank, God).

There is always something to be thankful for—always. Like:

  • smell of fresh baked cookies filling up the house
  • turkey roasting in the oven for Thanksgiving dinner
  • snore of your wife/husband/love one beside you
  • warm feel of the sun in your face and skin.

Simple. it tells you life goes on because you can feel, taste, and touch. And if you really look hard, you will see how beautiful life is.

Last year, I spent Thanksgiving in the Philippines, on business. It was wonderful because I got to surprise my mother and spent some time with family there. Although, I was far away from my family here in the US, I was happy to see they were together for our traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I am big on tradition. It establishes continuity and it is something you look forward to.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for many things. Far too long to enumerate here. More importantly, I am still here celebrating it with my family, and with you. I sometimes reflect on the past but I do not dwell on it too long. I sometimes remember the races that I have run or the many place I have visited around the world, but what I reflect most are the memories it gave me. It is all about the feeling and completeness it gave me. It is also about the people I have met and shared the experience with.

I have stopped reflecting on the things I use to be able to do, life running or traveling, instead I just savor the moment on the things I am able to do or experience. Like the sweet taste of chocolate chip cookies in my mouth. Yum.

What I do reflect on are the blessings I have received, and they are many. As you know with certainty the limits of your life, the more blessings you see come pouring through. This Thanksgiving I am overwhelmed. I see it all with clarity and intensity. Perhaps it is because I am in constant pain that I am sensitized to any relief, sweetness, gestures, greetings, attention, or happiness I experience.

For this Thanksgiving make it special. If not a tradition in wherever you are, make your day special anyway.

Thanksgiving-Funny-Pictures-4

Cheers.

P.S. 30 days to Christmas.

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Rome:  The Eternal City

March 20, 2015

 

TThis is my first time to Rome but not to Italy.  They call it the Eternal City because there is so much history behind it.  It was the center of the western civilization and at its peak the Roman empire conquered most of Europe.  At that time, it is either you are a Roman or a Greek or a barbarian.

The rise and fall of the Roman empire is well documented and this city has all the evidence of its glory and scars of its past as well.  I came to Rome to continue my spiritual journey and I was not disappointed.  Upon arriving, our hotel managed to get us tickets to the Papal Audience ahead of time.  So I was very excited.

The Papal Audience.

Every Wednesday is the Papal Audience held at St. Peter’s Square.  The morning we attended there were several thousands of people gathered at the square.  The mood was festive.  There were country flags, welcome banners, kids on tour, and many pilgrims.  Before the Pope arrive, they announced all the groups present or were represented in the audience.  There were schools and religious groups from all over the world, and each time when their name was called they cheered.  We sat among high schoolers from Toronto, Canada led by their teacher.

At the appointed time the Pope came out riding in his Pope-mobile.  The crowd surged and stood on their chairs to get a glimpse of him.  I was among them.  Then, I saw him and felt a surge of excitement.  Wow.  I felt like a teenager seeing my idol and I was on the verge of tears.  I could not believe I am in the presence of the Pope.  Everybody was reaching out to him.  He would stop and his security would bring babies or kids to be blessed or kissed.  His path was lined with kids and adults on wheelchairs, all seeking for blessing.

(Note:  I took this video of the Pope giving his blessings.  I was close.)

I am among those seeking his blessings.  I asked for guidance and strength to face all my challenges.  Seeing him gave me comfort.  It was an unbelievable experience.  I was mesmerized in his presence.  He message was about the importance of family.  At the end, he led the prayer for the Our Father (Pater Noster) prayer in Latin.

Rome is full of Christian monuments and statues.  They all reflect tributes of greatness or adoration to God.  There are churches, castles, and symbols that some how relate to a higher being one way or another.  They show the dedication of man to his God.  The statues of saints and angels provide a way to relate our true feelings and confess our inner doubts.  Being among these beautiful masterpieces has given me a way to reflect and appreciate all the blessings I have.  It can be overwhelming.

Cheers.

 

 

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It happened again: Fourth cycle

March 26, 2013

It started with an itch, then hives in face to down my body, which was noticed by the nursing assistant.  She stopped the chemo pump and called my nurse, Edith.  Then everybody was all over me.  I was having an allergic reaction to one of my chemo drug, oxalyplatin.  The last time this happened was in 2008 as I was starting my fourth cycle also.

Like last time: it happened on the fourth cycle, itchiness in body, severe hives and I ended up in the ER.  This time around they caught it early and I did not end up in the ER.  They gave me oxygen, hooked me to a monitor to watch my palpitating heart, and gave me more steroids to stop the allergies.

I looked to my wife to see if my wife is worried but none showed in her face.  Instead, she asked the nurse to give the steroids to take its full effect before moving me.  She is my rock.  However, deep inside me I was disappointed.  My life-extending drug turned against me.  It was  the last drug available to me.  I told my wife I want to continue; I don’t know how when I am allergic to this drug, but all I know is I want to continue.  It is like in a marathon when the only thing in your mind is to cross that finish line even if you crawl.  I will not be denied.

Fortunately, I have a very understanding and innovative oncologist.  After seeing my allergies had subsided, he asked the nurse to start me up on oxalyplatin again.  He told her to use a different drug manufacturer, Teva, instead of the usual Pfizer.  It worked!  I could not hide my anxiousness as each cc of chemo is infused; 100 cc, then 200 cc, and so on but no hives appearing.  My wife was always on the look out for any changes but nothing happened until I finished the bag.

After completing the whole four chemo regiment, I was wasted: physically and mentally.  It was a long day at the hospital and my ordeal is not yet finished.  I still my portable chemo pump with me to finish.  What a way to earn a day but I am very thankful; I still have the Teva oxalyplatin to use.  Thank you.

I have two more cycles to go to complete the treatment plan and then we re-stage again.  Slowly, I am recovering but I still have to have my abdomen of fluids (parenthesis) drained periodically.  I had one done last Monday, March 18, and they took out 2.3 liters of fluids, which was after 19-days from the last procedure.  But all is good.

I just to got to keep on earning each day for me to spend it with you.

Cheers.

P.S. Easter is coming up or Passover for others.  Spend it with meaning.  As for me, I start chemo on Holy Thursday and hopefully finish before Easter.  Happy Easter or Passover.

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‘Twas the night before Christmas

December 24, 2009

….when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

It was also seven days after the December 17 ‘massacre’ when lots of cancer cells died from Dr. B’s chemoembolization raid on my liver.  Fellow cancer cells mourn for the loss of their fighting comrades.

“Tsk…tsk.” But there was no bugle tap for the dead cancer cells for they were  not welcomed.  True to their habits, they did not go down without a fight.  They called in their ‘demon’ allies, who stalked me night and day.  I called them my demons, and for Christmas they called their special ally—The Grinch.

The Grinch has been bothering me since the massacre.  First, he induced me to vomit at the hospital.  He almost derailed my homecoming plans with vomit spells but I put a stop to that with Zofran.  Haha…  Then comes the chills, low-grade fever, sleepless nights, and constant stabbing pain in my abdomen.  He even threw in a couple of hiccup spells all intended to lower my résistance and be a pest.

Dr. B’s scientific explanation is that my liver is releasing toxins, therefore all the side-effects of chemo are coming out.  It is a clear indication that the cancer cells are dying.  He adds:

“I gave you a heavy dose of chemo. I knew your body could take it.” I just have this effect on people who express too much love for me 😮

“You will be in pain and feel lousy for a couple of days but we are sending you home with codeine for pain, zofran for nausea, and other medications.  If you have high fever call us or me personally.”

It has been a while since I experienced the nasty side-effects of chemo, and when it came it I was weakened.  I did not deal with abdominal pain before but the chills, vomits, and hiccups brought me back to reality and sleepless nights.  With the incessant pain, I try to strike a balance on when I should take codeine.  Too much of that stuff makes you constipated, so you counter it with stool softner and fiber.

At the hospital, I did not feel the pain because they know how to manage it.  I was even hooked up to my favorite gadget, personal control analgesic (PCA).  I just press a button and it discharges, Delodid (more potent than morphine), a drug addict’s delight.  It resets after a couple of minutes and I can press the button again.  Ah, heaven.  Then, in between I can request for Toradol, another pain killer.  They also gave me Decadrol, steroids to help my immunity.

But at home, I have to find the right balance with codeine, stool softner, ant-nausea pills, and Metamucil.  This puts a dirty smile on the Grinch.

“I wouldn’t smile, Grinch.  Lots of your friends are dead or are dying from the punishment given by Sheriff B.  And soon you will be gone as well.  Pain is temporary.” Besides, Santa is almost here.  The cavalry is arriving led by Rudolph.

It is Christmas eve.  Yes, the house is quite.  The promise of white Christmas is here.  The outside air is even calm.  Maggie, the beagle, is snoring in her bed.  My wife is asleep besides me radiating with all the warmth and care I needed to get me through the night.  Perfect.

Just you and me, Grinch.  You are not going to steal my Christmas.  I am here breathing and in child-like anticipation of receiving the blessings of life.  I am awake not because of you but for the simple pleasure of greeting everybody out there, Merry Christmas.

Come on, my demon-friend, let’s go get some Ensure and cookies.  Ho…Ho…Ho!

Cheers.

Woohoo...white christmas!

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I am home


I am home.
December 19, 2009

Just a quick note to say I am doing fine.  In pain , but very glad to go home today and in time to celebrate bday tomorrow, December 20.  Another milestone for me.  Small victories are greatest gifts.

Will write again.

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