What a difference a year can make…

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It is currently a beautiful day in December 2015 and I realized that my last entry was in November of last year. Where has the year gone???

My 2015 has been a trying year of stops and starts and each time I attempted to type an entry, some new chain of events would occur. As much as  I am proud to share that I was able to tick a few good items off my Bucket List, this year also unfortunately contains one of the biggest heartbreaks of my life, one which I am certain I will never recover from.

I started the year by having my old job back but as a regular which means better pay, better benefits, better support for my family and finally be able to start plans that I can financially commit to (Etisalat), I saw my right hand off as she goes back to the Philippines for good (Rayi), faced some long overdue heart issues, took part on a major concert featuring 6 famous Philippine bands when they performed in one of the world’s largest concert arenas (du Arena), dared to ride on the World’s Fastest Rollercoaster (Ferrari World), swam the waters of Musandam, Oman, took on the death-drop slide of Yas Waterworld, touched a real dolphin, have a photo taken infront of the World’s Tallest Tower (Burj Khalifa), made new good friends (“Pares” & “E-Friends”), made solid office friends, been awarded the Monthly Excellence Award at work twice, joined a badminton group in efforts to finally improve my health, contributed to our office t-shirt competition and won, organized a wedding and an OPMMAD event (somethings which I have not done in a while), and finally let myself experience some hotel staycations with friends.

Not bad for the year I turned 30, yeah?

Along with these “few” events, this year I was also able to tick off my Major Bucket List Item which it to experience to SCUBA.

In August, I understood why God will not agree or answer to some of my prayers.

However, miracles happen everyday and I am blessed to witness one which has unexpectedly changed my life and one which will change the life of someone dear to me (story is “arriving soon”) – all these before the end of the year.

I’ve learned and grew a lot this year. I wonder what the next year holds.

Hashtag: BringItOn

Get yourself checked!

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I found a new advocacy in life. It is to promote others to have regular full medical check ups.

I got the flu some time at the end of the changing December weather and got well a couple of days later. After a few more days, I suddenly felt like my energy was being drained and later got my fever back. My fevers never come back! So it has indeed returned but this time it was different. It came with shortness of breath. I literally felt like I couldn’t breath! Something was wrong.

I complained of pneumonia and shortness of breath on December 5, 2015. Got myself into the hospital and came home a week later.

I had no idea that I was suffering from Acute Renal Failure. It is a condition which means my kidneys were shutting down and it has started to drastically affect my lungs and heart. Since I have no significant medical background, my doctor ruled it as something genetically inherited which increased gradually through the years because it was the only way we can explain how my soaring creatinine level has gone unnoticed upto this point.

Creatinine is a blood unit used to measure kidney function. The higher the number, the more dangerous it is. From the normal 44 – 80 range, mine was 1691 when I entered the ER.

Due to my kidney malfunction, the toxic fluids that it was supposed to release have reached my lungs, causing me to have shortness of breath. And since my internal organs were drowning, my blood pressure went through the roof as my heart tried its best to keep up with the now life threatening situation. Had I not gotten myself into the Emergency Room, my respiratory system would have completely shut down causing a domino effect to being in a coma, or having a heart attack, or DEAD. Yes, I would have died that day and I had no idea what was about to happen to me.

Upon meeting my doctor, he sent me straight to ICU to get immediate care and after further investigation, my doctor recommended me for an emergency dialysis. The toxins in my blood were already doing its job by drowning and poisoning me and they can only stop it through dialysis.

Dialysis is the procedure where my blood is accessed and filtered artificially through a machine to avoid further build up of toxins in my body – the same process which our kidneys should be doing but mine has failed to do so efficiently.

A week later, here I am proud to announce that I fought my way through and my condition is stable. However, I would be on regular dialysis and medication for the rest of my life unless I get a kidney transplant.

I am sharing this out of concern. GET YOURSELF AN OVERALL CHECK UP! At least once or twice a year. If you’ve never gotten one, it’s about time you should. Even if you don’t believe in synthetic medication, at least keep official track and record of your health through regular check ups.

Tell your other friends and family, have the kids checked as well. I too was not feeling anything wrong until I was at my worst. I was also the one in the family who least and rarely gets sick. What I thought was a simple fever and cold turned out to be fatal and no one knew about it. I had no symptoms whatsoever. Though I am sure that unhealthy lifestyle choices have also contributed to my disease, I have met other dialysis patients who have otherwise had healthy lifestyles but just happen to unfortunately fall to this ill condition.

Don’t be too comfortable because “you’re not feeling anything.” I am blessed that God let me kick death in the nuts this time but I am not looking forward to the next one.

I’ve decided to share this because I don’t wish this for anyone else. I wish to make you aware that one complete check up is all it takes to make a difference. Now I understand what they meant with “Prevention is better than cure.”

For any questions or guidance regarding this medical condition, send me a private message and I’ll be glad to answer them or figure out the answers with you.

Thank you to my family and friends who continuously pray for my recovery and give me the best encouragement to face this ordeal.

I should be angry at God, right? No! God is great. He let me live when He could have decided otherwise.

Little hospital tip given to me by a friend:
Try your best to stay conscious while receiving treatment. You and only you can say exactly what you’re feeling.

I found this very useful. Had I succumbed to the feeling that I needed to faint, I might not have made it to the hospital and things would have ended fatally. And during ICU, I might not have been able to make the decision to go on dialysis because I honestly think my mother would have refused because the family feared it and again, it would have ended fatally.

I hope this is an eye opener for everyone and by sharing my story, I am able to pass on the message how important regular check ups are.

I am now a Version 2.0

“GET YOURSELF CHECKED!”

I’ll miss you forever

Death doesn’t let you say goodbye.

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We lost our dad on August 14, 2015 and I will never get used to it. I have never prayed so hard in my life after the surgeons told us that he wouldn’t make it. We waited for them to give us a silver lining but this is the real world – there was none. Not this time. I prayed to God to bring him back but He didn’t. I later realized that sometimes God cannot agree to a prayer because had He brought him back, we would just watch him go slowly and painfully. It was his time.

I wrote this at the time of Daddy’s death.

Even at the last hour, there was nothing you asked for but our prayers. You still wanted to live. You were so full of life. You were so full of hope.

We didn’t even bid each other goodbye. That was how much we were positive that you were coming back. As much as we prayed and believed that you were going to be brought back to us, God had other plans. I don’t like it but I need to convince myself that this is all part of His plan — not to intentionally give us suffering, but to end yours before it becomes unbearable. You were never tolerant of pain. You hated hospitals and needles and wheelchairs and ventilators! But I know you have gone and fought through so much just to be with us.

I’m sorry for the times you must have felt lonely when circumstances forced us to be apart. There were so many times I wanted to drop everything I was doing just to be with you to take care of you because I know how much you hated being alone.

You will always be my hero, Dad. The one who taught me to be content with the simplest things in life for happiness can never be found in material possessions.

Thank you for raising me up to be just as stubborn as you and Mom and my brothers. You strictly told me to go to work that day and it’s that very same stubborness that made me not go — and I thank the heavens for allowing me to disobey you that last time.

I’ll wait for you in my dreams, Dad. Tell me stories of how awesome it is up there and how crazy you think are the things we do when you’re not looking.

I am blessed for God has chosen you and Mom to be my guardians in this life.

I love you and nothing and no one will ever fill this gap of missing you.

Take care, Dad. Watch over us and keep guiding us. We will see you again.

Until then, I will miss you forever. ♡

He was 56.

I’m a diver!

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I am proud to share that this year I was able to tick off a major bucket list item. It’s to experience how to breath underwater using SCUBA! Heck, it’s the reason why I have a bucket list to begin with!

I love being in the water and I’ve been curious about SCUBA ever since I can remember. But I’ve never gone around doing it due to time and financial reasons.

One fine day, I was looking at a groupon site offering a SCUBA fun dive. And that’s exactly what I was doing – looking. Just looking. I’m in Abu Dhabi and the offer was in Dubai. I had to think of time, transportation, and if whether or not I can do it. Yeah, I was procrastinating.

On that very same hour, I got a message on Facebook from the bride whose wedding I helped organize a couple months earlier. Apparently, she was looking for a dive buddy to enroll in SCUBA class! Ting ting!!! Jelan and I hit it off.

The class was costly but I thought it’s now or never. I just said yes and thought I’d figure out the rest later.

After we’ve saved enough money for the class, they happen to be offering a discount at the time we were ready to purchase. We grabbed it.

In my understanding, this class will teach and prepare us to enroll for a license to dive,which will be another set of class or payments and with exams and other procedures. But during our first meeting with our instructor, he was briefing us about how our session will go and our schedules. In the end,  he said, “then graduate na.” I got confused. Graduate? License? He said yes.

OH, WOW!!!

I didn’t know! I remember just looking at groupon and speaking to Jelan and said-yes-for-the-heck-of-it and now I’m gonna be a licensed diver! You can imagine the excitement in my head!

Further into the discussion, I thought this would take months, maybe three. But when we talked about our schedule of classes, to my shock (again), it will be just a collection of 4 sessions (meetings) – 4 days!

Class 1 : Orientation @ Controlled water area
Class 2 : First open water dive
Class 3 : Theory
Class 4 : Graduation

O-M-G! I  was screaming  inside!!!

We only met 3 times because we squeezed Classes 1 & 2 in one day. Meaning we were in the water for about 6 – 7 hours. I still have the tan line 5 months after.

The orientation was exciting like crazy! Instead of training us in a pool, our instructor Carlos, decided to take us directly to the beach.

For my first breath using the tank underwater, I really took the longest and deepest breath I’ve ever had my entire life. Since the breathing tank was filled with a mix of Oxygen and Nitrogen, the gas felt cold and sent a chill down my throat and I felt it travel down to my lungs and into its little chambers. I was in a cold high.

This is it! I am actually breathing underwater!

I have never paid so much attention in my life either. Other than this is THE ITEM, I am very much aware that we will be swimming 12 meters underwater and being alert, especially on critical situations, is a must. After all, SCUBA is a breathing apparatus, not a safety device. Anything can go wrong at anytime.

On our first dive, Carlos brought us to the depth of 12 meters in hopes that we will see seahorses but we did not find any. The water was cloudy that day so visibility was really very hard. He had to let us hold onto or stay really close to him while diving.

I remember seeing my first live sea urchin, I was literally screaming my lungs out underwater, even while the mouth piece was in my mouth. I just had to. It was too exciting.

There were mishaps too. Like the incident when we were told to descend into the deep water from the surface. For whatever it was I did, I suddenly started to drop towards the bottom like a rock! I tried not to panic but who wouldn’t?! I got scared that descending that fast would make my lungs collapse due to the pressure and make me have cramps which is also another serious problem while underwater. Plus just the fact that I had no control of what was happening did scare me. I tried but I did not know how to stop my uncontrollable descend. Thankfully, our instructors were alert and was able to grab my vest just in time before I’d have completely sunk.

We finished the day with Carlos congratulating us on how easy we pick up.

Graduation day had 3 dives! It was intense!

We drove all the way to Fujairah in the evening to be prepared for the dive the next day.

It was amazing to know that the water is not what it seem when you’re on the surface. Once we were 18 meters below, there was a whole other world going on under there!

There were man-made corals and fishes! ALOT of fishes! Carlos made us swim in the middle of the school of fishes and it was magical. We were surrounded by fishes like we were one of them.

I felt so proud of myself. Not everyone I know has the chance to see this. It felt great!

On August 7, 2015, I received my certificate that I am a licensed open water diver!

Life is great!

As written in my list:
Experience to SCUBA at least 1 puff underwater. Then I ended up with a license! Ain’t that kewl?!