Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Inspired by the Trees - Reflecting on Illness and Life

I love the feel of soft breeze on my face. These trees are such a refreshing sight. They remind me that life is a miracle. These trees have grown majestically through the years, reaching out their branches to the sun, forming leaves of myriad shapes, sizes, and textures. They grow faithfully according to their kind, from the seeds from which their little life first sprouted. It’s amazing when you think of it. And it’s wonderful to be blessed with the ability to see and appreciate them.

I’m going a little sentimental here, I know. It’s wonderful to be alive. I underwent a minor operation last Tuesday. I was having second thoughts writing about it, but this immense feeling of thankfulness that has hit me this moment prods me to reflect.

Many of you in my small circle of friends know that I have undergone two surgeries. They were technically brain surgeries as neurosurgeons accessed my brain to remove a benign pituitary tumor. My first surgery in 2007 failed to yield a 100% success rate, so I had to go under the knife again in 2009. The last one was a big success, thank God. I remain in remission, and I pray the tumor never recurs.

The operation I just had was done to remove nasal adhesions, a complication of the two previous surgeries. It was a minor procedure but it was still performed with me under general anesthesia. For the past week, I had a nose pack on to ensure that the nasal parts do not come in contact again. Today, I can again freely breathe, and I feel just wonderful!

Going under the knife is naturally scary. It jerked me off my state of complacency and nudged me back to reality – that life could end any minute. I was already a mother the first time, and as I was being wheeled into the operating room, all I could think of then was that I had a son. My prayer was not so much for me but more for my son. I was afraid to leave behind a 4-year-old boy (Garrett). I prayed hard I would be given a chance to live a full life to take care of him and see him grow.

On the second surgery, not only had I Garrett to think of – there was my daughter (Gabee), too, waiting for me to come back home. I had the surgery done in Singapore as chances of success were far better there given their advanced technology and more experienced neurosurgeons handling cases like mine. My husband accompanied me for two weeks, and saw me through two hospital confinements at Mount Elizabeth Hospital.

We went home on September 26, 2009 when Typhoon Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) had just inundated major parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces. I came home healed, but amidst that epic flood that claimed unbelievably a great number of lives in just a matter of hours. It then hit me that life was indeed precious, and could be taken away just like that.

Like the trees that surround us, their Creator willed them to be such, the great Conductor to which their leaves and branches sway at His compass.

But unlike the trees whose growth is defined, we are given a hand in conducting our lives. Each day presents us an opportunity to grow according to His will.

My mission in life is clear. I am to nurture two creations to become as beautiful as they can be, to be as majestic as these trees. And I have realized that I can do that only through His grace and will.

Sharing a few photos from my 3rd and last (fingers crossed) operation.
My room at The Medical City. I was admitted under the care of Dr. Patrick Henry Enriquez, ENT surgeon.

I posted this on my Facebook wall with the caption: Broken Selfie.

Back at home a day after the operation, wearing a smile and my favorite shirt that is more frayed than rags.

Taken just today with my son, Garrett. I had the nose pack removed earlier in the day.

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