Thursday, September 30, 2010

Grace's Story

Make sure you have your hanky ready for this week's Dear Bo story... Our winning story for this week is from Grace and this is her story....

Dear Bo,

This is my story...

"Walang sinuman ang nabubuhay para sa sarili lamang. Walang sinuman ang namamatay para sa sarili lamang. Tayong lahat may pananagutan sa isa't isa. Tayong lahat ay tinipon ng Diyos na kapiling niya."

It was year 2003 when life’s complication struck me. I was so excited when I graduated from college, a new phase to look forward to. Until one day, fortune ended for me when I noticed odd changes in my body. The rashes, night leg cramps, swollen eyes, pale skin, it all switched on at once. I took medicines hoping to ease the pain and bring relief. But it didn’t. I then sought for medical advice with my aunt. Laboratory exams came after the other. And then the results. The results which I wished never came and never happened. My creatinine went up, red blood cells decreased to six already that there is an urgent need for blood transfusion. My two kidneys reduced its size and creased like a raisin.

We sat down with my doctor only to be advised that there is a need for me already to undergo dialysis. I know what it means, I know its a medical process, but I don’t have a clue how it is done. The doctor’s words did not sink in that time though it brought tears to my aunt. Maybe she was reminded of our family history. After all, she witnessed how painful it was to endure such treatment. Even more knows how painful it is to see a family member have such kind of illness and die from it.

And so I followed every doctor’s order and advice because I know this is not where it should end. I still have lots of plans in my mind, dreams and goals to achieve. Being in such state, I came to question God why it had to happen to me. But on second thought it made me realized that it’s better it happened to me rather I see it happen and be experienced by my relatives or family because that will be much more anguish for me.

It was February 27, 2004 when I was first confined for blood transfusion and be operated for emergency dialysis. Family members, relatives and friends came to visit me in the hospital to check how I was doing. When a cousin of mine approached and touched my head, I suddenly shed tears for no reason. I don’t know why, maybe I felt pity for myself or I hated the feeling of being pitied upon.

I had my dialysis for a year & so. It is physically and emotionally tiring to undergo dialysis. Every time that I undergo this treatment, my parents are always with me. I felt sorry that instead of helping them being a newly graduate, I am the one causing them financial problems. We used to live a fortunate lifestyle. My parents were able to provide us with our necessities and wants. But we came to a point that we are financially drained because of my treatment and medications. That we even asked help from the government for additional medical assistance. I then thought to myself that I do not want to do the treatment anymore. But I cannot do that to all those people who loves me and are helping me. It is not fair that I just quit when all of them are pushing their limits and doing sacrifices to make me survive this so-called trial in my life. They did not show any sign of weakness or a reason for me to say it is over.

They are all optimistic on everything that will happen and everything that will come. I was poured with so much love and support from both sides of my family. I drew strength and inspiration from them. I survive one day at a time because of them and for them.

While undergoing dialysis, my doctor advised me to have a kidney transplant while I am still young and have lesser complications at that stage. He explained to us that I‘ll have a much better life if I go through it. We were advice to look for kidney donor within the immediate family member. The doctor omitted my parents as capable donors since they are both old already. My second sibling volunteered as my donor. We undertook work-ups; unfortunately, she cannot be a perfect donor as well. We asked my doctor if my cousins or anyone from my relatives can be a donor, and we were again reminded that it is much better to have a donor from the immediate family. So, my only hope was from my youngest sibling, Len-Len. My parents talked to her, told her how the transplant would save me and extend my life. But she was hesitant to donate because she thinks it will limit her social life. Until she came to realized it will be a big help for me and for the whole family if she will do that. I was so thankful that she is willing to do such for me. I felt guilty at first because I remembered when I was first confined, I found out that she cried without letting me see it, and thought to myself then "Paiyak-iyak ka pa noon, di mo naman pala ako kayang tulungan." I felt awful that I thought badly of my sister maybe because I was starting to lose hope. Even with her tight school schedules, she was able to attend and do our work-ups not to mention she is so focus on her study that she excels in her class. Finally, she was my perfect donor match. She was 19 years old at that time.

Our much-awaited day has come, April 27, 2005. The hospital called and informed us to prepare our things for I am scheduled to have the transplant. Our prayers were answered. I was operated on May 4, 2005 and it was a success. My sister was first discharged from the hospital while I still stayed for observation. Len came to visit me. Seeing her, I was so delighted for the fact that she is doing well. I wanted to hug her but unable to, so I just verbally thanked her. Instead of giving her present on her birth month, Len gave me one of the most special gifts that I could ever have. I was discharged from the hospital, May 11, 2005.

At home, I took all the medications needed to prevent any complications. I followed every doctor’s order. Everything went well. There is no need for dialysis anymore. I was always at home for my complete recovery. I only go out to attend check-ups at the hospital. My family and I are happy that things turned out the way we wanted it would be. We once went to attend a mass as a family. I wished to myself that it will always be like this, complete and happy.

Until one day, Len noticed rashes on her face. She went to see a doctor for consultation. She was told that it was a manifestation of SLE. We doubted it and we were in denial. How could a simple rashes turn out to be a Lupus? Why it did not show up when we were having our work-ups? Why do we have to experience another kind of trial again? I thought all our problems ended the time I had my operation.

We seek for second opinion, and just the same, we heard the same result. She started to get some medications. Gradually, other manifestations are starting to reveal. Her facial rashes are getting worst.

She came to a point that she did not want to go to school because of embarrassment and everybody was talking about her. This made her cry but she continued to come to school. At night, she was always feverish.

One time, she was in my room studying I noticed she was teary eyed. I asked her “Ok ka lang ba?” she replied “Ok lang ‘te.” I then said to her “Len pasensya ka na sa akin. Kung di naman dahil sa akin hindi ka magkakaganyan. Hindi naman dapat ikaw ang nandyan sa sitwasyon na ganyan. Dapat ako. Hindi dapat ikaw ang nahihirapan”. She only answered “Ok lang yun”. But I know deep inside she is not okay. After her saying that, I hugged her and asked if she wants water. I felt disturbed and still in disbelief with the findings. The only thing I have done for her is to pray that she will get well. Len was forced not to go to school anymore, because she felt weak, her rashes were darkening. She did not want to be confined because she is concerned of the expenses for her hospitalization. I cannot contain to see her in such situation. I do not even have the courage to look her straight in the eyes or talk to her because of guilt.

On one occasion, we were invited by our cousin to come over their place to celebrate his birthday that was August 24, 2006. I was surprised to know that Len wanted to go with us even if she is already in pain and much more, she desired to stay with my cousin’s place. A few days after, I got a phone call from my aunt where my sister stayed for a while. She said Len badly needs to be confined because she cannot take the pain anymore. We rushed her to the hospital. I feel so bad on what is happening to my sister. I wanted to visit her at the hospital but I rather not to because of one thing—GUILT. I cried every time I am reminded of her in that condition. If only I could turn back the hands of time, I will do it.

August 30, 2006, I decided to visit my sister at the hospital along with my cousin but to my surprised, she passed away a few hours before my arrival. All the while, my cousin knew that she is gone already. I wasn’t informed about it maybe because she doesn’t know how to break the sad news to me. I do not know exactly what to feel that time. I did not want to see her when her corpse was brought to our residence. I was crying so hard. My family and relatives are worried for me. They think it could affect my health if I always think about it. I felt I am the one to blame. It was really the hardest point of my life. To pacify me one of my cousin told me “Ate isipin mo kung hindi nailipat sa iyo ang kidney ni Len tapos nagkasakit siya at ikaw may sakit din, dalawa na kayo na may sakit, dalawa na kayong aalagaan”.

Now, I had to face the reality of life. We all have our own purpose of living. My sister served hers already. I would not put Len's sacrifices into waste. I must move on and live my second life to the fullest. Heartbreaking as it may seem, I know her purpose was to extend my life and I am forever thankful to Len for that.

I read at soldier’s cemetery, “I DON’T KNOW THE DIGNITY OF HIS BIRTH, BUT I KNOW THE GLORY OF HIS DEATH”. Like a soldier, my sister died saving another’s life. She saved mine.

Thank You & God Bless!

Hi Grace,
Your story is very touching and inspiring--the love of laying down one's life for another.
I pray for you and your family: May God strengthen you to live for Him.
One day, you'll have a family reunion.And you'll see that every sacrifice was worth it.
It may not make sense right now.But it will make perfect sense one day
.Love will always be rewarded.
Always, always, always.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dianne's Story

Her story is a testament of how a daughter loves and care for her mother. The fear of death and loosing someone and most of all how faith can bring miracles.

This is her story:
Dear Bro. Bo,

My story I am going to share is about an answered prayer.

When I was 7 years old, I remember my mom puffing a cigarette. Since that time, we have been telling her to stop smoking. But over the years, she did not quit. Many things happened through the years (my dad passed away, my two older brother got married, I graduated from college and so on). MY family and I often ask her to quit, but there were many attempts but it usually lasts for maximum of two months... at time even just days and mom would promise she would just gradually stop.. gradual quitting leads to over smoking as i noticed. So still she smokes.

Some things happened in life that lead me to God. I joined a Charismatic Community in a church where I usually attend mass. To be honest, my family believes God but we were never really "connected" to him. This is just my opinion. In the community, I learned many things, like reading the Bible, we were also encouraged to confess monthly, attend Sunday masses, pray the rosary everyday, and so on.

I learned to pray the rosary every night. (a habit i need to re start again now) I prayed and asked Mama Mary's Intercession. I offered my prayer that if my mom smokes 1,000,000 sticks more in her life, each rosary bead would minus the sum. I knew I needed to pray more but I just prayed. After 9 months of praying...

In New Year 2009, it was the holiday season. Of course there were many celebrations to attend. I noticed my mom got thinner and she often had headaches, and took pain relievers often. I felt something was wrong she said it's nothing. Until on January 1, since she and I are only at home, we had a simple dinner. We ate the same food from the eve's left over. After eating, we watched Tv and she went to sleep. Since it was holiday, I watched TV for almost overnight. Until past midnight, mom woke up and she vomited and looked so sick.I was so scared.. I prayed to God Not to take my mother yet since I have no more dad. Losing my mom would really devastate me.

I asked mom if she wants to be rushed to the hospital. She nodded. I knew something was serious. I prayed since I thought I could not bear it. My brothers are in their own homes, It was just me. So i grabbed a rosary to keep me company.

In the ER, she complained many things to the doctor. Test were made and x-rays. AFter few hours, the doctor just said she had food poisoning. I could hardly believe that. We ate the same food and I ate more. But then the doctor said, that is all there is that's why she vomited. After the x-ray, the doctor found out a minimal pneumonia. The doctor assured me I have nothing to worry. Its just a "baby" pneumonia and it can be cure easily. True enough, she only had medication for 3 days.

My mom wanted to be admitted since she feels sick. MOre test were made on her. In fact, she had executive check up. months before, I already know that mom has thyroid imbalance. It's hereditary but the doctor gave prescription and it was also "nothing". I was confused why mom got so sick.

Staying in hospital alone was tiresome and depressing. I cling to God. I had to take care of mom for 4 days all by myself. ( I got sick after she was discharged). I just kept on praying and praying.

Finally, the doctor asked my mom if she smokes, my mom said yes. The doctor told her and me... that was the cause of her palpitations, dizziness, severe headaches and it triggered her thyroid imbalance. The doctor gave her a choice - to stop smoking or to prepare a million cos she can develop a heart disease if she doesn;t stop. I told my mom I don't have that amount so I asked her to stop.

Surprisingly, when we discharged. Mom quit. QUIT. totally. I am so happy!!! Now my mom looks younger, gained weight and she has no health problems. except for the thyroid imbalance which is also minor.

I remembered 30 years of smoking is hard to put an end! But yeah with God, indeed nothing is impossible! Praise The Lord! My mom's first grandchild is 7 years old when she quit. I was 7 when I asked her to quit. It took another generation for her to stop. Indeed the rosary is powerful and God is good!

I believe the food poisoning was God's way to call my mom. I am glad my mom got sick. It made her realize the bad smoking is. In addition, my mom joined me in my Charismatic Group. We go to the same group together (too sad. the group is not active now. some member relocated and some lost contact. I am praying I would have another prayer group).

If it weren't for the rosary beads and prayers, my mom could have not been saved!I am so thankful to God for giving me My charismatic group. I learned so much. Now, I am on my own so I purchase "COMPANION " at least to keep me in track daily.

I would like to share this because I want people to know how God answers prayers. I know the decision is always ours but with prayers, we become stronger in deciding. Mom is smoke-free now for 2 years. And she now telling my brother to stop smoking. I know I need to pray for him again.

Thanks Bo for reading. God bless you . :-)


Hi Dianne,

Thank you so much for your story.Your story gives hope to many people who are also praying for their loved ones to change.Sometimes, it will take a painful situation for them to change.So God may answer their prayer in an unexpected way--by allowing a trial to come.Hopefully, there is no need for the trial.Hopefully, we change because we want to--not because we have to!

I pray for you and your mother.
Keep following the Lord,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lolon's Story

Here's the much-awaited Dear Bo story for this week!

Ako si Hilarion T. Salvaña, 70 taong gulang, may asawa, walang anak, at kilala sa tawag na Lolon. Isa akong retiradong school official ng DECS (DepEd ngayon) at retirado ring propesor sa isang malaking unibersidad sa aming lalawigan. Isang kakilala ang nag-suggest” sa akin na mag-“Like” sa iyong page sa facebook kamakalawa lamang na kaagad ko namang ginawa.

Araw-araw akong nagfe-facebook mula noong lumabas ako sa ospital dahil sa isang aksidente at di ko nakakaligtaang buksan ang application na Message from God (bagamat hindi ko tiyak na ang mensahe ay talagang galing nga sa Diyos sapagkat alam kong gawa lamang ito ng mga taong nagpapatakbo ng nasabing application sa facebook). Malimit na tumutugma sa akin ang mga mensaheng nakukuha ko araw-araw. Kaya’t naiisip kong sana nga ay guided by the Holy Spirit ang sumusulat ng mga mensaheng ito upang maraming tao ang mabiyayaan.

Lunes, Hunyo 28, 2010, nang ang makuha kong Message from God para sa akin ay ganito:

“God wants you to know that there are no accidents. What you think of as accidents are simply your conversations with God that you haven’t yet been able to understand. But take heart, all happens in God’s will and every conversation has deep meaning for you.”

Pinilit kong unawain ang mensahe. Sa simula ay nahihirapan akong unawain ang nilalaman nito ngunit nang maalaala ko at paglimi-limiin ang pamamalagi ko sa ospital ng halos dalawang linggo dahil sa aksidenteng nangyari sa akin ay nagkaroon ito ng liwanag ito sa aking pang-unawa. Ganito, humigit-kumulang, ang aksidenteng nangyari sa akin.

Noong Abril 11, 2010, nanood kaming mag-asawa ng sine sa Cinema 2 sa SM City Lucena. Sabi ko noon sa Mrs. ko: “Mag-celebrate naman tayo dahil lahat ay normal ang resulta ng aking blood tests pati ng whole abdomen ultrasound.” Ang palabas noon ay Clash of the Titans. Dakong gitna na ng pelikula ang inabot namin kaya sa dakong gitna rin ng palabas kami tumayo para lumabas ng cinema. Madilim pa sa loob. Walang usher na tumanlaw sa amin kaya pagdating sa hagdang pababa, akala ko’y pantay pa ang tatapakan ng kanan kong paa. Iyon pala’y step na. Kaya nagpagulong-gulong akong nahulog sa hagdan at tumama sa sementong sahig ang aking ulo. Nagkabukol ako ng sinlaki ng pandesal at nagdugo ang aking kaliwang tainga at ilong. Isinugod ako sa Mount Carmel Diocesan General Hospital sa Lucena at nagsuka ako ng dugo pagdating doon. Sa pagsusuri ng mga doctor na gumamot sa akin, napag-alamang may fracture sa dakong kaliwa ng aking skull, may lumalabas na brain fluid mula sa fracture, at may damage sa aking kaliwang ear drum. Dalawang linggong pinigil ako sa ospital upang mabigyan ng heavy dosage ng antibiotic na sa dextrose pinadadaan.

Sa loob ng pananatili ko sa ospital, panay ang aking dasal at paghingi ng panalangin sa lahat ng maaabot ng aking cellular phone, ng land line, at sa iba pang mga paraan. Pito o walong araw, humigit kumulang, mula nang ipasok ako sa ospital, parang may lakas na nagtulak sa akin na gawin na ang matagal ko nang gustong gawin ngunit hindi ko magawa: ang mangumpisal (sapagkat bagaman at nagsisimba ako tuwing araw ng Linggo at nagdadasal bago matulog at pagkagising, maraming taon na akong hindi nakakapangumpisal). Nagawa kong mag-text sa kapatid at pamangkin ng isa kong kakilalang pari na hilingin kay Father na sana’y dalawin ako sa ospital upang makapangumpisal sa kanya.

At nangyari ang matagal ko nang gustong mangyari. Dumating si Father isang hapon at taimtim na pinakinggan ang aking pangungumpisal sa kanya. Pagkatapos noon, halos araw-araw sa ilan pang araw na inilagi ko sa ospital na tumanggap ako ng sakramento ng pakikinabang. Itinuring ko itong isang napakalaking biyaya.

Sa ngayon, mabuti na ang aking kalagayan bagamat kailangan pang obserbahan sa loob ng anim na buwan para ma-monitor kung may iba pang pinsalang maaaring nangyari sa aking utak. Naghilom na ang nasirang left ear drum, subalit naapektuhan ang aking pandinig kaya kinailangan akong gumamit ng hearing aid. Hindi pa ako makalakad na mag-isa sa pangambang baka ako mahilo at muling mapahampas ang ulo sapagkat humina rin ang aking tuhod. Tuwing araw ng Linggo at mga araw ng check-up ko sa mga doktor lamang ako nakakalabas ng bahay kasama ang aking Mrs.

At noon ngang Hunyo 28, 2010, ganoon nga ang mensaheng tinanggap ko mula sa Message from God. At naunawaan ko ang kahulugan nito. Ang “aksidente” ng pagkahulog ko sa hagdan ng cinema ay hindi pala talagang aksidente sapagkat marahil, ito’y inibig ng Diyos na mangyari sa akin upang makinig ako sa Kanya. Marahil, matagal na rin akong kinakausap ng Diyos tungkol dito ngunit hindi ko ito napapansin (o kaya’y talagang hindi ko ito pinapansin). Kinailangan pa ang isang “aksidente” (na ayon sa Message form God na tinanggap ko ay isang paraan ng Diyos upang mapakinggan ko at maunawaan ang gusto niyang sabihin sa akin) upang maging lubos akong mapalapit sa Kanya.

At naisip ko rin: Marami palang paraan at maraming bagay na ginagamit na instumento ang Diyos upang matupad ang kanyang kalooban dito sa lupa para sa bawat isa sa atin, halimbawa’y ang facebook o anumang katulad nito na hindi lamang isang uri ng mapapaglibangan at mapapagpalipasan ng oras kundi maaari ring maging tulay na maghahatid sa atin sa lalong malalim na pagkaunawa sa kalooban ng Diyos para sa bawat isa sa atin upang tayo’y lalong mapalapit sa Kanya.

At sa huli, naisip ko rin na sa bawat aksidenteng maranasan natin, hindi pala dapat isipin na ito’y isang “aksidente” lamang sa pagkakaunawa ng tao kundi isang pangyayaring naayon sa kalooban Niya para sa atin at ginagawa niyang paraan upang magkaroon tayo ng puspusang pakikipag-usap sa Kanya at magawa natin ang Kanyang ninanais para sa ating ikabubuti.

Kahapon, sinimulan ko na ang halos araw-araw na pagtunghay sa iyong page sa facebook upang makibahagi sa mga magaganda at makabuluhang butil ng kabanalan na ipinahahayag mo at ng iba pang mga sumusubaybay sa page page na ito.

Maraming salamat. Purihin ang Diyos!



Dear Lolon,

I'm inspired by your sharing.You responded to your "accident" with faith.God uses whatever circumstances for our good--and He indeed blessed you so much.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

From An Anonymous Letter Sender

To protect the identity of our letter sender we will call her "Gabrielle". This is her story...

"Dear Brother Bo,

Thank you for asking us to write you an email. I've always wanted to do this, but somehow I felt awkward. Well, actually I once did. But the email was anonymous so I guess that was why I didn't get response.

I want to thank you for the books you've written – ""Your Past Does Not Define Your Future"" and ""7 Secrets to Real Freedom"". Your advices have been helping me out a lot. If I have time, I also read your blogs and listen to your audio teaching.

You see, I am a porn addict woman and for more than 15 years of ignorance about it, it is only now that I finally come to realize and admit to myself how sick I am. Back then, I didn't know that I have this illness, that I only had self-control problem because my addiction was taking too much of my time.

So I started researching cure over the internet. But since most of the advices I get were based on western culture, somehow, I wasn't satisfied. Until this pinay sex psychologist had this articles that what I was doing was normal – that masturbation is good for mind and body, blah, blah, blah. But if so, why do I still feel guilty? Before, during, even after doing it. I have tried procedures hoping I'll get peace of mind. None worked.

There was my denial technique – where I taught myself that this exercise is just normal. That the mere fact that I'm a lonely woman, a certified NBSB (No Boyfriend Since Birth), of course I would need an outlet! As far as I know, I'm not hurting anyone and as what experts say, it's good for the body, hence, it's A-OK! So if cravings start, I'll get it done and over with, then move on with life. No big deal. Probably the guilt feeling would stop. I remember making appeals to God, ""Lord, I'm better off this way. I released it, and stopped my thirst. This is normal, right?"" He wouldn't say a word. And the guilt continues as the knowledge of lust is one of the 7deadly sins bugs me. I know have sinned against God. Again.

There was also my drown-yourself-to-faith strategy. I had toxic faith and never realized it until I read your writings. Each night I'd pray the rosary and other prayer chants, but hardly ever tried to talk to God. More often than not, it was like more of reciting the words of the rosary rather than actually praying it. I would wear a scapular, a rosary ring, keep a rosary in my pocket, hoping these would protect me. It times. But there were moments, too, wherein I would struggle in my bed or in front of my pc. My dilemma was just too much to bear that I'll just remove my protections, and then weakly I'd give in. I hated it. I never thought of running out of that temptation room, instead I conversed with it.

And yes, I confess I still fall from time to time. But unlike before, I no longer curl up in a ball and feel shameful and let my insecurities eat me whole. Now, whenever I fall, the more I try to dust myself and run to God. There I would weep. And not having a support group just makes this solitary battle even harder. I've been keeping this to all myself all this time and still mustering enough courage to come out in the open without hurting anyone in the process. I'm far from claiming I am healed-healed. Everyday is still a struggle.

But the difference now is that I started to acknowledge my feelings, my weaknesses, and my anguish. And from these painful experiences, I try to heal my wounds. I'm now learning how to shift my attention. No more pink elephants. You were right – sexual passion is passion; sexual energy is energy. I now try to use them as productive as I can. Recently, I started to learn about photoshop, I started surfing and trying out photsoshop tutorials, and so far I like the progress of my newly discovered talent. I want to live my life to the full. I'm 27 already and growing old alone is a fear I deal with everyday. But I stopped focusing on that. Instead, I now act on overcoming it. And whenever Ms. Lonely goes home, she would pray to God, not in chants, but in an awfully genuine weep. And little by little, between shedding tears, I feel His love is healing me.

Brother Bo, I already have your ""How to be Really, Really, Really Happy!"" Although, I don't have yet the other 3 books of The Boss series. (Ehem. Hint-hint). But seriously, I want to say thank you for your teachings, your brutally blunt lessons about life, and for taking time for reading this.

I'd really, really, really love to be your friend. And have your autograph if ever I get the chance to finally meet you personally. Thank you and more power."


Dear Gabrielle,

Your letter is very inspiring.God is working in your life in a beautiful way.I praise God for what He is doing in you.I pray that He continues to heal you. Thank you so much for writing your story