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....
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!
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.