Tag Archives: gallstones

An inspiring journey

It’s already one month since my discharge from the hospital due to intense abdominal pain. I was supposed to undergo gallbladder surgery based on the ultra sound result. Since there was a cyst in the tail end of pancreas, my doctor recommended CT scan in order  to be included  in the operation should there be a mass. However, result of the CT scan revealed no gallstones, only sludge and the mass measuring 5 x 4 cm is found in the pancreatic head not tail with nodules and cysts in liver and intestine.

sickOther findings were atherosclerotic aorta, prostatomegaly and hypertrophic degenerative osteoarthritis, lumbar spine. The doctor tried to make us understand these medical terms with the advise for exploratory laparotomy – a diagnostic surgery also to determine if the mass is malignant and the recommendation for subsequent chemotherapy. After discussing pros and cons and the possible costs, I decided to go home to rest for awhile as I already feel drained in all aspects after 5 day stay in hospital. Had it not been for social worker friends and masteral students who volunteered to facilitate with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the City Congressman’s office for some assistance, my family would have incurred again debt for my hospitalization and laboratories. Gifts from colleagues in the academe, pastors, social work masteral students,classmate in high school and townmates plus contribution from my siblings and my wife’s family have also helped us in cashing out for the bills.Some well meaning friends and colleagues continue to send gifts which we appreciate.

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Yes, finances affected my decision. After weighing all things including the worst i.e. my case is terminal and days are already numbered. I have said to myself, if ever I die, I would no longer burden my family for the debts to be incurred for the chemotherapy. Our experience in 2009, when I was seriously ill forcing us to loan from various sources, is more than enough. I cannot bear the thought of my family especially the children to suffer deprivation again because of me. Relatively, my wife and I have already lived our lives. But our kids are just starting to live their own lives. And they have their struggles, too. I consoled myself with the thought that in 1975-1976 during my first critical condition, I bargained to God for only one year to live so that I could serve him well since I was still in the seminary and too young to die. Indeed, upon recovery right after graduation I worked full time in a church, giving my all, thinking for only one year. And God has extended it for over 30 years already.

Of course, like any other human being, I wish to live longer because I have many unfinished tasks yet. I still want to see my children finished their respective courses and establish their family. I want to put in place the distance education program of the department before my retirement. And to publish the dream book– consolidation of our life’s experiences in life highlighting God’s faithfulness, mercy and grace in transforming my life into a productive one. How God has helped me survived more than 3 serious illnesses , accidents and threats to my life and security especially when I joined the people’s struggle during the dark years of dictatorial rule in the Philippines. And probably write other inspirational books and references that can be used in the academe and ministry.

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Thus my one month journey is a mixture of ambivalence greatly affected by my health condition. When I feel good my spirit is high, contented with my decision. But when the abdominal pain/inconvenience recurs, I am tempted to reconsider my decision. More so, when I read the Discharge Summary  indicating in the Final Diagnosis: Advanced intraabdominal malignancy; Etiology undetermined. I tried to search the web on pancreatic disease, cyst, or cancer and alternative medicines and their consequences. I started using some of those herbs/vegetables that are familiar to me like the turmeric, ginger, lemon grass, babana. Until a friend, whom I helped formulated the vision-mission-goals of his Dreamers Valley some years, invited me in one thanksgiving of the success of his ministry.

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The place has been wonderfully developed,  according to the brochure I made for him. It can accommodate now 300 participants for seminar using organic products for food. He let me try his fermented 3 C composed of carrots, cucumber and celery which are believed to kill cancer cells. These are my natural resources in faith journey, taken daily with faith and prayers that they come from God and the power of God works through them, at times trying imagery as culled from the testimony of some survivors. Of course, with the hundreds prayer partners who signified their commitment to join me in prayers for healing. Yes, throughout the month’s journey, I internalized the acrostics I used in my sermon on THANKSgiving.

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So far, my faith journey works well and has been inspiring. Except for some days of inconveniences, especially when I consumed sea foods and weeds for my viand for consecutive days, the intensity of abdominal pain did not occur. I become cautious with my food intake. Admittedly, I do not know the real happening inside my body –whether medically the situation has minimized or worsened, whether the mass is malignant or not, whether the cancer cells were eliminated or compounded. But deep within me is a peace of mind, a healthy disposition, an undying hope and faith that I will survive, a resolve that whatever happens, I will continue to internalize THANKS: Trust God, Hope that never ends, Accept realities, Never give up, Keep the faith and Shift the focus. I discipline my self to look for good things my illness or each day brings rather than entertaining pain, suffering, fear and negative thoughts. The journey goes on. Hope you will continue to be our prayer partner in this journey towards healing.

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From pain to gain: A shift in focus

For more than a month, pain has dominated my world as I experience abdominal pain I haven’t encountered before. Even in one of my most critical health conditions, five years ago, and the subsequent gradual process of recovery, the pain is more on emotional and spiritual, less in physical. This time it cuts across all other aspects. In fact, I was supposed to undergo surgery because of gallstones as observed in the ultra sound. With reservation, I took heed of the advice consoling myself that is the only way to get rid of the pain. Because there was also a pancreatic cyst in the ultra sound, the surgeon recommended CT scan first so that he can include the tail end of pancreas in the operation.

sickMuch to our amazement, the gallstones disappeared in the CT scan. But the joy was short lived as another CT scan was recommended – the result of which highlighted the pancreatic cyst. Diagnostic operation was recommended as sure method for biopsy to determine if the cyst is malignant. I was caught off-guard. Unprepared because of my assumption that I would be excused from other illness having not fully recovered yet from previous one in almost all aspects. Considering all scenarios even the worst, with my wife’s consent, I decided to leave the hospital and take a rest, meditate, pray, try nature’s healing process at home. I want to have more time with God, especially that earlier I have inspiring experiences with Him . I even prayed for more opportunities to publicly bear witness to God’s faithfulness to me and my family.

Yes, I long to do that since I survived the aforementioned critical periods in our life. I want to stress God’s hand in my healing. Since my condition is volatile yet, I shelve it for a while until my full recovery to make it real, powerful and with full confidence. However, observing the very gradual healing process, I decided to start doing it in every opportunity to preach and teach. At the back of my mind, with my age, full recovery may not come and I’ll forever lose by default. While I keep on believing and hoping for it, I also started to be realistic.

capiz cbmaIndeed, opportunities came. Lots of speaking engagements in line with respective themes on God’s faithfulness and thanksgiving. I have gone to Bacolod City after five years during the Foundation Day of the First Bethany Church. I was privileged to be the speaker in the CBMA Capiz Chapter Assembly in Maayon, Capiz. And lately, at the  Baptist Church of Forward in Badiangan as Thanksgiving Sunday speaker. This is the church which adopted me as member almost 40 years ago because of a very productive ministry with young people during our Gospel Team while still a seminarian in Convention Baptist Bible College.

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Forward

I grabbed each opportunity to boldly proclaim Gods faithfulness even in pain and sufferings. Although not used to a prescriptive sermon, I even made an acrostic to emphasize my point in one of my sermons. i.e. THANKS. Meaning, Trust God at all times even in bad times, Hope that never end e.g. hoping against hope, Accept realities even if harsh, Never give up, Keep the faith and Shift your focus.

I feel blessed and pray to God for more opportunity to bear witness on His faithfulness. I even thought of reactivating my blogs to broaden its reach.

BethanyUnexpectedly, however, I found myself in another crisis situation where I am entangled now- a painful one i.e. literally. While considering the worst scenario, deep within is a hope that I will still survive. The comments on facebook particularly those who offered prayers for my recovery inspire me to hold on. Of course, there were times when I cried to God like a child when the pain lingered more than expected disturbing even my sleep. Until I remembered the acrostics I made on THANKS and started to internalize each point of the word.

That’s the time I realized that God might have allowed this painful experience so that I can walk my talk because this physical pain was absent during that near death experience in 2009. Probably, God is not through with me yet. He is preparing me for something else beyond my imagination. “His thoughts are not our thoughts. Neither His ways, our ways.” Shifting my focus, I began to look for the gains, rather than the pains. The first thing I have seen is the revival of this blog which hibernated for some months due to my hectic schedule . I expect for more. Dear God, enlighten me more.