Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Two TIA episodes. One Life.

The past eight months was quite a challenging one. Much had happened. Much had changed. But two episodes defined me. Two TIAs in seven months.

I was into boxing fitness since June of 2015. I am classified obese at 200lbs. I lost about 22lbs in three months in almost daily boxing sessions at the gym and was really elated knowing that I could really shed weight if only I am serious about losing weight.

Mid-September came my first TIA episode. Around 5pm while driving suddenly I was confused big time. Suddenly false memories kept bombarding my brain. My mind was like 110 miles per hour that I cannot remember some patches of it. In fact I could not remember the whole time I was driving the a stretch of Roxas Boulevard that Friday afternoon. I could only remember all the confusion I experienced. I was conscious, yes. But I didn't know it was dangerous. I never told Ella about it. My conscious self was telling me that it should be alright.

One of the few moments I could remember that day was I told Ella I lost my driver's license and that I may be driving without it the whole day. Ella told me that I kept on opening and closing one of the doors when I stepped down from our van. Cut the story short, we switched places.

Hours later, I noticed I had sms conversations with some friends. I had calls between 4pm and 5pm that I couldn't really remember having it. Then I became more confused. The following day, I felt so tired. Headaches kept popping on the left side of my head. Some are subtle, others are really painful. All I really wanted was to sleep. Three days later, I was doagnosed with TIA, Transient Ischemic Attack.

My lipid profile was 50% above the high borderline. BP was past 150/100. MRI showed calcified artery at my left brain which probably caused the TIA. 

Fast forward six months later and about four normal lipid profile tests, I went back to boxing. I really need to go back to the gym again. For three weeks I had like 12 full sessions and cutting about 3 lbs. I was happy. But on the third week, I told my trainor that something must be wrong with my body. I suddenly felt weakness and I couldn't finish my routines. Five days later... second TIA episode.

Monday morning, As I climb down the stairs and I remember staring at my pair of shoes. I specifically stared at the brown one and I was wondering why I have a pair of K-swisses. So I took the blue one instead as I wasn't really so sure that it was mine. Second, I took my ukulele for a strum but then I could not remember some chords. That moment, I knew something was wrong. Few moments later I find myself driving my family to Manila then the confusion peaked. As we entered the expressway, I told Ella I was confused big time and I cannot continue driving. It was not as bad as the first one seven months back, I guess. But everything seemed the same. False memories and some sms and screenshots of my neurologist's contact information in my phone.

Three days in the hospital and my neurologist told me that the boxing and the alcohol could be the culprit. My lipid profile spiked too to 5.7, however not as bad as seven months back when it was 7.8. Just a little above high normal. My cardiologist changed some of my medications and told me to strictly follow my meds schedule. Four meds, two supplements per day. Costs my family a fortune actually and it's not funny at all.

I have kids. Two of them in the pre-teens. My youngest just turned seven. It's kind of worrying me sometimes. A lot of what ifs and what nots in my mind. My wife is so supportive of me that I sometimes thought how could she deserve all of this??? They mean a load to me. They are my life. My world could only rotate around them.

It's been one month since. I look physically normal. However, I have this constant headaches specifically on the left part of my head. I have trouble remembering some details. I have trouble typing. Most of the time I had to retype because I usually mispell the words I am typing. I have trouble looking for the right words. I have trouble remembering names. I was bad at remembering names but this time it is a struggle. Takes me a few more seconds to utter the name out of my memory. My brain is in constant battle... everyday. It's traumatic.

But then my brother told me to just forget about it and live it like it is completely normal. It made sense though. Why would my life be taken away by some useless worries and negative thoughts. He reminded me that I was once an optimist so I had to be at it again. 

I read a post by one Jennifer de Vries at a facebook support page for TIA/Ischemic Stroke patients that I am a member of and it says...

""Whether you had one TIA episode or multiples, they are a form of trauma. Trauma changes one - forever..... You can live your diagnosis or live with your diagnosis. The choice is yours Jennifer." I chose the latter and have found much joy in the life I've been given. My circle of friends is tighter and smaller, I've learned to say "No", I treasure my family more than ever and I have learned self-care is the ultimate necessity, not a luxury. Be good to yourself always..."

I will be learnign to live a life with TIA for sure. But it won't take away my life. I have a loving family. I have a few friends, really good friends. I have the best support one could ever have in my wife and family and my siblings. All is good. All is well. I have a choice and I'm sure it's the best one. I only got one life. I got to live with it. God-willing, I am living a full life.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Oh come on! We're friends!

meme from
My wife has been bugging me about the number of friends I have in Facebook. In a way, she was wondering if the ones in my list are really my friends outside Facebook. Do I really have to share my life to virtual friends that I barely know of, or in some sense, that I never really met personally?

So far none of my virtual friends, I say friends that I never met, have been worrying so far. I got a lot! Some are G-shock retailers, fake sneakers resellers, some are from the photography sector and all that... I don't know, maybe I am just as friendly in the real world as in the virtual world.

But, let's face it. Social media has changed old the rules of relationships... and I am not really against it. That's why Ella was bugging me all about it last night.

Well, at least I didn't find them annoying nor they are abusive. In fact, I find most of them very interesting. Nap Beltran, a virtual friend from the photography world, I find him amusing and intellectual in so many ways. I can disagree with his political views as much as I can agree with some of his. But the persona that he is (or she) is just as ideal for a friend. Real life friends on the other hand can hardly get to his standard, I believe so. Well, I could only hope I could meet him someday and scratch some of his fingernails... And well, Nap is gay and I don't mind. I would rather have gay friends who are truthful and trustworthy than have them straights who lack balls.

Internet retailers. Most probably we wouldn't trust them. That's why potential buyers would research about these retailers before purchasing from them. Or we would probably just buy from the legitimate stores in a mall. Kenneth Yu, a watch retailer. I trust him. Not that I am an advocate for underground businesses... but this guy is really trustworthy. With the transactions that I have with him, and hundreds more like me who would like to catch a really good discounts, he is the man. Real life friends, some will charge you "extra" until you probably rot in hell. Trust is an ultimate issue and sadly, the real world lacks of it as much as in the virtual world.

Eric Acosta, of pinoyguns. He's my go-to person when it comes to FA ownership. I asked a lot of questions about guns and he wouldn't mind answering all my queries with a "Bro." before my name. That's an extra mile... In the real world, them so called friends would even mock you for that silly question you were asking and most like will call you "tanga naman..."

Does it matter really to have more virtual friends than one must have? Does it matter really that one must have more real friends than "who-the-hell-they-are" friends? 

Nah! I wouldn't mind having them hanging around my timeline and enjoying their intellects than them people who would encroach to my life, to our lives... making a mockery out of me.

These past few months is a realization for me, and probably for my wife too. Some friends come, they hang out, make a mess... and they're gone. My virtual friends? They are hanging around in my timeline having a very good time... and so am I.

Monday, June 29, 2015

A Birthday Memory

This past year have been quite difficult for us. Of course, we have seen a lot of beautiful things too, but going through deaths of loveones is really heartbreaking. We celebrate life to its very fullest for once and then death just took away all the joy, the laughter and all that was worth. What leaves us are nothing but memories.

Exactly a year ago today, papa celebrated one of his happiest birthdays. Ella made sure that he's having his favorite dishes, my brother made sure that his all-time favorite lechon is served, Joy made sure that all of his friends were coming. It was an awesome day. One can see the happiness of a child celebrating a birthday by the look on his face. Seeing him like that was happiness and it was unforgettable. 

He was happy that he had palm reading sessions with the ladies that night. It was his first palm reading session in about a year... when he somehow predicted my father-in-law's health on a father's day. I am a skeptic but I am still amazed at how papa would simply catch or predict one's fate or past or traits or wahtever. I thought it was all trickery. Well, could be coincidence... until some of his readings were quite accurate and the last were with my in-laws. Mang Boy had a heart attack about five hours later. Papa was depressed as if he was blaming himself for reading Mang Boy's "fate." When Mang Boy recovered, so did papa... but he promised himself not to have palm reading sessions again. 

Exactly a year ago today, he had his last palm reading session. His usual ladies were lining up for some future insights. Well, it was all ladies that night though and I won't forget how he made them ladies happy and he was too! He had his usual laughter, a drunk kind of laughter, after each reading. That "hahahaha! Ho!" was really tempting. Happiness, you know.... Can't take that away from him that night.

Who would have thought it would be his last birthday? He was strong! He could take two to three liters of red horse beer in one sitting. He could sweep out all the rubbish down the street like he was the official block street sweeper. Who would have thought?

There are times when I get to see memories of him while alone. I still see my man the last time I saw him alive. I can still see my man the last time I sent him for a checkup. I still see my man the last time I saw his face turned read after I pulled the plug... To be honest, it is hurting me still. I still can't get over his passing. To be honest, pulling the plug was quite an experience. I'd be damned if I didn't feel chills until today. It was pretty aweful. People would say a few things like "it's okay, he was gone way before you unplug him..." or "you freed him of suffering..." and all that... But I could only say in silence that the feeling was not really good that it hurts still.

But he was gone. I know he is in a better place. I also hope that he is enjoying some heavenly beers on the other side. It's his birthday, he deserves some celebration, yeah! I could only pray for myself, that one day so soon, I will get over his passing and move on. I could only pray for my mom, that she be healthy. I could only pray for my siblings that they may find happiness in everything that they do. I'm sure my old man is very proud of them. I hope he is proud of me too!

Today would have been papa's 77th birthday. But he came short of waiting for this day. He looked forward for this day. He's got plans... but it's not meant to be. It would have been so much fun. Just not meant to be.

I really missed my old man. I missed kissing him. I missed hugging him... I missed the times when he shoo me away because I was so annoying already when I hug him. It was something I looked forward to when I got to visit him. Never got to happen again, I guess.

Happy birthday me old man! No more hugs but I'm pretty sure you look better now. No more pains yeah! Rest. Well. I love you so much, papa!