Forced Into Healthy Eating

My last executive check up was December 2016. My cholesterol level and uric acid level were both high but did not require treatment, only diet. I did not take it seriously because I’ve always succeeded in lowering them during the previous years. I continued to eat fatty and salty foods.

Last week, I noticed ticking under my eye. The left side of my face seemed tired, too. I panicked when I felt like I was floating! Could this be early signs of stroke? I hope not. Because I was in denial, I proceeded with the day’s task until I confirmed to myself that something was really not right in my body. The next day, I went to the company clinic to check my blood pressure. The initial reading was 130/90 so I asked the nurse that I needed to see the company doctor. The company doctor got another reading and this time, it was 130/100! She prescribed antihistamine for me to relax because that BP reading did not require anti-hypertension drugs yet.

My children are still small and they need a mother to take care of them. I’ve been abusive to my body and disregarded the executive check up results. Yesterday was a wake up call to give up my salty foods and coffee vices and start eating more healthy foods.

Good thing, my officemate is into healthy eating and she also sells fruit and vegetable snack in the office. Instead of coffee, I now resort to drinking more water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Last night’s meal was light as compared to my heavy dinner the previous days. Then, I need to learn how to unwind because mental stress triggers high blood pressure, too.

I hope to see positive results in six weeks!

My Apicolordotic Xray

I had my annual executive check up in one of the hospitals in Quezon City two weeks ago as part of our company requirement. The result was delivered two weeks later to our company physician. I passed everything except the xray so our company physician recommended an apicolordotic xray to verify if the white spot on the upper lobe of my right lung was something that needed treatment.

Of course, my initial reaction was it could be tuberculosis because that’s where most people fail in the PA xray. Though treatable, I thought of my young kids, my work if I needed to take sick leave and how unfair life could be. Later on, I came to accept that maybe, I had TB and I needed to be treated ASAP.

I brought my five year-old son with me to the lab for the apicolordotic xray. The technician asked for the PA xray film from the hospital in Quezon City but it was not yet forwarded to our company nurse so she suggested a repeat PA xray and the apicolordotic xray. I normally don’t warm up to strangers but the thought of me having TB prompted me to tell her about my fears. She said that maybe, it was just a false alarm, an erroneous reading from the previous radiologist.

Apicolordotic xray had this weird body position. You would be asked to lean your back against a metal plate because the front side of your lungs would be captured through x-ray. Your legs would be asked to move forward in this weird semi-squatting position while you bend your arms in a weird akimbo to stretch in your lungs. The whole procedure took me around 2 minutes plus another minute for the repeat PA xray.

While waiting for the radiologist’s reading, I focused my attention to my son who was busy playing in the reception area. The last bad cold that I had was in January 2014 and a minor one just two weeks ago, a day before my executive check up. Tuberculosis was treatable but it nearly knocked me down emotionally. How much more for the cancer patients and those with life-threatening diseases?

It was a long 15 minute-wait for the result. It humbled me, actually. It made me realize that once and for all, God is my loving saviour and health is wealth. The technician gave me the result, still poker face.

It read, “No significant blah blah” and though I know that it was a false alarm, I needed assurance from the radiologist that I was TB-free. She asked me to ask the company physician. When my son asked for a dine in at a fastfood store, without hesitation, I said my yes.

Today, the company physician assured me that I am perfectly in the pink of health. It was just a false alarm, an erroneous reading. Again, I was humbled and I was very grateful for the good health. It takes a lot of courage to confront your fear. It is always best to have an annual check up especially if a person can afford it.

Amazing Tawas (Alum)

When it comes to proper hygiene, I follow the rules. I brush my teeth at least three times a day, I take a bath in the morning and before retiring at night. I use feminine wash to get rid of unwanted vaginal odour. I use deodorant to prevent body odor and so on. I knew that I follow the rules when it comes to being clean so it upset me when my husband told me that sometimes, he could smell bad odour from my armpit. That constructive criticism made me upset because that was true! I love to eat spicy foods and these foods tend to produce foul-smelling body odours. I notice that every time I eat spicy foods, my underarm smells bad even when I apply deodorant.

My husband suggested alum (tawas) and asked me to stop using deodorant. Being a submissive wife, I followed his advice and went to Mercury Drug to buy alum crystals. After taking a bath that night, I wet the alum crystal and rubbed it gently on my armpit. The next morning, I checked my armpit and it still smelled fresh. So then, I took a bath again and used alum crystal instead of my deodorant. To further check its powers, I ate spicy foods that day. When I went home that night, I inspected my armpit and it still smelled fresh!

I know that deodorants contain alum but I guess that with my active sweat glands on my underarm, the alum concentration is not good enough. Using alum as substitute to deodorant could sound primitive and even barriotic to some but it’s the best weapon that has worked for me to avoid that embarassing underarm odour whenever I eat spicy foods.

The Pains of A Diabetic’s Daughter

Last November, my mother complained of aching joints at her hip area. Unaware of the gravity of her pain, we just told her that it would just pass. She was able to attend a seminar in Baguio City but the cold weather made matters worse with her joint pains.

When she came back home, my father sent me a text message saying that in his opinion, my mother needed to see a doctor. I texted my mother and asked her to withdraw some money from my ATM account for her check up. My daughter accompanied her to the clinic. Since her phone is subscribed in a post paid account, I asked her to give me a call. She was crying on the other line because it was confirmed that she was diabetic.

I comforted her and told her that it’s gonna be alright. What triggered the increase in her blood sugar was probably the chocolates that my brother brought home from abroad. My mother has a sweet tooth and she loves salty foods, too. Bad combination, isn’t it? Her lifestyle is sedentary: work, home,work. She was overweight, too.

December 2008 and just a few days before Christmas, she was frequently dizzy and her weight dramatically went down. She was sleepy most of the time. It was at this time that her aching joints got worse. Osteo-arthritis, her rheumatologist said. Is there a link between diabetes and osteo-arthritis?

January 2009, her condition improved. Thanks to her medicine. But in February, her condition got even worse than what happened to her in December. Her blood sugar went up and there were bacteria found in her urine. She had no fever though. The pain, according to her, was much more sharper this time; she has been bedridden for five weeks now. We hired a professional Physical Therapist for her but her condition didn’t improve. She has been taking eight different kinds of medicine for her diabetes and osteo-arthritis but still, there is no improvement. As of this writing, she’s in the hospital for her blood transfusion since her hemoglobin dropped at 7.9. I think that the normal should be at 12.0.

I feel for her and I understand her emotional pain. She’s an independent lady, the type of Filipino mother who never demanded anything on her working children. I understand her worries that our youngest brother is still in college (my mother is the breadwinner)

My younger brother who also have his own family and I split the expenses for her medications and their family budget (my father, mother and youngest brother’s budget) I am getting married soon and I feel that the situation came at the very wrong time. My fiance’ is very understanding though; he doesn’t mind me helping my family. What triggers my worries is my current cash flow. “Cash out” is greater than “cash in.” What will happen to me and to us when my mother’s situation did not improve?

It’s one of the pains of a family member who supports a sick family member. We want the best medications but sometimes, we’re limited by the resources that we have.

Sometimes, at the back of my mind, I blame my mother for not taking care of herself when she was younger. I always remind her to watch her sugar intake, to get enough exercise and to slow down on foods that would cause harm on her. But maybe, eating was her pleasure and in eating, she found comfort.

I would still like to put my trust in the Lord that after this day, my mother would be on her road to recovery.