Won’t regret, can’t forget
While recovering from my breast surgery, I recalled what I had been doing while in active service, the magnitude, the intensity of everything I did not just as an educator but as a passionate advocate of culture and history and supporting women’s issues and concerns.
There was also the balancing of teaching and administrative work.
Teaching was not just teaching but also a creative utilization of talents, potentials, very limited resources of coming up with activities giving no room to mediocrity.
Along the way health was never an issue.
When I was not feeling well I would slow down or take a one day rest usually on Sundays (I worked even on weekends).
I remember a co-teacher commenting that I seemed not to get sick.
I never filed for a sick leave during my more than four decades of teaching because I could not leave my work.
I never liked leaving a seatwork for students because it is unproductive.
I was into so many things.
But it kept me alive, connected me to diverse personalities and experiences.
Then the time came to signal the limits of our passions and energies, 2010 to the present which is less than a decade I had to face the realities of health as we enter the seniority of our lives.
In June 2010, I was diagnosed of chronic kidney disease level 4 or 5 where I started to have twice a week sessions of dialysis (still going on).
It was a revelation at the ER for aside from kidney failure, I also had a mass in my abdomen which they could not figure out what, I had arthritis, anemia, hypertension, a 5-in-1.
I remember being egged on by the doctors to check on the mass but I said let’s take this one by one.
One month after I started my dialysis sessions, I had a total abdominal hysterectomy because I had a multiple myoma which I never had any inkling before.
I had two cataract operations, the left cataract in 2011 and the right cataract in 2017.
This year, 2018 seems to be a banner year, a lumpectomy and a modified radical mastectomy with chemotherapy not far behind.
I have learned to accept the magnitude and intensity of my health issues, a tandem of kidney failure and breast cancer.
Thanks to the support, prayers, and love of friends, especially former students, colleagues and co-advocates, dealing with this tandem is made lighter, easier, and more optimistic.
Never have I prayed so hard and so frequent in my life.
I recall with delight and satisfaction of what I had done before health took centerstage in my life.
My students called me terror as I went along my teaching mission and I always add divine to their terror label.
Interesting that those who considered me terror are now my friends, companions and supporters and how they rallied their support and concern for me in my recent breast surgery.
The shower of love, concern and support made me realize that “I must have done something good” as the “Sound of Music” echoes it.
On August 2, 2006, at the silver jubilee reunion of UP Cebu High School Class ’91, a member of the class, Ouida Rivera, gifted me with a book, “Awaken the Healer in You” How to Heal Your Body — God’s Way! by Bo Sanchez.
I haven’t read the book since then until I had the surgery.
What I appreciated most was her dedication, “You were our greatest teacher in High School. You prepared us for life. You did not tolerate mediocrity.”
Thank you Ouida, The gesture makes me feel healed.
To all my former students at St. Catherine’s School especially Class 1972, at UP Cebu both High School and the Undergraduate, my colleagues, friends, allies and those who attended to me, I extend my eternal gratitude.
May you be rewarded a hundredfold!
For everything I have done, I won’t regret, can’t forget what I did for love!
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