My wish for 2020
Happy New Year, but before I tell you my wish for the New Year, let me narrate first what
happened to me in the last five years.
I lost my spouse, Ale, in October 2014 to cancer. She was only 61. Earlier in 2007, she
coughed continuously for weeks. Her doctor said the cause was tumor in her left lung, but it was
benign as confirmed after examination. The medicine she took for months caused the coughing to
disappear. In early 2012, Ale felt losing her breath easily when walking uphill or climbing up the
One morning while we were attending a conference, Ale asked me if she could go to a doctor
to check on her breathing. She promised to return before the end of the conference in the afternoon.
She did not return. Her doctor found out that her lungs were full of fluid and she was advised to be admitted to the hospital immediately. The fluid extracted turned out to be bloody already. After some tests, the doctor told me that Ale’s tumor was already in fourth stage cancer.
That was devastating. Ale and I conferred on what to do next. She said she accepted her
fate. She wished not to undergo chemo or radiation anymore. She said she knew some people,
including a close relative, with stage four cancer who had chemo and radiation but still died after a few weeks or months. We prayed and then I went into a research in the internet to find the latest
development on lung cancer treatment.
I found one in targeted cancer therapy that required only the patient to take a prescribed
tablet daily to prevent the deadly cancerous cells from going out of control. Though very expensive, we opted for it. Senator Miriam Defensor did the same when she was diagnosed with fourth stage lung cancer a year later after Ale.
I knew from my research, of course, that while it helped, the therapy could not prevent the cancerous cells from eventually going out of control after a few months or years. With the therapy, Ale’s life was prolonged for almost three years. The senator survived only for less than two years. Ale was luckier.
One year after losing Ale, I also lost my eldest daughter, Leilani, to lupus in September 2015.
Lanie left me with three wonderful grandchildren, Julia, Jessica, and Joshua. Then in 2016, I lost my eldest sister, too. She was about 80 years old. As if these three successive losses were not enough, I also lost Jessica in December 2017. She was in her last year in college.
In those years, I almost lost my sanity. I lost my appetite for work. There were months when I
could barely write my piece here. I neglected my job at Cebu Business Club. I also cut or missed
some good consulting assignments. I continued to teach part time though because teaching made
me feel alive again in the class with my students.
In 2018, I lost no one that I love but I met an accident. While walking fast one day, I fell flat
on my face when my toes hit a half-buried stone. The fall caused a cut in my left eyebrow. It needed six stitches and more than a couple of weeks to heal completely. The cut in my eyebrow forced me to wear hat. It was then that I learned that wearing hat is very useful to protect me from the heat of the sun or falling rain. Now I never go out without a hat.
Last year, I again had another accident. It was dark in my room in the middle of the night
when I suddenly felt a stomach pain and the urge to relieve. I stood up quickly to rush to the toilet,
only to fall and banged my head on one of the steel posts of my bed. I found it true then that for one at my age it is not right to stand up immediately from a lying down position or you get dizzy and suffer a fall. One is advised to sit down first on one side of the bed in order to give time for the blood to circulate in all parts of the body in a balance way.
That fall caused a cut in the centermost part of my head that again required eight stitches
and more than a couple of weeks to heal completely. The fall could have been fatal had it been my
forehead that hit one of the steel posts of my bed.
This year, I do not know what is to come next. All I know is that at my age I now have to be
very careful with my moves, including what I have to eat. I have a high blood pressure since early
2000, which caused me to be hospitalized for three times in a span of two months when it started.
Three months ago, I had my annual executive check-up where I requested all the possible
lab tests, including ultrasound scan of my abdomen. The result was not very good. My cholesterol
was elevated, my sugar count already reached pre-diabetic stage, and my prostate was enlarged.
The last caused me to urinate often, especially at night. However, my doctor assured me that an
enlarged prostrate is normal for men of my age. When I asked if it was cancerous, my doctor said
“not necessarily,” otherwise, I would have other symptoms. She prescribed me some medicines to
take and told me to be careful with my diet (less meat, less carbo, less sugar, and so on) and to do
regular exercise. Those things I do now religiously as told.
Now my wish for the year is for the Lord to give me more time in life so I could continue my
mission of helping our people and country in whatever way I could through my teaching, consulting, and writing this column.
I do not engage in politics. Besides continuing with teaching economics and public management and development courses part time at USC, I resumed last year my consulting work in local development planning and project development. Since last year until now, I rarely missed my weekly column here, which I am using to explain the development issues that we face in the country.
That is my wish for the year. Again, let me greet you Happy New Year!
May year 2020 be peaceful and productive for all of us here in Cebu and the whole nation.
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