Time flies by when you’re having fun – this is what I always say whenever I feel like I am running out of time to meet deadlines, or catch myself wondering where the days have gone. Another decade has come to an end, yet oddly, it feels like it was just yesterday when it began. I was going thru my drive the other day in an attempt to delete unnecessary files when I came across pictures that depicted how the past ten years unfolded. Some of them were blurry (phone cameras sucked 7-10 years ago) and most of them were raw and filter-free. Looking back, I felt nostalgia and longing – those were the good old days frozen in time where I can never go back to, yet I’m glad because they happened.
It’s my fourth year in the BPO, which meant I had been spending 3 Christmases and 3 New Years at work. It was around this time when I discovered eyeliners and the wonders they could do to my eyes. Hoop earrings were also my thing, along with mini-dresses, denim jeans, fitted shirts, hoodies, Converse sneakers, and sling bags. Life wasn’t that hard, and I’d been listening to Avril, Linkin’ Park and Backstreet Boys on my phone, thru the downloaded Youtube videos I converted to mp3s.
Nothing much has changed, except for the hair, which was longer and rebonded. I gave up the hoop earrings in favor of stud earrings because I thought they made me look more feminine. Though I was still a fan of Converse sneakers, denim jeans, and shirt, I grabbed my empire tops, denim skirts, and ballet flats more often. I could no longer remember what was my reference for this style, I only remember how I loved the way I looked in that ensemble. This was also the year when I got fond of red lipsticks and nail polish in bold colors.
My health was starting to deteriorate during this year. My eyelids began to droop and my vision sometimes doubled, which I thought was due to stress and the toxicity of my job. There were times when I couldn’t swallow my food and my speech were slurred. I had to be on medical leave for 6 weeks, and a doctor later told me that I have multiple sclerosis, a condition that was showcased in one of my favorite novels and deemed to be fatal. Another doctor said it was GBS. Later that year, I was rushed to the emergency and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, and was told that my final diagnosis was myasthenia gravis.
This was the darkest year of the past decade. I had to leave my job at the beginning of the year as my myasthenic symptoms worsened. I couldn’t get off the bed – it was too difficult to brush my teeth and comb my hair. Going to the bathroom was a struggle, and it’s a good day when I could eat a full meal. Decent meals meant porridge or bananas and milk. Mid-year I was rushed to the emergency and once again admitted to the ICU, and stayed in the hospital for a total of 6 weeks. It was due to a myasthenic crisis, and my respiratory muscles were already affected because of pneumonia (infections of any kind have become my mortal enemy). I could no longer breathe on my own and I had to be put on respirator. It was a kind of nightmare that I was too scared to wake up from, because I might fall asleep and dream of it again and I didn’t want that to happen. But I survived, thru the prayers of my family and friends, I lived to write this and share my story.
Things weren’t better, but certainly got more favorable than the previous year. I had to be on respirator once again, this time I stayed in the hospital for three weeks. September of that year, I went to a different hospital to seek better treatment and government-subsidized medicines. There I met the doctor who made the difference, and he later recommended me for thymectomy. Christmas eve of that year, I received the complimentary copies of Destiny Cheated Me from Lifebooks, the first book published under my name.
This is my moon-face year. I was on Prednisone after my last hospital confinement which was earlier in the year (this was just in the regular ward due to an infection, not ICU). Things are finally getting better. I started a new career path as an online freelancer. I read and reviewed books for a fee, wrote for online content, and edited manuscripts for publishing (I still do book reviews and editing manuscripts until now). I attended a writing workshop that allowed me to release an electronic copy of what would be my first self-published book. October of that year, Come and Rescue Me was published by Lifebooks.
After I launched three books, I finally underwent thymectomy in June. It’s a surgical procedure where thymoma is removed, the alleged cause of my excessive antibodies that results in MG symptoms (this is how I understood it, please ask a medical professional for verified information). October of this year, my second self-published book, If I Knew Then is released in the market.
I regarded this year as my Year of Great Photos. 2017 was basically a happy year – I was glowing, clad in skater dresses and pastel-colored accessories. Red lipsticks became my thing again, though I completely gave up on denim jeans and Converse sneakers as they proved to be an inconvenience and a lot of work to a myasthenia gravis patient. Lifebooks printed another book under my name, May Forever Nga Ba? I also wrote a short story which became part of an anthology launched on October that year.
This is the year when I got in to the corporate world. I was able to get a 9-5 job that’s too considerate of my condition. That same year I launched Right Where You Left Me, two days after my birthday. That was also the year when I started eating healthier food. By the last quarter, things got a little bitter, as I had to leave the organization I helped established.
Not much happened this year (but here’s the summary for you). I had no books to launch, or even a huge project to execute. Basically, I got sidetracked, my worries and useless anxieties took me over. To be very honest, I had no idea what happened to me. Maybe I was too stressed. Or disillusioned. Or I got demotivated. I even got to a point where I wondered if I was still surrounded by the right people.But on top of this all, I am grateful. I am grateful for the fact that I was obviously guided by God. It was so hard for me to understand what He was trying to tell me, and to know and accept the things I must let go so I could move forward. He was there all along, surrounding me with the right people in moments when I ran out of hope and didn’t know what to do. I was never alone.
Writing this entry has helped me come up with how I am going to approach the new year, since I want to spend it spontaneously. As I went back and reviewed the things I did, I am also reminded of where I got the strength to make those things happen (thank God for everything!). Maybe I should go back to where I started. What were my motivations to write the books I’ve written? What made me look forward to dress up and look put together? What was my ultimate reason for waking up in the morning (or at night, from 2010 to 2012 since I was on graveyard shift). Going back to basics must be the right thing to do, don’t you think?