Friday, January 4, 2019

2018: A Year of Challenges

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Dear 2018 Self,

It is the first day of 2019. What are your expectations for this year? I know you have a lot on your mind, but it would be best to reflect on the year that passed. 

It seemed like there were more trials than glories last year. Experience is always the best teacher. To recap your 2018, here are some of those events that made up your year. Hopefully, you take these things to heart to make you wiser and stronger in facing life this 2019.

During the first 11 weeks of 2018, four of your family members were hospitalized.
  • Mama: University of Santo Tomas Hospital for Modified Radical Mastectomy of the Left Breast. (Breast CA, Stage 3B)
  • Douglas: The Medical City Hospital, for severe pain in lower back
  • Bianca: National Kidney Institute for Acute Gastroenteritis
  • Heidee: World Citi Medical Center for Hypocalcemia and Hypokalemia
You received fewer offers for writing jobs and paid guest posts. Earning money was a a major concern and opportunities were few. You even seriously considered going back to a regular 9-5 job.

In April, Mama underwent a bone scan. Sadly, there was a metastatic lesion found in her hip bone. 

It was mid-May when your empathy and parenting skills were put to the test. Aton and his girlfriend of 6 years split up. Reason? The girl moved to Australia to study and found herself another man there. It broke your heart to see your grown up son crying. 

In July, your one and only grandson Amo was admitted to the hospital for high fever, diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. Dengue was ruled out. The pediatrician found out he had a bad throat infection and antibiotics were started.

Enter September. You woke up to the dog barking hysterically and you find your husband on the floor convulsing. For two hours, the seizures went on and on and you did know what to do. You took him to the emergency room of The Medical City Hospital and he was immediately whisked into the Neuro ICU for left sided weakness and decreased sensorium. As if that was not stressful enough, you found so much difficulty asking his health insurance provider to cover for the hospitalization costs. Those 36 days in the hospital were to the most stressful 5 weeks you ever experienced. It was at this time that you learned to pray really hard for a miracle. And you were granted the blessings you fervently asked from God. Thank you, my Lord.

In this same month, Mama had to undergo a second bone scan to check her responsiveness to the treatment plan by her oncologist. Another major setback - the lesion grew in size. Your mother had to do another 6 months of Osteomet.

September brought good things as well. Mickey started training for Hotel Housekeeping. He is hoping that this will be his ticket to land a job on board a cruise liner. Aton seems to have recovered from his failed relationship and has finished the required number of hours for his on-the-job training. He is done with college now. Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. Yay!

October was smooth sailing too. Aton got an offer to work in one of the country's best tech companies. Of course he accepted and his first day will be on December 3rd. Two children now officially a part of the workforce. Yay! Thank you God.

November. Your birthday month and Mother's as well. Despite the pain she is feeling in her hip, your mother still wanted to cook a special dinner for the family. You went over to her house to volunteer with the cooking. A simple, home cooked meal for everyone. Your mother is now 80 years old and it breaks your heart to see her getting weaker day by day.

December. Whew. Finally, we are at the last month of the year. Heidee planned a trip to Mama's hometown in Lipa, Batangas. She wanted Mama to meet up with her cousins and relatives whom she has not seen in many years. It was only a two hour drive from home but that was very exhausting for Mama. It made you happy that Mama enjoyed being in the company of her sisters and cousins again.

Amo celebrated his 3rd birthday on December 6th.  You daughter and son in law decided to take him to Manila Ocean Park. Amo was over the moon happy. He loves fishes and to be that close to them, watching them swim around was an awesome birthday celebration for him. However, on the second week of December, Amo got sick once again. He had a cold and was running a fever. A viral infection, the pediatrician said. He did not feel well until after Christmas.

Your laptop of 5 years "resigned" on the 17th of December. You hoped it was something that could still be repaired, but it was way worse that you expected. Thankfully, your daughter offered her credit card so you could buy a new one. Whew. Relief. Even if the monthly payments are a little pricey, it is still a big relief that you can continue working.

New Year's Eve was not like the years that passed. Mama was not able to prepare a feast for the family to enjoy. She was too weak to do anything, even walking from her bedroom to the living room was a task in itself. My sister and I made sure there was food on the table. A simple meal to mark the occasion of welcoming the New Year.

2018 was a challenging year. With God's Grace, I claim that 2019 will bring better days.

I will be hoping, praying and keeping the faith.

With much love,

Your 2019 Self

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