Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Things Are Looking Up

In the summer of 2000, I had my first cardiac catheterization done in PGH. We were hoping to get my heart fixed. It was supposed to be so easy. They insert the catheter in through an artery in my groin, and they can already close the hole (I believe it's called coiling). No cuts, no scars, just two vampire-like bites. I was very hopeful. But they weren't able to close it then. We found out that it was already inoperable because the pressure in my lungs was already high. I need to have a lung transplant first, and then they can close the hole in my heart after. The first problem was lung transplant is not available in the country, and I was still so young to have it. All I know then is that I can go on living until I am 30 without the operation. That was it. I have been dreading this age since I was 13. It always felt like I was counting down the years. I was terrified of how the future would be like. What would my 20s be like? Will I still be able to walk? Will I have to be in a wheelchair already? Will my fingers look like my toes? Will my legs be swollen? Will I even outlive my parents? But the years passed. While I still can't take a long walk without losing my breath, I was feeling a lot better. I went back to regular school, went to prom, finished college with flying colors, rode the Anchor's Away in EK (which I don't plan to do again! I seriously thought it was no biggie, but I swear, one more drop and I would have had a heart attack!), moved out of my parents' house at 21, went places, rode an airplane (which they said I couldn't do), fell in love a number of times, got married. The list goes on. I would like to say I lived my life the best I could. The years came with challenges, but health-wise, the most noteworthy change was that I coughed up blood in 2009 and needed to have oxygen an hour every night. But that was it.

In 2009, when I coughed up blood for the first time, they suggested having a cardiac catheterization done again, but I resisted it. All I know then was that it was just to check on my heart, and I was thinking if it's not going to repair the hole, then why do I need to undergo it again? In April 2015, I coughed up blood again, which had me hospitalized for a few days. My cardiologist then told me to have another cardiac catheterization done, so they can check on my heart's condition. The last one has been so long ago already (15 years ago then), and I was scared to have it done again. It took me a long while to recover from the last one (so long that I had to be homeschooled for two years), so I've been avoiding it ever since.

But my doctors convinced me that technology already changed. A lot of things already changed since 2000. Even my body's condition may have changed already, so we need to check because there is a possibility that my heart can still be fixed. I said ok, I'll do it, but only after we've gone to Batanes, a trip we planned for June of 2015. I didn't know if I will recover in time, and I wanted to go to Batanes. So we waited. But Yayay proposed in Batanes, and so I said, let's wait until after the wedding. I wanted to get married in Caleruega, and I am not even sure if I'll make it to Caleruega if I have the cardiac catheterization done. Also, I would rather put all the money into the wedding. And so, I got married in December 2016 and promised to have the procedure after our honeymoon. It was finally scheduled on April 21. In the summertime again. Seventeen years after the first one.

To be honest, I didn't know what results I would like to get. I am afraid to have an operation. Just the mere thought that I will be cut up terrifies me. Plus, the money that is needed for the operation is big. But I don't want to be sick forever either. The future is dim if we will not have my heart fixed. Congestive heart failure - that is what we are waiting for. Basically, we just wait for my heart to give up. Plus, I can't have kids. While Yayay and I are ok with the idea of adopting, having our own child is still different. I was so confused; I don't even know what to pray for. So when I chanced upon St. Expeditus' novena in Newlyweds@Work, I didn't ask for either of my options. All I prayed for was that I be able to spend so many years with my husband. That I be allowed to grow old with him. I prayed that everything is up to Him. I was pretty peaceful after that. I was nervous about the cardiac catheterization, but I am at peace with whatever result we're going to get.

The night I was admitted in the hospital.

 And so April 21 came. They took me out of my room a little before 8 am. I know that I was sedated, but I was wide awake while they were prepping me. It was the most uncomfortable situation I've been in since I can't even remember! They strapped me on the table in the cath lab, so I couldn't move. Suddenly, different parts of my body started to itch, and I wanted to go scratch them, but I was strapped; my wrists were strapped to the table. It was so irritating that I started to cry. I prayed and asked God to please just let me sleep. I think I slept for a bit while we waited for my doctor, but I woke up right after he arrived, so I was again awake as he injected anesthesia in my groin. It was painful, and I cried again. You know, when you're sick, there are some things you'll have to go through on your own. I am pretty sure my mother will take that shot for me if she could, but she couldn't. I passed out right after, so I was asleep for the most part of the procedure as they inserted catheters in my groin into my heart. Unfortunately for me, I woke up right before they were finished, and I felt the catheter in my heart. It wasn't painful, but my heart felt heavy. Like it was being squeezed. I wasn't able to sleep again after, so I was awake while they pressed on the insertion site (painful again) to stop the bleeding. And while they were cleaning me up, my doctor walked over to me, and said:

"Kamusta ka, Bianca? Ok pa, pwede pang operahan. Pero we can't wait for 2 years kasi baka magbago ang pressure ulit. I will do calculations over the weekend."

It was like I walked out of a room after being locked in for so long. The future is here. Suddenly, the possibilities are endless. I am still operable. The past 17 years as I have known are over and the future is suddenly looking up. I will take long walks again, join my husband as he climbs mountains, jump off cliffs, ride a rollercoaster, become a mother (for real)! Be normal again! Be around for a very long time.

When we got married, I wrote my husband a letter. He read parts of it in our wedding video, but this moved him to tears:

"Ang tagal mo nang mag-isa bago ako dumating. I promise you that you will never be alone again. I am sure that there are certain adventures that you will have to make on your own, but I promise that I will always be waiting for you to get home - excited to hear all of your stories."

With the future looking bright, I can go on any adventure my husband will make. And nothing is making me as happy as that thought right now.

Friday, September 30, 2016

#Biyayaforevs: Countdown to 100

I can't believe we're now just down to 100 days (technically, 102 as I write this) before we get married. It wasn't long ago when I counted down to 200 days. We've had a number of wins or ticked to-dos from our list from the past 100 days. So far, this girl's still a bridechilla. So what happened in the last 100 days?

We finished all the artwork for the invitation.
Our invitation is probably the most painful part of wedding planning for us. My brother started the paintings sometime in April if I remember it right. There were a lot of details we wanted to put in that it took him a while to finish and then my cousin digitized these drawings. I loooove all the artwork my brother and cousin created. A couple of weeks ago, we already sat down with our invitation designer (my good friend/bridesman, Ricky), and he told me we can have it printed by the 28th. Hopefully, that happens because I already want my lola to bring the invites for Tita Mia and Tita Cielo when she flies to the US on the 30th.

I had my first fitting.
I met with my wedding gown designer early July and had my first fitting. My gown turned out a bit different from what we initially discussed (for example, there will be no tulle overlay for my reception gown anymore) and the color was different from what I imagined. From our last discussion, it seemed like the appliques will be a bit different from the pegs I sent. I voiced out my concern over this because I couldn't visualize what my designer intends to do, but he agreed to show me the appliques before he stitches them on in case I didn't like them and need to have them changed. There needs to be some adjustments on the bodice, but so far, so good. I'll be fitting again this September. I can't wait!

We had our food tasting.
We booked our caterer before we even tasted any of their dishes, which wasn't so weird to me at first until my friends from a wedding support group told me that they all had their food tasting first before they booked their caterers. We finally had our food tasting last August 14. We dragged our parents with us, so they can chat a bit and get to know each other a bit more. I think that it went well, and we liked the dishes we tasted although they didn't serve everything on the menu, so we ended up with dishes that we really didn't get to taste. Lol. I am just really banking on Balay Indang's reputation at this point. We also grabbed the chance to show Yayay's parents what the venue looked like, and like everyone else we brought there before, we were met with "Ito na yon?" when they saw the entrance and a "Ah maganda pala at malaki" when they finally went inside. Haha. I really feel that we need to do something about that entrance. I will brainstorm with my entourage soon.

The parentals and the fiance's parentals.

Shelah and I went to Divi and finally bought the fabric for their gowns.
Let me be honest: I am not that excited about the fabric we bought. We couldn't find the right shade of red I want them to wear, so we settled on the darkest one we saw, which it turned out, isn't as dark as I thought. :( We bought some fabric last February, and it turned out darker than the one we bought last July. I am just hoping that this fabric will not turn orange in the photos. My photographer's shots tend to be lighter than actual colors. However, I refuse to let 20 yards of fabric go to waste even if Yayay said I should just buy again if I am not happy with the one I purchased.

We were able to get our wedding rings.
We had our wedding rings made in Mayfair at Binondo. We went there in June just to look around, but we placed our order in the same day. The wedding ring I ended up with was entirely different from the peg I saw online. I really like one with uneven edges in rosegold, which I saw from one of the jewelry makers I am following on IG. However, the woman at Mayfair said they can try to make it but it may not look exactly like the photo I have with me. They can fix it until I am satisfied, though, but I need to pay every time they'll do additional work on it. I didn't want all the uncertainties (and definitely not the additional payments), so I decided to just pick a design from what they currently have and place an order in my size. But because I can't seem to make up my mind, Yayay picked out my ring for me. It is beautiful and looks good with my engagement ring. Then after a month, we went back for it. I still can't stop myself from wearing it every now and then.

The BAWIES had a bachelorette party!
The BAWIES is made up of girls from the wedding support group that we're all a part of. Member of Weddings@Work are called Wawies, but the girls in our group turned out to be workaholics (most them are at work when we have our chat sessions) so we nicknamed ourselves Bawies, which means "Brides-at-work". So anyway, we had our bachelorette party at Victoria Court in Pasig last July. I am usually not down with spending time with people I haven't actually met, but these girls are pretty close to my heart and we've shared some really crazy things over the past few months, they aren't strangers anymore. The party turned out to be really fun (but, you know, what happens in Victoria Court stays in Victoria Court), so let's just leave that at "fun." ;)

The B@WIES - Aki!

The B@WIES + Aki!

I am continuing this post a month after and so far, we don't have the invitations yet (hopefully, this week), and my fitting was moved to October. Yayay and I also had the most exhausting 3 days last week, but we were able to file for our marriage license, go to Marikina to order Yayay's custom shoes, and have Yayay confirmed (finally!! We went through so much headache to have the details in his baptismal certificate corrected).

It's just 67 days til we say our I dos. I can't wait for the craziness to end, and to be able to see Yayay's face every single day. :)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Coming full circle

It was the year 2010 when I got my heart broken. I remember it was May 25, so around this time six years ago, I wrote a great deal about it in this blog and wrote even more emo, kadiri, heartbreak statuses in Facebook. My favorite social media site has evolved so much that it kept on reminding me about these posts every year. I didn't go around making a deal of deleting them. These weren't good memories, but these remind me that things will work out in the end. I like being reminded of that.

The past five years were ok. After all, it didn't take me a year to find someone who will make my heart go a-flutter again. I have lived my life as happily as I can. I am more in love now than I had ever been in my entire life. But you never really fully recover from heartbreak and the trauma it brought you. There are a lot of things in this world that brings back the pain. Not the intense pain I felt in 2010, but a tiny tug in my being reminding me that something awful happened a long time ago. To be honest, I don't even remember what it was like being with my ex. Sometimes, I'd stumble on his name in mutual friends' pages, and I feel like I don't know the guy anymore. That is weird because I have never forgotten the pain he's brought into my life.

Yes, the past five years were ok. Until June 20 this year rolled around. It was time once again for Facebook to remind me of my emo statuses from the past, but this year, sitting on top of the On This Day reminders, on top of all my shitty heartbreak posts, is this one:

And it felt like I have finally come full circle. It was a complete reversal of where I was six years ago. I felt like God told me, "Diba sabi ko Ako ang bahala sa'yo?" And, indeed, God has been so faithful to me.

He made sure that I never lost faith in my happy ending even when I was reeling in pain. Somehow, I knew that eventually it will work out. It didn't make the pain any less painful, but it helped me look forward. 2010 feels like a lifetime ago already. 

And now, here I am, a few months away from our forever. Sometimes, I look at Gerald as he sleeps, and my heart can't stop doing silly little dances. I am so lucky; I really am. God really made it up to me. Siguro sinasabi Niya, "Ayan ha. Bayad na Ako sa utang Ko sa'yo. With interest pa."