WE CAN HEAL OURSELVES FROM ANY SICKNESS
My dear sister Doris,
I heard that you are not in your best element yet. That you are still in pain. You have never suffered any disorder before, especially in our youth, and I just could imagine how horrible for you to have been pinned and almost forced to be bedridden. I wish to see you but I do not want to see you as someone helpless. I know you can overcome everything and that is the time I wanted to see the victor in you. No, not that I try to evade visitation by being absent near you. It is just that I do not want you to see distortions on my face as if grimacing once I see you in such a difficult situation. Besides, I am not a physician and I am as helpless as anyone given the situation. I do not even know whether my prayers would be heard. Nanay tried that in the face of her assailants.
Nanay was very religious and I have never known anybody who had something against her. In other words, she is almost a saint. The gods must be with her always. She must be in communion or probably in communication with her angels. But during that fateful day, not even luck was beside her. She passed away, abandoned by her gods. And her assailants leaving her without breath, walking slowly onto freedom probably aided by the same luck that absconded her. She must have prayed knowing her. But her prayers went nowhere.
She taught me to fight early in my toddler years. When she saw me about to rumble with a playmate, she goaded me to fight. She never intervened and I learned a lesson there. Never depend on anyone except on oneself. Nanay taught me never to rely on anyone except on myself. She showed me that I can hold on all by myself. Of course, at that time, I needed help, any help will do, I was thinking that the bully might ruin my cute face. That the fellow could kick my bones into smithereens. I was watching whether my mother was beside me to lend a hand, ready to pounce on the big fellow also. No, she wasn’t. She even closed our gates; although I could still feel her peeping through a small gap. I was also trying to read the body language of my opponent at the same time. His face looked like a ripened tomato and my playmates that had encircled us were of no use either except to push the two of us in the center. I must confess that I do not know how to fight. I could not even bring my arms to a boxing pose because I have never fought nor boxed anyone in the first place. I looked awkward in my mind if I will try to look like a martial artist. I merely stared at my opponent hoping that he would melt. No I never showed cowardice, neither expressed fear. I probably looked lost at that time but I was composed. Should he lung at me, I would merely dance around. Should he try to kick me, I will just move on the other side. I must be quick and agile. I know how to avoid and evade a blow but my problem that instant was to go for the jugular. I cannot hit and I do not intend to hit the guy. Not that I might get hurt in the process, but I was thinking what if I hurt the guy and kill him. I was afraid of doing harm against anyone, even against an opponent. I was 9 years old then. To cut the story short, our fight was postponed. My playmates could have faded in the scene. They probably could not stand a fight where one of the protagonists was never in his element to fight. My opponent also lost his steam. I just could not remember vividly how it ended. All I knew then was the realization never to join my playmates in the street anymore.
My point here my dear sister is this. The fight is yours alone. You must depend solely on yourself. Not that we will never help you but the better part of fighting is your capacity to win. It is useless for us to pray and ask that your sickness be distributed among all of us to relieve you of discomfort. It just won’t stick. We can only offer some solace, a tap on the shoulder, a little coaching but the fight is yours alone. You must win according to your style. Believe that you can win against all odds. I know for a fact that you loved your health very much. That you are conscious of everything you eat. You loved good and nutritious food. Sickness is farthest from your memory. Hygiene is foremost in your list. A healthy lifestyle is always a principal consideration. You have never even tried extreme sports that invite accident. You were designed to appreciate the world through your well developed intellect. The academe and not anywhere else is your world. It is a place where peace and stability reside. Nowhere in that world will threats disturb you.
You were given a chance to see the world. And you travelled almost twice or thrice a month for a number of years at that, circumnavigating Southeast Asia and even the western world. Travelling makes a person whole. It could also be tiring and medically troublesome. It is tiring because the stress of flying is there. It is medically unfortunate because you must force yourself to hold on your bladder for hours before you relieve yourself. That is what makes a traveler an heir to internal ailments. And distant traveling has a toll on our internal organs. You must have to sustain and hold on for hours before you can be back to comfort. Our body is not designed to sacrifice. Only our mind is.
But let us not despair in the belief that once our body gives in there is no recompense already. No. The mind can heal the body. The mind can convince the body to heal itself. It can even dictate on how it should heal the body. That explains why some physicians would try to becloud a patient’s mind so that it would follow what the doctors impose rather than on what the mind should offer. I know how it works. I have been a medical representative once before I became a prison officer. I know how the medics perform their jobs. There is commerce once in a while. But all of the medics would profess that healing is a major role to be performed not by medicine or skill but on the will of the patient alone. There is no argument there. Except that no one will volunteer such kind of prescription. It takes the profit out of the profession.
So my dear sister, don’t be sad. You must already have acquainted yourself with pain. You must probably felt terrible every time your body is invaded by steel and chemicals. That is how medicine works. Now, let your mind work for you naman. If you think that you are about to be swallowed by difficulties, shout in your mind “NO, NO, NO! (or, to be effective since our body and mind understands vernacular more than any language “HINDI, HINDI, HINDI!)” Let your mind takes over your body. Dictate on your internal organs; tell you kidneys to work properly. Tell your stomach to work regularly. Tell your pancreas to work hard to maintain your body chemistry. Tell everything there inside you to restore itself back to normalcy. It is not the doctor, neither the medicine that could do it, but your mind.
I have had a series of ailments before. I had some bad accidents. I was also at times messy with my meals. I have a tendency to abuse my health. I smoke horrendously like the smokestack factory in 19th century England. I have never been kind to my body for quite some time. I thought that I might end up where my peers would find themselves in—at the emergency hospital. I never had a date in a hospital and was never confined at all. I had that much exposure before when father and mother almost simultaneously would be admitted. But I never had an occasion to be seen up-close by a doctor, not in my imagination, well, except when I went through circumcision. But I would have given in, almost. I had palpitation occasionally, that is, if my coffee would reach the consumption tipping point. I had vertigo, enough force that could send me flying while driving my big bike or careening carelessly in my sports utility vehicle. Well, I had one horrifying vehicular mishap before, when the vehicle I was riding flipped out and turned turtle five times, landing on my side where sparks of metal sheered my shirt. All my companions at that time were sent to the emergency room for broken bones and torn skin. Luckily, I never suffered any bruise at all. When one sees the vehicle we used, one would conclude that not even a fly inside could have survived the impact. Well, I was luckier than a pesky fly at that time. Probably my time has not been defined yet.
Our physical being has an uncanny way of communicating with us. It makes us feel what should be done. And we must always be attentive to its language. It never repeats what it intends to say. If it does, it has cost you something already. But you should be a little bit discerning. Not everything that we feel is something your body tries to telegraph. Feelings can also be generated by the mind. To differentiate feelings one must know your biological make up. Adults know this very much. They know when they have reached the limits of their energy. They have already set the so called biological clock. Hunger, thirst, bladder comfort, metabolism are but settings from whence the body speaks through. It runs not within the avenues of the mind but immediately through the senses. So when you feel like peeing or defecating, lose no time. Don’t procrastinate. Never mind decency or tact. It has no place in the emergency room. Act immediately with dispatch that is the only way to stay healthy. So take note.
I am no guru when it comes to health or in anything emergency. I am just a keen observer of nature and environment. I follow closely how things are and what makes things work. I try to incorporate it in my system, always aware that at my age, anything can happen. Awareness is the only weapon we could handle to defeat any untoward incident. It’s a component of consciousness. It is the vanguard of the body against the unseen forces of nature. Nature wants to lord it over where man has already through knowledge conquered its power. Through consciousness, nature abides by its rule. The mind can bend nature accordingly. Mind over matter says an old adage and it is true. What the mind can conceive, the body can achieve says a vitamin commercial. And it is the truth. Be careful of what you wish for it might come true says another wag.
How I wish to bring this forth for your awareness as if pontificating but you won’t take it effectively yet while undergoing hospital routine. You must be very busy planning to recuperate and leave the hospital amidst the bulk of receipts and payables the family must have to hurdle. I could only send so much. I could just heave a sigh of relief having noted that the kids have travelled and seen countries abroad that foretells likewise a capability of dealing with such expensive exigencies as hospital procedure and confinement. I wish that your travail would soon pass through so that you will be back in harness to where you left off, this time wiser and more aware of your natural strength.
I am monitoring your every phase and every development from here. Remember that I am always beside you. Take good care of yourself.
Your loving brother,
(Note: Kuya Ven is Venancio J. Tesoro, a prison superintendent at the Philippine Bureau of Corrections, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. His sister, Doris Tesoro-Gayundato has just been treated with cervical cancer, when the radiation procedure exacted a toll on her kidneys. She has been back to hospital confinement for kidney treatment.)