Bittersweet Hospital Reunions

We took Mom for blood tests and a doctor’s consultation yesterday.  Her blood test results turned out so low her doctor didn’t allow her to go home, and sent her to the ER for a blood transfusion. Dad and I hurriedly cooked dinner, packed clothes, and rushed back to the hospital spend the night with her.

I pray for mom to get better quicker.  It’s so hard to see her cry and not know how to help her. It’s even harder to see her when her spirits are so low, it’s like she’s losing motivation to stay awake and keep fighting. Dad too is getting stressed and drained. I wish Mom gains all the strength, breath and spiritual power to keep on……and for all of us to keep on together.

The sweet surprise in all of this is that my brother, Jayson, surprised all of us by showing up at the hospital this morning. He booked and planned his whole trip from San Francisco as a surprise, and had his best friend pick him up and drive him from the airport in Manila. It was coincidental that mom was in hospital right before he arrived, and by golly, it was such a big happy tearful moment when mom woke up at the hospital to see him there. Such a sweet reunion for both of them.

2 days later, Cy came and all 5 of us were in Mom’s hospital room. It was crammed but a good feeling to have us together. Mom was also recharged by having both boys fan and keep her cool while resting.  Check out her big warm smile 🙂


We continue to take things day by day and hang on to the silver linings that give us hope.

I miss my American life

I miss the flexibility, variety and independence of my American life. I miss my diverse friends and broad minded conversations. I still feel unsure if or how to reintegrate in the Baguio scene. I’m getting turned off by the nonstop rain and lack of things to do here. Or maybe I just need more space to breathe.

I left Baguio at 15,  now back at 31. The city has changed so much, but people have mostly stayed the same. Sometimes I feel like I’m 15 again, coming to terms with life and who I am all over again. Other times, I feel like I’m too old to be here. Like I’ve grown out of whatever this city has to offer.

I guess this is all part of seeing life with new eyes and more colors but I really wish there was a way I could combine both lives, and wholeheartedly be in 2 places at once.



I finally got time to sort out some of the paperwork I brought over, and found this gem from one of Mom’s old letters to me

Rise above the emotionalism and use your innate common sense and faith to clarify your goal and path to go towards it. Discern the precious from the waste. Sharpen your inner strength and discipline. Accept your specialness amongst the ordinary with serenity. Share your blessings and experiences silently. And trust that when the path seems foggy and He doesn’t seem to be there, someone will be sent to guide you

Will definitely keep these words close to heart….


Cancer sure is tough

The past few days of have been really tough.

On Friday, Mom was short of breath and tired without even getting out of bed.  I guess the pain keeps her up at night.  Then she had lunch with some friends. She enjoyed their company, but later cried because she felt like felt like so many people were going out of their way to support her and she felt like she couldn’t return the favor.  Since she was short of breath and easily tired, it was hard her to keep up with conversation with her friends.  Her medicines have also been affecting her appetite which made the lunch gathering even more uncomfortable. Sigh….I hate witnessing stages of depression.  It was so hard to see her cry or even try to console her.

Dad and I are also at our wit’s end trying to cook something she would actually eat, keeping her spirits up and trying to help her with her pain. So today, we bought her an oxygen tank to help with her breathing.  It sure did, Mom tried it for 10 minutes and was energized the rest of the day. It was a little victory, but at this stage, we find that very encouraging.



I’ve been back in the Philippines for about 2 weeks, and still don’t think I’ve fully adjusted to life and things here.  Not only is this a lifestyle change, but I’m also re-adapting to 3rd world habits and coming to terms with Mom’s illness. I’m sure it will feel “normal” eventually, but so far it still feels like an awkward vacation.

Here are a few anecdotes of my experience thus far

  • It’s been funny retraining myself to constantly think and speak in Tagalog again. I’ve always been fluent, but this time it feels like I’m always stumbling  for words.
  • Getting used to taking a bath with a bucket of water and “tabo” (scoop) again. I got so used to instant hot showers, it was a little frustrating to wait for for water to be heated.  Some days I just gave in and took a minute bath by splashing cold water on myself.
  • Fruits galore! So happy to be around so many choices of tropical fruits again. We eat papaya and Guyabano for breakfast; then lansones and rambutan for snack; and mango for dinner.
  • Driving here is a guaranteed test of focus and patience.  There are no 4 way stops, no specified lanes, and worst of all, no yielding for pedestrians. It took me awhile to realize that I needed to be just as aggressive and less courteous on the road for a safe drive home.
  • Since the parents are retired, I sort of feel like I am too.  But don’t worry, I’m committed to taking on projects or classes to keep me busy.
  • It’s also pretty evident that Mom and Dad need help around the house.  With Mom resting most of the time, dad does everything from shopping for food, cooking, cleaning, running medical errands and caring for mom. I admire Dad for hanging on and never complaining through it all.
  • It’s been great reconnecting with my childhood best friends. I’m grateful that we can easily catch up and relate after 16 years of a disconnect in between.

Quite a mouthful, huh?  Will add more later.