You bumped into this girl while you were walking along Buendia-Taft Avenue. You noticed that she looks different, her eyes are puffy, the shape of her face is somewhat not proportional. She has this thin, weirdly-cut hair, and her whole body is swollen. She has difficulty walking and maintaining her balance. She walks further and tries to ride a mini cab but it takes her time to go up because even her knees, feet, and legs are swollen.
You will see her almost every other week at the hospital, her blood and urine samples taken for some tests. Most of her Saturdays are spent talking to her doctor, asking over and over again how and when she will get better.
She is battling with a kidney disease and infidelity is killing her marriage.
Her kidney disease: FSGS or focal segmental glomerulosclerosis affects her blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and even bone density. The cause? Still unknown. She just noticed that even after giving birth, her swelling did not subside. For this disease, she takes 18 medicines daily including the steroids that make her body swell and bones brittle. From being less than a hundred pound, she gained to almost 160, making it hard for her to walk, carry her baby, or even dance as she used to. She also finds it hard to process and think as fast as she did before the condition.
She lives with her in-laws, who are taking care of her son while she and her husband work. She wakes up at around three in the morning to cook her food for the day because her diet is restricted. She must have the lowest amount of salt, protein, and fat in her food. After this, she travels to her office with her husband, who most of the time do not talk to her during the travel, and go home late at night, spends time with her son who sleeps beyond midnight. This is how she lived her days for more than a year. But with all these, all she thinks about is what more she could do to save her marriage or what she could not have done.
Life for her is hard, sad; it was a roller coaster ride. She prays hard every time for things to get better. Her diet, the medications, and laboratory tests- she did everything to get well. But instead of her health improving, at the sixth month of her kidney disease, while her medicines are being tapered off, the condition recurred and the dose of the steroids was put back to 60mg daily. Life got even harder.
I was this girl before my husband left a year now.
When he left, I was forced to move on. My son and I went back to the province to live with my parents and the office was kind enough to allow me to work from home for three months under an agreement. For some time, I begged for him to return. I really did. But he said he is happy and contented. How can I not want that for anyone?
So after the physical pain and hospitalization caused by the shingles and learning that the reactivation of that virus may be linked with emotional stress, I decided to try to brush off the negativity to avoid stress. Despite friends updating me on him, I tried to stay away from those things that will hurt me.
I cried less than I did, I worried less than I used to. I held more tightly to God’s promise that things will get better. And so they did get better. I finally realized that I held on to something that kept me from healing. I used to say I trust God and His will, without even knowing what this really meant- until now. For too long, I tried hard to put things in my control rather than really allowing God to work in my life. Consequently, I had more time for my son and my family. I had time to meet friends. I sang again. I learned to cook creatively with what I am allowed to eat. I regained my work productivity. Miraculously, my swelling subsided faster than expected. In a few weeks, I lost the weight that I gained in more than a year and now, I am off all the drugs.
Yes, kidneys cannot be repaired and I may have to live with this condition for the rest of my life, but I know I am healed. My heart and mind are healed. Our battle is not over yet, but I will continue to fight while I keep my feet grounded because I know we all are up for greater things because of how great God is. I am not saying that him leaving is the best thing that ever happened to me. But I just hope to offer myself as an evidence that God indeed has plans for us; that God has a perfect timing, every event serves its purpose, every person plays a role. What Elizabeth Elliot once said is true that God never withholds us from what we dearly wish for, except to give us something better, something we deserve. I will hold on to this.