I have not been able to update this blog for five days already (seems like eternity, the cliché goes), and believe me, that is against my will. I may not know all of you personally, but I feel comfortable sharing tidbits of my life to you. Call me corny, but I feel that we’ve been friends through my several months of blogging here. I’d like to share something personal again (and this is not what I originally planned to write).

Last Friday afternoon, I experienced sudden stomach pains, particularly on the left side. It happened shortly I had lunch with three officemates at a famous chicken restaurant.  I stayed for an hour in our clinic. I felt better after taking antacids, but was advised by the company nurse to have an ultrasound soon. Having sudden stomach pains is not new to me. It happened in 2007, 2010, and just three months ago.

Since I am already feeling better, I decided to push through with a scheduled meet-up with a former officemate in UP Ayala Technohub. While waiting for her, the stomach pains returned. Suddenly, the phrase “agony of waiting” became literal for me. I had two options:  I will go home and ask my mother to take me to a hospital, or I’ll go straight to the hospital and let them straight there. I chose the latter. When my ex-officemate arrived, I asked her to accompany me to a Quezon City hospital where I was admitted early this year. Good thing she happens to live near that hospital in Cubao.

The usual urine and blood exams were administered to me shortly after I arrived. Since the pain disappeared, I was allowed to go home, but this time, I was told to have an ultrasound the following morning – which I did. In fact, I saw actress Susan Roces waiting for her turn in the elevator (too bad I didn’t have my camera with me!). This morning, the ultrasound results revealed that I have gallstones and this is the root cause of the repeated stomach pains I have experienced the past four years. The doctor recommended me to undergo an operation to have my gallbladder removed.

Though the operation isn’t a matter of life-and-death for now, the doctor stressed that it is the surest way for me to avoid the recurring stomach pains (and to avoid it from worsening). Much of the operation fees would be shouldered by my two health plans, and that isn’t really my concern for now.

When you get an extremely bad news, you need to stop for a while to think of its repercussions. On my way home, I thought of what might happen to me at least in the near term. First, when should I have an operation? The operation will require me to rest for at least a week. In that case, necessary arrangements will have to be made for me within the company. Will it affect my graduate studies? Will I be able to enroll on November 4 as planned? What about the things I plan to do, like interviews and write-ups?  It’s as if everything are suddenly in jeopardy.

Last week, I read that the late Steve Jobs refused pancreatic surgery for nine months. By the time he said yes, his cancer had worsened. Now, I am faced with the same dilemma. I want to take one step at a time.  I want to explore my options. For now, this quote from Mr. Jobs: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life…Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”



5 thoughts on “Facing the toughest challenge of my life

  1. hi mark, sad to hear about you having gallstones. pero alam mo i once have this officemate na nadiagnosed din ng ganyan at kailangan daw magpaopera. pero hindi siya nagpaopera pero gumaling siya. subukan mo magnatural remedy. there’s this concoction slash regimen of apples and olive oil in the morning. i’ll send you the link, hanapin ko muna. it really worked. besides, healthy ang apples and olive oil. maybe it can spare you from surgery. 🙂

    1. Hi there, “S.” Sayang you didn’t write your real name here. Ready ako magpasurgery, pero I treat it as my last option. That’s why I’m exploring my other options. Pero nagtataka rin ako na I suddenly had it kasi I’m only 21. I couldn’t have had taken that much fatty foods in my lifetime. Ang sabi, baka daw genetically predisposed talaga ako to have gallstones. 🙁

  2. My elder sister once had gallstones in her twenties because napakasipag in a very stressful and very busy job in Makati while working as a secretary to a vice president to a Swiss company. She tried to go to the toilet to avoid wasting time and to do that she tried to consume any drink like tea or fruit juices.

    When she started feeling the pains and the doctor diagnosed gallstones, my mother boiled banaba leaves for her and she avoided having an operation.

    Nowadays, I heard of a modern operation for it:


    I think it is really true that we should listen to the signals our body are giving us.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: