A Letter To All Young Girls, Wild and Free

And since it is Monday, I would like to reminisce what my Mondays were like, some years back. I always considered Mondays toxic. A majority of us would. So I applied this saying together with my other friends:  work hard, party harder. So we had wine or alcohol nights every Monday. Never mind that we have to report to the office the next day. It didn’t matter. Mondays were stressful. We have worked hard. We have earned the badge to party.

Photo from www.colorfully.eu.

Work hard, party harder, they said. It would be fun, they said.

That motto did not apply only on Mondays. I lived it by heart. Every single day. Yes, that is exactly what I did.

I worked hard.

Earlier in my professional life, I worked around twelve hours a day at the minimum and go to the office even on weekends. That was voluntarily — that was how much I loved my job. Sometimes, I skipped lunch. Then I go home tired and what I thought was the beauty of living on my own is now backfiring.

Living on your own without your parents spelled awesome (in hindsight, not that much fun anymore). You can sleep whenever you want to. Go home anytime you want to. You can eat whatever you want and in my case, since I was too tired to even move a muscle, my dinner would consist of fast food takeouts, pancit canton, inasal or whatever express food that was convenient to prepare. On weekends that I was free, I slept the whole day. That was my body conking out and me giving in to it.

It was only imperative to give myself a pat on the back — to reward myself for all my hard work.

So, I partied even harder. I was proud that I can handle my alcohol. I know for a fact that my ex-boyfriend (now husband) was also proud of that, too. Vices are sooo fun when you are young.

It never dawned on me that it would jeopardize anything.

I was young. Besides, during that time, no one really told me that this could happen. I only knew about these crazy immune disorders now. And to add to that, I had friends who smoked all their life, quit when they were pregnant and went back to smoking immediately after birth. No complications. I have friends who drove their car amidst this crazy Manila traffic up to their ninth month. I had friends who worked until their water broke. I had friends who were allowed a cup of coffee a day throughout their whole pregnancy. So this really, was never a concern. Everybody seems to get pregnant easy. You just have to want it, and when you are ready, boom! – you will just bloat like a balloon.

And then, I got smacked into this whole thing.

Yeah, it is true. Regrets really come last.

I took care of my career, somehow assisted my family. Took care of everything except my body. When I hear about healthy lifestyle before, I scoffed. I am not unhealthy!!! There are people worse than me – people who do drugs or what-not. Hell, I don’t even get sick!

So, in retrospect, how was I extremely unhealthy?

  • Vices
  • Not enough sleep because I claimed that I was insomniac
  • Coffee
  • Fried food
  • Very little veggies and fruits
  • Very little water
  • A red carnivore (I love lamb, steaks, everything red meat)
  • Coke everyday (the softdrink!)

Yeah, I may not have consumed alcohol every day but my eating habit was really bad. My husband always told me that this will be the source of my sickness. But I always thought that if I would die, better eat everything that is good.

But I didn’t die. And now, I want a baby. And my past habits are haunting me. Oh yes, perdition indeed.

So what steps am I undertaking? Well —

  • Stop all the vices. No alcohol. Not even a puff of cigarette. No nothing. Cold turkey. So this is how it feels. Not that bad actually. Given the right motivation. I thought I could never quit.
  • Lessen consumption of red meat. The husband prepares my nutrition plan. For today, he prepared chicken, salad and kimchi. Oh, this is going to be fun!
  • No more coffee and Coke. This is my greatest struggle. I replaced water with coffee and Coke. Now I have to go back to water (and juices, and herbal teas). Good luck to me! From all these, coffee withdrawal is the thing that funks me up. I am so dependent on coffee. Now, I am having tension headaches. Hopefully, this will come to pass. I have been replacing coffee with tea and fruit juices.
  • Sleep. This was easy. I did not bring work home anymore. They say that you have to prep your mind for rest. The more that you do something before bedtime, the more you drive Mr. Sleep away.

So, I urge you, those who can relate and who live vicariously through these experiences, to just think a little about your future. I am not a hypocrite. I won’t tell you to stop. But if you see a baby in the years to come, then you know what to do.

Sometimes, you think you would never want a kid but all those will change when you would finally get married. When you would finally yearn for a baby. When you would want to complete your family.

In all honesty, I did not. Babies were actually the last thing on my mind. But trust me, you will want to. Unless you plan to be single for the rest of your life and you are 100% sure that you will be a eunuch, you will want to create a family – and a precious little one is part of that.

An overactive immune system caused by the toxins and acute stress that it has to constantly battle is sooo expensive to treat. Trust me, I am having that problem now so I know. The reason may not be totally  because of this (research has no conclusive results yet on why people develop autoimmunity and other immune disorders), but I believe that it is part and parcel of everything that I am undergoing (not to mention my over-compatibility with my husband’s leukocytes)!

I think that the new motto for young ambitious girls shouldn’t be work hard, party harder. It should be work hard, rest harder (a vacation, a walk in the beach, a rejuvenating massage to give you a sense of relaxation).   Doesn’t seem that exciting, but boy, you would thank yourself when the time comes.

Writer’s Note: I know that this is supposed to be a post about happiness or hope as this is my 365 days of happy. However, I just want to do this writeup because as I mentioned, everything about repro-immuno disorder is becoming my advocacy. I still consider this part of my project because in my own little way, I hope I am paying kindness forward (to all young girls out there) especially because I have received many random acts of kindness over the past months that we have discovered about our condition.

Our First LIT Procedure

“A lesson for all of us is that for every loss, there is victory, for every sadness, there is joy, and when you think you’ve lost everything, there is hope.” ―Geraldine Solon

People undergo many trials in life. In my case, I have considered myself so blessed. Most of the things came easy, God has been good. 

It came as an avalanche when I was diagnosed with a repro-immuno disorder. Having a problem creating a happy family never occured in my wildest dreams. I cried, tried to be happy, cried again, tried to be positive. Most of the time, my hope dangled on a string.

But during those times when I lose hope, I am pulled back, by family, by friends, by the husband… by Jesus.

After the shock of  knowing this ultimately weird condition of being “too compatible” with my husband, we finally decided to do the treatments. 

I already started on it last Friday. In the morning, they took 14 vials of blood from the husband and at around 2:30PM, injected the processed blood, which now only contains his white blood cells. 

I took this photo of my left arm before the procedure — 

My doctor started me on the first LIT (lymphocyte immunotherapy). She told me to hold the husband’s hand for support. I could have not gone through without it. I don’t know where to start describing the pain. It was excruciating. Tolerable but extremely excruciating. 

Doctor gave me six shots. Each shot was more painful than the previous one. To explain it haphazardly, it felt like blade slicing through the skin. Thinking about going through it for four times is hell. Thinking that I am doing it for my future baby eases it all.

I was required not to wash my arm for 48 hours. It looked like this when we went home —

Despite the pain, I am happy. I am happy that we are still able to find ways on how to couple our silent prayers with scientific treatment. I am happy that my immunologist is a God-centered woman who keeps on reminding us to pray. There have been times when my faith becomes so distant from me. It is by God’s grace and your prayers that I will be able to forge my faith stronger and hope for the best — the life that He has in store for me and my family.