personal, rant

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A-Age: 31 (almost 32)

B-Bed size: Queen-size

C-Chore you hate: I am not domesticated. 😀

D-Dogs’ names: I don’t have a dog right now, but the last puppy I had was named Brutus.

E-Every morning: I have a routine that I must follow or else everything goes to hell. 😀

F-Favorite color: purple, brown, black

G-Gold or silver: gold

H-Height: 5’1  1/2″

I-Instrument you play: none but I wanted to play the piano as a child
J-Job title: multimedia instructor

K-Kisses or hugs: both 🙂

L-Home: 2 1/2 bedroom condo unit

M-Mood:  cheerful though tired

N-Nicknames: Jabel, Belle, Erica

Operations:  restitching of episiotomy after giving birth (wound opened up after a week), impacted tooth extraction (received general anesthesia)

P-Pet peeves: slow mall walkers, close-minded people

Q-Quote from a movie: “‘Οur lіvеѕ аrе nоt оur оwn. Frоm wоmb tо tоmb, wе аrе bоund tо оthеrѕ, pаѕt аnd рrеѕеnt. Αnd by еасh сrіmе, аnd еvеry kіndnеѕѕ, we bіrth оur futurе.’ – Cloud Atlas

R-Right or left handed: Right

S-Siblings: one younger brother (3 years gap)

T-Time you wake up: 5:15 am

U-Underwear: brief-style panties

V-Vegetable you dislike: okra

W – Watch: Marc Jacobs with black leather strap (I can’t think of anything else for “W”)

X-X-rays you’ve had: teeth, chest, ovaries

Y-Yummy food you make: HAHAHAHAHA… I don’t cook, but perhaps lettuce dressing or grilled sandwich will do? 😀

Z-Zoo favorite: none, really


Back Updates

Last Saturday, I got checked by my neurosurgeon again. She offered to increase the dosage of my pain medication. It was tempting, really, but I said “no”. She was surprised because her job was to ensure that I feel zero pain. I explained that I want to be able to honestly answer my orthopedic surgeon whenever he asks if I feel any pain after a certain strengthening exercise.


Pain is not the disease. It is a symptom. I want to hold on to that symptom so that I could be aware of what is going on inside of me. I have two 4 cm. Tarlov cysts that are being monitored. The neurosurgeon will only operate on me if the cysts are damaging my nerves (a possibility when they grow? any Tarlov cysts sufferers out there?). At the moment, they are eroding my bones. This is actually minor compared to the complicated surgery that it will take to remove them. The neurosurgeon has said as much that reconstructing the spinal sheath after cyst removal will be difficult. That is not exactly a comforting thought.

I am finished with my physical therapy sessions. I miss them because they make me feel rested. Now that I am working full time as a multimedia instructor, I wake up and go to sleep in pain. The comfort that this gives me, though, is the fact that my nerves are fully awake and working. They are not damaged. I am alive and feeling everything with full intensity.

health, motherhood, personal


My mom will be travelling to the Philippines come Monday/Tuesday. I forgot if she was leaving Monday, Dominican or Philippine time. She will be arriving here just in time for Mother’s Day.  That is not her intention, however. She did not even plan on visiting this year because of health issues and responsibilities at work. Still, she is on the way home because she wanted to be with me when she heard about my Tarlov cysts. Whether I go through surgery or not, she will be here – that’s what she told me.

Even with her own scoliosis and congenital heart disease, she will be braving two to three days of travel alone. Dad has too many patients and medical students to accompany her. The usual route is Dominica-Puerto Rico-Miami-New York-L.A.-Manila. I don’t know if she opted for the European route this time around. I forgot to ask.

My mother and I have a weird relationship. We love each other terribly but when we fight, we sound like the best of enemies. Yet, we can count on each other. We can count on the other to forgive because our bond as mother and daughter is strong and has become stronger when I became a mother myself. As a mom now, I realize that I am slowly turning to a version of my mom. Though I look like my dad, my facial expressions are starting to match hers.

I am proud of her and what she is about to do for me by visiting despite her own health issues. I am proud that when I was a child, she never paid teachers anything just so I could get good grades. We did not donate refrigerators. We did not bribe teachers. She and my dad believe in me and in my brother – in our capabilities. My brother and I, in turn, also believe that our parents will do just about everything to ensure our safety, our health, and our development into good persons. This upcoming visit is one proof of that.

childhood, health, personal

Why I Didn’t Become a Medical Doctor

As a child, I idolized my dad the doctor. I still do. He is the humblest doctor that I know of. He does not go around wearing a white robe or a stethoscope around his neck just to show what profession he is in. He usually wears long-sleeved shirts rolled to the elbows and a pair of slacks. Because he is fond of charity work and of helping out relatives, we did not even own a car when I was young. Whenever there was a jeepney strike, he had no problems with walking to the hospital. (I got this from him. I have no problems with taking the public transport even if I can afford to pay cabs. Cab drivers make me feel awkward and scared.) We later moved on to an apartment, which was about ten minutes’ walk to the hospital he worked for then.

Today, even though he lives in the Caribbean, drives an SUV and lives in a large house in a good neighborhood, he remains humble. He is not patronizing like some doctors that I have met and I’ve met plenty, given all the ailments I have. He is a quiet man. He makes me believe that silent waters really run the deepest.

As a child, I wanted to become a doctor. In high school, when my family was already living in the Caribbean,  I decided I would become a psychiatrist. This, however, coincided with the desire to become a writer and a nun.

So, why didn’t I become a medical doctor?

1. I was a sickly kid.  – Whenever I was admitted to the hospital where my dad worked, nurses would whisper about me and how I was the daughter of the Chief of Clinics.

2. I could not stitch to save my life. – I thought that since I was awful at stitching cloth in Home Economics I would not be effective as a surgeon. I have such clumsy hands for an artist – contradictory, right? But I would rather make mistakes on paper than on somebody’s skin.

3. I am too emotional – I probably would cry along with the patient or his relatives. That would be very awkward and unprofessional. (Okay, I am actually good at hiding my feelings but I probably would spend my life with an aching chest.)

4. I take everything personally. – If someone dies under my watch, I probably would take the despair to my own grave.

5. I thought I would become really old before I become an MD. – I was wrong about this. I am 31 now but I don’t feel old. My 28-year old brother had just finished his medical internship, is about to take the board exams and will eventually move on to his Orthopedic Surgery residency.

6. I basically fell in love with Bill Gates. – I took Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science for my “O” and “A” levels. I did not take “Chemistry” and “Biology”, which are subjects required when one wants to pursue Medicine.

I don’t really regret being who I am right now. Okay, sometimes I do and sometimes I have “what if” moments. It could not be that bad, though. I have a Bachelor of Science in Digital Illustration and Animation. I have 18 units in Masters of Mathematics. I experienced four days in Law School and I am now an MFA in Creative Writing student struggling to finish my thesis proposal. I am also a Multimedia Arts instructor and a paid blogger. I’m a mom to a three year old who is smarter than most kids his age: can read a little, can add small numbers, expert with laptop and tablet, solves puzzles that are designed for elementary students, knows how to count to 100, etc.  If I play my cards right, I could still become a doctor, not a medical one, though. It could go one of two very different ways: a Phd in IT/Computer Science or in Literature. I am not sure which, yet. My life is like a weird Choose Your Own Adventure book, with options that seem to not belong to only one person.

health, personal, rant

Taking the Strain Off My Bad Back

If you have read a few of my more recent posts then you would know by now that I have degenerative scoliosis, two protruding discs and two Tarlov cysts along the S1 and S2 regions. My painful condition is alleviated by Lyrica, which is a strong nerve pain reliever. The medicine, however, leaves me zonked out some mornings or afternoons because somehow it is not able to make me drowsy during the evenings when I actually take it.

So, yes, I have a bad back and bones that are older than my 31 years. The neurosurgeon advises against heavy loads. I wonder how I can make it through my life without having to carry heavy loads.


I have a 5 pound laptop (8 Gig RAM, core i5, NVIDIA GeForce). I can’t make Photoshop and Autodesk Maya work in a netbook, obviously.

My bags are mostly made of genuine leather. My mom loves buying me bags. I get bags from her whenever she visits the Philippines.

I have a 45 pound three year old. Love him so much!

I am a multimedia teacher. This means that I don’t just bring my laptop but also textbooks and piles of test papers.

I love my gadgets: my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Kindle keyboard. I bring them along MOST of the times. Now, I am trying NOT to bring them too often and perhaps not together.

I love BOOKS. Good thing there is Kindle or else I would bring loads of books if I cannot decide… but then again I am an MFA in Creative Writing student. So, I still bring some books that are not available via Kindle.

However, I really do need to change my lifestyle.

So, here are some must-haves – at least in my case:

A large bag made of cloth material with a zipper. The last time I used one without a zipper, my wallet, credit cards, ATM cards got stolen. That last time was just last week, btw, and I am still waiting for some of the other replacement cards.

Comfortable, all-around shoes. Locally made pairs from Rusty Lopez (at only 2000 pesos for each pair) are heavenly. The leather is light and soft. I need more pairs of these. I have a tattered grey one and a brown one.

A slim book or ultrabook that can handle Maya. Oh ok, I have to save money for this one.

A pillow for sitting down for hours. Thankfully, my husband got me one for our sixth wedding anniversary. Now, I am wondering if I should buy another to bring for work.

At the moment, the above are all I could think of. I will come back to this blog to update when I think of more.

(image courtesy of