Almost done with Graduate School

I am saying I am almost done because I do not consider it done until I have my hands on the diploma. I just finished all the units for an MsC in Instructional Design and Technology. I was working on my Design Project from January to June of 2019. It was a lot of work. I am happy with the fact that I was able to create an e-portfolio as part of Design Project.

Please check this out, especially if you want to hire me for graphics design/instructional design/writing projects. My samples are in the e-portfolio, as well.

Jabel Erica’s E-Portfolio


Welcome, Jordana Belle!

No, I do not have a new baby. My son, who is turning seven next week is still an only child. I do have the next best thing. My brother (a resident doctor – orthopedics) and his wife (a nurse), who live thousands of miles away (I am in Dominica. They are in the Philippines), were expecting a baby. However, the little one was delivered at 26 weeks 4 days on May 1st 2016. My brother was terrified that they were going to lose the baby, but the baby has survived and continues to fight hard. Named Jordana Belle, our baby girl is still in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and has from the very first moment, won our hearts. Born at only 590 grams, the 26-weeker has been weaned from the CPAP to the nasal cannula. She has been fed a little pumped breast milk from her mom at a time. 1 day old

She is on Day 14 at the NICU. My family continues to pray for her complete health and strength. We hope to be able to shower her with more love when she is finally discharged from the hospital. Jordana Belle and my son Joreb William share an amazing pediatrician, Dr. Luchie Morales.


Almost Two Months

I am back here in Dominica for almost two months now, but I had been so busy starting a new life over again that I had not visited this blog since February. There were just too many things to do. Of course, all of these things required me being inside my dad’s clinic (the inner office) or at home in front of my laptop. Well, what can I do? I am a full-fledged introvert. I only go out to buy stuff, attend church, and actually check out my new work place to find out what I need to do to prepare for September.

What are the things I have been busy with, anyway?

– A freelance writing job: 2000 words or more a day

– My MFA thesis (revising ten essays, writing the exegetic essay)

– being hands-on with my son. His nanny is now my mom’s all around maid. So, this includes: disciplining, bathing, feeding, playing with, reading to. You know, the whole works.

– Short stories. I have joined four different competitions so far. Win or lose, I tried. That’s a big deal for me, because I have never before sent a short story to a competition or even for a journal.

– A full-length children’s novel (This could go nowhere, but God, I am trying my best. I would be so happy if I get published even just once)

– enrolling into a new Master’s programme (Instructional Media). I am making the most of the fact that I am here in the Caribbean so I enrolled into the University of the West Indies.

– getting used to the idea that I would be teaching second Grade in September. I miss teaching College. I was a 3D animation teacher. In September, I will be drawing on the board with coloured chalk.

So, there. I am getting back to whatever I was doing before I started writing this blog post.


What a life it is…

I’m pretty lucky in many aspects of my life and for these I am grateful. Health is a different issue altogether. I feel like I am constantly walking on shards of glass and I cannot remember the last time I woke up with no pain at all. I am now always exhausted, but I try to not to make this affect my job and my life as a whole. I try doubly harder and with so much to do (teaching college students, committee work, thesis, chores, being physically and emotionally present for my 5 year old), it can get discouraging. As long as people see me smile, though, they should know that I am still fighting.


Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

On an Ash Wednesday, these are the things that are in my thoughts:

– the beginning of Lent, of sacrifices and reminders of our mortality

– a friend who has died young because of Hodgkin’s lymphoma

– my own mortality, the fragility of my human body

– a spiritual world that is stronger than the corporal one

– the importance of human relationships, and how they can be broken by so many things: misunderstandings, selfishness, circumstances, sickness, death, etc.


For Everything There is a Reason

I sit here today in a nearly empty faculty room. It is my favorite time to work, early morning when my mind is still untainted by the experiences of the day. I would like to say that I was able to keep my mind clear of all worries, but that is not true.

Today, I will be going through my second round of nerve tests, to find out if the Tarlov cysts pressing my, well, nerves, are doing much damage. I feel some numbness along my legs at times, but I am still hopeful that the results will turn out negative. Negative here means that I do not need to go through surgery. Negative means that I am still a little far off from being a cripple. I could continue my life, albeit in constant pain and in constant fear that one day it would be time to really go through that surgery.

The day is good, though, and I understand that everything happens for a reason. Everything. Even rare diseases that could leave you crippled, surgery or not.


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.