Posted by: rosanneromero | July 9, 2010

How To Heal

When I was asked to write an article “Heal Thyself: How to Heal Me.”, it seemed a little odd. Why would it make any sense to take tips from a person (me) who’s been sick 22 years? Simple.   Because I’m still alive. I haven’t beat my sickness (multiple sclerosis), but neither has it beat me. I’ve managed to stay in the ring. Twenty two years and I’m still getting up after I’ve been hit, still throwing punches, delivering jabs, hooks and uppercuts. What helps? What doesn’t help? I don’t want you to think I’m the one authority on this. There are countless people who live well despite the circumstances of sickness, and I’m not their summa cum laude. But I can share with you a couple of things that have helped me stay in the ring.

There are the general and practical sound approaches to keeping healthy. A lot of these have to do with outward habits, practices. And then there are the mindsets that keep us healthy and stable. Let’s go over the outward habits first.

One sound approach has to do with sleep… Get enough sleep. Keyword here is “enough.” Its been said that babies sleep 12, 14 hours or more while older people can do with much less hours of sleep. Nevertheless, I believe one can tell if one’s had a good night’s rest or not. I’ve observed that when I get enough sleep at night, I am more energized and alert the next day. I snarl, growl and froth in the mouth when I’ve not had enough sleep. Our body heals and repairs itself while you’re snoozing. So if you’re a bona fide sleep impaired individual, consider getting help from sleep clinics.

Thin does not mean healthy. So try not to get obsessed with the gospel of thin. Instead, do a serious study on the gospel of fit. It isn’t wise to starve yourself because that throws your body out of whack. Better to develop sensible eating habits. One step we’ve taken in our family is we’ve cut down on red meat and replaced that with eating more fruits and vegetables. Scientific research backs that up.

Another thing that scientific research backs up is the importance of drinking plenty of water. Respiration, digestion, circulation, temperature regulation, waste elimination, are body functions that require water. There have been lots of email forwards going around about water therapy and its benefits. And there have been a few more forwards on the benefits of ionized water, alkaline water, etc. I’ve also received forwards about drinking hot water after a meal versus drinking cold water. If going on any one of these therapies presents complications for you, and then just stick to the simple rule…at least 8 glasses of water a day. In a nutshell, sleep well, eat well and drink well. (I mean, WATER.)

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease. It’s not like a virus with a predictable life span. Because that is so, the sleep well-eat-well-drink-well approach doesn’t suffice. They’re good but not enough. I need mindsets that help me stay grateful and practical. A mindset is mental attitude that determines how you respond to situations. It’s not something you’re born with. It has nothing to do with talent, skill or genetics. It’s not something that happens to you. A mindset is something you choose. It’s a cognitive thing. You think it, you decide it, and you choose it. Allow me to share with you a few of the mindsets that have kept me standing in the ring.

 Bask in prayer and in God’s word everyday. Find out about grace and mercy. Even if you’re not sick, you need these. Badly.

 Look forward to a miracle. But, keep in mind that your timetable isn’t God’s timetable. Many good things come when you least expect it. If the miracle doesn’t come today, live anyway. Don’t mope and don’t whine. You have better things to do, between now and the day your miracle comes.

 Recognize that this sickness is yours, not anybody else’s. Since it’s yours, you’re the one who needs to drink the medicine for it. And you’re the one that the doctor needs to see. You don’t need to guess when your doctor can see you or not —thanks to Graham Bell’s contraption. It’s called a telephone. It’s quite simple to use; just do it.

 Trust your doctor. Do as he says. Take your medicines the way they’ve been prescribed to you. Don’t mess around with the dosage. Even if you think you know your body better, he’s the one who went to medical school.

 Because MS is chronic and almost invisible, it gets people confused. If it weren’t for my cane, people would not have a clue I’m sick. But because of my cane, people think I got a sprain or a bad knee or polio. They just need to fix me. So they coax me, cajole, convince, persuade me to drink shawarmabarma juice or boil this special leaf or rock or crystal that can boost a dead immune system, melt warts, unclog a sink, kill rats and remove rust. To them, I’m a project. I allow my eyes to roll for awhile then I say to myself, “ these people mean well”. Even if they’ve been at it 23 years that I’ve had MS. I lighten up and consider that I’ve said many inane things myself to other people.

 Attack self pity. Self pity is a weed that can overtake an entire garden. Weed it as often as it springs up. MS brings more than just physical aches in my life. That makes the climate and soil in my life perfect for growing self pity. I need to weed it everyday. I sing when I do weeding. Even if my singing can ward off predators, I sing anyway. Try it. Sing. Pick a song. Just not “Gulong Ng Palad”, ok. Pick a happy tune.

 Situate yourself. Ask yourself who is potter and who is clay? Who is king and who is subject? Who is creator, who is the created? Once you know who you are, where you stand, life becomes easier to take. It will humble you and allow you to pray to God with more earnestness. In the early days of being diagnosed with MS, I was brazenly debating with God…telling Him that it would have been better if He had done this or that. Then God used Job 38:35 to speak to me. Here God asks Job, “Do you send lightning bolts on their way? Do lightning bolts report to you?” I rolled my eyes when I got that reading for the day. That really put me in place. He’s the one who draws the line. And me, I’m the one that toes it. I shouldn’t give Him instructions. I should just, you know, report for duty. He’s the one that set the stars in their place. He’s bigger than me, deeper than me. He’s the one to trust.

 Hang around people who can make you laugh till your nose bubbles. I have a bunch of high school friends whose company I treasure. No one is stuck up. It doesn’t matter if one married the Duke of Ellington or the security guard at our school. It doesn’t matter if one lives in Ayala Alabang Village or in Ayala Alabang Gilid. It doesn’t matter if one drives around in a BMW or in an owner type of jeep. No one is special, no one is out. Everyone knows I have MS but no one walks around me like they’re walking on eggs. They’re irreverent. I enjoy that. That kind of camaraderie puts things in perspective.

 Never compare yourself with people who suffer less. That will only make you feel that God has been exceptionally mean to you. Focus your attention on those whose adversities are worse than yours. That will draw your attention away from your situation. When I do that, I’m sobered up and end up praying more passionately for people whose lives are more difficult. Because of that, I grow certain about how blessed I am. I have to elaborate on this just a bit. I have a condition called foot drop. This is sometimes referred to as hoof-syndrome my foot is no longer perpendicular to my leg. It hangs limp from the ankle. Get the picture? It looks like a hoof. And a hoof is a wonderful thing to have, right — if you’re a horse. That’s what I told God when I first started to experience trouble with my hoof, I mean foot. I whined and stomped my foot (the one that’s not hoofy). When I got winded from all the stomping, God made me remember a former houseboy we had in Baclaran when I was little. His name was Mang Igual. He was a thalidomide baby so he had club hands and tiny stumps as feet. To walk and work, (he was our houseboy, take note) he stuffed “basahan” into his rubber shoes. He made a little space and stuck his stumps in there and tied them ever so tightly all the way up to his calves. (You may not have been conceived then but in those days, ELPO rubber shoes were the rubber shoes to be seen in. Go ask your lolo what it looked like.) If his contraption fell loose while working, he would take them off, stuff a few more rags to fasten his stump into the rubber shoe again. Everyday, he made fake feet for himself. Was he sour? No, just thankful for his Elpos. So I’m thankful I only have to deal with foot drop. It could be worse. (Thank God I don’t need to wear Elpos!)

 This year I marked my 23rd year with MS. After 23 years, I should be completely devastated. But I’m not. I’m not devastated, because God has graced me with a sense of purpose. I find that in Phil 1:12 “My circumstances are serving rather than hindering the advance of the gospel.”

In the pie of my life, MS is just one slice. That doesn’t ruin the whole pie. I’m sick, but I have a life . Choose the right mindset. Put on the right spectacles. Use another frame to Set your circumstances on. These have helped me to see God’s hand and have helped me to be more grateful.

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Responses

  1. Beautifully written, Rosanne. As beautiful as you: in and out!

    • Hey, a comment like that from you — I take seriously. Salamat

      • Oh, I meant that about the “beautifully written” part…the beautiful in and out part , you’d have to check that out with people who LIVE with me … like my husband, my two daughters, my household helper, and my dog

  2. Miss these kind of down to earth, real life, uplifting writings of yours, Ms Rosanne!

  3. Hi Jen! Salamat for giving me encouraging feedback ha.


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