Doses of love, God’s grace helped me survive stroke, Bell’s palsy

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10/22/2021 1:00:00 PM

Doses of love, God’s grace helped me survive stroke, Bell’s palsy READ:

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(Eliza Gutierrez, 39, is a senior IT analyst in a multinational Indian tech company. She lives in Quezon City.)For 20 months now, this pandemic has indeed affected all of us in one way or another. As someone with a handful of comorbidities, it has been a challenge to see doctors for a routine checkup, especially when the community quarantines were first implemented.

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I was blessed to continue working from home. For some, it was a relief from the cumbersome commute to work, but as for me, I really enjoyed the long walks to our workplace; that was my daily “work-out.”Working from home has its joys and lows – I was able to sustain productivity and deliverables, however, I was not able to notice in full abandon – that I have become more and more sedentary by the day. It has become a cycle of purely work, eat, sleep, repeat, with Netflix in between. And of course, trips to the grocery store were replaced by online deliveries.

My grand indoor glory routine went on for months. Little did I know that my own version of calm would be shaken by a storm. It was then I learned that not all storms come to destroy our life, some come to clear our path.It was on the seventh of October 2020 when my “clearing” began – it was the worst scare of my life. My youngest sister stayed at my place so we could have more time together, a day before she flies back to Dubai. As she checked-in her flight, I started preparing dinner. As I reached for the pan, I couldn’t lift my arm. I felt a sharp cold from the bottom of my right foot, and then the cold quickly spread upward my body, up to my face. After a few seconds, I felt like my right side completely disappeared. I hugged myself and leaned against the kitchen wall for support. And it was crazy not feeling my own touch!

My sister looked at me and immediately knew something was not right. She had me seated on a chair, and checked my BP thrice, but the digital monitor was just displaying “Error” on its screen. And then I felt weak, like melting wax. My sister called out my partner and a couple of neighbor girlfriends for help. They all moved fast! They packed my hospital bag and brought me to the hospital.

I was lucky, COVID cases were not as high during that time – Providence Hospital was able to accommodate me. I was placed on a stretcher and rushed to the ER. I heard the triage nurse tell my cardiologist that my BP was 230/180, and I had right-sided weakness.

They were ordered to put me on IV medications. I was also taken in for a CT scan of the head. Results confirmed that at just 38 years old, I already suffered a hemorrhagic stroke – my brain had a left thalamic bleed which semi-paralyzed the right side of my body. The bleed was small, but it caused me to lose completely my right-side sensory ability. I spent nine days in the ICU. I had a flood of realizations, alongside endless messages of love and support from family and friends – and a will to rise above this storm.

It was God’s grace – that I was with the right people who acted fast when it all started happening. My neurologist said if I would’ve waited another half hour, it could’ve been a whole different story.After being transferred to the regular room, I started doing rehabilitation therapy right away. I religiously followed my PT’s exercise routine. I literally wiggled out of the hospital bed with the help of a cane.

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Two months into therapy, I had Bell’s Palsy. Liquid squirted out of my mouth whenever I drank anything. The stroke did not affect my face, but Bell’s did. I also lost my sense of taste and smell. There was no clear explanation for the palsy, it was idiopathic.

I had a meltdown, a downpour of “why me!” But I had decided to turn my life around and kept going on with my “broken brain.” I have started to see my stroke residuals as superpowers. I knew in my heart, there is a greater reason I am still alive, and there must be a deeper purpose and meaning to it.

We only have one body. Take good care of it for God’s greater glory. Read more: Manila Bulletin News »

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