• Jasmine Mendiola

Love Sick

In case you didn’t know, Mio is immuno-compromised which means that he’s highly prone to infection and bleeding so we really have to up our preventive measures since we’re not sure how his immune system works anymore. The simplest cough or colds entail taking him to the hospital right away that’s why he’s not allowed in crowded places anymore–malls, playgrounds, the church and his school as such. Why and what they need to do once he contacts a virus, I don’t want to know.

So while my son stays home on days that he doesn’t have treatment (which is ideally every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday) the plan is for me to be at work while the supposedly trained househelp gives his round the clock oral chemo; watch what he eats which shouldn’t be uncooked, have preservatives or are too salty coz the steroids retain salt fast; makes sure no mosquitos bite him; makes sure everything he touches is clean; and at the same time that he doesn’t get too tired fast even if he’s on speed.

I, on the other hand require to be in so many places with so many people all the time. Either at the office, at the mall for pullouts or collateral and display checks, at shoots, commuting to and from by train, riding the jeep and being exposed to this unforgiving weather. I rarely get sick. But when I do, I really really get sick. It feels like my body saves ’em all so I can charge it on a long vacation. Cough, colds, headache, body ache, rashes, fatigue… name it, I probably have it. Thing is, I’m not on leave. I’ve been absent since all this began and I haven’t even gotten back on track with work. And now, considering the emotional and physical strain combined, my throat hurts and I have this pounding headache since yesterday, it really feels like I’m coming down with something.

Seriously, I’m not complaining I’m sick. I’m worried I can’t take care of Mio like I’m supposed to, I’m not fit to work and I’m practically useless to anyone and is possibly a cause or carrier of some virus that poses a threat to my son. That’s not good.

I asked my Mom if Mio can sleep with her and dad last night. Mio who is practically the head of the household with everyday revolving around what he wants and needs refused after Mom told him I said so. Mio comes out in tears as if he took some time to think about it and says, “Mom I want you eh… just wear a mask, I won’t take off my mask too. I want you to stay with me tonight coz you have work tomorrow e. I won’t know if you’re leaving, I want to feel you beside me eh….” He was really crying. I had to explain that it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be with him, I was sick and the germs causing me to be sick might go to him and that’s not good. “Tell Dr. Racho to fix you now, Mom.”

My son finds me wrapped under the sheets and goes to my parents room by himself later in the night. “Wake me up tomorrow nlng when you do Mom so I can take care of you.” He feels healthier and he’s on top of his game. He probably couldn’t tell the difference of how sick he from how I am. All that mattered to him was that he was with me.

Right now, that’s how I want it to be too. But life should go on and I should be back on my game. Until when will life wait on me to get back on track? How much longer will it take for cancer to be a part of our life? Its our norm already and its amazing how we’re coping. If we are at all, its not without the support we get elsewhere. That alone is not normal. Its a miracle. My son’s love is unconditional and its a miracle for me.

The first time I heard the concept of unconditional love was during C.L.E. class back in grade 4 when my teacher, Ms. Pamela Adriano mentioned it in passing describing God’s love. The moment I heard it, images of my mom waking me up every morning, embracing me so I could get up and finally go take a bath flashed before my eyes. It was an epiphany that my parents love for me was what unconditional love was. I have proven that time and again, comically so considering with how my Mom cried her heart out when we revealed I was pregnant with Mio. “Nung nalaman kong may girlfriend ka, pinatawad kita. Nung hindi ka na virgin, pinatawad parin kita. Ngayon at buntis ka na, papatawarin pa kaya kita?”

This is why in my mind, I have no doubt that when Mio grows up, I can and without a heavy heart, accept and love him for who he is. With the way he’s growing up to be like, I’m sure that won’t be hard to do. What’s hard for me as a parent is to imagine my son losing his hair, him getting sick and his suffering from each prick. If my son is going through all this now, what kind of hardships will he have to face in the future? No heartache, hardship or pain will be bearable for a mother. His pain now and forever, I would rather have for myself. So seeing him up and about, wanting to take care of me while I am sick feels as if its how it should be.

On a lighter note, let me share Mio’s latest project for Grandparents Day today. Ang sarap magkamagulang especially when they become grandparents. I always say our parents become better parents when they have grandchildren. But the truth is, I think children just appreciate and appreciate how their parents were right all along because they’re parents already. My Mom would always say “I told you so” having been the paranoid one with Mio’s paleness for quite some time. That’s one more regret on top of so many things as it is. But today and tomorrow is not about that anymore. 🙂 

Happy Grandparents Day!



Jasmine Mendiola

+63 939 919 7721

©2019 by Jasmine Mendiola