We Can Minimize, Delay, or Prevent the Devastating Effect of Diseases…discipline and patience are the keys

We Can Minimize, Delay, or Prevent the Devastating Effect of Diseases

…discipline and patience are the keys

By Apolinario Villalobos

Caring for our physical make up is our responsibility in the first place, and not somebody else’s. We can prevent diseases from pestering our body by espousing discipline and patience. We must be disciplined as regards our diet and vices. And, we must be disciplined in being consistent with the preparation of remedies not prescribed by doctors. We must not wait until a disease has set in before we toe the line in clinics for a costly diagnosis. Unfortunately for others, before they know that what they “feel” is a disease, and not just a fatigue or temporary pain, it is already beyond cure, so that the last resort for the doctor is to prescribe pain killing drugs, and loads of antibiotics and other strange sounding-named tablets and capsules.

Drugs are basically sourced from plants and enhanced with chemicals to preserve them as capsules, tables, suspensions, and injectibles. Curative properties of plants are “cloned” in laboratories to come up with their synthetic equivalent. But not all curative properties of plants can be cloned as in the case of guyabano (soursop), the information about which has been suppressed by drug laboratories for so many years. Due to their failure in cloning its curative properties, they finally let go of the information to confirm what have already been circulating anyway, about its anti-cancer substance.

Man since birth is already doomed with diseases that can manifest at certain points of his life. Fortunately, there is now a medical technique of predetermining the diseases that may befall infants by “reading” their genes at the time of birth with the use of their blood. At certain points of their life, diseases are already detected, thus, medications are already prescribed to prevent the onset. This is possible for those who will be born in hospitals and clinics, but for those in villages, this medical effort is not heard of, as in third-world countries like the Philippines. These children then grow without knowing that at a certain point of their life, they are bound to develop diabetes, rheumatism, heart failure, cancer, etc.

There’s again the problem with poor parents in urban areas who are told about the diseases that may befall their newly-born infants, because they cannot afford the prescribed drugs. Consequently, their children, though born in hospitals, grow just like those in the villages, without taking the preventive drugs for the detected diseases that may manifest at a certain age. Prescriptions are just set aside to be thrown later on.

The Philippines and the rest of countries in Asia and South America are profuse in herbal “medicines”.  Long before the western colonizers came, the natives were already thriving on these. The folk medicine men who are unfairly called “quack doctors” have been prescribing leaves, barks and roots of trees, vines and shrubs to dispel diseases. For instance, guyabano or soursop was first used by the South American Indians, particularly, those living in the jungles of the Amazon, while the use of tanglad or lemon grass was first used in Asia. In every country of these regions, there are always nooks and corners occupied by herbal vendors. In Manila, these can be found in Quiapo, while in the provinces, one can find them in public markets. But most of all, these curative plants are found in neighborhoods, or if not, can be planted just anywhere, even in pots.

Discipline is needed if one is really interested in preventing the onset of a disease. A ritual is involved, because every morning, all the necessary leaves, seeds or barks have to be boiled in a kettle dedicated for this purpose, followed by the preparation of the concoction to be drunk with coffee or as is. Most often, this simple effort is abhorred by most, as they would rather take synthetic drugs in capsule or tablet form which is a very convenient way. But then, the danger with such “convenience” is the latest finding that not all components of these drugs are dissolved, thus, turning into sediments that get deposited in the liver and kidney, eventually resulting to a disease that destroy the said organs.

Those without discipline in their diet are also easy victims of diseases. They are not satisfied with having tasted certain unhealthy foods and should have told themselves “enough”. Unfortunately, they want these to be part of their daily fare on the dining table. Parents who have this kind of attitude pass it on to their children, who will later on pass it on to their own, and so forth. And, when members of the family develop and die of diseases, they blame their ancestor!

What Excesses can Breed

What Excesses can Breed

By Apolinario Villalobos

Anything that is beneficial but taken in excess can be lethal, and anything that is done with good intention, though, in excess can be vicious.

Drugs are supposed to prevent or cure diseases, but when taken in excess can result to unexpected death of a patient, that is why some of these cannot just be bought over the counter of pharmacies, as they need proper prescription from authorized medical practitioners. On the other hand, an overdose of food can cause obesity which can lead to diseases. Drinking water in excess may affect the proper functioning of the heart that is why one of the worst thing that can happen to anyone, is the unchecked water retention of the body.

Too much love can mean pampering that could result to the “spoiling” of the person being loved. It can also drive one to commit a crime of passion because of the fatal attraction that developed. And, worst, it can lead the weak of emotion to the verge of insanity. The same is true with kindness which can result to the abuse of the kind-hearted. Along this line, too much familiarity among friends could develop abuse, too, on the part of the ones with weak discipline, disposition, and who are naturally selfish.

It is not bad to be hard working, but abusing the body to the point of exhaustion could mean fatigue and if left unchecked could be fatal, too. Also, in a group that is expected to work as a team, those working hard, may be abused by the indolent members who may become overly dependent. That is why, for the sake of teamwork, it is important that roles are played fairly.

As to the expression of faith, those who manifest it with utmost sincerity according to what their religion says, is admirable. However, to be boisterous about it, and be proud about their belief that only they have the right to be saved, really stinks. It is revolting to see a faithful with outstretched hands and who walks on his or her knees from the door of the church to the altar, or pretend that he or she is overcome by the “spirit” while praying as shown by his or her fainting or uncontrolled shaking body…a scene that can be comical for others. All these overdose of faith is fanaticism.

Too much freedom in a nation can breed abuse on the part of inconsiderate and undisciplined constituents. And, too much discipline instilled in a person can make him too “sterile” and oblivious to the imperfect, albeit, normal actuations of others.

The world needs air and rain, but too much of them, results to typhoons and floods. The same is true with the cool and immaculate snow, as too much of it, results to snowstorm. The wildlife has its own way of “moderation”. And, it seems that lesser creatures are more intelligent than man in observing such discipline. I have seen film footages of different kinds of wild animals milling around drinking holes where the strong are shown chasing the weak with the obvious intention of enjoying the latter as dinner. After the overpowering animals have had their fill, they back off and leave the rest of the packs.

Greed and selfishness are innate in man’s character, but should be manifested in moderation to prevent exploitation of others that could result to their suffering. Unfortunately, it does not happen in politics where greedy officials are not satisfied with what they may have already stolen from the government coffer, and which could already ensure them of a comfortable retirement. They practically, want everything by all means….not only money but lifetime power!

Dalawang Kuwento ng Disiplina kung Paanong Napaglabanan ang Diabetes

Dalawang Kuwento ng Disiplina

Kung Paanong Napaglabanan ang Diabetes

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Sa panahon ngayon, kahit karaniwan na ang pagkaroon ng mga sakit tulad ng kanser, diabetes, alta presyon, cholesterol, ulcer, etc., kahit papaano, nakakagulat pa ring malaman na tayo o mga kaibigan natin ay mayroon ng isa sa mga nabanggit, lalo na kung may namatay. Ang kadalasan na ginagawa ng mga tao para labanan ang mga sakit ay yong tinatawag na “reactive” na pamamaraan. Ibig sabihin, kung kaylan dumapo na ang sakit ay saka pa lamang kikilos ang taong tinamaan kaya halos araw-arawin niya ang pagpunta sa doctor, at kung maaari lang ay ubusin na sa isang lagukan ang mga prescribed na gamot. Maliban sa nahihirapang katawan, ay nabubutas din ang bulsa nila dahil sa mga gastusin. Ang nakakalungkot ay ang mga kasong napakahuli na ang reaksiyon kaya nawalan na ng pag-asang gumaling ang maysakit. Sino ang may kasalanan?…masakit mang aminin, kalimitan ay ang mga maysakit mismo dahil sa kapabayaan.

Subalit mayroon pa rin namang maituturing na masuwerte dahil kahit malala na ang sakit ay napaglabanan pa rin nila. Marami ang nagsasabi na ang pinakanakakatakot na sakit ay diabetes dahil dumadaloy ito sa dugo at lahat ng bahagi ng katawan ng tao ay tinutumbok nito. Hindi maaaring isabay ang paggamot sa diabetes sa iba pang sakit kung sabay silang umatake. Nakakatuwang malaman na may mga kuwento tungkol sa pakikipaglaban sa diabetes na ginagawa ng iba dahil sa layunin nilang mabuhay pa ng matagal, kaya lahat na lang ng paraan ay ginagawa nila.

Ang unang kuwento ay tungkol sa dati kong landlady sa Baclaran, si ate Lydia. Masasabing maganda ang landlady ko na noong kabataan niya ay lumalabas pa sa mga pelikula ni Fernando Poe Jr. Makalipas ang maraming taon, nagkita uli kami at mangiyak-ngiyak sa pagkuwento na muntik na siyang maputulan ng dalawang binti dahil sa diabetes. Nagnaknak na daw ang harapang bahagi ng kanyang dalawang binti at dahil sa nakasusulasok na amoy, isa-isang nag-alisan ang mga boarders niya. Halos maubos ang naipon niyang pera sa pagpapagamot, subalit wala ring nangyari. Dahil sa hiya, hindi na siya lumalabas ng bahay na palaging nakasara.

Isang araw daw ay dumating ang dati niyang labandera at nang makita ang kalagayan niya ay agad nagsabi na subukan daw niya ang saluyot. Mula noon, tuwing almusal, tanghalian at hapunan ay halos saluyot na lang ang kanyang kinain. Makalipas ang isang buwan, napansin niyang unti-unting natutuyo ang malalaking sugat. Pagkalipas pa ng limang buwan, gumaling ang mga sugat. Nang bumalik siya sa doktor, nalaman niyang bumaba na ang indicator ng diabetes niya, pero tuloy pa rin ang kain niya ng maraming saluyot. Noong magkita kami, halos ayaw kong maniwala sa kuwento niya dahil makinis naman ang kanyang mga binti.. Kinakantiyawan ako ng landlady ko noon dahil sa request kong palaging ulam na pinakbet, adobong kangkong, paksiw na saluyot at okra, at tortang talong. Nang magkaroon siya ng diabetes, naalala daw niya ako.

Ang ikalawang kuwento naman ay tungkol kay Ellen, naglalako ng mga dinaing na isda sa lugar namin. Noong nakaraang taon, halata ang pagkahulog ng katawan niya dahil sa sobrang kapayatan at pamumutla. Inamin niyang may diabetes siya. Kaylan lang ay nakita ko uli siya, subalit hindi na payat at maputla…bumata pa nga. Ayon sa kanya, halos mawalan na daw siya ng pag-asa dahil sa sakit niya, at nadagdagan pa ng pagtetebe o hirap sa pagdumi ng kung ilang araw. Wala naman daw siyang perang pangkonsulta palagi, at kahit anong gamot ang inumin niya ay wala rin daw epekto. May narinig siyang mga kuwento tungkol sa ashitaba at okra na nakakagaling daw ng diabetes.

Wala naman daw mawawala sa kanya kung susubukan niya. Makalipas lang daw ang ilang araw, bumalik sa normal ang kanyang pagdumi. At, makalipas naman ang mahigit isang buwan ay nagkakulay na rin siya, hindi na maputla. Kaya mula noon ay itinuloy lang niya ang araw-araw na pagkain ng ashitaba at okra. Sa umaga, apat na dahon ng ashitaba ang nginangata niya habang nagtatrabaho at pinipilit niyang siya ay pawisan, at ang okra naman ay palagi niyang inuulam. Makalipas ang ilang buwan pa, nadagdagan na rin ang kanyang timbang subalit pinipilit niyang huwag tumaba uli tulad nang dati. Nang magpakonsulta siya uli, nagulat ang doktor dahil sa kanyang pagbabago.

Sa dalawang kuwento, malinaw na kung hindi dahil sa disiplina ay hindi gumaling si ate Lydia at Ellen. Ang iba kasi, marinig lang ang “okra” at “saluyot” ay nandidiri na dahil madulas daw ang katas. Kung may disiplina ang isang tao, kahit mapait pa ang isang halamang gamot o gulay tulad ng ampalaya, dapat ay itanim lang niya sa kaisipan ang layuning gumaling…yon lang.

On Being At The Threshold of Our Lives

by Apolinario B Villalobos


Some of us may have gone through a near-death experience in which our past lives were flashed before our eyes, followed by a vision of blinding light at the end of the tunnel. I am among those who did when I fell down Mt. Hibok-hibok on the island of Camiguin during a Friday the 13th climb many years ago. I did not tell friends about it even my climbing buddies in PAL Mountaineering Club. I realized only now that it could be God’s way of telling me how I fared since the day I was born, how I dealt with others while growing up until that crucial near-death moment. It could have been His way of showing me portions of my life where I erred, hence, for me to realize that I need to take note and change my ways before I face Him.

The presumed God’s message is far from my mind while I had been exerting much effort to change my lifestyle for the better, that resulted to total eradication of my drinking habit. The changes came about spontaneously. I stopped drinking because I noticed palpitation of my heart even after just two bottles of beer. I minimized staying light despite so many writings to do because I noticed that loss of sleep causes my blood pressure to zoom up. I started counting from one to ten every time I am in a situation that I knew would irritate me and make me flare up. As for the diet, there is no problem because I had been a vegetarian for a long time. Today, I can proudly say that I have changed for the better.

As what I had been doing gave me good results, I tried to share them with friends, thinking that I would be doing them a favor. Some heeded me, some did not. Those who heeded me are thankful. Those who did not, told me that, as we will die anyway, we should enjoy life to the fullest.

I am at the threshold of my life and so are my friends with whom I am sharing useful tips on healthful living. It is alright if some of them do not take me seriously, for who am I to tell them, anyway. I am not a doctor, but my sharing is based on my experience. What I cannot comprehend is their adamant refusal to see the truth despite the expositions made by experts through the different media – tv, newspapers, internet, magazines. For me, there is nothing wrong in preparing oneself before we fall at the edge of life which in my case is just a few steps away. To die of sickness is a natural thing, but to suffer before death is another. Suffering could be lessened if we prepare ourselves.

Gasping for air until one dies because of emphysema is very much different from gasping for air as one dies naturally. The first one died while suffering, while the other one made the passage with a smooth sigh. The suffered death happens prematurely. Imagine young people dying of stroke, cancer, emphysema. These diseases may be prevented if only those who suffer from them are cautious in their lifetime. I need not emphasize that these are caused by unhealthy foods, smoking, heavy drinking, loss of sleep, drug abuse. Those concerned knew all the while that what they had been doing were not right, still they refuse to do what were supposed to be helpful to them

The ones with fatalistic attitude will say that cancer is in their blood, anyway, so they are bound to die of that disease. But there is such a thing as prevention which can be done even just to lessen the effect. The first step in this effort should come from them. Medication should come as a last resort. Nobody is exempted from having different diseases in their blood. But external factors aggravate them. Again, everybody knows that these external factors are summarized into just one – habit. We have the habit of smoking, uncontrolled drinking of alcoholic beverage, eating unhealthy foods, intentionally staying late at night making the rounds of night spots. Why not do something about those bad habits? We always forget that regrets always come at the end. Before, we know it, we may already be in the stage that require dialysis, chemo therapy, etc. Whatever strength left in us, may not even be  enough in drawing sighs to lessen our suffering.

While at the threshold of our lives, making the few more steps towards the edge, why not give ourselves  the chance to make up for our wrongdoings in the past? We are not saints as not to have offended others and God  somewhere in the past as we trudge on the path of life. If you have been snooty, why not put a smile on your face, once in a while? (this may take a lot of practice for some due to the permanent crease on their face that resulted from their former sour expression). If you did not care much for your neighbor before, why not start sharing with them your special viand that you cooked? If you have not been nice to your parents-in-law before, why not treat them to a lunch in a mall? Most especially, if you forgot how the chapel in your neighborhood looks like, why not start waking up early on Sundays to attend Mass? (this way, too, you renew your long-lost relationship with God).

Some of you just do not know that you have a knack for community service. I know you can feel it but do not know just how or where to start. Now is your chance as you have all the time, being retired. With so many calamities happening during most months of the year in our country, you may share your service by joining relief distribution groups. If you do not have that much energy, you can stay at relief center repacking and classifying donations. Former colleagues in PAL, Mrs. Tesi Ona and Mrs. Lency Roceles do this. While Mrs. Ona is with a volunteer social workers’ group at St. Luke’s Hospital, Mrs. Roceles is with a foundation, helping on the spot, needy people. I know that there are still others out there who do the same. They may not be with any group, but are happy enough to  do Samaritan works alone.

Each one of us has been given certain blessings in the form of skill by God. It is selfish for us not to share them with others. Some of you are shy to express them. Now is the time to do it. It is not late to join the choir group in your church or evangelists that roam around to share the words of God or religious groups that lead church activities in your communities. Also, you may not know that you have an artistic skill in the field of painting. Mrs. Corazon Aquino tried her best to bring out her artistic inclination just before she passed away. Or you may have the skill to write. Jot down poetic lines to be left behind as mementos to your loved ones.

There are so many things that we can do while we are at the threshold of our lives. Some of us may have already been doing them. But for those who have not yet opened their eyes to realities, by just spending precious times in malls playing bingo, sleeping it out the whole day and spending the rest of the time in the evening imbibing bottles of beer or shots of liquor, playing cards or mahjong at home with friends – think again…while there is still time.