“Franklin Roosevelt once said, ‘When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.’ Twenty years ago, I thought I was on the end of my rope. I was 15 years old back then and was diagnosed with end stage renal disease (ESRD). Having just started high school, I thought my life would be completely altered. It wasn’t altered. I just made a slight detour in the road of life. Since then, I have had two failed transplants and three stints with peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis. Along the way, I had so many medical procedures that I lost track, but I never lost focus of my goal of living a full life.
My second transplant ended at quite the unfortunate time. I was in my last year in college, pursuing a double major in Computers Information Systems and International Business and on track to graduate with honors. I was readying myself to transition seamlessly to the professional world. I had my dreams and I was ready to fulfill them. Then, all of a sudden, after suffering pneumonia, I lost my transplanted kidney after only three years. I was devastated at first, but after looking at the shattered pieces of my life, I refused to allow my illness to sidetrack me from fulfilling my goals and decided to go back to peritoneal dialysis.
After taking a semester off, I continued my studies and eventually graduated from college with honors. I then proceeded to become a part of a management training program. I am currently working full time and supervising a team consisting of 50 employees. I refuse to be a burden to anyone, financial or otherwise.
I am also very active in the church community, serving as a member of the Holy Spirit Choir and as a leader of the young adult ministry. I am also an active partner with Gawad Kalinga, a Philippine-based anti-poverty movement launched in 2001 by Couples for Christ to care for worse-off Filipinos and survivors of natural disasters. To date, through several fundraising events, we have raised enough funds to sponsor a village, which can provide housing for 30 impoverished families. But Gawad Kalinga is about more than building houses for the poorest of the poor, it is the empowerment and upliftment of society’s chronically disadvantaged.
Next year, I am marrying my fiancé, Nerissa, and God willing, I will raise a family of my own.
Yes, I was dealt a bad hand when I was stricken with ESRD, but with the help of God and peritoneal dialysis, I played the hand that I was dealt and was able to rise above and live a full and meaningful life. The flexibility it afforded me also provided me the freedom to explore what life has in store. But with the help of my family and my PD caregivers, I am not done yet. Indeed, PD is the knot that made me hang on. But it is also the strong knot that allowed me to lengthen the rope of life and to see the exciting beauty that it has in store.”