JIVE, Therapy & Horses, My Heartbreak

June & July weren’t exactly good months for me. A whirlwind of some sort. Heartbreaking even, that will forever alter my well being. There is not a day that I do not think of her. I try to put a brave front and face what used to be my almost daily grind and of course, the need to go on with my daily life. I had to give up Jive. My horse. My baby. My key to recovery (physically, emotionally, and psychologically), my happiness, that I can really call my own. My chest tightens just thinking about it and tears start to fill the brim of my eyes. MANY will say that I’m just overreacting or being a brat. I’m still trying to wrap around the thought of why people don’t understand how much Jive means to me. Only a good handful of people understand this. Yes, I admit that I didn’t “work” hard enough to be able to afford her upkeep. Believe me, I tried. I spent months talking to other riders, parents and other people who would want to half-stable Jive, a good learning horse, but because of her age, most said that it was time to retire her. My own mother even said to put her to sleep but when she found out that it would cost at least P25,000 or more to do so, she kept quiet. Jive still has a few good years on her, she’s a tough girl. I could still ride and make use of being the only accredited FEI ParaEquestrian in the country and who knows, join more competitions and represent our country.

The connotation that riding is such an expensive sport is true. It is. BUT there are other sports that cost much more. Do you have an emotional and physical relationship with you golf clubs, scuba diving gear, bikes, etc? Does your gear respond to your touch? I didn’t think so.

My mother keeps shoving up my ass of how I need to work, find a regular nine to five job, etc. My mother also forgets that I have a medical condition that could be fatal if i get too stressed which I have been, trying to make ends meet. She forgets too that I have medical screws inside my ankle area that helps me walk better. As much as I want to bike everyday for at least an hour, I have a feeling that the screws inside my paralyzed leg have been misaligned because my ankle is starting to veer to one side again. No severe pain at all which is a big bonus. I don’t have any pain or pressure when I ride. Again, my mother NEVER sees my riding or my love of Jive as something beneficial in all aspects rather a big burden, a useless expense. Since my mother and I NEVER see eye t eye on this, I have become an expert of walking away once she brings up this topic. Rude, yes but it’s the only way to keep the peace and be civil.

“Physically, horses can help people gain greater mobility, a stronger sense of balance, better sensory skills, and improved neurological function. Riding a horse benefits ill or injured people who have trouble walking (such as stroke victims and those suffering multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy) because a horse’s gait has a rhythm that is strikingly similar to that of a human being. After spending some time riding a horse, people may walk better on their own. People who need help with their sensory skills or neurological functioning (such as those with autism or people who’ve suffered brain injuries in accidents) often improve after working with horses.

Emotionally, horses can help people recover from trauma, so people with a variety of psychological needs (such as abused children and soldiers suffering from post traumatic stress disorder) spend time enjoying horses’ company and taking care of them to build bonds that give them the courage to eventually build stronger relationships with other people. The strong yet gentle demeanor of horses encourages people to talk openly with them about their thoughts and feelings, and horses respond with much-needed listening and unconditional love.”

If you come across anything about how horses are both beneficial and therapeutic ones well being, feel free to get in touch with me. I’m a living proof of how riding and horses has helped me.

Cruisin’

It’s been a while since I posted anything here. It’s been a whirlwind month I tell ya. No need to dwell on the drama of everyday life. “Just be civil but continue to work towards your goal.” as a friend pointed out. It got me thinking, WHAT IS MY GOAL?

I’ve have been through a lot over the years and honestly, it’s been the things that people take for granted that have become my goal or goals. Tiny steps, baby steps, big steps as long as I keep stepping (literally) forward. That was my goal. 13 years in the making and still counting. Thing is this, the reality of LIFE sets in and you realize that you are way behind.

I didn’t finish college. I had one semester left of useless courses and dropped out before the school (an all girls Catholic school) could kick me out. Looking back, I swear, school was a joke. I did enjoy my course (Advertising & PR) and everything that came with it. I enjoyed my friends, whom I still get in touch with today. BUT after what I went through, just to be alive was enough for me.

Experiences in life are not taught in school or in any book for that matter. One has to experience it themselves to truly understand the gravity of each situation. Therefore, the saying “I know how it feels” deems void. For one will ever know what if feels like to be in each others’ shoes for the mere fact that we are all individuals and cope in various ways.

The other day, I had to rush to Market!Market! and buy 5 boxes for Bibingkinitan for my son’s class presentation about Filipino food. I’m pretty sure he chose Bibingka so that he could eat it himself afterwards. Anyway, it took more than an hour for the 5 boxes to be ready. In that hour, I made friends with strangers all waiting for the Bibingka. No way was I going to let others get ahead of me knowing that I fell in line and waited for my turn. So, I gave them a big smile and said, “Sorry. I was in line first.” I guess they noticed that I was carrying a crutch and asked why. The magical question of WHY.

After sharing my story, two women were in tears. I felt sorry for them and apologized that I didn’t mean to make them cry. They were just so moved by it I guess. Each time this happens, I ask myself, WHAT IS MY PURPOSE? Was I really made to survive to simple share my story?

My Life Forever Altered; July 6, 1999

It’s the time of the year when I usually feel nostalgic. It’s an anniversary and the day that my son was born. I’ve been wanting to compile the letters and well wishes of those who visited me in the hospital almost 13 years ago. Trying to clean out my drawers, I found these two emails from Monica Llamas, one of my oldest, dearest, best friend and Mel Henson, a batch mate, head of our student council then. I’ll write something more apt later on but for now the email she sent out. Thank you my love.

7 July 1999
Subject: Bettina needs your prayers.

Hi everyone,
My apologies to those who are getting this email a second time – I just thought I’d send it to everyone, so we can all say as many prayers for Bettina as possible. If you have know batchmates who aren’t in my mailing list, please forward this email to them as well.
Thanks.
Mel

Hello everyone, Bettina del Rosario is in the hospital as of this moment undergoing an operation and she needs your prayers. She experienced a brain aneurysm while giving birth to her baby via c-section last night. She is in a coma right now. She needs blood and she needs your prayers. She is at Makati Medical Center if you should decide to visit or give blood.

Thank you. Monica

11 July 1999
Subject: Bettina del Rosario

Dear People,
Most of you have been informed about the condition of our friend Bettina del Rosario. For those who don’t yet, Bettina gave birth to a cute little boy named Luis Xavier last July 6. He is a month shy from being full term but he is a vision of strength, his mother should be proud. Unfortunately, Bettina isn’t well. The next day she was discovered to have a hematoma in the left side of her brain and they needed to operate on her to relieve the pressure. It was a very long Wednesday but Bettina miraculously survived. The family was told that she would be observed for the next five days and if she makes it then she would have a good chance of surviving. She is now at the ICU of Makati Medical Center. It’s day four now and so far she has been responding well to people. She squeezes hands in response to questions and yesterday (Saturday) she opened her eyes every so often. We are all hoping for the best.

She still needs your continued prayers because she has a long way to go. Please pass this e-mail to others. Our prayers seem to be working because even the doctors are surprised with how good she is doing.

Also, to those and who know people who are AB+ please make yourself known. Bettina does not need blood as of the moment but when she does we would like to be able to contact those who are able to give blood.

Keep on praying and hoping.,
Monica

Reading the emails made me laugh because I don’t remember a thing especially when Monica said that I opened my eyes and even squeezed hands as a response. All I know was that I was in a coma for 10 days and took about a month to really know my bearings. I have a notebook where everyone who visited wrote notes and all. When my mom would read them to me, I actually felt bad in the sense that I didn’t have much visitors as depicted in this notes. Apparently, I was not allowed visitors except immediate family and close friends as not to get contaminated and for me to recover asap. This will be a first of a series regarding the initial weeks or months of what it was really like.

Enjoy.
For the FULL STORY, Please visit Just an UDDER day in Paradise – click HERE

Alas… some REST

I look forward to these days where I can spend the day doing as I please. I know I have to keep myself busy. That’s easy. Basically REST simply means, not leaving the house.

Last Monday, I met up with Mia Vorbeck at the Chukker to talk and share about my experience. Apparently, a year ago, her 9 year old son Felipe had AVM too. All this time, she has been looking for someone to talk to and ask questions of how she can help her son improve and better himself in terms of coping with his disability as well. I am no doctor or medical practitioner. I only speak of what I know and what I experience. I only speak of what I did, how people have helped me, and what I have been doing to these past years. It’s been a long road and just like in a journey, there are ups and downs, potholes and bumps. After sharing all this with Mia and our common friend Corina, we were all in tears. I broke down because, I saw how Mia has been holding herself up these past years. Finally she was able to let go. That’s something ya?

Change is inevitable. In life there are only two things you can do. Accept and move on. The wheels may turn slower or faster for some. What is important is that they turn forward. It took me a while to accept my fate. It took me a while to accept that I was a disabled. That things were going to be different. But it didn’t mean that things were going to be worst. I could have chosen things to be worst or sulk down in a corner and pity myself. But I think I’m too proud (good and bad) to succumb to such. I felt that I had to prove to everyone that I could and will rise above my disability. At the same time, to give myself ample time to do things at my own pace.

Many believe that all this horoscope and astrological readings are pure bull but the daily readings hit the spot right on. It’s actually scary. In a way, I have understood myself better why I am this way. Why I can be so intense, so bullheaded, so fearless, at the same time worst than a lethargic worm. I contradict myself. Hahaha. Yes that’s me. There are intense days and there are not-a-care-in-the-world days. “JUST LET ME BE!!” as a friend acclaimed yesterday.

I want this tattoo together with a dragon…. I am after all a LIBRA-SCORPION Born in the year of the FIRE DRAGON.

Week Two and Cups of Tea

I honestly do not know where the week went. Seriously trying to think. Haha. My mind has been wandering again. Been spending my afternoons at the stables, bringing treats for Jive and just checking up on her. I went riding again Wednesday, which has been my regular schedule since before. Lately, I find myself like a broken record telling “my story” to the bystanders or parents of riding students. Don’t get me wrong, I really think it’s my mission to share my experience. But I’m tired of listening to myself. Hahahaha. It’s inevitable because the first thing that people notice about me is walking around with a crutch/cane always presuming that I broke something or injured myself. Because of that I have to narrate everything. I mentioned to a friend once that I should go around with a tape recorder and just play it when needed. Haha.

Last Wednesday, a mother of one of the riders came up to me, asking if I could talk or meet with her friend whose son had something similar to what I had. An AVM or Arteriovenous Malformation. But her son had several in the brain as she stated. Yikes. Being such a small community, I found out that this mother is the mother of my son’s former tennis buddy. We have set a meeting for Monday afternoon over a cup of coffee. That same day, after just smiling and saying hello to a rider who I do not know, I shared the story to her again. A broken record I tell you. Haha. Well, at least I was able to help her in a small way. She was wondering why she met me that particular time knowing that she was having such a bad day. Even on social media, a follower said that my experience made her believe that there is a God. That’s one thing I never let go of. My faith. God moves in mysterious ways.


I almost fell off the horse because Jive reared. She wasn’t listening to my leg commands so I whipped/tapped her a little stronger than usual. She got mad. What a bruha! But she realized her mistake because she behaved right after. Her mind was probably wandering as well. Funny girl. My tita saw it and told me to be careful. Have to make sure Jive is lunged before I ride just to be safe.

I think I have been watching The Mentalist every night before I sleep. I even have a rolling boil pot of water ready for my tea nightcap in my bathroom. Hahaha. Very Patrick Jane with his cup of tea in his cerulean cup. We all know the benefits of tea right? My favorite is from YOGI Green Tea Rejuvenation with tones of Lemongrass and Spearmint. Simply delish. A restful calming slumber is a sure night cap drink. Yes, I ran out of Chocolate Mushroom Hot Cocoa. Cheers to that!