Hi! I know most of you are wondering how I am. So I am posting it here para isahang kwento nalang hehe. Here’s my testimony which I shared last February 14 at our worship service and some more updates about me, which I am sharing with you.
Stomach pain has troubled me for the longest time. I’ve been always complaining about abdominal pain ever so often, especially when I’m at the height of stress or I’ve eaten something that aggravated the acid in my tummy. Sometimes the pain would spread to my back that walking or even sitting up for a few minutes is unbearable. Whenever attacks would happen, I’d go to the doctor and it will be dismissed as peptic ulcer. However, even with prescribed medications, the pain only progressed as the years went by. And this particular night was the worst abdominal pain I’ve ever experienced.
I was rushed to the emergency room of the Manila Doctors’ Hospital on the midnight of February 2 after experiencing intense headache and stomach pain that caused me to throw up and faint. I thought it was the end of me. When I gained consciousness, the pain was so excruciating that I was uttering “God, take me!” on top of my painful cries.”I’m ready to go home anyway then let it be tonight,” I thought. But who am I to ask God that? Instead, God gave me strength to endure the pain until I was wheeled into a private room where I will be further examined by specialists.
Even under medication, the pain in my middle and upper right abdomen never went away. Several tests were done on me to identify the cause of it. The ultrasound read that I had gallstone and one of them found its way in my biliary duct that obstructs the flow of bile which may be the reason for the pain. The doctors told us that I need to undergo ERCP, a procedure that will look into my innards to check the obstruction and which will also try to remove it. My gastro doctor explained to us the complications it will entail like pancreatitis and internal bleeding aside from the fact that he might not be able to take it out depending on the size and solidity of the gallstone; in that case, I would have to undergo an open gall bladder surgery.
It is in this period that I’ve appreciated all the more the meaning of being part of God’s spiritual family. Family and friends shared their own gallstone stories and advised us to seek second opinion. Praise the Lord for how we are all connected in many ways. I was able to seek advice from two good doctors who both told me that undergoing ERCP must be taken though there are other options such as Laparoscopy which won’t have to cut me open in case of a gall bladder operation. So we’ve decided to go with ERCP. However, this gastro doctor is not affiliated with my medical insurance. For the first time since I was confined, worry struck me, “Pa’no na yan, gastos namin?” But I stood in faith, telling God this setback. I prayed, “The one you love is sick, Lord, and I need ERCP to check the cause of pain so that they would know how to address it. I believe you are sovereign and your favor is with me, I will rest in you.” Instantly, worry left me. The evening before the procedure, the insurance agent called us and said that the doctor accredited our health card and we don’t have to worry about the expenses of the procedure. Isn’t God faithful?
The results came back and said that though there were dilatations in the duct, there is no stone! The gastro doctor just placed a stent in me to help the bile to flow since the passageway was inflamed. The surgeon on standby, having no reason to operate on me, cleared me from gall bladder surgery. Hallelujah! God can still cause miracles even to this day. Everybody praying with us praised the Lord for this good news and we were all in high spirits for what God has done. However, the pain remained; even more agonizing than in the days before the procedure. There is no stone that could cause it and the stent should have helped ease the pain at least. They said MRI is needed so that they can see more clearly the bladder and the biliary duct to check why there’s still pain. But the hospital didn’t have the facility and they had to look for another hospital with MRI equipment. It was already the weekend and therefore if the facility is available even in near hospitals, we may have to wait longer to be accommodated. As I lay on the bed, rest evaded me. Literal na namimilipit ako sa sakit. Several pain killers were injected but it would only provide temporary relief. Minutes after, I would writhe again in agonizing pain. I knew this is no longer physical. I am in spiritual warfare. I know it is the enemy who is causing this on me.
Prior to this event, I was at the peak of doing the Lord’s work. Satan is furious because the National Bible Week that happened in January 25-31 proved to be very successful as many Filipinos actively participated in the celebration. Catholics and Protestants, in unity, enthroned the Word of God and His Word was spoken, heard, and declared all over the country. God’s faithful answer to my request during my more than a week of prayer and fasting. God never inflicts his children with sickness. And Satan knows that he can only afflict our physical bodies but never crush our spirits. 2 Cor. 4:8 said “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed but we don’t give up and quit.” Having realized this, I did not allow the enemy to discourage me. Aren’t I more than a conqueror, for he who is in me is greater than he who is in the world? And so whenever intense pain attacks, as we wait for the doctor’s next instruction, I kept declaring, “Lord I will praise you even in pain!”
In every painful episode, it was my mom I was most concerned about. I saw how helpless she felt whenever I would go through each attack. But I thank the Lord for her prayerful spirit. I believe that God honored her faith as I was being healed. That Monday morning, Mama was reminded of James 1:5 through her devotion, “If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.” With that, my mom was strengthened by the Lord and was even given boldness as she spoke to the doctor. She asserted to have a CT scan instead of MRI. The doctor agreed and the next day I was prepared for the procedure.
According to the CT scan, I have a Type 1 choledochal cyst in the biliary duct that has grown to about 4cm. This causes the blockage of the bile that resulted to the abnormal size of my gall bladder. Therefore, whenever the bile is having difficulty flowing, the pain would occur. It is congenital, said the hepatobiliary doctor who was a recent add to the already team of 5 doctors looking into my case. He said there is no other way to take it out but through excision and that the gall bladder has to go with it as well. If I choose to defer the surgery, it would only complicate the condition of the cyst as well as my bladder. Mama and I decided right there to go with the operation. God’s provision of wisdom and favor was with us that day. Since the doctor cannot operate on me until next week, he said I may choose to be discharged and rest at home and be re-admitted for the surgery. I asked kung saan pa syang hospital nagpapractice. It turns out he is also affiliated with PGH, Asian Medical and St. Luke’s among many others. Since he is basically the specialist who will now be taking over my case, with my Papa’s consent, we preferred to go to PGH as it was strategically closer to where we live, much more affordable and hold the best roster of doctors in the country. And to our gratefulness, the doctor said he will be the one to take care of all the hospital reservations needed. God is really amazing.
Even the maxing out of my health card proved to be part of God’s plan. Had they known sooner that it was congenital, none of the hospital expenses will be covered since it is a pre-existing disease. Grabe ang Panginoon talaga, nakakatuwa! Now shouldering all the excess hospital costs, God still proved himself to be a Jehovah Jireh. Blessing upon blessing just poured out. We are all in awe. And so tomorrow, I will be admitted to PGH to prepare me for my Wednesday surgery. It is a major and meticulous operation according to the doctor. But I and my family are not troubled. For we believe that God is with us. We have claimed and believed in Philippians 4:6-7 and that peace is what we have in our hearts now.
I would like to take this time to thank all of you for the blessings and encouragement you sent us through your company, visits, texts, phone calls, provision and earnest prayers during this entire ordeal. God knows who you are and we pray that the Lord will return your goodness a hundred fold, in Jesus’ name. Please do keep praying for me as I claim Jeremiah 30:17, “I will give you back your health and heal your wounds, says the Lord.” After this, I will carry on and never stop. I will declare the Word of God and make him known. People need to know our great God. I also want them to experience the same joy I have in my heart because he is my Lord. The enemy may try to cause yet another affliction, but I will not back down. Bring it on! I am not afraid because Jesus has given me victory. Paul reminds the believers in 2 Cor. 4:7, 11, “But this special treasure—this light and power that now shine within us—is held in perishable containers, that is, in our weak bodies. So everyone can see that our glorious power is from God and is not our own… Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be obvious in our dying bodies.” What amazing privilege to be used by Him! After this, Pastor Dave will discuss the earlier verses of this portion so that we will be encouraged more and won’t lose heart. In all that has happened, to God be all glory and praise for I live for Him alone. Good morning!
Right now I am out of the hospital and currently recovering at home in Laguna. I am doing well sans my gall bladder and the cyst that has kept me in pain for years. All systems are working properly. I can also eat full meals, though in smaller portions still. I can move around and sit up without assistance. Praise God for his healing! I am grateful to God also for Dr. Crisostomo Arcilla Jr. who did the surgery and has given us favor in my entire 9-day confinement in PGH. He has truly been a blessing to me and my family.
Surely I have personally witnessed God’s hand upon us in this situation. I never could imagine going through it without Jesus. I am glad he is my Lord and he loves me. Again, thank you to everyone who prayed with us, your faith has glorified the Lord. I will see you all very soon! To my family who supported and looked after me, may the Lord bless you indeed and strengthen you. And to Daniel, in sickness or in health, you were there—thank you for taking care of me… I love you.