Thursday, October 6, 2011


in 2007, i joined philippine star's essay-writing contest and won. my article was published on september 2. it was about being brokenhearted, being bitter, and moving on.

four years after, i got featured in the october 3 issue of philippine star. my doctor had a column and she mentioned my case and included my story...

here's what i wrote...

Life can really be unpredictable. One minute, you’re chatting and having fun with your friends, the next minute, you’re being wheeled in to the emergency room of a hospital before finally falling into deep stupor.

That was what happened to me one fateful night in January of this year. I had late dinner with my friends from work, stayed in the office till one in the morning, went home, and just when I was about to go to sleep, it happened – the worst headache of my life.

I can’t describe how it felt – but I just knew that it was the worst headache of my life. I felt dizzy and feared I would pass out anytime. I decided to lie down and sleep on it but the pain worsened. I stood up and started throwing up. I didn’t really know what I was going through but I was certain that it was something serious, life-threatening, perhaps, and that I had to go to the hospital that very minute.

Suffering from headache is the most common nervous system disorder. We all have them in different types and forms – migraine, tension headache, headache due to hang over, headache caused by hunger and dehydration, etc. I have experienced all types of headaches and I usually try to get rid of the discomfort by taking pain killers. But then the headache I felt that time was new to me. The pain was excruciating, as though my head just exploded, followed by nausea and diarrhea. So I mustered all my remaining strength to call a friend who was living in the same building and ask for help.

Everything was a blur after that phone call. I have vague recollection of my friend telling me that he was going to bring me to St Luke’s Medical Center, Quezon City. I wanted to oppose and suggest another hospital but I was too weak to talk or even just open my eyes so I acquiesced. I remember being wheeled in to the emergency room of St Luke’s as the doctor and nurses attended to me and asked questions. And then I lost consciousness. And woke up four days after.

I was told that I had a massive subarachnoid hemorrhage secondary to ruptured aneurysm. I was brought immediately to the Neurocritical Care Unit (NCCU), where I was slowly deteriorating and falling into coma. In lay man’s term, an artery in my brain burst and was bleeding. And if the bleeding could not be controlled, I would die.

But I didn’t.

Days after I was conscious and sober enough to understand how critical my situation was, I learned that St Luke’s is the first hospital in the Philippines that has NCCU with a dedicated neuro-intensivist. Recently headed and directed by Dr Geraldine Mariano, the NCCU is a unit of St Luke’s that was created to specialize in acute brain injuries and other severe neurological ailments.

I was in the NCCU for two weeks and I underwent craniotomy to clip the ruptured aneurysm under neurosurgeon Dr Peter Rivera. And one week after my surgery, I was walking out of the hospital on my own two feet.

Doctors said it was a miracle that I survived without impairment. Two months after my surgery, I reported to work, and people were saying it’s as though nothing happened to me… I was back to my normal self. And there were no indications that I suffered a massive stroke and almost died.

Indeed, it wasn’t my time yet. And God certainly used people and institutions as His instruments to interfere and keep me alive. Seven months after that incident, here I am, wondering, had I been brought to another hospital, would I still be alive right now? Without the immediate intervention by the NCCU and the implementation of revolutionary and modern techniques and protocol, would I be able to pound on my keyboards and write this article?

I am a strong and agile woman in my 30s and yet I had a stroke and almost died. The series of headaches were warning signs that I ignored and almost caused me my life. I am sharing my story with you as a reminder that little things such as headaches can be life-threatening.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It wasn't your time indeed. A friend of mine recently passed away (also in his 30's) because of aneurysm. You're very lucky to be given this chance. God has plans for us.. Always bigger than what we planned for ourselves. I came across ur blog because I am an avid viewer of ur teleserye MBG.. And I don't even watch teleseryes before. I just got hooked like most of it's viewers. It may have been the lead(s) charisma but I personally think the issues are somewhat realistic (daddy issues, wanting to be accepted, how true love can never be dictated by rationalism, by working hard to attain success).. I wana say thank you for being an inspiration. Ur writing as reflected has touched
people. Now, I'm not only a fan of MBG but I'm also ur fan as well. Keep the faith ms. Noreen. God bless u always! (PurpleS)