Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I’m the bomb!

Doctor X: You’ve got aneurysm.

Me: a new what?

Aneurysm. Defined by Wikipedia as a localized, blood-filled balloon-like bulge in the wall of a blood vessel, they can commonly occur in arteries at the base of the brain and an aortic aneurysm occurs in the main artery carrying blood from the left ventricle of the heart.

Doctor X: When its size increases, there is a significant risk of rupture, resulting in severe hemorrhage, other complications or death. Aneurysms can be hereditary or caused by disease, both of which cause the wall of the blood vessel to weaken....

I was swiftly brought back to four years ago when they said I had a tumor in my brain that they had to take out. Surreal. I did not know how to channel my reactions – these things only happen in movies. Since when did I get on the Truman Show?

Avant art? No. This is a CT Angiogram of my cerebral arteries.
Doctor X: You have a 2% risk of rupture and it will increase at that rate every year that you leave it alone…

A quick recount of what happened since then came in a blur: my only son then was just about to turn 3. I cried every night in Max’s arms thinking he was too young to be left alone without a Mom. My husband, who was not a very prayerful person, could be found sleeping with a rosary in his hands. My sister did all she could to give my husband much needed assistance in keeping watch in the hospital. I knew she still went to work in the mornings. My bestfriend Carmie's dream of sharing her blood with me almost materialized, except that our blood types don't match. Nevertheless, she went through with it -- her first and last blood donation, as it turned out -- and nearly passed out. My parents were the last to know, but they kept my son company for a week while Max shuttled back and forth to the hospital.

Doctor X: Your options will be to either do a CT angiogram, which is the best non-invasive method to obtain a complete comprehensive evaluation of the walls ….

One officemate dubbed me as a walking miracle when I went back to work three weeks after the surgery – much faster than when I had my recovery period for my CS operation for Malakai. But heck, when you think about it, yes, they opened up no less than my head, took out something and stitched me up again. That’s like one of the more delicate parts of the human body.

I cringed before at the thought of getting ripped open to get a baby out. But heck, I bet millions go through this everyday (especially in China), but women wake up and walk out carrying their little bundles after a couple of days in the hospital. But how many people do you know had their heads cracked open and shut close? Masakit yun ha! And I’m cringing just thinking about it now.

Doctor Y: I can't tell you what we can do just yet until we do one more test – one that’s more reliable…

Me (thinking): Another one?!?!!! Jesus Lord!

Every doctor I spoke to unanimously agreed on what my source of stress was. It was over a decade of eating deadlines for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is years upon years of managing the universe even if things are beyond my control. It is the long thread of happy clients I have serviced, and the equally long string of colleagues I’ve had mental jousts with. It’s the roller coaster ride on loop mode that I’ve been on since the magic of advertising lured me into its realm. 


I remember being pregnant with Malakai and wondering at an hour past midnight where I’m supposed to get tables and chairs for a shoot happening the very next day. And how I’ve conducted media meetings with a male planner while breastfeeding the little one (of course, he didn’t know). Or how, way after my officemates have retired for the night, I am still on calls with my regional counterparts to sit through an offline material. I’ve given up countless Holy Weeks and Christmases, holidays and special occasions to meet the same demands of my clients.

Aren’t I the masochist? I guess. But who cares? My advertising life was my choice and I loved every minute of it.

I met several great minds and wonderful souls in this business: my best friend of 17 years; my husband of 7 years; people I’ve fought badly and won over through 8 agencies, big and small; first loves and last loves; officemates who have become part of must-have-lunches every year. And I’ve been privileged to have worked with the movers and shakers in the industry – sadly, to the newbies, they are legends, destined for the advertising history books. Its an intricate tapestry, but I can die a thousand deaths and I’d still choose this stressful world in a heartbeat.

Yet, this is what I get for my dedication for the life I chose – two high risk pregnancies, a meningioma that was successfully obliterated a few years back (at least, up until it grows again)…and a new hurdle to triumph over.

So I’m a ticking bomb...so what? Every night that I lay down to rest, I am enveloped by two men who love me for everything that I am, and I am comforted by the thought of great friends (most of whom are from this crazy industry) who are likewise looking out for me.

I may be the bomb, but I’ve been there… I’ve done that…

Here and now is a new reason for living.