Did I just die? Or later I will become a cyborg

The past five months have been most challenging. There was something happening in my body; my spirit kinna feels it, but I was not sure what was it until just two weeks ago. I need to rewind to late January. One weekend I was in Baguio for Music for 1000 Bicycles. While we were going about our preps, I was having bouts of dizziness and fatigue. It was not just tired; it was a bit more than usual. I didn't worry about it too much. I thought I was just anxious about the project. And also, I was confident that whatever happens, like a medical emergency, I will be OK, being in company of good friends. 

I had to do lab exams and scans when I got back to Manila. Routine check-up. It came out not too pretty. We had to rely on hormone meds for prophylactic purposes. I was too busy to notice February and March. I just remember it being too difficult. My family went back to Baguio for RnR/ intervention. Not sure it did anything. Waking up with panic attacks, spending the day in constant irritation and physical discomfort, was not an easy feat. It is a bad combination. And it drove me nuts.  But “there were no bodies found,” so I guess I did alright. 

Fast forward to early April. Few days before an out-of-town gig, massive headache woke me up, just the left side of my head. Few minutes after, I was nose bleeding. Doc had me monitor my BP for two weeks. It was going up and down. Most of the time, way down. Sleep, being my most important commodity was rare. And I was also already having asthma attacks that was not going away. But I was dismissing the situation as non-medical crisis (still) because the work situation was tensed. I was in hot waters. Turns out, I made something boil. And turns out I was the carcass in that 3months Tamoxifen massacre. But this is something I have to get back to, some other day. 

Things weren’t getting any better. I had to take 2 turns of 1-week work-from-home because it was already getting too difficult to move around. I felt like walking on shifting ground. Vertigo woke me up frequently. Then headaches were getting more frequent and longer too. Not sure about the pain. By that time, I have already turned my pain receptor off. And focused on not dying. I had to make sure I won’t die while staying in my studio (away from my family) or without even knowing what is wrong. 

Then a colleague died. We work very closely. We literally have an unfinished business (clerestory exhibit). Perhaps, I can say that I wouldn’t have done half the things I did in the College if not for his encouragement and "bullying". We were pretty close personally too, him having too many opinions about my Frankenstein of a “love life”. By the time he passed, I was in trouble, I was sad, and I was sick. But I was able to pull through that week.  

Not long after, I was watching TV, when all of sudden it became quiet. I could not hear anything. Until now I am not sure how long (or short) it was. I just remember being too scared. I asked myself, “did I just die?” I went to open the door to the garden. I remember thinking, “but I can still hold the knob. Ghosts can’t. or can they?” It was just after a rain, the bamboos are rustling, I remember seeing the movement. I am not sure now if I actually heard them. Then I saw a cat, it just paused and went on its way. I went back inside. Texted my sister (new arrangement that I had to text them when I wake up and go to bed, just so my family knows I’m alright). Then forced myself to sleep. I woke up just after midnight with chills. So I knew then that there’s an infection somewhere. I messaged my Onco. As soon as the day broke, I was already at the NKTI (my homespital since 2016) for another series of tests. 

It was a funky couple of days. We were looking at the wrong place. Until I reminded my Doc about the nosebleed incident. Few more tests and a new doctor (ENT), we found it. A new growth in my ears, just by the vestibular nerve and eardrum. Few days after we were able to confirm that there's no new cancer (via CA15-3). The growth is too small to cause real panic. But because of its location, and how important hearing and mobility is for me, this is significantly troublesome and at times undeniably debilitating. 

Since then, I have been on pain and balance management. It looks like it is working, since every week, I feel like I can move a little swifter without worrying that I will fall. I have also been entertaining experimental approach to manage this present challenge. One in particular proved to be very promising. A bit pricey, but promising. I would have to wear an apparatus that would recreate faux balance. So I can function "normally". 

While my earlier battle with reproductive cancer (aka Mutation Series) turned me into a mutant, it looks like this one, will turn me into something else.  

I wrote this blog because I learned from friends that there are people asking where I am, or what is happening with me. The search party might have a legit reason to look for me; or maybe they are just being noisy; or maybe that I owe them to know how I'm doing, to keep Karma in check. Regardless, this is my smoke signal, do what you will with it. 

In case I am needed, I have the same Gmail and the same +63 number for Viber/iMessage/ Whatsapp since 2010. 

The coming days will be busy for The L:sten:ng Biennial. What irony no. All these are happening a month before I need to work on this important project. As if asking me if I really know what is important; reminding me of what I chose to hold dear, and why. 

Anyway, I am here. I am alive. And maybe later, as soon as I get me PhP200,000, I will become a cyborg. Mutant-cyborg. Not bad a deal. 

15June2023, UP

[Update: In August we found out that it was a hormonal tumor and benign, which actually means that I do not need surgery. And there is a very good chance that it will disappear. It has shrunk to half from its size in June. My hearing isn't back to optimal, but I no longer have too much vertigo attacks, and I can walk more confidently unaided. Hopefully no more falling from stairs, and slipping in the bathroom.]

[PS. I learned from a friend, who is based in Singapore, that he had the same episode of sudden loss of hearing, in one occasion, while being in a very stressful situation. Like what doctors say, the body has its own warning or abort system to protect the integrity of the rest of its parts. Ang galing no!]