Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My Stroke of Luck: On the Road to Recovery (3 of 3)

Taken a month after my mini-stroke.
With Tess, workout buddy and makeup artist
My husband once told me, "Mama, pag nagkakasakit ang tao, may dapat magbago." (Mama, sickness will prompt you to change). He left it there. I knew all along what he meant. Because he is Papadoms, he respected my time and space to make the change. Because I am Zarah Gagatiga, I have to experience a life threatening event to make the change.

I am in a period of adjustment. I can't say I am one hundred percent liking it. But, this is something I need to do. There are nights when I sleep with fear in my heart and no matter how hard I pray, the fear won't go away. It can be worse in the morning because I wake up with the same fear. It is the emotional and psychological aspect of surviving a stroke that gnaws at me. It is taking me a while to accept my vulnerability.

I know it has not been easy for my husband to accompany me on this road to recovery. I can be a drama queen. Really. But I think about his many sacrifices, his devotion to duty and his quiet endurance to take on life's hardships. This is no longer the time to act like a brat. I think about Zoe. How strong she has been. She saw me crumbling on a heap on the floor. She saw me rise up again and was there for me at the ER. She was practically the one who worked on my admission papers and medical registration in Makati Med. I share Nico's dreams and I wonder at how he could take things in stride. For one, he is in no rush to take on more subjects this summer and in the coming semester. He simply wants to run as the course dictates him so. That boy can listen to his heart. And he listens well.

So, I have to live. I need to live. I must be brave.

I have recently read somewhere that fear's purpose is to rob you of the joys of living a full life. Being afraid is close to not living at all. The other night, Zoe and I were talking about decision making. She explained to me her "calculations", her bases for arriving at a decision. That's it. That's that.

I know a change is imminent. My question to myself is this: what to lessen in my life now so I can enjoy it more? There are things that need to let go. Attachments bound and strung so deep that it needs to be cut. This not only about my workshops and speaking engagements. There is more to this than just handling a busy schedule. I heard a former co-teacher say that getting sick is a blessing because it is God's way to cleanse the spirit. This makes me think how healing could mean something else. It does not always mean being free of a physical ailment.

I will endure. Perhaps not as quiet as my husband's ways. I will be strong and yes, there will be days I will falter. I will to listen to my heart and to my body and allow them to run the course. It is time to be kind to myself.

There is so much grace to be had.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

My Stroke of Luck: Trying to Make Sense of It All (2 of 3)

I write this a month after my stroke. I am still trying to make sense of it all.

Something in my gut tells me that I have spread myself too thinly. I realize that slowing down is no longer an option. It is a must! I need to give up multi-tasking of work and responsibilities. I must learn how to pace my activities. It is difficult for me to say no, but I can't do everything. I must make wise choices on projects to pursue and advocacies to champion. And boy, these are not easy things to do. Knowing me, my first enemy is myself.

A week after I got out of the hospital, I had a follow up visit with my neurologist. I had a dozen of questions for her. The medical term for the stroke I had is Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), also known as mini-stroke. All my tests, from MRI to EEG, ultrasound of the carotid arteries to 2D echo didn't show negative impressions. My blood chemistry results, however, show a high cholesterol count and plaque build up in my arteries has begun.

On the bright side, TIA can be medically managed. Age and genetics are two factors that medical science cannot control though. A change in lifestyle and age appropriate choices can be done. So now, I am taking blood thinners and Lipitor. Drinking warm water diluted with honey and apple cider vinegar in the morning and before going to bed has been part of my routine. I have observed eating a low calorie diet since my weight loss program in 2014 (OplanBalik Alindog) but now, I strictly follow a white meat, low fat, veggie diet. I have lost 6 lbs already. It sounds drastic. Yes, the worrier that I am, I go "praning" on days when I feel so low. Maybe I need to walk or run again.

People say I am strong and courageous. But what they do not know is that, fear and anxiety still rest in my heart. I worry. A lot. I drive my husband crazy. My kids are exasperated with me at times. What comforts me is the thought that I am still alive. I go to bed at night praying for light, for healing, for God to grant me with a listening heart and a feeling mind. Honestly, there are times, when even this does not seem to work for me.

But I go on. I talk to my body organs. I apologize if I tire them out at the end of the day. I promise to take care of myself by following my neurologist's treatment plan for me. The nutrionist advised me to eat a low fat diet. I have religiously done so since I was discharged from Makati Medical Center on Friday night, three days after the stroke. Believe it or not, I was cleared fit to go back to work the following Monday. That was the only advise by my neurologist that I didn't follow. I was scared to push myself. I still am fearful of another attack.

Indeed, it is my luck to survive this stroke. But the road to recovery is another story.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Big Reveal: My Stroke of Luck (1 of 3)

In the morning of April 27, 2016, I woke up with a leg cramp. Strange, I told myself. The last time I had a cramp this bad was when I was seven months pregnant with Zoe. I shook my left leg, but the cramp won't go. It got worse. I felt numbness in my left leg. Gathering my will, I stood up to leave the bedroom so I can start my day. I made a couple of steps: right foot, then left.

I fumbled for support. The door handle. The wall. The nearest chair in the living the room. The numbness moved up my body and that brief electric shock that ran up my left arm surprised me. I knew I fell because, I found myself bent on my right knee and my head was so close to the living room floor. That was when I realized that something abnormal happened to me.

I am a very active person. I rarely fall and wobble. I did cross fit training for two years. I asked myself what went wrong.

The weight of the fall was tremendous. I lay on my back and that's when a throbbing pain made me realize that a lump was growing on my left head near my forehead. Zoe was sleeping in the next room so I crawled to where she was. I woke her up.

I wanted to go to the nearest hospital and have myself checked, but that week, there were deadlines to beat and meetings to attend to. Zoe awoke and she was surprised to find me breaking out in a cold sweat. I told her, I need to go to work. But I fell and my head was so painful. I lay on the floor for a couple of minutes to catch my breath. When I finally came to, I stood up, went to the bathroom and washed my face. The lump was staring right back at me when I looked at the bathroom mirror.

No to work. Yes to hospital.

I told Zoe to get ready. I called my husband and told him what happened and where I intended to go. I then called a family friend who drives a van so he can bring us to Makati Medical Center ASAP. My fall happened at 6.28AM. We were hitting the exit toll to SLEX at 7AM. All the while I was praying despite my fears. The painful lump on my head grew as big as my palm. I sent text messages to our HR, Head of School and school leadership telling them I couldn't go to work; that I am on my way to the ER of Makati Med; and that I need a lot of prayers. At 7.50AM, I was at the ER of Makati Medical Center. I narrated what happened to me to the nurse on duty. In less than three minutes, the nurse at the triage section endorsed me to Acute/Critical Care.

I was brought to a bed and a very young female doctor, whose name I can't remember now, asked me to smile, to stick out my tongue, to grasp her hands with mine, to press my hands on her hands as hard as I can. She proceeded with more tests on both my legs by asking me for feelings of numbness and weakness. I said none. She ran a finger on my legs, on my arms. I told her I can feel the sensation. She told me to lift my legs as she pressed on each, left then right. I responded. She told me to look and follow her forefinger from left to right. I did that too. She asked me to touch her forefinger using my own, then back to my nose several times. Got that right as well. We were like two kids playing a game.

When it was over, she said, "Ma'am, you had a stroke. It can happen within 48 hours so we need to run a set of routine tests for you. You have to be admitted. Now."

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Webinar Type Session at PNULISAA Conference 2016

Here is a video I used as an introduction to my webinar during the PNULISSA Conference 2016.


The PPT I made that has a recording of my voice to narrate each slide is in the linkStriking the Balance Both the video and PPT were used yesterday for my session in the PNULISAA Conference. An online chat over at Hangouts to accommodate questions followed afterwards.

I thank the officers of PNULISAA for making this webinar possible. Tomorrow, I will post a "big reveal" as to why I opted for this format for my session.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Striking the Balance: The Changing Landscape of Collection Development

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Learning With Technology: Snagit

Because technology is a tool for learning new things, I tried Snagit. It is an app extension available via Google Chrome. Using an old presentation in Google Drive, I recorded a narration to go along with the slides. It's fun!

This is just a trial, a sample  of good things to come using technology for teaching and instruction.

Take a look! Listen!

Throwback: 21st Century Collection Development for School Libraries

In 2012, I gave a talk on school library development. It was a joint session on reading campaigns and promotional activity by Candy Gourlay. The seminar-workshop was sponsored by Scholastic. Here is the presentation I made.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

An Online Auction: The Hunger Games

This came from Invaluable.com. An online auction on Hunger Games movie memorabilia. May the odds be ever in your favor!

This auction, The World of The Hunger Games Auction, starts at 11:00 AM PST on May 20 and will feature 450 noteworthy lots. The auction features props and outfits from all four of The Hunger Games films. Items include Katniss’ Mockingjay propaganda outfit from The Mockingjay - Part 1, Katniss’ District 12 hunting bow and signature brown leather jacket from The Mockingjay - Part 2, Peeta’s arena wetsuit from Catching Fire, as well as props used by characters President Snow, Gale Hawthorne, Effie Trinket, Haymitch Abernathy, and more.

But it’s time for The Reaping for these iconic pieces of memorabilia from The Hunger Games - an amazing opportunity for fans and movie enthusiasts alike to have a chance to own these props. Here are a few lots for example:

Lot 272: Katniss Everdeen Mockingjay propaganda ensemble from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
Estimated price: $15,000 - $20,000
Iconic “The Mockingjay” ensemble includes: a black canvas long sleeve zip-front jacket with interwoven nylon strap detail at the front, unique high collar piece descending into tiered shoulder pads, and integral black rubber forearm guard, a pair of black self-striped pants with cargo pockets retaining internal bias label marked “KE 5,” and a pair of black high-top boots with zipper and lace closures.

Lot 6: Katniss Everdeen hero wooden District 12 hunting bow from The Hunger Games
Estimated price: $8,000 - $12,000
Katniss’ signature hero wooden longbow used during her hunting trips with Gale in District 12. Measuring 59.75 in. long (unstrung), the longbow is crafted of dark stained wood and features wrapped twine reinforcement. Appears in The Hunger Games and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, as well as one of the final sequences in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2.

Lot 446: Katniss Everdeen hunting ensemble with bow from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
Estimated price: $12,000 - $15,000
Katniss’ instantly recognizable signature brown leather hunting jacket with elastic detail at sides and zipper front closure. Includes a long sleeve oatmeal henley retaining internal bias label marked “KE4,” and a pair of olive flat-front pants retaining internal bias label marked “KE 5,” an olive belt with metal buckle, and a pair of gray canvas Israeli low-lace boots.

Feel free to check out our other collectibles and movie props.

You can share any of this information as well as any photos from our site on your site. We’re really excited and hope to have you a part of such an exciting event!

I look forward to hearing from you.
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