Lupus Story: Erika Valdueza

I would like to share my story especially to those who have already lost hope in reaching their dreams because of rejections, discouragements, and illness.

Six years ago, I dreamed of becoming a planetary scientist. I know that such dream is unusual in the Philippines. Because I was young and idealistic then, I still entered graduate school in UP Diliman, hoping that I can receive support and encouragement from my professors. Unfortunately for the next 2 years, I only received rejections and discouragements. One of them even told me that I was born in the wrong country for this dream. Disheartened, I quitted graduate school and decided to work in the industry. Two years after, I received a scholarship to study in Europe and communicated with a professor who will help me pursue a research thesis related to planetary science. When I was about to reach this dream, I got sick. I never expected that I’ll acquire a chronic illness. No one in my family has or had Lupus.

 

I was diagnosed with SLE with Stage 4 Nephritis in September 2015 when I was about to start my thesis. It was a shock to me and to my family. That was also the first time I heard about Lupus. Despite this very sad situation, I am very grateful to God that He was able to bring my dad and my boyfriend to take care of me while I underwent blood transfusion and chemotherapy for 3 months in Europe. It’s very hard to get sick in a foreign country, but I’m thankful that God provided everything – from people to finances – to help me fight and survive. After my chemotherapy, I returned to the Philippines to recover, but still tried to do my thesis whenever I have the strength. I was advised to rest and recover for one year (which means I need to stop my studies for a year!), but by faith I said I don’t need to rest for a year. I won’t let an illness stop me for reaching my dream. And so after only 2 months of rest in the Philippines, I went back to Europe on my own to finish my thesis while I took care of my health. By March, I learned that my Lupus was already in remission and my kidney function has greatly improved. Early last month, I defended my dream research thesis and finally earned my MSc degree. I am now back in the Philippines for full recovery.

Life will definitely bombard you with problems and even illnesses to stop you from reaching your dreams. However, as long as you keep a positive outlook in life despite the adversity and you strongly believe in Him, nothing is impossible. I survived and recovered quickly because of the love and support of my loved ones, strong faith, and prayers. So to people who have chronic illness and to those who are discouraged and rejected, don’t ever lose that hope. Keep fighting and no matter what the circumstances are, believe that there is someone up there who will take care of everything for you.

To God be the glory!

To the stars!

 

Check Erika’s original post here

Share your Lupus story and e-mail it to info@hopeforlupus.org.ph

Misis ni Mark Villar may advocacy sa kanyang sakit na Lupus

Misis ni Mark Villar may advocacy sa kanyang sakit na Lupus By Lolit Solis (Phil Star)

Published on November 29, 2016

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Tungkol sa Lupus disease ang advocacy ni Diwa Party-list House Representative Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, ang loving wife ni DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.

May Lupus si Mama Emy kaya ‘yon ang napili niya na advocacy. Pareho sila ng young American star na si Selena Gomez na may lupus kaya bakasyon muna ito sa entertainment scene.

May plano si Mama Emy na humarap sa mga miyembro ng entertainment press para ipaliwanag ang advocacy niya at magkaroon ng sapat na kaalaman ang madlang-bayan tungkol sa karamdaman na naging sakit din ni late President Ferdinand Marcos.

DIWA Rep. Emmeline Villar nananawagan sa mga artistang may Lupus na lumutang

DIWA Rep. Emmeline Villar nananawagan sa mga artistang may Lupus na lumutang By Vinia Vivar (Pang Masa)

Published on December 2, 2016

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Hindi pala biro ang hirap na pinagdaanan ng asawa ni Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar na si DIWA (Democra­tic Independent Workers Association) Representative Emmeline Aglipay-Villar sa kanyang sakit na Lupus na nagsimula noong dalaga pa siya.

Humarap sa press conference si Rep. Villar kahapon para sa kanyang itinayong foundation, ang Hope for Lupus na magkakaroong launching ngayong Dec. 4 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Walang gamot sa sakit na Lupus at nakakamatay din ito pero si Rep. Villar ang living testimony na pwedeng maka-survive at bumuti ang kalagayan lalo pa nga’t may makabagong medicine na raw tayo dito.

“The reason why I started this advocacy for awareness about Lupus is because I have Lupus myself,” simula ni Cong. Villar.

Na-diagnose siya ng Lupus noong 2007, when she was 25 years old at talagang dumating sa puntong puro pantal ang kanyang buong katawan na napaka-painful daw, halos hindi na rin daw siya makalakad dahil namamaga ang kanyang mga tuhod pati na ang mga paa, baywang, at likod. Hindi siya makahiga, hindi makaupo nang maayos dahil masakit daw talaga. Pati mga daliri raw niya ay na-deform at hindi na rin siya makapagtrabaho.

I started losing my hair. It started na kasing-laki lang ng pencil eraser na bilog-bilog. Then, it became like parang size ng cookies or size ng baso, then it became na magkakatabi na sila na ganu’n hanggang sa natira na lang sa hair ko, konting-konti na lang. I had to wear wig,” kwento niya.

Pati ang kidney at heart niya ay naapektuhan na at marami pang parte ng kanyang katawan. Pero dahil na rin siguro sa by nature ay isa siyang strong woman, she was able to cope with everything and live her life as normally as she can.

“Sabi naman ng doctor, it’s manageable. I just need to stay away from stress, that’s one, stay away from the sun, that’s another. ‘Pag na-expose ako sa sun, bumababa ‘yung platelet ko. Niloloko nga ako parati ni Mark na bampira raw ako,” kwento pa niya.

Right medication at healthy lifestyle raw ang ilan sa dapat gawin ng may sakit na Lupus at ito ang nais niyang ipaalam kaya itinatag niya ang Hope for Lupus.

To raise awareness about Lupus, first is the identification of the diseases and for proper treatment of those who have it. Second is to provide support to people with Lupus and their families. And then, third is to help connect rheumatologists to family practitioners and barangay centers because usually, when people go to their family doctor or to the barangay health center, or even to the ER (emergency room), they can refer them to the right people.”

In the future ay balak din daw nilang tumulong sa pagpapaaral ng mga gustong maging rheumatologist dahil konti lang daw ang may ganitong propesyon dito sa Pilipinas.

“But our foundation is mainly for awareness about Lupus,” she said.

Sa showbiz ay wala pa raw siyang alam na celebrity na may Lupus na makakatulong pa sana lalo sa kanila to create awareness.

“I hope na nga someone who has Lupus would step up and help me in this advocacy because I really want to raise awareness about Lupus and I hope, if we get the funds, we can do massive campaign about it like on TV and social media,” she said.

Sa launching on Dec. 4 ay magkakaroon din daw sila ng exhibit entitled Lupus Warriors and a musical play entitled Mabining Mandirigma by Nicanor Tiongson in partnership with the University of the Philippines- PGH’s Rheumatology Department. All proceeds with be given to the Bridging Lupus Fun for the benefit of indigent lupus patients in PGH.

REP. EMMELINE VILLAR, MAS BAGAY NA TV HOST

REP. EMMELINE VILLAR, MAS BAGAY NA TV HOST By Aster Amoyo (Journal Online)

Published on December 3, 2016

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MARAMI ang nagsasabi na ang  misis ni DPWH Secretary Mark Villar na si Partylist representative Emmeline Aglipay-Villar ay mas bagay maging talk show host kesa isang congresswoman.

Sa isang presscon recently na ginanap sa Ka Tunying’s in Timog Avenue, Quezon City para sa foundation na itinatag niya na may kinalaman sa sakit na lupus, pinahanga niya ang entertainment media hindi lamang dahil sa kanyang pag-amin na siya’y maysakit ng lupus kundi dahil napaka-articulate nitong magsalita.  Hindi naman ito kataka-taka dahil isa siyang abogada.

Bukod sa pagiging anak ni dating PNP Chief Edgardo Aglipay, si Congresswoman Villar ay first cousin ng yumaong matinee idol na si Rico Yan.

Ang ina ni Cong. Villar at ama ng yumaong actor ay magkapatid making them first cousins.

Taong 2007 nang magkasakit ng lupus si Cong. Villar, isang sakit na kung sa iba ito dumapo ay mawawalan na ng ganang mabuhay.

Bukod sa nalugas ang mga buhok ni Cong. Villar, hindi umano kaaya-aya ang kanyang mukha at buong katawan dahil pantal-pantal ang mga ito at namaga umano ang mga kamay at paa  dahil apektado na umano ang iba’t iba niyang vital organs sa katawan.

Ganunpaman, naging matapang ang kongresista na harapin ang  dumapong sakit sa kanya,

Natuto umano siyang gumamit ng wig.

Nakilala ni Cong. Villar ang kanyang mister na si Sec. Mark Villar sa Kongreso. Pero inamin nito na sa simula ay walang gaanong atraksyon ang Cabinet secretary sa kanya. Gayunman, naging matiyaga raw ito sa panunuyo sa kanya.  At ang maganda pa, tinanggap siya sa kabila ng kanyang naging karamdaman.

Bago pa man daw sila naging magkasintahan ay sinabi na niya kay Sec. Villar na baka hindi sila magkaroon ng anak dahil sa kanyang sakit. Pero tinanggap siya nito nang buong-buo.

At ang maganda, biniyayaan ang mag-asawa ng isang anak na babae na itinuturing nilang `miracle baby’.

Kung titingnan ngayon si Congresswoman Emmeline Villar, hindi aakalain na dumanas ito ng matinding challenge sa buhay. Malaki ang naitulong sa kanya ng positibong pananaw.

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