“I realized that for the sake of our son, I needed to be strong, I needed to love myself more. ”
Like most women, I also dreamt of spending the rest of my life with someone who will love me faithfully and unconditionally, one who I can hug all night until the stress from the day’s work fades. I dreamt of having someone to exchange stories with, someone who will share my joys and pains, build my hopes up when I feel down and celebrate with me in every triumph.
Roughly 11 years ago, I met The One—a good-looking, intelligent and caring man who does not drink nor smoke, nor engage in any kind of vice. A Christian and believer in salvation, he easily found favor with my family. Four years ago, this man became my husband and everything seemed perfect. Blessed with a newborn son, I thought my life could not get any better.
Everything seemed too good to be true— until I found myself battling a kidney disease known as Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis.
I started gaining weight—up to 30 kilograms due to steroids and water retention. I could hardly walk or talk, and I couldn’t think properly and move freely. My hair started thinning out and my face and body swelled. I even had to stop breastfeeding because of my medication and had to refrain from carrying my baby for some time lest his weight put undue strain on my bones.
Life was tough but I thought, this too shall pass. As long as I had my husband and son beside me, I could handle everything: every lab test, every false hope that I was getting better, every office task and activity that I needed to accomplish despite my impaired movement and comprehension, every food temptation that I needed to overcome because of my restricted diet. Yes, even the stares I get from strangers who must have pitied me for looking big, bloated and sick.
The only comforting thought I had was: how can my life get any worse? But it did. More than the weight I gained, more painful than the effects of my kidney disease was the fact that my marriage was falling apart. Despite doing everything to keep our family together, we failed.
Purpose and positivity
In pursuit of his new source of happiness, my husband left me and our baby. My then year-old son and I had to return to my hometown so that my family could take care of him while I work. The trip back home was difficult, not because of the long hours on the road, but because I had time to recall the good times I used to share with my husband. And then I realized that for the sake of our son, I needed to be strong. I needed to love myself more.
So I embraced God’s grace and ignored everything that could hurt me even more. I focused on living a life of purpose and positivity, and of beauty in humility. I learned to get a hold of my emotions and did not allow them to run my life. With that, I regained my self-respect and self-esteem and found the courage to live life without any grudges. I was determined to be the best version of myself.
Apparently, the self-affirmation worked on my health as well. I started getting better. I am now free from the various drugs I used to take to stop the inflammation of my kidneys. The 30 kilos that I gained in two years of medication, I lost in just a few weeks. Slowly, I gained the strength to become productive again, to laugh and keep pace with the demands of a full life.
I also learned that love forgives and never gives up. It waits and endures and hopes for the best. And yes, it is good to love others but love yourself as well. And, with the grace of God, everything else will follow.