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How This Woman Copes With Her Lung Disease, One Grateful Day at a Time

After numerous surgeries, Rainbow is left with one lung and major bloody coughing fits. Despite it all, she remains positive in life.

If you see a rainbow, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? In art and religion, rainbows are a favorite component for many of its symbolisms. In some cultures, it is considered as a path of messengers between Heaven and Earth. In the bible, after creating a flood to wash away humanity’s corruption, God put a rainbow in the sky as the sign of his promise that he would never again destroy the Earth with flood (Genesis 9:13-17).

But for all its symbolism, a rainbow is a symbol of hope. And that is what Rainbow Hackett is all about—ever hopeful that everything will be better. (Read: 3 Joyful Prayers for New Beginnings)

After getting post-surgery sepsis in 2016, Rainbow has been battling all sorts of pulmonary diseases. In January 2017, it got worse and she began spitting so much blood that she had to undergo a thoracic surgery and had her 8th rib removed.

She developed pneumonia and other lung problems soon after that. Seeking the help of Dr. Teresita de Guia, a renowned pulmonologist, she was diagnosed with Bronchiectasis, a long-term condition where the airways of the lungs become abnormally widened, leading to a build-up of excess mucus making the lungs more vulnerable to infection. (Read: 5 Reasons Why Meditation Should Be Part of Your Daily Routine)

After tests and never-ending hospital stays, not to mention surgeries, Rainbow is now left with one lung and major bloody coughing fits. Despite all of this, she remains positive in life.

(Left) Rainbow with Dr. Teresita de Guia, pulmonologist. (Right) An x-ray of Rainbow’s chest shows her lung condition. (Photos from Rainbow Hackett Facebook)

My Pope Philippines talks with Rainbow as she tells how she remains radiant and grateful despite her ordeal.

What was your reaction when you first heard about your illness?

My reaction to my condition was just to say, “Let’s do it!” If I need the surgery or surgeries, let’s go ahead and solve the problems so I can go on living my life. My family still needs me. I need to resolve my issues and get on with life!

How has it affected your relationships and faith?

Because of the lengthy health issues I have, I can no longer be as active as I used to be. But I would still do what I used to do on the good days. On bad days, I rest. (Read: Five habits you didn’t know can heal you)

My family became very protective of me, ever watchful of signs of my distress. My husband and sons always take good care of me and my needs. I learned to depend on them more, rather than them depending on me for their every need. I learned to let go and let God in my everyday life. I learned to be more patient despite losing my cool on very painful days.

Every day, I wake up feeling grateful because God gave me another day to be with my husband and sons, my 17 dogs and 15 cats. God has always been good to me and my family, I am ever so grateful. (Read: 2 Simple Ways to Remain Grateful Despite the Chaos)

Photos from Rainbow Hackett Facebook

How are you managing to cope, especially with the added burden of the pandemic?

Before the pandemic happened, I was in the hospital for over a month. They were going to remove the entire left lung this time. They did what is called a completion pneumonectomy. I entered the hospital on the 15th of January and left to go home on the 4th of March, which basically was the beginning of the pandemic. (Read: How This Couple Beat ‘Wedding Mishaps’ Amid Taal, COVID-19 Disasters)

By that time, the lockdown had just happened and I was no longer able to go back and visit my doctors for post-operative care and check-ups. Needless to say, I ended up with a post-surgical infection—an abscess has formed where my post-operative incision was.

Today, I’m still battling this infection. I still have a hole on my left side, leaking fluid and pus, and I’m constantly on antibiotics and pain medication. But I’d rather live like this first and try to solve the issues at home instead of going to the hospital and be confined with COVID all around me. In my condition, COVID is deadly for me. So I just talk to my doctor via Viber and she tells me what to take for whatever bacterial infection I have. (Watch: Filipino doctors give tips on how to navigate the ‘new normal’)

Photo from Rainbow Hackett Facebook

This pandemic has been hard on many people. But I still find myself lucky because despite all my issues, I still have a home and a family that loves and cares for me. I know that God loves me and watches over me and my family every day. I truly believe that if you have faith in Him, He will never falter. And whatever happens in our lives, it’s all for a good reason and we only realize this in hindsight. (Read: 5 Gratitude Prayers for Everyday Blessings)

Maybe all this is for a good reason and we will only know it in the future. For now, we just have to trust and have faith in him and believe that all this will be better. That’s how I live my life, knowing one day, everything will be better. God bless each and every one! God loves us all.

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