It’s been five years since 42-year-old Marie Anne Concepcion-Magpantay was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). While the battle was hard and arduous, giving up is not in her option.
“I consider waking up each day a gift and a blessing from God. I’m always positive about things. I cheer myself up and stay happy even during this pandemic,” says Meanne, as she’s more fondly called.
Meanne was diagnosed with MDS, one of a group of cancers in which immature blood cells in the bone marrow do not mature, in February 2016. She felt dizzy at first, thinking it was only slight anemia, but after a bone marrow biopsy at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, it turned out to be MDS. (Read: ‘I Learn How To Surrender’: This Pinay Holds On To Her Faith As Her Husband Beats Cancer)
“I just take everything light and count my blessings. I keep myself busy and productive. My faith in God and my prayers are my best weapon to overcome this,” says Meanne.
Meanne’s doctors call her a “living miracle”. From monthly confinements and checkups, blood transfusions with a minimum of three to six bags every confinement, lab tests, iron therapies, monthly maintenance medications, chemo drugs, injections, daily milk and vitamins, series of biopsies, she survived them all.
“I already received 500 bags of red blood cells since 2016. I had three hematologists who handle my case. I went to seven hospitals. But I’m still here because miracles really do happen. And it’s been a year since my last hospital confinement, thank God!” says Meanne.
Meanne said that this pandemic really changed her perspectives for the better and helped her appreciate and value life. “Life is short so spend quality time with your family and loved ones. I realized the importance of true happiness, being grateful of small and big blessings, being content, being a good person, having a good heart, and inspiring more people.” (Read: A Prayer for All People Suffering From Rare Diseases)
Coping with the pandemic
Due to her health condition, Meanne opted for monthly online consultations with her doctors to avoid hospital exposures.
“I eat more veggies now. I admit it’s a struggle because I’m not into vegetables, but I’m trying for my recovery. I also keep myself busy by singing, uploading my songs and selfies online, cooking, discovering new recipes and menus. I also attend daily masses online, surf the net, and watch Netflix,” she shares.
She admitted that while she tries to keep a happy disposition, she sometimes struggles with pain. There were also times she feels tired and weak.
“I always tell myself, ‘Meanne, you can do this! You’re strong! You’re brave! God is with you. He loves you. He’s bigger than your sickness.’ I won’t give up. My faith and prayers help me a lot to become who I am right now,” she says.
Another way of coping up is looking good to feel good. One time, she thought of dressing up and wearing accessories. Her mother encouraged her to do it and be happy.
“I dressed up, wore earrings, took a selfie, uploaded it on Facebook. That’s it!” says Meanne.
While Meanne is continuously fighting MDS, she is facing yet another battle with enlargement of the heart (left), congenital heart disease with small shunt, and pulmonary hypertension. She was advised to refrain from strenuous activities and control her emotions. But like MDS, Meanne believes she will also win this new battle with God by her side. (Read: How This Woman Copes With Her Lung Disease, One Grateful Day at a Time)
“Continue fighting! There is always hope. Miracles happen every day. God loves us. Let us surrender everything to God. Cheer up, smile, be happy, appreciate life and blessings more. Make yourself busy doing things that make you truly happy. Be at peace with God. It really helps in the healing process,” advises Meanne.