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Agile and Able at 71

Posted on January 28, 2023 | No Comments on Agile and Able at 71

Life they say is too short to take for granted. And because life seems too short for some, a person is deemed fortunate, wise even, if he or she reaches the age of 60 and above. At this point, one can do just about any leisurely activity a retiree desires: travel a lot, enjoyhis or her grandkids, see lots of movies, and the list goes on. After all, that is what retirement is all about.

But not for Marina Babasa. Despite her age, she still manages to work and help out in their family business, even while battling with diabetes.

Old Age and Diabetes
It was in 2001 when Marina (or Maring to her family and colleagues) was diagnosed with diabetes. She experienced sudden vision changes. “Nanlabo ang paningin ko (I had blurry vision),” Maring says. According to her, that was the very first symptom that manifested.

Asked what may have caused the disease, Maring frankly replies, “dahil sa katakawan (due to overeating).” She admits that
when she was young and active, she indulged on sweets, especially cakes. Aside from overeating, diabetes also runs in her family. Her late grandfather had the disease, but managed it well while he was still alive.

How did her family accept her fate? Maring narrates that when her husband learned of her condition, he gave her simple advice: take control. Her husband passed away already, but she continues to heed his advice to this day.

At present, Maring manages her condition by controlling her food intake. In fact, she doesn’t eat sweets at all as she used to do. No more cakes, ice cream, and chocolates. Not only do these sweets trigger high blood sugar levels, they also irritated her throat, something she just recently found out. Now, she has learned to eat in moderation just like any wise diabetic.

Other than controlling her food intake, Maring religiously takes her medicines and often visits her doctor for check-up. She makes sure that she religiously follows her doctor’s instructions on how to take her medications. She even brings her medicines along whenever she goes for consultations.

Moreover, Maring takes regular walks to manage her diabetes. Simply walking around her house seems to be enough for her. “Exercise na sa akin ang pag-ikot sa bahay. Pag-iikot lang sa bahay namin, talagang pagpapawisan ka. Lalakad ako tapos magpapainit, ayun pagpapawisan ako. (For me, going around the house is an exercise. It makes me perspire. I walk around, then go out and have morning sunshine which makes me sweat),” Maring discloses.

It’s also important for Maring to sleep early. She’s in bed by nine as she makes sure that she’s up and about by 4:30 in the morning. Old age doesn’t hinder Maring from controlling her diabetes. In the seven years she’s had it, she has never experienced any serious complications. Her secret: good blood sugar control. She says that the highest level of blood sugar that she has had was 180 mg/dL, which seldom happens. Maring adds that she never had to inject insulin ever since she had the disease.

Life at 71
At 71, Maring still manages to work at an office. She is a consultant of Portland Chemicals Corporation, owned by the Carandang family, and is located at San Andres Bukid in Manila. Despite being way past retirement age, she still helps around with some office work. After work, Maring says she cooks for her daughter and granddaughters. She practically cooks anything, but she makes it a point that she only eats in moderation.

Her advice to fellow diabetics: do everything in moderation. “Kinakailangan kontrolin ang pagkain. Ika nga, ang payo ng doktor, pwede naman kumain basta mag-exercise. Hindi pwede yung kada gusto mo’ yun ang kakainin mo lalo na kung may edad ka na. Ikaw din ang mahihirapan (You need to control your food intake. As advised by doctors, you can eat but just make sure to exercise. You can’t eat anything that you want, especially if you are in your old age. You’ll be the one to suffer),” Maring says.

Maring has clearly proven that age and diabetes should not prevent one to continue living life to the fullest. Though management of her diabetes is still a work in progress, she does make sure to be in control, disciplined, and motivated to eventually triumph over the disease.

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