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Fueled by Optimism

Posted on January 30, 2012 | No Comments on Fueled by Optimism

Disease often takes its toll on people, not only on their physique but also their outlook on life. Seeing life in a positive light is difficult, but Rosario Marcelo, 71 years old, is different. Rather than languish over it, she chose rather to live her life fully, despite illnesses and singlehood.

How it all began
Rosario didn’t have a family history of diabetes, nor did shehave it in her youth. She admits that it was her own actions that caused her diabetes. She pointed out that perhaps, because of her mindless eating, plus the inactive lifestyle she led in her younger days, she acquired diabetes.

Her discovery of diabetes was only by accident.

In 1976, a blister, which looked like a cigar burn, turned up on her left foot at 7 in the morning. As the day went by, the blister grew bigger and bigger until it almost covered her entire leg. When she was brought to the hospital, it was discovered that her blood sugar reached 400 and was positive for diabetes.

She was naturally slim in her youth. It was only in her mid-20s that she started to gain weight. At a weight of 220 Ibs, Rosario remembers that her weight gain made her look like a giant, and jokes that her grandchildren get scared of her when she comes along.

Her high cholesterol, on the other hand, was discovered more recently. In 2004, she suddenly experienced a mild stroke attack which gravely affected the left side of her body. Since then, movement wasn’t as easy for her.

She revealed that dealing with diabetes and high cholesterol was one thing — dealing with rheumatism another.

With rheumatism, she explains that she finds it hard to begin walking from a long time of sitting.

Even if she has trouble starting every slight movement, she proudly shared that she could walk around the house without panting or feeling tired.

I asked her what she felt when she learned she had diabetes and high cholesterol. Others would have faced it with shock or perhaps, grief. But Rosario defied the common answer. She said that it was actually alright with her and that she didn’t mind. Confused, I asked her why. She simply answered, “Sakit lang naman ‘yan eh.”

Of friendship and ties
At first glance, people often mistake her for someone who is suplada. Most people say that the reason why she didn’t have suitors was because she was too snooty. Having heard that comment often, she said that people have already judged her without getting to know her. Little did they know, they were actually thinking the opposite.

Even if most people found her suplada, she never considered herself to be one. In fact, she behaves kindly to anyone she knows. In spite of being an old maid, her past friendships seemed to have made up for the lack of love.

Her old students way back in the 1960s still remember their old high school English teacher. Every so often, her colleagues and former students, who are now successful in their own fields, would drop by her home to offer her aid and sometimes, simply to just catch up with her.

Once when she was confined at St. Luke’s Hospital due to diabetes, it was two of her former students who took care of her. From changing her clothes to preparing her meals, it was a great act of gratitude her students have repaid her.

She may not have a partner for life, but she does have a person who constantly shows her compassion.

Enter Tarcila Cayanan, 72. Rosario and Tarcila grew up together. Back in the day, Tarcila worked as Rosario’s mother’s apprentice in sewing. Eventually, she gained the mother’s trust and was accepted like another member of the family. Tarcila later grew up and established her own family.

With Tarcila’s children out of her wing, living their own lives, she now takes care of her dear friend. While other friends have come and gone, their friendship stood the test of time, making them almost sisters at heart.
Just like real siblings, they shared that they quarrel about the smallest things, but still support each other. Rosario admits that she would feel lonely whenever Tarcila left to go home. She tells her to come back immediately and jokes that she has run out of prayers and things to do.

On leading a positive outlook When I asked her how she feels about her life, she said that she was very happy with it, even if she never had her own family. Rosario explained that she has always remained positive. Thankful for all the blessings that she received and all the people that love her, it was enough to keep her positive against life’s challenges.

“Kayo wala akong masyadong hinanakit sa buhay ay dahil masaya naman ako,” Rosario shares.

Although she admits that she feels lonely at times, with a strong faith in God and all of her friends and family by her side, she could never say that she has led a miserable life.

“Life is what you make it,” she said. And indeed, Rosario has lived by it — unstopped by gloom and impassioned by optimism.

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