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How Laughter Conquers All – Even Diabetes!

You may have seen her in the 90’s soap Valiente and just recently Mga Anghel na Walang Langit. She was also in shows Daisy Siete, Tabachingching, and the morning show Unang Hirit, where she’s a segment host. Aside from these, she also does corporate events, and occasionally performs in comedy bars.

She may have made you cry with laughter with her crazy antics every time you saw her on television. But Marissa Sanchez has not only mastered the craft of making people laugh, she has also mastered how to take control of her life, even with diabetes.

Life with diabetes
Marissa may be in the limelight, but her life has remained simple, and she has always made it a point to have time for herself and her family. In a life where one has to juggle tapings, interviews, comedy shows and just recently, dance practices for her competition in the dance show “Shall We Dance”, you may ask how a normal day is for her.

She says her day goes by fairly normal “In the morning, I pray. If I have time, I read the bible
and then I exercise. And then if there’s a game in the court, I play badminton with my sister and my other friends,- she explains. She also loves doing things non-celebrity people do, like cooking for her husband and even doing the groceries. However, she also complains of running out of time because she just simply “has so many things to do all the time.

Her comedy acts and live performances on stage or on TV must have entertained thousands. But with her bubbly personality and energetic behavior, who would have thought she has diabetes? Marissa found out about her diabetes in 2001. Back then, she experienced constant hunger pangs, started having blurry vision, wondered what those meant, but she never toyed with the idea of getting diabetes, even if it ran in her family.”My mom, she’s diabetic but she’s in denial. My brother is diabetic but he’s in denial too,” she laughs. She just never thought she would get it that soon, and at such a young age.

She admits that when she found out about her diabetes, it scared her. She also knew that you don’t just simply die of diabetes, you die because of its complications. “At first, you will have that fear, parang cancer yung dating. It was hard. But as time went on, acceptance was the key for me to be able to cope up with the disease,” she says. It was when she started exercising and controlling her food intake, that she realized and accepted the fact that she was diabetic.

Acceptance and moderation
Today, six years and significant changes in lifestyle later, Marissa says she owes her life to Dr. Augusto D. Litonjua, her diabetes doctor. “I love him because he was the one who saved my life. Because when we found out I have diabetes, my blood sugar was 300,” she exclaims. If she used to eat anything and everything she wanted before, today she has strictly set limits for herself.

She openly shares how her eating habits were before. She loved rice, especially the burned rice at the bottom of the pot. “Gustong gusto ko yung rice na matigas. Naku I love that! As in isang kaldero nauubos ko yun (I really love burned, overcooked rice. I love that! I could finish a whole pot!),” she exclaims.

But today, she’s a lot smarter and believes that moderation is the key. “Wala ngang bawal eh, in moderation lang. Hindi yung araw-araw kakain ka ng dessert. At tsaka as much as you can, water ka lang ng water, Huwag ka ng mag-shake, huwag ka ng mag-juice, yung mga matatamis. (There are no restrictions, you just have to keep it in moderation. Don’t eat desserts each and every day. And as much as you can, drink lots of water, not shakes, not juices or any other sweets),” she says.

Laughter is the best medicine
As cliche as the line may be, Marissa firmly believes that laughter is the best medicine. You always see her smiling and laughing, and this was her passport to fame. When she makes people laugh and smile, she says she tends to forget about her problems — and even eating.”When I make people laugh, not only do I make myself happy, but others as well. And when I’m depressed I eat a lot, but when I’m happy and when I laugh, I forget to eat,” she says.

Although we always see her smiling and laughing, she admits that there are times when she’s not really in the mood. “When you’re diabetic you’re in extremes. There will come a time when you’re hyper when you do comedy. And there would come a time when you’re hypo (hypoglycemic) which means your sugar is really low, so you’re very, very ill-tempered,” she explains. The show must go on for Marissa, and she makes it a point to give a good show whether she feels well or not. She says that it’s do-or-die for her when she performs.

Fortunately for her, these mood swings have not affected her career at all. She even says that her diabetes opened up doors for her to help motivate other diabetics cope up with the disease. “You think if I did not have this disease, I’d be given this opportunity? It also helps me to share to others that diabetes is not the end of the world,” she says with a smile.

Serving as an example
When asked who her diabetic celebrity idol is, she answers Gary Valenciano without much hesitation. She sheepishly says that she wanted to be like him. “From what I heard, he’s very moderate in his eating habits, he dances a lot, so he exercises a lot. Kahit tinatamad siya kelangan niyang bumangon at sumayaw (Even if he feels lazy, he has to get up and dance),” she shares.

Like Gary V., Marissa could also serve as an example for her fellow diabetics in conquering diabetes. Her diabetes never stopped her from making others laugh and forget about their problems, even for just an hour. She shares that being moody will not make one’, feel better or get one anywher in this life. She wants all diabetic out there to not feel like havin diabetes is the end of the world. With that, she imparts this, message to her fellow diabetics,’ k “You can still go on with your life and be happy. But you really have to control yourself. You can anything naman eh, pero login moderation.”

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