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It Runs in the Family: The Crossed-Eyed Theory

No. Amorfina Nunez is neither the descendant of Amor Powers nor the apprentice of some primetime “bida”. But, yes, she has diabetes. Her discovery of the condition and her journey with it is as telenovela-ic as her name sounds. And, like a typical telenovela she stands triumphant and ends the scene beaming with pride as she fights the real “kontrabida” called diabetes.

Amorfina grew up in a “very sweet” family. For one, her siblings have diabetes; two, her son, Rainier also does; and three, their family owns a sugar plantation and a mango orchard.

“We have a sugar cane plantation. We grew up it there, eating the pulot, the sugar cane syrup that has the consistency of a coco jam,” she recalls. “We also have a mango orchard where my siblings and I competed on who ate the most mangoes. ”

Kidding, she even surmised that because of their exposure to their sugar cane plantation and mango orchard, they all got diabetes. “Rainier became a diabetic at the age of 24. It all started with a boil that worsened which later on became bacteria-infested and decayed,” she recalls.

Like any loving mother would do, Amorfina wished she had the pain and the diabetes instead. “Then it came true,” she shares, laughing. Amorfina woke up dizzy one morning but shrugged it off and thought of it as vertigo. That same day she had to go somewhere that couldn’t be postponed so she pushed through despite the weird feeling she was having.

“I was still dizzy and found it hard to even put on my makeup,” she recalls. “I wondered why I was having this feeling. Would you believe I wasn’t sure if my eyebrows were even?!” Little did she know that underneath the shaky feeling was a condition rather severe. “I backed my car one time. Everything went smoothly until I noticed that on my side mirror I couldn’t see anything on the right side,” says Amorfina. “But when I checked and tried to look at my left side, I could clearly see! That was when I realized that I could see using one eye but not using both. That was also when I started seeing things in doubles so I asked one of my dear friends if she could drive me to my destination because I was seeing double already.”

Although she was cleared by her ENT doctor and by her ophthalmologist, one of Amorfina’s eyes was immobile prompting her husband to joke and tell their children: “Look at your mom, she’s cross-eyed. Despite her beauty, if she’s cross-eyed, I’ll never court her.”

Then, a 385-mg/dL- blood-sugar-level attack catapulted her to Makati Medical Center’s emergency room, one night. “I never knew or even suspected that I had diabetes,” explains Amorfina. “But my doctors said that diabetes has been manifesting already through my eyes. The eye problem was temporary. Thank goodness.”

Counter-attacks: The Family That Pricks Together, Stays Together
Like a true-blue “bida”, Amorfina faces diabetes head-on without hesitation, without batting an eyelash. “I do bed exercises every morning. I also walk in place for 15 minutes and lessen my intake of carbohydrates,” shares Amorfina of her daily regimen. “As a family, whenever we get together, we have this ‘pricking’ session and my daughters, who are doctors, check on us. I alsoeat a lot of fruits, since they are my favorite. But I control my intake since too much of it is bad also.”

Living well, loving well
Although Amorfina is blessed with a very loving and very sweet family that supports her all the way, she doesn’t rest on her laurels just yet. She still does her own share and is very good at that. “Diabetes is not a burden to us,” she says. “I just exercise regularly. I walk and I eat moderately. I just take it easy. What is important is the diet, the medicine and the check-up with the doctors.

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