(The Philippine Star) Updated January 19, 2010 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – Rosella (not her real name) is a brave lupus survivor. Here, she shares her story of faith and triumph over a life-threatening disease:
“It was a miracle that I got healed. I guess God answers our prayers but not always in the way we want. Just when you think the game is over, just when you’re at the edge of the cliff of hopelessness, the Lord pulls you up and helps you get out of the quagmire of desperation.
“In 2003, during my second year in college, I was diagnosed with lupus nephritis (class 4) and confined in the hospital for over a month. Two years later, I was diagnosed with lupus cerebritis as a result of a seizure. I was so devastated when I learned that the lupus virus had started to attack my brain. Then and there, I wanted to end my life, especially when my doctor said I could no longer go back to school. I was even advised to see a psychiatrist to help me cope with my situation, so that I would be able to accept the fact that lupus would remain in my system forever.
“But deep inside, I refused to just let things be. I knew I would overcome this disease because I have faith in God and deep in my heart, I knew my prayers would be answered. Besides, with today’s technological advances and endless research to find a cure for lupus, I just knew I had a fighting chance to be cured.
“This treacherous disease started attacking my immune system and vital organs like my kidneys and lungs. My hemoglobin count dropped. I screamed and cried from the excruciating pain every time doctors took out about four liters of water from my lungs. I just wanted to die to put an end to the pain. When I went through a recent surgery, I was awake during the whole procedure because the anesthesia didn’t work. It was probably because of the overdose of painkillers injected in me all this time.
“And then, one day, my mother was listening to her favorite radio program when she heard about Easy Pha-Max Wheatgrass and its benefits if taken on a regular basis. She immediately inquired about how she could purchase the wheatgrass. Barely two days after taking the wheatgrass, she felt strong and didn’t feel as weak as she did after doing household chores. She told me to try it and see if my condition would improve.
“However, I was advised against taking wheatgrass by my doctors because it might conflict with the medicines I was taking or might harm my kidneys further. But my mother’s persistence made me relent. I started to take two sachets of this wonder wheatgrass every day for two weeks. After two weeks, I felt nothing — I mean, I felt great! I felt strong. I was able to sleep better. I didn’t feel dizzy anymore. When it was time for my periodic lab test to check my hemoglobin count, the doctor was in for a big surprise. My hemoglobin count went up from 8.1 g/dl to 12 g/dl (normal level) and my creatine level was normal. My doctor was amazed, but because we did not tell her that I was taking wheatgrass, she assumed it was due to the injections and other maintenance medicines I was taking.
“After continuously taking Easy Pha-Max Wheatgrass for six months, my test results showed more improvements: My pus cells were normal. I no longer had UTI (urinary tract infection). I might be taken off steroids soon. Easy Pha-Max wheatgrass, a superfood, must be God’s gift to man.
“Because of my improved condition, I am studying again and back to my day-to-day routine. And I feel stronger every day — strong enough to reach for my young dreams.
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To know more about Easy Pha-Max Wheatgrass, call 890-1111 or 09178612008. Visit www.wheatgrasscan.com.
WELL-BEING By Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit (The Philippine Star) Updated April 13, 2010 12:00 AM
tress or tension is the absence of faith and so, to remove it, all you have to do is increase your faith,” says Rhonda Byrne of The Secret franchise. Those words created much impact on me as I felt mounting stress a week before our family vacation.
If you really think about it, Rhonda is perfectly correct in saying that. We feel mostly stressed when we do not seem to be in control. And yes, while we do feel swamped with a lot of things that are not under our control, there is a God who is in fact the Master of everything.
Daily exposure to little stresses that pile up and take consistent soft jabs at our health leads to a lot of illnesses, decreases our immunity, and even makes our waistline bigger. According to the Mayo Clinic, chronic stress is a result of long-term exposure to acute stress brought about by nagging day-to-day situations that seem unrelenting, such as relationship problems, work difficulties, and financial woes.
They further said that while mild stress can actually be beneficial in motivating and energizing us into action, the buildup of little things is really what stresses us out. Persistent stress, they warned, can lead to health problems such as headache and fatigue, poor concentration, depression, irritability, resentment, and isolation.
Understand Your Stressor
Like a nagging allergy, medicine may be able to tame the symptoms but not manage the disease altogether if you do not know what you are allergic to. The same goes for stress, you have to identify what really exasperates you.
Mayo classified stressors into external and internal. The external ones include major life changes, which can be either negative such as the death of a spouse or divorce or positive such as marriage or a promotion. They also took note of environmental stressors such as excessive noise or extreme brightness, unpredictable events such as calamities or a pay cut or those related to family (a nagging mother-in-law or a stubborn teenager), workplace (an impossible boss) or social (a blind date).
There are also internal triggers such as feelings and thoughts that cause us unrest. These include fears and apprehensions, uncertainties, negative attitudes, and unrealistic expectations stemming from a perfectionist or controlling personality.
If you have read or seen Byrne’s The Secret, you understand that any negative thought or attitude blocks the manifestation of the good that you want or are hoping for. Having said that, a negative disposition will continue to be negative as disappointments, rather than pleasant surprises, will keep on appearing in your life due to your attitude.
Where Faith Matters
Stress like tax is here to stay, we cannot escape it, but we can learn to manage it and cope with it.
According to Mayo, spirituality helps in managing stress because it makes you focus on what is most meaningful in your life (eliminating the non-essentials which most of the time cause stress). Faith also leads to valuable inner peace during difficult times as it elevates you to a purpose in life. Faith also allows you to surrender and release control as well as expect great things to happen.
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April 15, 2010, 5:51pm
WASHINGTON, April 15 (Reuters) – The old concept of ”Third World” no longer applies and rich countries cannot impose their will on developing nations that are now major sources of global growth, World Bank chief Robert Zoellick said on Wednesday.
In a speech setting the stage for World Bank and IMF meetings in Washington next week, where emerging economies will play a bigger role, Zoellick cautioned against falling back into patterns of self-interest.
He said economic progress in developing countries had profound implications for global cooperation, multi-lateralism and the work of institutions such as the World Bank.
”Economic and political tectonic plates are shifting,” Zoellick told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson Center. ”We can shift with them, or we can continue to see a new world through the prism of the old.
The meetings next week are expected to approve the first capital increase for the World Bank in 20 years. While rich industrial countries have been the biggest contributors to the World Bank and long dictated how the money is spent, emerging market countries will have a bigger role.
”Shareholders face a decision to strengthen the bank group, or allow it to wane in influence … leaving it poorly resourced to cope with whatever comes next,” he noted.
The Bank’s resources have been stretched by record borrowing from developing countries during the financial crisis, as global demand dropped and credit markets dried up.
Since the crisis hit in mid-2008, the World Bank has committed more than $100 billion in loans and grants to developing countries. When it comes to total disbursements, the World Bank overtook the IMF’s crisis payments.
Records show total disbursements between July 2008 and March 2010 was $67.7 billion for the World Bank and $56.9 billion for the IMF.
As the crisis spread across the globe, rich and emerging economies synchronized their responses to find a way out.
But with signs of global economic recovery now underway, Zoellick said he worried that the incentive to cooperate will fade as the recovery gives way to a fast-evolving multipolar world economy.
”Already we feel gravitational forces pulling a world of nation-states back to the pursuit of narrower interests,” he said.
The shifts in the world are not only in China and India, he said. Sub-Saharan Africa is set to grow by an average of over 6 percent to 2015 while South Asia, where half the world’s poor live, could grow by as much as 7 percent over the same period.
Bernardo M. Villegas
By BERNARDO VILLEGAS
April 15, 2010, 5:55pm
I fully agree with Mayor Edward I. Koch, the Mayor of New York City, and a Jew. Those who have been very vocal in attacking the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Benedict XVI for the sexual abuse of children by a few Roman Catholic priests in countries like Ireland, Germany and the United States have an axe to grind. They are no longer interested in the truth but are pushing their respective anti-Catholic agenda. Mayor Koch, in a column in The New York Post last April 6, 2010, did not mince any word: “Many of those in the media who are pounding on the Church and the Pope today clearly do it with delight and some with malice. The reason I believe for the constant assaults is that there are many in the media and some Catholics as well as many in the public who object to and are incensed by positions the Church holds, including opposition to all abortion, opposition to gay sex and same-sex marriage, retention of celibacy rules for priest, exclusion of women from the clergy, opposition to birth control measures involving condoms and prescription drugs and opposition to civil divorce.”
Well, if the critics of the Catholic teachings on these issues think that using the sex abuse scandals will soften the stand of the Pope against these acts which are considered by Catholic morals as intrinsically evil, they are in for a surprise. Although Mayor Koch candidly admits that he disagrees with the Church on all those points, he has enough intellectual honesty to recognize that the Church has the right to demand fulfillment of all of its religious demands by its parishioners, and indeed a right to espouse its beliefs generally. He quotes a good friend of his, John Cardinal O’Oconnor: “The Church is not a salad bar, from which to pick and choose what pleases you.” Let this be a reminder to columnists and others in the local press who think that they can soften the stand of the Filipino bishops against the Reproductive Health Bill (which promotes the inherently evil artificial contraceptives) by constantly raking up the sex abuse scandals.
Mayor Koch gives us an example of objectivity in assessing this sordid happenings in the Catholic Church: “The sexual molestation of children, principally boys, is horrendous. This is agreed to by everyone, Catholics, the Church itself, as well as non-Catholics and the media. The Pope has on a number of occasions on behalf of the Church admitted fault and asked for forgiveness. For example, The New York Times reported on April 18, 2008 that the Pope, “came face to face with a scandal that has left lasting wounds on the American church Thursday, holding a surprise meeting with several victims of sexual abuse by priests in the Boston area…’No words of mine could describe the pain and harm inflicted by such abuse,’ the Pope said in his homily. ‘It is important that those who have suffered be given loving pastoral attention.’”
The Mayor zeroes in on what he considers the fatal human error of the superiors of the offending priests: “The primary explanation for the abuse that happened–not to excuse the retention of priests in positions that enable them to continue to harm children–was the belief that the priests could be cured by psychotherapy, a theory now long discarded by the medical profession. Regrettably, it is also likely that years ago the abuse of children was not taken as seriously as today. Thank God we’ve progressed on that issue.”
Catholics who practice the theological virtue of faith, without being insensitive to the sufferings of the victims, may actually strengthen their adherance to the teachings of the Catholic Church as infallibly taught by the Pope. They know that this is not the first time in the more than 2,000 years of the history of the Catholic Church that we are witnessing some rottenness from within. Without the constant protection of the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church, if it were only a human institution, would have long disappeared.
But as Jesus Christ Himself promised, the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church that He founded. Mayor Koch, who considers himself a Conservative Jew and attends an Orthodox synagogue, also knows how to quote from the New Testament in asking the critics to stop their anti-Catholic attacks: “He (or she) that is without sin among you, let him (or her) cast the next stone.” (John 8:7) For comments, my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:49:00 03/31/2010
THIS MUST BE THE BLEAKEST HOLY THURSDAY at the Vatican in many decades. An unholy shroud of suspicion has enveloped the Holy See, threatening to suffocate even the papacy itself. An Associated Press story Wednesday drew a forbidding global picture: “As the faithful fill churches this Holy Week, many Roman Catholics around the world are finding their relationship to the church painfully tested by new revelations of clerical abuse and suggestions [that Pope] Benedict himself may have helped cover up cases in Germany and the US.”
We should point out that these new revelations about insufficient institutional responses to allegations of sexual abuse by predatory priests have had perhaps less impact on the Church in the Philippines (and, the AP story suggests, in Poland too, another staunchly Catholic country). Indeed, the AP story itself recognizes that many of the Catholic faithful who are aware of the latest iteration of a long-running scandal aren’t necessarily thinking of leaving the Church. It quotes Linda Faust, of Greendale, Wisconsin, as saying, rather pungently, “At this point in my life I wouldn’t leave the Church for somebody else’s sins.”
We think this kind of concerned-but-devout attitude reflects the position of many Filipino Catholics. But if a real crisis were to overtake Benedict’s office, the Church in the Philippines will surely feel its impact too.
It is vital, then, to know exactly what is happening—and how Benedict’s involvement has been misreported or misinterpreted.
Make no mistake: we think the continuing sexual abuse scandal is wreaking havoc on the Church and its reputation; we believe the Pope’s role in a possible cover-up of or an altogether sluggish response to allegations of priestly abuse, when he was a bishop in Germany and later when he served as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is an entirely legitimate subject of inquiry; we hold the view, shared by many of the faithful, that the Church must do all it can to disinfect itself of the fatal virus of clerical abuse.
But veteran Vatican reporter John Allen, in a lengthy post on his blog for the National Catholic Reporter, has pointed out three fundamental misreadings of the Pope’s involvement. (A much-abbreviated op-ed piece of his has also appeared in the New York Times.) First, it was only in the last four years of his two decades at the helm of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that Benedict, then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, assumed the lead role in the Vatican’s crackdown on abusive priests. In other words, before 2001, Ratzinger had no role to play in the investigation of sexual abuse allegations at all.
Second, the May 2001 letter that Ratzinger addressed to his fellow bishops, Allen wrote, “marked recognition in Rome, really for the first time, of how serious the problem of sex abuse really is, and it committed the Vatican to getting directly involved.” In other words, instead of being so-called proof that Ratzinger told bishops to keep sexual abuse allegations secret from government authorities, the letter was, at that time it was issued, “widely hailed as a watershed moment towards a solution.”
Third, to the recent disclosure that only 20 percent of more than 3,000 abuse cases were allowed to proceed to a canonical trial, the New York Times and other news organizations responded by misinterpreting it as proof of Vatican inaction. In other words, many in the media missed the real significance of the disclosure. Thus, Allen wrote: “In the end, however, only 20 percent were sent back for trials, while for the bulk of the cases, 60 percent, bishops were authorized to take immediate administrative action, because the proof was held to be overwhelming … to describe that 20 percent figure as a sign of ‘inaction’ cannot help but seem, to anyone who’s been paying attention, rather ironic.”
None of this is to excuse Church officials, or indeed Pope Benedict XVI himself, from rendering a true account of what they knew and when they knew it, as far as the latest scandals in Germany and in Milwaukee, in the United States, are concerned. That clearing of the air may not be enough to lift the shroud off the Vatican, but it would be a start.
More Filipinos are at risk from lifestyle-related diseases, according to a survey conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST).
Recent results of the National Nutrition and Health Survey (NNHeS II) FNRI showed that more Filipinos have hypertension, high fasting blood sugar, and high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other lifestyle-related diseases.
They found out that one in every four Filipino adults (25.3 percent) has hypertension or a blood pressure (BP) reading equal to or higher than 140/90 millimeter mercury (mmHg), a significant increase in the prevalence of hypertension. In 2008, the prevalence of hypertension increased to 25.3 percent from 22.5 percent in 2003.
Moreover, the survey revealed that 11 in every 100 Filipinos (10.8 percent) have pre-hypertension or a BP reading at the range of 130-139/85-89 mmHg. This becomes alarming as high BP increases with age starting from age 40-49 years.
Meanwhile, five in every 100 Filipinos have high fasting blood sugar (FBS), which is indicative of diabetes mellitus. The prevalence increased from 3.4 percent in 2003 to 4.8 percent in 2008. The prevalence of high FBS or hyperglycemia peaks at age 50-59 years.
The survey also showed that three in every 100 Filipinos have impaired fasting glucose (IFG). If not prevented, IFG may develop to diabetes mellitus.
The cases of people with dyslipidemia or abnormal lipid levels, on the other hand, increased from 2003 to 2008.
The survey showed that one in every 10 (10.2 percent) Filipino adults has high total cholesterol level, while 21 in every 100 (21.2 percent) Filipinos are on the borderline high level.
FNRI also discovered that 15 in every 100 (14.6 percent) Filipinos have high triglyceride level, while 16 in every 100 (15.5 percent) are borderline high.
The prevalence of low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-c) level increased from 54.2 percent in 2003 to 64.1 percent in 2008.
In contrast, the prevalence of high low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-c) level did not change much, from 11.7 percent in 2003 to 11.8 percent in 2008.
A person is considered to have a low HDL-c level if the fasting blood measurement is less than 40 mg/dl while a high LDL-c level of the fasting blood measurement is greater than or equal to 160 mg/dl.
These are all major risk factors to lifestyle-related diseases, specifically cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, and cancer which are the leading causes of death in the country.
To prevent these diseases, people must have a healthy lifestyle. The Technical Working Group of the FNRI produced a nutritional guideline for Filipinos. The group said that smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages are major habits which should be removed in order to start a healthy lifestyle.
They also recommend eating more fruits, vegetables, root crops, and legumes, which are sources of fiber. Fiber can help the body in many ways as it decreases the cholesterol level, prolongs the response of our body to blood glucose levels, and limits the intake of salty foods in our system.