‘Half of My Body Was Paralyzed’
By Dina Bonnevie
As told to ANA KRISTINE B. VALENZUELA
Published March 2011
LATE 2009, I woke up one evening with my right side paralyzed I could not move. I tried to use my left hand, picked up my cell phone, and called my son-in-law Marc. I said, “Marc, you just rush here. You take me to the hospital, I don’t know what is happening. I can’t move.”
Marc brought me to the emergency room. I was diagnosed of suffering a mild stroke. Half of my body was paralyzed. Doctors recommended that I stay in the hospital.
I told them, “Ayoko ng ospital.”
Once you’re in the hospital, they will say you’re sick. I can’t be sick. Come on, I am a health nut and have been endorsing wellness products.
Then I realized, I was loaded not only with work but with other things. I didn’t have any sleep, I overworked myself, I was going through the worst time of my life—coming from a breakup, my business suddenly failing, filming more than 24 hours a day. That was it. I thought, this has to stop. I asked myself, do I want to be the richest person in the cemetery?
I had no choice. I had to go back. The doctors did Magnetic Resonance Imaging and everything. They told me that I had a stroke, while another doctor said it was whiplash. One thing was sure—there was something wrong.
I am so glad to have met Dr. Rolando Balburias, who heads the Medical City’s Center for Wellness and Aesthetics. That began my journey toward adapting a good diet. He also cured my acid reflux, as I was taking a lot of steroids, for my allergies. Then I found out that the steroids were bad for me as they were making me bloated, fat, and ugly. Doctors prescribed a medicine that got rid of my blotches, dark spots, and allergies.
My neck was stiff, so my doctors prescribed some exercises which I followed. At first I thought this was silly, but the exercises helped me. As we moved forward, they had to remove a lump from my back.
I’m still recovering right now. Recovery is not easy. There are times when I ask myself, babalik pa ba ako? Recovery is about committing to whether you want to get well or not, committing yourself to the right diet, the right routine, everything. What made me continue was the assurance of the doctors around me that I was getting healthier, from week to week. I am getting well. There are changes in my body, the way I feel. I feel lighter, healthier. Now, there is a balance not only in my diet and lifestyle but also with my time schedule, among other things.