“I guess my story revolves around my battle with my condition. It’s called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP. It’s generally blood-related, characterized by excessive bleeding.”


“It started with a few bruises, and then blood started coming out of my nose. At first, I didn’t really pay attention. I was having my internship, and I was focused on completing the needed hours. Until the hematologist told me my platelet count was 4,000/uL. It was way below the normal platelet count, which is 150,000/uL – 400,000/uL.”


“I spent the several following weeks at the hospital. My condition is so complicated I had to undergo dozens of tests. In many instances, I had to be placed at the Intensive Care Unit.”



“I was put on chemo drugs. The series of blood transfusion left me thin and really weak. My platelet count would drop, and then it would reach the normal level, and then it deviates again.”



“At the ICU, you see people breathe their last, and you fight your hardest not to let it get to you. Some moments you just lose the strength, and you decide to just let go. Still, you wake up wondering how you’re still alive.”



“At one point, I hit the flatline. I could hear sobbing and everything was just white-out, although I’m not sure if I did really hear the sobbing or if I was just dreaming. All I know is that, minutes after I was back, I was told I was out and that the doctors had to revive me.”



“I couldn’t forget the old woman who came to visit me once. People at the hospital said she goes around the hospital and talks to patients in their wards. One morning, she walked into my room, with ice cream in her hand. (Right before she came in, for some reason, I was craving for ice cream.) She spoke to me, and in a manner a grandmother would tell her grandchild, she said, ‘Have faith,’ and then left. While getting ready to go home after I was discharged, I went around looking for her. I wanted to thank her. I was certain I’d find her, since that was the usual hour she would roam around. But she wasn’t anywhere in the hospital building. I believe angels really do exist among us.”



“I got a little better after, so I decided to resume my internship. Around that time, my dad was diagnosed with a major condition. Together, we fought our own battles. For months, Dad fought his hardest, until he had to go.”



“Just when you think you’re done, life has a way of telling you not yet. A month before my graduation, fluid accumulated in my lungs. I had to undergo thoracentesis to clear my lungs. The procedure was successful, and by May I was able to march.”



“My brother once told me that maybe my condition is meant to teach me how to be strong, because if you ask me about being strong, before I got sick, I had no idea what that was.”



“I go to the doctor every three months now. Before, I had to have my vital signs and blood count monitored on a daily basis. Big leap, if you think about it.”



What you’ve been through I can only imagine.

“I didn’t think I could ever make it. I guess one thing that has kept me from completely breaking is my faith in God. And my mom has always been there for me, Dad was always there for me, my siblings, my aunts, my uncles, and so many other souls, strangers and acquaintances.”



“There’s a chance my condition could relapse, but, you know, bring it on.”




Leah graduated in May 2017. She took the August 2017 Medical Technologist Licensure Examination and passed. She thanks Ma’am Erlinda Sanchez and the rest of the faculty members and staff at the UB School of Natural Sciences for being with her in her fight. She also thanks the “random students of the University who gave me encouragement to continue this fight.”




Interview & Text by RONA LIN & MARILYN TOMILAS





Editor’s Note: Leah wishes to express her gratitude to the following:



·  To My Family by Blood

Olorozo family: Mama Aida and family, Mama Elen and family, Mama Nilda and family,  Tatay Ramon and family, Tatay Marino and family, Tatay Jerry and family, Tita Merly & Tito Boy and family, Castada family, Bautista family, Tatay Oscar and family


Tito Rodel, Tita Elena & family, Mama Ninang Tess Majam, Cuenca family, Tito Bedan, Tita Mara & family, Astudillo family, Apong Delia, Tito Jeff & Tita Brenda, Tito Jassy & Tita Bless, Tito Don & Tita Jenny



·  To My Family by Heart

Mr. & Mrs. Yao, Mr. & Mrs. Sy, Mr. & Mrs. Lee, Mr. & Mrs. Bonson, Mrs. Mercado, Mrs. Marcelo, Ms. Lisa Balao, Mr. & Mrs. Alangsab, Mrs. Cora Diaz, Mr. Fred Rueda, Mrs. Luth Sapon, Mrs. Flor Quiňio, Mr. Agustine Gamboa, Tito Mike & Tita Arlene, Tito Ernest Basbas


Kimberly Campulat, Joanne Mayao, Shea Sagpaey, Ruth Dela Cruz, You Jung Choi, Shynne Catu & family, Eirene Sacla, Carmela Bernardo, Angelica Padua, Trisha Pascua, Angelo Domingo, Shannon Bestoyong, Krizia Villegas, Ronaldo Reyes, Block LAA friends, Janine Jimeno, Ma. Diane Rafol, Griffins Notre babies, Maricar Salcedo, Rose Adams, Glenda Calis, Karina Catabay, Divine Bangcaya, Marie De Guzman, Bernadette Barairo, Joanne Arnaldo, Ma. Lyn Relosa, Berline Fernandez, Joanna Bautista


UB MTIA July '15-Jan '16/Quintilis

UB MTIA Jan '16-July '16/Centaurs

UB MTIA July '16-Jan '17/Griffins

University of Baguio students and students from other schools who donated blood

College friends

High school friends

Elementary friends


Video: Cassey Pearl Francis





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