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It was a Saturday, 3 am, November 13, 2004. I had wakened to go to the bathroom. As I got up,
I keeled over, hitting a TV on a low table. I was disoriented, still sleepy, quite angry at myself as
I struggled to my feet, in vain. Our room was dark and I made a racket, just trying to get up.
As my whole family wakened, I realized that I had lost all control over my right side. I used my
left side and I finally got to the urinal, assisted by my wife.
As it was 3am and no one could bring me anywhere, we prayed as a family our devotion to "Our
Lord of Pardon".
I awoke at 6am. I could stand up! I hugged my children. It was a miracle!
I spent the morning puttering about. It was a normal work day.
Lunchtime, my right side had collapsed. I stayed upstairs.
My friend Mat, arrived just in time to pray over me. He asked me, "where do you want me to take
you?" I said, "I don.t know what.s wrong, take me to town." My eldest son, Jonathan came with
us. We arrived at Dr. Jov Guevarra.s clinic, just in time that his wife, Dra. Ednalyn Guevarra
arrived. She checked my blood pressure on an old mercury type sphygmomanometer. She
dropped her stethoscope, "Joel your bp is over 300!" She began yelling for Catapres! Catapres! I
promptly crushed and swallowed 2, then a third.
Then Jov arrived, he gave me emergency meds which his brother Dr. Ulysses Guevarra, (who was
also on the phone) kept inside his table drawer – just for occasions such as this.
I was asked to lie down until my blood pressure stabilized. After about an hour, it dropped to
240. Dr. Guevarra told me to go to Asian hospital, an hour away. Mat and Celen, his wife, took
had replaced Jonathan, who "held the fort. at home.
It was about 7pm, when we arrived at Asian Hosital. We were met by Nanet Gamboa and her
husband Babes. Nanet had recommended her personal cardiologist, who was not yet there. Dr.
Ulyses Guevarra was also there with his family, he had brought my daughter Liaa.
In the emergency room, my bp dropped to 220. I was brought to a normal room. I was told that
they would attempt to lower my blood pressure to normal over a few days.
Over the next couple of days, I could not sleep. My greatest fear was that, if I fell asleep, I might
wake up a paraplegic. After four sleepless days and nights, I was exhausted and could only pray,
"Lord tinatanggap ko na. Ikaw na ang bahala sa akin." (Lord, I accept. I put myself in Your
hands." I was knocked out and slept like a baby.
After 5 days, and a complete double round of checkups: complete blood chem, chem. 21, xrays,
ultrasounds, MRAs, my cardiologist told me that:
I promised I would and asked Dr. Ernesto Chua to discharge me. I told him that I was not going
well in the hospital. I needed the fresh air, coolness and quiet of my home on the farm.
We prayed every night our devotion to "Our Lord of Pardon" asking the Lord to heal me; to show
us the way.
After a few days, I got a call, "Bro, naka pasa na si Ate, may bagong rehab clinic na siya!" (Bro,
my elder sister has passed the board, she now has a new rehab clinic). It was Butch Noche, a
member of Our Lord of Pardon prayer group, a good friend.
Next day, I showed up in Dr. Emily Noche.s clinic in Balayan, Batangas for two rounds of
Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy.
My therapists found that: I could not write or use my right hand; my right shoulder had fallen,
was painful and had weakened; my right hip muscles and stomach muscles were not working; my
right hamstrings were not working; my right thigh muscles and knee muscles were not working;
my right dorsi flexor, shin muscles, foot and toe muscles were not working. My speech slurred
and the right side of my face had fallen.
In short, I was almost totally paralyzed in my right side.
A couple of days later, I was in Dr. Bubay Castandiello.s clinic nearby. Bubay is a master
acupuncturist and is Emily.s first cousin. Fortunately I knew them personally, this helped a lot. I
was to undergo more than twenty sessions with Dr.Bubay. She started with about ten needles in
the conventional acupuncture points. Later on, she was using the more esoteric and little known
acupuncture points using less needles. During the last sessions, she used only two needles. By
this time, I had gotten more sensitive. I felt the "chi" flowing to the areas where she wanted it to
flow; revitalizing and strengthening them.
Dra. Emily, Bubay and her husband, Joseph would do Reiki on my affected side during my first
sessions of acupuncture. I could feel their energies stimulating my affected side.
The next week, my wife was able to track down the best reflexologist that we know, Ilona
Enriquez. Before our first session, I said, "Ilona, na stroke ako." She said, "di bale po, gagaling na
kayo." (it doesn.t matter, you will get well). My reflexologist discovered all the other hidden
muscles that did not work and that a lot of arteries and veins in both my legs had been
constricted by my stroke.
After a few weeks, a visitor commented on my limping right leg, I told him about my stroke. He
turned out to be an accu-pressurist.
I was almost finished completing my therapy in Balayan, when an engineer I had not seen for a
very long time arrived. He had just finished making a very powerful electromagnet. He asked me
if I wanted to try it. He magnetized my right arm and shoulder for about three hours. I found that
this had "unlocked my right hand and arm". Mobilizing of these parts had begun.
I visited my neurologist. I asked him when I could begin driving again. He looked askance at me
in a wheelchair and said, "Mr. Magsaysay, let us be realistic, you will never get back to normal
again". I immediately realized that he had reached the limits of his experience, I said goodbye,
never to see him again.
Next day, my kids had an evening function and my driver was absent. I drove to their school. We
even ate out.
I would drive myself to Balayan, a 1 ½ hour trip. Do 4 hours of therapy and 1 hour of
acupuncture. And drive all the way back to Silang. It took 4 ½ months for me to drive from the
moment of my stroke. After a year, my therapists and acupuncturist graduated me.
Such was the response of the Lord.
He led, we followed.
The regimen He taught me was inter disciplinary:
Some months later, I had been graduated by my Occupational therapist, but my right leg was still
not working properly. I still was using a light cane and could not drive.
I had cut down on my medicines and was slowly shifting to natural means. I decided I was ready
for the last straw.
One afternoon, I returned from my physical therapy and acupuncture sessions. I asked my
youngest child Marian to get some bees and help them sting me directly on the acupuncture
needle marks. Eight stings in all. I felt the familiar searing, but somehow comforting, pain.
Next day, our driver was absent. There was no one to fetch my children from a school function
that lasted until 8pm.
I was able to drive again!
The bee stings were the last hurrah in a medley of natural and supernatural methods that we
It is March 2006, about 15 months since my stroke. The facial disfigurement is gone. My speech
is faultless. I have regained my handwriting. Last January, my bank teller told me, "Mr.
Magsaysay! Nakuha nyo uli ang pirma nyo!" (Mr. Magsaysay, you got your signature back!). My
right stomach muscles, right hip and buttocks are ok. My arm and shoulder are fine. I am walking
all the time. Some muscles in my right leg are a little spastic and my walking coordination and
timing is a little
off, especially when I.m tired. Fine tuning the rehabilitated muscles and getting
them coordinated is all that is needed. Praise the Lord!
It is now November 2010. Hindsight has taught me some things: