Sunday, May 25, 2008


Alby says, KAYA!

When I read this month's challenge, I immediately knew what story to share. The big question for me was whether I am ready to share it. After delaying for a few days, I typed my journaling. True enough, writing about it brought tears to my eyes. It was still difficult for me to think about that experience. I debated whether I should share it. I considered other options but I thought someone might learn something from my experience so here it is. The symbol I chose to use is the sunset. While sunsets bring forth darkness, it also reminds me that the sun will rise again the following day. It gives me hope of a new and brighter tomorrow.

Now, making the layout is another challenge. I knew I only have this weekend to work on this layout. I knew I wouldn't have time to do a paper layout so I decided I'll go digital. Last minute, my hubby decided to go to my in-laws' place. I just brought my computer so I can work on the layout. Lo and behold, I didn't bring our external hard drive where my digital kits are saved. So, I had to improvise to come up with this layout, which looks more like a newspaper clipping.

Brace yourself for a long read.


Early 2005, during a routine check up, my OB Gynecologist felt bilateral masses on my breasts (lumps on both breasts). She recommended an ultrasound where breast cancer was ruled out. However, just to be sure, I was asked to undergo ultrasound every 6 months. In 2006, shortly after my 3rd ultrasound, my dad was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was caught early and he recovered well from it. He didn’t even have to undergo chemo. Praise God for that. However, because I now have family history of breast cancer, I had to do a mammogram as well – just a baseline read. Before my 1st mammogram session, I started feeling a bit of pain in my breast. I really worried. I thought I might have breast cancer, too. So, I dreaded having that mammogram. There are instances when the fear of being sick was so intense I would have palpitations, shortness of breath, cold sweats and a bit of tightening in my chest. I thought I would have a heart attack. This didn’t happen just once. It happened on several occasions, mostly at night, while driving alone, or in the middle of the night when my hubby is already fast asleep beside me. As a Christian, I knew I shouldn’t fear death so I am not afraid of death itself. I' m afraid of how my death will affect the people I love. Mostly, I am afraid of leaving Ariel alone. I also feared that I’d have a heart attack while I’m alone driving and I would crash my car and injure other people. I thought about how Ariel will receive the news. Will strangers come to my rescue? When I feel it coming while I’m driving, I’d call Ariel and tell him that I’m not feeling well and if he could stay on the phone until I get home. I didn’t want him to get worried so I didn’t tell him how bad those “episodes” were. I just told him I was having "bad" palpitations every now and then.

Then one night, while driving home, in the middle of another “episode”, I cried out to God to help me because I knew something was wrong with me. I suddenly remembered a friend who shared with me about her “panic attacks”. She started having these after a traumatic experience of getting robbed in a taxi. She’ll wake up in the middle of the night fearing for her life, palpitating, and breaking into cold sweat. She sought the help of a psychiatrist to help her cope and over time, she was able to deal with her traumatic experience. I called her right away and asked what her symptoms were. When she described them to me, my tears started falling. Finally, I knew what was happening to me. I had no idea that I was so affected by my dad’s diagnosis. While I had complete faith that he will be ok, I didn’t know that I needed healing too. I believe God whispered my friend’s name that night to me so I will realize that the fears are all in my head and I had nothing to worry about. I finally had the courage to see a doctor, do the mammogram and even an ECG, and all tests confirmed that I’m ok and I have nothing to worry about. I never had a panic attack after that. I really thank God for rescuing me from what was probably my darkest hour. I finally had peace. I was finally healed.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Do not be afraid." John 14:27

Supplies Used:

Software: Adobe CS2; Font - American Typewriter, Distressed Alphas by Michelle Coleman, Century Gothic

Techniques Used:
Dropped shadow, color burn, blending modes - I experimented a lot and used the undo button about a hundred times. :)

About Me:
Hi I'm Alby! I'm married to Ariel. Been scrapping since 2005 but only got to know about acid-free scrapping since last year. I love scrapping because it helps me showcase my photos creatively. It is my stress buster and my "me time". You may see some of my work at my blog.


the dreamer said...

Alby, it must have been very hard for you to share this experience with us and I really thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so honest in your journaling.

I've been feeling really down the past couple of days and haven't done anything remotely creative, just everyday chores. It's been lonely that hubby is away.

But every time I remember our group and the experiences and talent that we share in this hobby of ours, it somehow lifts my spirits and lets me feel not so alone. So thank you.


Lee i. said...

Hi Alby, thanks for sharing. I think it was a blessing in disguise that you left your digital kits at home. I mean, the simplicity, even the starkness of the LO really supports the photo of the sunset and the subject. Nothing else distracts from the matter at hand. I love it, and yes, lesson learned about your experience.

Nita Ang said...

I'm really glad you came up with the courage (and opportunity) to share this with us. Several members of my family have come up with symptoms of panic attack as well, and they have attested that they really felt at some point as if their lives are in extreme danger. It is very real for them.

I also liked the format of your LO. I am beginning to believe that a straight-forward approach like this is most effective especially if one would like to highlight the experience rather than the page. If I may say so, I love your direct and simple approach. I truly do, in fact, I hope you wouldn't mind if I follow your example :D

Alby said...

Thanks Nina, Lee and Nita. The local scrapping community is such a friendly, caring and warm bunch that it made me comfortable enough to share this.

Donna Espiritu said...

hi sister, thanks for sharing this ha? grabe pala un pinagdaanan mo.good to hear na na-overcome mo na un fear mo... thanks for sharing this!!!

Christine said...

Alby, thank you for sharing what you had to go through.

That is one powerful and beautiful page.

Anonymous said...

to tell your story this way, that's courage, kapatid...

and thank you for sharing it with us! :)

Au Lim said...

lovin that layout!!! i sooo like the look. thanks for sharing the experience because i'm sure it will help somebody who could be in the same place. happy you finally found your center...wishing you many more blessings :-D