Suffering from a herniated disc can totally change your life. There are several ways people used to refer to it, they also call it as pinched nerve, bulging disc or slipped disc. The pain simply radiates to the lower part of my left leg and even upwards to my left shoulder.
My sciatica has been unbearable and in addition, the problems I had with the housing loan added to the pressure and the pain. The disc has been bulging and leaking out of the spine that caused my lower back pain.
In October 2006, I was diagnosed of lymphangioma. With the fact that no medical care has been proven effective for lymphangioma and it was growing in size, my doctor advised me for an immediate surgery. I had a lymphangioma surgery in March 2007. How I came to know I had it?
My officemate at the bank who just transferred to the branch noticed that the right side of my neck is bulging. I did not really believe him, but he was so freaked out, the expression his face gave me really convinced me to go for a medical checkup. Yes, something was wrong and fortunately, every root (my doctor said) was already taken out. Thank God!
To tell you, my journey to the knife and the table was never a pleasant one. I have five kids and they were still small. At that time, it felt like, Good Lord, what a life. Felt like I can’t breathe! I was still in the middle of a financial crisis followed by the housing loan we had and I definitely do not need another one. The struggle has been quite overwhelming. On top of it, I was alone in my struggles and never had any moral support from my husband.
On November 2006, I decided to buy a desktop out of my Christmas bonus. For the past few months, I was deliberating whether to opt for an early retirement for health reasons, because my back pain was really getting worse and my financial predicament was getting more intense, that when I sit for long, I was unable to straighten up my back immediately. It will take some time to really stand straight.
This is especially true when I take a ride with our public jeepney transportation here in Cebu. If there’s no other seat available except the one near the driver’s seat, you need to bend over just to be seated to it. Just imagine the bending and the pain. I tell you, I used to cringe whenever I felt the pain.
Getting up as early as 3 am every morning just to cry I know is not healthy. It took me some time to really decide what to do. How can I make money without the costs or the need for capital?
The only work online I knew at that time was to do research and write for the PhD and MBA students who are studying outside the Philippines. So, I bought the desktop, subscribed to an internet plan, and started applying online to writing companies. I applied for about 50 companies and I got lucky to be accepted by two companies.
Life was not easy during those days. I don’t want to get back to that day-to-day struggle of showing being an intelligent, brave mom to my kids while flooding my bed with tears at night. Nobody believed I can do it, because all they know is that you need to physically work here or abroad to make money and not be a solo entrepreneur online. This means I have to face the challenge of being regarded as an instant failure before I even began, and also to face my worst enemy, which is my ever declining self-confidence.
I believe I can do it. It may take a bit of time to establish your name and make your brand known, but I am confident, with the grace and mercy of God, that I can do it! Although it takes a lot of effort to believe in myself, amidst an environment of negativity, I did pray I would have the strength to really believe in myself.
It is not easy to stand upright when literally, everything else in your surrounding is falling down and your back is breaking up your strength and willpower to move on.
I started networking with people, especially with bloggers. Some old time bloggers gave me tips while some entrepreneurs from other countries also gave a little guidance how to find my clients online. It is a slow process, but I guess I did make inch-by-inch of progress.
I used to cry a lot and pray for clients, especially when I still lack the money to pay the expected loan dues. Believe it or not, if you have faith and really believe in God (I won’t deny God’s intervention), I always find an email asking me to work for a short project when I wake up. Even though I was really tired from lack of sleep, the email was a welcome greeting for my vague future.
Yes, that was how I got my clients. How they found me, ask God. They found me anywhere.
My husband strangled me twice in separate times on November 2006. I can say, life sucks, especially when all those ugly events come in threes or fours at a time. If you could only imagine how I would wake up at dawn and just cry. If you can only see how sometimes I just go directly to the bathroom and shower with my full working clothes on in desperation, I was really lost and… very lost…
My only solace was my rosary. If you say bitter, then I would admit my life came to a full stop. All I had been doing was finding the payment for the housing loan due dates. Nothing else matters. I need to save the house and the lot from possible foreclosure. If you say I lost my life during those years, I would say yes.
I built the house for my kids to live comfortably without fear of finding rental payments. I felt my spirit and body breaking from lack of even one moral support.
In March 2007, I had my operation to remove my lymphangioma. I thought I would die. I thought it would turn into cancer. I thought my kids would lose the house if I didn’t come back to work and pay for the loan. But I was wrong, I came out alive hah. I retired from the bank June 2007 and now working as a full time Virtual Assistant Philippines.
What’s with the name Shirley Bongbong? That was my married name. There is no divorce here in the Philippines. My husband said I should not use it. It was like really? If I had the choice, I would get back to using my maiden name. No one would want to perpetually use someone else’s surname who had been terribly treating you as a wife.
We had been separated and right now, I am using Shirley Chio on some blogs. Over time, there would be a transition about using Shirley Chio instead of Shirley Bongbong on some work I had and will be having online.
That was how I got the idea of Arms Extension and deliberately to Virtual Assistant Philippines. I really like to have a full eCommerce business online someday. Just continue following my blogs and join me in my travel through life. We cannot change our past, but we definitely can’t let the events of life and some people stop us from being an achiever.
There were times I lost my hope, but something would always pop up to motivate me again. God is always there, just let Him in and He will slowly guide you to peace!