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In the summer of 2008, one July morning, I woke up feeling very dizzy. It was a hot day so I thought it was the heat… But when I saw myself in the mirror, I noticed I couldn’t move my eyeballs. They were stuck looking forward. I called a friend of the family who is a neurologist and asked him to recommend a good ophthalmologist. When he asked me for my symptoms, he was alarmed and asked me to come to his office first. After my examination, he said he wanted an MRI of my head to discard the possibility of Multiple Sclerosis. I immediately went to get tested and the picture revealed white spots on my brain, my neurons were attacked by my own immune system: I have MS.
Meet Oyuki Aguilar – who turned a devastating illness into a mission for the children yet to come into her life. Discover – The Sport Of Parenting.
Soon after the doctor confirmed the news and lab results (spinal fluid from her back) proved that she was in the early stages, Oyuki took cortisone to bring the inflammation of her optic nerves down and the swelling was gone within a couple of days. But what next? She decided to write a book, and currently lives through the moments as each day blinks by. Her mission: To leave a legacy of her life’s lessons to her children.
How did you cope with the diagnosis?
I felt the beginning of a tear form in the corner of my eye, and before it had the chance to run down my cheek, I snapped quickly and asked my good friend: How can I fight this? What can I do to get better? He smiled – surprised and told me that I was tough. I felt more anger than sadness about the diagnosis, and I was ready to fight! He said I had to eat healthy, sleep better, exercise and calm my life down.
And that’s what I did. I took better care of myself: stopped eating processed meats, canned food, and no more consuming products with preservatives and chemicals. The battle continues and it looks like I’m winning!
What were your thoughts regarding your children and MS?
Two months after I received my diagnosis, I found out I was pregnant! I was so blissful, but this is where I got scared. Not for myself but for my first child; how would this affect the pregnancy? What if I got sick and had to take more cortisone? Would I have enough health and energy to take care of my baby? These were the thoughts that ran through my mind. However, I just took it one day at a time and followed the doctor’s recommendations. The string of good days followed up until I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy and perfect baby girl. One year and 4 months later… I gave birth to a gorgeous perfect little boy too. I still vow on that day to day philosophy; it works wonders and I don’t feel scared anymore, well… not all the time anyways, I do have my days.
“The sport of parenting”, how did this phrase come about?
Raising my children has been an adventure on its own and at the same time it has been very challenging on a number of very typical situations. You have to go through potty training, tantrums, school, eating vegetables and so on. I have yet to see the end results, but it feels much like exercise: the more I do it, the better I get at it. I’ve come to realize that it’s not about winning, it’s about giving it your best and having fun.
I think all parents try their hardest, even to the point where we sacrifice many things and do it with so much love and altruism that I think we all deserve a medal.
So that is where the title of my book comes from: acknowledging a parent’s passion for the challenge.
How can other parents with diagnoses use the book’s contents in their lives?
This book is a warm reminder of how there can be magic and virtue in everyday simple family moments if we look at them the right way. Appreciating the present and allowing yourself to be blissful with your loved ones gives you ease of mind and a calm effect that can only be good to relieve stress and nurture your body and soul. The day to day experience allows you to be conscious of yourself and what is going on within. You can learn a lot of things by just being in the present even when performing a routine.
How do your children cope with your diagnosis and how do they contribute to your book?
They are my book. My book is about the milestones we have lived together. It’s about how we have loved and struggled with one another and the teachings we can extract from those trials. They do not worry about me because they always see me in good health and they love to be included in everything. They painted with me and those I share in the book. They give me so many lessons that I had to include those in the book as well. My kids know the book is about them, for them, and with some of their paintings – they refer to it as: “our book”; it truly is a family project.
What do you say to the mom who has not discovered her good side of her diagnosis?
I would tell her that it will come when she stops visiting the past and future and just let the present give her the gift of consciousness.
Quieting all the voices of all the other time frames will heighten your senses. When you feel comfortable with yourself, when you enjoy your own self, the world around you seems different, kinder and very generous. I do not think that I would have this perception of life if it wasn’t for my diagnosis. When we think we are healthy, we take many things for granted, but when confronted with your own mortality… you are grateful and you take it all in with open arms.
It all starts by living each moment to the fullest.
Where can parents, who are facing similar circumstances, find support and encouragement?
Within themselves if they stop, regain consciousness and enjoy life’s precious moments no matter how trivial they seem. They can also find solace in the company of others who struggle with health issues like them. They are happy to see my Facebook The Sport of Parenting posts, Twitter, Instagram and articles in sportofparenting.com to remind themselves we were lucky to have been brought to this world regardless of these poor health surprises.