|Very short intro|
I am Maria Kathrina Lopez Yarza. I am known as Kcat to everyone, but most of my DBS friends call me Tack. I belong to the pioneer batch, DBS Batch 2000. It is really a great honor to be sharing my story with you, my fellow Past Pupils. Thank you so much for making me a part of this.
Our home is our first venue of learning; the second is our school. After studying nursery school at a learning center near our home, I was ready to study in a bigger school for my preparatory schooling. My parents learned that there was a newly opened Don Bosco School in Manila for girls, and since my dad and my mom’s brothers were Bosconians, they were eager to enroll me here. I was accepted and I was lucky to become one of the first batch of students in DBS way back in 1989 and proud to be one of the first graduates in year 2000.
In those eleven years, I thought I was only here to study, study, and study. I have learned a lot, but not only lessons from textbooks, but DBS also taught me about life: what life is, how to value life and how to live it well, not by myself, but together with everyone. And all these form a big part of who I am today.
Let me share with you these lessons that taught me how to become a victor, instead of becoming a victim of the change that happened in my life…
I was living a normal and happy life. I was at the prime of my life, hanging out and having fun with my friends. I loved partying and found enjoyment in making people howl in laughter with my funny antics. Needless to say, I was a carefree and jolly person who enjoyed almost everything around me. My life was at its peak until the inequitably unexpected change came – a change that ultimately pressed me out of my comfortable zones.
In August 2004, I was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 2 or NF2, a very rare genetic disorder of tumor growth in the nerves, including the brain area. When my doctors told us about it, I was okay and accepted it immediately without feeling something negative; just a bit sad, of course. But I was suddenly comforted with the thought that God was there with me and He’ll always be with me and there is a good reason why He let it happened to me. That time, I didn’t know it yet and placed all my trust in God.
I have undergone a couple of surgeries, both minor and major in my brain, head and in some parts of my body. My health deteriorated in 2005; I can’t walk, I can’t hear, I can’t smile, and a lot of things that I am not able to do anymore. But despite of all these, I strongly believe that I can still do a lot of great things.
I can’t hear, but I can talk; and I am very talkative!
I can’t walk by myself, but I have a wheelchair and I can still go out and hang-out with my family and friends.
I can’t smile, but I can put a smile on other people’s faces and I’m happy about that.
I can’t paint and draw anymore since I’m left-handed and I cannot move it anymore, but I can still use my creativity through doing graphic designs with my right hand while using the computer.
I accept whatever life gives me despite the odds and enjoy whatever comes out from it. Some may complain that it is easier said than done, but it’s not really the case. Yes, life is hard, but doing the things that you can is not really that hard. It all depends on you and your attitude towards it. I am not really doing anything greater than enjoying my life and living it the way I want it.
With my current condition, my world may seem to turn upside-down right? But I don’t believe so. My life just cart-wheeled and after turning, I am standing confidently again (not literally though). I still have my life and I’m still myself in spite of all the things that I had experienced during that turn in my life.
I am able to share my story and inspire others. I am doing this not because I wanted popularity but because I want to let everyone know how amazing God’s works are on me. Amazing blessings! And I am so grateful for that.
As St. John Bosco said, “Do your ordinary duties extraordinarily well.” We were reminded of these words countless times during our schooldays in DBS, which is why even without much effort, I habitually give my best in everything I do; always.
Anyone can make a positive impact on the lives of other people. All we have to do is live our ordinary lives extraordinarily well. Be happy and positive. Do what you love and love what you do.
“…be of service to all you know, and be a friend for all.” That was quoted from the lyrics in one of my favorite Salesian songs and I know most of you know this too. It ends with, “…with Don Bosco we can make it now.” I’ve always kept those lyrics in my mind and been living by those words.
Neurofibromatosis is a continuing battle, not knowing when symptoms or an aggressive tumor will strike and currently diagnosed, I am with a new aggressive brain tumor that is 3.8 x 4.7 x 4.3 cm big, which is already compressing some brainstems that causes my frequent headaches, nerve pains, dizziness and seizures that I can now control thru prayers and deep breathing. I need to undergo another brain surgery soon before it could cause me more harm again.
We are currently raising 470,000.00 for the Hypofracturated Stereotactic Radiation Therapy, a less invasive approach to treat my big bad brain tumor. The amount is too big for us, that we really cannot afford. But I always believe that God provides as long as we are doing our best we can. “Nasa Dios and awa, nasa tao ang gawa”
I have launched my online store years back in my website, kcatyarza.com to sustain my medical needs. With my chronic illness and unpredictable tumor growth, I need to find ways to raise funds. I cannot solicit all of the time and asked for people’s hard earned money. By selling shirts that I personally designed, I am able to seek help through it while sharing the talent that God has blessed me, my creativity, my heart and my strong faith in God.
Dear fellow Bosconians, I am knocking into your hearts to support my fund drive and help me achieve a better life and continue living it to the fullest. Thank you very much. And God bless us all.
My mom added some intro and ending paragraphs too. That makes this 153 words more. Haha. :P