Angela dela Torre sat in her living room with her seven-year-old daughter on her arms while her sad small chinita eyes were focused on watching her 3-year old son play and thinking about the red patches on her skin that are covered with scales because she is suffering from psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a chronic disease that speeds up the life cycle of a patient’s skin cells. When the skin cells grow quickly, they form red patches and scales that are very painful and itchy.
Days ago, the 23-year-old young mother’s hair was waistline-long, but she cut it short to be able to feel the skin on her head. Angela said because of the firming of the skin from which her hair grows, she can no longer feel the water on it every time she takes a bath.
“Mahaba talaga ito, noong nagti-take ako ng gamot, kapag naliligo ako parang hindi nagagamot kasi ang kapal ng balat sa sugat. Kumapal siya na ultimo langgam di ko maramdaman,” Angela, a resident of Barangay San Miguel, told Palawan News on Tuesday.
But her hair is the least of her concerns, she said.
Angela’s problem is how to continue her expensive medication now that her entire body has already been overtaken by the chronic disease that has no cure and can only be managed through treatment.
“Ang sabi ng doctor sa akin, skin rapture. Noong pagpa-check-up namin, binigyan niya ako ng reseta kasi ang sabi niya psoriasis ito. Wala siyang lunas, nasa genes na raw siya. Bawal ako ma-stress, bawal mainitan, maalikabukan, ‘yan ang bawal sa kanya. Sa genes daw namin nakuha,” she said.
Angela said some of her relatives also have psoriasis, but theirs is not as serious as what she has. A hundred percent of her body, she said, are covered by inflamed scaly spots that are causing her pain and discomfort since Makes performing routine tasks difficult.
Earlier, Angela said she thought her skin condition was merely an allergy or a side effect of the birth control shot she availed so she would not get pregnant.
They thought the red patches and skin irritation will also be gone after taking medicines, however, it stayed and even worsened.
“Noong nagpa-inject ako para hindi mabuntis, ang sabi parang allergy siya sa gamot sa family planning kaya siya lumabas. Tapos noong lumabas siya unti-unti ay na-stress na ako. Dumadagdag siya nang dumadagdag at naging sobrang init na ng pakiramdam,” she said.
“Ang sakit sa ordinaryong tubig, grabeng hapdi sa pakiramdam ko, sumusugat na siya. Makalmot lang ng anak ko magsusugat na. Parang cellophane na sobrang nipis kapag nasagi, ganoon. At saka ‘yong mga joints ko, nagla-lock. May time na nilalagyan ko ng langis pero may time na kapag pinilit ko, kusa siya nagka-crack, nagsusugat,” Angela added.
The severity of her psoriasis, she narrated, is what prompted her aunt to seek help from kind people who have enough financial resources to spare.
She said she was convinced to seek help when her young son asked her: “Mama, kapag namatay ka, sinong mag-aalaga sa amin?”
Angela said she cried listening to her son ask the question. It was far from her mind that she will lose her life, but she also could not stop thinking about it.
“Hindi naman ako makakaisip mag-video kung hindi nagsabi ‘yong anak ko na ‘Ma, kapag namatay ka, sinong mag-aalaga sa amin?’ Hindi ba tatlong taon lang siya? Isipin mo magtatanong siya sa akin ng ganoon. Ang hirap sa kalooban. Sabi niya pa, ‘Paano si baby? Sino mag-aalaga sa kanya? Kapag namatay ka ma, sa iyo lang ako, ha?’ ‘Yong mga ganoon, napaka-mature ng anak ko,” she said.
Angela who has no work is the only one taking care of her children after separating from her husband. She used to have a small sari-sari store, but she had to stop working to take care of her children and because of psoriasis.
“May tatlong taon akong anak at may pitong buwan pa tapos ganito nangyari sa akin kaya nagawa ko ‘yong video. Wala akong malapitan, hindi ko alam kung paano sila bubuhayin. Iniisip ko pa rin kung saan ako kukuha ng pera. Ano bang kakainin namin? Saan ako kukuha ng pangbili ng gamot para sa sakit ko,” she said.
After her video was posted, Angela said she had received help from some people for her medicine and for her children.
She was able to take her medicine which made her skin condition improved. However, she said she has no means to continue it without additional help.
“Dati yong anak ko hindi ko kayang asikasuhin, kahit umiiyak siya. May time na nauuntog siya kasi nabibitawan ko, di ko maunat kamay ko. Parang nagla-lock kasi lahat ng joints ko, siko ko, at kili-kili ko, sa pinagdudugtungan ng buto ko,” she said.
Angela said she keeps reminding herself to be strong for her children amidst her condition although there were times when she just wanted to die.
She said it is only her children that make her want to hang on to life no matter how hopeless it seems to be for her.
“Nandoon talaga ‘yong parang gusto mo ng mamatay kasi ‘yong sakit, hirap, tapos kami lang, pero mas iniisip ko na lang ‘yong mga anak ko. Mas kailangan nila ako kasi maliit pa sila, wala sila ibang lalapitan, ako lang. Wala rin akong magulang, wala rin ako maasahan. Nag-pra-pray lang ako, naghahanap ng lakas lang ng loob, at patuloy na kumakapit,” she said.
Angela said that those who are interested to help could reach her through her contact number 09450922842 or visit her at 264-B Malvar Street.
“Tulong na lang po sana na pampagamot ko para gumaling ako. Kapag gumaling ako, kaya ko na suportahan ang mga anak ko. Iyon lang kasi ang hindi ko magawa dahil sa kalagayan ko. Sa sakit ko hindi ko kaya maghanapbuhay, hindi ko masuportahan ‘yong mga anak ko,” Angela said.