A Filipino woman with a deadly diagnosis finds love and support at every turn.
Raised in Queens, New York, Balcita’s family occupied a two-bedroom apartment. She spent a lot of time in the room she shared with her free-spirited brother, Joel, whom she idolized, and she was ever-fearful of the chronic stomachaches that plagued her youth. Her overprotective father, a doctor, obsessively coddled her, instilling fear about infections and disease. Unfortunately, his precautions proved to be appropriate, as minor medical problems (edema, shortness of breath, high blood pressure) interrupted her college years, and she was soon diagnosed with kidney failure. The progression of her condition forced doctors to order an immediate organ transplant, which precipitated her brother Joel to make a sacrificial donation. Providing love and support was college sweetheart Charlie, her lighthearted boyfriend who affectionately nicknamed her “Moonface” because of the bloating side effects of the anti-rejection drugs. After college graduation, Balcita relocated to San Francisco, a city “full of possibility” (and unsettling earthquakes). Charlie eventually joined her, and life became balanced until body chills signaled a kidney rejection, leading to grueling dialysis and the need for a second transplant. The author writes with earnest appreciation about the outpouring of kidney offerings she received from a fellow writer, Charlie and, surprisingly, Charlie’s protective mother. The painful aftermath of Charlie’s nephrectomy is coupled with Balcita’s daunting postoperative complications. The author gratefully reiterates how she has been blessed with the healing power of friends and family, who collectively bolstered her faith in love.
A heartwarming and inspiring memoir.