Sobering News and Turbo-Charged Learnings

Dear readers:

My last post was October 22.  Since then, my life has involuntarily changed 180°. I have been diagnosed with a condition I didn’t even know existed, Myelodysplastic Syndrome, which is a preliminary stage to Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  Conventional medicine is telling me that left unchecked I will not be alive a year from now and that the only “cure”, with no guarantees, is a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT).  Assuming we find a donor, which is a feat and that I survive the transplant which is an inordinate ordeal, there is no assurance it will take or not come back. So you are probably asking, why is she discussing a very private matter here on what is ostensibly an interpreting/translation blog?

The reason is that there are a lot of lessons to be learned for everyone, that because of my condition and my predisposition to learning and self-development, I am being taught at lightning-like speed. I hope I am up to the challenge of learning and  I am grateful to be learning. I want to tell you what some of the more apparent lessons have been, in case they may resonate with you.

I love the work that I did.  It is exciting, fun, challenging and interesting but it was only my work, not my life.  I am not my job, despite appearances, I am a much more versatile being.  More of a spirit dressed in a body, and now I am coming to terms with the fact that the body does not last forever, while the spirit does. We need to feed the latter which is what gives sustenance to the body and we have to arrange our lives to put this in perspective through our actions.  I am not saying that I worked myself into this situation altogether but it was definitely a factor and I am sure some of my colleagues are driven people, similar to me.  You have to look deep and hard into all the activities that you invest your time into and be discriminative when you decide which you will undertake and the reason why.  The more reasons you can connect to the welfare of others and your own spiritual development, the more on track you will tend to be.

Your relationships are another corollary. In the brief time since I was diagnosed, I have seen very positive changes in the family dynamics of both my immediate and extended family. Make sure that your house is in order and that you harbor happy/peaceful thoughts about everyone who is part of your life, to the degree that you can, and only you can manage that. Negative thoughts, be they feeling sorry for yourself or disapproving of  others, harm you more than those you find at fault. It is my belief that these emotions, feelings, desires, etc., percolate from your energy body to your physical body and manifest accordingly in due time and that incubation period varies from individual to individual. As a constructive step in this regard, I have for many years been receiving daily inspirational quotes from Ralph Marston at  Someone did me the great favor of subscribing me and I will be forever grateful. The daily email that I receive and often forward to others serves to put my day in perspective and train my mind to follow positive paths. I also subscribe to “I Quote Wisdom” and “Tiny Buddha” on Twitter, which give you bite-sized chunks of insight that likewise help to mold your thoughts along the right lines.

On a more spiritual level, I began to meditate years ago and seriously started practicing yoga about seven years ago.  This has been an incredible moral support and tool for self-development throughout the years and especially in these circumstances.  If you have ever entertained the idea; to start, it is a great investment in your health.

This all begs the question, why did this happen if she followed this advice?

I daresay I did not start the process soon enough and I needed  to learn the lessons above now, among others, and thus a method has been initiated that I can either take advantage of or try to deny.  I am going for the first alternative and I ask all of you who believe, to keep me in your prayers.

In the meantime, I will continue my usual business-related posts as time and health permit and perhaps sneak in a philosophical reflection here and there that I feel may benefit others.

Posted on November 28, 2011, in Interpreting, life lessons, Meditation, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. Cristina:

    I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I’ve been extremely busy for the past month and have only fleetingly wondered about why I hadn’t seen your posts for a while. I hope you get the best medical care available and that you can be cured. I know nothing about the disease you mention, although it sounds awful and I am so sorry you are going through that, but glad that you have a loving immediate and extended family to help you through it. How do people get tested to offer you their bone marrow? I am amazed at your strength in even attempting to go back to your blog and let us know what is going on. I wish you all the best.

  2. Jennifer De La Cruz

    Maria Cristina…I am speechless. Thanks you for posting this for a workaholic mom like me. Lesson well taken and we will be praying for you.

  3. Maria Cristina: I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I also had been wondering about your silence as you were such an active contributor to all things interpreting, and our Bench and Bar Committee in particular. The lesson I learned from your post is: if you don’t hear anything from someone in a while, go check on them. If there is anything at all I can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact me.Hugs and positive thoughts and prayers going your way from my end of the world.

    • Sabine, I have been meaning to write you and tell you that I have to resign from B&B, at least for the foreseeable future. I know you will continue to lead that NAJIT committee on a stable and productive path as you have so far. I am glad I had the opportunity to work with you, albeit for a short time, at the beginning of the project. I am, of course, very grateful for your prayers.
      Your friend,
      Maria Cristina

  4. lissett samaniego

    Maria Cristina,

    What a brave and inspirational post! Thank you for sharing this very personal story. You continue to amaze and inspire us with your work and your life. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

    • I don’t feel very brave, but I am a VERY practical person. If I can help one person with this post, it will have been more than worthwhile. Once again, THANK YOU for the prayers. They are the best support anyone can give me. Keep them coming!

  5. Very beautifully written. You are an amazingly strong and beautiful person, and very brave to write this post. I will continue to pray for you and although you should first focus on yourself and your dear ones I hope that you will keep us updated when you have the energy.

  6. Maria Cristina, thank you for sharing your truth and strenght. Diseases are blessings in disguise and I am sure you already saw that! You are in my prayers since Oct. May health, joy and light be with you every day! Blessings to you!

    • Livia, you are very lucky that at such a young age your spirit is sufficiently developed to perceive that. It is indeed true that they are blessings meant to give us a special opportunity to accelerate our development.
      Keep the prayers coming! They are the ideal support for such processes.
      Your friend,

  7. Cristina,

    Never give up!

    Un saludo, Zuzana de Eslovaquia.

  8. Natalia de la Vega Munilla

    Mom, that was beautifully written. You are NOT GOING anywhere so you can continue your musings during and after you are cured! I love you with all of my heart and I’m looking forward to seeing you this week!

    • I love you too darling and I can’t wait to give you a big hug! My Musings are a good therapy so I plan to forge ahead with them. Interestingly, when I first chose the name for the blog I didn’t know it should contain a reference to the field I was going to be blogging about, i.e. “Maria Cristina’s Interpreting Blog”, because it would allow the search engines to better categorize the subject matter for interested readers to find me. When I found out, it was too late to change without a lot of disruption. In hindsight, the name now allows me to opine on other matters of interest to me, such as philosophy, without being pigeon-holed into an interpreting-only blog. Who was to say?

  9. Consuelo Burranca

    Dear Tini:
    Without undermining the importance of the physical and health challenge ahead, I would first like to thank you for taking the time to share this very meaningful perspective about health, life, relationships and spirituality. Thank you for all your positive thoughts and feelings, they are individual as well as collective gifts. Our prayers and positive energy are dedicated to your successful recovery.
    All the best to you and the family,
    Consuelo Burranca

  10. Meditation can lead to many amazingly humbling experiences. It has so many physical, mental and spiritual benefits, it would be stupid to not practice it. Strange how many of us don’t.

    Nice post! 🙂

  11. Tini, your writing is heartfelt and full of wisdom and fortitude. I just read this twice and am teary-eyed. You are in my prayers and thoughts and I am sure that a person like you will overcome this. God bless you.

    A big warm hug,

  12. Dear Maria Cristina:
    I hope you remember me, I wish you the best, now & tomorrow, I have known you for many years and I know you are a strong woman the pillar of your family and strengh of your company! and now is time to receive; love and strenght, you are in my prayers, and you will be in many people’s prayers, this is a day by day battle, and everytime bad thoughts invade you, think in beautiful moments, and how much you have done in this world!
    Un abrazo muy grande
    Marty Ponce-Urizar Arabena

  13. Patricia Gonzalez Coleman

    Maria Cristina: I have been blessed to have been part of your work family and you and your family will forever hold a very special place in my heart.. Although I haven’t kept in touch as much as I should have over the years, know that you continue to be in our thoughts. You are an amazing woman; a woman whom as a wife, mother and professional have been a great example to those of us women just getting our feet wet in life. Thank you for sharing, but most importantly, thank you for opening your heart and soul up to those who will be by your side throughput this journey. We love you and are fervently praying….Patty Gonzalez Coleman

    • Thank you Patty! You are very special. You were a key part of the Conference Dept. when we started growing and worked very closely together. In addition, we shared a philosophy of life and a reverence for prayer. I am so happy to have you in my corner!!! Please keep in touch. I love you!

  14. Maria Cristina,
    I am so terribly sorry to learn of your recent diagnosis. What a shock. How was the diagnosis arrived at? All of us at NAJIT are pulling for you and I will especially keep you in mind sending healing energy and thoughts. These things are completely random and in no way due to lifestyle choices, so please don’t look for explanatory reasons… It is terrifying to get the news you did, and very hard to digest. Thank you for sharing it in such a public way with us on your blog. You sound very calm, miraculously enough.

    Having been through a health journey of my own over the past year and a half, I learned a lot about fear, and how to keep it in a corner. Meditation and yoga really helped ground me, it’s wonderful that you are a practitioner. Keep breathing, and treasure every day. Bone marrow transplants are more common than they used to be, and have been successful for many patients, some of whom I know. You will decide what to do as you go forward, and I wish I were closer to hold your hand! You are strong, resilient and flexible. Wishing you all the best outcomes, my friend.

    • Thank you Nancy. It is miraculous, even to me, how calm I am under the circumstances. After the initial anxiety I had a serene, positive attitude come over me. It’s as if I was an observer, watching this process transpire in a third party. It has been incredible how many people from ALL over the world have reached out, people I did not even know. It is a manifestation of how interconnected human beings can be. I do treasure every day. Today I went out and sat by the ocean for half an hour, enjoying every minute of it. Before this rude awakening, I rarely found the time to do that. There was always something that was more important to be done…
      I don’t think these things happen randomly but that is food for a series of future posts. I can unconditionally say however, that it has been yoga, the asanas, breathing techniques and meditation that have created an incredible change in me for the positive, that is allowing me to face this challenge full of hope, calm and strength. I think I still have many things to get done this time around so I should be around for a while longer ;).

  15. Hola tini,

    You are a warrior and now you are totally engaged. You also have the blessing of showing others how to not be afraid of their shadows. I am sending you my prayers and something in the mail.
    Un abrazo fuerte,

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