Bettina Carlos may look like she has all the energy in the world with her active lifestyle. If you follow her on Instagram, you would see her daily adventures with daughter Gummy, how diligent she is in doing her exercise routines, and how hands-on she has been with her pastry business.
But, unknown to many, Bettina got severely ill from June to September of 2016. This was what the celebrity mom revealed in her writeup for Manila Times on January 2, 2017.
On Instagram, the host and actress said she decided to share her story "because I was reserving it for when the purpose of the pain has finally been revealed. The only reason why I am telling this now is because my God will be glorified by it."
Bettina recounted, "I was in and out of the hospital for a series of blood works, check ups, and even biopsy—at one point the doctors considered the possibility of having me checked for the Big C."
There were times when she couldn’t stand up due to "countless lumps on the soles of my feet, and I had suspicious nodes on my left axilla [her armpit]," and she "could neither do tapings nor bake." The six nodes, which, she wrote, felt like "small tomatoes," scared her because her paternal grandmother had breast cancer.
During those months, Bettina was juggling "three TV shows, a child I send to school and tutor and cook for myself, a home-based business, a column and a blog to maintain."
She resumed, "And the fact that I had eight different doctors and they could not put their finger on what was wrong with me, put me in much more agony."
Bettina couldn't help but wonder why a young woman like her had to go through such uncertainty. She knew that "pain always has a purpose," but she constantly worried about Gummy. "I cried silently at night with my daughter sleeping soundly in my arms, not knowing if I may already be afflicted by cancer then. The thought of leaving her so early saddened me, the many milestones I may never witness, the future I may not be able to secure."
It was an immunologist who confirmed her illness as "extra-pulmonary TB [despite my TB tests and histology revealing negative for TB and lupus]." Bettina elaborated, "He said that I probably had TB [like primary complex] when I was younger and the strain just slept and was awoken by my very low immune system [from lack of sleep because of work and overfatigue, work-related also, hence the reason for resigning from taping soap operas]."
The ordeal became a wake-up call for the 28-year-old single mom. "Was He asking me to slow down because I was taking in more work than my physical body could manage?" The ordeal also gave her "rest for my soul and more time for Gummy to focus on my calling as a parent," and taught her important lessons.
"I realized that we are not put on this Earth just to work and overwork ourselves for bills and our increasingly high cost of living. God also wants us to enjoy. And joy is found in so many things outside of an established career or a big bank account." These life lessons are the reason why Bettina still considers 2016 her best year despite, and a "rich one," at that.