by Carlos Antonio Palad
My grandmother Natividad (Lola Naty) was born in 1929. Graduating from college in 1949, she soon became a teacher and was assigned to what is now Baler, Aurora. There she met her future husband, whom she married in 1952. She bore 10 children, nine of whom are still alive.
Her life has been full of blessings and memorable events, but it has not been easy. A very active and dedicated mother and wife, she had her first heart attack in her early 50’s. (It is one of my earliest memories of her.) By the time she reached her early 60’s, she had a constant string of health problems with her heart and kidneys, plus diabetes. She also had several falls during which her head usually hit the ground hard. Still she tenaciously clung to life, keeping up visits to her friends, helping care for some of her younger granddaughters (my cousins), going to church daily until she was around 80 years old, enduring the many family problems and the loss of daughter to cancer in 2006, and insisting on cooking three times a day until her early 80’s. She used to be on a strict diet during the 1990’s – the usual no-fat nonsense common at the time that made her rather miserable. Finally she decided to be happier by being more liberated with what she ate. She is still alive at 86. (I also realized at the time that the normal diet fads were not always helpful.)
Naturally, her brain has not been immune to all the after-effects of her illnesses and trials. She lost her husband of 58 years in 2010. In 2012 she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Her decline was rapid. She often forget who her children and grandchildren were. My cousins would often be dismayed when they would go up to her only to realize she no longer recognized them. She remembered me only because I am a frequent visitor to her. Once I asked her what my name is, and she just laughed and said, “ah, basta, kilala kita.”
In Feb. 2014 she had a heart bypass. After that a weekly therapy was scheduled for her: one hour of cognitive therapy and another hour of physical rehab (walking, biking). She slowly grew physically stronger but her brain did not catch up. She was asked to draw a clock (the “clock test”) and she could not do it. She had difficulty recalling the date of the current day, or would be able to point it out on a calendar only to forget it within an hour. Once she was asked to provide her address and phone number, and she provided her address and number from the 1980’s! It was as if at that moment her memory of the more recent past was erased! At home my aunt who took care of my grandma had a daily routine: they would review our family photo albums to get lola to recall names, events and dates. It was an endless cycle of remembering and forgetting. It seemed like a hopeless spiral and we all dreaded the time when she would forget everything.
Then in May 2014 I encountered Laurin. After its dramatic impact on my life, I introduced it to my family. When my aunts had bought their own bottles and experienced for themselves the good it did, they agreed that my grandmother should adopt it as part of her diet even though her diet (and daily medicine) were strictly regulated. She was diabetic and initially I was hesitant to give her Laurin due to her diabetic condition. You can say we did this against “doctor’s orders”. As a family, we reasoned that at the age of 86 and with her brain function failing, my grandmother didn’t really have anything to lose by testing an “unofficial” but apparently effective product.
Beginning September 2014 she began taking 1 tbsp of Laurin a day at 6:30 AM. It was the only Laurin she took.
After an initial period of shock during which she experienced loose bowel movement, the improvements began showing up. The results were not “dramatic”, but they were steady.
First my grandmother seemed to become stronger. She did not feel any desire to even snack in-between meals, during intervals that often lasted up to 6 or 7 hours. (She used to have a need to snack frequently.) She was much less tired during physical therapy.
Second, by October 2014, she could draw a clock again. Whenever she was asked about her address, she gave the correct, current address – not her 1980’s address. Slowly, the names of her grandchildren came back to her, and she could begin to identify faces and events in the photo albums. By March 2015 she had improved so much she was even able to sit down with her younger sister to reconstruct our family tree from memory! Identifying dates became easier for her – not perfect, but vastly better than before.
My lola, at 86, still has health problems. During the Christmas break she had another fall that battered her face, and in early March she temporarily slipped into a coma. Once more, we thought it was the end. Once more, she pulled through. Amazing! Her strength is incredible. More importantly, and thanks to Laurin, she is enjoying her final years not just in serenity and quiet, but with a heart and soul enlivened by happy memories.
Thank you, Laurin!