by BCBP Editor

The updated personal testimonies of the Lord’s care and miracles in their lives by Lito and Ludy Pardo, BCBP Las Pinas

[For the first parts of Lito’s and Ludy’s testimony, please check out their individual testimonies on this website – Testimonies – posted in 2009.)

LITO: A Call into the Desert

Brothers and sisters, the Lord invites all of us to enter into the desert every now and then. He wants us to be with Him in all solitude, to purify and strengthen us, to truly transform and transfigure us.

Sometime in September 2011, the Lord invited me again to the desert. One morning while I was preparing for my trip to Puerto Princesa, I felt numbness in my left arm, severe headache and some chest pain. I thought it was an impending heart attack. After the examination, the cardiologist said it was not related to my heart. He recommended an X-ray, CT scan and MRI of my cervical spine, plus a series of laboratory tests.

The results revealed that my C3 to C6 cervical discs were badly damaged, and I needed to undergo spine surgery due to cervical spondylosis. I do not recall any traumatic accident that would lead to this kind of damage in my spine. I was told by the spine specialist that it is degenerative, part of the “wear and tear” of our body, and that my frequent out-of-town travels (weekly, and sometimes twice a week) could have aggravated whatever initial spine problem I had. As you know, brothers and sisters, my livelihood, consultancy and advocacy work is in Mindanao, while the vineyard that the Lord gave me is North Luzon.

In my prayer time, as I reflect on my life, and the imperatives of livelihood, in the midst of this physical handicap, I cannot help but still thank the Lord for the gift of life. For, in spite of my personal upheavals, the Lord allowed me to have a beautiful family and a lovable “apo”; to live until now.

I also thank the Lord for the gift of service, for the great privilege to serve the King of Kings and His people as well, through the Brotherhood.

I thank the Lord for His mercy and love, for His gift of healing. On November 8, 2011, I had a successful 3-level cervical spine operation (similar to GMA’s, with the same surgeon) that lasted for 5 hours. The X-ray one month after the surgery showed that the titanium plate and disc implants are intact. Another X-ray two months after showed that the bones had already fused. The doctor was very happy at the rate of my recovery. To top it all, the cost of my spine surgery was covered by the medical insurance. The Lord heard our prayers, brothers and sisters! Thank you very much for all your prayers and support! The Lord is indeed a loving and faithful God.

LUDY: A Longer Journey in the Desert

After a short relief and momentary oasis, the Lord has destined us for another and longer journey in the desert.

Early last year, barely 2 months after Lito’s spine operation, I began to experience intermittent aches and pains in my legs, arms, chest and back. I thought it could be just muscle pain or attacks of osteo-arthritis, but consultations and tests with a specialist indicated lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE). I was alarmed to find out that lupus has no cure; doctors only get to manage the symptoms. But I accepted this: the Lord allowed it to happen for a reason. When pain became unbearable, I had to be confined in the hospital. The lead doctor organized a team of specialists and performed a series of tests and procedures like blood tests, X-ray, ECG, ultrasound and CT scan. Results showed several lymph nodes in my liver, pancreas and kidneys, and the specimens were immediately sent for biopsy.

It was holy week last year when we received a call that we needed to see one of the members of the team, a medical oncologist/hematologist. Lito and I went to see him on Easter Monday. Without beating around the bush, he discussed with us the result of the biopsy: the lymph nodes were found to be malignant. Diagnosis was 4th stage lymphoblastic lymphoma (or cancer of the lymph nodes). We were hoping that this would not be the result; however, I was neither shocked nor afraid as I listened to him attentively. Never was I bitter nor angry – I did not question God. There was extreme calmness in my heart; I knew God was with me in this.

Since day 1, I have already claimed His healing. Lito remained quiet, but was also at peace as we have decided to totally surrender everything to God. The oncologist was emphatic that the treatment should be immediate, and should start within the week. He further said that the chemotherapy would be aggressive, since the lymph nodes were themselves aggressive. The entire protocol would run for 8 sessions every 3 weeks. After this consultation, Lito calmly started sending text messages to the BCBP, to relatives and friends, pleading for prayers.

And so our new desert journey began: Two days after our discussion with the oncologist, I was admitted at St. Luke’s Medical Center. [On my first day in the hospital, Bro. Rey and Sis. Lyn Feria kept us company, and repeatedly prayed over me. Our Chapter Head, Bro. Jun Pangilinan, also dropped by the hospital.]
The oncologist started off with a biopsy of the bone marrow, which also revealed malignancy. I was also diagnosed to have leukemia (or cancer of the blood). On April 13, 2012, the first day of the BCBP 32nd National Anniversary, I was given the first dose of chemotherapy. While chemotherapy was aggressive, treatment was also very cautious – infusions of chemo drugs were carefully spaced out.

My stay in the hospital during the first chemo lasted for 18 days. Thank God I experienced only minimal after-effects, like body weakness, diarrhea, fever, skin rashes, swelling of the feet, trembling of my hands, and the like; but the dreaded pain, dizziness, nausea and vomiting did not manifest. My body was able to tolerate the chemo drugs. The only thing I detested was losing my hair! And so I had my head shaven immediately upon discharge from the hospital, para hindi ko iyakan ang bawa’t hibla ng buhok na nalalagas.

The first miracle I received after the first chemo was the very good result of the ultrasound which showed “complete disappearance of the lymph nodes previously seen.” Praise God for His healing! First chemo pa lang, nawala na lahat ng lymph nodes. Ang bilis ni Lord, hindi ba? The result also showed no trace of cancer cells in my liver, pancreas and kidneys. Chemo though had to be continued to treat leukemia.

The succeeding chemo sessions behaved like a roller coaster: there were ones that went smoothly, but there were sessions that sent us and the doctors to worry – like the times my white blood cells would plummet down to two hundred only, when normal level should be at least 5,000; hemoglobin and platelet counts were likewise way, way below normal. The extremely low blood counts made me highly susceptible to infection, unnecessary bleeding and hematoma. In such cases, I would rush back to the hospital for blood transfusions for around 3-7 days each time, depending on my body reaction. [On one occasion, Bro. Jun and Sis. Mina Obra, who were traveling from a BCBP activity in San Pablo, Laguna, responded to my urgent need for blood, made arrangements with the Red Cross and picked up the blood packs themselves at 1.30 in the morning. Our National President, Bro. Manny Jimenez himself called and texted members in the Community asking for blood donations.]

Aside from being confined in the hospital 8 times for the entire chemo, I had to be in the hospital 7 more times for blood and platelet transfusions. In each transfusion, I would need at least one bag of blood or platelet; in most times, I needed much more. Thank God, in most of the transfusions, the hospital always made the blood or platelet readily available.

While in the hospital I was always in reverse isolation: only the medical staff and the priest giving Holy Communion wearing face mask and gloves were allowed inside my room. That is the reason we gently requested friends and relatives to forego visiting me. Complication arose when I developed cough, colds and intermittent fever in August which lasted for more than a month. Infection also developed in my lungs, and this further delayed the succeeding chemo.

Midway in the treatment, in July last year, I underwent PET/CT scan. PET scan, when combined with CT scan, gives a much accurate medical imaging that shows the presence or absence of malignant cells. And the Lord God manifested again His great power – for results showed no more signs of cancer cells, especially in my bone marrow! The doctors declared I am already in remission! Praise God for the second miracle in my journey!

The comprehensive medical insurance coverage is the third miracle in this journey. All the diagnostic tests and procedures prior to treatment, plus all hospital confinements, chemo sessions, transfusions, laboratory tests and all medicines amounted to more than Php 4.7 million. The medical insurance shouldered practically everything, with only a minimal participation from us. Modesty aside, we did not have to worry about expenses every time I got out of the hospital. We thank God for this very generous provision, and for securing us in the palm of His hands.

Lito was always by my side; he had even foregone some consulting opportunities to personally look after me. And he had been a very good care giver. While we had great confidence in the oncologists’ management, Lito was quick to point out observations and suggestions, especially during the last 3 chemo sessions when my body was having a hard time picking up. I thank God for my loving and caring husband; this experience has made us even closer. And for 8 months, St. Luke’s had become our second home.

God’s outpouring of blessings did not end there. Just last January 4 this year, I had my second PET/CT scan; and results showed no recurrence of cancer. God is awesome! He is undeniably a generous and merciful God!

In retrospect, this experience had taught me to cling to God even tighter, mahigpit ang kapit ko sa kanya, because I knew that God was with me, and He would see me through. I completely surrendered my sickness to Him; I offered my pains and sufferings for other sick people like me, especially those afflicted with cancer. The Lord has taught me to see His blessings out of each trial, to see His guiding hand and feel His loving presence in everything that is happening to me, confident that He is totally in control.

May my life be a witness to God’s love, mercy and healing power, and may it bring glory, honor and praise to Him. May others see God’s loving hands in my experience and trial.

Since the start of my treatment, brothers and sisters, you had been there for me through your prayers, and knowing I am in your thoughts and prayers inspired me to go on, and hastened my healing. Deep in our hearts, Lito and I would like to thank you all, brothers and sisters, for all your prayers and manifestations of love, concern and support. Damang dama namin ang inyong pagmamahal. Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat. We love you all!

LITO: Trials, Faith, Miracles and Blessings

Trials continue to come our way; but the Lord continues to bless us too. Brothers and sisters, whatever your desert experience in this journey would be, always be assured of God’s faithfulness; always remember the “manna experience” of the Israelites in the desert. That “desert experience” has led us to the spiritual reality that we need to depend on God for our daily provision, our daily protection. We do not need to hoard and accumulate so much surplus, for they just perish. And so, as we continue to respond to God’s call to discipleship, with expectant faith we will discover that life is indeed a series of unfolding miracles, and we can step out in faith, out of our comfort zone, and totally surrender our lives to God!

To God be the glory! Praise God!!!

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Sis. Aida R. Gonzaga April 26, 2013 - 12:55 pm

Dear Bro. Lito & Sis. Ludy,

We have developed a close relationship with you as our AMD while Claude was CH of Santiago. Prayers for you both were part of our daily life when your desert journeys began. Thank and praise God for His mercy and grace on you, His faithful servants! We were witnesses to your tireless service and you have modeled for us true servanthood! Our heart overflows with joy with the miracles He so lovingly bestowed on you both! We love you.

Bro. Claude & Sis Aida

Sis Nenette de Jesus-Hamoy April 11, 2013 - 1:26 pm

Sis Ludy,

Ever since we learned about your sickness, we did not cease to include you in our prayers. We look forward to meet you again. We love you.

Dear Bro. Lito,

God’s grace flows freely because you are a good servant and a good husband. We are truly blessed to have known you.

Affectionately, in Christ

Bro. Danny and Sis Nenette, BCBP Gensan


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