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Former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said doctors have recommended that she undergo another surgery, but said she was “not emotionally and physically” prepared for it.
Attending Tuesday’s session at the House of Representatives, Arroyo arrived clad in white blouse and skirt and wearing a lumbar belt to support the pain in the area.
“The shooting pain comes from the lumbar area. Doctors indicated surgery, but I’m not physically and emotionally ready for surgery,” she told reporters in a chance interview.
“It can be substituted in the meantime, quoting from medical bulletin, the substitute for now is intensive physical therapy,” Arroyo said.
Arroyo had undergone three surgeries since she fell ill because of her cervical spine.
The first surgery was done on July 29, which placed titanium implants and bone substitutes in her spine. She had to undergo another surgery on August 10 after it was found that the implants connecting the four levels of her spine had been displodged by what they initially thought was an infection.
A third cervical spine was done on the same month, which involved a reconstruction of the anterior part of her cervical spine using a titanium mesh cage with a bone graft that was harvested from her pelvic bones.
Arroyo has been in and out of the hospital since July 2011.
In December 2011, she was arrested for an electoral sabotage case. She was detained instead at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) because of her medical condition.
She is currently out on bail, but returns to the VMMC almost every day for therapy.
Arroyo said her condition has made eating difficult.
“Crispy is better than hard. It cuts into small small pieces. Then I had to turn my left so that the food will go to my right. It's a complicated procedure,” she said.
Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said Arroyo has lost about 35 pounds since her confinement at the hospital last year.
He said he noticed that Arroyo had difficulty breathing when she arrived at the House Tuesday. She also failed to visit her office because she found it difficult to climb the stairs at the second floor of the north wing, where her office is located.