Aliw Garcia Pablo: Hi, Jerikka, how are you?
Jerikka Nahibuan: I’m great. How are you doing?
Aliw Garcia Pablo: I’m good. I’m good. So, first I wanted to start off by saying, what did you think when you first got the message that someone wanted to thank you?
Jerikka Nahibuan: Oh, my gosh. It was so–it’s such a nice surprise. Like, obviously, I do my job and then patients say thank you. They come and go. But like, you don’t really get called out for something like that very often. So it was such a nice surprise.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: From INC Media Audio, this is Making Changes, a podcast about the changes we go through and the life lessons we learn along the way but always with God by our side. I’m your host, Aliw Garcia Pablo. So we’re continuing our “Thank You Series” – it’s basically surprise phone calls or video calls to people who have made a positive change in someone’s life. This time, you’ll hear a thank you from a patient.
Jerikka Nahibuan: I don’t even know who the patient is. I think I have some suspicions. I have a couple of people, like, who could it be? But like, I don’t know who it is. So it’s a really nice feeling.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: You guys see patients when they’re not doing so great, and especially as a physical therapist, and once they’re better, they kind of go off into the world and, you know, continue on with their life.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: So, today you’ll meet Jerrika, a physiotherapist or also known as a physical therapist who is about to be surprised by a patient who says Jerikka changed her life and continues to make a difference in her life today. Let’s listen in.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: I’m glad that you’ll get to feel and hear the impact and change you’ve made in this person’s life. So without further ado, here’s your patient that wants to say thank you.
Jerikka Nahibuan: Yeahhhh!! Marilen! Hiii!!!
Marilen Barreda: Hey Jerikka!
Jerikka Nahibuan: Hi, how are you?
Marilen Barreda: I’m good. How are you?
Jerikka Nahibuan: I had a feeling. And I’m like, who would it be? And I’m like, Marilen, this is totally something she would do.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: Did you, did you think it was her? Was she on your list of possibilities?
Jerikka Nahibuan: She was definitely on my list because this is totally something that she would do. She’s always thanking me. She’s always making me feel appreciated.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: So I’m going to go ahead and give the floor to Marilen. And Marilen, let us know, tell everybody why are you thanking Jerrica today?
Marilen Barreda: So I just want to thank you, Jerikka, for agreeing to do this and coming on to the Making Changes podcast. You know, when…
Jerikka Nahibuan: Hold on, you’re making me cry already.
Marilen Barreda: You know, when I first heard about this segment with the Making Changes podcast team…
Aliw Garcia Pablo: This is Marilen, or Len, as I know her. She’s one of my co-workers here at INC Media, and she’s also a nurse. A few years ago, Marilen got into a terrible car accident which really scarred her physically, but also emotionally. But Jerikka was patient in helping Marilen recover from the accident and conquer her goals.
Marilen Barreda: I think when I first met with Jerrika, like I told her already from the get go, like, I’m not an easy case for you. Yeah, she’s like, what? What are your injuries? And I said, “So from my accident, I fractured half my face. I have an entrapped nerve, so I can’t move half of my face. I can’t feel anything. And then I have really bad nerve damage on the right side of my body.” Right? So, she’s like, Oh, that’s a lot, right? And she’s like, “That’s a lot of work.” And then she’s like, “Okay, so I have to meet with everybody and we have to work together.” And that’s when I was like, “Oh, this is different,” right? This is like…this is I’ve never heard someone say that. Oh, wow, she’s really going to study what’s wrong with me to help me. And then afterwards when I told her, when I found out about my heart condition too, she’s like, Oh my gosh, this is another thing. So just one thing after another. She’s just researching about it and helping me. And that was amazing, right? Thank you so much.
Jerikka Nahibuan: Marilen, you’re making me cry so early in the morning. Yeah, well, thank you. I, definitely, like you’re right, you’re not an easy patient, but you’ve come such a long way. From the first day I met you till, like, now, like, you’re so much stronger mentally and physically, like, you’re a completely different person. And I’m like, so proud of you, and I know you’re thanking me, but, like, I’m thanking you for putting in the effort because you had to show up, like you didn’t have to come to the therapy when you didn’t sleep after your overnight shift, but you did. And like, I wish I could take all the credit, but like, it’s not just me. Obviously, we have like a whole team that’s taking care of you, but like, that’s all you. And this is something I really needed to hear, especially, like, the past couple weeks. Like, obviously I’m on leave, so I don’t really talk to adults anymore. I just talk to my baby and my dog. So this is really nice. But you are one of the patients that I love, and this is exactly why I do what I do.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: So let’s back up a little bit – As a nurse, Marilen is used to being active and always on her feet. But after her car accident, and all the injuries she sustained, this changed how she was able to live her life and look towards the future. And on top of that, during her recovery, she learned that she also had a heart condition.
Jerikka Nahibuan: There was no doubt in my mind when I first met you that you should ever change career, that you should ever change what you’re doing, because that was the goal.
I wanted you to do what you love doing, and I can see how passionate you are about being a nurse. I mean, you even advanced in your career during the time that I’ve met you. Now that you have two jobs. So it’s like, there was no doubt in my mind that you would stop doing what you were doing. That would have never once crossed my mind. When I met you a couple of years ago, you were completely different from the person you are today. You’re so much stronger.
Marilen Barreda: Yeah. And I like to think that, like, you really helped me, like, listen to my body and you really look out for me as well, especially. I know, it’s not just you, even the team. You guys really look out for me, even though like I can be stubborn —
Jerikka Nahibuan: Oh, yeah,
Marilen Barreda: Yeah, I can be stubborn, right?
Jerikka Nahibuan: You’re supposed to work out, but you’re (also) supposed to rest. And I think the rest component was something that she wasn’t getting. Like, the first thing I would ask her when she’d come in, like, did you sleep today? Did you, did you get rest because your body’s supposed to recover. If you’re not sleeping… I would lecture her every single session. That’s the first thing we talk about is sleep. Not even like, did you do your homework? Do you do exercises? Did you sleep? And she’s like, yeah, for like 20 minutes in the car before I got here. I’m like, go home, sleep. But I think maybe her stubbornness–I’m kidding. But she just had a lot of injuries. There was a lot. So, you know, in school you learn, okay, a person comes in with an ankle sprain. You know, it’s very straightforward. You know, therapy’s a little bit easier. But when you have so many issues going on, you know, it’s just a little bit hard to treat.
Marilen Barreda: I know, like when I got out of the hospital too, you messaged me. You’re like, you know, you have to really rest. So, don’t think about doing rehab right away. You know, you didn’t have to. You didn’t have to talk to my surgeons or anything, but you really worked together with them. And I appreciate that you took the time to do that. You took the time even before my surgery. You guys got me ready. I appreciate that, too.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: And as if recovering from the car accident wasn’t hard enough, Marilen found out that she would need open heart surgery and Jerikka was by her side, every step of the way.
Jerikka Nahibuan: You are a superstar like not many people can go through all the things that you have gone through and be who you are today. Like obviously like, yes, you’re my patient, but over the past couple of years, you’ve become my friend. So when you were telling me that you (need to have) heart surgery, like everyone at Strength N-U, we were like praying for you. We were going through it as if a family member was going through a heart surgery. So, like, we all care for you, not just as a patient, but as like a really close friend. And that’s the great thing about therapy is that you have all these conversations, you get so close to like we’ve gotten so close. Like, I feel like I know, like, all about your life other than just your injuries. So like, obviously we care about you. And so talking to your surgeons, messaging you, like that was just me being a friend, you know, not a therapist because we really care about you.
Marilen Barreda: And I remember I remember, before my surgery, like hours before—because like leading up to my surgery, I was just worried about how my family was going to be. I was just preparing them and I wasn’t really preparing myself, right? But hours before my surgery, I remember getting that text from you. You’re saying like, you know, I’m really praying that like, your surgery goes okay. Don’t worry about anything. Everything’s going to be okay. And that was the first time that, like, I was really thinking about myself, like, wow, like someone’s thinking about me, right? Like, and it didn’t really hit me till then, right? Just hours before my surgery. So, like, that meant a lot to me. Thank you.
Jerikka Nahibuan: You’re welcome. You’re welcome. And I know you, you’re the type of person that puts other people before yourself, as a nurse, with your family. So, like, that was what I wanted. I wanted you to just focus on yourself. And I think by focusing on yourself, that really helped with your recovery. But yeah, that’s just you. You’re just the person that, you know, cares for other people, but I’m glad, though, that text like, you know, it helped because I was really worried and I was really thinking about you. And as soon as you got out, I’m like, You’re good. She’s good. Yeah, I’m grateful for you. You’re grateful for me. I’m grateful for you.
Marilen Barreda: I can’t stop crying.
Jerikka Nahibuan: I know. But, you know what? Yeah, obviously, like I’m like it’s me as a person, but like, I just obviously had a baby. So, you know, my hormones and my emotions are extra.
Marilen Barreda: I’ve been saying, like, after surgery, I just like, I don’t know what it is, but it just opened me up with so many emotions. So, like, I can’t stop. I can’t stop with this. And that’s the hard part, right? Like before the surgery, I’ve been able to, like, hold my emotions in, but since after surgery, it’s just like coming out. I don’t know what it is.
Jerikka Nahibuan: But that’s good, though. You–having heart surgery is not, like, is not easy. That’s a serious thing. Like, I don’t think people realize what you went through that–it was serious. So, it kind of just puts your perspective on things, on life, differently, right? So, I mean, embrace all those emotions. I mean, when I see you next we can both cry, hug each other. That’s how I feel and that’s totally fine. But yeah, embrace it because you went through an experience that not a lot of people have been through. And I’m really proud of you.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: I’m gonna jump in here. And if I can ask you, Jerikka…you mentioned that Len wasn’t the easiest patient, and I can only imagine the kind of mindset that Marilen must have been in when she came to see you, having been told you had to change your career. “No, it doesn’t look good for you,” and all the kind of negative, you know, feedback she was getting from other specialists, right? But, when did you start to see the mind shift change in Marilen? Not only as she started to become physically stronger, but was there a point that you kind of started to see a glimmer of hope and positivity in her after some treatments?
Jerikka Nahibuan: I would say, from day one, you know, like when I first met Marilen, and she told me about her career and I knew that she was working out with other personal trainers and like just her who she was like, I knew that her hearing, you know, that other specialist that told her to stop doing what she loved to do, like that was not going to cut it for her, which is probably why she changed therapists in the first place, right? But I knew from day one that her personality and her—I knew she was stubborn from day one. And I’m like, this is someone that’s not, you know—I’m going to have to, like, drill into her that she needs to take it easy. But it’s just, after maybe like the first couple of sessions, I knew that she was not a quitter and that she was going to be one of the patients that was going to push through and be successful in therapy. And that was what told me from the beginning that she really wants this and that she’s going to get things done no matter what. She’s not going to quit her job. She’s not going to stop exercising, doing things that you love, like kickboxing, working out. You know, like I just knew from the beginning. But like she said, she’s stubborn. And because you said that, I can say it too, you’re stubborn.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: But it sounds like she’s stubborn and in a positive way where she just didn’t want to rest. So she was stubborn in that way.
Jerikka Nahibuan: But that’s important, too. I remember our first assessment, like, it was not straightforward. Normally, assessment, you figure out what’s going on, have a plan in your head. But I remember in our first assessment it was long as she was explaining all her injuries. And I’m like, I don’t know where to start. What do I start with, like head to toe and I had to swallow my pride and yeah, I’m going home and do my research cause I don’t really know what we’re doing right now. So, you really just have to admit like I’m not really sure, so I need to go home and do some research. So, Marilen definitely kept me on my toes and you know, kept on adding more things you know with the surgery but that’s okay, we got through them.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: And Len, you mentioned before that when you first walked into their facility, what was the level of strength you have, or did not have?
Marilen Barreda: So, it was funny because when they do initial assessment when you go in their facility and coming into their facility when they assessed me, I couldn’t even lift a wooden stick. And that was embarrassing for me. And they said, “You have a lot of work to do.” And I was like yeah, I couldn’t believe it. And when I saw Jerikka, I told her, “I’m not an easy patient for you. There are so many things wrong with me. I’m not an easy patient. And then from then on they really made me work, even until this day.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: So for you, Marilen, what was it that–you said that other specialists were saying, you know, weren’t as positive or hopeful, but what was it when you met Jerrica—could you already tell from the get go, like, okay, I’m going to get a different kind of care with this team?
Marilen Barreda: I think what stood out was when Jerikka told me, you know, I’m going to gather our team and talk to everybody and we’re going to discuss the care that you need so that we can work together and put together a plan so that we can get you to the goal that you need to accomplish, get you functioning and mobilizing again. And I was like, wow. Like I didn’t hear that–because before I’ve been hearing like you have to change (your) career, you know. You’re not going to be able to function again. And for me to hear like, they’re going to help me get to the goal that I need to get to, right? Like, that was music to my ears. And like, I couldn’t believe it. And it was a long, very long journey to accomplish. But they’re going to help me get there. And it’s still a struggle. But, you know, like with Jerrika—she was determined to help me get there. So, that was a big thing for me. And I was very shocked, and I didn’t know that it was even possible to do, so, that was great.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: And in one sentence, Marilen, what would you say is the biggest change that Jerikka has had on your life and on your recovery.
Marilen Barreda: Biggest change…I think she was very patient and understanding to the needs that I needed to accomplish, and I needed to reach the goals that I needed to reach. So, I’m very appreciative for that. I’m very grateful. I don’t know, one sentence is not enough. One sentence is not enough for all the work that she’s done. But I know that for her patience and understanding every single time that she’s helped me, she’s treated me, I’m very grateful for that.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: And Jerikka, how do you–and I’m sure Len is not your only patient–but how do you have so much care? I mean, to be able to tell a new patient that you’ve just met, “look, I’m going to get our whole team together and we’re going to help you.” And that’s someone that you just met, right? Where do you get, you know, all the compassion and care that you are able to kind of spread out to all your patients? Where does that come from and how do you not get burnout? You know, because most people in the medical field today, let’s be honest, right? They’re really getting (burned out). So, how do you keep inspired and still in the place of being able to give and care?
Jerikka Nahibuan: I think it’s just like me as a person, like I just care. That’s why I got into physiotherapy in the first place to help people. And not save lives necessarily, but to help people live their lives. And it’s just me as a person. That’s the reason why I got into this in the first place. And with regards to just burning out, like I don’t–sometimes I don’t see my job as a job. I go to work and because I love what I do, sometimes our sessions, sessions with clients, like clients like Marilen, like I don’t feel like I’m working, we’re chatting, we’re doing therapy, but we’re, we’re having a good time, right? So when you put yourself— when you put your mind in that perspective where you don’t see yourself as working, you’re just doing something that you love, you lessen your chances of having a burnout. And also, I mean, you practice what you preach, you exercise, you have a good balance. And, you know, there have been times where I have felt like I was on the verge of having a burnout, like I was exhausted, mentally, physically. But you just have to take a step back and take a break. But it’s also just waking up, going to work and thinking, yeah I’m going to work a 12 hour shift, but I’m going to do it. Well, you go to work–so you can go into the mindset that I’m going to just work from 9 to 9, or I’m just enjoying my day. Do what I love, talk to people and not see it as a job.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: So, you talk about really that mindset, right? It, not just a job, but doing something you love and helping people. How much of therapy, physical therapy, would you say is really physical versus mental? Like, how is all of that connected in recovery and getting stronger?
Jerikka Nahibuan: Well, people would say that, it’s probably like 90% physical therapy and 10% mental therapy, but it’s maybe a 50/50, maybe even more on the mental aspect because so like, let’s just say the therapists that Marilen would’ve seen, they’re an amazing physiotherapist. They have all these certifications, maybe better than me, but because they were telling her that you can’t do this, you can’t do the workout, you can’t do your job. That mental aspect took over. So that’s why it was unsuccessful. For me, probably doing the same physical aspect as all the other therapists being as efficient in the physical, physical sense, if I don’t have that connection, that mental aspect, the motivation, telling my patients that you can do this, therapy is not going to work. And if the patient doesn’t have that trust in you, they don’t believe that what you’re doing is going to work, then it’s not going to work out. They’re not going to get better. Like it’s that rapport that I think every health care professional needs to develop with that patient, that level of trust and a certain level of motivation that things are going to work out if you really try. Because like I said, like at the beginning, it was all Marilen that was doing her homework to exercise and showing up. And that is not the physical sense, but that’s the mental aspect of therapy. That’s maybe more important than the physical aspect. And if somebody is telling you you can’t do this and this is not going to work out no matter how hard you try, stop doing it altogether–like, you’re not going to get better. So, just having a strong, strong mind and strong, like the will to get better, that’s going to increase your physical abilities.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: And Len, I know you’re a very, you’re a very faithful and spiritual person and I know that you prayed a lot, you know, during your recovery and even with the heart surgery before the heart surgery and after, how much would you say that…what would you say, that, Jerikka, is an answer to your prayers?
Marilen Barreda: Definitely. I prayed a lot. And I think God helped me find the rehab clinic to help me in my recovery. God helped me to find Jerikka, for her to work with me to help me in my recovery. To help me get back into my line of work, even in INC Media, right? Because I wouldn’t be able to function and live my life. Right. And it’s (only) through prayer, definitely. And I know it’s only with God’s help. I know that. And I’m thankful every day (for) that. And I know there’s conversations that Jerikka I would have about that. And we would always talk about that. She’d ask me as well. And even before my surgery, she would always bring that up, right? Like, definitely. And I’m thankful for that. That God really played a big part during this whole time during my recovery.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: And Len, you know, you’ve had your share of like, you know, like Jerikka has said, you’ve had your share of struggles that not everyone goes through. You had a car accident and then, you know, your heart surgery. What would you say is the biggest––you mentioned that your heart is much more open now, like literally. Like what would you say are the changes you’ve gone through with these experiences, what are the a-ha moments you’ve come to realize and how has it changed you as a person?
Marilen Barreda: I think just to really be appreciative of my life, to appreciate everybody that’s around me, to appreciate everybody that’s helped me during my journey. Not just be distracted with work, but be more grateful, you know, because yeah, just to be grateful for what I have, be grateful for everybody that’s been helping me in my life, (like) Jerikka, who’s helped me in my recovery, grateful for my family that’s been supportive as well. And not just to be distracted with work, but really like to focus on what’s important, you know, with my work in the Church, work on myself and my health because, you know, life is very precious, right? So just to focus on what’s more precious in life.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: Well, I’m so glad you both connected.
Jerikka Nahibuan: Yeah, well, thanks for bringing me on this podcast. I feel so overwhelmed with emotion. Thank you for believing in me and not giving up in me and my therapy. And, you know, we care about you. Everybody at Strength N-U. We care about you. And we’re going to have more goals in the future. But again, thank you for just making my day. It really means a lot to me and it reminds me why I do, what I do. So, I’m really, I’m really grateful.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: And now you’re back to kickboxing or what is your strength level now?
Marilen Barreda: I’m still, I’m still trying to get there. I am just lifting 15 lbs on my chest area, but on my legs, I can–I can do more, but I’m getting there. I’m getting there.
Jerikka Nahibuan: But I saw you do a class? You did a class.
Marilen Barreda: Yeah.
Jerikka Nahibuan: I visited the gym, so I’m on mat leave. I’m not working right now, but I visited the gym and I saw Marilen, doing a really high intensity class, and I was like, that made me so happy seeing her. I mean, she just had heart surgery just in September and she’s doing a class, like that’s rare, that is so rare. I was so proud of her and like, I was watching you and you did amazing. I remember telling my mom, I’m like that’s her, that’s the one who had heart surgery, and she’s here. I was so excited, like, (it) just made my day. But she’s..she’s you know, kicking like all her injuries in the butt, like she is doing amazing. She’s doing things that people who didn’t even go through an accident, didn’t have heart surgery, like they can’t even do, so she’s doing amazing.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: Well, thank you both. And we’re so proud of you, Len. We’re so proud of the, you know, just the strides that you’re going through and everything you’ve been able to overcome. And we’re all cheering for you. You know, we’re all cheering for you. And we know the best is yet to come.
Marilen Barreda: For sure, thank you.
Jerikka Nahibuan: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Aliw Garcia Pablo: Thank you, guys. Special Thanks to Jerikka and Marilen for being part of our Thank You Series. You know, this episode just goes to show what a difference one person can make in changing someone’s life and their perspective on life. So if you have someone that you’d like to thank for making a change in your life, send us a message on our Making Changes instagram account @makingchangespodcast. We’d love to hear from you and maybe even have you both on the show!
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Thanks for listening. And may your change uplift you.
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