By: Kimberly N. Vega Colón
It is a little strange to have never gone through any negative challenges throughout your life, but this may happen because in the future a shocking setback may appear.
The trick here is to know how to manage it which was what the following retired librarian faced.
Cecilia Toro Hernandez grew up in the neighborhood Pedernales of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. She was raised by both parents, Jose Oscar Toro Irizarry and Lucila Hernandez Montero, coming from a humble home where all of her necessities were served with a lot of love and dedication.
During her first two years of college at the University of Puerto Rico of Rio Piedras, she studied to become a teacher. She studied on Saturdays and on summers to finish her Bachelor’s Degree in Education. She continued her studies and obtained her librarian license.
At the age of 19, she began to work as a teacher. She worked a total of 32 years and a half where she spent 10 years working as a home room teacher, 3 and a half years as a public welfare technician, and her last 19 years working as a librarian. She started her teaching career in Cabo Rojo continuing in different schools of Mayagüez. Her years as a librarian began in the Federico Asenjo School of Balboa, Mayagüez and she spent her last years working at the Alfredo Dorrington School of Hormigueros. She retired in May 1991.
Cecilia remembers the following anecdote by the good intention but at the end she reminded them that they failed in their duty:
-“One librarian day my assistant and a maintenance worker forgot to buy me a gift, so when I took my lunch break before I left I gave them instruction to leave the library opened while I was gone, but they disobeyed me and went to buy me a gift hoping to get back before I did but I arrived at the library before they did and when they arrived they excused themselves and explained that they were out in search of a gift for me which was an elephant figurine,” Cecilia said.
During her career, she did not face any negative challenges, everything was positive. Her biggest satisfaction was to serve and help students, teachers and elders in any way she could. “What has been rewarding for me is the satisfaction of my offered services which I considered necessary and important to all the people I have helped during the years,” Cecilia said.
After years of her retirement, she got moved into leading the Multiple Sclerosis Support Committee of the Western Region of Puerto Rico when she heard of this disease at the moment her daughter, Johann N. Ramirez Toro, got diagnosed with it in March 2005. Johann today is 48 years old and very healthy.
The Better Health Channel reported that Multiple Sclerosis is an incurable disease of the central nervous system that can affect the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. “Drug therapy aims to ease specific symptoms and slow the progression of the disease and treatment may also include alternative therapies to manage symptoms.”
“Patients of Multiple Sclerosis may react or by immediately accepting the disease following the medical instructions and fighting for their lives or by stopping and not wanting to accept the disease and stalling to begin the treatment which permits the disease to advance and soon it would be too late to treat it,” Cecilia said. “Normally when they find out about this disease their self-esteem lowers but that is what the support group is here for.”
“At this time, there are no symptoms, physical findings or laboratory tests that can, by themselves, determine if a person has MS,” says The National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “The doctor uses several strategies, like a neurologic exam, to determine if a person meets the long-established criteria for a diagnosis of MS and to rule out other possible causes of whatever symptoms the person is experiencing.”
Cecilia provides aids to patients such as visits to their households, orientations, accompanies them to medical appointments and celebrates different activities to attend each of their necessities. She interacts with patients in the support group reunions and regional conferences and also interacts with their family members to make sure they are well taking care of.
Genoveva Olivencia, mother of a multiple sclerosis patient that passed away on May 2012, said that Cecilia always provided a lot of support to both her daughter and her family circle. “She visited her in many occasions and shared with her many laughs that raised her self-esteem a lot,” Genoveva said. “My granddaughter and I attended many of the support group activities and Cecilia always was on the look out of our presence.”
Cecilia says that her job with Multiple Sclerosis patients entitles a lot of satisfaction by knowing that she can help maintain their self-esteem up high and specially help them obtain the expensive medicines and treatments. “I have never encountered an extreme or delicate case that has emotionally affected me because I accept each case as it is and I support them in anything at my reach,” Cecilia said.
She says she is now satisfied with what she does and with the achievements she has made so far, because she considers that she is fulfilling her duty as a human being by serving in different ways in volunteer work with people of all ages and hopes that a cure for Multiple Sclerosis appears in a near future.