As Jaya adjusts to her new life in the U.S., the singer didn't expect that something as simple as scheduling a check-up with a doctor would be a challenging experience.
In an exclusive interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) via Microsoft Teams in October, Jaya said it took her several weeks and even months just to book an appointment for a check-up on her diabetes.
She said, "Siguro sa akin, marami na kasi akong bagay na nakasanayan na, lalo na sa Pilipinas.
"‘Di ba yung easy access halos lahat kung iisipin ko, e, kasi comparing how it is here now, kasi yung mga doctor, mahirap mag-appointment.
"Right? I’m diabetic and ang hirap mag-appointment. So yung first appointment ko pagdating namin dito, the doctor is not available until December.
"Sa Pilipinas, madali kasi you just basically call on a doctor friend, maraming mare-recommend, may doctor sa village, so medyo easier."
JAYA'S TYPE-2 DIABETES
Jaya has been going to regular check-ups since she was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes in 2006. The Kapamilya singer recalled that she found out about her condition after giving birth to her eldest child Sabriya in 2006.
She said, "I think, what happened was basically there were times when the doctor would tell me kasi na, ‘Kainin mo na kung ano ang gusto mo kapag naglilihi ka.’
"So I think, in my case, hindi ako nag-adjust nang tama with my meals, so feeling ko, yun.
"And also, the lifestyle that I had when I was single. I think important talaga na nasa teens ka pa lang and 20s, adjusted na yung food intake mo, very little alcohol intake, walang bisyo-bisyo, stay away from fatty food and all of that.
"So ayun, na-diagnose ako at 36 years old. And then, nag-ano na ako, regular medication."
Jaya revealed that her husband Gary Gotidoc also has type-2 diabetes. With type 2, the body either resists the effects of insulin or doesn't produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood sugar level.
Jaya is grateful that she doesn't have any life-threatening experiences related to her diabetes. However, she remains vigilant with her condition, knowing the experience of her late mother Elizabeth Ramsey.
A month before she passed away in 2015, Elizabeth, or Mama Beth to her dear friends and family members, experienced seizures that would last two to three hours. This was caused by hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar levels.
Jaya recalled, "When she had a diabetic seizure, ang taas ng sugar niya. It might have been, according to what I remember, past 500. Ang blood pressure niya, which is also another thing to be careful with, mataas.
"So sa sobrang taas nung pareho, nag-seizure siya. Yung seizure niya, akala nung mga tao dun sa hospital, kasi ang tagal. Two and a half hours, non-stop.
"May hinihintay silang gamot at doctor, wala pa.
"So for two and a half hours, there was a seizure. You can just imagine yung mata niya tirik, nag-she-shake yung mukha niya. Akala nila stroke pero ang tagal, two and a half hours.
"Yun yung pinaka-traumatic na nakita ko, mismong nanay ko na inatake ng ganung seizure."
Jaya has been maintaining a healthy lifestyle for 15 years since she was first diagnosed with diabetes.
One of the challenges she experienced during the early stages of her maintenance was the daily pricking of her fingers just to monitor her glucose level.
Jaya recounted, "At that time, siyempre yung gagamitin ko was the prick… yung parang pang-check ng sugar, right? Yung glucose monitoring system noon is merong pricking, masakit.
"So for years, yun ang ginagamit ko and that’s exactly how I had to live my life, yung parang… masakit! So minsan, tatamarin ka na lang mag-prick kasi nauubusan ka na ng fingers ano."
Jaya is grateful that with the advancement of technology, she now skips the pricking of her fingers with her new glucose monitoring gadget.
She said, "Itong Abbott FreeStyle Libre System, it liberates everyone talaga living with diabetes from this pain of routine finger pricking. Yun talaga yung feeling ko na is very important to discover.
"Meron na tayong continuous glucose monitoring system or CGM… It’s like a sensor and a reader. So the sensor is something that you attach in your arm…
"There’s a reader and it’s something that you put in front of this [the sensor]. And then it’ll tell you yung iyong sugar levels."
The "Wala Na Bang Pag-ibig" singer said the gadget helped her monitor her blood sugar 24/7.
"Pag ni-read mo yung sensor, yung time na yun makikita mo and you will also see the minutes and seconds and hours na hindi mo chineck.
"So it actually shows you a graphic of paano yung sugar mo from this hour to this hour, minute by minute yun.
"So ang galing ng system na ito. Talagang mamomonitor mo yung time na hindi mo chine-check."
It has also helped her plan her meals throughout the day to control her sugar intake.
"Ako kasi naging aware ako kung… sa paggising ko and when I eat my breakfast, ano yung tamang breakfast? So pag medyo mali yung kinain mo, alam mo ngayon kung papaano i-adjust.
"‘Di ba pagka-kunyare, naging careless ako this morning, kumain ako ng typical na cereal… kung sumobra yung kain ko or yung amount, makikita ko agad after an hour, ‘Ay, ang taas ng sugar ko.’
"So alam ko kung papaano i-adjust, what should I eat, what are the better foods to take para maiwasan yung pagtaas or yung hyperglycemia na tinatawag."
Jaya continued, "Yun namang hypoglycemia, yung pagbaba, isa pa rin yang problema ko madalas, lalo na sa gabi. Kasi pag kumain ako, minsan masyadong maaga. Like 7 p.m., wala na akong food intake.
"By 2 or 1 a.m., pag nag-click ako sa monitor ko, ang baba. Nagsasabi siya ‘LO.’ Sa sobrang baba L-O. Wala nang numbers.
"So sabi ko, I can’t do that kasi what if tulog na tulog ako and hypoglycemia ang ganap, hindi tama. It really teaches you how to manage your food intake from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed."
Add to this, it has taught her to take care of herself.
Jaya said, "Ang diabetes, hindi siya death sentence. It’s something that you can manage, it’s something that you can live with ‘pag talagang iningatan mo yung sarili mo."