President Rodrigo Duterte reveals his battle with chronic migraines and back pains.
In his speech before businessmen on late Monday evening, Duterte admitted his struggles with migraine and spinal problems, which affect the quality of his sleep.
"So, God said, you are mayor [and] you have been given a mission to do something. So, fine. Oust me, good. Assassinate me, better. I have this migraine everyday," Duterte said during a dinner meeting with guests attending the Wallace Business Forum held in Malacañang.
"I had a bad sleep, the last one was this. I have a lot of issues with my spinal [column]," he said.
Duterte said his common-law wife, Honeylet Avacena, did not want him to have a surgery as she is afraid of possible complications that might result in an operation.
"My doctor would want to operate, but you know my wife was a nurse and she used to work in the United States. She said a lot of operations for the spinal went awry," he said.
"I cannot afford the operation. It’s not because I do not have the money. I have the money to pay for it. It’s because my wife said that when the nerve is cut, you are dead forever.”
"So if you guys see me always in a sad mode, I am actually pushing a nerve here to relieve the pain. Sometimes, I do this… It’s actually pushing something here to relieve the pain."
The President also said he used to take a lot of Fentanyl, a potent pain medication used by cancer patients.
But when his doctor found about this, he told Duterte to stop the habit.
"He said, 'stop it.’ The first thing that you will lose is your cognitive ability. You know [you are] abusing the drug,' Duterte recalled his doctor’s warning.
While he also revealed having Barrett's esophagus and Buerger's disease -- a result of his smoking vice, Duterte denied that he has cancer.
"I might as well tell you about my medical history. Don’t believe in cancer," he said.
"Something about Buerger’s disease. You just stop smoking, especially guys with cold hands, they are prone to…It means to say that your whole system is not really working well because of [bad] blood circulation."
Buerger’s disease causes blockages in the blood vessels of feet and hands, while Barrett’s esophagus is a serious complication of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
For his part, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said, there is "nothing serious" about the President's spinal problems.