Former consul unable to speak, walk is diagnosed with rare neurologic condition

Their ‘big reveal.’ Dima and Khrys’s video may be viewed on his Timelapse Traveler channel on YouTube.

By Cristina DC Pastor

A video showing former Consul Khrystina ‘Khrys’ Corpuz Popov suffering from a neurologic disorder was received with shock and an outpouring of emotion throughout the Filipino American community.

The video, showing Khrys tearful and clinging unsteadily to her husband Dmitry ‘Dima’ Popov as the two of them stand in the middle of a farmland, was circulated two days before Christmas. Dima is providing the commentary in his Timelapse Traveler channel on YouTube. He said his wife of four years has been diagnosed with a kind of neurologic disorder called Central Pontine Diagnosis, Pituitary Adenoma and Panhypothyroidism. He said the condition is rare and “difficult to treat” unlike the more common Parkinson’s Disease or stroke.  

“All our friends, we are all shocked, sad, and cried,” shared Juliet Payabyab, president of United Mindoro International, and a community leader in Astoria, Queens. “We didn’t know she had a problem.”

Khrys during physical therapy session.

Dima said the condition was not known to the family.  In March of 2020 they went to the hospital because she was “catatonic.” It was found out that a 2012 radiation treatment for a brain tumor left some scarring in her brain.

“It was discovered through an aggressive radiation treatment to remove a brain tumor,” he said in the video. “It left some scarring that remained dormant this whole time.”

At the time, too, Khrys was pregnant, he added. “Supposed to be our first child…At least we were able to see the (baby’s) heartbeat.” The pandemic happened after she was diagnosed.

Khrys spent eight days in the hospital. What followed after she was discharged was a series of physical and speech therapies three times a week at St. Luke’s Medical Center at Bonifacio Global City where the couple live.

First date in Brooklyn

The young career diplomat and her husband, who is an IT professional, met in New York in 2015. She was the officer in charge of Public Diplomacy during the term of Consul General Mario de Leon. In her early 30s at the time, she assumed the role and became the Philippine Consulate’s liaison to the FilAm millennials.

Khrys and Dima at a Philippine dinner gala at Cipriani’s near Grand Central Station.

She met Dima, a resident of Brooklyn, via a dating app she tried on the suggestion of a persistent friend. Their first dinner was at Purple Yam during Filipino Restaurant Week. Dima grew up in Ukraine when it was still a state within the Soviet Union. When he was 9 years old, his family fled to the U.S. and settled in Brooklyn. Russian is his first language.

“It wasn’t instant connection,” she recalled in a 2019 interview with The FilAm. They had two weddings – a civil ceremony in New York City with de Leon as the principal sponsor, and a church wedding in Tagaytay attended by both their families.

Khrys returned to the home office in Manila in early 2019 when her six-year tour of duty ended. Dima was excited to join her and get to know the Philippines. He felt an “instant connection” seeing people biking in Intramuros and finding Filipinos to be such a warm people.

In the video, Khrys, who was wearing a red sweater, leaned on Dima’s chest and managed a muffled “sorry,” seeming to apologize for the discomfort her condition has imposed on their life together.

“No need to be sorry, it’s not your fault,” said Dima as he kissed the arc of her head in a way that is both comforting and reassuring. “For sure, we’re in it together every step of the way.”

“You know how special she is to me,” said community leader Vivian Talambiras Cruz, who was one of the wedding sponsors together with De Leon.   “I love her dearly and hope the Lord will see her through these challenging times.”

To order, PM at

© The FilAm 2020

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: