Showing posts with label cancer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cancer. Show all posts

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Displaying A Brave Front To Beat Cancer

Displaying A Brave Front To Beat Cancer

In a hurried bid to remove the cancer in my body,  I rushed to decide to go under the knife  on Friday the 13th. Under the "double set-up" or 'frozen section' procedure, the UST doctors explain they'll  take out the 6-cm tumor off my right breast, and while undergoing surgery, the UST Benavides Cancer Institute can do a biopsy right there and then. 

If it is malignant, I am giving consent that they remove the whole organ. 
If it is benign, they just take out the tumor.

I announce to my immediate family and closest friends what I thought was my courageous decision to get the disease out and done with. I timed it to happen within that incoming weekend,  after considering work schedules.

A shower of prayers, biblical passages, positive vibes came forth. 
A friend who just had a cervical cyst removed spoke about the healing of Padre Pio. 
Another friend who has had to survive a stroke offered masses at Christ The King, 
and bought me a jar of herbal supplements.

A close cousin went to pray at Aquinas Healing Chapel. Half-sisters in Cebu sought the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima in Cebu. 

My Beloved's only daughter handed a rosary blessed at the Lady of Manaog.

I don't know how to pray for my situation. I wish I could just ask God for a miracle 
and  make the cancer disappear. Or make it shrink from its 6-cm size so when 
I have to go under the knife, the incision doesn't have to be a long slice. 

While I put up a brave front, meticulously absorbing details from doctors and reads, 
and projecting a cheerful attitude so my beloved, my family and friends keep up with courage, I get to think through at each waking moment, the nagging question of 
how did it happen. And why?

Am I forgetting something? Am I being taught humility?

Have I to slow down, from work and stress? And learn to look at the other purposes 
for which we are here?

Friday, March 13, 2015


Taking Things for Granted

What I thought was a pulled muscle somewhere under the right breast, and took for granted for about 3 months, turned out to be 4 solid lumps that clustered to an aggregate size of 6 cms. It started to feel heavy, even as I sleep on my usual right side.  While bathing, I could get a sense of its hardness. Lately, the right breast has gotten bigger and an oddness over its shape has become apparent. 

My OB-Gyne, who we usually see every April,  but who I summoned on March 3, was alarmed when she examined me.  She suspected the 6 x 6-cm size right away and wrote it in the rush Request Orders for mammogram, sonography and chest X-rays.  

Being a breast cancer survivor herself, she did not mince to emphasise that these tests had to be done that very same day.  

In a couple of hours' time, the UST Hospital Buenavides Cancer Institute released a 2-page report that details the findings for 4 oval dense masses with an aggregate size of 6 cms,  
as my OB-Gyne had earlier suspected. 

The Diagnostic Radiology Unit cited these description:

"Oval isodense masses," meaning solid. 
Fixed non-moving, as my OB-Gyne had earlier suspected.

"Inhomogeneous echopatterns."  To mean not uniform, per Oxford.

"...with irregular margins."  To indicate malignancy, as opposed to when the border linings are smooth characterising benign tumors .

The Report ended with a recommendation for " appropriate action to be taken" and had pushed the alert level by pointing out a 


In pathology medicine, a Grade 1-2 indicates benign. Grade 3 has to be watched. Grade 4 is suspected malignancy. Grade 5  is worst in the scale.

I had long thought of myself as a healthy person. I watch what I eat. I keep meat under 
30% of my food intake. I do Zumba regularly.  I lead a physically active life. I travel. 
I read.  I explore. I work, and never plan to retire.

I have never been hospitalised, never got sick, I don't smoke and I never learned to drink more than a bottle of beer at any given time in my youth, nor in my recent past. 

In my family, even if my Grandmother suffered from leukemia, there appears no genetic connection to my present condition.

Neither of the three doctors could sufficiently explain why a healthy person could develop cancer. No one knows, perhaps only the Mind of God ( as Stephen Hawkings pointed out.)  

If I had not taken it for granted, if I had just gone to the OB-Gyne the soonest I felt that strain of a pulled muscle which I had so quickly dismissed a few months ago, if I hadn't thought I was in perfect health, maybe the extra cells that grew along the walls of the milk ducts did not have to become abnormal to reach cancer stage, nor could they have multiplied too quickly inside those duct walls. Could I have at the outset  been able to detect that "pulled muscle" feeling as cells abnormally growing IF I  had paid real attention to my body?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Gathering

white walls washed in anguish
recede slowly into halts of dead ends, as
sporadic screams of pain dull the silent anger

white walls weep in woe
isolating wards at the row's very end, as
nurses in masks comfort the dying

a friend, frail and feeble lay lifeless
in her bed of sorrow

her eyes bloodshot, but yellow
her face deep-set, but skeletal

her body thin, but bloated around the middle
her fingers darkened blue, but nails blotched by chemo

her legs once a dancer's, now numb and still
her arms tender as a ballerina's, now bruised and wired
her hair once her wavy crown, now gone and gray

when her dissonant breathing took longer gaps in between
the gathering begged to subside each other's sobs

when her language slurred into tongues of the Spirit
the gathering sang hymns of praise

and when her hearing jarred into oblivion
the gathering begun to hold each other's hands

and when only her sense of touch seem unscathed
the gathering took turns to whisper their goodbyes

but just then before her eyes shot upwards
she murmured softly as she inhaled HAM...and exhaled SA...

repeating in rhythmic monotones HAM-SA... HAM-SA... HAM-SA...

by then the last sound of breath
the gathering wept, astounded with her Faith

Dedicated to Jean Gonzalo and her dance colleagues...

in Sanskrit HAM-SA means:
I am Divine, I am with God, I am an expression of God, I am not alone...