The reason why I have decided to write this blog entry is because of the crude realities that my family and I have to undergo recently and hopefully overcome successfully. Really, after going through the situations we’ve been through, you really can’t help thinking that life is indeed complex and things do happen unexpectedly.
A few years ago, my aunt was diagnosed with cancer. We were all devastated after finding out about our aunt’s condition. The doctors suggested that she should undergo chemotherapy and blood transfusion. What is even harder to accept is the fact that the doctors told her that she is only expected to live until December this year. My aunt is in Bicol together with my parents. And when our mom called to tell us the bad news, it was really a huge shock to all of us since the last time we saw her after going through the chemotherapy, she was almost okay. We knew that she is already in the terminal stage but we weren’t expecting that it would be this soon. And what was so tragic about the news is that the month set to be her last is December. The month wherein everyone is expected to celebrate the Christmas season. In short, it’s a ‘happy’ month to most families. The time to get together and to enjoy the presence of each and everyone in the family.
But, I guess, that if indeed it is true that my aunt will only be given the chance to live until December, we really do have to prepare ourselves for what’s to come. But we are really hoping and praying hard that she would live longer and though we may not be there for her always to comfort and support her, we always include her in our prayers. That’s the best thing that we could do for now since life must go on for us. We really can’t stay contemplating about what happened and why it has happened. That’s one hard fact that I have learned about life.
My mom went through the same experience when she was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was seven years old. She underwent mastectomy and though they successfully removed the affected areas, we were still not that 100% sure that she won’t be having it again in the next years to come. We are hoping and praying real hard that it really won’t come back.
What I do admire about my mom though is the way she was able to face life and live it again after the operation. The courage and the strength to withstand all the physical and emotional pain is the best thing I admired from my mom. What she went through was not just a battle that she, alone, has to face, but it is also a battle that the rest of the family, the rest of us have to fight through. That was a tough battle for all of us but we were able to go through that and emerge victorious in the end. Prayers and the love of the family are the things that I think kept her going through those critical moments. Though we may be always there to comfort her, we all know that it is not enough to remove all the emotional pain that she is experiencing. We were so glad that my mom is okay now and we are really hoping that those are the only critical moments that the family has to go through again. But we could only hope for the best so far.
Breast cancer is successive in each generation of our family starting from the mother of my grandmother and that it didn’t skip a generation. I don’t even know if the mother of my great grandmother also had breast cancer and the generations before her because that would only prove that the chances of my sisters and I getting breast cancer are really high. I am a little worried but I am not afraid to face life as a breast cancer patient. It is because I am not afraid to die.
Not that I am trying to be brave or anything but really we should not be afraid of death. What I am afraid of is the prospect of the nature of my death. Like how am I gonna die? If ever among the five of us, my sisters and my brother, I was the one diagnosed as having breast cancer, I would accept it. Not because I have no choice but because I chose to accept my fate. But it doesn’t mean that I will just resign to the idea of waiting for my ‘death day’ without fighting through the battle. I will definitely fight and try to be optimistic.
We should always hope that things will get better. You would probably say that I can say all of these now because I am not really experiencing it right now. Yes, it is true that experiencing the real thing is way different than talking about it without experiencing it. But really, what I am doing now is in preparation for what I could possibly go through years from now if indeed I will be diagnosed as having breast cancer. Of course, like any cancer patients, I would definitely undergo stages that any dying person undergoes. If I was able to win the battle, that only means that God has a purpose why I need to go through that battle and be able to survive. But if I lose, that means I have reached the end of my journey. I have already completed the cycle of life so to speak.
Again, I am not afraid but I am worried. I am worried for the family members and persons dear to me whom I will be leaving behind. I am worried about the pain that they would feel seeing me going and fighting through it. I am willing to fight the battle. But if I see at some point that I don’t have the means for me to be able to continue the fight and if my family are already going through so much emotional pain, that would only be the time that I will give up.
As I was growing up, I have learned that giving up is not part of the options. In fact, giving up should not be included when you are facing life’s real battles. You should always be striving. And I mean striving really hard. Even if it comes to the point that you are almost crying everyday because you felt like giving up but you just can’t. You really cannot win if winning is not your main purpose. If fighting is only done in a half-hearted manner, it will only lead you to nowhere. Life’s real battles aren’t there for us to become losers but for us to become winners. It is how you play the game and it is entirely up to you if you want to emerge defeated or victorious after the battle.
(This was written year 2008.)