I entered my surgeon’s clinic with a big smile on my face and a gift in one hand, a white paper bag with an original Lacoste shirt in it. One of the perks of being a doctor is that a fellow doctor doesn’t charge you a professional fee when you become a patient. We call it NC (no consult).
I visited him three weeks ago because I felt a pea-sized, tender lump under my left breast. I wanted to do a mammogram or breast ultrasound so I asked my best friend, Lynn, to accompany me. She suggested that we first consult her cousin’s surgeon for an opinion. The surgeon said, “ Excision biopsy or removal of the breast mass is the better diagnostic tool to determine if a mass is malignant or not. It can be done as an outpatient procedure. Anyway, about 95 percent of cases are benign.”
I had a convention in Cebu in three days so I opted to do the procedure after I returned. Five days after my trip, the surgeon removed the mass with difficulty. He told me to return after one week for the result.
As I handed him my gift, he unceremoniously exclaimed, “It’s malignant!” I almost dropped the gift bag in shock.
I composed myself. I sank into a chair but kept my face expressionless. I had to behave as if it was nothing serious because my mom was with me. I didn’t want her to worry. But at the back of my mind, I groped for words. I thought about what would happen to my family, especially my widowed mother and my older brother who has Parkinson’s disease.*
*Excerpt from, "The Doctor Is in the House"
I broke through cancer in stages. I went through various emotions ranging from shock, anger, sorrow, acceptance and peace. I have learned to adopt my own version of meditation exercises that helped me cope with the disease.
When faced with a cancer diagnosis, how do you begin your healing?
CLEAR YOUR MIND
When you wake up in the morning, find a safe place to start your meditation. Sit still. Close your eyes. Empty your thoughts. Focus on your breathing.
CREATE A NEW YOU
Think about who you want to become and what emotions you want to have for this future self like how to be happy, healthy and holy. Decide on what you have to do to power up this new self. Think about new habits that will help you become a better version of yourself.
CHOOSE TO LET GO
Let go of your past. After you’ve prayed for healing and done all that you should, leave everything in God’s hands. Do your best and God will do the rest.
It’s easy to worry when you find out you’re sick. But Jesus reminds us, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important that they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan?...Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself” (Matthew 6:22-27,34).
How did this story affect you?