For the past several weeks, I've interviewed individuals like cancer survivors, those undergoing treatment for cancer as well as relatives of cancer patients to get different perspectives about cancer. I'm in the process of writing my fourth book which has been in the works for more than five years because it is a very personal story. It would most likely open a plethora of emotions and expose old memories which lay hidden in my subconscious. But I feel I needed to write my story and share it to the world to serve as an inspiration, encouragement and empowerment to those who have been afflicted with this dreaded disease.
Surprisingly, some of the patients I asked have been positive about their illness. Margie Quimpo-Espino called herself a "happy cancer patient" because when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was not such a big blow after she previously suffered from a ruptured aneurysm that left her in coma for 88 days in a foreign country. Here is what she told me:
"When I learned I had cancer I told my husband I was ready to go na, that God gave me the short time (after surviving aneurysm )to say goodbye to family and friends. I said it while walking. In bed that night, my husband told me 'you may be ready but what about me and the kids?’
And he cried. Then it hit me I was not ready! I prayed and asked God to prolong my life. I still had my family!
Well it’s been 8 years. Just want to say the time after those ailments have been the happiest in my life. No money but happy!"
However, one cancer patient, A.L., told me that she wished she was not a strong person because initially, when she was first diagnosed, had the major surgery and started her chemotherapy, her husband and children were very supportive. They even managed to perform household chores making it easier for her to cope with the disease. But when her kids saw that the illness was not bothering her and that she was back to her old busy self and trying to make a living for the family, they reverted to their previous habits and have been less responsible anew.
I've realized that some cancer patients put up a brave front, especially among close family members, so that the latter will not worry about the pain that they are experiencing in their physical body, the uncertainty that keeps creeping in their thoughts as well as the fear of a possible treatment failure. They want to be healed and to survive to be with their family until it is time for them to go, maybe from another reason aside from cancer. But the key to all this is L.O.V.E.
Love God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.
If you are a relative of a cancer patient, it is time to LISTEN and be more attuned to the silent cries in the night when everyone is asleep or resting,
It is time to OBSERVE for any tell-tale signs of weakness like a loss of appetite, weight loss, and even mood swings.
It is time to VOICE out the words that needed to be said out loud, especially when they can make the patient smile and even laugh to their heart's delight.
And finally, it is time to open your arms and give a warm EMBRACE because cancer patients need all the hugs that they can get, even virtual ones.
The time to L.O.V.E. is now, when there is still time.
How did this story affect you?