mybreastmessenger

My Hope Blanket from Avic: Isaiah 41:10Thank you, Avic!

 

Look what came in the mail today!!! Just in time for Valentine’s Day are my hope blanket, a miraculous image, an eco tote with the pink ribbon and a greeting card all from my friend, Avic, of Victoria’s Box Green Eco.  Last Christmas, Avic held the Hope Blanket Project, a Christmas event for children with cancer at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center.  The blanket Avic put aside and sent me has this inscription from Isaiah 41: 10 “I will fear not, for you are with me; I will not be dismayed, for You are my God.  You will strengthen me, yes, You will help me, You will uphold me with Your righteous right hand.”

Thank you so so much Avic! I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness!❤❤ More power to you and to the work you do… I’m only beginning to know the meaning of “pay it forward.”  Love you!

 

This morning was the third working morning of the New Year after we, employees, have started finding normality (if there is such a thing) after the storm Sendong (international name: Washi) washed out many parts of our city.

It was less than a month after I came home from my radiation treatments in Cebu when another life changing event rocked my world.

The devastation was extreme:

I was introduced to a new friend in the sisterhood Tita M, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. She was under a study back then and she was not on Tamoxifen after her surgery and chemo. Sadly, the cancer recurred in 2010. While she was on herceptin, her 17 year old daughter, fresh out of first year college gave birth to a baby girl. And then in December 16, 2011, in the middle of the night, Tita M had to climb up to the hill near her home to be saved from the flood waters that rose to the ceiling level, submerging villages that were in low lying areas of our city.

I was flabbergasted with Tita M’s story. A woman, sporting a bonnet and a mask, going through the side effects of herceptin had to climb a hill to save her life.

This morning, one of my students’ mothers came to school to find out if classes had resumed. She and I have known each other since high school and we are well acquainted with each other. After greeting each other with the customary kiss and Happy New Year, she said “Teacher! My daughter said you lost all your hair because you have cancer!”

What could I say?!

I just smiled.

On the week that I came home from Cebu, I went to church in the university chapel. There I saw familiar faces I would see at church. One such girl, a couple of years older than myself, always smiling and cheerful was there, as she had been years past.

Seeing her made me think “I’m finally home.”

Then on the same night that Tita M had to navigate the steep hill near her home to save herself and her family, the girl I would often see at church together with her mom and dad  perished in the flood.

Thinking of her untimely demise made me contemplate on how only God can tell when we’re going. After all, He is the one who owns our lives and only He can tell when and how.

I’ve been thinking to myself:  “That friendly girl who seemed to be in the pink of health when I saw her is now with Our Lord, while I and Tita M, both survivors are still here.  God has His Ways.  May we be worthy of this chance.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.”

Somehow, I feel braver.  Thankful and braver.

God bless us all.

Rest in Peace breast friend, Eva Ekvall.  And no, she is not a personal friend.  But she is of the sisterhood of breast cancer survivors.  She lived to tell the tale of strength and wrote a book.  Here is a link to a more comprehensive article on Eva.  Click here.

Her story reminds me of what kind of an equalizer cancer is.  The lady looked like she had everything:  fame, family, fortune, looks  and love, yet gone too soon.

From skimming through the article, she was lobbying for cancer prevention.

She died of advanced breast cancer.

God knows the numbers of our days.  And to roughly quote The Cancer Conqueror (by Greg Anderson) It’s not the duration of your life that counts as much as our donations of love.  Certainly, Eva gave inspiration to her readers and her countrymen. And now to us.

She was Miss Venezuela in the Miss Universe pageant of 2000.

Rest in God’s loving embrace, Eva.

When I found out that I had cancer, my mind went blank. 

And in an instant, a flood of thoughts tore through my mind but what caught me was the will and the desire to live.

My own journey towards healing entailed a lot prayers, research, serendipitous corners and new friends along the way.  Movies and books can only tell a cancer patient’s story as far as the credits rolling or the last page, but to LIVE THROUGH the journey is another story, with its many twists and turns, and with the gratefulness of SURVIVING CANCER being an appendage of each aspect of your life.  Each breath is precious, each moment cherished, the next doctor’s appointment both dreaded and looked forward to.  What makes us strong, after all the supplements, the routines, the new lifestyle is our faith and the works of our faith.

Before cancer, I prided myself with being humble.  Read:  not calling attention to myself as I did in my younger days.  But now, I want to do away with such false humility.  Of course, I wouldn’t want to blow my own horns in inappropriate places, but where it is needed and when I want to my voice to be heard, I shall give myself such liberty.

It’s been almost a month since I graduated from radiation therapy, the last leg of my cancer treatment.  Right now, I am on Tamoxifen and the normality of life is sinking back in.  My new normal?  That will be another post. 

What I am thankful for right now is the chance to share the love that the survivors before me have showered to me, to the ones within my sphere who have recently been diagnosed with cancer, one of whom is my son’s Christian Living teacher & mother of his classmate. 

I claim healing for her and for my student’s aunt (who has also been diagnosed).  God is ever so faithful a healer. 

Thank you, friends, for being with me.  You were the Lord’s answer to my prayers.  May I be the light of hope to those whose lives I touch – the way you have been for me.  For God’s greater glory.  Amen

Talin’s Vegatable Whole Wheat Spaghetti.

Click the link, it sounds tempting!!!

It’s been a–whiile since my last post!  Days are going by so fast, I couldn’t keep up with my writing!!!

A lot has happened:

On the 2nd of December, I went to watch a play in my alma mater during the festival days.  The play was written by my grade school art teacher who is a friend of my mom’s and our neighbor, too.  She is a nationally renowned Palanca awardee.  And now, most importantly, she is a breast cancer survivor of 10 years!

We have plans of sitting down and catching up, but it seems like the holiday rush is in the way.

And indeed, the string of parties, get-togethers and events really tempt us to mindlessness, carelessness, even.

My son and I have since settled down from the novelty of my homecoming🙂 .  Things are back to normal, which is motherhood to a growing prepubescent boy, and for those who have graduated from that phase in motherhood, well, you know what I’m talking about!😀

One of my high school bff’s, MC, came back to our hometown after the Bangkok flood.  She brought back her brood of three, to allow the situation in their new address to normalize.  So, last weekend, though missing our bff, R, who lives in the capital city, our fab group had dinner in another bff, T’s, house.  Mansion actually :)  We had fun catching up while admiring her beautiful home.  T’s kids were wonderful hosts (only 7 and 5 year old boys):  they entertained the older kids, MC’s and mine, and MC’s younger ones too.  One of the highlights that night was the floating lanterns which they let loose in T’s sloping lawn.

After the funfilled weekend, parenting challenges awaited me.  But then again, my son is hitting puberty.  GOOD LUCK, ME!  Thank God, I have God and Jesus.  And thank God for my brother who stands in as the male figure in my son’s life.  Whew!!! The li’l one who isn’t so little anymore listens and appreciates the advice and admonishments given by my brother, albeit sternly.  I can’t pretend I don’t nag as much as I trrryyyyy not to.  But at the end of the day, in the middle of each day, and when I wake, I pray and offer my son to the Lord and I pray for myself too and ask Him to guide me to be the mother He wants me to be.

So, after a tiff, my son and I bounce back into cheerful mode again.  After all, we can’t dwell on the negative for too long.  It won’t add to our years.

Speaking of adding to our years, I reported on The Cancer Conqueror by Greg Anderson to my co-teachers during our monthly meeting.  To digress: as part of our work requirements, each of us teachers is required to read a book (on education, psychology, spirituality, wellness and the like) and report on it during our monthly meeting.  So, I reported on The Cancer Conqueror, which was a present from Tita Me’Anne.

And during each challenge, because c’mon and tell me we don’t have our own personal challenges despite being hit by cancer, I try to apply the lessons I’ve learned from Greg Anderson’s eye-opening book: MY TASK IS TO ACCEPT OTHERS, NOT APPROVE OF OTHERS.

Sigh… That’s a biggie.  And of course, Tita Me’Anne’s motto, as read in the October issue of Woman Today, and she quoted The Cancer Conqueror: A LIFE’S VALUE IS NOT MEASURED BY ITS DURATION BUT BY ITS DONATIONS OF LOVE. (An aside:  I remember when I interviewed Tita Me’Anne in Handuraw she told me that her work wouldn’t be in vain if she could just inspire one person with her story. Thank you for the gift of your time to me, Tita.  All of you!).  Donations of love are not so hard to give to people who evoke your sympathy.  To me, the biggest challenge in giving my own donations of love are those who tickle my funny bone… If you know what I mean😀

Rest has been scarce these days.  But I remember what Dr. Wayne Dyer once wrote or said, that he doesn’t mind being up and about doing the things he loves to do because his body will be in horizontal position, as in sleeping,  once his job out here is done. I think I took that out of context and if I beat myself up for missing out two events, I would be totally missing the mark, because I did miss two events.  One of which was tonight’s launching of a real estate development that bff is part of.  But I have to pace myself.  Last night, the same bff celebrated her recent achievement in her field and I did join in the festivities. :)  So now, it’s just right that I am home.

Three more work days before the official Christmas vacation.  I look forward to relaxing, and I really mean relaxing.   I look forward to visiting my friend, Father B, together with my fellow breast cancer survivor, my classmate in the radiation center in Cebu – and of course, with our kids.  I look forward to a healthy noche buena of sweet potato, organic chicken (roasted), popcorn, Monopoly with the family, and yes, meeting up with my grade school teacher and catching up and having a conversation on a different terrain.

And I look forward to tomorrow night too.  I’m going to see my favorite teachers in college whom I let on in this secret.

I hope it won’t be too long till my next post.  Love to all! Happy holidays and let’s remember to put the CHRIST in the Christmas!❤

Postcards from My Healing Adventure 15

This was one of the auction favorites: a sturdy pink chair, with a textured design on hits solid body. Surprisingly, it is not only fashionable and solid, but a comfy seat too. Contemplating this design invokes images from the Little Mermaid (Disney) and weirdly, The Jetsons, too.

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