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Battle Against the Big C (squared)

It is indeed true that you do not see how heavy the burden of a person is in just a look. Each of us is fighting a battle. Each of us has our own trials. But, we have different capacities to carry on those trials. So, always be kind to people. You have no idea how your action towards a certain person would cause him.

Smiling and looking normal seems very normal to me. Telling others of my problems is not really my thing. I am more into looking for solution alone – and a lot into asking Allaah to give me wisdom on how to solve my problems. Even my best friends really don’t know what is on my mind until I have the will to tell them.

But now, I am opening up, maybe for others to relate and get inspiration from.

First C Wave

Hi. I am Kai, a daughter of two MSU TCTO professors.

At an early age of 11, my father has been diagnosed of the big C in 2003. Since then, my parents have been back and forth travelling to Zamboanga City and Metro Manila for amah’s needed medication. The medication had used up all his retirement benefits (he took an early retirement from MSU) and our mini stores had been sold. My uncle sold his van and some personal properties just to keep up with his medical finances.

During those times, I have been staying either in our house or in my aunt’s. It was not really easy for a kid like me to be living alone and managing my finances amidst the crisis. In fact, I graduated my primary school in his absence because his medication was still on-going. It was my mother and my aunt’s husband who escorted me during graduation day.

Cutting the story short, my father did surgery, chemo and radio therapy, and took so many drugs that are unknown to me. And he was cured, we thought. Life went on. I studied high school and did my best. When I was in junior year, my father felt ill once again. And life when I was in primary school came back like déjà vu– only this time, I already know how to handle myself. They again travelled back and forth to Zamboanga City for the medication (because there is already an oncologist there that time). He then told inah that he had actually went to the oncologist a year ago. The doctor told him to have him CT-scanned. The doctor in the lab, however, explained to him that his cancer grew back. He was really upset and did not go back to the oncologist and kept the results to himself alone.

During vacations and holidays, my parents made sure that I stayed with them. It was Christmas vacation when I had to come back from my Zamboanga holiday to be able to take the Western Mindanao State University College Entrance Test, which I was top 5. I never thought that it was the last moment that I will be with my father. Before I came back, we had a talk – one that poured so much apologies, gratitude, emotions and tears. On the first month of 2008, he asked to go back to Jolo, Sulu, his homeland. On 28th of January, my father left us.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon.

I, again, graduated with my mother and uncle as parents. Garnering more than 20 medals, several certificates, and 1 trophy, I still felt sad. With tears flowing, I delivered my Valedictory address not caring of how I looked like on stage. Everybody was silenced by my sobbing. Everybody was weeping with me. My speech was for my father. My achievements were for him. I am for him.

Second C Wave

Taking into consideration all the possibilities, I and inah laid down the entrance letters from various universities: University of the Philippines – Diliman, Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology, Mindanao State University – Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, and Western Mindanao State University. We listed all the pros and cons. And we made the decision to pick Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology. I decided to take Accountancy. I sacrificed the DOST Scholarship for this course. And there was no turning back.

Adapting the lifestyle and culture in Iligan City was easy. Maybe, I was already trained by the circumstances. College life was indeed tiring. Studying was no joke.

Summer of 2010, we had our vacation in Zamboanga City and stayed at my apuh (grandparent, in this case extended grandparent). It was this time that inah discovered she had a lump in her right breast. We immediately had it checked. She was mammographed and biopsied. It turned out to be a benign breast tumor. From then on, my mother had switched lifestyle. She heartily and easily adopted a vegetarian diet.

The experience she had with her husband caused her great trauma. And the way the doctor acted when she had the results in her hand even discouraged my mother. She did not want any surgeries, per se. She won against all of us. She does not want her body to be moved by any kind of surgery. She says, “Only Allaah can give me life, and only HIM can take it away from me.”

I graduated college. Gained my CPA license. Got a job. But, to this very day, the lump is still there. And every day, we are fighting. I have been strong, but my mom is stronger.

If you think that I have been normal, I ask myself if I really had been normal every waking day. If you think that I spend too much time looking good, it is to hide away all the pain that I am going through.

Those struggles my family faced formulated a whole new perspective. I am human. I err almost every second. I always encounter trials. But, I am human – the best, the greatest of all creations. The best thing about being a human is I am entitled to forgiveness and mercy. How can I not give those to others when my Creator gives it to me in my every breath?

Those trials we have? They are for our strength, purification and filtration. So, embrace them with gratitude.

Thanks for reading.


1 comment:

  1. Despite all the achievements you mentioned, I can't smile, sorry, for I feel the sadness you feel. I may not feel the same, but I understand how hard it is for you. Just keep on praying, and everything will be okay soon. And believe that everything happens for a reason, which you may not know for now but sooner or later, you will. Just stay strong and I know you could survive all those challenges given to you, and I know after those you'll become stronger to face life's challenges. And yes, I'll also pray for your mom's fast recovery.


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