I have a cancer. Tears fell. I kept saying – “No, doctor, there may be miscalculations?”. I never stopped. I looked for other opinions, and they all brought me down to one fact – I have a cancer.
Results came out and yes, the once I hoped to just be benign is not. Maybe I have few days, weeks, months, and if I’m lucky – years. Maybe I can still spend time with my loved ones while hurting inside physically and emotionally. Maybe I can still travel a bit. Maybe I can wear a wig when I’m already bald due to treatments and still feel like Julia Roberts, and possess that most authentic, beautiful smile. Maybe a great lotion can still make my skin look supple after radiation therapies. Maybe I can go ahead and call hotlines to fast food chains and get the best fries in town, and with all these maybes,
I came down to one thing that’s certain – God’s love.
Time used to be my enemy, because it never stopped ticking and I can never buy time, but now, time is the only thing I have because in this seemingly losing fight, the only thing I can win is use my limited time for people and causes that I care about.
People often wanted shortcuts, the easiest routes to anything, and I never knew cancer is one of them. You know, when I started to look at people back then, looking at them in the eyes is normal. But cancer taught me to look through their eyes. I can’t help but wonder how healthy this person is, why cancer chose me, and realize the wealth that is health. I realized I can’t always find answers to a fact already presented to me because cancer was never a question in the first place; we just ought to question why it chose us, sometimes. In the end, the most we can do is spend seemingly-infinite moments to finite time we have left, even if we have a cancer or not. Always learn to appreciate even when you’re depreciating.
Reality is like a disease, because it always shows itself up. You know this pain when people have cancer? Maybe yes, maybe not, depending on what they want to show you. After every smile, there’s a tear wanting to let itself out of their weary eyes. After every walk is a heavy breathing that they normally do not feel. After every shower is a pain somewhere in their chest. Like me, I know one day my cancer will show up to others, and I hope they will be ready to accept what I have already decided in life – that I will enjoy my last days with whatever strength I have left. I have learned that sometimes, the greatest joys come from the worst pains of your life.
As a cancer warrior, let me give you some advice. Never regret the simple things just because life gets complex. Whenever you feel hopeless for a certain pain point in your life, remember the good things.
Remember how you can breathe freely without a respirator; remember how you chew food properly without any medical assistance; remember how you can walk without any worries of breaking a brittle bone; and remember how you can smile without any tingling feeling inside your body. For a cancer warrior like me, these things are already luxury these days. And always be grateful for the pain, because happiness will never become a feeling until pain comes along.
Even if your days are dark, even if your months are gray, even if your years are lifeless, remember that a future of hope is a promise that never fades. When you think it’s difficult to look forward, remember my story, remember our story, us, cancer warriors – that as our disease starts to take over our bodies, it also sends a message about a future we are yet to see, that it only has one message, and how afraid would we be to face it… to face death. But then, I know, death is not something that we face, it’s just a phase that we have to go through, before the happiness with the Lord our God.
Now, in my deathbed – the loneliest place to be they say, I realized how I missed a lot about life, not because I didn’t have enough time, but because I didn’t pay much attention. You see, the greatest things in life are the moments that shaped life. It’s not your recognition, but the people clapping. It’s not your birthday, but the people with you on your day. And it’s not your sickness, but the people who took care of you. You see, it’s not about you, but the people around you that made your world a better place.
“I have a cancer and I will be a survivor. I will be the greatest story ever told.” Oh, how many times with how many people did I say that same strong statement. I now have a different meaning to it. You know, being a survivor doesn’t mean you will see it through ‘til the end. Sometimes, being a survivor means letting go… even if it means your own life. Not every cancer warrior will see better days in this world, but surely, God will allow us to see through better days in the future to come.
Same with every existence, cancer is there for a reason. It is intended to teach us, to guide us, to mold us, to break us, to build us, and to remind us that we do not own anything in this world – not any wealth, not even our health.
Being a survivor will take different forms of meaning, but take heed to what it wants to say – that all of us, regardless of how hopeless a situation is, can always be hopeful through God.