Friday, October 12, 2012

How I Hold Myself Together

Female or male

30 years and above

No kids

Don’t get confused – this is not an ad for a job or a contest. These are actually risk factors for Breast Cancer. “Risk factor” means being prone or being a candidate for having an illness. Family history, early onset of menstruation and late menopause are also included.

My mother, a single parent, with 3 adult children, had it at 68. Whatever the cause, the outcome is clear: this evil monster gives us all unsettled lives since then. I look at her and she’s not getting younger. I wonder how her frail body bears her sickness every single day. It's been more than 3 years since she was diagnosed with it. The symptoms started out innocently enough -- a sudden pain here, a slight fever there. We thought simple allergies were the culprit. If only life -- if only anything, really -- could be that simple, right?

So what's behind all this cancer talk? Because mother never really tell us how she is taking it. And I never really processed my feelings about it until now. On that day. Over the phone. Barely a month after I gave birth to my youngest. With my sister breaking the sad news of her biopsy. It all got to me now. Looking back, I wonder if I ever tell her how I managed to hold back my tears at the hospital bed. Not too sure how I managed that, but I did.

As we get closer to the time of year when she got sick, I so wish she had trusted me enough to describe how it felt. To actually hear her say she’s not feeling well and something is not right. She all sucked the fear and terror, the dreadful thought of a growing lump in her right breast all to herself. May be that’s how single mothers are. They face their battles alone. I actually liked her hospital room at Bulacan Provincial. It was airy and clean, well lighted and spacious enough for us. But I did not like the smell. It smelled of death. As I watched her sleeping, I was slowly breaking into pieces. And I cried the instant I had the chance. It wasn't blubbering exactly, but truth be told, I could almost choked my self between sobs.

For all the times that she has it, never at any moment she blamed anyone, even God. Breast cancer is not her waterloo. It takes a more aggressive tumor to kill her strength. She was never on chemo and was never hospitalized again. I say, at 71, she is still the same offensive and stubborn mother we have all these years. And it is comforting to know that she, for whatever reason, didn't actually want to give up yet, that she will do everything in her power to stay with us as long as her health could.

Writing it makes me feel better. To actually believe that there's something else out there, that there's some sort of rhyme and reason why things such as sickness and death happen. Really, you can never be too happy in this life.

Here’s a song of Taylor SwiftRonan”. She wrote the song after reading Rockstar Ronan, owned by Maya Thompson, a US female blogger who describes her honest, raw and heartfelt experience about her four-year-old son's battle with cancer.


  1. that's what mothers really are. They don't want you to think that they're weak..and they don't want to burden their children..

  2. Lean on God's comfort and strength during these difficult times. I wish I could do more to help you and your family in addition to prayers.

  3. i am so sorry to hear that... i too had an experience in a way about this dreadful disease. i found a lump (actually Loi did) in my left breast some 7 yrs ago. i had 2 operations, its not cancer but it kept coming back. the 2nd time the doctor operated, he scraped a good portion of it hoping it will not come back... so far, its been 5 yrs and no more occurrence.
    i know how hard it is to worry about something you have no control of. we spend many sleepless nights over this. i could only imagine how Loi worries since he has a cousin who died of breast cancer.
    all we can do is pray.

  4. On the funny side, Loi found it. Natawa lang ako ng konti. But seriously, I did not know that you had it. I hope it is benign for good. True enough, we really cannot tell who's next. We can only pray to God for a long life. Thanks for the comment Dio!