Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Death Came Knocking

A series of unfortunate events is an apt title to my roller coaster life. Got my right hand burned after putting it inside a boiling rice cooker when I was just a year old. My caretaker placed the thing on the floor without the cover and curious me just couldn’t help but “test the waters”. Curiosity will really get the cat killed.

 (got bullied because of my hand when I was still in Elementary, they called me cyborg but I prefer Sensei Nube from Hell Teacher Nube! because I exorcise DEMONS. nyahahaha)

Luckily, my right hand is the only thing that suffered, no contractures just a few skin grafts. Thank God for saving my face.

And no, I bear no grudge to my caretaker even if I can’t even remember her face. In a way, it was her carelessness that led to the accident. I mean, you are supposed to take care of a child and to be safety conscious; I just hope it became a lesson to her. If by chance she reads this, rest your soul. I have long forgiven you. Some things just happen. :D

But then, that accident should have been a warning sign that it is not all that is left in store for me. I happily chugged on a bottle of muriatic acid when I was a few years old. I can only remember waking up in the Emergency Room with a doctor forcing me to drink “Alpine”. It was later when I came of age that my parents told me what I actually drank and how I was the “accident prone” child.

By accident I meant being run over the bike (no fractured bones, just a few scratches though), almost got run over by a bus, breaking an aquarium at my school’s science laboratory and all those little accidents I had over high school.

I thought it was all over when I entered college. I lasted 3 years without having those accidents but it would just not easily let me off the hook. I just had to fall from the stairs.

2 years after, I just had to fall again.

I ended 2011 with a dislocated hip and a lump in my breast.  What a great way to start 2012!

The dislocated hip, I can manage. The lump, I can’t.

Now let me share to you our rich family history of cancer.

Father’s Side:
father died of colon cancer
brother died of pancreatic cancer

Mother’s Side
her father’s brother #1 died of lung cancer
her father’s brother #2 died of liver cancer
her father’s sister # 3 died of breast cancer
mother died of ovarian cancer

And so, it became a running joke within our family that all of us 3 children have a 150% chance of getting cancer. I mean, just look at it - a long line of cancer genes.

It was for these very reasons that I became a nurse volunteer of the Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center (under R.A.F.I) and primarily because my uncle’s request (the one who died of pancreatic cancer). He said before to never leave the Cancer Center and help as much as you can.

So I was actually being my helpful self  when I was asked to perform Breast Examination to a number of ladies in the Pink Room at iMez, when I decided to try and examine my breasts. Lo and behold, I felt a lump at my right breast.

Ironic is it not? I can only remember the very lines of the ladies who had their breasts examined - to tell them honestly if I felt a lump while keeping a brave face. I actually felt sorry for them, I have seen breast cancer survivors and they really are doing everything they can. The emotional stress and their stories of chemotherapy, it was a 180 degrees turn from their way of life before cancer. 

I was mentally debating whether to tell my mom or just let it pass. Women of my age, rarely get breast cancer. A form of "intellectualization" if you may, I was scared. 

But then, my uncle lost his battle against pancreatic cancer.

I decided to tell my mom, fear comes from the unknown they said. Her eyes went wide when she actually felt the lump. She got around to scolding me about not eating vegetables and not exercising (my mom is a school nurse).  I therefore concluded anger was her best defense mechanism while my dad resorted to joking (his form of coping) that of all the children, I just had to be the casualty.

I wouldn’t have made a fuss if it was just a simple cyst, but it was a solid mass. I had it checked again with my Doctor; she said it was Fibrocystic Adenoma. Being a nurse myself, I knew what that meant.

There are actually two types of fibroadenoma (for those who don’t know): simple and complex.

Lucky me, sonommamogram showed complex fibroadenoma. I was already crying in the middle of the procedure.

My mom told me to stop crying, she was there during the procedure (such a stage mom, LOL) and to fight. She even resorted to telling me that “cancer is just in the books”. By that, I knew that the results were not that good.

 (complex fibroadenoma is a marker for breast cancer)

But let me make it clear, it’s not cancer yet. I need to undergo Fine Needle Aspiration for final confirmation. It’s just that I fell under the BIRAD 3 Category, the probably benign finding. I would have loved to belonged to BIRAD 2 Category – benign finding, because I hate the word probably. :D

I would be lying if I did not say I never became depressed. I was crying for a few days even before the sonommamogram. I kept thinking I am too young to have this. Simple cysts are fine; you can almost say its normal, but to have fibroadenoma my age - sucks.

In one of my horrid imaginations, it was like most women my age are just starting out on their way to womanhood and trying to find their place in the world, enjoying dates, enjoying boys. But here I am, on my way to dying, then I realized, it’s me being m-e-l-o-d-r-a-m-a-t-i-c.

Who cares if I have not openly dated yet, or that I haven’t enjoyed the whole male population with their wondrous, ahem “ducks”

Some things just happen. :D

Looking back, I realized that I have been prepared to take on this challenge. All those little accidents I had when I was younger and all those hardships I went through had made me stronger.

I am proud to say that even with all those things, I have never contemplated suicide. Being in those accidents taught me at an early age that life is too precious to be simply taken away.

Whatever the confirmatory results are, may it be benign or malignant, be it now or in the future, I want to put on paper: that I shall continue to live and fulfill my dreams.

Indeed, your life is your own. Your death, likewise.

I may not be dying today or in the near future, but I certainly want to live life. For now, this is just another challenge on my way to success. With my Creator on my side, and the people I love most, having my own Hospital is just around the corner.

A wonderful day ahead guys! :D


  1. Inspiring! Everything does happen for a reason I believe :)) God bless!!

  2. thank you very much! hahaha. just saw your comment today!