Tuesday, August 23, 2005

who's afraid of the big C?

cancer. and here's another one, chemotherapy. the mere mention will send shivers down one's spine.
i could still remember all too clearly, as if it was just yesterday. over breakfast 21 years ago, i asked my mom what the result of her biopsy was. she didn't have any voice then because of the surgery and so she scribbled on her magic slate, "i need radiotherapy". i couldn't believe my eyes. i was in pre-med then and of course i knew it meant she had the big c. i rushed to the bathroom where i cried uncontrollably. my dad had to get me out, trying to explain the situation while fighting to hold back his own tears. it's been ages since. all praise and thanks be to our god, for the many extra wonderful years, mom's still with us.
last week, it was my tita esty. it was a shock to find out that the uterine mass removed with her uterus was indeed cancerous. and yes, she has to have chemotherapy. we were afraid for her not just because of the medical concerns. she, who just a few years back, had gotten over her major depression of 20 plus years, might have another breakdown. the family thought it was best for her not to know. the doctor discussed with her the treatment needed to "sterilize the area operated on" and "to prevent any recurrence". as the family had requested, there was purposefully no mention of the big c, thinking and hoping that this half-information will protect her. all tita esty asked was "makakalbo ba ako?" the doctor said most people do but reassured her that the new drugs are good and so she should not worry about any other side effects. to that she replied, "oh, i'll be ok, prayerful naman ako." with this, i was certain she had understood completely. and i realized we had underestimated her in more ways than one.
who's afraid of the big c? of course everyone is. but we must not forget, we can conquer this fear as we rest our cares and count on the biggest c of all. christ.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

saan at ano

bakit ako ay may pangamba
saan Mo ko ibig dalhin
pilit na iniisip upang maintindihan
ano ang gusto Mo para sa akin.

hindi ba dapat panatag ako
dahil nandiyan Ka lagi sa tabi ko
kung tutuusin ay alam ko
sapat na dapat ang ganito.

marahil sa ating pag-uusap
kulang ang aking pakikinig
malimit ako ang nagsasalita
hindi Ka man lang makasingit.

pangako ko ako ay tatahimik
upang ang nais Mo ay matanto
nang walang pangamba sa aking puso
kung saan at kung ano.

Monday, August 15, 2005


believed to trap bad dreams
and let the good dreams
come right through.

taught the kids
to make dreamcatchers,
think a dream, a dream
for our country.

such young thoughts
of fear mixed with hope
need for peace and love
all so real.

please trap their bad dreams
and let the good ones
all be true.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

portraits of ninety-ones

for the past week, i've been taking care of two ninety-one year olds in the hospital.
lola mameng, though frail-looking, was previously pretty good at walking with a cane. she, however, got acute attacks of her arthritis big time, confining her in bed and therefore getting quite deconditioned. even after her joint pains had resolved, she refused to get out of bed. the other day, i didn't quite get a positive response from her when i told her we will help her get out of bed through exercise. until yesterday, she was still refusing any activity. i decided to spend a little more time with her, got her sitting up and out of bed myself, and managed to assist her to walk a few steps nimbly to the bedside chair. as she sat there, we chatted. i asked her about her past and even got her excitedly talking about her grandnephews and grandnieces living in the states. i told her she should be up and about and that our target was to send her home in two days. she surprisingly agreed but doubted her capability. today, i saw her sitting up on the chair as i entered her room. she had walked around the room twice with a walker and was proud of her achievement. as she sat there, we chatted again. her eyes twinkled as she related about her suitor of eons of years ago, whom with his parents, were so much in love with her and moved heaven and earth to win her heart. she decided to take the path of single-blessedness without any regret. tomorrow, we send her home.
lolo domingo, though stocky and well-built, had suffered a stroke. his left side was paralyzed, he spoke with a slur and was fed through a naso-gastric tube. three days ago, i checked out his strength, noticing a feeble movement of his left leg, which he didn't realize he had. his left arm was still heavy without any trace of movement. thankfully, his dominant right side was intact. he is an artist and loves to paint. he is a motivated guy, quite impatient to get up and go. and so i talk to him about patience to avoid frustration and depression. he strains to hear what i say and understands. each day i visit, he shows a bit of improvement, nevertheless a significant gain. yesterday, he was able to move his left shoulder, transfer to his chair and do pedal exercises. he was able to take in teaspoonfuls of gelatin and lugaw by mouth. he is not much of a talker but his few words were definitely much clearer. today, he was brought down to the gym and was assisted to stand between the parallel bars. he did nearly ten minutes, what a feat! he was obviously very happy. he told me he will make a painting for me.
wisdom in words and action, even way beyond their years. i suddenly miss my gramps, superlolo, who turned 104 last may.