Last Thursday, January 20th, I had the opportunity to conduct an interview with my aunt who lives somewhere in Antique. The interview was about the life challenge that she’s facing right now. I asked her some questions and she answered them all honestly and positively. Please make sure to read this post until the very end so that like me you will also learn a lot of lessons in life. To those who are going through the same life challenge, you will also learn facts about cancer chemotherapy in the Philippines and some of its side effects. I decided to write about this topic because I have noticed that when I go online and try to search for cancer patients and cancer survivors here in the Philippines, I can’t seem to find decent information. I am always directed to foreign patients and survivors. So I really hope that this will help someone from our country.
Before I continue, let me share a little something about my father first. Those who are close to me already know that my father passed away December of 2009 because of lung cancer. He battled with the disease for more than three months, but my father was no match to the cancer. Although I write about how I feel when I miss him, or post some photos of him here in my blog, I have never really shared any of my experience or my family’s, to what was the most challenging time of our lives. But to be honest with you all losing my father made me realize so many important stuffs. It was also a wake-up call that no one is invincible and we will never know when our time will come.
So I am sharing with you all today this story of my aunt. She is my father’s younger sister. The purpose of this blog post is not to scare people, but to make everyone aware that cancer exists not only here in the Philippines but all over the world and how to cope with it and survive. I hope my aunt’s story will also inspire those who are going through the same disease.
My Aunt’s name is Ma. Juanita C. Iligan but me and my cousins fondly call her Auntie Diding. She is 44 years old and works as a Government Employee. When I asked my aunt about her lifestyle this is what she shared with me: “I have a very simple lifestyle. We are a weekend family since my husband works out of town so I’m left to take care of our two kids – a high school and an elementary pupil. The other two are in college. I have a daily routine – that is to prepare for a day’s work; eat lunch at the office with the kids; do some errands like going to the market if the need arises and go home after office hours. Sometimes if there are occasions, one of my brothers’ would fetch us at home and we eat at their place. The weekend is for family affairs. We go out together, just shopping or eating outside and attend the Holy Mass on Sundays. I’m not the outgoing type and I’d rather stay at home as much as possible.”
Auntie Diding said that the discovery of her cancer condition was sudden. “I did not have any hint that it was cancer and even if it did occur I refused to think that it was the worst. I had bloody stool that week that did not stop everytime I have my bowel movement so I informed my elder sister. We immediately scheduled an appointment with a doctor,” she shared. And about her chemotherapy sessions she said that her chemotherapy started six weeks after her surgery. “In my case, the side effects were very minimal such as darkening of the skin in hands and face; dryness of hands and face and loss of appetite. But these were temporary. At first I was worried but my doctor tells me that these will just pass and I will be back to normal. The dryness and darkening of skin didn’t last long because I used moisturizers and lotions to ease the dryness and I was advised to eat small frequent meals. I even gained weight during the chemotherapy sessions.”
Aside from going through chemotherapy, my aunt said she takes a lot of medicines as well and they are liver protector capsules; Vitamin B1, B6, B12; Sangobion – Vitamins and Minerals; and Furosemide. When I asked her if she uses the internet to get more information on cancer and other related info she said that she usually visits the search engine Yahoo and search for the things she wants to know there. That’s where she finds the information she needs.
I also asked my aunt if she has any advice to my readers who also have worries of having similar situations like cancer and how to deal with it and here’s what she said, “Positive thinking and faith in God will ease the feeling of stress and worry. Family support is also a big factor – not only financially but the love and care they will show will mean a lot. Prayers will surely help. Take time to meditate and pray and entrust everything to God.”
Today, January 24th is actually a great day for my aunt and our whole family because this is the day of her last chemotherapy. I hope this feature blog post will help those who are going through the same thing in life and give them more hope. May my aunt also inspire everyone to be brave and face this challenge – or any other challenge – wholeheartedly. Remember that no one is invincible and it would really help a lot if we have faith in God and of course in ourselves – that whatever we are going through right now, not only cancer – we will survive.
What about you? Do you know anyone who is going through the same situation? If you do please feel free to share your experience below and I would greatly appreciate it. I love to hear about strong people who are going through life’s challenges and trials positively. Just click the comments section below this blog post and write your views. I’m looking forward to your comments!