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Archive for June, 2012


Two worlds: cancer and life

June 7, 2012

was recently reminded of the world(s) I live in: the world of cancer and the world of life. My cousin who was diagnosed with esophageal cancer early this year is no longer responding to all types of chemo treatments. In fact, they have stopped all treatments and has move to the final stage of care: hospice care at home.

Hospice care is a trigger word for cancer survivors. It means the end-of-life stage and the focus now is making you comfortable. I have seen people enter this stage of life and it is not pleasant. You know what is coming. More so, it unnerves to me that it is happening to a family member, who have been supportive of me when I was first diagnosed four years ago. Now, it is I who have to give them comfort.

I can imagine what is going through the mind of my cousin.  He has taken cared of this family all his married life, now he is and will not be able to take care of them.  Sucks. For the family left behind, it will be difficult.  I had sense this in my call to them.

“Hi, Ate (Elder female family member). How is Kuya (Elder male family member)?” I asked when I called recently.

“He is doing fine now. They stopped all treatments last Monday. Right now he is eating well and doing his walks. We brought him home from the hospital and he will be receiving hospice care here at home.” She replied.

Our conversation was thick with over-hanging emotions. No tears but I sense the underlying sentiment as we talked: I am doing fine while my cousin is entering hospice care. Why? It was the unanswered question that neither of us dare bring up, but it was there like an elephant in the room.

I was more worried about her but she seem to accept the reality of cancer taking her husband, my cousin. We danced around to find an easy conversation about the kids but there was no way of ignoring the inevitable. Promises were made and I hang-up with a heavy heart.

Damn you, cancer. How many more lives do you have to take and leave families empty with grief.

Two worlds colliding in me. As a cancer survivor, I straddle both worlds knowing that either side can tip the balance. I bid you good memories, Kuya. You paid my dues for being here and I will do my best to honor the legacy of our family.

Cheers.

P.S. This weekend my wife and I will be running a half marathon (13.1 miles) event locally, the North Shore Half Marathon. This one is for you, Kuya. So far, our longest training run was 16 miles, which we did last weekend (June 2).

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