the big c

i don’t know if cancer is just becoming so prevalent these days or if there really is a calling for me. as a kid, i had dreamt of becoming a doctor someday. and even then i had thought of having my own cancer ward for children. i remember how i would always cry over stories on cancer patients, then.

in high school, someone i know from elementary died of cancer. i slowly let go of my dream of becoming a doctor because i learned the danger of emotional attachment to patients. and i also started to fear cancer. it was just a part of stories before but now someone i personally know died of it, i thought. then, in college, i learned that the mothers of two of my best friends also suffered and passed away due to cancer. i realized it couldn’t be more real.

but when i overheard mites telling about the swelling on her leg, i didn’t pay that much attention. i heard jeng said that it was nothing, so i thought it was just some kind of rheumatism. when i heard that she underwent operation and that she already had cancer, i asked myself, will she die? that’s what i see on tv and in movies. but i told myself, she won’t die. that’s too much drama in real life. not to mention that it involves my life, too.

i was able to pay a visit to the hospital during her treatment. aside from her throwing up, to me, she looked like she would be well. and she did get well. when she went back to school, we were so happy to see her. one sembreak, we went to puerto galera and i told myself, see? she’s perfectly fine.

early last year, the weather was becoming colder everyday. i had two classes with mites and i would often hear her complain that her leg is aching. she said she was afraid that it could be her cancer again. i told her it’s just the cold weather. one day, she could barely walk. i helped her went down the stairs after class. she kept texting me that day, thanking me for helping her.

she: thank you po talaga.
me: wala yun. isang thank you mo pa. upakan na kita. hehe.

she was also trying to send me a picture message that day but i can’t view it because our phone models were not compatible. i told her i would just see what it is in class the following week. but she stopped going to class after that day. the next thing i know, her cancer recurred. we learned she was in the hospital again but jeng said she didn’t want us to see her.

i got busy with school, with the thesis and all. i would hear about her once in awhile from jeng. all the while i was praying and believing she will be fine again like before. but this time she didn’t. and until now, i can’t believe it. i can’t accept that the january afternoon i held her hand, as she bravely willed herself to go down the flight of stairs, was the last time i was going to hold her hand. the last time i was going to see her alive in this lifetime.

late last year, my boyfriend’s aunt died of cancer. weeks ago, my boss related how her father died of cancer, too. seems like everywhere, someone i know has a story to tell about cancer. and i don’t know if it’s just me but it scares the hell out of me.

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