There is a saying: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.”
I’ve always admired the extraordinary strength shown by people who have been diagnosed with cancer.
I couldn’t help myself but be amazed by the transformation it brought to their lives, most especially to the survivors. It always brings me utmost joy whenever I hear about their journey, including all that in it–the beautiful narration of finding a silver lining at the end of a seemingly endless darkness of an empty tunnel.
When I first heard of this advocacy of Physiogel Philippines to encourage, support, and celebrate the courage of Filipino women to rise above Breast Cancer, I had no second thoughts of supporting it. I was introduced to 3 women with incredible testimonies of how they have dealt and triumphed against Breast Cancer, with a note of still considering themselves fabulous in their own little beautiful ways.
Let me take you to the mind of the first of the three remarkable women I’ve met that afternoon at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel.
Patty B. Balquiedra, 44, a blogger, online entrepreneur and a mother of two. Patty, who“graduated” from her radiation treatment in February, recalls her thoughts when she was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer:
“I was very calm but I immediately went into fight mode. I wanted to know what had to be done, when and how. I felt like my body had been invaded by a really nasty enemy and I had to get rid of that enemy fast. I wanted to work closely with my doctors and be as informed as possible, before making any final decisions. When the anger (towards the cancer) died down, I began to feel scared and thought of my family, most especially my children and what would happen to them if anything happened to me.”
Patty B. Balquiedra shares her first thoughts when she was diagnosed with cancer
For Alya B. Honasan, a veteran editor and writer for newspapers, magazines, and books, a certified lyengar yoga teacher, an avid scuba-diver, occasional theater actor, a doting mom to her dog Kikay, and someone who is still undergoing treatment, sees herself as one tough cookie.
“I have become a renewed believer in gut feel since I was diagnosed, because I had a feeling I had cancer as soon as the mammogram yielded ambiguous results. But after I was officially diagnosed, after my biopsy and before my surgery, my first thoughts were on the chances of my survival, as we still wouldn’t know the stage I was until after surgery, and what this was going to cost me emotionally, physically, and financially. Frankly, the thought of dying wasn’t as frightening as I thought it would be.”
“And believe it or not, again, I was glad it was me, and not any of my loved ones or dear friends who had husbands and children whose lives could be destroyed if they went. I actually thought at one point, so this is why I don’t have kids! Also, back to that gut feel–I feel I was going to beat this, completely. I already knew that I was indubitably stronger than cancer. I’m one tough cookie.” –Alya B. Honasan
I personally find Michee Cadhit very beautiful despite sporting a semi-bald hairstyle. Michee is the head of customer service and international relations department of The Medical City, and a mother of three. She just “graduated” from treatment a few weeks ago.
“I was alone when told by the radiology consultant of a ‘serious problem’ seen in my mammo and ultrasound, but I remained very composed. Even without a biopsy and done, I knew what it was. I cried heavily that afternoon for fear of the unknown. Yet I also knew that I should be strong. The sooner I accepted the fact (of my diagnosis), the easier it was for me to move on. My experience of having a special child helped me cope well. I adapted the same way in handling my special daughter’s condition. As soon as she was diagnosed with her rare genetic disorder, the sooner we initiated all the necessary interventions. We no longer gave ourselves time to wallow over the misery of her condition. The attitude my husband and I had was always very positive. We both considered the diagnosis at an early stage as a true blessing.”
“Cancer taught me the value of life in its simplest and most beautiful form. It taught me to appreciate the simplest blessings of each day brings. That family, friends, and relationships are the most important in one’s life. Hence, we should treasure as many fond memories and fruitful relationships with them,” Michee muses.
“Each day is a gift – I don’t remind myself about my breast cancer when I wake up each day. It’s something that stays with you forever and it’s like a though that’s always in the back of your head. Since that’s the case, I now wake up each day, thankful for the chance to get out of bed and do what I need to do. Every day that I’m alive is a chance for me to do right, serve and please God, take care of my family, love myself, show people how much I appreciate them. I’m 10 times more thankful for every little thing that happens and I now want to make the most of every single, as a way to show my thanks to God for this second chance at life,” Patty says.
Alya agrees: “I can already say, unequivocally, that cancer is one of the best things that ever happened to me. Really. It has taught me to take it easy and live again, in the true sense of the word. Although I ate healthy and exercised, my stress levels before I got diagnosed were bordering on the insane. There never seemed to be enough time to do the things that had to be done. Cancer gave me the gift of perspective, and realizing that some things are just more important than money and achievement. It gave me the gift of humility to realize that I cannot always be in complete control of of my life and my future, and that’s fine. And it gave me the gift of gratitude, really, for all the love that has been shown me, for the good things I have, and for knowing with renewed gratitude that God has been holding my hand throughout all this.”
These 3 strong women acknowledge that having dry skin after their breast cancer radiation treatment is an inconvenient end-result. Patty, Alya, and Michee suffer from dry, flaky, itchy and sunburn-like skin after each session.
Physiogel, however provided them with relief from their discomfort. Alya vouches for the effectiveness of the Physiogel products, more so, because it was recommended by her attending surgeon. On the other hand, Michee uses Physiogel to ease the scars and rashes caused by radiation. Lastly, Patty knew about the virtues of the product long before she underwent chemotherapy.
As part of Physiogel’s advocacy in supporting breast cancer patients, portion of the proceeds of their sales for October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, will go to the I Can serve Foundation.
Physiogel is the No.1 dermatologist-prescribed moisturizer according to the Philippine Medical Data Index (PMDI MAT 2012) and is available in leading drugstores and supermarkets nationwide. It is also available in handy 10ml sachets. Ask your dermatologist and pediatrician about Physiogel.
Moomy Musings with my fellow mommy blogger / friend, Roxi of www.mommyroxi.com
Thank you Patty, Michee and Alya for being a source of inspiration for me to always be thankful for living in the present. Indeed, “today is a gift.” Thanks also to Physiogel Philippines for letting me be a part of this advocacy this Breast Cancer Awareness Month.