Just another mental ejaculation

When people walk up to me these days and ask how my father is doing, I honestly don’t know how to respond.  I’ve been asked that question many times over but I still can’t get myself to compose a standard answer–one that is palatable but would be faithful to his real condition now.  “Mabuti naman siya” won’t do as he isn’t stable yet.  But he is in a much better condition now than two weeks ago: shrunken cheeks and torso, color had left his face, and he could barely sit down to eat.   “Recovering” won’t fit either because though he is in a better condition I am not sure if there’s a way for him to bounce back from cancer and it’s complications given that he won’t allow the doctors to perform surgery on him nor would he agree to undergo chemotherapy.

The earliest diagnosis that indicated the probability of him having lung cancer was summer of 2009.  His joints from head to feet were swelling like anything.  Not arthritis according to the lab test results, uric acid levels were normal.  Not finding anything conclusive, he was given meds to remedy joint pains and, for our part at home, we didn’t serve uric-acid rich foods on the table.  Nothing’s changed, however, after one month, and it got his doctor thinking.  But when an x-ray of his chest came into the picture the equation changed dramatically because there it was sitting gloriously and proudly on the upper side of right lung: a big mass of misbehaving cells.  Might be cancer.  Could be the source of fluids lodged in his joints.  Might be the thing that’s causing him pain.  Might be… Could be… He need’s to undergo a CT Scan-guided biopsy, the doctor said.  They needed to do it so they could give us something conclusive and prescribe medication that is more directed to his real condition.  Fear is what the whole family felt, on different levels.  And as expected, NO was his answer.

Thus, alternative medicine accompanied our prayers for his health: crystals, albularyos, feng shui items, herbal meds, carrot juice, kangkong tops, and the like.  But to no avail.  Our three-day island hopping trip in the Visayas last December for his and mama’s 25th wedding anniversary was his last major lakad.  Painful and heart-wrenching is how I’d describe seeing our father, who has always been the strong man of the house, slowly wilt under his illness.  It’s almost unbelievable to see it happen day by day.

My Four Greatest Loves

Prayers for and with the family have been keeping us hopeful that things will be better someday.  Prayers may be intangible but knowing that there is an outpouring of compassion and love from most people we know speaks to and warms our hearts.  The emotional, financial, and spiritual support we get from close friends in the office and the community quells much of our fear of being alone in this experience.  If, by chance, you read the thank you note I posted on my Facebook and Twitter accounts some days ago, trust me that it came from the heart.

I am well aware that there are families out there who have gone through/still going through the same, or maybe even more than what we are experiencing.  And if there’s anything that this experience has taught me at this point, it’s my newfound compassion and respect for them.  I now feel how gripping this cancer drama is.  I now know why cancer survivors are being celebrated and I think their families also deserve the same.

This is not an epilogue to an ongoing saga that is our family’s battle with the Big C.  The situation isn’t over yet.  Fr. Tuzzi Flores, our parish’s administrator, among other select people, was able to convince papa to have himself admitted to the hospital last week.  We brought him there on his terms:  no surgery, no chemotherapy.  We happily agreed.  He is currently receiving supportive care, a term we all use to describe the treatment accorded to him with respect to the conditions he laid out.

Not an epilogue, definitely.  But the new reality our family is facing right now is slowly taking its toll on us.  A week in the hospital seemed like eternity and I personally do not know where it’s heading.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of not knowing when it will all stop.  Fear of not getting back to normal.

As I type this piece, I do not really have something clear to impart to you my reader.  I just want these thoughts to be put out in the open just to lighten the load.  And with this closing thought is an appeal for you to always include my family in your prayers, most especially our mother, Edna.  And if one of these days we’d meet down the hallway or you’d drop me a note and ask how my father is doing and I won’t be able to answer clearly, please understand.  I know that you are not really wanting to get a full report of his medical condition but it’s a way for you tell me that you care enough to ask how I am doing in the midst of all these things.  I believe that those questions are little prayers which hope for our patient and the whole family’s well being.  Thank you for asking/praying for us.  We appreciate it much.


11 thoughts on “Just another mental ejaculation

  1. dear buthchie, as I once told you, just as you feel uncomfortable
    grasping for the right word to describe your dad’s condition, I also experience some kind of discomfort having to ask about your dad; perhaps my questions are really some kind of arrow prayers for you your dad and your family…as if inside my heart i am begging to hear good news that he has improved, that he is out of the hospital, that he is already eating well… whenever i am in a situation that I need to ask about how a friend’s loved one is doing battling the big C or other form of dreaded illness (perhaps because in our culture, it seems expected), there is hesitation, because at the back of my mind i am sure that it would rekindle some pain. like you, i am sometimes at a loss on how to phrase the question–the typical Filipino ‘kumusta’ that now I also realize is also some kind of an assurance that i am giving you as a friend…that i will be here along with the DLSP family, praying for your dad and your family..and that ‘kumusta’ does not necessarily beg for an answer…but is a way of letting you know, that you have a friend sa tabi-tabi, sa mga suluk-sulok; keep the faith for it will keep you strong.

  2. The first time I read about your dad’s condition was when I just took over the place of Sr. Joy. One of the things she endorsed to me was the office cell phone. It was there that I received your message to Sr. Joy about your dad and you were asking her for prayers. Although you didn’t know me yet too well yet that time, I started praying for him. I lost my father in 2001 and I know the feeling of being with a loved one in pain. Being the only girl among his children, I was closest to him. I was his girl and he was the only man in my life.
    Last week, I was in Ozamiz for a week when Lovelle emailed us about him. Immediately I offered the little help that I could through Lovelle. Over lunch today, Lovelle was sharing how committed you really are to our shared mission – reporting for work and finishing what is there to finish even if you have to be with your dad in the hospital. God bless you, Butch. You’re a mand of God and He will never fail you. Just trust that He knows what is best for each one of us. Keep the faith.

  3. Be strong to Mama and to your siblings and have faith friend….
    Im proud of you… seeing how you taking care of your father is in the hopital is enough to show how much you really care for Papa and how he is really blessed to have you as his son……Let’s continue praying and thy will be done…. Love you friend….=)

  4. I lost my grand parents to cancer. I lost my tita to anuerism.I all watched them fought the good fight against pain and desperation.As the book of Job said , ” the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” All you are experiencing right now is temporary. All these will pass away. In the end I know you will find comfort in knowing that you are loved by God , your family and your friends. Hang on, you are always in my prayers.

  5. “For I know the plans I have for you,”declares the Lord,”plans to prosper you not to harm you,plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11 -Rannie V.

  6. Sir Butch!!!

    Sorry, hindi ko po alam na nasa ganyang condition po yung father nyo.. I cannot offer any help for your family.. basta gagawin ko lang po yung alam kong kaya ko para makatulong.. and of course, to pray for all of you..

    I seriously believe na makakayanan nyo po yan.. Have the power of faith.. 🙂

    God bless sir!!

  7. maintain positivism.

    “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” -Matthew 21:22

    believe Butch, believe.

  8. Hi Butch,
    Thank you for letting us peep in through your life… into your inner self. I know how difficult it is for you and your family, but I could see how your Mom is managing. Your Mom is truly strong, the way my Mom was so strong when Daddy left us.
    The Unknown? Do not fear it. Maybe you should fear it a little, but welcome it because it brings with it surprises.

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