Story of 10 yr old boy…..
Life is like a journey when someone travels in different directions; some to the left, to the right, forward and sometimes backwards. In this trek of life you witness a lot of things, meet many people and relish every experience. All these are part of one’s journey which enables one to grow as a person. In my journey of life, I have many experiences, memories to treasure and witnessed several events whether significant or not.
For 29 years, this journey can be described as typical almost inconsequential. Probably the same dreams and aspirations of the common man. There are things which I had always wanted to do that have been done by others and while some are still to be relished. I pleasure myself in listening to others and sharing my insights as well. I rub elbows with strangers and all kinds of people at leisure and would not mind a clash of opinions too. I would like to tell my story not because I seek pity or elicit some sympathy but just to impart myself to others and not expect a response. Maybe whatever I share with that person can be of use to him, if not now but maybe in the future. I believe that all souls are linked in this universe and an action will always evoke a reaction whether significant or inapparent. Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, black or white, brown or red, abled or differently abled, nature or humanity everyone and everything are related in this complex cosmos intertwined intricately and decisively.
A lot of people are aware of the malady of cancer, previously feared since it can be contagious and be condemned to a nontreatable disease. I understand their misconceptions since ignorance can be a source of fear itself. They dread that it is a futile battle against an invincible illness that reduces your body until its weak to that point where you take your last breath.
I am lucky because I was born in this age with the present technology and medications capable of subduing this disease. I will not be helpless and await my final resting place to swallow my being.
I was 10 years old when medics discovered that I had the dreaded C. It was thyroid cancer. I had to shuffle back and forth in hospitals ever since I was born. I was initially misdiagnosed for another illness. They said it was pulmonary tuberculosis something endemic in the Philippines where every 7 of 10 Filipinos have the disease but I had to be The Exception. I was spared from the tuberculosis but only after months of futile treatment. Then the physicians learned they were dealing with something else, it was then that my parents decided to take a second opinion. I went through three doctors and a battery of diagnostic tests, before they realized the true nature of my malady. They knew I had cancer, but could not understand why a 10 year old would have this disease. This usually affects older people around 40-50 years old. I had to undergo two major operations which lasted cumulatively for almost 12 hours. My parents feared the worst thinking I had expired. They were not expecting that the operations would take that long.
Despite the wait, the operation was hailed as a success. What I underwent was a subtotal thyroidectomy which eventually removed almost all my thyroid glands including a large portion of the cancer.
Despite the success, I still had to undergo radioactive therapy in order to eliminate the remaining cancer cells which were not removed during the surgery. I learned that the cancer had started to spread to my lungs according to my doctor.
During those times, I was not fully aware of the gravity of my health situation. However, my frequent visit to the hospital for various treatments heightened my concerns. I never dared to ask any questions and allowed them to proceed, with whatever they had to do which they claimed should make me well. I admit I felt I was left in the dark with regards to the course of my disease and the treatment plan they had in mind.
I was oblivious to what was going on since I was a child. I had probably preoccupied myself in playing, running then falling down. Sometimes I would quarrel with my playmates during those times. I also played basketball while I was growing up. All these provided an avenue to distract myself, from the health menace I was facing.
When I was 12 years old, I continued with my radioactive therapy and I began to feel different mixed emotions of fear, loneliness and uncertainty, not because I was ill but because I had to be isolated alone in a room. Such quarantine was necessary to prevent other people from getting exposed to the radiation. I felt like I was in jail since I have lost my freedom to go out or even to see and talk with my family and friends. Only the doctor and the nurse were my constant companions and they had to wear protective suits that protected them from the radiation. It was like I was a dangerous illness that had to be blocked from other people to keep them from being contaminated.
I had to endure this for seven days until my radiation levels were safe for others to interact with me. Such concealment only heightened my concerns, since the length of time appeared to correlate with the bigger doses of radiation. During my first night, I can only feel solitude as I began to relish any noise from the outside creeping into my room. The four walls of my room appeared to enclose upon me, and the skyscrapers seen from the outside through my window, appeared to stretch further out only to seclude me further. I yearned for any auditory clues that would signify the existence of the outside world. At that point, I knew the meaning of loneliness. It was not being in your solitude inside a confined space but that of a yearning to get out but unable to do so. I had no one to see or even speak with someone that I did not understand at my age, but was compelled to do so. My intent was only to get well so I would not have to endure the same feelings of loneliness once more.
To alleviate my lonesome, I found a piece of paper and a pen and decided to write or doodle anything whatever was happening inside me. In this emotional state, I was able to compose my first poetic creation that became my first companion that endured me through my subsequent visits to the hospital whenever I felt lonely and when I had no one to speak with. I learned to express myself and release what was inside of me through different media.
I expressed myself through art and when even I was in my solace I found a means of release. This helps me a lot because I can express myself in the medium that can best reflect my inner thoughts and feelings.
When I was 18 years old, it was only then that I found out, since I was the one going by myself to the doctor. He explained to me the situation and I had the opportunity to ask some questions since I was not inquisitive about my condition previously. My real condition was never communicated to me by my family and friends probably to protect me from being fearful about my illness and allow me to live a normal childhood. I was engulfed in melancholy but it would be replaced by a sense of clarity of the situation that had eluded me through all this years. This sense of clarity of the nature of my illness had enabled me to be more aware of things.
I tried to reflect on what I experienced and what’s in store for my future. I tried to look at myself and my condition. It may be painful or difficult to accept what has become of me. Most of the people I know attribute this as the Will of God. However, for me is part of the circle of life. It is the nature of the flow of life which I have to face, accept and fight for. I tried to remove it from my mind and tried to avoid from sinking into my heart that my Creator is responsible for my illness. I realize that I am still luckier than most people, not because I’m ill, but because I can see the void of hope which can separate me from the light if I am weak in faith. I was given the chance and the right to choose the option to seek treatment for my illness, while others have none. The acceptance of my family and my friends, the way they made it possible to continue through life without stopping, for giving me guidance through the darkest moments of my life. They have given me the light to see where I am and where I’m going.
This is why I was able to live a normal life and not in self-pity. After 19 years, I have learned so many things not just what happened to me but including those that surround me. Now, I try to give value to anything whether they are big or small. I understand now that time is too short and that too many people disregard this. What they do not know is that their disregard can lead to a greater regrets in the end. Such misfortune is irreversible and you can not do anything to get this back. My illness served to be the key of awakening my consciousness which was asleep. It continues to explore, discover, understand and impart this to my surroundings. The process of my growth had continued and I know that I will endure several more failures, commit more faults, mistakes to correct, accidents and sufferings that will happen. However, I will strive to give a broad perspective in my mind so I can fill the void slowly.
My enemy is still here and I am not afraid of it and I am aware that it can be subverted. But I cannot defeat it alone. I need a companion in my fight so I can subdue the enemy. This is why I am still continuing my journey until I reach the end so I can still pursue this trek in another world.
a journey of my life……