Every cancer patient has a story, they may share common fears, nightmares, and doubts but no two journeys are the same.
“Gusto ko pong sabihin sa lahat ng tao na kahit ano man ang sitwasyon nyo sa buhay, mahirap man, may kapansanan o maysakit/may cancer. Wag po kayong susuko sa buhay. Patuloy lang po kayong mangarap at kumilos. Magtiwala lang po kayo sa inyong sarili at sa Diyos. September 29 kami nag Board Exam kasabay ng Birthday ko at ngayon dumating yung Gift ni Lord sakin.”
These were the words uttered by Jessa Marie S. Malate, a newly passed Licensed Professional Teacher as she made her way through the Licensure Examination for Teachers held September 29, 2019.
Malate was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in 2008 when she was in first year high school.
She felt devastated as she thought that her life was about to come to an end. She was doomed and couldn’t bear the reality of how she got sick. She used to very active in school and joined numerous extracurricular activities. Due to her diagnosis all these activities have brought to a halt. She also stopped going to school for a year to concentrate in her treatment and promote healing.
Malate has undergone cancer treatment including chemotherapies and surgeries. She went through multiple needle punctures and debilitating signs and symptoms of the disease such as weight loss, and severe nausea and vomiting before she was cleared for discharge. On the other hand, she resumed joining school activities and graduated high school with Honors.
Malate remained symptom-free and lived a normally healthy life until 2014 when she was struck by another horror. She woke up one morning with severe stomach pains and paralysis, she was rushed to the hospital and her laboratory and diagnostic work-ups revealed that her cancer has relapsed and has metastasized to the liver.
“5 years ago nung sinabi ng Doctor ‘Pwede nyo na pong ilabas sa Hospital si Jessa, dahil walang Doctor ang mag oopera dyan dahil bilang na araw nyan mamatay yan! Wala na kaming magagawa!’” Ang sabi ko sa sarili ko noon Kung wala silang magagawa, Ako meron!”
Doctors were afraid that there would be no available treatment for her as her cancer has progressed to its final stage. Malate was dazed of how she was going to continue and pursue her dreams. She didn’t want her life to end. She knew that she has a purpose in this world and giving up is not a part of it.
Despite her condition, she refused to give up. Through her faith in God, she found a naturopathic doctor who utilizes alternative medicine for her cancer treatment. She gradually regained her strength and went back to school. She then graduated Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in Southern Luzon State University in Polilo Quezon.
“Hanggang ngayon po may cancer parin ako at patuloy na naniniwalang gagaling pa ako at maraming makakatulong sakin despite of my situation. Hindi ako nagpatinag, hindi sumuko, patuloy na lumaban, nagtiwala sa Diyos at nangarap at tinutupad ang pangarap kahit may Cancer at ngayon ay isang ganap ng Teacher. Malaking tulong sa akin ang Carl Balita Review Center dahil marami po akong natutunan. Nainspire din po ako lalo sa mga lecturers. Sinabi ko po sa sarili na sana maging katulad din nila ako na maging magaling na lecturer at makainspire pa ng maraming tao. Kaya po nagreview ako ng mabuti at nagtiwala ng buong puso”
Cancer can take away our physical abilities but it can never touch our mind and soul. Cancer can be debilitating and frustrating but with faith in God, compliance to the treatment, and self-love, miracles can happen.
-Story from Pia Alanis