I have cancer.
After my thyroidectomy (removal of my thyroids) last August 5
I had post operation consultation
with my surgeon, Dr. Perez, a week after,
who referred me back to my attending physician
who is my doctor-cousin, Dr. Michael Tee,
who met me last Thursday, August 22.
Dr. Tee minced no words.
I did not have goiter.
The biopsy of the mass taken from my neck revealed cancer.
My days are numbered.
I felt numb.
Ok, I am ready to die.
If this is how I should die
I should feel lucky.
I mean, I look OK,
I feel OK,
and if I sleep and die in my sleep
it would be perfect
Dr. Tee looked me in the eye.
"I want you to go and see Dr. Federico Cruz.
I want you to see him tomorrow."
Mike, I have work . . .
But Dr. Tee would not accept it:
"Forget about work. See him tomorrow."
I left Dr. Tee's office in a daze.
Earlier in the day, I had a meeting with a client
and people from work.
We did an ocular inspection of a venue
for a major event for November.
My boss even drove me to the hospital after.
Then I left the hospital and attended to other chores.
I have never been so confused.
I did not tell anybody.
I felt miserable and cried to sleep.
I woke up at dawn and said goodbye to Sweepy.
I did not have the heart to tell my family.
I just told them I needed to get my biopsy report
and to see another doctor that Dr. Tee recommended.
Dr. Federico Cruz minced no words either:
"You have Stage 2 follicular carcinoma
and this can be remedied with RAI.
You do not need chemotherapy.
You will just stay in the hospital for 4 days
where we will isolate you for RAI
and I might repeat the procedure after 3 months."
I know RAI (radio active iodine therapy)
since I was an unwitting victim
of a factory-like hospital in 1989.
I told Dr. Cruz about this and showed him my old records.
Dr. Cruz shook his head but, like me,
he wanted to dwell on the present.
On what can be done.
To have my RAI for my cancer,
I have to clear my system of the thyroxine medicines
which will take 6 weeks.
Dr. Cruz scheduled September 30 for my RAI.
I have to wean off any sea foods for now.
But I can still go to work.
I will be able to resume work after RAI.
Now, that's the good news.
My life is now in the hands of nuclear medicine.
In the cab after a long day running to Pathology,
rushing back to Dr. Tee to show him the results,
then rushing to Dr. Cruz for the verdict,
I realized not too many people
have this option.
I am alive now.
I can be alive after RAI.
I asked the cab driver to bring me to the museum
where our German clients are having a small exhibit:
The artworks on the right walls were printed tarpaulins of huge banners on children's rights made by children in several barangays in Pasay city through an art workshop I helped facilitate in May, and whose works I helped designed into merchandise like t-shirts, bags, stickers and notecards for the kids livelihood program. I promised our German clients, Thea and Clara, whose volunteer work in the Philippines had ended and they are due to return to their country, that I will try to see their exhibit and I did.
On the way back
(the kind cab driver waited for me at the museum!)
I watched the beautiful sunset at the boulevard
and I knew I am lucky to never lose my admiration
and inspiration from nature and the elements. . .
I can still hear our plants sing.
Their songs will serenade me in my deathbed . . .
I read the papers
and I laughed at the funny stories,
and cried at the miserable ones,
and got inspired by intelligent writings
and still felt the need to take action
and remain vigilant and participative
in community concerns . . .
Life need not stop
because my body is sick
or when I am in healing
or when I finally breathe my last.
I choose to live forever
whether my body can not
because I knew my spirit is eternal . .
. . . for now I choose to enjoy my body.
I choose to view life as a great throbbing force
and whatever I made of it
I made it with meaning and joy.
Someday, when my body would chose to give up
I will fly painfully free of my body with utter joy.
And I will choose to remain meaningful
and love unconditionally.
If I can blog in spirits
I probably will.
And that's my good news.