I feel like I am in “de- ja- vu”. I had this same experience during my first cycle of chemotherapy, only now, the “roasting” is a lot worst than before. I feel like I am under the desert sun without clothes on. My finger tips are almost numb now because of the pain it has been through for days. I am at “rest” from the chemo drugs today because tomorrow, my one and only loving sister, will do her unselfish act of giving me her “bone marrow”. Emotionally I don’t know how I am. I guess it is pretty much of a “de-ja-vu” also.
I remember the mixed feelings I had back then as memory of my husband making a lot of calls, drafting several appeal letters, going to and from my office as he started to look for the four point two million I needed. Many people indeed responded! His phone never stopped ringing, internet messages flocked with so many promises of help and encouragement. It seemed like everyone was suddenly awakened with enthusiasm to do this and that project to be able to help us financially. These people giving us hope really gave us encouragement. Each time my husband and I talked, his smile became brighter and brighter as he would relate to me how this and that person responded positively to his appeal. I finally gave up wallowing and gave in to the same hope that my disease was not a death sentence but just another sea to cross together as man and wife. A test if love will still be there when attraction and other tangible and physical aspects are removed.
December came, my transplant schedule was given but for some reason it did not push through. My husband gave me several reasons for the delay but assured me that it was not for financial reasons. The delay was horrific! Leukemia cells are one of the fastest growing cancer cells ever known thus my fate was literally just a fate. The pain from a weekly bone marrow aspirate became part of my strictly limited activity. But I did not mind the pain knowing I will be able to see and interact with someone else in the hospital. A pleasure I did not know till then. The bone marrow aspirate has to be done to monitor the leukemic cells. It was eerie and so so sad when the aspirate result came bad again in late December.
It was new years eve, I have to be on chemo drugs, away from home and my three little precious ones. Will this be my last new year? But I have to be a “steel” in all of these. Steel is not the hardest metal on earth! Knowing the truth of the reason why my transplant was being delayed was FINANCIAL brought me in agony of doubt and despair. Where were the people who promised? It was just two months prior when they were all over us! My good husband who was the bare witness of my physical and emotional difficulty saved me from some more by keeping from me the fact that we could not even pay for the down payment yet. But as I have said, the ordeal is for both of us and I will not be protected from reality.
It was in mid January when I learned of the fact. My “marine” Major husband, stripped off with rank, has to line up in different institutions to ask for financial assistance so as to keep the mother of his children alive even for a year or five. It was not flattering. I felt his humiliation and it cut me deeply. The hurt was too much. I started asking myself “am I asking so much from him? Am I being selfish?”. If I die right there and then it would be easier for him and the children. He would not experience the unkind and unnecessary words from different office secretaries or personnel. He would not hear the doubting words of “mistah’s” whom he thought knew how important dignity for him was, that he was doing this to raise money for personal use. It just hurts more than too much to see your respected husband devalued for your sake. But his answer to me was simply “… in sickness and health…” and it was enough for me. Frustration was all he has on the people behind the offices whom he thought could help him but barely extended help. Despite this, he still saw himself favored as several other people line up in the same offices the whole day for their meager 1 thousand pesos, while he gets at least five thousand pesos.
Our faith has been tested. Now it’s time to learn about God’s timing. The Orchestrator of all things would not simply let go of what He started. Another schedule was given and this time no barrier should stop it otherwise transplant would be futile. Everyday for the succeeding days, he meet a lot of unexpected people used by God to guide his way. People in the military, most of them have been through a lot and survived also, the real friends that we had and people we barely know were the ones touched by the Lord to contribute in finding the two million down payment.
The PDI story published in God’s time (February 14, 2010) was one of our gateway also. It was so amazing that people would respond to such an appeal. I did not know how, but I believe it is these people’s own walk with the Lord that made them commit. Who in the world would just give someone a hundred thousand pesos and would not have their names given?! All I can say is that the faith of my husband must not be ignored in this turn of the event. The same faith I am learning as I stay alone in my 17 degree temp room at St. Luke’s hospital. We are still ¼ away from completing our road to four million. And just like any other road, we expect twists and turns and crossroads along the way. Along with each turn comes our emotional response to each of the event. With prayer we hope for the right responses on everything at all times.
“…Thus far the Lord has helped us…..” 1 Samuel 7:12.
by: Maria Ella Regondola-Cabanlet