Pajammy Party

Pillow fights, secrets, s'mores and scary stories. Sleeping bag not required.

Fuck you, tumor

the streets were suddenly quiet.


I had fallen asleep in the car and when I opened my eyes, I saw him looking out the window.

“Bakit di ka matulog?” I asked. It was a long ride, the traffic was horrible and we had just finished an exhausting shoot outside Manila.

He couldn’t sleep, he said. He was excited because his break from work was about to start. He’d have weeks to spend with his wife and their two adorable little boys and he couldn’t wait.

It was one week before Christmas.

***

Jill and I were getting our nails done when her mobile phone rang.

This was Jill’s side of the conversation: “What? No way! No way!”

He was calling to say he was sorry, he couldn’t join us for dinner. He was in the hospital, he said. They found a tumor in his brain.

It was January 5, Jill’s birthday.

***

We walked into his hospital room, cupcakes in hand.

He was his usual self – relaxed, funny, playful. If you didn’t see the bandage on his head and his IV line, you wouldn’t guess that he had just come out of the ICU.

We made jokes, we laughed. We had a reason to – his tumor was benign. The doctors were letting him go home.

There was another tumor, he said. But he was still waiting for results of the biopsy.

He didn’t sound worried. We weren’t worried. He seemed fine. We looked forward to the good news.

It was January 9.

***

I received a text from him. “Sorry, I couldn’t make it to your book launch.”

My reply was quick. “Huy, next week pa ha.”

We found that hilarious – that he got confused about the date.

Sorry naman, he said.

That’s okay, I said. You’re excused. You just had brain surgery.

We laughed.

It was January 21.

***

He was calling but I couldn’t pick up, I was at the salon and the hair dryer was too loud.

He texted. He couldn’t make it to the book launch, he had to be at the hospital at 5:30.

More tests? I asked.

Yup, he said.

Keep me posted, I said.

Save me some pins, he said.

It was January 28.

***

We were in the car when Jill picked up her phone and called him.

This was Jill’s side of the conversation: “What? No way! No way!”

She sounded almost exactly like she did when he called on her birthday.

Only worse.

She mouthed the dreaded word to me. Cancer.

And she lifted her right hand to show me three fingers. Stage three.

My heart sank.

This was today.

***

Brain cancer. Brain fucking cancer.

Old people get cancer. People on TV get cancer. People in movies. People I don’t know. In some other place. In some other time zone.

Not here. Not my friends. Not people my age. Not him.

Brain cancer. At 32.

Fuck.

I’ve been trying not to fall apart over this. It would be stupid if I did. Because he has brain cancer and he’s holding it together. And his wife is holding it together. And they’re staying so positive. He’s cracking jokes, he’s telling people to smile, he’s been reaching out to people, he’s been celebrating life.

And that’s what I’ll do too.

I will hold it together. I will stay positive. I will celebrate life.

And I will do everything I can to help him fight this.

We can’t let cancer win. We won’t let cancer win.

“Walang bitawan to!” he texted me.

Wala talaga.

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14 thoughts on “Fuck you, tumor

  1. Keneth on said:

    Wow i jst cried. I’ll pray for ur friend.

  2. i pray for everyone’s strength! you need it to, you know.
    to your friend, i hope you’ll kick that tumor’s ass.

  3. =(

    I hope we all face our greatest adversaries like he does.

  4. this entry made me cry. hope things will get better.

    p.s i missed your book launch, work is oa. take care!

  5. Some freak stalker on said:

    I hope he gets better if that’s what’s best for him. I’m sorry I don’t have anything more to say because I’m sure I would say those stereotypical things.

    I do wish he, his family and people who loves him would feel that wherever he may end up, he’ll be happy.

    I still wish that he gets better. He’s too young.

    I’m sorry for being epal and kapal and be so much of a feeler to post another comment.

    I’ll still pray for your friend.

  6. Thanks, he really needs the prayers :)

  7. Pingback: MUG SHOT: My “Fight Brain Cancer” polish – RBL Stormy | POLISH POLICE

  8. Dear, my mom has colorectal cancer S4, diagnosed November 2009. Until now, she’s still alive. Take note, without chemo (not bragging). Thanks God. Her secret, MIND OVER MATTER, and she DOES NOT WANT US TO BECOME EMOTIONAL. i pray for her. and now, i will include your friend.

  9. He’s kicking ass right now at the office.
    Solving (and creating more) issues :))

    That’s Jason Buera, after all.

  10. Hello, I’ve been following your polishpolice blog for a while now and I just recently found you on goodreads that made me find this blog and finally this post too.
    I have been a fan of your polishpolice blog after kuya Jason told me about it and I was surprised to see this post, never thought you wrote about my brother. I don’t know if you remember me, I am Ella, Jason’s little sister, we met when you visited him at the hospital.

    Reading this felt bittersweet. I miss kuya and I wish he could still be here, but after everything he’s been through I know he’s in a better place now, with no cancer and probably taking pictures with our mom up there. So, thank you, for this post, for being an awesome friend to my kuya and for being there with him.

    P.S.
    If I knew earlier that you were Pam Pastor the author, I would’ve asked for your autograph then. :)

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