Battling Cancer

There is a Filipina I’ve met online through a mailing group. I was first a member of her MSN group before I even came here. Then I met her again in another mailing group early last year. We never really hit it off because she seem to be a bit aggressive for me. I always thought that she complained a lot about her life in Korea that it made me almost tell her to just go back to the Philippines (another friend did that, though :D). It’s just that I don’t really like hearing complaints, not even from my niece (Carmina!!!). I live by what Maya Angelou had said: “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”

Anyway, something happened last year in the mailing group and I’d told her how I feel about her. But I also told her that I said what I said because I wanted to understand and be a real friend to her. We don’t really communicate regularly but I know what’s been happening to her through the several mailing lists where we’re both members. Now I think that part of our misunderstanding is the very different treatment that we have received from our in-laws and our experiences in living here. And also from the way we react to situations. My friends for years have always called me “bato” because they think I’m too insensitive.

Late last March, her husband was diagnosed with stage-4 liver cancer. She and her husband must have been so shocked. She might have felt that everything seems so surreal. I would know the feeling because last year, my then 4-yr old niece (Isabel) was diagnosed with stage-4 Neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer. She has been battling cancer.

She and her husband have been to Seoul’s Kyunghee University for further diagnosis and they had also stayed at the National Cancer Center in Ilsan, Goyang City for a few months for his treatments. Last April, I and my husband visited them in the hospital. It was our first time to meet. We didn’t stay long since it was a Sunday afternoon and we had to drive back to the city and we’d like to avoid the traffic jam. We talked for more than three hours. The impression that I got was that they were still in denial. Like as if they still don’t believe that they’re battling a deadly disease. I might be wrong and I apologize if I’d judged hastily.

I haven’t heard from her in a long time. I also didn’t try to communicate with her, but my concern has always been there. I just fish for information from Anna since they keep in touch with each other through SMS. And everytime I tell what I’d learned to my husband. It always prompted us to talk about our life now and what we could do if ever we were in the same situation.

Today, I found that she wrote a couple of messages on her mailing list and on her blog as well. And reading through them, I felt for her. She must have been going through a lot of things that I don’t ever want to experience and that I don’t have the courage to face. I don’t even want to imagine what it would be like to walk in her shoes. It’s a piece of cake to tell her to just walk off and go home but she has made a vow to her husband and I bet she’s enduring everything to keep that promise. She must really be one tough chick, confirming my first impression of her.

She isn’t my relative and neither she is a close friend. I’d only met her once, remember? But I wish I can help her somehow, but I also need help. I’m not very religious but I’ve always prayed and I believe that He listens and He doesn’t discriminate. So if you have a moment to spare, please say a prayer for them and for my niece as well for their complete healing. I know He will take care of the rest.


  1. Hi there,
    Just got reading your note on your friend’s hubby battling cancer. I truly was touched and felt for your friend. I’m from Los Angeles and although there are a ton of Pinoys here, we are not that close. It was a lot better when I was living in Oklahoma since the Pinoys there are so close knit. Reading some of your articles, it seems like there’s quite a few Pinoys there and I saw some pics of your parties too. Cherish the closeness you have with them as I really believe that friends do help our hearts.

    Switching gears, I came across your site due to my search of information on the Kim Sam Soon starts, Kim Sun Ah and Hyun Bin. I fell in love with this mini series and even bought the DVD set – I just can’t get enough of it. I sincerely would appreciate if you could give me more info on those two… please. I also have so much fun reading your articles or blogs (is that what it’s called?) about Korea… I want to learn more. Thank you!!! Please email me too.


  2. hi May! my brothers live in Los Angeles too… i guess people there are so busy that they don’t really have so much time to meet other people… here in Korea, it’s not easy to meet other pinoys too… you have to look for them, but you have to be careful… i guess i’m lucky to have wonderful friends… it’s not really the quantity that counts but the quality of friendship you have with them, right?

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