I was very hesitant to write about this, but after a story that I heard about another person that was connected to my inner circle losing his battle to Cancer, I decided to just do it…
Goal is to inspire and motivate.
Back to when I was fighting, I had a few days in between from being let go from the hospital to my day on the operating table. You wouldn’t believe all the things that were going through my head. So many questions being asked and getting no answers. Having small anxious panic attacks visualizing my head getting cut open. What are my chances of survival, how long will I survive, etc… too many too remember and kinda useless to try and remember.
One thing I did was I told all the people who are important to me what was going. My close circle of friends, My family living here and family from around the world. I even let other people who aren’t as close to know if they asked. I wasn’t shy and ashamed about having Cancer, in fact I felt brave letting people know and that felt good.
With Filipino Immigrant parents, I can certainly say my Mom is a religious person. She let her circle of friends who are also religious know about what was happening. I know who they are and respect them dearly. They told my mom that they got the group together to come over and pray for me. At first when I was told this, I was kinda hesitant. I’m not a religious person, but I don’t condemn others who choose to be religious. I decided to keep an open mind to this as I really had nothing to lose. It was a group of people who I knew since I was a kid who cared about me, a couple are even my god-parents, that we're coming over anyway. I knew it was just love.
I kept myself open to it and just would just let it go. My Dad did pull me aside and told me that when they pray, it won’t be in English. I said Tagalog or Bisaya (Filipino Dialects my parents speak)? He said, No. They will be praying in tongues. I knew what that was and I said it was cool. I was at a point where I just had to be open to it, even though I ain't religious, I am spiritual. I did believe a higher being, just not one tied to any religion. I was just tired of asking myself all those questions and decided to try a different route.
When they came over, I was really happy to see all of them because we would usually just see each other once a year during the Xmas Holiday Season. They gave me a kiss and hug, I just felt loved. After some small talk, we got to the prayer session. They circled around me while I sat on a chair. My Tito (Uncle) Edgar led the prayer and stood just in front of me with his hand just above my head. My other aunts & uncles had their hand out pointed toward my Uncle leading the prayer.
At first he prayed in English and the rest followed. I had my eyes and in about 10-15 mins, they started praying in Tongues. I’ve only ever heard of Tongues on TV and in my High School Christian Education Class I had to take. It did shock me at first and I ain’t gonna lie that it was kinda weird, but I didn’t question it and just let everything go. Again I said to myself in my mind “I have nothing to lose and I made the choice to have them do this”
I swear I felt my Uncles hand physically on my head touching it and putting pressure. I had to open my eyes and I looked up and saw that his hand was only hovering over my head. I shut my eyes again and felt this energy pressing on my head. My heart started beating faster and then the tongues got faster. Something was definitely different but I didn’t question it. I think that was the right decision to do at that time. I didn’t let other thoughts stop what kind of “Healing” that was happening. I just kept Faith and didn’t want to let it go.
I know if I fought that feeling of energy around me and to allow thoughts of what was going on being nonsense, the efforts of all the people I cared about would go to waste. They took their time to all come together for the sake of me surviving the upcoming journey I had ahead. I did not want to let them down. I remember my eyes watering but I wasn’t crying. They went back to praying in english and shortly after, we were done. When I opened my eyes, I saw my Mom and Sister crying. I gave everyone a hug and Thanked them for doing this. Then of course being Filipino, we had to eat after.
I had a few people from work and my friends from my boxing Team I used to train with reached out to me, some even came and visited. I didn’t hold back on letting them know what happened. My mom didn’t stop either. One of our family friends had a Catholic Priest from the Philippines stay with them and another praying session was booked for me. I went through the same steps in my mind as the last time, but this session wouldn’t be in Tongues at all. It was a shorter prayer and I did feel an energy, but not as strong as the last one. After he took out some, I guess Holy Oil, and made a cross with his thumb on my head with it.
With this story, the point I wanted to make was how keeping an open mind and being open to all things definitely helped me with my Journey. I didn’t feel to keep my Cancer a secret and if the people I knew wanted to help, I’d accept it. If someone asked, I answered and told them the story of how I first found out about it.
After hearing stories of family, friends, & close acquaintances who didn’t win their battle, the story I heard consistently was that they were shy and timid about having it. They didn’t want others to know about what was happening and thought it would be a burden to others. In my perspective, it felt like they were just bottling up emotions and energy. Being open to telling people what was happening and prayer sessions really helped me flow my energy around me. When help was offered, I accepted it.
In Hindsight, the Cancer Survivors that I know today have been open about their experience and open to the help being offered. I wanted to show some of the things that I did to help keep me fighting and hope that anyone going through the same can use this to help them on their Journey.