Sunday, August 10, 2008


“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to paddle.”

It was June 23, 2005 when I went to see my doctor Dott. Sandra Pietrini. She thought I was going there for a checkup of my swollen throat. In fact, it was urgent to treat my throat but I told her that I will still go to Spain so when I come back in August that’s the time she will do the treatment. On the other hand, I told her I had another reason why I came. She examined me and her face has changed. I heard a trembling voice talking to another doctor and an alarming looks as if I was going to die. She called the doctor for the urgent mammography and ultra sound and I was scheduled for the following day. In short my trip to Spain was cancelled.
June 24, 2005 I went to see Dott. Claudio, I was outside of the hospital schedule when I was accommodated at San Camillo Hospital (Rome) because of the urgency. I went through mammography and then ultra sound. Lying down I could see from the computer red spots and thick lumps as if a map where there were lots of islands. He pronounced it a “tumor”. The doctor took a deep breath and for the second time I could sense the ambience of so much sacredness and gentleness from the part of the doctor though I felt his way of talking communicates an atmosphere of as if I was going to die.
Diagnosis: Advanced cancer. I saw him picking up the phone and calling another doctor. This time it was an oncologist.
I became aware of my disposition, I was numb. I don’t want to believe it was true. I controlled my tears and I could feel the pain in my throat. Back home, I saw faces, shocked of the news. There was no mark of sickness and I was doing well but surprisingly the news was like a bomb for me and later for everyone who came to know when I broke the news. In the evening I slept well, unbelievable. I was fine as if nothing happened but deep down I had fears. I tried not to entertain, not to think about it, not to be affected by it and I maintained my peace.
June 25, 2008, I went in haste to San Camillo Hospital. It was Saturday and the clinic was closed but I was told to come at 12:00 noon and they will open the door for me. True enough my companion knocked and the door opened. We entered and for the third time I saw a face as if I was going to die. I could not anymore control and I told the doctor “I am not going to die, right?” I did not receive a yes or a no answer rather she told me, we will do the best we can. I did not feel any note of assurance from that statement. Right there and then I was told to do all the series of tests and soon will go through chemo therapy.
In the afternoon, I confessed with a Carmelite Priest and I told him I was there for confession to prepare myself in case I would die soon. And in the evening I met a Spanish bishop who was just installed as bishop and will be assigned to a diocese in Spain. I asked him too, to bless me and telling him later - at least I was blessed by a bishop before I would die.

To be continued…

"What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It's always the same step, but you have to take it." Antoine de Saint-Exupery


cristina said...

part of your experience resonates with mine. It is just too horrible to be pronounced "ill" when you just thought you are perfectly "well". It is only when I felt out-of-control that God took control. When God calls one to union with Him, He will never leave a single thread (inordinate attachments, control, etc) uncut, until no one and nothing remains except HIM!

perlas said...

thank you Cristina...
I am deeply touched when you said: it is only when i felt out of control that God took control...nothing remains except Him. Yes, I agree with you. God bless.