A Call for the Cancer Kids


545926_349942968419151_496552707_nI spent exactly three years of my nursing career at the Hematology and Oncology Center of PCMC. I never figured out that this fate was drawn on my palms and soles. Nevertheless, it happened, it occurred, it was meant to be. I am a Hema-Onco nurse. I am a cancer kids’ advocate.

After spending a year at Hema-Onco, I thought my nursing rotation at the said ward was over. I was assigned to the ICU thereafter, and experienced the rich skills and knowledge that the ICU provides. The special area’s environment complemented my search for competence and for challenge. As they say, if you want to be part of the group of prestigious nurses, perform well and be retained in the ICU. The offer was promising and tempting, that only a silly nurse will turn her back from the roster of regular ICU nurses. And I tell you, I was that silly nurse.

It was not an easy choice to make. I found myself doodling and crumpling approximately 5 formal letters, walking back and forth around the NSO corridors, praying and asking God if my silly decision was justifiable, until I entered the NSO door and submitted my letter saying, “I WANT TO GO BACK TO HEMA”.

You may ask me, what made me decide to go back?

Every morning, when I enter the lobby of PCMC, the first people I see are the cancer kids. They welcome me with their greetings, their hand waves, their smiles and their hugs every day and without a miss. For you to understand how precious these gestures are when they come from the cancer kids, let me share to you their routine…

At 8pm every Sunday, the Bon family (Mama, Papa and Ryan) packs their clothes and foods and rides the Partas Transit from Ilocos to Quezon Avenue. This entails an 8 hour travel, where they arrive at the Hema OPD at around 4am in the morning. Ryan was scheduled for IT so he has to be placed on NPO for 6 hours. From 4am to 10 am, Ryan is deprived of food and drinks, and so are his parents. In order for Ryan not to feel alone in hunger, his parents starve themselves as well until the IT procedure is completed. After the IT, they travel again for 8 hours and go back to Ilocos.

So tell me, if you see this hungry and tired family smile at you in the morning, how would you feel?

At 9am, I admit a little girl named Trishia with her parents accompanying her. Trishia has cancer and she’s admitted weekly for chemotherapy and blood transfusion. She’s bald, wears a cute pink dress and a white doll’s shoes. Suddenly, I saw her parents and felt confused in determining who the dad is between the two because they’re both bald. Out of curiosity, I asked why they’re all bad and the parents answered, “so that Trishia won’t feel that she’s undergoing something different, and that she’ll see that everything’s normal”.

So tell me, if you see a bald family greeting you in the morning, how would you feel?

At 1pm, Jane’s kinder class finishes and goes straight to PCMC, instead of going home for siesta. Jane and her mom lines up at the OPD, gives her hand to the nurse for her scheduled intravenous chemotherapy. After which, Jane goes home and completes her assignments for tomorrow’s 7 am class. This cycle continued for months and our little Jane managed to be the top 1 in their class. Until she experienced the complications from chemotherapy, was confined and was forced to be absent from class. While in the hospital, she still finishes her assignments and calls her classmates to ask for the things that she has to catch up on. She had a hard time understanding the lessons, thus, she’s now landed at the 5th rank.

So tell me, if you see a struggling honor student waving her hand at you in the morning, how would you feel?

At 7am, every day, for fourteen years, Ziv goes to PCMC, looking pale and weak and riding a wheel chair. She subjects herself to pricks and needles because she needs to undergo blood transfusion. She does this at least three times a day. And until a cure is found for her disease, she’ll do this for the rest of her life.

So tell me, if you see a suffering teenager, hugging you in the morning, how would you feel?

Their stories, their lives and their hopes are the reasons why I chose to return to hema. It was risky because I had to be exposed to hazardous drugs for 3 years. It was tiring, because we never go home at exactly 6:30. It was monotonous because you do the same tasks all over again. It was depressing because you seldom see your patients survive the disease. It was what nurses do not like to experience and be immersed to.

Yet, at the end of the day, I do not quit from my chosen advocacy because it is where I find fulfillment.
I do not quit from taking care of this children because they give my life a meaning.
I do not quit because this is my purpose.

Resigning from my PCMC position does not mean that I’m resigning from the advocacy. Most of the hard work actually comes from the aftermath of resignation, because I have to make the call for the advocacy louder as I traverse boundaries. Most people ask me “Paano na ang One Drop One Hope?” This question does not bother me personally, because I know that I have been intrinsically inspired to continue the project, wherever I am. Now that you know how these cancer kids live, I’d like to throw the ball back to you,

“Paano na ang One Drop, One Hope, kung hindi ka gagalaw?”






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