October 19, 2011

"Our memories; Well, they can be inviting. But some are altogether mighty frightening " ... -Gwen Stefani (No Doubt)

As promised, i am going to share with you, my reading audience, the speech i delivered tonight in our Toastmaster's meeting. For those of you who do not know, but are interested to know what Toastmasters Intenational is, it's actually a club where people deliver their prepared speeches and be evaluated as well. It's an avenue to practice speaking in public and improve gradually as you go about the different steps and speeches. Being a new member, i did my Basic Speech 1 , which is called the ice breaker. To know more, you may check out this page about the different speeches: http://sixminutes.dlugan.com/toastmasters-speech-0-competent-communicator/
 According to the guide on that page, the first speech of the Toastmasters program is about introducing yourself to your peers, providing a benchmark for your current skill level, and standing and speaking without falling over.

So, here's my 6 minute speech .... entitled, 

The Big C (no, not the vitamin)

           Do you remember the time when you were little and everyone around you would ask what you wanted to be when you grew up? I bet some of you once wanted to become someone you are not today. Perhaps you said “I want to be a teacher; or a doctor; a scientist maybe; an astronaut; or even a rockstar”. And when asked “why?”, I guess you would’ve said “to save the word, to heal, to have a house, to have a really nice car, to be able to travel the whole world, to win a Nobel prize, to have crazy fans scream my name out loud”. As for me, I had never intentionally wanted to become a doctor. And I never wanted to have cancer. But as it turns out, I am a doctor and I do have cancer.
            For most of my life, I’ve had it easy. School was never tough because my parents were never pushing me to do something or be someone that I didn’t want to be. They allowed me to grow in my own pace but with their guidance, nonetheless. I managed to breeze through gradeschool, highschool, college and medschool. I have gathered little achievements here and there; from a few honor rolls to my very own first kiss. And I’ve established great friendships with a number of ordinary and extraordinary people. Indeed I’ve grown, brain-wise but not height-wise, evidently so. All through those years I have maintained good grades, as well as ably maintaining the same height then and now. So as you can probably tell, I’ve been used to being a little girl; a little lady with a little voice; and now, a little woman. But this little woman was diagnosed with the Big C one lovely Monday morning while taking care of her patients in the hospital. And I bet you can hardly imagine what it must’ve felt like: to be a doctor one minute, and be the patient in the next. Well, imagine no more because I’m going to tell you. 
             You see, when something as big as cancer happens to you, it becomes more of a test of character rather than a test of health. It unveils who you really are, beneath all the fa├žade, beneath all the expectations. It gets you down to the basics, bringing you to the core of your humanity. I have to be honest, I was sad upon hearing the news; sad, but never scared. I also felt betrayed. I felt like life was cheating on me. Because I thought I was doing everything right, and thought I had my entire life figured out, but I was so wrong. So I felt scorned; like being stabbed in the back, helpless and utterly vulnerable. And later I grew ashamed for having felt those things. I picked myself up, prayed and trusted God entirely. Somewhere along the way I felt empowered. Then I felt peace.
            That one event made me realize who I really am. I’m still a little woman, with a little voice. But I am not easily scared, for I fear nothing but God. I don’t have my life figured out because I’m only me, a finite human and only God has the blueprint to my life. I am ridiculously spontaneous but very optimistic. I still have dreams and they’ve never changed ever since I finished medicine: dreams of being able to touch people’s lives whether by a prescription I’ve made, by a smile I shared or even by a speech I delivered.
            So ladies and gentlemen of the audience, if you’re down, and depressed for a failed a relationship, a horrible unforgiving boss, a loss at the lottery; or frustrated at never being able to buy that new MonteroSport that everyone’s crazy about, or sad at never having awesome Boracay pictures to post on Facebook simply because you cannot afford the trip, or even just crying for having to cancel a date with Mr. Hot Guy or Ms. Sexy Lady because you had the flu. Well I suggest you stop, dry those tears and think. If this little woman can single-handedly fight with the Big C (with joy and fearlessness, at that!), then SURELY you can handle a little runny nose, can’t you?

well, that was it. i think i did well, or i hope i did. :)  till next time, :)

October 18, 2011

"I'm gonna muster every ounce of confidence I have and cannon ball into the water" .. . -Teddy Geiger

Out of sheer boredom and with plenty of time to spare, i recently joined the Toastmaster's Club in my own locality. It's a rather interesting move, and i am yet to discover what it can bring into my life. I am quite certain that it'll help me improve in many ways. i'll be posting my first basic speech here after i deliver it on wednesday. (fingers crossed)   majority of the members who will be listening are people i've met for the first time. the thought of it is unnerving but just as equally exciting! :)  be on the lookout for my next post, as it will contain my toastmaster's basic speech number 1.... 

October 10, 2011

"take all your so called problems, better put them in quotations. say what you need to say" ... ... -John Mayer

What do radios and crickets have in common? You may think “What? What is she talking about?” and say, “Nothing. They have absolutely nothing in common.”. Well I’m urging you to think again. Both of them create noise, don't you agree? They both let themselves be heard by making a sound. We could all learn a thing or two from radios and crickets. Most of us have God-given voices but rarely do we ever truly speak our minds and hearts out. If you still don’t agree with me, try to recall the time when you had to walk a considerable distance from your supposed destination simply because the bus/cab driver didn’t hear you the first time you asked him to stop. Try to recall your disappointment, your wasted time and energy walking that distance and how it single-handedly ruined your day. You could’ve spoken clearer or perhaps a tad louder and what a difference it would have made! But that’s not my point.

        You see, a lot of relationships have been compromised because of a mere miscommunication, or simply put, a non-communication. Mothers develop tension headaches because their teenage daughter is always coming home late. Teenage daughters come home late because their mothers are always whining about their headaches. It would’ve been simpler and more peaceful if the two would just talk, say what they want to say and get on with their lives. A couple celebrates their 10th year anniversary but fights during dinner because the wife got red roses when she was always the white tulip fan. She feels her husband should’ve known better, after 10 years of being together. But did she ever really tell her husband about it? I don’t think so. Or one country rages war against another because its intelligence agents have a hunch that the enemy country is creating nukes and making them the target. Without even initiating “peace talks”, bombs are already dropped.
Technology has allowed us to communicate faster and further. But are we really gaining something good from all the wired and wireless tools? Or are we rotting even more in our people skills?  

I personally think that a healthy relationship with a friend, a lover, a parent, a co-worker, a boss or even with yourself is established by good, open, honest communication. There is freedom in honesty. There is freedom in expressing oneself.

So each time you feel like you have something to say to someone but you feel tied up and scared to speak out, think of all the crickets!

sources of photos:

October 7, 2011

"did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day and head back to the milky way" - Train

(grabbed from Karlo)

Radio-silence. An entire month of radio-silence. My absence from writing can be attributed to the events that have transpired over the past few weeks. It’s not because I’ve been sick bad enough that I couldn’t write, nor is it because I’ve nothing to write about. In fact, there are a gazillion things that I have got to share. You can only imagine how fast my fingers are typing at this very moment, eager to put all the words that are overflowing from my puny brain. Prepare yourself for a lengthy entry.

They say, if you're a sincere blogger, you'd write just about everything; every emotion, every thought: the good, the bad, the happy, the sad. But life can sometimes be too overwhelming to be put in words; too depressing to even be shared. Sometimes, the best way to speak your mind, is to be perfectly still, and not say a word. Last month was quite a struggle for me, my family and everything in between. It was like being trapped in a jar, helpless and utterly breathless, not knowing if you’re ever going to get out of it. But God, and His omnipotence, gave me peace that transcends all understanding. My family eventually managed to overcome the struggle and learned a few valuable lessons along the way.

I’m finally done with the ruthless and merciless chemotherapy. I can now brush it aside and laugh at the memory of it. A total of 16 sessions in a span of 8 months; 225 days to be exact. I celebrated it with pizza, puke and even more puke. Forgive me for my lack of a better word, but I don’t want to sugarcoat anything so everyone knows exactly what I mean. Chemotherapy was no easy ride. I sure am glad I can put it behind me.

Moving on, I also celebrated my 27th birthday about a week ago. For weeks building up to the exact date I have been confused and constantly thinking of ideas on how to celebrate life, while I was still struggling with surviving it. Finally I made an exciting decision to spend my day with friends at an orphanage. It was even better than I’d imagined! It was a joy to see the innocent toddlers’ messy faces eating spaghetti, cupcakes and icecream. When you make other people happy, their joy becomes a sort of mirror and reflects a smile on your face. You forget your own worries and become infected with laughter.

One other exciting event worthy of some air-time is the day I met my soulmate. No, this isn’t some romantic story or a fairy-tale-like adventure. This is about me meeting a stranger one lovely afternoon over a cup of chai tea latte. Her name is Jurace. She’s 27 years old and she also has cancer. We both share the same diagnosis: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma stage 2. And we both share the same fate: chemotherapy and radiotherapy. We are likewise of the same age, and are both the 2nd daughter of 3, with both female siblings. It was hair-raising when we realized that we had very similar stories as we continued to talk about our experiences, our likes and our dislikes. She comes from the far side of the country and traveled all the way here to receive her treatment. I prefer to think that she came all the way here to meet me.  She is still halfway on her chemotherapy and I can already see that she can come out of it strong and victorious. It was comforting to meet someone who can truly relate to what I’ve been through. And it is as equally challenging to be able to support her in more ways than one as she continues on in her treatment.

This is me and Jurace. I have not been wearing a wig for 3 weeks now simply because I already have tiny new hair growing. It’s unnerving the way everyone’s head turns when getting a glimpse of me but slowly I am becoming more oblivious to their stare.