heroes, not victims

How many times did we ever tell ourselves we’ve had enough, that we’ve given up and had abandoned that tiny spark of hope that kept us alive? Countless, right? Some could not even count those times with their fingers and toes put altogether. We’ve always wanted to get things straight, but once we’ve figured out that there’s already a slim chance to get the things we wanted, we give up and throw that hope we’ve been clinging on for so long. Such is the irony of life – first, you’re eager and hopeful, and the next thing you know, you’ve lost hope and the eagerness and excitement fades away.

While we are busy trying to get this hope out of our system – some even want to end their lives, there are those people who are struggling, patiently waiting and hoping that their lives would be extended so that they may enjoy it to the fullest: cancer patients. We may not know the feeling of undergoing rigorous operations and chemotherapy, but we know for sure that these people are pushing past their limit just to be alive each and every day. We have seen them in their most depressing state yet not one of them has ever shown us that they are losing hope of getting healthy again.

I had the chance of seeing cancer patients in our Cancer Institute in PGH, and upon seeing them in their conditions, my eyes began to swell and tears started to pour out. But I noticed that not one of them seemed too bothered about their dilemma. Hope, I said to myself.

Hope is one of the things that make us alive, but we choose to abandon when times get rough. Such is not the mindset of cancer patients; they cling to hope just like a necessity. But hope cannot be achieved without a time well spent. Hope is useless without time.

We tend to ignore time and the availability of things when they are around us. We go on saying “ah, there’s still time for it”, “I’ll do it next time” – the usual bahala na attitude of Filipinos. But when we are far off from reaching them, we say “life’s unfair”, or “there’s no hope left”, – others may even curse at life or worst, blaspheme God.

What we don’t know is that, on the other side, there are those people who are begging just to have enough time to do things they want. Again, these are the cancer patients. They may not tell it to us directly that they wanted a normal life, but for sure we can sense it. After all, who would not want to live longer, or maybe, live forever?

Time is one of those things these patients might seek or ask for. They ask for time from God, so that He may extend their lives; they ask time from loved ones, so that they may show how much they love them; they ask time from friends, so that they may know how they will never leave each other; and they ask time from themselves, so that their sickly bodies may cooperate and have time to heal and be well again.

Money and the entire world’s wealth cannot replace hope and a time well spent. We can have all the earthly things we desire, but if we do not have enough time to enjoy it with our friends and loved ones we can never say that our life is fulfilled and happy.

When our duty at the Cancer Institute came to an end, I waved goodbye to them, held back the tears, and staggered towards the door. Upon leaving, this thought came to my mind: “Cherish and enjoy each and every day. Enjoy it as if it is your last day here on earth.” With that, I mustered a smile and looked back at the cancer patients and caught myself saying, “Heroes, not victims.” I left the ward happily and from then on I have never forgotten them and the sacrifices they have made for themselves.





Chosen article:

The Journeys of Hope (pp.61)

written by Cecilia G. Peña, RN, MAN &

Marichen A. Oychangco, RN, MAN



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