• Jasmine Mendiola

28 and Counting


I turned 28 last month and Mio’s chemo will end in 25 months.

That’s 2 years and a month to go. You might be thinking, ‘that’s too long!” but just a few days before one of Mio’s chemo sessions, he uttered out of the blue after wiping his perspiration off from a tiring day in school, “I’m so lucky I’ll be healthy when I’m 8!” That’s very positive coming from a little boy, isn’t it? That’s the beauty of finding the most unfortunate circumstances at such a tender age… there is no need for resilience neither strength as life’s simple joys are present one day at a time, we hardly realize the gravity of the situation. Or perhaps the perspective blurs as we age, and for people years far from 28 would ponder on, life is really so much simpler in the eyes of a child.

It has been a year since he was diagnosed with leukemia. It has been a year since my first blog entry on how heart wrenching the news was to our family and how determined I was to sell my body and soul if I had to just to make sure that Mio will survive. Thankfully, I didn’t have to. (I just had to slave through many different jobs and work demands but that’s still better than slaving through nothing).

It has been a year since our life has become an arena of God’s everyday miracles.

There’s one co-chemo parent of mine who was sobbing to Dr. Racho recently because her 11 year old son refuses to go through chemo already. He was about to give up. He couldn’t take the vomiting or the lack of energy that came with the medicines he had to take day in day out. I was watching her speak in chinese on the phone while lining up for her son’s turn in chemo because someone else was probably convincing him to get his CBC while his mom waits in line to make sure he gets his treatment on time. I was thinking, “she can afford to make her son better. But she’s still suffering.” It was possible, you know. Not to have everything. And we don’t. Nobody does. I still cannot afford my son’s chemo. It is easier now but when you think about it, if it weren’t for people who gave me work to do; for people for take time to read and be generous to us; to people who pray and think of Mio–I’d probably be sobbing just as hard as she was for another reason altogether.

My strength is the only valuable I have that I can spend in this fight. And thank God He gave me a lot of it. Of all my 28 years, I never prayed to have a lot of money. My Mom taught me to pray for strength and blessings. My Dad taught me not to cry over spilled milk. My Kuya taught me to admit when I was wrong. My Ate taught me that strength is also found in the gentleness and sweetness of ones heart. Mio was born to me because I was born to such a wonderful family. And he is the bravest of all of us.

Someday, when he turns 28.. 20 years from when he’d be cancer-free, I pray that he looks back to these years as the best of his life. So far, I think these are mine.

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Jasmine Mendiola

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