June 22, 2024

Dear Manang,
My daughter has leukemia at nine. She was recently diagnosed with stage 3 cancer because I failed to recognize the signs. She always had bruises on her arms and legs all through her life, which she always explained as she bumped it on the door or hit her arm on the table. She was always pale but I thought it was because she didn’t eat enough and I would even scold her. She would have headaches and at times vomit but I thought paracetamol was what cured her.
How can a child have leukemia? My husband is a farmer and we earn from the sale of vegetables twice a year but we can’t afford the chemotherapy and medicines that she needs. Our families are saying we can try with Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and appeal to our mayor for help.
We brought her home while we search for a way to get the chemotherapy and radiation through organizations. I feel helpless and hopeless as I watch her grow weaker everyday. The doctor said that she needs to be brought to the hospital twice a week, once to check her blood count and another for the chemotherapy. He said that 50 percent of children survive cancer and live for five or more years when given the right treatment. She is our only child. I feel lost.
Oddie of Jappa, Sablan, Benguet

Dear Oddie,
Firstly, God lends us His children to care for and love until he decides to take them back. It may sound fatalistic to you but I think that we must reserve that outlook to keep our faith intact. Cancer and its origin is still a big mystery to our scientists. They only have a few guesses about where it comes from but in the same breath have equal doubts each time they disprove them. There are many government and private organizations to approach for financial assistance. Be diligent and ask as many relatives and friends to seek them out for you since you only have yourself to watch your child. Prayers from prayer warriors will help too for healing and finding assistance. While you are with her, talk to her and ask her about her pain. Help her ease the pain. Ask her what hurts and try to comfort her with a massage or a hot pack. Make her comfortable. Let her friends come and visit her so she can talk to her friends. They tend to comfort each other. Try to give her art materials to entertain her and keep her busy. Hug her as often as you can. These positive vibes do wonders too in healing, says a website for caring for children with cancer. The strongest person in the room will always be you in all that will happen. God will help. Claim it.

Dear Manang,
I want to move on and forget a bad experience. I can’t forget the mark of his hand on my arm when he pulled me inside the room and almost tore my t-shirt. I had an angel who helped me escape and run away. Are there ways to remove the memories of that day 10 years ago? I am still scared of men and jump when they touch me.
Xenia of Military Cut-off, Baguio City

Dear Xenia,
We are in luck. The website sciencealert.com says scientists have figured out how to erase your painful memories. It says, first you need to understand how memories form and are kept alive in the brain. It says that each time you remember something you reconnect your feelings to it. But it suggests that a drug should be given to remove the emotions that go with the memory. I think that is like desensitizing you by inducing the memory and using the drug to make the feeling less intense. Another website, wellandgood.com, suggests that you substitute the memory with a pleasant one each time it comes up. Like the last song syndrome, change the tune and you will have a new one. That sounds a little more useful? I make it sound simple but I too have many of such memories. Some I try to not remember. But I am older than you and have not mastered it. It is really up to you to set your mind to forget.
Find good memories,