December 26, 2012 in Featured
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
Tough Days — “When things get tougher, we gotta stay stronger and not quit. Some days, you’ll face those tough days, just keep holding on to all the hope, faith, determination within you and use that defiance against cancer to make it to the next level.”
BAGUIO CITY — Andres Bonifacio Elementary School Grade Five teacher Mrs. Marcela Belinan Okyo says nobody can measure the happiness she is feeling this Christmas.
Ma’m Okyo hails from Agawa, Besao, Mountain Province. She has been in the teaching profession for more than twenty four years now. She graduated Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at La Union School of Arts and Trade. She first taught elementary school in Tabuk, Kalinga Province in her first four years and twenty years here in the city of Baguio. She is a mother of three, two of whom are already married and one still studying.
On December 22 of 2011, she was diagnosed to have cervical cancer already in stage three as based on the results of a biopsy procedure supervised by a gynecologist. She consulted another doctor for a second opinion and the findings were the same. She was referred to an oncologist who advised her to undergo a therapy series.
After learning of her affliction, she thought she can never teach again and that she may never see her designated classroom anymore which has all this time been her second home.
Ma’am Okyo was advised to submit herself to six sessions of chemotherapy at the Baguio General Hospital (BGH) Saturday to Sunday every 4:00 PM; 25 days of bracketherapy from Monday to friday every 7 to 8:00 AM at the Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital (JRMH) in Quezon City; and four sessions of radiotherapy every 8 to 9 AM at the Philippine Lung Center also in Quezon City. She recounted how exhausted she was having to travel every Sunday evening to Cubao, ride a taxi to the JRMH and again to the Lung Center. After that, she had to rush to the bus station at Cubao to go back to the BGH to be confined. For three months she sighed, that was her life.
The teacher also recounted the pain she felt from those therapies. She said countless instruments were used to probe her body that she thought she was being experimented on.
“There was that feeling that I was being torn apart’” she blurted and started to shed tears.
She also said that the expenses she and her family encountered was unimaginable especially for a public school teacher. “Ay, milyonaryo ak kuman a nu inur-urnong ko laengen dagidiay naibayad,” (I should be a millionaire now if only I saved all the money we paid for the therapies) she said it with a grin.
Ma’m Okyo said the radiotherapy costs P25,000.00 a session while the other two processes depend on the number of medicines to be used.
The central office of District 3 of the Department of Education (DepEd) Cordillera gave her a financial assistance of P 11,000.00. The bulk of the expenses was shouldered by her family. Fortunately she said, some of her relatives, colleagues and friends also helped financially.
She was glad when in March, she was told by her doctor in Quezon City that she no longer had any trace of cancer cells. She believed it was a miracle. However she was still advised to continue and finish the required treatment to make sure that the big C will not come back anymore. It was on September of this year, when she underwent a CT scan and it was confirmed she no longer had traces of the infection in the cervix.
For the months she stayed in hospitals, she saw the system and condition of their public facilities. She said you have to fight your way in to be attended by the employees. “Nu saan ka lang nga nagaget nga agreklamo, saan ka a maasikaso,” (If you do not assert yourself, you will not be attended to) she said.
She expressed gratitude to her family and relatives as well as friends and colleagues who persuaded her to go through with the therapies. She said she did not survive cancer without the support and prayers and her willingness to continue teaching until she gets older. She is now 57 but she plans to retire at 70 years old or until she cannot teach anymore.
“But this year, this is the first Christmas in my second life.#www.nordis.net