MY FRIEND IS BATTLING CANCER

5 years of Chemistry and Physics

Way back in the year 2011, a sixteen-year-old girl, youngest of 3, got pregnant unexpectedly. Rumors ran down everywhere and just 5 months after, it was confirmed. She became the talk of the town, even in their own high school campus. A student of a prestigious science high school had stepped into an unknown path that would lead her to a serious responsibility.

“She just wasted everything. She will end up as nothing.” I will never forget these words. They’re forever stuck in my head like glue. I soon gave birth and 3 months later got my high school diploma. It was difficult for my parents to send me to university since nurturing a new born child is expensive enough and so I hunted for a scholarship. Thankfully, I was fortunate and was one of the top 5 of entrance examinees in BS-Chemistry and one of the City Public Scholars at that time. I grabbed the opportunity to study because I believed I will attain a degree in the future. At first, I thought it would be that easy but I guess, I forgot. I am already a single mom, unlike other students that can just study whenever they want to, for me it is far different. Although my daughter had a sitter and someone to take care of her, I still had to go home every 12nn to secure her milk and as time went by, I was still doing everything I can to secure my daughter’s well-being while I studied. From her milk, to diapers, to foods, to vitamins and hospitalization, all of these… I had to take care of while I was studying for university. And since I’d experienced poverty in life, I decided to look for a part time job. I’d worked as a part time Chemistry and Math tutor in a Korean Academy, working 2 and a half hours from Monday to Thursday, every 6:30pm, right after my last period. I come home by 10:30pm and immediately wash my uniform so that it will be dried up easily since I only have 1 pair I can use every day. And my first period class starts by 7:30AM. I earn more or less 1000PHP in a week from this part time job. This income has helped me sustain my daughter’s needs. I was a tutor in that academy for almost 2 years depending on seasons when Korean students are studying in the Philippines. Aside from that, I’ve worked as a part time tutor also in some Korean students’ house. A home based tutor in Science subjects, English and Mathematics. During my 3rd year in Chemistry, I was involved in an academic organisation and I became the Chemistry President. From there, my involvement in such seminars, trainings and activities have expanded and that was the time I discovered my leadership skills too. I’ve been to quiz bowl competitions Mindanao-wide. I’ve been to out of town trainings and even been to an international program, specifically in Singapore. My life was blessed, and all I can say is: Lord, thank you for taking me to the right path I’ve been seeking before. Yet, after all of such life success, happiness isn’t the end.

All of those happened during the 2nd semester of 3rd year time, as I reached back home from a program I joined in, I’d found out that I had an INC (Incomplete) grade marks my SIS account in one of my major subjects. I’ve talked to the professor-in-charge but I guess her decision is really final and I have no power to contest or complain. Since that major subject is a pre-requisite for all higher major subjects, an extension of 1 year in my course was the consequence of my INC. This means I would be studying for a total of 6 years (adding one year of hard labor and a year of more money spent) just to finish my degree. I was thinking about my family; my daughter. If I stay that long, 3 years to be exact from that date, I cannot work full time and thus I cannot support my parents and my daughter as well. So I decided to study Physics. I shifted to an Applied Physical Sciences course in which case all of my chemistry load will be credited for me to graduate by the desired year which is 2017. My scholarship had already been gone by then and from that moment on, my brother and my sister, who worked in Dubai financed my studies. I felt very irresponsible, guilty and so down since everyone was really expecting that I will graduate still a scholar. For 3 years studying chemistry, my mindset has already been set for Chemistry, and I really found Physics so difficult for me. I was really trying to do my best in everything, from Thermodynamics to Electronics, from Acoustics to Modern Physics and ended up dying in the highest Engineering Math; DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS.

In my last semester, INDIVIDUAL THESIS had me questioning my decisions and I strived so hard to surpass every trial. That time, journals were my best friend even though they were my enemies before. Theories were my language, even though I don’t understand them before. And above all, God and my loved ones became my inspiration to pursue what had been started. March 29, 2017, such an unexpected thing happened in my life. I was awarded the best research paper by my university. My thesis, entitled “Characterization of Voltage Produced from Sound Vibrations through Piezoelectric Transduction Mechanism using PZT-5 for Energy Harvesting Application” was such unbelievable thing. It was really and honor to go on stage and receive such an award. It was a great bonus after all the hardships and the struggle. One of the best moments of my life indeed.

Life is a wonderful journey. A unique journey as to which you can make your own map to reach your destination but it cannot assure you if you’ll end up where you want to be. Life is depends on time and from that, change is constant. Hence, life is a journey where you can only look back and and see what’s behind you. And the only thing that can help you can see what’s in front of you is the lamp you are holding. The brighter the lamp, the clearer you see, and the clearer the path that will lead you to the brightest future you’ve never dreamed of.

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Novestela and her daughter Cassiopeia (March 2017)

NOVESTELA M. PIMENTEL

Bachelor of Science in Applied Physical Sciences

(Major in Chemistry and Physics)

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Novestela, now.

She is my friend. She has T-cell Lymphoma Cancer. I found out about her battle for cancer just weeks ago. When we were in high school, we had our own clique in a group of 31 students. She was the dancer, I was the math blue-lover geek, and one other friend was the weird cheerful gymnast. Earlier this year, me and Novestela graduated from each of our chosen fields. I, in Accounting Technology, and she in Applied Physical Science. All went pretty went for the most part of the year, up until my birth month, actually. Before my birthday, I visited her at a nearby hospital because she got hospitalized due to inexplicable bruises and bumps in her body; and a high fever. A lot of my classmates in high school (yes, we do still keep in touch) were now in the medical field so chat messages at the time were full of medical jargons and scans of whatever it was Novestela had to go through at the time. Understand that at time, we were still processing news from her regular updates and still in shock as to why and how she had this disease. Well-known experts and professionals of different fields in medicine weren’t able to diagnose my friend’s disorder, sadly. So the stress of not knowing what was happening within my friend’s entire body was still on. The hunt for finding a name for the disease went on even when she finally got accepted to work in Singapore. She worked in a hospital (:D) at the time and her constant FB statuses were momentary glimmers of joy that my friend was doing well in a country so far away from home with nothing but her boyfriend, her thoughts of her loved ones, and her boyfriend’s family supporting her and guiding her through the day. Noone in our group of 31 (especially her) ever expected she’d be in this risky state. Nobody could have ever predicted that only months after having a job overseas, she’d be battling cancer.

September 30, 2017 was when the news struck her. She was nowhere near us at the time. I have known the news for quite some time now but even I am still not sure if any of what’s happening is real. It seemed only like a month ago, we were eating dinner at a local teahouse, discussing plans of how she’d get wed and how life would be for all of us. It seemed like only a day ago, we were chatting about how cool the Helix Bridge in Singapore is and how great it is that her hardships had brought her to such a great point in her life. I have no idea how it feels like to have someone battle with cancer. Most of my family members die from complications in their kidney, or liver or lungs. Not cancer, and my friend, someone I’ve known for more than a decade now is battling the disease. I realize you may not know her. I know you might not care for her. You might not even want to know what her favorite color is.

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Novestela, my friend.

Or that she rides horses and knows how to drive like a freaking drag racer. I get it. And I know you probably might not care about helping but she’s battling and she’s just 21 years old. She’ll turn 22 this November and she’ll be spending her birthday tired and weary. Sick. Weakened by the cancer and her battle for a disease she didn’t know she had until only weeks ago. I simply ask that you read what her boyfriend wrote for her and help her. Please. Please help my friend.

 

Link: https://give.asia/story/help_single_mother_fight_gamma_delta_t-cell_lymphoma

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