By Limuel S. Celebria

Oh my god I’m dying.

The morbid thought flashed through my mind as soon as I read the final diagnosis in the Medical Certificate issued by doctors looking after my health at the West Visayas State University Medical Center.

The Diagnosis said:  Pneumonia in an immunocompromised host; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in acute exacerbation; hypertension stage II, gouty arthritis not in flare; renal cell carcinoma stage IV with pulmonary metastasis; s/p nephrectomy (3/19/2022).

The words were like bullets shot from the page to pierce my heart – Immunocompromised! Acute Exacerbation! Pulmonary Metastasis! I’m a dead man walking. The statistics on lung cancer are grim – like taxes, it is inevitable.

Rationally, it is easy enough to find acceptance for this scenario. After all, we are passengers on a flight all bound for the same final destination. Some would depart earlier, others a bit later, each according to his allotted time. And sometimes, too, shit happens.

For now, however, I refuse to yield. Like Dylan Thomas, I won’t go gentle into that goodnight. I won’t go down without a fight.

Though death is a constant and unshakeable presence, I believe there is a force here on Earth greater than death. And that is Love.

Love strengthens. Love sustains. In this grim and foreboding journey that I now embark on, I am made stronger, more courageous and resolute by the love of family – my wife and kids, who all got my back unconditionally. We will face this challenge together every step of the way.

Likewise, I am counting on the love of relatives and friends to see me through when the days turn difficult and the nights are darkest.

But finally, I am reassured by the unfailing love of the Great Healer Himself, our Lord and Saviour. By His Grace, we shall overcome.

“If God be for us, who can be against us?”