“Heaven Can Wait”: ART ALAFRIZ

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  • To all of you who have shared my 84 year journey through life no matter how brief, I thank you for being part of it as every moment adds spice and color to a life I consider well lived.

    LIVING WITH CANCER
    June 16, 2022 at the Surrey Memorial Hospital. A radiologist, Dr. Bernard Lee showed me in vivid detail a copy of my CT scan, said my prostate cancer has spread to the bones, that there was no cure for cancer but they would try to suppress any further spread with medication to prolong life. Maybe I still would have 2-5 years to live, he said. I would opt for the 5 years, I remarked. But another doctor looked at me yesterday and said that if I did not eat, it might only be six months.
    My steps had been shorter and carefully balanced. Zeny, my super caring wife of 62 years , has been my nurse, bodyguard and Guardian Angel. None better than her. We are staying with our son Doy here in Surrey as he has taken over the role of overall health provider. His brother Archie, the RCMP guy, and Ann, Doy’s sister, provide backup. Two other siblings, Arnie and Alain, live in Muntinlupa.

    CANADA MEDICAL SYSTEM
    There is no better Medical system than here in Canada. Last month, I was feeling woozy and I went to Emergency. After 8 hours of tests I was informed that they would operate on my brain and they did the following week cracking open my skull. After 2 days I was discharged. My reward: a scoop of ice cream.

    WHAT ABOUT ME
    So far I have lost 35 lbs. and I became shorter in height . I have lost my appetite and the doctor warned me that I am losing the battle against the disease.
    My pitching wedge has been consigned to oblivion together with my golfing world. My golf cart, which is parked at the house of my son Arnie, is waiting for orders as to its destiny.
    I may not be able to drive anymore, sad because I had just bought a 2021 MB C class there in Manila pang forma. I love to drive whether in the Americas or in Europe. Now my dream of going around Europe driving a Porsche is shattered.
    Now my family will not allow me to go about without a walker. The other day I collapsed in front of Royal Bank.
    And my piano. I play reasonably well but only for my own listening pleasure. I am afraid that the chords will be lost since my memory is sort of fading. And then my music. It is what ties my life together. I have hundreds and hundreds of CDs of Sinatra, Nat Cole, Joni James, Doris Day, etc. Maybe I can listen to them sometime in some angelic place.
    So there it is. I just wait, wait and wait. I wait for my meds, I wait to meet my doctors, I wait for my tests which is so important so I know if there is any progress in the nursing of the cancer. And here in the hospital, the clock hardly moves at all. My predicament is: where do I want to get treated. If in Canada, the best. If in Manila, the medicine is very expensive but at least one has household help assistance.

    MY THOUGHTS
    Material wealth. Important at this stage if only to assure that one has money to pay the medical bills. Unless you would like to be the richest man in the cemetery.
    Time. I wish I still had the time and health to do what I like to do, like travelling. Been to Europe 15 times but it is not enough. So much to see and enjoy.
    Blessed. Zeny and I are thankful that we have 5 wonderful children and 10 grandchildren who are still looking for their own destiny. Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.
    Friends. We are also fortunate in having good loyal friends. Especially those who helped me in navigating through life. They know who they are. Leony G, take a bow.
    Memories. What would life be without them. They bring back to life those days when we were dancing the boogie, had our High School Graduation ball at the Riviera, cheering our hearts out for Ateneo, playing the trombone when I was in the school band and then a cheerleader, a member of the Glee Club, awesome classmates and we had so much fun. Appointed the Editor-in-chief of our Collage of Law Yearbook. Then Love and Marriage and a Family. Then passing the Philippine Bar exams and becoming a lawyer, a Councilor for Pasay City for 3 terms, then we dared to immigrate to Canada and later on became citizens, when I became the first Filipino lawyer in Canada, when Pres. Cory Aquino landed in Vancouver and I was so involved as the head of the event, and so many many more.

    MY ENTIRE 84 YEARS
    I was thinking of dividing those years into segments but then again it might be too long and boring. I can only emphatically state that I have had childhood friends for 80 years and we still meet and see each other. Among them are Sonny Trinidad, Titoy Pardo and Rolly Trinidad. How many can say they have friends for 80 years.

    THE SETTING SUN
    It would nice riding a white horse into the sunset.
    In the meantime, Heaven can wait.

    Love you guys.

    Art

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