This I Believe

Arlene - Cincinnati, Ohio
Entered on July 16, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

Unquestionably, I believe that everything happens for a reason. Thus, I have always been one to live for the moment, Carpe Diem.

It was my diagnosis of endometrial and ovarian cancer that helped me to realize that all my life experiences are what I was meant to go through. These experiences have made me who I am today. I have realized my inner strength and overcame many obstacles. With my husband and children as my inspirations, I have the willpower and persistence to continue to pursue my dreams and goals.

Earlier in my childhood, my family experienced the reality of culture shock migrating from the Philippines to America. Being the middle child of five and being the first to be born and raised in the American culture, I endured many hardships with my parents. My parents continued to raise me abiding our Filipino culture, yet through school and peers I also inherited American culture, attitude, and traditions. Family life was difficult for me as a toddler, teenager, and a young adult. In my first marriage I was married at the early age of twenty-one and yes, my parents were in complete disagreement. Not only because I married at such a young age but also because of the many reasons that the marriage did not parallel the Filipino traditions. Being the rebellion that I was, I took that route. I became pregnant right away and had to discontinue college to work full time in order to obtain a new home before the birth of my son, Justin. After Justin was born, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. After having my second son, Brandon, my illness progressed to a diagnosis of cancer. I went through a series of surgeries and treatments for a few years and had a hysterectomy at the young age of twenty-seven. Although my first marriage should not have taken place, had it not, I would not have had the chance to give birth to the two beautiful children in my life. Among many other things I have experienced in life, I have been a true believer of the proverb, “Everything happens for a reason.”

It was 1997 when I was diagnosed and had the prognosis of possibly only six months to live. It was at that time that I knew I was not ready to leave because I had not yet accomplished my goals and dreams or lived the life I wanted. In addition, I refused to leave this earth until I enjoyed having many grandchildren.

My ambition in life led to another difficult experience, more so for the children than me; divorce. While undergoing medical treatments, and as a single mother my ambition was relentless and I defied my prognosis given.

In the year 2000, I met the true love of my life and soul mate. The story of how we met is another reason why I truly believe everything happens for a reason. I am now thirty eight years old, and have been in remission for over eleven years. Carpe Diem, I live by it!

Everyday I, the children, and my husband endure experiences both good and bad. Because of my belief that everything happens for a reason, this belief has become the light at the end of the tunnel of all the hardships we endure.

I will continue to share more of my life experiences after the birth of my first grandchild.