MANILA - How does a priest face a fight with lung cancer?
For Father Jerry Orbos, fighting cancer meant "focusing on the humor and not the tumor."
A smoker during the early years of his vocation, Father Jerry was diagnosed with stage 2 lung cancer in 2018 and went through 4 cycles of chemotherapy.
In January 2019, he was declared 'cancer free with no recurrence' by his oncologist.
"I never thought that I would be in this journey but the Lord has plans," Father Jerry said during the first Cancer Congress for Patients and Survivors at the AFP Theater.
Cancer came as a surprise for Father Jerry who found out about the illness after a CT scan, which he underwent after figuring in a vehicular accident in February 2018.
The CT scan showed a 1 1/2 cm nodule in his upper left lobe, which was confirmed to be malignant.
He underwent chemotherapy, which cut down his weight from 220 lbs to 180 lbs.
He never questioned God and never allowed his faith to waver. He saw God's wisdom in everything, saying he would not have found out about the cancer if not for the vehicular accident.
He also realized the importance of maintaining the 3 Hs of life: Be Healthy; Be Happy and Be Holy.
To have a long and healthy life, the key is to eat healthy, walk doubly, laugh triple, and love without measure.
"Eat half, kung dati isang lechon ang kinakain mo, ngayon kalahati na lang ng lechon," he jokingly said to the audience.
To be happy is to focus on the humor.
"Kung mamamatay kang malungkot, malungkot kang namatay. Don't blame the situation, don't blame God. Don't make others miserable," Father Jerry said.
And to be holy? Father Jerry said a major part of it is to be thankful in life. He added that his journey made him more prayerful and more patient; and to treat each day as a gift.
"To be grateful, that's all. Marami tayong hindi naiintindihan, mag tiwala lang tayo sa Panginoon," he told the audience, which he called "cansmates" or cancer classmates.
"Inspire before you expire. Don't forget prayer and humor and you'll be alright."