of Inner Strength and Smiles

"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them". - (Quote Act II, Scene V)

One out of every eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer.You may have heard of horror stories and some success stories but what I want to share is neither; I want you to know that not only does this disease affect the patient, but it also affects the family, especially children. Breast cancer is slowly taking light as a  concern of our society. You can look for events and celebrity endorsers and see campaigns advertisements and sponsored events here and there. But it still is not enough I guess, it may be odd for a guy to be talking about these things but this is just my own simple story~ nothing more, nothing less.

For some weird reason, it's been ten years or so since that day. I was barely coping with puberty and hormonal chaos when I learned that my mother had breast cancer. We all know how scary and devastating cancer can be but most people only tunnel-vision the victim. Cancer causes dramatic changes in family dynamics, how a family deals with this change can impact each person's psychological and physical well-being (We can even add there the spiritual and socio-economical strains).

Children of mothers who have breast cancer are likely to experience long-term psychological affects. These effects include fear, insecurity, anger, sadness, isolation, and combinations of all. But when it's so overwhelming all of it just turns into despair.

FEAR - because the only exposure they have had with cancer is that people who have had cancer have died (I had a cousin who died of leukemia).  Therefore cancer means death to them.
ANGER - reaction to feeling angry may be to act out or the like (random short-tempers)
ISOLATION - may isolate themselves from everyone as a way of coping (Well, you can't really find people experiencing the same thing)
SADNESS - is also an overwhelming feeling that they will encounter or depression

My dilemma at the time was basically me trying to break away & become 'an individual' but severe illness forced one back to the family w/ a pinch of social isolation. One can feel completely powerless to the disease.

In school, I was literally a zombie (even before the walking dead, ..etc. became famous), day-by-day trying to survive the day. A daily dose of heaviness, of endless routines, of forgetting how to smile; because of the strain of the situation, I would often wake up each day and whisper to myself "Don't be a burden.."

My routine for 3 years was simple (Just to not be anxious): "Go to school-try not to fail any subjects-play football/magic.the.gathering-fetch my sister in school-go to mom's office-go home together."

Three years? After the diagnosis, treatment will immediately commence and dosage will depend on one's financial health and severity of the disease. Regular check ups were done and re-treatment in case of recurrence. In some cases surgery is necessary to prevent the spread of cancer cells.

The one thing I could do during the time I guess was becoming a 'Spotter,' for I didn't know the right words to say or the right things to do. We go home together since my dad is an OFW and for the most part was overseas, and she may need emergency assistance while travelling. She may get dizzy or nauseated while driving the car, she will rest and then carry on the task.

I knew about society's pressure of 'looking good' - and there my mom would do her daily routine: wear a wig, and an artificial breast implant to conform to society. But I also knew my mom was feeling insecure, the fear, the pain but yet on the outside, she didn't show any fear, frown, complaint, and not even a tear.

I guess this is what true strength is; Strong people know how to keep their lives in order. Even with tears in their eyes, they manage to say I'm ok with a smile.

Use your smile to change the world. Don't let the world change your smile.
Perhaps me and my sister were one of the lucky ones, my mom is alive and well yet still keeps on influencing me with her daily works. For some weird reason again, despite all that happened, I managed to graduate high school and went on to college. Though I was still somewhat recovering mentally-emotionally-and-psychologically, she never lost herself in that whole mess; she still was able to do her #1 job of being a mother and somewhat of a life-teacher despite her imperfections.

Looking back, I am re-learning the things I already knew. Of making sacrifices be it financial, or social or even girls for your loved ones. Of becoming a better big brother to my sister and of postponing the journey of self-discovery or self-gratification in exchange for time spent with loved ones.

Quoting from the movie 'The Vow'I guess this is one of my moments of impact that I experience in this good earth, that are of high intensity that end up defining who we are. These moments of impact send some particles closer than before, while others spin off where you never thought you’d find them. Life's all about that, the moments of impact, and how they change our lives forever. But what if one day you could no longer remember any of them? I guess you've got to let the colliding particles fall where they may and hope that the particles find their way back to each other or create paths anew.

So what is my greatest achievement then? Learning Inner Strength at a somewhat young age which led to many smaller successes leading up to today.

one of the things I did because my mom said so..xD the experience practically restored my self-confidence -I guess moms really knows what's best huh. But then most of my 'newer' friends don't know about this since I am still kind-of embarrassed about it :P
Of continually overcoming the #1 fear in the world --basically we fear to stand out for fear of rejection. We think all eyes are solely on us and the universe will change based on this one episode
Another moment I shared with her was when I made my 1st speech during our Ringhop Ceremony dedicated to our Teachers (that includes her) which was entitled Click.click.click-- 'Gratitude is the memory of the Heart', here's an excerpt below:

"Teachers affect eternity; they affect eternity because to teach is to touch lives forever...They give their time, which is in a way giving away a portion of one’s life that can never be given back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Relationships take time & effort, and the best way to spell love is T-I-M-E, because the essence of love is not what we think or do or provide for others, but how much we give of ourselves."

winning the CAMMA 2011 for Best in personal website w/ nominee & finalist Ed +photo by Doi -substitute parents sa event? hehe
I guess for the longest time, I trapped myself in dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. And I just realized and relearned that I should not let the noise of others' opinions drown out my own inner voice. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. Now that I have let this all out - I guess I can now truly begin the journey of self-discovery.
My so-called Travel Pose (Where the heck am I?)
Thank you mom for allowing and supporting me to do the random things that I do, from launching a start-up business, to applications of random scholarships and training programs; to supporting my advocacies and my volunteering with Gawad Kalinga; and also my ridiculously unplanned sudden travels and out-of-town trips, I just realized I gained the have gained much courage from my past for we are the sum of our experiences.

Thank you for teaching me INNER STRENGTH and also for making remember how to SMILE!

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”-Paulo Coelho

Shameless plug: I encourage you as the reader to get involved in your community's breast cancer awareness or the local health offices/organizations.

Well, now that you know a huge chunk of my past and why in some ways I am a bit clueless and a late-bloomer... what do you think?

Tears are indeed words that need to be written, hence blogged! Happy Blogging.


of Inner Strength and Smiles of Inner Strength and Smiles Reviewed by Vernon Joseph Go on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 Rating: 5


  1. Nakahilak jud kog popcorn master!

  2. Vernon-wordless! this is really a perfect touch to those who never had the chance to appreciate life. :D -lucille_ctc :)

  3. on living, loving and learning...

  4. wow, vern! salute to u and ur mom. just the thought of C makes me shiver. you are very strong!

  5. Good things really happen, even out from bad or sad experiences. Nice one, Vernon! :)

  6. Though you said this is neither a horror a success story,I would still regard this as the latter. Your mom raised you well despite her troubles and that in itself is a success and truly inspiring story. :) and what is past but simply a springboard to the future? Experiences like this makes us stronger and I thank you for sharing that to the rest of us. ^__^

  7. wow! Nice kuya vernon! Now I know and understand why you have such attitude. haha. Seriously, it's not easy to be in such situation. I'm glad you survived! Learn from the past but don't live with it forever! looking forward to the new you! :)

  8. eheheh wordless jud ate? ahahhaha good sa school! :D

  9. our health is our first and last wealth may ka healthy lifestyle najud! hehehe

  10. thanks miss mai! dapat nakai reflection pod sa imong blog hahaha pirmi raman u nagalaag oie!

  11. Indeed hopefully a part of me will change but I Hope to GROW MORE!

  12. hahahha...you make me laugh...I do have reflection blogs but still have to learn more on blogging. I hope to learn from you, from the master..:)

  13. This blog entry inspired me so much today and I am sincerely thankful that I am one of the people who knows your story. Congratulations on making it this far Kuya Vernon! I am so proud of you, and I hope the Lord will continue guiding you always.

  14. thanks for sharing this Go... it's indeed very inspiring... ^_^

  15. thanks justeeeeeinnnn keep blogging cause I also read ur blog and ur nosebleed terminologies! ahhaha

  16. ehehehhe you're welcome milagro nga niagi ka huh ehehehe thanks!

  17. Finally read this write-up. Great post Vernon, straight from the heart! 

  18. imbaha jud naing vernon.. ma discourage man sad ko mo pass og entry XD..

  19. ahahaha disad oie...just sit down, reflect and allow yourself to bleeeeed :P

  20. Nice one Go!...awesome...