No parent would want their child to get hurt, more so diagnosed with a life-threatening illness such as cancer.
Anthony Taberna and his wife Rossel were unprepared to take the devastating blow when their eldest daughter Zoey, 12, was diagnosed with leukemia last year.
Still, the DZRH anchor couldn’t be prouder that it is Zoey herself who has been giving them the strength and hope that they need in these trying times.
In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Dec. 2, Taberna shared a photo of his daughter who recently shaved off her hair for her chemotherapy.
He wrote, “Hindi ko akalain na papayag si Zoey na ipakita sa madla ang larawan na ito. Nakangiti siya pero alam kong durog na durog ang puso niya nung nag umpisang malugas ang kaniyang buhok dahil sa chemotherapy.”
“Nung pumayag si Zoey na magpakalbo at nalaman kong papunta na sa ospital ang misis ko kasama si Ate Tet, umalis na muna ako. Akala ko ay malakas na ako. Marupok pala. May video habang kinakalbo si Zoey. At tuwing makikita ko iyon, hindi ko mapigil ang pagpatak ng aking luha,” he added.
And just when the doting father couldn’t contain his sorrow, his daughter displayed courage and acceptance of her condition by uploading her new look on social media.
Taberna continued, “Ang wala o maikling buhok ang isa sa dahilan ng insecurity ni Zoey. Pero nung makita kong ipinost niya, nagpaalam ako na ipo-post ko rin. Hanga ako sa tapang ng aming panganay. I love you, Zoey.”
View this post on Instagram
Zoey’s journey with cancer began on Dec. 2, 2019, when she was only 11 years old.
“Eksaktong isang taon na pala mula nung subukin ang aking pamilya ng isang karanasang hindi namin makakaya kung kami lamang.” Taberna said in another Instagram post uploaded on Dec. 2.
“Bandang alas dos ng madaling araw, ginising ako ni Zoey na umiiyak dahil napakasakit daw ng kaniyang mga binti hanggang sa kaniyang hita. Nanalangin kami ng taimtim sa Ama at saka nagpasyang magtungo sa Delos Santos Medical Center.”
Taberna’s friend who is an orthopedic doctor in the hospital checked Zoey’s legs. “Akala kasi namin ay isang sakit na may kinalaman sa buto ang sanhi ng mga kirot na idinadaing ni Zoey. Ngunit malubha pala,” Taberna said.
They transferred Zoey to St. Luke’s Medical Center Quezon City where she was intially diagnosed with bone marrow disease before it was confirmed that it is leukemia.
Right there and then, Taberna and his wife Rossel saw their world falling apart.
He continued, “Parang guguho ang mundo naming mag-asawa, lalo’t si Zoey na noon ay 11 taong gulang pa lamang, ay nakikita naming nahihirapan. Walang tigil ang aming pananalangin, kahit gusto sana naming ikubli sa aming anak ang pagluha upang ipakita sa kaniya na kami’y matapang at malakas, subalit tuwing kami’y dudulog sa Diyos ay hindi maiwasan na kami’y tumangis. Ang pangunahing laman ng aming mga pagdaing, alisin ang kirot at hapdi at kung puwede ay ako na lamang bilang ama ang magdanas para sa aming anak.”
Zoey admitted suffering immense fear and distress just like her parents. “I really thought my life would already end there,” she wrote on her Instagram post on Dec. 2. “But no. I stayed strong and did my best,” she added.
Looking back a year from that fateful day, 12-year-old Zoey realized she couldn’t have done it without the help of her endearing doctors, friends, and more importantly, her parents and younger sister Helga.
Zoey wrote on her post, “Thank you mom and dad for helping me always. Thank you for listening to me when I am having a hard time. Thank you po for working hard for me and our whole family. I know you have problems now, but I’m sure you will overcome them very soon!”
“I also want to thank my sister, Helga. I know I always fight and argue with you, but I hope you know that I am very grateful for you. Thank you for taking care of me when i’m not feeling well. Thank you for listening to me when I am overthinking or when I am having a hard time expressing my feelings. Thank you din for always having my back,” she added.
“Lastly and most importantly, I want to say thank you to God. for guiding me and helping me throughout all the hardships I have been through.”
Taberna said that Zoey has been improving through the days. The journey, he said, has been teaching him to value life even more.
“Sa ngayon, patuloy na gumagaling si Zoey. Isang taon mula nang gisingin niya ako noong December 2 ng madaling araw, gising na gising ang aking kamalayan kung gaano kahalaga ang buhay ng tao subalit sa isang iglap ay andyan lagi ang takot na maaaring mawala ito. Salamat po, Ama,” he concluded.
Photos from Anthony Taberna on Instagram.