I'm grateful for the friendship I share with Kuya Dane Sacdalan and Jo Lucero who are now, as of today, husband and wife.
I've known Kuya Dane since our undergraduate days in Molecular Biology at UP Diliman. He was—and still is—one of the kindest people I know, and talking to him always uplifts me, like breathing fresh air after being stuck inside a stuffy room. I was glad to meet him again in med school; he graduated earlier and pretty much took up the same career choices as I did: three years of Internal Medicine (UP–PGH) and another two in clinical fellowship in Medical Oncology (UP-PGH). He was my senior at the Medical ICU and remains a lifetime member of the OPD Team B (a badge that I, too, proudly carry). Whenever opportunity presented itself, I would ask him for advice. I sometimes send him emails the old-fashioned way, to which he would write heartfelt responses. On the occasion of my father's death, Kuya Dane wrote to me:
Life is a sacrament of waiting—waiting for a train to come, for an infusion to complete, for a hurt to heal, for a reunion with a loved one who has left us, for a time. Waiting afflicts us with yearning. It is how we bear this longing—that emptiness you speak of—which gives meaning to our living and loving.
He told me to show compassion to patients because, as medical oncologists, we're probably the last physicians they'll see.
I've worked closely with Jo when she was chief resident of Internal Medicine. She asked me to become her assistant chief resident for undergraduate affairs, and after much protestations, she won me over. How could I say no to her—this paragon of efficiency combined with thoughtfulness, speed with grace, conviction with understanding? Working with her in that team, and interacting with her during meetings and gatherings, has changed me for the better. I was inspired to give it my all because she gave her all—what leadership she showed! Jo, now specializing in Hematology, remains an excellent physician. My style of charting—short and sweet—I largely derived from hers, when she was the Physician-on-Duty (POD) and I was a clueless first year resident who missed many salient points in my clinical histories. Good thing Jo's notes were always complete, her diagnoses sound, and her plans practical.
Seeing them together—these beautiful specimens of humanity, made more radiant by their symbiotic union—makes me glad. I wish for them joyful, meaningful, God-glorifying lives that overflow with kindness and grace to every person they meet.
Photo credit: With Joy (their wedding registry)