This 30-year-old cancer survivor was only fighting to save his own life, 10 years ago. But now he is ready to save the life of others after he passed the recent Physician Licensure Exam.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News on March 16, Albien Emmanuel Gacias shared that his dream to be a doctor started when his mother succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2006, little did he know, he would also battle a different form of this life-threatening disease.
“Ever since my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I wanted to become a doctor but due to financial constraints, parang hindi ko na siya naisip (I did not think about it anymore),” he said.
While he was studying nursing at age 20, Gacias was diagnosed with lung cancer. He decided to stop his studies for two years to undergo chemotherapy, radiotherapy and lobectomy, a surgery to remove part of his lungs.
“Ang naisip ko lang po that time ay mag-stop ng studies ko and yung mga brothers ko kasi I’m the eldest in the family,” he said.
(The only thing that was on my mind at the time was that I had to stop studying and my brothers because I’m the eldest in the family.)
Eventually, he started to get better, but he lost all of his hair while getting his treatment. Despite this Gacias decided to go back to school.
“Yung hair ko tumutubo na ulit siya (My hair was growing back again). I tried to be healthy by playing lawn tennis,” he added.
But he would still regularly go to his doctors to monitor if there will be a recurrence of cancer.
“At first po sobrang mahirap, pero at the end of the day mas lalo akong sinipag mag-aral kasi mas lalo kong na-value ang life,” he said.
(It was difficult at first but at the end of the day, I was more motivated to study hard because I learned how to value life more.)
He also shared that whenever he feels like giving up on his dreams, he thinks of the nurses that took care of him while he was sick.
“Naisip ko na kapag naging nurse ako like ng mga nurses na nag-alaga sa akin sa ospital, in my own little way, makakatulong din ako sa mga taong may sakit, lalo na sa mga cancer patients,” Gacias said.
(To my mind, I thought that if I become a nurse like the nurses who took care of me while I was in the hospital, I would be able to help those who are sick in my own little way, especially those with cancer.)
In 2013, Gacias was able to study medicine at the University of Perpetual Help System in Las Pinas with the help of his uncles and aunts.
“Sa totoo lang, nakakapagod talaga mag-med[icine]. Pero kung iisipin natin, wala naming nagtatagumpay na hindi muna dumaan sa hirap,” Gacias shared.
(To be honest, studying medicine is hard. But if you think about it, no one succeeds without overcoming challenges.)
Last March 14, Gacias caught the attention of the netizen’s when he shared his inspiring story on Facebook. He proves that his faith and determination are bigger than life’s challenges as he was among the 1,209 new licensed doctors in the country.
“Ten years ago, ang pinagdadasal ko lang naman po ay ang gumaling, wala akong idea na gagawin mo pala akong instrumento para ako naman ang makapagpagaling ng iba. Sobrang amazing mo Lord! Thank you! I am now licensed to heal,” he wrote on Facebook.
The young doctor also gave a message to those who were struggling to reach their dreams:
“If you think you will fail in life, there’s always a second chance para ituwid lahat (to make things right).”
“Basta ang importante wag kang susuko dahil at the end of the day mas madami ka din taong maiinspire because of your story.”
(What’s important is not to give up because at the end of the day, you’ll inspire more people with your story.)