Thursday, September 16, 2010

Life's A Climb!

If I only knew then that things would work out fine, then I should have been less apprehensive about the ever changing seasons of life. I should have enjoyed those moments more and took the seemingly bad instances with more finesse and faith. After all, "life's a climb," right?

I didn't know that my ascent will lead me to the most fulfilling stage in my life. Do you want to know what it is? For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a TV newscaster/reporter. I was fascinated with the science and art of news gathering, coverage and reporting. But I also knew that competition was stiff and the road toward my dream would be rocky. But when renowned broadcast journalist Che-Che Lazaro became my college professor, somehow the fear was replaced by an inner drive that I've never had before.

Slight Detour

During the time frames in between, I got hooked on 98.7 DZFE-The Master's Touch, a classical music station on the FM band, operated by the Far East Broadcasting Company Philippines. With its inspiring music and Christ-centered messages, somehow a different call was born in my heart--to inspire others to live the best life God has designed them to have. Responding to this inner urgency, I applied and got accepted afterwards. Here I learned the value of family, friendship, hard work and sacrifice. God gifted me with three more amazing blessings just because I answered His call: 

A Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas Golden Dove Award... 

Friends for Life... 

A doting husband!

The Reckoning

Sadly, when DZFE moved to its new Makati office, I needed to say goodbye for proximity reasons. At that time, I began thinking about my greatest dream once again. But there was one deterrent--my weight. I figured that in order to be noticed in the auditions, I needed to look my best, so to speak. I bought Oprah and Bob Greene's bestselling book Make the Connection and was blown away by its principles. 

Learning that it will be my metabolism that will ultimately cause weight loss, I began a daily exercise program based on Cindy Crawford's exercise videos. I also noted down everything I ate in a journal to somehow control my caloric and fat intake. After about a month of doing this, I lost 15 pounds!

Around this time, IBC Channel 13 held auditions for aspiring newscasters. The timing was certainly impeccable! Armed with a modest "kikay" (vanity) kit and an old blazer, I auditioned fearlessly. This time, God granted me my lifelong wish!

I was happy living my dream but never expected that the best was yet to come. Into my third month as newscaster, I found out about a certain Youth Invitation Program open to Filipinos below 35 years old. Sponsored by the Japan Information Cooperation Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs, all successful applicants will be given a month-long cultural immersion in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kanagawa, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Ehime.

God’s Gifts: Trip Abroad & On-Cam Work

When I learned that I was in fact included in the program, I decided to quit my newscasting job and grabbed that once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Since it was my first trip abroad, it opened my eyes to a whole new world. One particular habit caught my eye during the trip. Whether it be a private cafeteria or fast food chain, locals picked up their food wrappings and leftovers and threw them into segregated trash bins. I thought that I should replicate that habit when I go back home as a testament that I've indeed become a better person because of the programme.

Right after the trip, I didn’t know what to do next. So I made a career change and went into teaching for one semester. There I discovered that I had a knack in public speaking and a heart for students. Later that year, I found out about a Cadetship Training Program spearheaded by Ms. Kata Inocencio and Mr. Dong Puno of the News and Current Affairs Department of ABS-CBN. Weeks after the interview and audition, I discovered that I got in!

A grueling six-month training program followed, with us, cadets trained in reportage by piggybacking reporters in their respective beats. We also underwent a number of excellent workshops: Voice Production; Impromptu Speaking; English Writing; Personality Development; Acting-facilitated by the best of the best in their fields.

After the training, there was a buzz of a new early morning newscast in the works. I auditioned as co-anchor and was surprised to discover that I have been selected! Together with Dan Andrew Cura, now the President of FEBC Phils., I co-hosted the earliest news program in the country—Balita Alas Singko ng Umaga, aired just before Julius Babao and Tin-tin Bersola's magazine program, Alas Singko ng Umaga. The most fulfilling part of this life stage was when my mom although frail and weak from cancer would still get up early in the morning just to watch me on TV. Even during her chemotherapy sessions, she still watched me and happily informed the nurses to watch me on TV too.

Remembering Mommy

In 1995, my mom went into surgery to remove a suspicious tumor from her right armpit. After the surgery, her doctor showed me the tumor which literally looked like a cabbage. Her doctor said that he needed to run some tests to find out for sure if the tumor was malignant or not. That life-altering moment was still very vivid in my mind, because I’ve never felt so dizzy and nauseated my entire life. When I was ushered into the recovery room, I saw my mom sleeping—clearly the general anesthesia hasn’t worn off yet. I’ve never ever seen her that utterly helpless before!

Sometime later, the doctor confirmed a horrible truth: My mom had non- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes, and one of the most aggressive forms of cancer. Proof was that a mere three years later, that spiteful tumor has metastasized into my mom’s spine, stomach, uterus, and intestines.

The next five years became a vicious body-draining and spirit-sucking road to our own Calvary. A barrage of life-changing medical interventions left the family grasping for air on a moment-to moment basis. But it was especially hard on my mom’s body because she had to endure monthly chemotherapy sessions, even cobalt therapy later on. After her chemo, we visited her oncologist for check-ups which always included granocide injections to raise her white blood cells (WBC) worth P6000 per vial, which went up to 6 vials per visit, depending on my mom’s blood test. My mom also underwent an avalanche of laboratory tests, such as CT scans, bone scans, 2 D-echo’s, and the dreadful bone marrow aspiration, where a gargantuan needle was stuck right through the spine to draw blood, eliciting heart-wrenching cries from her.

I had to be strong on the outside because I was her sole companion through the whole ordeal, despite the incredulous fear that left me shaking and trembling on the inside. What kept me sane through it all?

Reflecting on the life story of Joseph in the Old Testament was my anti-depressant! And Cam Floria’s musical rendition of this great man’s life woke me up in the morning; calmed me at night; and kept me grateful during moments in between:

“When doubt and disappointment
Hide the morning sun
When all my dreams have ended
All my songs are sung.
His spirit soars within me
Every doubt is gone
I see a new horizon
Then sing a brand new song.

For in His perfect timing
Up ahead the light is shining
And I know the dawn
Will be arriving very soon.
When God closes a door
He opens a window
He opens a window
So I can see
He’s working it out the very best for me
He opens a window just for me.”

                  Courtesy of limejazzblues on YouTube

Somehow I understood, just like how Joseph’s excruciating trials ultimately saved Israel during a notorious famine, my mom’s sickness was meant to bring out a myriad of stories abounding in sacrifice and hope.

A flock of loyal friends and relatives dashed in with their magnanimous support and prayers. My husband also astonished me! Aside from providing for my mom’s medical requirements, he insisted on traveling from his workplace in Laguna to our home in Novaliches, every single day, just to be with me. 

When my mom’s sun has finally set in 2001, she left without any parting advice, perhaps knowing that she left her “unica hija” to a very good man, whose bright future sparkles from his luminous character.

The Recovery

Losing someone you love is never easy. It took me a long time to really recover not only from the pain, but more so from the guilt of not having the chance to exhaust other possible means to save my mom. What eased the guilt was when my church mate who also lost his wife of some 20 years told me, “Ikaw rin pala ganoon ang pakiramdam mo, ako rin kasi.” That honest reply validated my feelings and gave me permission to grieve.

For the next several months, my hubby would see me all curled up, crying on my mom’s bed, where she died. Without judgment, he just allowed me to cry in his arms until I’d fall asleep in exhaustion. My mental anguish was so strong I literally felt my mind would have just snapped anytime. 

Daily talks with my hubby, prayers and meditations on the Book of Psalms healed me bit by bit, until I finally broke free from the reins of depression, a year and a half later.

A Change of Heart

Two months after my mom lost her five-year battle against lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes, management decided to cancel the show, leaving me jobless. Instead of being heartbroken, I was relieved by the news. I thought, finally I can grieve my mom's passing. I was offered a chance to become a reporter after that. But I knew better. My heart was in shreds and I needed time to heal. Besides, I've always believed in the saying, "You're only as strong as your weakest link." To be whole again, I needed to say goodbye to my lifelong dream!

I sought solace by continuing to attend the Dream Connectors, a cell group at Bread of Life Crossroad. There I found a second mother, sisters and friends to soothe my sadness. During this time, I rediscovered my passion in dancing and choreography, which helped much during our Christmas presentations.

Around this time, someone criticized my writing abilities. And so I prayed that somehow God will open a door for me not only to prove him wrong but also to improve my writing. I called up Prevention Magazine, a publication of Summit Media. The editor gave me a chance to do a piece which was followed by a whole lot more. 

When the magazine folded up after a couple of years, I transferred to the competition: Health Today Magazine and Moms and Babies Magazine. I ended up writing quite a number of articles for them.

A Fresh Start

After about two years as a freelance writer, I changed course and explored the world of voice-overs. Jane of Hit Productions gave me the break I needed and trusted me enough to cast me in several projects. I'm forever thankful for that! 

As a result I’ve done quite a number of voice-overs for TV and radio commercials aired here in the Philippines for the past eight years.

Life-Changing Decision

I was really thankful that my hubby Randy never asked for a child in all our thirteen years of marriage. Other husbands might not have been that patient. I wanted to thank him so I asked the Lord for a son. Two months before my 35th birthday, I started praying very seriously about this. Everyday, I woke up at dawn to pray. I opened my prayer time by singing the worship song El Poder de Tu Amor, Spanish version of the widely popular, The Power of Your Love. I fell in love with it the very first time I heard it. Every lyric spoke to my heart and mind as if Spanish were my native tongue.

My prayer time included meditation on the Book of Psalms, and reading a few chapters of Henry Blackaby's Created to be God's Friend. 

On alternate days, I reviewed another classic, The Prayer of Jabez. After reading, I prayed that somehow the Lord "will extend my territories and bless me with everything He wants to bless me with." 

A couple of months later, without any work-up nor any medical intervention of any kind, sometime in December, I discovered that I was already 7 to 8 weeks pregnant.

When Lance Paul was born, I knew that my life will forever change. Quite honestly, my hubby and I rarely have time for ourselves right now. Just the same, I couldn't really envision ourselves without my son Tutapel in our lives.

Unexpected Change

But when you're at home changing diapers, feeding and caring for your baby's needs 24/7, you tend to ask yourself, if you still know how to do something else. I began watching my taped newscasts, and commercials and prayed that the Lord will allow me to have an opportunity to practice my craft. The answer came in the form of an internet voice-over business, quite unheard of in the country but proved to be a very popular one in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

But then Typhoon Ondoy happened. And I had to put that refreshing business idea on hold. During renovation, my hubby allowed me to have a modest studio from which I can operate my voice-over business.

It's quite overwhelming to note that in only six months after my debut, I've provided voice-over services to eight countries: Singapore, Australia, South Korea, United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and of course the Philippines—from the comforts of my own home! 

I believe that being a home-based entrepreneur is the culmination of all my hopes and dreams as a media practitioner. What could be better than by earning from what I love doing the most while caring for my son in the process? This has got to be the biggest, brightest and best "change" I've ever encountered in my life!

Through the Years

If there is one quotation that has influenced me the most it is this: 
"Fame is a vapor. 
Popularity, an accident. 
Riches take wings. 
Only one thing remains. 
And that's our character." 

Through the many experiences I had as a radio announcer, TV newscaster, voice-over announcer, writer, daughter, friend, church mate, wife and mother, I have realized that having an untarnished character is the most important thing I can ever possess in life! Despite the hardships involved, I made sure to always weigh my life decisions against this truth no matter what. Although extremely difficult, my reactions to life's many changes purified my character and helped me in my struggle to continually live out my true calling: to glorify my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in everything that I do! 

Through it all, I've finally understood that "life is indeed a climb." It is not just the getting there that matters; but, the journey itself which allowed me to discover God's infinite grace and resources during my climb to faith and self-discovery.


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  1. You have a very inspiring story...! One of my dreams is to become a newscaster... :)

    Good luck Ms. Kaye! This is a great post!

  2. Wow! Haba ng entry but in fairness ang daming nangyayari at ang daming pagbabago na nangyari sa buhay nyo. Galing naman!

  3. I couldn't help but relate... 4 years ago, we lost my nephew to cancer and I was his doting aunt who bought him mocha cake after mocha cake from Goldilocks.

    Life went on and I now buy mocha cake for my son :) The best is yet to come...

  4. Hello Nuffie Rox!
    Thanks for visiting ha.
    Oo nga. Though of deleting some portions
    kaso magkakatahi ang events eh.
    Blessings to you and your entry!

  5. Hi Nuffie Mec!
    I'm so sorry to hear about your nephew.
    My deepest sympathies.
    I think you'll never get over someone, di ba.
    The pain just goes away but the memory stays with you forever.
    Your post warms my heart...
    God bless you and your whole family.
    Blessings to your entry!

  6. hays... Good luck Ms. Kaye!
    You really have a long and inspiring
    entry... hehehe
    Thank you for joining my blog,
    you're really welcome to

    I just found out that you're a
    newscaster as I've read Traveliztera's
    comment on you. Being a journalist I would like to give a salute on you...
    Two thumbs up for the entry! Cheers!

  7. Kaye, thanks so much for this motivational and inspirational post. I really needed it!

    Cancer has hit my family hard in the past six years, baby brother in 2004, father in 2005, mom in 2007 and now mom again a few months ago. (we lost my beloved baby brother in 2008.) It's been difficult to continue my path to become a published fantasy novelist because of the ups and downs, but somehow I've kept going and NOW I have new inspiration from your story.

    I am crossing my fingers for you -- good luck!

    Hugs from the States. :)

  8. This is awesome Kaye! I enjoyed reading it from beginning to end. You are blessed with a wonderful life and a beautiful family. Congratulations! And cheers, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you to win that Goldilocks contest! :D

  9. Thanks for the kind words.More power to you!Blessings!

  10. Dearest Stephe,
    Your post always warms my heart.
    I'm so sorry about how cancer has
    affected your family through the years.
    It pains me to know that it took your
    baby brother too.
    I'm routing for you Stephe!
    I'll be the first to buy your book, promise!
    Thanks for your kind words again.
    Blessings to you, your family and of course that
    soon-to-be-published novel!

    Hugs from the Phils!

  11. Hello Nuffie ReyJr!
    Thanks so much for your super duper kind words for my entry.
    Congratulations to you too on that very creative, ingeniuously crafted blog of yours.

  12. Hi Traveliztera! Thanks so much for dropping by. I really appreciate your kind words. It's never too late to be newscaster... I'm rooting for you! Blessings to you and all your endeavors!

  13. hays... Good luck Ms. Kaye!
    You really have a long and inspiring
    entry... hehehe
    Thank you for joining my blog,
    you're really welcome to

    I just found out that you're a
    newscaster as I've read Traveliztera's
    comment on you. Being a journalist I would like to give a salute on you...
    Two thumbs up for the entry! Cheers!

  14. Hello Nuffie Rox!
    Thanks for visiting ha.
    Oo nga. Though of deleting some portions
    kaso magkakatahi ang events eh.
    Blessings to you and your entry!

  15. Wow! Haba ng entry but in fairness ang daming nangyayari at ang daming pagbabago na nangyari sa buhay nyo. Galing naman!

  16. You have a very inspiring story...! One of my dreams is to become a newscaster... :)

    Good luck Ms. Kaye! This is a great post!