The Answered Prayers
The award-winning television and movie actor of the iconic 1960s love team “Guy and Pip” must have staged his greatest performance on the silver screen when neither the viewers nor his co-stars on the set ever noticed that he was ill.
It wasn’t just an ordinary ailment that afflicted Tirso Cruz lII. It was cancer. And of all places in the human anatomy, the cancer was in one of his lungs.
In September 2014, after a close friend’s son had a near brush with death, Tirso got convinced by his son Bodie to also have himself checked. Bodie’s gut feel turned out right. His dad had a mass, probably from heavy smoking.
Initially, Tirso’s doctors had him take medication for possible pneumonia. But when the growth did not shrink as much as they expected it to, they had him undergo a biopsy.
Gripped by the agony of waiting for the biopsy results, the family spent the time in their property in Batangas. No movie could have come close to the dramatic scene that Tirso and his wife Lyn suddenly found themselves in when they received that fateful call.
“I knew it from her reaction right away. She was about to cry. I thought: ‘This is it’,” Tirso recalls.
Prayers and songs at St. Luke’s
The couple felt lucky despite the diagnosis. The cancer was discovered early while it was still confined to a mere sac in one area of the lung. Even then, a third of Tirso’s lung would have to be removed, as he was told by his doctor and good friend, Dr. Rommel Carino.
At St. Luke’s, Tirso was given the complete workup: stress test, angiogram, and everything needed to ensure he was fit for surgery.
And during the MRI, the technician played songs of praise that Tirso listened to while in the tube.
“He said, ‘I’ll join you in prayer, ma’am’. I thought: ‘All of this is in God’s plan’,” Tirso’s wife Lyn says.
Through it all, Tirso stood strong. The operation to be performed by Dr. Carino himself was scheduled. Lyn cited the work of their son TJ at St. Luke’s as a blessing. TJ made them aware of the quality of care and facilities available. They were also grateful for having secured a suite that accommodated everyone who wanted to support the family while Tirso went under the knife.
“Our friends and our three children were all there. We were just praying and praising God while waiting,” Lyn recounts. “Even the nurses and staff were answered prayers. I would ask them to pray with us and they would gladly oblige. So, I thought, ‘God, this is all You’.”
Back to work
Throughout his healing journey, Tirso worried about the projects he was involved in. He tried to keep his cancer diagnosis and treatment from his colleagues, but eventually had to tell them because of the blocking routines in the scenes.
“It’s a good thing that they understand these things and that they’re able to tweak certain characters in the story. So, they made it appear as if I was leaving for a while. I wasn’t really worried about the end result. I was worried about the show. I was telling my doctor ‘Doc, after the operation, in two weeks’ time, is it possible for me to go back to work?’” Tirso recalls.
Indeed, two weeks after the surgery, he was back on the set and acting his heart out.
And, after the adjuvant therapy, Tirso was pronounced cancer-free, another answered prayer.
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