Abu Dhabi // It has been an eventful year for Efipania Balala – she turned 50 and was given the all-clear from cancer.
This year “was a good year and a happy year, 2012 was a scary year”, said Ms Balala, from the Philippines.
In June, the mother of three needed a colonoscopy, a blood test and a body scan to check for any sign of the return of colorectal cancer, which had been diagnosed the previous year.
“During the examination it was really scary,” she said. “I was anxious about what was going on and whether it was totally healed.
“When waiting for the results I felt scared, of course, and worried.”
Fortunately, the news was positive.
“The colonoscopy was great, as during the examination the doctors told me I was fine,” she said. “They gave me the result and showed me how clear it was.”
When the other results were also good, the Abu Dhabi resident told her children, who were waiting for news back in the Philippines, where they live with relatives.
“They were eager to know. When I got the result, immediately I informed them. They were very happy and thankful to God,” said Ms Balala, who has lived in the UAE for 23 years.
Her three sons, 16, 14 and 9, had been living with her in Abu Dhabi.
They returned to the Philippines shortly after she had an operation to remove the tumour at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in June last year.
“It is so scary to look back at that. I thought it was the end of my life really, I was crying,” said Ms Balala, who turned 50 in July.
“I sent them to the Philippines because I was scared about my health. I did not know what the result would be and what the doctors would tell me.”
Ms Balala, who manages a gift shop in Khalidiya, hopes her children can return to the UAE soon.
“Now I feel more confident and I feel I can take them back to be together. There is nothing more happy for a mother than to be with her children,” she said.
Ms Balala, who will have another check-up in three years – unless there is cause for concern before then – has goals for the next 12 months.
“In 2014 I am hoping for having a good business and to bring my children back here to Abu Dhabi,” she said.