The mass found in her breast was as small as a peppercorn, Timmy recalls
80s pop singer-turned-actress Timmy Cruz has become more open about her bout with breast cancer in 2016.
At the time she was diagnosed, Timmy was working on “Once Again,” a teleserye with Aljur Abrenica, Janine Gutierrez, and Jean Garcia. Unfortunately, she was not able to finish the show after her diagnosis.
While she became open to the public that she had cancer at the time, nothing much has been said about her battle.
On October 2, 2023, Timmy faced the media again, including FreebieMNL, after seven years, ready for a showbiz comeback and launching her own Christmas song.
There, she opened up about the whole ordeal she had in 2016 and how she successfully battled breast cancer.
Discovering the cancer
As mentioned, Timmy was part of “Once Again” when she found out about her illness. She then had to leave the show to undergo treatment and take a break.
But apparently, it was also on the set of the show where she would think of having a check-up.
She recalls, “We were inside the hospital, yung anak ko doon sa role ko, meron siyang sakit. So we were in the hospital ‘tapos bigla kong naisip magpa-check up that day, so we had a long break and I had a check-up.
“I called up my doctor. Sabi niya, ‘Hindi mo pa check-up, kailangan mong maghintay.’ So, naghintay pa ako ng ilang weeks and then I had a check-up.
“It was just a routine check-up, which I have every year. [Then], meron silang nakita. So ang nakita nila, yun na nga.”
They found a small mass in one of Timmy’s breasts and later confirmed it as malignant. It was a good thing that they were able to catch the tumor early on.
She continues, “The cancer was actually very small kasi masipag ako, I gifted myself with an annual check-up when I was 40 years old. The cancer came when I was 56.
“So, sanay na sanay ako magpa-check up, and when that happened, they found this small mass and it was as small as a peppercorn, ganun lang kaliit, but I felt it.”
Prior to having her check-ups, there were already little manifestations that something is wrong with her body.
Timmy relates, “I was in my house in Tagaytay, biglang [may naramdaman akong] parang kidlat. So, napaupo ako, I thought I was having a heart attack or something.
“And then, I left some days passed because I was going back to Manila for the teleserye, and then while I was exercising again after three or four days, naramdaman ko na uli.
“So, natakot na [ako] and I went to the doctor again, and yun na, biopsy, and that’s what they found.”
Timmy quickly consulted for the best treatment for her. She later decided to have one of her breasts removed.
“What I did was I went for a second opinion, third opinion, fourth opinion, and I chose the most conservative program of all which is, you know—so, ladies would know that it’s your decision what you will do to yourself. Even if doctors give you a plan, ikaw pa rin magde-decide.
“So, I decided—even if the cancer was very small—to remove one of my breasts.
“So, doing that as a woman, it’s really something. So super dramatic yung moment na yun. I had to talk to myself and I had to say goodbye to one of my breasts.
“But it’s okay, I had an implant and I never want anything false in my body, of all the people I know in the entire world, ayoko talaga ng anything hindi totoo. So, sa akin binigay. So, noong nangyari sa akin yun, sa ‘yo binigay, kailangan mong tanggapin.”
Going through surgery
Timmy had a good fighting spirit throughout the ordeal. She was very positive and just relied on the Lord for her complete healing.
In fact, she can remember everything that went through hours before her surgery.
She narrates, “The moment that I was going inside surgery, they called me early in the morning. My family, my friends are all talagang kinakabahan.
“I was in the bed and I was just reflecting and I was looking outside, these were my thoughts, ‘Lord, kung kukunin mo na ako, okay na ako.’ Pero siyempre, wow, huwag mo muna akong kunin, di ba!”
She even had light moments with her family and friends as she was entering the operating room.
She continues, “So kinuha na ako, nakasakay na ako sa stretcher, ‘tapos I could hear friends and family, ‘tapos narinig ko, ‘Uy, yung alahas mo,’ sabi ng kapatid ko.
“And then, sabi ko, ‘Lahat sa ‘yo na, sa ‘yo na.’ And then, I entered and I had this favorite scarf na may mga butterfly, parang yun yung blanket na ginamit ko, dala dala ko yun sa operating room ‘tapos pinatulog na nila ako.
“And then, sabi ng mga doctors ko, nalaman ng mga tao doon—ng mga nurses, ng mga ibang doctors na Timmy Cruz is having surgery. Gusto raw nila manood kasi kinakanta raw nila yung ‘I love you, boy!’
“So, habang nandun daw ako sa surgery [room], kinakantahan nila ako pero tulog ako, hindi ko alam. Ang huling-huling naisip ko is sabi ni Lord, ‘Just smile and I will take care of it.’
“So, when they put the mask on me for the anesthesia, sabi ng anesthesiologist, naka-smile daw ako.
“And then, pagdating sa recovery room, I was dizzy. E, I was vegetarian, e, yung binigay sa akin na anesthesia was for the normal person. So, mataas yung dose kaya I was very dizzy. Para akong nasusuka-suka, and then nagising ako, ‘Wow, buhay pa ako!’”
Despite the whole battle being a hard one for her, Timmy was not one to weep and take it super seriously.
“So, ganun yung naging journey ko. Hindi ko masyadong sineryoso yung nangyari sa akin, parang inisip ko, laro ito although napakahirap na laro and my aim was to win this game, and your mind and your inner self can heal you.
“So, that’s what I did, I didn’t really go to any particular person, I just know God [and I said] I’m here beside you, basta alagaan mo ako. I just said, ‘I am your child and I know you can take care of me.’”
Returning to showbiz
While she did not go through chemotherapy and she became well after the surgery, Timmy decided it was time to sit back and take a break from showbiz.
“I decided that it will be time for me to take a break muna so I can take care of myself.
“It was over in a few months, I didn’t have to go chemo or anything, it was just my choice to go deeply into self-care. Self-care, meaning sit back, relax muna, and enjoy what you should be enjoying. So, that’s what I did.”
But after seven years, Timmy was convinced that it was finally time to try showbiz again, thanks to her sisters.
She narrates, “Actually, yung mga kapatid ko, makukulit. I have three sisters, two ates and one younger sister. So, it’s always the topic. ‘Kumusta ka na,’ ganyan ganyan, and then it goes to, ‘Di ka na babalik sa showbiz? Ano ba yan, ang tagal naman?’
“And then, I keep telling them this could’ve happened at the right time but, for me, I was already in my comfort zone because I take care of a lot of things, for my family. I have such big business responsibilities, so, ang hirap talaga pagsabayin.
“And then, one day, I was on vacation in the States and my sister again told me, ‘Bumalik ka na!’ Sabi niyang ganun sa akin, ‘Babalik ka ba o hindi?’
“[Sagot ko], ‘Babalik ako pero gagawa ako ng paraan pagbalik ko ng Maynila.’ ‘Hindi, kumontak ka na ngayon habang nandito ka, gusto kong makita.’”
Timmy then messaged RJ Nuevas, one of GMA-7’s veteran writers whom Timmy had worked with in most of her shows. RJ then hooked Timmy up with Rams David of Artists Circle.
She continues, “Naisip ko, I would get in touch with some writers, probably, kasi gusto ng sisters ko, acting. So, I contacted RJ Nuevas, sabi ko sa kanya, ‘RJ, I have a thought na babalik ako sa showbiz. Sa tingin mo, pwede pa?’
“Sabi ni RJ, ‘Siyempre, pwede pa. Halika na, dalian mo!’
“And then, naisip ko, kailangan ko ng manager because my previous manager, Tita Angge [Lee], passed away. Sabi ni RJ, ‘Hanap kita ng manager.’
“Sino kaya ang manager na pwedeng mag-manage ng isang katulad ko kasi matanda na ako? Sabi niya, ‘Anong matanda matanda?’
“He gave the name of Rams David, and he said to me, ‘When you come back, I’ll set a meeting with him.’ Immediately when I came back, I forgot about it kasi I have to handle business again.
“After one month, RJ messaged me, ‘Ano ba, sabi mo babalik ka, ano na?’ Nag-isip na naman ako na parang mahirap, [pero] sige, babalik na.”
Now, Timmy is being handled by Rams’ Artist Circle Management and is hoping to become a part of a teleserye soon.
But while the acting project has yet to come, Timmy released a song titled “All I Want Is You,” in time for Christmas. The song is produced by Flip Records.
Banner Art Paulo Correa