CLARK FREEPORT – Filipino DJ Patty Tiu has been setting the tone for events and parties in Manila’s night clubs since 2011. On Saturday, January 21, she spun the turntables for the last time to culminate her DJ career at an electronic dance music festival at Howlers Manila.
In her Facebook account, Patty said she plans to dedicate her remaining days to helping change the world.
“My body can’t take it anymore, and as much as I want to keep it all, I’m going to have to choose, and because I know I’ve done it all, especially what I said I was going to do in DJing,” said Tiu, who has been battling esophageal cancer.
“It is time to answer my bigger calling. To focus and dedicate my remaining days to what will change communities, an entire society, even globally,” the 33-year-old DJ explained.
When doctors told Patty of her cancer more than a decade ago, she grabbed at every opportunity life threw her way to keep the turntables spinning.
As people bop and groove to her beats, few know of the struggle in the DJ box.
In the darkest corner of her booth, an empty pail stands, ready for Patty to grab it during emergencies when everything in her has to come up.
Then she comes back within minutes, giving people more joy.
Thirst for life
During an interview in August last year, Patty told Rappler that at this stage in her life, her symptoms were starting to show more frequently.
The doctor told her that the high grade cancerous cells would begin to spread in different areas, and that she only has five to eight years to live.
The first diagnosis came in 2011, the year she started her DJ career. .
Patty decided not to undergo chemotherapy.
She has, however, undergone a total of five surgeries – three of which were major operations.
A gastronomy tube in her stomach helps achieve her nutritional goals.
“I’ve always known that eventually it will lead to this because of the nature of what happened to me,” Tiu told Rappler.
“I can’t eat solid food anymore, mostly soft and liquidated. I am dizzy most of the time, chest and abdominal pains, apart from throwing up blood.”
“I was already 22 years old when I found out about my cancer. I didn’t want to do the radiology route. I didn’t want to lose my mobility,” she explained.
“To me, I was lucky to have been given this second life already. Whatever I’m able to do with my second life, this is it. I don’t want to put the people I love into hardship when it comes to seeking treatments or even getting a second opinion.”
That focus on living is hard won.
Patty had sought death as a child, had tried taking her life due to bullying from peers and classmates.
“It started as early as eight years old. I guess in that era, there was no mental health awareness. It’s either baliw ka (you’re crazy) or why would you think of such a thing at a very very young age?
Patty struggled between being alone and her desire for belongingness and acceptance.
“I was having troubles in high school. You know when you are a teenager, you think that your campus is your entire world. And when you get embarrassed or get bullied, and you feel like you don’t have any friends, you don’t have a specific clique, you don’t have the support system,” she shared.
“It was that and nagpatong-patong na kasi (all the problems piled up and) I didn’t feel like I’m supposed to be alive. I feel like I’m always disappointing my parents, I feel like I’m not good enough.”
She survived a suicide attempt but ended up with damaged internal organs.
During one of her regular post-operative visits, Patty’s heart stopped as her heart rate monitor registered a flatline. She stayed at the intensive care unit for six months under coma.
Even with effects that would never completely heal, Patty struggled and worked hard to achieve her goals.
Grateful to be given a second chance, she found hope and went on to accept her lot in life.
Leaving the DJ booth to share her story and help young people in desperate straits is just another way this wounded but victorious woman cements her life’s song. – Rappler.com