Lorna Tolentino and Rudy Fernandez are looking forward to their silver wedding anniversary in 2008. Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) was able to chat with the charming actress after the taping of a segment for StarTalk's anniversary special at their residence in Quezon City.
Ms. LT initially didn't realize that it would be their 25th year next year.
"Kasi nagpunta kami ng Mission San Juan Capistrano [in Texas, USA] nitong October, we were there I think October 8. Sabi ko, babalik kami sa 25th year anniversary namin. Eh, sabi ko, after two years. Hindi ko naman ano, pag-uwi ko dito sa Manila, pagbilang-bilang ko, next year na pala yung 25th anniversary namin. So, mag-twenty five years na pala kami sa 2008. Well... ayun.. Kung makakaya, babalik kami doon sa San Juan Capistrano."
She reveals that there are no big plans for their celebration, "Hindi ko pa iniisip pero parang siguro ano na lang... yung parang... Parang yung ginawa na lang ng ibang friends ko nung nag-25th year sila. Parang renewal lang ng vows.
"Parang sa isang small siguro na place. Friends, close friends lang, if ever. Kung hindi naman, doon [San Juan Capistrano] na lang kami mag-celebrate," she said.
She recalls the funny things about the wedding arrangements they had, "Nag-secret marriage [in Jaen, Nueva Ecija], Oo, yun yung first. Tapos, uh... Hindi naman natuloy kasi hindi naman pinasok ng mayor yung marriage certificate namin. Yun nga lang. Yung dapat secret wedding namin hindi naging secret dahil sinabi din ng mayor na kinasal kami. Yun pala, bale wala din iyon. So, hindi na-count iyun.
"So, ang mas naging sikreto pa ay yung date ng civil wedding namin. Nag-civil wedding kami ulit kay Mayor Adelino Rodriguez ng Quezon City nung June 1, 1983. So, yun na talaga yung official. Hindi na counted yung the first time pa. And then on June 24, 1992, doon naman kami nag-church wedding."
DABOY'S PROGRESS. PEP also asked her about the condition of her husband, who was diagnosed with periampullary cancer. It is a cancer that forms near the ampulla of Vater, an enlargement of the ducts from the liver and pancreas where they join and enter the small intestine. The action star is having his treatment at the Cancer Center of the Cardinal Santos Medical Center in San Juan.
Lorna narrates, "We're having chemo and radiation. Nag-start kami noong Monday (November 12). Bale five weeks ‘yun. Everyday, Monday hanggang Friday. Saturday and Sunday ang rest niya. And then Monday ulit diretso.
"Meron siyang week na parang rest period niya for the chemo and radiation. He'll have naman radio frequency oblation for his lesions later.
The couple also went to the United States more than a month ago to get the opinion of other doctors about Rudy's case.
"Rudy's cancer kasi is very rare. It started as periampullary cancer. Now parang, yung Whipple operation that he had in 2006 ang cure for that periampullary cancer. So, after that operation, mino-monitor na lang kung ano yung mangyayari sa kanya.
"Yung February of 2007, nagkaroon ng recurrence. So, any recurrence, ang treatment niyan ay kung saan nagsimula. So, kahit na napunta sa liver, hindi kino-consider na liver cancer iyon, kundi periampullary cancer. Yung treatment niya is kung saan nagsimula yung cancer niya," she explained.
"Eh, lahat ng doctors, yung mga tumingin sa kanya, sinasabi nga na, ‘he doesn't look sick'. Kasi nga yung sa UCLA, ‘I think you should have another...' parang i-check kung talagang meron siyang cancer. Kasi hindi makapaniwala na meron siyang cancer," she recalls.
Lorna says that some of their close friends say that Rudy doesn't look sick.
"Siguro yun yung prayers ng marami. Even people we don't know are praying for him. Minsan may nakita kami sa simbahan, tapos lalapit sa kanya, sasabihin, ‘we're praying for your full recovery', yung ganun.
LORNA'S STRENGTH. Despite her busy schedule—hosting StarTalk, shooting for Zaido and wrapping up Katas ng Saudi for the 2007 Metro Manila Film Fest—she puts Rudy as her main concern.
"Siyempre, siya pa rin yung priority. Atsaka, yung family, nagagawan ko ng paraan na every Tuesday-Thursday, may taping ako. Kung minsan, once or twice a week yung taping. Yung StarTalk, every Saturday, after naman nun, uuwi na ako.
"Yun lang, na-cut siguro yung labas ko, na pagpunta sa mga mall, pagpunta sa mga sine, mas dito na lang sa bahay, kasi he's here. I'll tell my friends to pass by here. Sila na lang yung bumibisita sa amin," she said.
PEP also asked her about her own condition.
"Uh, by God's grace, yung strength na iyon, hindi ko masasabi na sa akin. Diyos pa rin yung nagbibigay. Di ba lahat naman ng strength na nakukuha ko, yung...
"May fear pero parang iniisip ko, I take it one day at a time. Kaya siguro nababawasan yung fear kasi nag-ano nga sa akin yung nangyari kay Dulce Saguisag. She was a cancer survivor. Pero, kumbaga, namatay siya because of a car accident, not because of her cancer. Kung talagang gusto kang kunin ng Diyos, kukunin ka Niya. Kahit na ano pa yung pinag-dadaanan mo. ‘Pag gusto ka na Niyang makasama, wala ka nang magagawa," she ended our conversation in optimism.