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Cory's Cancer: Timeline

Between Christmas 2007 and New Year 2008: Former President Cory Aquino suffered from an episode of high blood pressure and difficulty in breathing, followed by fever. Since then, she developed a cough, lost her appetite, and noticeably lost weight. Subsequent check-up and tests on her health condition confirmed that she has colon cancer. Week before March 24, 2008: Former President Aquino confided to Fr. Catalino Arevalo that she has colon cancer. March 24, 2008: Aquino's family disclosed that she has colon cancer. Her daughter, TV host Kris Aquino, made the public announcement. Her son, Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, was by Kris' side as she read the televised statement. They requested the public to respect their mother's privacy and asked for prayers for her recovery. The announcement came as a surprise because the former president had been very visible to the public in the weeks preceding the news of her condition. She had been active in attending masses and rallies in support of the national broadband network - ZTE Corp. (NBN-ZTE) controversy witness Rodolfo Noel "Jun" Lozada since he surfaced in February 2008. She even attended a "Mass for truth" and Easter Mass at St. Joseph's College in Quezon City on March 23, 2008, the day before her family announced that she has cancer. March 25, 2008: Aquino began chemotherapy at the Makati Medical Center. She was brought to the hospital the night before to prepare for the treatment. Fr. Arevalo bestowed the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick on former President Aquino. March 31, 2008: Aquino's family reported that her red blood cell count was up as a result of the chemotherapy, although she was still weak and could hardly speak. April 21, 2008: Sen. Noynoy Aquino told the media that his mother's health continues to improve, and that she is responding well to chemotherapy. May 3, 2008: Aquino made her first public appearance at the Pink Sisters' Convent in Quezon City. After a mass held on her behalf, Aquino delivered a short speech in which she thanked Filipinos who prayed for her. She also asked the people to pray for the country. May 13, 2008: Shortly after attending a thanksgiving Mass officiated by Bishop Angel Lagdameo in Makati, Aquino announced that her condition was going well. She said she was still undergoing chemotherapy but the result of her blood test showed there had been improvements. May 30, 2008: The former president attended a Mass offered for her healing officiated by Bishop Luis Antonio Tagle of Cavite at the Church of Gesu in Ateneo de Manila University. Again, she appealed to the Filipinos to pray for the country as it was facing political turmoil. June 6, 2008: Aquino graced the dinner (referred to as the meeting of “three icons of democracy") hosted by ex-President Joseph Estrada and attended by then Malaysian deputy minister Anwar Ibrahim at Estrada’s residence on Polk Street, Greenhills. Also present were Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, Sen. Noynoy Aquino, and Rep. Didagen Dilangalen. June 11, 2008: Aquino joined her employees at the family-owned Cojuangco building in Makati for a noontime Mass for her healing. As several well-wishers approached her, she begged the understanding of those she could not kiss since her doctors have advised her that her immune system has to be closely monitored. June 17, 2008: With cancer cell count going down significantly (though her doctors would not give out the figures just yet), the former president has been steadily recovering and has felt strong enough to report for work at the Cojuangco building in Makati. She said she only felt some discomfort. She announced this as she joined a prayer campaign for the safe return of kidnapped broadcast journalist Ces Drilon. August 20, 2008: Aquino joined ex-President Fidel Ramos in urging government troops and separatists Moro Islamic Liberation Front to continue with the negotiations. She made the statement after a Mass held at the Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque to commemorate the assassination of her husband, former Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. August 29, 2008: A Ramon Magsaysay laureate herself, Aquino delivered the keynote address at the Asia Forum organized by the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation held at the Philippine International Convention Center. Leaders of non-government organizations and social advocacy groups were present. October 11, 2008: Sen. Noynoy Aquino said his mother was experiencing some side effects of the chemotherapy. She was not able to witness the unveiling of the historical marker “Jose C. Cojuangco" at their ancestral house in Malolos, Bulacan. November 10, 2008: After six months of treatment for colon cancer, the former president underwent series of tests and had to stay overnight in a hospital so the doctors would determine if other procedures should be done, according to Sen. Noynoy Aquino. November 27, 2008: In her speech before students and university staff, Aquino urged the youth to initiate change, be not afraid to do something they believe in, and be true to themselves and their faith as she graced the launching of the Ninoy Aquino commemorative stamps during her late husband’s 76th birth anniversary at De La Salle University in Manila. November 29, 2008: Aquino attended the gala night of “Cory the Musical" at the Meralco Theater. Lourdes “Bing" Pimentel, the wife of Senator Nene Pimentel, produced the said musical. Stage actress Isay Alvarez played the lead role. December 22, 2008: At the book launch of former House Speaker Jose de Venecia’s biography, Aquino asked Estrada for forgiveness for participating in the Edsa II uprising that led to his ouster. Aquino made her statement in Estrada’s presence at the Podium mall in Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Her apology earned mixed reactions from political personalities. May 4, 2009: A team of doctors led by French surgeon Joel Leroy performed surgery (laparoscopic colectomy) on Aquino to remove parts of her colon. May 7, 2009: Aquino was discharged from the Makati Medical Center following the surgery. June 23, 2009: Aquino was confined due to "poor appetite." July 1, 2009: The former president was moved out of the intensive care unit (ICU) and was transferred to a private room. Her grandson, Jiggy Aquino-Cruz, said his grandmother asked for ice cream. July 2, 2009: The Aquino family issued a statement saying that they are entrusting everything to God. Makati Medical Center spokesperson Dr. Eric Nubla said the hospital will no longer issue medical bulletins about Aquino's condition, as per her family's request. Aquino's spokesperson, Deedee Siytangco, said the former President was stable and conscious, and that Aquino's family had been taking turns watching over her. Siytangco also said Aquino was no longer undergoing chemotherapy. July 1-9, 2009: Aquino's family, friends and supporters held a novena at the Sto. Niño de Paz Chapel in Greenbelt, Makati to pray for her healing. On the last day of the novena, Aquino's nephew Rapa Lopa said Aquino is slowly recovering: "My cousins told me that she is now taking small portionis of food to supplement the fluids being administered to her." Lopa also extended the Aquino family's thanks to all those who prayed for Aquino's healing. Several other masses were held for Aquino in subsequent days. July 11, 2009: In an interview aired over GMA's Startalk, Kris Aquino said her mother managed to walk and sit down on July 10. But she is uncertain if Cory is recovering or not. "Well, I wish I could say that [she's getting better] but no," she said. "Kami sa family we accept na [We in the family accept that] all is in God's hands." July 13, 2009: In an e-mail sent to GMA News, Kris Aquino clarified reports that her mother chose to stop undergoing chemotherapy. "We wanted to clarify that Mom didn’t choose to discontinue her chemotherapy, she was too weak to have more chemo done. Our Mom has never been a quitter, and her spirit is the strongest I’ve ever witnessed because of her deep faith in God." Siytangco disclosed that Aquino's condition is stable, and that the former President tried to eat a cupcake. July 19, 2009: In an e-mail sent to GMA News, Kris Aquino said they (the Aquino family) have been told that "it's only a matter of time". Disclosing that Aquino was already in pain, Kris asked for prayers: "Please pray with us that she be spared of more pain." July 23, 2009: Pope Benedict XVI offered prayers for Aquino. Aquino's friends and supporters urged the public to tie yellow ribbons as a show of support for the ailing former President and democracy icon. July 24, 2009: The Aquino family requested that only announcements coming from them regarding the former President's condition be given credence by the public. The Aquino family made the request amid false reports that former President Aquino had passed away. Just that morning, crowds attending a healing mass for Aquino at the Manila City Hall broke into tears when former Supreme Court associate justice Adolf Azcuna erroneously announced that Aquino had died. The British Embassy had also apologized for a premature statement expressing condolences to the Aquino family. July 27, 2009: Sen. Noynoy Aquino disclosed that his mother's cancer has spread to her liver and other organs; her condition remains table. July 28, 2009: Sen. Noynoy Aquino said Mrs. Aquino's condition has become "guarded"; her blood pressure has been fluctuating. July 30, 2009: Aquino's supporters began a 40-hour prayer vigil (quarant'ore) for her at the EDSA Shrine. August 1, 2009, 3:18 a.m.: Aquino died of cardiorespiratory arrest. August 1, around 5 a.m.: Sen. Noynoy read out an official statement announcing President Aquino’s death. Her body was brought to the Heritage Memorial Park afterwards. August 1, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Volleys of cannon fire were heard at 30-minute intervals at Camp Aguinaldo, the highest military honor the Armed Forces of the Philippines gave former AFP commander-in-chief Aquino. Cannon fire salutes were also heard in 10 major camps across the country. President Arroyo signed Proclamation 1850, setting a 10-day period of national mourning. All flags at all government offices here and abroad are to be flown half-staff. She also cut short her US trip to pay last respects. August 1, around 3 p.m.: A sudden downpour greeted the arrival of Aquino’s remains at the La Salle Greenhills gymnasium. August 1, 5 p.m.: Public viewing of President Aquino’s remains started. August 2, 2009: Aquino’s burial day on August 5 was declared a non-working holiday.