After bout with cancer, Timmy Cruz back with a heart full of songs
One day in 2016, while on a leisurely walk out in the sun, Timmy Cruz felt a jolt, “like a strike of lightning,” that had her sitting down and wondering whether or not she was having a heart attack.
The sensation eventually passed. She didn’t think much of it. But it happened again three days later, this time while exercising. It was then that the singer-actress decided to see a doctor. There was a lump in one of her breasts. And a biopsy confirmed what she had been dreading: It was cancer.
“No matter how strong I was, hearing that made me feel like everything was falling apart,” Timmy recalled at a press conference hosted by her new talent agency, Artist Circle.
The mass was small, just “the size of a peppercorn,” but after seeking multiple medical opinions, she felt that the best course of action was to undergo a mastectomy. It was a “dramatic moment” for her. “As a woman, doing that really is something,” she said, adding that what you do with your body is ultimately your decision.
“Doctors will give you options, but it’s still you who will make the decision,” said Timmy, who now has an implant in place of the breast she bid “goodbye to.” “I didn’t want to have anything false inside my body, but this happened. This is what was given to me, so I must accept it.”
Self-care and reflection
She had to leave “Once Again,” the primetime series she was part of at the time, and subsequently take a hiatus. At one point, she felt like her world was crumbling before her eyes. But before long, she realized she could take this setback as an opportunity for self-care and reflection.
“I decided that it would be a good time to take a break and take good care of myself … It was my choice to sit back, relax and enjoy what I should be enjoying,” said Timmy, the voice behind the 1980s hit songs “Boy,” “Tingin,” and “Joke Lang.”
She lived in Tagaytay for a while and busied herself by practicing meditation and singing at Brahma Kumaris, an organization that offers meditation classes. It was also during this hiatus that Timmy fulfilled her longtime dream of being a songwriter.
“Even if I wasn’t singing mainstream, I was singing within the meditation community … at retreats, seminars. I was active,” said Timmy, who was approached by producers from Flip Music upon hearing her compositions at one of her sessions.
“They asked me if the song I was singing had been released. I said no, ‘Dito lang.’ They told me they want to bring my music out there. Next thing I knew, I was signing a contract and the songs I wrote while on vacation were out on streaming platforms,” Timmy related. “I fulfilled my dreams of becoming a composer.”
While she has had her share of hits, Timmy always felt that there was something missing. “How could I call myself a real artist if I only interpret other people’s songs? Yes, I’m a singer, I recorded songs. But I didn’t write them. Parang kulang,” she said.
Curiously, one thing she ended up enjoying was writing Christmas songs. She has released four of them so far, including her latest release, “All I Want is You.” And who to better ask for advice than Jose Mari Chan?
“I saw him at a restaurant and came up to greet him. And I told him, ‘You know what, I’m following your footsteps with Christmas songs. He couldn’t help but laugh. He just told me to keep writing and composing. As long as it’s there, just let it all out. Now, every time I release a Christmas song, I send it to him and ask for his advice,” she said.
Now, as she returns to show biz, Timmy brings with her—not lofty dreams or goals—but the overflowing joy in her heart.
“I’m not here because I want to do major things. I just want to share the peace, happiness, zeal and good vibes I have in me. That’s what I want for our industry, too. It may sound simplistic, but it all starts from within. You may say you’re fine, but how are you, really, on the inside?” she said.
“A lot of people are depressed and sad. And I hope I can help by sharing with them my story of hope, happiness and peace … God is really there and is always good,” she said.