CHRIS de Chavez was a picture of courage as he and his family survived its battle with the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.
"I beat this. I had the will power to beat it. Even though I was scared for my mom, scared for my dad, scared for my uncle, I knew this virus wasn't gonna beat me and my family," the Fil-American gunner in the MPBL said.
De Chavez bravely shared his experience on Friday's Chooks-to-Go Live, going into detail on what was easily the toughest challenge he faced in his life.
With the Philippines enforcing an enhanced community quarantine back in March, de Chavez opted to go home to his parents in West Orange, New Jersey and be with his daughter, who was in Florida, during these trying times.
But even before he could be reunited with his child, the Balanga player said that their household got infected by the dreaded COVID-19.
"It all started the first week of April. My mom's a nurse for 30 years in our local hospital and she's a real frontliner, she goes to work everyday knowing there are COVID-19 patients she has to deal with. She's exposed everyday and sometimes, things like that are unavoidable," he said of her mother Lilia, the chief nurse at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.
"One day, she got home and she wasn't feeling well. We assumed it's COVID-19 automatically even before the testing and my mom got it. I stayed cause I told her, 'If you're sick, I'll take care of you.' A few days later, I got sick and I was bound to get sick cause I was doing all the stuff for her."
It wasn't long before de Chavez' dad Jun and his brother Nico also got the virus.
"It spread like wildfire in the house," he said.
All four got tested but the results did not come out until a week after. De Chavez shared how he felt upon learning he got the virus.
"That first week I got it, it was super tough. I first thought it was just a mild fever, but it kept me bedridden for the whole day, trying to sleep, taking Tylenol all day, and then my body started aching," he shared.
Chris' father, apparently, had it worse.
"I worried about my dad a lot. He was really sick and I was hearing him moan and groan in bed. My dad didn't sleep for five days straight. He took Nyquil for two days and he still couldn't sleep. His body aches on top of the fever and nothing's working for him."
But the worst, however, is still yet to come.
"The second week, that's when I started feeling congestion on my throat, that this could be real serious. My mom would always complain that she can't breathe, and the same with my dad. That's when we started worrying a little bit, that we had to go to the hospital," said Chris.
Rather than admit themselves to the hospital, the de Chavezes quarantined themselves in their own household.
"You can go to the hospital and still die from it. It's just super unpredictable. You can have flu-like symptoms and the next day, you can't breathe," he said.
"My mom has experience and she knows that if we go to the hospital, we have to wait for a longer amount of time, probably get the virus to the other people. The whole emergency room, people think they're getting COVID-19. We just never know what we can get and we just decided to stay home."
Luckily for the de Chavez family, Lilia was well-trained to tend to their pains despite her own struggles.
"She had all the experience in the world and she already knows what to do, what medicines to give us," said Chris.
"She's just a motherly figure. Even though she was sick, she was checking on me, my dad, and my brother. My mom truly is the biggest blessing. Even though she was infected and she was really weak, she still had that will power to check on us. We helped each other through this whole process."
When all else didn't work, the family went herbal. De Chavez shared that all four of them subjected themselves to salt therapy, where they inhailed the warm air from a salty water-soaked towel, as well as drinking ginger tea.
"My dad is from Batangas and we know back there that these things work," he said.
Barely a month later, the de Chavezes are survivors, living proofs that no matter how dire this crisis is, everyone can recover from it - even if you're in New Jersey, one of the hardest hit states in the US.
So much so that come next week, Lilia will be back in the frontlines, helping other patients beat this virus.
"She's still recovering, but she'll start working next week and she said she'll be ready," shared the Philippines' No. 7-ranked 3x3 player.
De Chavez said that it truly was a life-changing experience for him.
"It gave me a different perspective in life and how we take just a simple blessing such as our health for granted. Sometimes, we don't even say thank you for our good health. But during these times, the most important thing is your health and your family," he said.
"It definitely changed my perspective and hopefully, we can carry these values for the rest of our lives."