[PHOTO -Zsa Zsa Padilla with Dr. Vicki Belo who is traveling with her. ‘She is my angel,’ says Zsa Zsa]

MANILA, AUGUST 13, 2012 (PHILSTAR) FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo - Tomorrow night, newly-widowed Zsa Zsa Padilla will fly to Los Angeles with Dr. Vicki Belo on a PAL flight to seek a second opinion from doctors at a Beverly Hills hospital.

“I’m going there with the permission of my doctors here,” Zsa Zsa told Funfare in an exclusive interview over lunch yesterday at Romulo’s Café (Scout Tobias corner Scout Lazcano, Quezon City).

You see, even while her late beloved Dolphy was fighting for his life for more than two years, going in and out of the Makati Med where he finally succumbed to COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) last July 10, Zsa Zsa said that she has been in pain but kept it from Dolphy so he wouldn’t be worried.

Diagnosis: A growth in her kidney almost as big as a golf ball.

“I have a high tolerance for pain so I didn’t take any medication,” said Zsa Zsa who, still deeply grieving, managed to resume shooting for I Do Bidoo Bidoo (inspired by the songs of The APO just as the hit musical Mamma Mia! was based on ABBA hits) for Unitel Pictures (in partnership with Studio 5) after Dolphy’s burial. “The pain at my lower back can sometimes be so unbearable but still, I refuse to take a pain-killer.”

Explained Dr. Vicki (who volunteered to foot the bill), “Zsa Zsa is suffering from scoliosis, so the CT scan cannot penetrate the spot where the growth is. It’s not advisable naman for her to be opened up kaagad because it could be something serious at baka mag-spread. But we’re praying that it’s not. That’s why Zsa Zsa agreed to go to the States to seek a second opinion.”

“We just want to be very sure,” added Zsa Zsa who sports a foot-long scar at her back from a surgery on her scoliosis a few years ago. “I was born not only with scoliosis, which runs among the Padilla women, but also with something wrong in my urethra. I thought nga that I couldn’t bear a child. Thank God, naka-dalawa ako” (referring to daughter Karylle from her first failed marriage and Zia by Dolphy).

The diagnosis came now that Zsa Zsa (along with Dolphy’s children and relatives) has yet to recover from the Comedy King’s death. Oops! Correction, please: You never recover from such a tragedy; you don’t get over it, you just have to learn to live with it. Zsa Zsa’s stepchildren are around to comfort her.

[PHOTO -Zsa Zsa (sixth from left) with her co-stars in Unitel Pictures/Studio 5’s I Do, Bidoo Bidoo including (from left) Gary Valenciano, Ogie Alcasid, Kiray Celis, Neil Coleta, Eugene Domingo, Sweet Plantado and Frenchie Dy (with three kiddie stars).]

“I’m missing Lovey,” admitted Zsa Zsa in the verge of tears. “Alone in our room, I would talk to him. I know that he’s there, listening. How I wish nga that he would show himself to me, no matter how fleeting. Basta gusto ko lang siyang makita even if I know that he’s happy in the bosom of the Lord.”

Zsa Zsa is displaying her undying love for Dolphy via a tattoo of LOVEY (her favorite moniker of endearment for Dolphy) on her left wrist, with a small heart at the tip of it.

“That’s how Dolphy would sign the name. The tattoo artist reproduced it very beautifully.” (Some of Dolphy’s sons and grandsons now also carry Dolphy memorabilia [his profile, etc.] on their bodies, with the logo of “RVQ,” the name of Dolphy’s movie company, tattooed on Zia’s nape.) “Zia is inconsolable,” said Zsa Zsa who is into the five stages of grieving. “I am in the denial stage and Zia isn’t even on stage one. Talagang dinidibdib niya.”

Also deeply affected is Karylle because, “You know,” said Zsa Zsa, “she is haunted by this fear that…’What if I lose my mother? Or a parent?’ Alam mo na.”

At the moment, Zsa Zsa is in the process of sorting out Dolphy’s personal effects, starting with his vast collection of watches (Rolex, etc.), most of which were Zsa Zsa’s gifts to him.

“Every item reminds me of him,” said Zsa Zsa, “and then I start crying again.”

On the 40th day (Aug. 18) after Dolphy’s death, Zsa Zsa will still be in L.A. so she plans to commemorate it with Dolphy’s relatives based in the States. There will also be a TV special (presumably airing on ABS-CBN), the shooting of which would be often interrupted because Zsa Zsa kept on breaking down.

“Like what happened when Dolphy was fighting for his life,” said Dr. Vicki, “we are also requesting people to pray for Zsa Zsa’s recovery. We’re hoping and praying that it’s not as serious as we are suspecting.”

On top of what Zsa Zsa called “my bucket list” is to travel to places that she and Dolphy haven’t been to.

[PHOTO- Zsa Zsa showing off her ‘Lovey’ tattoo on her left wrist.]

“We had been to several places but there were more that we wanted to visit,” said Zsa Zsa, “like Cambodia, South Africa, ang dami pa! My regret is that hindi natuloy ang plano namin ni Dolphy to go on a tour of Egypt, take a boat ride on the Nile, and visit the Holy Land. Hindi namin nagawa ‘yon.”

More on her “bucket list:” Make more movies, record more albums, write a screenplay and if possible direct a documentary if not a movie, and write her biography.

“But that will come later,” said Zsa Zsa. “Ang dami pang mangyayari sa buhay ko. Ang dami pa!”

(Note: For more on Zsa Zsa Padilla, tune in to Startalk this afternoon at 2:30, after Eat, Bulaga! on GMA 7. Among the other “hot” features is a group interview with the stars of Expendables 2, led by Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham.”)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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