'Dolphy held my hand,' says Zsa Zsa

Posted at 09/07/12 9:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- Zsa Zsa Padilla's vital signs reflected her calm throughout her five-and-a-half hour operation, and she owed it to the "presence" of her partner of 24 years, the late film icon Dolphy.

In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News, Padilla said she took news of her tumor
being benign as a "surprise" from Dolphy, and as "a sign from God."

Sabi ko, 'Lovey, we're going in na, okay? Hold my hand,'" the singer-actress told ABS-CBN News on Friday, recounting having undergone surgery at the Cedars Sinai Hospital in the United States to remove a tumor in her kidney, later ruled to be benign.

A little over a month after Dolphy passed away, Padilla was reported to have been diagnosed with Stage 1 kidney cancer.

"I don't know if it was just me, but I felt a little bit of tingle here, sa tatlong fingers ko, and for me, it was a good sign that he was there. And I was so calm all throughout the whole thing," Padilla said, referring to her successful operation.

For the 48-year-old singer, dubbed the "Divine Diva," her constant "communication" with the late veteran actor gives her enouragement to face any ordeal.

"Always, all the time, every single day, I still talk to him. I think if you have faith na makakasama ko siya sa lahat lahat ng pinagdaanan ko sa buhay, it makes you feel more confident, you're not alone in anything that you go through," she said.

Sigh of relief

Aside from drawing strength from her memory of Dolphy, Padilla also finds her motivation to overcome any threat to her well-being in her daughters.

The actress-singer has two daughters with Dolphy, Zia and Nicole; and another, her eldest, Karylle, from a past relationship.

"It was a sign for a miracle for me because of all of the prayers," Padilla said of her tumor being benign. "And I feel so happy, I feel so blessed, that my girls and I don't have to worry about it."

Having overcome her family's latest crisis, Padilla said she is "raring to go back to work."

Before she was initially diagnosed with cancer, the Kapamilya singer resumed performing on the Sunday concert variety program "ASAP 2012."

Padilla is expected to return to television shortly, after arriving home Friday from her successful surgery.