Monday, September 20, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
It actually started the Friday (Jul 16) before. I was having trouble breathing. More than usual. My hubby wanted to take me to the emergency room already but I didn't want to go to the hospital in Orlando. I was ok as long as I didn't move. I got out of breath really fast. As in 5 minutes of walking would get me panting. When just that Monday I had walked at least an hour before I got out of breath.
We arrived home from Florida Saturday evening. I called my doctor Sunday after church and told her I had this trouble breathing. So she had me go to the ER.
They started me on antibiotics. They suspected pneumonia. After a couple of days and numerous tests, it actually wasn't pneumonia. They said that the cancer had spread all over the right lung only the left lung is functioning. So they took me off the antibiotic. My doctor has me on iron and folic acid supplements. She wants me back on chemo...
They say the reason why I've lost my voice is because something (probably tumors) is pressing on nerves that control the vocal chords. These nerves start at the lungs.
Since then, I've been working from home to minimize physical activity. My 2 moms are here to help take care of both me and Burke. It's all working out.
I've also had to start on pain medication. Percocet 3x a day. I can't avoid it anymore.
I told my cousin all this over the phone and she asked me how I felt about it... It is what it is. I'm still alive so I still have hope. I'm not going to live my life in fear and depression. I have too much to live for. So I live (quite happily, I might add).
Sunday, July 18, 2010
We were at DisneyWorld July 10 - 17. We had the best time. We stayed at one of the Disney Resorts. It was pricey but the perks were worth it!
July 11 was Burke's 8th birthday. We went to church first at 9:30am. Then off to the Magic Kingdom by 11am. Our biggest surprise for her was dinner with the princesses at Cinderella's castle! First, we got our picture taken with Cinderella. It was like you were really talking to her. I had fun meeting her. We had a wonderful dinner and Snow White, Belle, Ariel and Princess Aurora all stopped by the table so we can take more pictures. During dessert, they did the fireworks and we could all see it from the window. We couldn't help thinking, this is only day 1!!! We were at the park at least until midnight (Magic Hours - resort perk). We were up to our eyeballs in Disney Magic!
We visited all 4 parks - Animal Kingdom, Epcot & Hollywood Studios. We had a blast!!! The dining plan was so worth it.
At EPCOT, we had lunch with princesses again (Akershus - I actually liked this better). Burke did the Kim Possible Adventure where she got a "cell phone" that she got clues from. It's like a treasure hunt. She loved it.
At Animal Kingdom, we liked the ride with the Yeti. Burke liked that too. She's turning out to be a coaster freak like her parents. I danced at the street party in the Africa section. (Herve, now I know why you love it there!) The Safari ride was awesome as well.
We took a day-off. Wednesday, we stayed in the hotel room to rest. Burke and I swam in the pool. We watched Cirque Du Soleil at Downtown Disney that night. That was an experience in itself. My jaw hit the floor on the first stunt. I watched the whole show with my mouth open. They have the biggest Disney merchandise store Ive ever seen in Downtown Disney. Burke and I checked it out. At first we couldn't find the girls section so we asked someone. It was in the back. And it's called the "Princess Section". OMG!!!
It rained the day we went to Hollywood Studios. Bummer. Some tours and attractions were closed. We didn't get to see Fantasmic (2 hour line!!!). So, we didn't enjoy this as much as the the other parks. Tower of Terror was our favorite ride in this park!!!
We did a Luau at the Polynesian. Dinner and a show. Loved it!
To sum up, we had an awesome time. I'm so glad I got to share Burke's first time to Disney with her. I had only been to Disneyland before. All of us just loved it - except maybe for Mike's toes which had mega blisters. Although he says they were worth it.
Oh, I'd like to thank all those who helped make this trip possible. Thank you so much for the unexpected blessings!
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
I've been trying to figure out why I love Airbender so much. It's based on a cartoon series by NickToons (Avatar: The Last Airbender). Even if they've had to really shorten Book 1, all important elements are present and I can't wait to see the next 2 Books brought to live-action.
So, what's so great about it? First of all - the concept of "bending". There are 4 nations - Air, Water, Earth and Fire. Some talented citizens of each nation has the ability to control their native element with martial arts. Absolutely awesome to behold! Watch the sequence where Aang (and the gang) free the Earthbenders against the Fire nation troops. All 4 bending elements are used.
In every generation, there is born an Avatar that can control all elements. He keeps balance in the world. The Last Airbender is Aang's story.
The truth is, I'm a big fan of the cartoon and it spills over to the movie. If I had not seen the cartoon, I'm not sure if I'd love the movie so much. I love the cartoon so much because of the cosmic truths told in the story. There's a lot of Eastern Mysticism around the story but the depth of the stories and the philosophy around it is amazing.
What's missing in the movie?
Aang's childhood. In the cartoon, he's a silly kid. He laughs a lot and loves games. He did not want the responsibility of being the Avatar get in the way of that. And it was a big part of his development into the Avatar.
Sokka. He was such a big personality in the cartoon. Since they removed the comedy, it seemed they removed Sokka as well.
Music. The cartoon always had ambient music and sound that was distinct to the series / book.
They changed the pronunciation of some characters names. Aang, Iroh... It was weird.
I hope the other Airbender movies get made and incorporate more Cosmic Truths. I hope it touches hearts like the cartoon did mine.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Monday, June 07, 2010
Kiss me goodbye
I am defying gravity
And you wont bring me down!
I'm through accepting limits
''cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
UPDATE: I've sent the report to FUDA. They said that the liver tumor has improved. But they cannot tell with the lung tumors without seeing the scans. I'll be sending those with the PET scan results (in DVD) next week.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Sunday, May 02, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I'm just waiting for them to pick me up for my procedure. The "Please be fasting" sign on my bedside reminding me not to have the juicy ripe mango in the fridge.
TV - I'm watching too much. A lot of TFC (The Filipino Channel). One thing I do appreciate is that they sign off at 1am. They play the national anthem and stop broadcasting. That's unheard of in the US. They want to be green? How about signing-off TV stations for 4 hours at night? Who watches infomercials anyway? Is the cost (in dollars and environmental costs) really worth 24 hour entertainment?
I do miss the Philippines. It's summer there now. (It's all I see on TV!) Mangoes are ripe. I miss sitting under the shade of another tree (Mango trees have a LOT of ants on them) while eating mangoes. Sweet or sour. While there's liempo (pork belly) on a grill nearby... ooooohhhh! FOOD TRIP!!!
Or a dip in the beach. Wonderful saltwater soothing the senses. Fresh fish! So fresh you can eat it raw! You buy them from the fisherman directly!
Now, I am regretting not passing by Manila while I'm here in the area. But I'm glad I'll see my cousin Tel in Hong Kong if only for a few days.
Actually, I don't regret it too much not going home at this time. It's election season. Philippine politics makes my skin crawl.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Something funny happened on the way to x-ray. First thing Sat morning, a nurse came by to take me to the x-ray section downstairs. SOP for lung procedures to make sure there is no extra air or liquid in the lungs. (There was none.) Anyway, I needed to go to the toilet so I stood up. The nurse looked shocked. (This is significant in a later entry.)
When I was ready, I rode on my wheelchair. At the x-ray station, I stood up and next thing I knew, my pants fell to my knees. My nurse again was shocked and surprised. I really can't understand why they give me XL pjs. Not even for asian standards will I fit in those. Apparently, I did not draw the drawstring enough. My nurse did that for me and fixed me to look decent before leaving me at the x-ray station.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I was both sad and shocked to hear about Cheng's sickness from Ina because she was one of my hardworking swimmers before. I told Ina that she's such a work-horse and will never complain during a workout... I even told ina that she was the first "tri-athlete" i know even though that sport was not even invented yet when Cheng was with the Gators... She was so fit but medyo on the "healthy" side naman... (Yes, I was chunky.)
But the bright side is that Cheng is at the right place. At Fuda, they have a very good "healing rate" for individuals 50yrs. and under. Before you go to Fuda, be sure to stock-up on your toiletries(toilet paper, soap, etc.), towel, rice cooker, patis, toyo, (condiments) vinegar, etc.. It will be your 2nd home coz they will only provide for the room, bed, tv..just the basic amenities. Food is NOT INCLUDED even for the patient, but they have the contact nos. of the different restuarants(pizza hut, local chinese food restos, etc.) that will delivered to your room. Some are very cheap but some are a bit expensive. It really depends on the budget.
The first time we were there, we ordered our food from the restaurant which cooks only boiled food. Based on the literature that they had in our room, cancer is caused by the food that we eat that is why their method of preparing the food is cancer-free. Its even endorsed by Fuda. But as the days went by and we were able to learn how to ride the bus, we started to buy our food outside. This was much cheaper and had a lot of variety.. typical chinese cuisine-yumyum! They have a common kitchen per floor - but all it has was a wash basin and hot water dispenser. That's why we had to buy our own rice cooker which also doubles as our soup maker since we saw the chinese nurses using it this way. I don't know which Fuda you will be staying at. The "old" fuda is very near the "downtown" part of that area, and there are many eating places nearby. OR the "new fuda" where we stayed only had a few restos, but there is one which sells 2 viands plus rice for only 11rmb...
What we like about Fuda is that the patient to doctor ratio is very low. Unlike here in Manila where 1 doctor caters to hundreds of patients depending on how famous he is. There at Fuda, they have 5-7 doctors per floor! And each floor, I think, only hasw around 7-10 patients... Then every morning, the nurses and doctors make it a point to visit each patient as a group. I think daily at 8am we had 7 nurses in our room all reassuring my dad that he's gonna be fine. They even told jokes(in simple english) and this made my dad very happy. Then at around 9am, the doctors' group would arrive. Around 5 of them - it was like a "flag ceremony"...we can ask them anything about my dad's condition and they have the answers ready. Of course there will be a translator per floor just in case the doctors will have a hard time talking to us in english...our translator was an Indonesian married to a Chinese. She's very sweet and very helpful... Sometimes she would even get us what we need.
We also had to do our own laundry "by hand" as there was no washing machine available in our room. Only the suites had the washing machines available in the rooms. Since we were on a tight budget, we had to hand-wash our clothes. Do get a room which has a balcony where you could hang your clothes. I think we paid 360rmb/day for that room. They already have a place to hang your clothes there as they don't have machine-dryers there also...everything "air-dry" .
They have internet connection in the room at 10rmb per day but its not "high speed"...your Magic Jack will not work properly. The voice will be choppy and garbled because of the slow speed...no wi-fi also...i will email you (our nurse's) email ad so that you can already communicate with her even before you arrive...
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Feb 2006, I was diagnosed with Stage 3b Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer despite the fact that I never smoked. For four years now, I've been going through chemotherapy. I've tried all the FDA approved drugs. When this therapy looses effectivity, my next option is to re-use the drugs I've used before. It's less likely that they'll cure me since they didn't the first time.
Knowing this, I looked around for other options. I found a cancer hospital in China that has been quite effective in helping metastatic cancer. I did my research. I actually talked to a couple of patients who have been there. I also corresponded with the hospital via e-mail. I'd like to try their therapy.
Needless to say, my insurance will not cover this treatment. I need about $30,000 for this trip. Here are ways you could help:
1) Breathe T-shirts
I'm selling T-shirts that say "Breathe". To remind everyone what a privilege each breath is.
2) Ebay Auctions (still setting this up)
3) send paypal donations to: xyzHopes@gmail.com
If you want to send me a check directly, e-mail me and I'll consider giving you my address. :-)
4) Join my Facebook page (search for xyzHopes) or visit my webpage
5) Help me spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and word of mouth.
Prayers (or good healing vibes sent my way) are also very much appreciated.
Thank you so much for your help. I pray that you may be blessed a hundred-fold for your generosity of spirit.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Here’s some background on Fuda Cancer Center.
Location: Guangzhou, China
1. Cryo surgery-Cryo surgery is a method to freeze the tumor directly. We can use it for primary cancer and the metastasis. If the tumor near the big artery or important organ, it is dangerous to do the cryo surgery. We will give iodine seeds implantation instead. Iodine seeds implantation is one kind of local radiation inside the tumor.
2. Local chemo-Local chemo uses a tube to look for the artery, which supply the tumor. Then we inject the chemo medicine directly inside the tumor. Its' does is less than general chemo,but the side effect is less than general chemo. And chemo medicine can work much better inside the tumor.
3. Immunotherapy-Immunotherapy is the treatment for the whole body. We use different ways together. First, subcutaneous injection with multiple nonspecific vaccine; second, injection ad acumen with Interleukin-2; third, DC+CTL cells immunotherapy; fourth, some medicine orally. The treatment is especially good for preventing metastasis and recurrence, slowing the growth of cancer, improving general health, and boosting the immune system after the effects of chemo therapy.
DC+CTL cell immunotherapy; Four times Subcutaneous injection with multiple nonspecific vaccine and injectio ad acumen with Interleukin-2. Take low dose Naltrexone 2.5mg (antagonist of recipient of opioid ) orally every day for two months.
Typically 3-4 weeks.
Target travel date: April
Estimated cost: $25,000
Next step: fund raising
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Week 1: Heavy treatment (Cisplatin). Feel terrible. Nausea. Fatigue. Vomiting (that's improved a little over time).
Week 2 and 3: Mondays feel blech. Navalbine. Feel better Tue onward.
Week 4: breather
Through it all, life has still been wonderful. Another Christmas season... another new year. How long can I keep this up?
I'm on my 5th regimen. According to my doctor, there are no more FDA approved regimens after this. Note: insurance only pays for FDA approved regimens. She might be able to find another from the archives, but that means older drugs...
Drugs don't stay effective forever. I was on Alimta/Avastin for a year and a half before that regimen started loosing efficacy. I've just passed my 1 year mark with Cisplatin/Navalbine last Dec.
Early in December, my brother told me he saw this news article in The Filipino Channel (TFC - ABS-CBN) about Fuda Cancer Center in China. They supposedly have been successful with metastatic cancer without using traditional chemotherapy.
The life of a young, Asian, non-smoking female living with lung cancer. It's not just about my health though, I write just to write. It's oddly therapeutic.
- April 30 - feeling much better
- April 29 - last procedure - details
- April 28 - Cryosurgery (lung - anterior lobe)
- April 27 - noon - Naudlot - No mall :-(
- April 26 - can't wait for my break
- April 25 - Church
- April 25 - 10 am - Movies and books
- April 24 - 8pm - My first jaunt outside
- April 24 - 3pm - untethered
- April 23 - 6pm - youth advantage
- April 23 - a little sore but otherwise ok
- April 22 8am - cryosurgery (liver)
- April 21 - wanderings
- April 20 - Please be fasting
- April 19 - still recovering
- April 17 - 18 - recovering from cryo
- April 16 - Cryosurgery right lung posterior lobe
- April 15 - Treatment plan
- April 14 - PET scan
- April 13 - settling in
- April 11 - en route
- April 10 - Stop over: SF
- April 9 - Leaving On A Jetplane
- ► April (23)