Friday, May 27, 2011

My second cycle

I was just with my oncologist today.

My lab works are fine. Everything is okay, except that my Potassium is a little low. She said I could try and eat bananas but then, it might cause constipation and it will aggravate my bowel movement which is already a problem enough because of the mass. So, I think I'll just try to eat one banana a day and see if it will affect my movement.

My feet are swollen, still because of chemotherapy. She said they normally give Lasix for this problem, but she can't give it to me because it eats up some Potassium which is already low. So, all we can do now is to elevate my feet most of the time, even when I'm sleeping.

In preparation for my second cycle, I am assuming that my attention span will again be shorter, and my patience and mood will once again be affected. Since blogging takes some time and I want to do it more often, I decided to shift/use my Tumblr account. It's always been easier to post with Tumblr, so dear friends and readers, if I won't be posting here during the next few weeks, try to click on my Tumblr account which is right here.

My hair continues to fall, and a lot of them seem to fall off everyday. I know this is all part of it and even thinking of going semi-bald. But Dra. Hannah said that it would be better if I just let it fall of by itself and not opt to cut it off. So, let's see what happens. Right now, it's thinner and shorter... I'll probably take some pictures of me later on when the changes will be very significant.

Again, this is my Tumblr account.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Two weeks after cycle 1

It's been two weeks.

So, that means that I could now have my friends over to visit me... Yay!

The diarrhea after chemotherapy was long gone. My bowel movement seems to be okay most of the time. My appetite is not a problem anymore, although I still have to be choosy.

My oncologist said that my hair would start to fall off, and she was right. It started three days ago, and lots of them are falling, especially when I am taking a bath. It's not that I am so vain about my hair. It's just that I hate falling hair especially when taking a bath. But as they say in Dubai, "What to do, yani?" So yesterday, I asked my sister to cut it a little shorter. I didn't want to have a hairdresser over. Because she might be a little rough in handling hairs, and one wrong pull and half of them goes off.

But I am already thinking of going semi-bald.

The pins and needles on both my arms and feet are still there. At times, they are in so much pain that all I could do is lie down and wait until it subsides or be totally gone. I am hoping that this will be gone by the time I begin the second cycle. Because I am expecting it to be back by the time I have my second cycle. Because my oncologist said that this side effect does not come up until the second or third cycle.


The farthest that I have gone walking so far is... our gate.

I sit there almost every morning to have a dose of sunshine. I have read long ago that sunshine can help cure cancer, so I do that almost every morning. If not for the pain on both my feet, I could have been walking back and forth in our street. But I just sit bathe myself with sunshine for about fifteen or twenty minutes while I listen to the radio. AM band. That's what my dad listens to. I couldn't help get pissed off to these radio commentators who only teach the listening public to complain and raise all the negative points of the government and its system.

Oh well.

Oh. Last thing. My eyebrows are still there.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


It's been a week.

Today is supposedly my follow-up with my onco after a week, but I already went yesterday because of some discomforts.

The days after I went out of the hospital was really tough.  I had diarrhea after chemotherapy which they say is one of the effects that  had to bear with.  I was prescribed with Luperamide to stop the visits.  But you know what happens when you take those.  It's going to give you a hard time going back to doing it again normally.  So, since it was harder for me do it again, I took the aid of stool softeners and I was feeling okay by Monday. 

But the pins and needles issue on both my feet and hands are another problem.  And this was what made me visit the onco a day early.  

Expectedly, I was told that this is another effect of the drug.  I was told to double the dosage of my vitamin B complex to help me ease it out.  I just wonder how many days before these pins and needles go away.

I have been wanting to write.  But all those discomforts and pain hinders me to.  It still actually does as of now.  I guess it's just that things have been a little (only a little) better since the past few days.  I miss talking to my friends, too, but I couldn't get the mood or I quickly lose patience in talking as much as writing.  

It's a good thing that a lot of my friends understand.  There are no phone calls.  Many of my friends just send messages, text messages and e-mails saying that they are just a call away if I am already in the mood to talk.  

Thanks for understanding.  I hope this would only be for a few more days.  

Photos from the hospital

Before I make a post about the last few days, these are the photos that my classmate, Doc Mench took the day I was admitted at the hospital .

I took this out from my Facebook.  I was tagged by Doc Mench but my tag function is on private so very few or none of my friends get to see it.

These are my high school classmates: Nida, Neneth, Doc Mench and Reysie.  They were even at the hospital before I arrived.

While I was still being admitted, Dra. Hannah and Mildred arrived and later on, we were all together at the room.

At the ER, I was already instructed to wear the face mask and was also told that I had to wear it even inside my room.  I was told that either I would have to wear the mask, or the people around me inside the room had to wear it.

Later that evening, Ada, my niece-in-law by JP came to visit with her son Gem and we shared pop corn together.  I won't forget that pop corn from the plaza.  Gem was so thoughtful he left me with a pack of pastillas for the night just in case I get the craving.  I remember this kid's thoughtfulness.  I was eating pork dinner and he whispered to his mom if I was allowed to eat pork.

Still a little later that evening, my friend Boyet came by after playing badminton.  But by this time, I think I was already feeling tired and sleepy that I already lied down while talking to him.  Well, actually, I didn't have much time to talk to him because I was half-awake, half-drowsing from time to time.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The first cycle

When my onco finally arrived, she was ready to begin with the pre-meds.

I immediately asked her about the tingling sensation that I felt earlier and she said that it's a normal feeling and that it's not just with corticosteroids.  She in fact asked me if I feel the same way while she was pushing dyphenhydramine into the IV and I said yes.  This happens during the first 2-3 seconds while pushing the meds and it just vanishes.

She warned me that dyphen will make me sleepy and I didn't think so.  But it did.

I was feeling sleepy in no time at all but I was trying to fight it.  Candidly, later, my onco told me not to fight the feeling for it will bring me headaches.  So I started to drift to sleep.

And that was what I was doing the whole time of the chemo session.

I woke up several times but too sleepy to stay awake.  I couldn't remember how many times I did and fall back to sleep but I wasn't really fully awake until the chemo session is over.

I never felt anything during the whole time because I was sleeping.

I am now home.

But sadly, my onco says that my down time is two weeks and I can't allow any visitors in the house.  Too bad, huh?  But what can we do?

She also warned me that my hair might start to fall off slowly and that I shouldn't be afraid because it's normal.

She also urged me to eat and eat and eat.  Which I'm trying and doing.  I know it's going to be hard, but that's how we fight.  No matter what the fight is, we fight hard.  And we pray hard to fight hard.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Notes from the hospital

While I was waiting for my onco, I wrote a few notes down on my mobile phone's "Notes" function.

Here they are:

Still and element of Surprise

Someone gave me a good advice on what to bring while you're having chemo. A good book and good music. I had both but no time to read so I chose music.

She was right.

I was kinda set in a good mood when the shuffle mode gave me three of my fave songs amongst the playlist.
  • Angels and Devils - Dishwalla
  • Caught in the Sun - Naughty by Nature
  • Push - Matchbox 20
There were several songs filed under my "Alternative" playlist and I always look forward to these three songs when I set it on shuffle, which I almost always do. It's just a funny thing how 'shuffle' mode still kind of put an element of surprise on songs we already know in the playlist but don't know exactly when they'll play.

Tingling Sensation

I dunno if it's just coincidence. But part of the chemo preparations was IV'ing corticosteroids. So fr, there were two shots and twice I felt a sort of tingling sensation between my thighs. It doesn't feel good, I tell you. I got scared at the onset of the first splurge.

The second time the nurse came for the other shot, I sort of half-expected and kind of conditioned myself to the feeling although I was hoping that's it's not happening this time. But it did.

And I wasn't scared anymore.

But I figured I'd asked my doctor later if it's really part of it or is it just me.

Compliments from three people

Funny what I got as of the other day.

Compliments from three people. And as in anyone of us, maybe you'd feel that not during this time, not during my condition.

They said that I look good. Instead of the expected, "you lost weight" or something that doesn't sound good at all. It doesn't really sound like a compliment on these circumstances.

But don't get me wrong.

It's not like I didn't like the compliment. I do. In fact, it even lifted my spirit, and lifted it a great deal. I do like the compliments. I do. Very much so. Given this circumstance. Which I think you wouldn't understand until you get into... and pray that you don't get into... that you never get into...

Monday, May 9, 2011

The smallest things

Before the journey starts

Later today, I'll be admitted at the hospital for the preparations.  And from the way I understood it, the chemo drugs won't be IV'd until tomorrow morning.  I already know what I want for breakfast tomorrow... Jollibee pancakes...


I was already told by my doctor that my hair will fall off (but not entirely).  But, she says, it's not going to happen until after the second session.  So, I figured, like what they ask in certain documentations, your latest picture.

It's a good thing my sister got hold of the camera while we were at the Kamay ni Hesus grounds.  She took a photo of me while I was buying longganisang Lucban.  Looking back, I don't even remember when it was the last time I had a taste of this food.  And I plan to eat some more of this after my chemo session.

My onco said, I need to eat, anyway.  So be it.

And for those who are silently praying for me, I don't know who you guys are but I want to thank you anyway.  I know each of us have our own ways of handling situations.  And some of you my friends choose to stay quiet and continually pray.


I don't know how long it's going to be until my next post.  But I'll be posting as soon as I feel good enough to do so.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Ang Galing ng Pinoy!

I miss those days

A trip to Kamay ni Hesus

I wanted to do this before my first chemotherapy session on Monday.

Luckily, through the kindness of one of our friends, I was able to do it.  She lent us her car so that it would be a convenient trip.  And indeed, it was.  My friends tell me not to commute because of all the inconveniences.  I couldn't imagine how it would have been harder for me had I chosen to take that trip.


We got there early enough to choose our seats.

It's a good thing that they have a system.  All kinds of sickness are color-coded.  Upon registration, you're given this tag to pin on your chest.  The color speaks for itself.  The red shade varies according to sickness.  Red is for cancer and we get to sit in the front row.  Also, during the healing, the people on wheelchairs go first followed by the people with cancer, then the children, and so on.

Funny how I find it so ironic these days.  You get to be a priority because of your sickness.  Our sit is on the front row of the left side of the church (if you're facing the altar).  The rest of the pews are reserved for people like me who have ailments.  One sick person is allowed with one companion, so I had my dad sat beside me.  If you don't belong to any of those categories, then you get to sit on the monobloc chairs at the sides and some are outside the church.  That's where my aunt and sisters sat themselves.  The ushers and usherettes are so dedicated with what they do that they often check for people who have no idea of the system.

One thing I noticed is that many of us who are sitting on the pews (read: the sick) are well, sick.  And one thing I realized and want to share with you is:  Many of us always say that we are too busy to hear mass on Sundays.  But during this healing mass, I realized:  Your choice:  Too busy to hear mass?  Don't wait until you're sick or too sick to hear mass.

We wanted to get to the top of the Kamay ni Hesus shrine.  But there are new rules and we all did not meet it.  People who are wearing sleeveless, shorts and skirts are not allowed to go.  My dad was wearing shorts, me and my aunt are wearing sleeveless blouses and my sister is wearing a maong skirt.  We were a little disappointed but we say, we'll be back to that later... and hopefully for a thanksgiving kind of trip.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The irony of being normal

I was with my oncologist last Tuesday morning.

All the tests were normal, she said. And that gives me a go signal for my first session of chemotherapy.

So, that's the irony of being normal at this point. Normal results mean that I can go for chemotherapy. And it would have been better if normal is when your doctor says you can go home now and there's nothing to worry about.

But this time, it's different.

I was asked when I wanted to have my first session. She said it can be done this week or next, my call.

I thought for a while... then told her: Monday next week.

Because I want to go to Kamay ni Hesus first before that.

Monday, then.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


All the results are now with me.

I'll be off to show them to my oncologist today.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Word for today: Collective


Collective force.  Collective prayer.  Collective help.

I know that there are a lot of people praying for me right now.  Some have been here in our house, some have sent messages, some have even offered mass.  Collective prayer.

This week, I am overwhelmed to find out how my friends have joined hands to help me.  And it is very encouraging.  So, I tried to gather things together and see how far I can go.

And through these friends who shared what they have, it looks like this photograph above.  Small spark.  Big Spark.  It doesn't matter.  This photograph wouldn't be as bright if not for all those lights.  Collective sparks of light that is to me hope and strength.

Last Friday, I went off early to start the process.  I needed some things that will clear me for chemotherapy.  ECG, chest x-ray, 2D-Echo, and some blood works.  All was done by a little after lunchtime except for ECG.  But it's okay.  The 2D-Echo result doesn't come out until Tuesday, so I can still get it done by Monday.

The earlier I get the 2D-Echo result on Tuesday, the better.  I'll be off to my oncologist right after I get the result.  If all is well, then I guess I'll be off to my first chemotherapy session by the end of this coming week, or early next, next week.

To all of you who joined hands, my heart felt thanks and sincere gratitude.

I wouldn't have the courage to go get started if it weren't for you guys.

I couldn't post for some reasons...

It's been a while. I couldn't post for some reasons, not just the pain that every so often attacks my butt, but a couple of things here and there.


This starts on Holy Monday.

It's Holy Monday my feet was still in pain so I called my doctor. She suggested that I switched to Tramadol. I declined and said that I think that I was just not following the prescription. She also suggested that I get both my feet x-rayed because she wants to find out if the cancer is already there. I said okay and said (again) that I guess I was just not following the prescription.

Holy Tuesday. The pain was still there although it subsides every so often. But I thought that even if I am able to manage the pain, we have yet to find out what causes the pain. So, I decided that I'll go for x-ray on Wednesday. Early evening that day, the people from the hospice came. I was applying to be a member/patient since the diagnosis and this day, I got interviewed and filled out the application. The Madre De Amor Hospice Foundation is a foundation that gives palliative care to (mostly cancer) patients in the province of Laguna, and I am lucky I learned about it from a friend who is a volunteer of the foundation. When I learned about this over a year ago, I wanted to be a part of the foundation, but not as a patient. But over a year ago, posts were not open to volunteers. Anyway, this same night, two of my friends were here for a visit, they bought Mister Donuts and ensaimada and it was a happy dinner with them.

I was in the x-ray room at about 1pm Wednesday. There weren't too many people there that day and I was thinking maybe because of the occasion. It's a good thing, too, that we were told that we can wait for the result. I immediately sent the result to my doctor-friend through text and it was good to hear that it is just rayuma. I was prescribed antibiotics and Vitamin B complex. And it was a good thing to hear that it's just rayuma.

By Good Friday, I was feeling a little better. I could walk without the aid of a cane (that was hand-made by my dad for me) and I was lucky to be feeling well to join my friend Reysie. She said that there were friends who wanted to give help and she was meeting them this day. I was having second thoughts in joining here but I know that this is a chance to meet them to personally thank them for their help. And I was very thankful that I was feeling well this day.

Black Saturday was kinda black for me. I was in pain for almost the whole day. I took it as some sort of an adjustment since I switched to another pain reliever. This time, I know I wasn't wrong about the timings. It's just that I think it's just not working well for me.

By Sunday, I switched back to my old pain reliever and I was pain-free the whole day. And by this time, too, help from friends have been overwhelming.

I had a totally different plan for this holy week, if I wasn't in pain. The butt pain would have been manageable, but the pain on my feet was what stopped me from going out and doing those that I planned.

I still have to write about the week that just ended.
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