Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Still shopping

No.  Not for clothes or shoes, iPhones, iPads or other gadgets.

I'm looking for the perfect combination of pain reliever that would relieve me of pain every day.

It's been more than a week and we've been trying what's the best combination and dosage.  But to nothing at this point.

I've had heplock placed on my left wrist but it went out the next day - yesterday.  This option will make me take three ampules of the pain reliever everyday.   I think it would have been the best solution.  But considering the cost of the ampules, I have to look for another.

This next other option will save  me from buying pain relievers frequently.  I hope this works.  After the first intake, I will have to test how much time before the pain comes back, so I'll know how much do I take within a day.

Right now, it's been eight hours past and the pain isn't back yet.  I might be going for ten or twelve hours.  After figuring out how much to take everyday, then, I will have to cope with the adjustment period of about two to three weeks, depending on how my body responds to it.  During this period, there will be a lot of 'sleep days' and groggy feeling.

I'd really be praying for more colder days for the next two to three weeks.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

When are we really brave?

"Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?" he heard his own voice saying, small and far away.

And his father's voice replied to him, "That is the only time a man can be brave."

~ A Game of Thrones
   George R.R. Martin

Saturday, February 11, 2012

On Pain

"He looked at the pain, and he set himself apart from it. He saw it, examined it, identified it, corralled it. He isolated it. He challenged it. You against me? Dream on, pal. He built borders for it. Then walls. He built walls and forced the pain behind them and then he moved the walls inward, compressing the pain, crushing it, boxing it in, limiting it, beating it."

 ~ Lee Child
    Worth Dying For

How I wish it was just easy to believe this... much more do.

Friday, February 10, 2012

"But they know enough about modern medicine to know its limits."

Of course, doctors don’t want to die; they want to live. But they know enough about modern medicine to know its limits. And they know enough about death to know what all people fear most: dying in pain, and dying alone. They’ve talked about this with their families. They want to be sure, when the time comes, that no heroic measures will happen—that they will never experience, during their last moments on earth, someone breaking their ribs in an attempt to resuscitate them with CPR (that’s what happens if CPR is done right).

The rest of the article is here: How Doctors Die. It's Not Like The Rest of Us, But It Should Be. Written by Ken Murray, M.D., a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at USC.

(This was initially sent to me through e-mail by my college best friends a few days ago. Today, I saw the link at Jessica Zafra's blog.)

Changing my Rx

My doctor-friend called the other day for our Tuesday coffee time.  But as with the past few days, I couldn't, because of my back pain.  She suggested that I switched to or add another pain reliever to help me through it but I couldn't give her a definite answer.  I told her we could talk about it on our Thursday coffee time.

I then shifted the chat to the book I am currently reading.  (I wrote on one of my posts here that I wanted to stop it since I couldn't get myself engaged to it, add the fact that I am not so much into knights and kingdoms.  But she suggested that I continue.  I did.  Not only because of her suggestion but because of what happened to the story.)  She hasn't read it but saw quite a few episodes on HBO.  She asked if I already knew what happened to one of the characters and I said no.  Since she didn't want to preempt the story for me, she left it hanging, making it one of the things to look forward to on our Thursday coffee time.

Then came Wednesday.  The hospice nurse was here for a visit and when she learned about my back pain, she also suggested that I get another pain reliever. She told me that more or less, this has the same side effect as with what I am taking right now, which is constipation.  She asked why I have fears in taking morphine because she remembered suggesting this medicine a few months ago.  I told her that I was afraid that if I take it for such a long time, I fear that it would lose its effect by the time I need a stronger one.  She told me that I need not fear about this because we only have to increase the dosage in the future.

Since these two people suggested the same, I was convinced.  The hospice nurse left me a few tablets; this is part of their palliative care and one of our privileges as a member of the hospice.  She said that I only have to ask my doctor for the dosage or Rx.  This is not a problem since I was going to see my friend the very next day.

I actually became excited with the thought of changing my pain reliever since I am looking forward to days spent away from bed.

Thursday came.  I was actually looking forward to this day because of my coffee time with my friend.  I learned about what happened with one of the characters and I was excited to talk about the story with her.  But it was around this time when the pain started to creep in.  I've taken my pain reliever during breakfast and I'm supposed to be 'covered' until before lunch.  I tried to tolerate it and see if I could at least until my next dose.  But when I couldn't anymore, I sent a message to my doctor-friend and ask if I could take the new medicine and how much should I take.  When I got the Rx, I asked her if I would be well enough for our coffee time later. But she answered, 'Not sure, Ate Che. :)'

Since I was forewarned of the effects, I took a bath and had an early lunch.  I fell asleep and was relieved of the pain.

I didn't make it for our coffee time.

But I felt a lot better the rest of the afternoon.  And I look forward to more better days like it now that my Rx has been changed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sharing a part of my email to a friend

At times, I wanted to write but didn't know what to write or how to write about these things.  But since this friend of mine triggers these things that I'm finding it hard to write about, let me share a part of my email to her:

Anyway, that bukol in my puwit is not so much of a bother... although sometimes it does. The worse thing that could happen with it is when the time comes that it will really close the chance of my pooping. THAT would be a major problem. If I come close to that, my doctor-friend knows that I will have to have that stoma. I told her that ayoko na ng operations. But she said there's no other way. So, I told her... Okay, let's just talk about it later.

What's bothering me so much these days is my back pain, which is due to that rayuma they detected back in 2009 after my operation. It stops me from doing things most of the time. The sad part is uupo na nga lang ako, nahihirapan pa ako, so I spend most of my days lying down. Just checking my mails, twitter and facebook proves to be tiring for my back. I have to do it within 30 minutes, lest the back pain starts.

Well, after reading and watching a lot about cancer, there will come a time that chemotherapy will not work. It's either you give up financially or your body will not anymore respond to the treatment. The people from the hospice knows that.

As for that discharge that we don't seem to know where it is coming from, I know there could be answers... but it will take a lot of tests like blood works and CT scan (and probably more) to be able to find out. And I am guessing that probably, when I finally have the answers, I would already be broke - due to the expenses incurred on these tests - when they tell me that this comes from this part and you will need to undergo through either radiation therapy or chemotherapy AGAIN. And that is answer enough for me. hehehehe..

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hear those whispers

On conversations I have with relatives, friends and acquaintances, one of those frequently asked question was what are the symptoms that I felt or saw before I was even diagnosed with the disease.  I try to recall what they were but I couldn't really tell if they were symptoms.  I just tell them that this was how I felt and this was what I saw, but those do not necessarily mean that they were symptoms and that it holds true for every woman.

Until I saw this video.

Although I didn't have all, I've had most of these symptoms.  I want to share this so that you may know.  

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The test result

My hemoglobin test turned around a favorable result.  I need not have blood transfusion, at least not  yet.  And I wish I won't have to.  But I still have yet to see if it is inevitable considering the circumstances.

We just had to change my prescription.  Looked for a better ferrous sulfate than the one I just finished yesterday morning.

Aside from that, I am on pain management.  For pains that are here and there from time to time.  I got two meds for pain.  Since Algesia could only be taken thrice a day, I need to have another one.  That's because sometimes the pain starts to get back even before my next dose.

The weather these past few days has been a blessing.  Since I had to spend most of my days lying down, it wasn't so hot for me to have the electric fan going for the whole day.  I just needed to turn it on during those moments when it felt like hotter than usual.  It's probably what those menopausal ladies call hot flashes.  In my case, it gets a little hotter when the pain sets in at its peak.  But it's good that it only lasts for a few minutes - five tops.

The Kindle has been a lot of help, too, nowadays.  Since I couldn't spend more time on the computer sitting down, I spend  a lot of time reading while lying down.  This is when the pain is bearable for me to go on reading.  Right now, I am reading 'A Game of Thrones' by Georg R.R. Martin and having finished only 7% of the book, I am contemplating into switching to another book.  Yeah, I heard this one's a good book (in fact it was the 2011 reader's choice at, but it's just that I'm not a fan of knights and kingdoms.  I'm giving myself until I reached 10%, and if it still doesn't make sense, I know it's time to choose another.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Switching to palliative care

I was supposed to have my eighth cycle this January.  But I decided to totally stop my chemotherapy treatment.

I made the decision weeks ago, but it was hard to sit down and write about it.

The first thing I considered was of course, my financial situation.  But this is not just the issue.

There were a lot more things that led me to this decision.  But I'd rather not talk about it yet.  There are questions that come along with my treatment.  Questions that haven't been answered for a while now.  Some of my friends tell me to go to another oncologist for another opinion.  But I opted not to.  I know what they will tell me.  There's no other way but to continue with chemotherapy.

So now, I am under palliative care.

Later today, I'm going for hemoglobin test.  If the result is low, I will have to have blood transfusion.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I am not a fan of the Mission Impossible series. But I wanted to see The Ghost Protocol because of those scenes like this that were shot in Dubai; especially this one from the Burj Dubai Khalifa. 

Too bad I couldn't go to the movies. 

I'm waiting for it on DVD.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pasalubong #55: Tinapang Salinas

Pasalubong #54

My BFF and I had our bonding lunch and our bonding window shopping afterwards.  I saw this sturdy-looking shredder and it looks okay for doing the carrots everyday.  Aside from looking sturdy, it's the cheap tag attracted me.  But my BFF paid for it when we got to the counter.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Moments like this

After deciding to stop going through chemotherapy, I pray for more moments like this.

After all those months, I feel so blessed to have friends from everywhere who have been with me all throughout.  I hope to have coffee with you guys one time.  All of you and I know that this journey wouldn't have taken me this far if not for all your prayers, help and support.

I feel so blessed to still have times like these and be with the people who have been a meaningful part of my life.

*Thanks to all IV-Narra '84 for uploading the pics and to my BFF, Reysie for this wonderful 'collage.'

Friday, January 20, 2012

From Las Vegas to Lucena to Laguna.

Thank you for coming.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pasalubong #52

The guy playing piano at the LRT station

This 63-year old pianist puts up impromptu 'concert' at the LRT station.

Just yesterday, a friend told me that she was moved by this piano music that I posted several days ago, and that she was teary-eyed while listening to the piece.  She then asked me how I feel when I hear piano music.

I told her I don't feel sad nor happy.  I feel that certain kind of awe by the talent of these people.  I also feel like being transcended back in time especially when the music being played are old ones.  It's like a part of history is being shared with me, like a part of me is being taken back at that time.  

Robert Langdon: Take 3

Photo credit:
The Lost Symbol
by Dan Brown
My Rating:  ☼☼☼

I asked my Facebook friends which would it be:  Dan Brown or Elie Wiesel.  Dan Brown won.  And I guess it's just right since I've been reading a few holocaust accounts lately.

But I am not really THAT impressed with the book.  The plot is the same as that of the past two books, namely:  The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons.

It's very similar from those of the past two books. The plot goes predictable as you read along. The only thing that you have to watch out is how the puzzle will be solved and what is really the lost symbol - or what are they looking for this time. 

But, it just goes like this: an influential person is held captive. The captor wants something. This something needs to be solved and they need Robert Langdon to solve it. Then, again, there's this lady who goes with Robert as he journeys to find and solve the missing pieces. At times, it feels like the lady outsmarts him in more ways. 

Then, the climax. They are into this sacred place, with the captor, the captive, the lady and Robert - later on the authorities. 

You just have to look for what they are trying to solve this time. 

But I should say the concept of the lost symbol is brilliant.  

On Life

Half-way or almost done?

I would say:  HALF-WAY!

At Calle Arco

I've been craving for mango crepe since I can remember.  I think since I came home from Dubai.  I used to have it at my classmate's place called 1214, and it was really good.  

Now, the nearest, I guess, is at this place.

Thank you, friend, for the wonderful merienda of beef fajitos and mango crepe.  I've never been at this place before.  

Another first. 

Pasalubong #51

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

For those who love piano music

My second book about the holocaust

by Icek Kuperberg
My Rating: ☼☼☼ 

Photo credit:

This is another account of the holocaust.  This time from a man's point of view.  But for now, it matters not anymore.  Mala and Icek have both been in hell and back.  And they have their own stories to tell.  But even if it's not the same story, the similarities are stunning.

With the first book that I read, 'The Bleeding Sky,' I was half-believing that it really happened.  I remembered making a note:  "I thought that 'digging your own grave' was only at the movies... until I read this book."  And what this book did was to confirm everything that Mala told.  They both have been to Auschwitz, although Mala's account was more detailed.  I assume that she must have stayed there longer than Icek.  But again, it matters not.

Icek was only seventeen when the war broke out.  Just like the others, he was transferred from one camp to another from time to time, including Auschwitz, which they considered the death camp.  His ability with metal works gave him extra food to stay stronger - and therefore to stay alive.  He was lucky to have a boss who was kind enough to do things for him that any ordinary German of that time wouldn't do for a Jew.  At the point of almost being totally blind, his boss saved him from sure death.  Because during that time, as Mala said in her own account, "if you're not fit enough to work, you're not fit enough to live."

The one thing in common with Icek and Mala is that they are both lucky.  I wouldn't say that they are both knowing for there are a lot of instances that the stroke of luck saved them both from sure death.  The other thing is their unbelievable fight to stay alive.

They risked their lives in order to live.

Pasalubong #50

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My high school classmates

We were forty-nine in our section: IV-Narra Batch 1984.  But these were the only ones who made it last night.  Some were out of the country.  One was leaving out of the country yesterday for a job project.  Others have other matters to attend to.

I wish there were a lot more who made it.

But it was really, really fun!

I wish we can do this more often.

A list like no other

Post-It found hanging up at the desk of a co-worker who recently lost his long battle with cancer. 

Original photo found here:

More stories here:  Ten Most Powerful Cancer Stories and Photos of 2011

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mala's dreams vs reality

The Auschwitz Camp Entrance (Image from this site)

"In Auschwitz, I would often dream about my home.  It's interesting that in that hell many of my dreams were quite pleasant.  I would tell everyone that I lived for those dreams.  The time I was awake was the real nightmare."

The Bleeding Sky 
as told to Louis Brandsdorfer

Her sunset and mine

as told to Louis Brandsdorfer
My Rating: ☼☼☼☼

"Toward the evening the sky took on the same color as the fires.  Everything took on that color, the sky, the buildings, even the ground.  Just before the sunset the red in the sky would deepen to the color of blood.  I imagined the sky bleeding.  I imagined the heavens suffering with us.  To this day, a red sunset reminds me of the bleeding sky of Auschwitz."
This is the first book that I read about the Jews.  Mala, one of those who survived the war, tells the story to her daughter, and the quote above moved me very much.  I am so thankful that I see 'red sunsets' in a totally different light.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Landslide at Pantukan, Compostela Valley

This happened at dawn today.  At least sixteen people were killed, and a lot are missing.  Upon accessing this video above on YouTube, I saw this other video (those that are on the right side): A Tribute to the Pantukan Landslide Victims.  I thought that it was uploaded today, but it turned out, when I looked at the date, it was last April of 2011.  

It hasn't been a year, and yet, this is another landslide.  I find it really disturbing.  

It is really sad that we still haven't moved on from what happened to Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City, another wrath of nature has happened again.  And the even sadder part is that, it seems that this is the product of illegal activities around these places.

Cats Catch

 "This picture just makes me smile. Great photographs do not need to be serious, they just need to evoke emotion." 
-- Liz Ronk, Photo Editor,

24 Diet Cokes for AED 528.00!!!

Dh387,988 receipt from Dubai's Cavalli Club.

The cheapest was the birthday cake.

'via Blog this'

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What Pip and I have in common

Pip and I both have an anonymous benefactor.  

His was someone who saw him through his education.

Mine was to help me to through my treatment.

I wouldn't have had the courage to start with the treatment if not for my anonymous benefactor.  When I sought help from my friends and relatives, she pledged to send some help all throughout my treatment.  And she never failed.

Pip met his secret benefactor.

I have yet to meet mine.  She said that we will finally meet when I get well.

And I look forward to that.

*Pip is the main character from Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.

DudayMind: Post #6

[This is a late post. I didn't want to post something like this at the start of the year so I waited for a few days.]

This happened on the morning of the first day of the year. 

There was a sound just outside our gate and then someone said, "Mamasko po."

I looked out the door and saw two teens - about 13-15 years old - and I was surprised.  They were holding a box that I'm sure holds what they have collected and about to collect.

I was surprised!

I almost answered, "Ang lalaki 'nyo na!" But I held back and kept my mouth shut.  Instead, I said, "Sa iba na lang, mga totoy."  and watched them as they turned around and walked away.

Three houses after, they still didn't get anything.  

Yes, I was still watching them.  I guess I was trying to find out if they could get anything from my neighbors.  And I admit that I was sort of happy that they didn't.  That's because I was thinking it would discourage them from doing it again.  Or maybe right at that time, probably think of going home and stop what they were doing.

I walked back inside the house and back in front of the computer.  

Several hours later, I couldn't get over those two teens.  So, I got my notebook and pen and tried to write about them so that I could post it later on this blog.

I was thinking that they were too old and too big and too strong to ask for alms or beg for money - even if it's just for this season.  Naiinis ako kasi ang lalaki ng katawan nila.

But as I sat down and began to write, I started to have another thought which is more appalling than the first.  

"Should I (or you) be at least thankful that they are asking for money instead of taking the streets and start robbing?  Or mugging people - like what happened to my sister last year - in the middle of a dark street or even in broad daylight?  Or snatching jewelries and mobile phones while we ride jeeps and buses?

I feel sad because this could be true.

Because right at this moment, if those kids didn't 'hit their quota' that day, they would probably be thinking about doing either one of these things as I write this.  

Monday, January 2, 2012

London's Fireworks 2012

There's Dubai's Burj Dubai's Khalifa's fireworks and there is also Australia's Sidney Harbor Bridge fireworks.  But my bet is this one.

I got Dubai's fireworks link yesterday but I got tired watching somewhere at 4:30.  It gets to be predictable at about that long.  I don't think it's anything different from the fireworks when it was opened.  The only thing different I think is in what part of the building the next sequence will come out.  But just the same, you'll know that it will only come out somewhere on the building.  The music is somehow connected with the sequence of the fireworks but there is a LOT more room for improvement.

Sidney's, they say, cost 4 million pounds; I've seen it through the end but couldn't bring myself to watch it again.  I think there were only a few songs and it's not as lively as London's.  There were several 'launch stations' along the river so the shots has to be wide.  It's really no problem for tv cameras but if you're watching on the ground, your view gets to be limited.  But it's really no problem because the other launch stations along the river are in sync with each other.  The highlight I guess was when the fire seems to be flowing from the bridge down to the water.  But that's all.  It's not as spontaneous as London's.

But I got to watch London's fireworks four times already as of this writing.  The choice of songs were great and  the fireworks are in sync with the music.  The sync of the fireworks and the music is very good.  It didn't bore me for the whole twelve minutes.  It is more spontaneous than Australia's and I get to wonder now which is more expensive.  But it doesn't matter which one costs more.  I was more entertained London's.

But with regard to the venue, I find the Burj Dubai Khalifa's as posting more risk.  Both the others are launched in rivers while Dubai's on a building.  Those that were launched on rivers are by no means the safest.

*Thanks to my friend Cristy for posting the video above on her Facebook wall.

Pasalubong #48

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