Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Battle Against Cancer : PCSO Interview & Free Chemo Meds

        We went to PCSO last Dec 19 to file the requirements needed for free chemo drugs and was scheduled for interview last January 16. Initially my plan was to send my mother and my brother as my representatives since I think that my physical condition is not ready to face the commuter-PUV world out there and my immune system is not strong anymore as it was before. But while I was giving them some instructions arguments started, "ang hirap ng parehong highblood magsama, heheh" and so I decided to go to PCSO instead of my Kuya. As much as possible, I do not want to worry about the health condition of my family while I am on the process of chemo treatment - my father had a stroke already, my mother had kidney problems, hypertensive and problem with her reproductive organs too and my kuya is hypertensive also.

      And so my mother and I went to PCSO, we woke up at 3am and at 4:30 am we were at PCSO Lung Center Quezon City. "Grabe ang haba ng pila!?!" The volume of the people that day were thrice the number of people we saw last December and I was lucky that my mother managed to fall in line in senior/pwd special lane and I was one of first ten to be given an interview pass. But 4 hours had passed and more than 20 person were called still I haven't heard my name. I started to get upset then I went to the guard near the social worker area and politely ask if he can check if there's a problem with my papers and he just told, "wala ma'am problema yan, antayin nyo lang ang pangalan nyo." So I went back to my seat but I still felt that maybe there's something wrong with my papers and so I went to the guard and he just answered again, "marami kayo ma'am, antay lang po." Still not contented with his answer, I went back to him -"impossible kuya, kasama ako sa first 10 na tinawag paki check naman." and so he went inside, ask who handles my name and told me, "ma'am wala talagang response paantay na lang."

       I was kind of frustrated that time and part of the chemo side effects to me was on my emotional control/stability. I easily cry and gets upset and when my mother noticed the tears in my eyes she just told me,"hayaan mo na pasasaan din matatawag din tayo." And so we waited, I just turn on my fb and saw the message from my classmate who's husband died of cancer, "Tiyaga lang Grace, ganyan talaga sa PCSO mababait naman social worker dyan at worth it ang pag-aantay mo dyan kasi malaki ang maitutulong talaga nila sa mga taong in need na katulad natin." True enough, after 30 minutes my name was called and was approved with five chemo drugs set worth P18,300/set financial assistance after the interview. I was also given a special index card for cancer patient so I won't experience anymore the hassle and struggle of filing for every chemo drugs request.

     We were then advised to wait until 3pm for its release but the weather that day was not so good - it was kind of hot in the morning and the rain fell down in the afternoon. It was already 3:30pm when my approved papers was released. It was still raining and traffic was starting to occur in sight. We decided to head back home instead of going to PHILCOA where the chemo meds can be redeemed. It would be harder for us to commute from QC to FTI when rush hour in EDSA steps in.

     I was really tired that day but thankful I didn't catch any sickness and managed to get a really deep sleep at night, my first deep sleep after my chemo. God is really good, so thankful to HIM for my free chemo drugs and to PCSO as well. I will only be saving for the remaining laboratories and hospital bill every chemo session.

    While we were waiting, I started observing and talking to some people around me. Some people will share their stories. Some people are eager to share what they know when they hear you ask something. Some people will simply smile at you. Some people will still smile at you eventhough you feel that they are also in pain (may cancer at nag-dialysis kasi yung ibang nag-aantay dun). What captured my attention was the group of women who seemed to have no worries while waiting for their names to be called for the guarantee letter, dialysis and chemo meds assistance. They were laughing, eating biscuits & squash seeds as if they were having a picnic and conversing to each other as if they have no problems at all. "Bilib talaga akong magdala ang Pinoy, matatag at nakukuha pang ngumiti at magsaya kahit matindi na ang problema, ganyan tayo e." I guess that's one of the Filipino traits I can truly be proud of.


Till then. Have a great day!
Promise I will write about the medical assistance I received from these government institution so I can also help those in need who doesn't have any idea about it.
God Bless everyone!!!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Battle Against Cancer : Taking Natural Anti Cancer Foods

          It's my fifth day today after my chemo theraphy and it's also my last day that I'll be taking the prescribed meds (dextramethazone and prazil - I forgot what they are for but I think one of it is for nauzeau or vomiting I guess) given by my onco and I don't know yet what will be the full effect of my chemo meds tomorrow. My fingers are feeling a little numb lately, little bit of nauzea, feeling weak but I tried to preserve my strength after doing things but what really bothers me are my restless nights. I already took vitamins to counter it still my mind cannot settle at night and I am always awake at 3am. So forgive me for writing more often on this blog these coming days about my daily activities, routes and plans while I try to organize some of my thoughts also.

Natural Anti Cancer Foods:

Turmeric: Before my chemo treatment, we saw these fresh turmeric at the market and my mother told me," Maganda yan alam ko anti cancer daw yan at gamot sa rayuma yan." Little did I know it has lots of health benefits, anti oxidants and anti cancer agent -based on the articles I read.
        And so we bought it, and I've been boiling finger size turmeric and taking it alternately with guyabano leaves.
boiled turmeric
Guyabano Leaves: Guyabano fruits are highly recommended as anti cancer fruit but they are hard to find in the market today and so I resorted to our plant. I've been taking 5 leaves every other day to my guyabano plant in "paso" since I started my chemo. Although it is less researched, I still find it helpful as I go through the process of medication today
boiled guyabano leaves
        Tried to follow the advice here on net and some advice from the oldies here and been apologizing to our plant everytime I get some leaves from it, hahah...just for the meantime while I dont have guyabano fruits :).

Malunggay Leaves: It is advantageous that I am here in the Philippines because there are lots of nutritious veggies around to eat and one suggested anti cancer veggie that is abundant in our area is Malunggay. Though I do not have enough space to plant for it I try to insert it in every possible area where I can plant it. I already have three plants planted in front of our house - the first one is getting "kalbo" again because it has always been part of our daily meal but the second and third one were planted last January one and I'm seeing little sproutings around already. Taking extra care on my plants because the kids in our area loves to play around in front of our house.
My malunggay plants & guyabano plant (second plant in paso from left--konti na lang po ang dahon nila)
Saging na saba: Another tip I got from my mother is saging na saba, and that I need to eat it uncooked. She bought 1 kilo of it last Wednesday. I haven't eaten it uncooked yet. I've been taking extra careful not to get upset stomach as it may trigger vomiting which I really do not want to experience right now. I haven't got any anti cancer properties research from it but a lot of people are highly suggesting it as part of my daily diet.

Carrots and squash: Orange veggies are also highly recommended with anti cancer properties and carrots and squash are always part of our meal but I am planning to have a blended carrots alternately with turmeric and guyabano since it has an impressive benefits against cancer too.


        As what my classmate in Canada said to me last week. " I am fortunate that I live in the Philippines for there were lots of vegetables available in the market and in our surroundings as well. "Talbos ng kamote, saluyot, kalabasa, kangkong, malunggay, okra, talong, ampalaya, brocolli, carrots, tomatoes pandan and other leafy green vegetables are abundant in our market and I am thinking of planting some of it vertically since I have no space available in our house today.

P.s. Some people were suggesting some artificial supplements but for now I prefer to go on natural foods first. Some also suggested that I should not go on chemo and just take their supplements only but can't take that risk? It's cancer inside my body that I need to kill right?

Just pouring my thoughts again. Till then!
God Bless everyone :)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Battle Against Cancer : First Chemo Session

 First Chemo Session Update
My first chemo- sorry for the blurry pic.
The lab results I presented last January 8, 2017 were all normal so I was given a go signal to undergo my first chemo treatment the next day.

January 9 - Everything went well during my first chemo session as my body was able to accept both the premeds and chemo meds administered to me without the signs of side effects that may occur on the patient while undergoing this kind of theraphy.

Sudden Change of rule in  Philhealth

Scenario last December 2017

         After my very first check up with my first OB last Oct 30, I was advised to pay my philhealth contribution as I might get some benefits from it when I undergo an operation. So I paid an advance one year contribution from Oct 2017 to Sep 2018. I was admitted at the hospital November 30 and underwent a surgical operation December 1. But when my billing came out, no Philhealth deductions on my bill was reflected, it turns out that they have 3-6 months rule before a member can use their benefits. Have I been admitted by December 1 in the hospital I'd be qualified of their benefits, take note of the 3-6 months contribution rule.

 Scenario last January 9, 2018

         After my first chemo session, my blood pressure went up because of the Philhealth contribution issue again. I was confident that the 7K bill that I had in the hospital will be covered by Philhealth, unfortunately I am not qualified again. My mother asked them twice explaining that the rules last year was 3-6 months rule only but it turned out that they have a new policy again. So I went down to to the billing section to complain again, and they explained to me that effective January 2018 the rules for the old Philhealth member is to have  9-12 months contributions before they can avail the Philhealth benefits. Take note, 9-12 months contributions who wouldn't have a high blood pressure reaction on this rule. It only means that I wont be able to use the benefits of Philhealth during my whole six chemo cycle treatment, Grrrrr!!!!


        Whatever unfortunate issues with Philhealth I encountered last Tuesday, I am still thankful to God that I am alive and able to handle the side effects of chemo - I already had sleepness nights, "sakit ng mga kasu-kasuan", a little bit of nausea feeling, but no signs of vomiting yet although I also feel weak whenever I do some household chores but I try to make it a point to rest afterwards.

         I also met some cancer patients last January 9 and heard their stories - they were so optimistic, they were laughing, sharing their own experiences and encouraging one another as if cancer is just an ordinary illness and not a life threatening one if it's treated with acceptance, open mind and open heart. And it's true, some have lived more than fifteen years ago after being cured with cancer. They just gave us some few tips - Change your lifestyle, enjoy and live a stress free life and be closer to God. When my name was called by the nurse, I told them " Love to hear your stories, I'll hang with you guys more often."

         Again, I'm so lucky that is God sending me reinforcements through prayers, acquaintances and encouragements as I was given another tip from one of the cancer patient there - "Get a PWD Id at city hall so I can have another 20% discount on my hospital bills which hopefully I'd be able to accomplished next week.

Till then! Thank you so much guys for all the prayers and financial support.
God Bless Everyone...

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Battle Against Cancer: Part 2 - Updates and Schedules

          These are the activities that I had these past few weeks after my surgical operation. I decided to write it here so I can document my activities before I undergo my chemo treatment next week.

December 4 - The day I was finally home. I vomit twice and sweat profusely but after few days with the help and care of my family I felt so much better.
December 11 - A lot of attempts to walk farther were done but it was only last December 11 that I managed to make 600 small steps - my preparation for my next check up schedule.
December 12 - I went to the hospital (San Juan de dios Hospital - 3 rides from our house)  for my follow up check up and the gauze in my lower abdomen was finally removed. I was also given instruction as to how I can get medical records for PCSO requirements.
December 13 - I went to BPI Market branch (2 rides from our house) to open an account but failed to bring proof of billing requirement.
December 14 - I went to another BPI Bayani Road Branch (nearer branch - 2 rides from our house) but they were offline so we proceeded again to Market branch and finally I was able to open an account there.
December 15 - I went to the hospital medical records section to get the requirements needed for PCSO chemo meds assistance.
December 17 - At last, I was able to attend the Sunday mass at Sto. Nino Parish Church.
December 18 - I went back to the hospital to get the directors referral letter to complete the requirements for PCSO medical assistance and my doctor gave me good news that day - the lab result for "kulane" is negative so the final stage of my ovarian cancer is Stage 1C - I hugged my doctor that day, and she said to me, "sabi sa yo dasal lang e, maigi naoperahan ka agad at naagapan ang pagkalat."
December 19 - We went to PCSO office - QC Branch to submit the requirements. We woke up at 3 am just to be there early but our application was accepted at around 12 pm. "Grabe ang haba ng pila kahit maaga kaming dumating, # 56 ako sa pila". I was scheduled for an interview on January 16.
Then we also proceeded to BPI Branch to get my atm card. That day I already had this nausea feeling and felt that I might vomit again. Good thing we manage to get home when that vomit feeling recur "sinuka ko yata lahat ng kinain ko".
December 20 - I noticed some bleeding discharge on my pantyliner and decided to rest for a day. They were saying that I might have "binat or tagtag" for continously walking and riding public utility vehicles.
December 21 - It was my follow up/check up schedule but I really am not feeling well that day so I decided to take a complete rest.
December 22 - I went to the hospital to relay my condition and was given "Hemostat" to stop the bleeding discharge and was advised to take complete rest before my chemo treatment.
December 26 - It was the schedule of my first chemo treatment but unfortunately it was postponed because of the condition that I had. Another thing, the oncologist and the med rep where the chemo meds will be ordered were onleave after December 26.
December 24, 25, 31 and January 1 - Attended the mass in Sto. Nino Parish Church, "parang bundok po kasi ang lugar namin, maraming pataas at pababa at medyo malayo ang simbahan kaya hindi pa rin advisable na maglakad dun." but still I want to go there, I feel relieve, secure and peaceful whenever I go to church.
January 2 - I was having some sleepless nights for couple of days so I decided to go to the hospital to ask my doctor if it's okay if my first chemo will done after more than month and I was given an explanation, another chemo sched and some instruction - January 6 for laboratories , January 8 check up & results, January 9 chemo sched.

       My sister in law, some of her friends who underwent the same operation and some oldies in our place told me, "Ten days pa lang after the operation, naglalakad at nagbiyahe ka na - mabibinat ka talaga nyan, dapat 1 month complete rest ka" In my defense, I told her that it was the advice of the nurse in the hospital, "maglakad lakad ka para mas flexible ang healing ng inopera mo." But after I felt something bad last December 20 I decided to have a complete rest for few days. Lessons learned, take the advice of those who underwent the same operation and the advice of the oldies, I am still a Filipino and think "binat" is real.
       So there goes my diary and schedule of activities and I just want to share it here today.

Have a great week ahead!
God Bless everyone.       

Battle Against Cancer: Part 1 - Acceptance and Thankful Heart

          It's not easy to accept that I have cancer that's why it's hard for me to write another post this year. I admit I still have fears, the "bakit ako" drama or "andami namang gago dyan bakit sa akin pa tumama ang cancer" feeling, rage, despair, uncertainties in life  and lots of negative emotions but then whenever I think about my condition I have no choice but to fight my own self. I have to accept that I have this illness called cancer, that I can longer bear a child since my reproductive organs were removed, that I have to undergo chemo treatment with lots of side effects and I have to prepare myself financially, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

          I cannot fathom why God allows this illness to my body but realization came a while ago - the famous "it's not you, it's me" line. God is telling me that "the life that you have is not about you but it's about ME". I forgot that this life that we have is not about us but it's about HIM. The life that I have is not a right but it's a gift and I have no right to complain. HE is telling me to appreciate every little things in life that I have and praise HIM with the gift of life that HE gave me.

         So now that the battle has started, my first armour is acceptance, my first soldier is my own self battling my own negativity and God as my final defense. God is continously sending reinforcements through this blog, through facebook and through the generous hearts of people giving prayers, encouragements and financial support. This illness is truly an ultimate humbler - it took away all my pride as I now learn to admit my mistakes and weakness, ask for other people's help and rely on God's plan over my life. As what my co-blogger Joan says - "do not be too proud or too ashamed to ask for help, at some point in our lives we all need help from others". Let me take this opportunity to thank my co-bloggers Joan, April and Chi who gave financial support to me - "Thank you so much", and to all my anonymous readers out there who are continually sending prayers and encouragements, "million thanks to all".
          This 2018 will be a difficult journey for me but with God's amazing grace I know I will win this battle.

Have a wonderful 2018 ahead!
God bless.
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