Friday, December 9, 2011

Holiday Health Scare Syndrome Strikes Again

I haven't been feeling my best lately. I don't know if its the lack of exercise or my body telling me something is wrong again.

Last night, the weather was kind enough to let me run. It was drizzling lightly but it was safe enough to run. So I did a 2-miler just to sweat out the toxins that have been building up for the last 2 weeks. I felt really good. I ate a very light dinner, spend an hour watching Castle with the hubby, spent about 30mins doing my holiday project then turned in at few mins past 12. I've been sleeping a lot later than my usual 9-10ish bedtime lately. I wanted to believe that's the culprit to this unusual fatigue that I've been feeling the past few days.

I know the coming week is going to be really tough for me again. I'm not supposed to see anymore doctors this December (besides the neurologist to bring back my EEG results) but I guess it really isn't time for me to take a rest on the doctor run just yet. I'm giving it another year. And then I'm going to focus on getting pregnant again.

Yes, I'm positive this isn't going to be something major (I will conquer this mentally damn it!) And that 2012 is going to be a lot better than the past 3 years. Health-wise most especially. By God's grace of course.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Serenity Prayer

The past few days saw me being dragged into that dark place I so hate to be in. I pray things get better soon. I pray to get my old happy self back. Soon please. For now, this prayer is on repeat.

got the full text from here

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"I'm Gonna Love You Through It" - Martina McBride

A friend just shared this video and I cried buckets while watching it. I suddenly felt this overwhelming feeling of gratefulness.

Mitch, Gail, Tessa, my Phyllodes sisters over at Facebook, everyone I met in this journey who bravely shared their stories to inspire me - I am VERY LUCKY TO HAVE MET YOU. Though I'd rather really that I met you in a different circumstance (preferably one donned with a party atmosphere maybe or anywhere with good ambiance) but still not everyone gets to meet people who make you realize how lucky you are to be alive and that LIFE is something you cherish and not waste.

To friends who would constantly check on how I was doing, I am immensely thankful to have you guys around. We may have been physically separated by our present locations but you were always just there. And I may not always be vocal of how I appreciate all your concerns, but yes I DO. They keep me going.

To my ever supportive family I AM VERY GRATEFUL THAT I HAVE YOU. I do not have words to describe how thankful I am that you were always there for me. That I can count on you each time I needed emotional, financial and whatever kind of support you can imagine. I love you.

Just last night, I was putting my daughter to sleep and asked her to pray for Mommy to get better soon. I thought she didn't hear me because she was still asking for some play time during bedtime so I resigned the thought. But guess what, after covering me with a blanket (and making me believe we are still playing hide and seek), I heard her pray! She went: "Jesus, pagalingin mo Mommy ko! Thank you, Love ka ni Maia!" (Jesus please heal my Mommy, thank you Maia loves you!) I was trying so hard to keep myself from tearing up (hence, I'd scare the little lady). I am a the luckiest mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend there is.

Again, I have nothing but gratefulness for this overwhelming, unending support around me. And I know I will never get through the day without them.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Living Beyond My PT Diagnosis

More than two years after my diagnosis, I found myself re-reading my old posts in this blog. I realized I never shared in detail what happened to me after my diagnosis. Maybe it was me trying to move on after all the drama so I stayed away from retelling my Phyllodes battle further. I probably just couldn't admit it then - and was just using motherhood as an excuse to not blog anymore about it - but I was in fact actually trying to bury the memory in the hopes that I can finally have peace of mind (as if that would really do the trick). So what's changing all that now?

Last Saturday, I received this email from a lady named Shaoie, also a Filipina, saying she was recently diagnosed with Benign Phyllodes Tumor. She apparently came across this blog when she was researching on Phyllodes. Why do I have to mention her being a Filipina? Well, this is the first time for me to meet somebody who was diagnosed with the same type of tumor as mine. I have been in touch with a support group for sometime now but I have never come across somebody from this region. It was a mix of emotions for me. But then I had to snap out of it and help her because I think that's the reason why she emailed me. She needs some support of sorts. She was having trouble understanding her condition and from her email it seemed like she was her doctor's first phyllodes patient. She was in this cloud of uncertainty and I can definitely relate. Our difference probably is how our respective doctors handled our case. So let me summarize what took place the last two years and share what I know of this tumor.

From the onset, my doctor - Dra Felina Cruz - already suspected that what I had was Phyllodes having seen and handled a few cases in the past. She did not conclude immediately but she prepared me emotionally for it. When the frozen section results came in and confirmed that it was indeed Phyllodes, I was ready. And since my tumor was really large (it ate up my entire left breast) we went for the conservative path and decided for mastectomy instead of a lumpectomy. That somehow saved me from ever worrying if I got good margins or not because when you are diagnosed with Phyllodes getting wide, clean margins is important. It does not guarantee that the cancer will not recur but somehow it widens your chances of actually not getting a recurrence.

So I had the mastectomy and surprisingly, recovery wasn't as hard as I'd imagined it to be. Apart from me being saddened that I wasn't lactating anymore (I still aimed to breastfeed  my 3 month old daughter then), it was easy for me to accept that the left side of my chest is totally flattened. It grossed us out at first seeing my heart throbbing from my chest wall but that eventually turned out to be entertaining (finding light out of a tragedy really). Life was almost normal at home for 2 weeks after my surgery.

The next stage was dealing with the pathology results. It came out malignant. That's when things got really depressing. I think with me somehow losing hope, my husband felt hopeless too. We struggled a bit. But I had to move on and deal with the succeeding tests that I had to take in order to make sure the cancer has not spread. I was immediately scheduled for a mammogram and breast ultrasound. My doctor also ordered for a CT Scan with IV contrast of my abdomen to make sure my lungs and liver are still okay. Thankfully everything came back as normal as it could go (I had 4 benign nodules on my right breast which had to be monitored every 6 months and I have a fatty liver).

Then lastly came the management plan for my cancer. My surgeon did not want me to undergo anymore radical treatments - radiation or chemo - because there aren't enough studies proving these two can actually prevent the cancer from coming back. What we agreed then was for me to be closely monitored for the next 2-3 years. Check ups every 3 months then breast ultrasound every 6 months. Annually, I needed to have a mammogram and CT Scan of my abdomen. I've been religious with all these. Even if I go through an annual bout of Scanxiety (I will talk about that on a separate post), I gather all the courage I can pull and complete these tests. At least once a year, I also make an appointment with my oncologist and a neurosurgeon to make sure all areas are covered (thank God for health cards).

Everyday we all deal with uncertainties. Mine is this battle with Phyllodes. Sarcoma is an aggressive form of cancer and Phyllodes is that type. Each time I feel an ache, the thought would nag me for days. My life doesn't stop there though. And you know when you meet people who have gone through far worst than you and yet are fighting strong, God seemed to be talking back and telling you "Hey Kid! You're still alive. So learn to live!" So I try to do that. I get obsessive with my diet, sleep and exercise on some days but I'd rather do that than let myself be engulfed with morbid thoughts. We are all given choices on how to live our lives. I'm done living mine in fear. I choose to enjoy life with my family and loved ones from this day forward.

About to be discharged from the hospital after my mastectomy.
Bye bye Phyllodes!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Avon's RACE to 125,000 Kisses

The Avon RACE to 125000 Kisses Poster
October is breast cancer awareness month. Here in the Philippines, that usually kicks off with an Avon sponsored event called Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer. This year is going to be my third time to participate. I first joined in 2009. That was the year I said goodbye to my left breast and embraced the reality that is cancer. It was just the hubby and me then but we vowed to come back with our family of 3 the following year. And we did! The little girl barely knew what was going on then but I was happy she was there with me to join many other inspiring women to walk to spread more awareness about breast cancer.

L to R: Tibs and Me pausing for pictures; the 2009 Commerative Wall behind  me
Happy to be here.
This year, I decided to level up. I have been running for more than 2 years now and I only see it fit that I not only walk but run as well in support of this cause. I decided to register and run my favorite distance that is10k and will join the walk after that with Tibs and Maia and many other wonderful, brave women (and men).
Our family of 3 in 2010
If you are interested to join this running event, here are the details:

Event: Race to 125,000 Kisses Run
Date: October 2, 2011
Venue: SM Mall of Asia Open Grounds
Starting Time: Wave Start is 5:00AM for the 10k run event
Race Fee: P500 - 5k and P650 - 10k

However if you only want to join the walk, you just need to buy the 2011 KGBC T-shirt that comes with a Kiss Bag Tag for only P220. Every shirt you buy entitles a P20 donation to the PGH Breast Care Center and selected provincial hospitals.

For more information, you may check out the Avon Race to 125,000 page:

Hope to be running or walking with you in October!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I just feel obligated to post something to remember this day by. Or just until I'm able to get my thoughts together and get over this blogging drought. 

Birthdays make me emotional. Well, for so long birthdays were just something I'd like to celebrate so I'd have an excuse to shop or treat myself to something extraordinary. But that has long past. Now birthdays are a big reminder to me of how blessed I am.

Yes. I worry like crazy each time the thought of the Big C hits me. But those are now rare. For the last 2 and a half years, I just try to live every waking moment like there's no tomorrow. And somehow, that makes me feel better. That somehow comforts me when I go to sleep at night.

Yes today I am 33. And I just want to mark that literally by sharing with you one of my favorite songs:


Speak to me in a language I can hear
Humour me before I have to go
Deep in thought I forgive everyone
As the cluttered streets greet me once again
I know I can't be late, supper's waiting on the table
Tomorrow's just an excuse away
So I pull my collar up and face the cold, on my own
The earth laughs beneath my heavy feet
At the blasphemy in my old jangly walk
Steeple guide me to my heart and home
The sun is out and up and down again
I know I'll make it, love can last forever
Graceful swans of never topple to the earth
And you can make it last, forever you
You can make it last, forever you
And for a moment I lose myself
Wrapped up in the pleasures of the world
I've journeyed here and there and back again
But in the same old haunts I still find my friends
Mysteries not ready to reveal
Sympathies I'm ready to return
I'll make the effort, love can last forever
Graceful swans of never topple to the earth
Tomorrow's just an excuse
And you can make it last, forever you
You can make it last, forever you 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Big C and the Picky Eater

I did not expect her to be asking about the missing boobies this early.

But this morning while she was waiting for me to finish dressing up for work, she popped the question: "Mommy, san na (pointing to my left chest)?" (Mommy, where did it go?)

When we were in Antique, I was amazed at how my sister trained my nephew, Gogol, to eat his veggies and fruits. It turns out, she always tells him he'll get cancer if he doesn't eat healthy food. So Gogol does what he is told. He's a very good boy at the dining table. :))

It was a light bulb moment for me. When I heard the question I grabbed the opportunity to inject just enough scare factor on her so she can start eating right. Guess what, it worked! Right after our conversation she moved out of the room, pointed at the fruits on the table and asked for a serving. Talk of taking drastic measures. But a mom's gotta do what she has to do. Hehe.

Here's how the conversation went (sorry I had to share them in Tagalog):

Maia: Mommy, san na?
Me: Inalis ni Doc 'nak. Kasi nagkaroon si Mommy ng cancer kailangan tanggalin ni Doc para mawala na at gumaling si Mommy.
Maia: Ayaw ko ke doc, Mommy. Ayaw ko.
Me: Naku wag ka matakot ke Doc 'nak. Pinagaling nga nya si Mommy eh. Pero para ikaw wag magka-cancer dapat kumakain ka ng gulay at fruits. Si Mommy nung bata ayaw sa mga yun kaya ayan nagka-cancer.
Maia: (labas sa room) Mommy o...mangoes. Kain ako!

You should have seen the silly smile on my face. I just hope this conversation sticks to her memory long enough till her taste buds get use to them veggies and fruits.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Homecoming treats

I come from a family who is quite liberal when it comes to religion. So holy week is never really holy in our household. But what we really look forward to during these times are our mini-reunions. Since my sister and I both had our own families and have been living away from home for quite sometime now, holy week vacations have become a much bigger treat for my parents and siblings. Of course, more than the idea of having the big sisters around it is the kids who really make these vacations extra special.

We are not big on home parties but we always try to find something special to do. Last year we checked in to a newly opened resort in Guimaras and toured the kids around the island to sea starfishes and sea anemones and various corals. They had a blast! This year though we did not have the luxury of time to go somewhere else other than Antique so we settled for a nice swim at a nearby beach. Kids still loved it!

I'm sharing some photos from our recent trip home. I can't wait for next year. I hope we'll have more time to bond by then!

(Yay! I'm learning to navigate picasa and am really starting to love it! It's a very useful tool for people like me who will never learn any photoediting software) Collage sidebar (counterclockwise from the top: my dad teaching Maia how to ride the tire swing while my nephew Gogol makes his crazy pose, kids enjoying an al fresco brekky with my centenarian grandma - 101 and counting!, Maia shopping for her own clay made cooking set, Huwadhuwad and Ibus from the Friday market, Maia and me by the sunset, Beautiful sunset at one of the nearby beaches, Maia's flower bouquet (yes she did the bouquet all by herself), Welcome to Antique sign!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I am Blessed

If I can get away with it, I will choose to rid of all the drama.

But I don't think life has offered me that as an option. It was always either about learning to dodge them or making it through them.

I've always made it through. But that does not always go to show that I chose to fight to make it thru. It always just seem to happen that I get the extra energy boost at that point when I feel like letting go and giving up. I always end up prouder of myself though. And probably that is why somehow someone up there took upon himself to send me the extra boost to make it thru. He wants me to feel triumphant after every drama. He wants me to savor that moment. He wants me to count my blessings.

So everyday, I end up counting and counting. Yes, I am blessed after all. Always am.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hello There!

I've taken a hiatus far too long from writing. And I miss it so much.

I hope to be back on my feet from this day on.

Early this week I had a light bulb moment. And I'm hoping to make that light bulb moment translate into something more realistic soon.

But for now, please bear with bulleted updates of my boring life. That I will try to do at least weekly if that would help me get back into writing mode.

Health-wise I've just gotten over my beginning of the year C-blues and I'm hoping the last few bits of them are finally gone. It seems like I always begin the year with a cancer scare. I hope next year it will be different. For now, I end this short welcome post for me with a very grateful tone. Being around to welcome the new year is always a good sign for me. Knowing that I still have a full year to make things right and make good, wonderful memories with people I love makes me feel very, very grateful. :)