Our Cancer Story

I finally had the time to sit down and write about what went through the past few weeks of my life. It was a blur, it’s like it’s not really happening and I am only waiting to wake up from this nightmare. I never thought this experience would ever happen to my family, I wouldn’t even wish this to happen to anyone at all.

Last October 2015, my father called and complained that he saw blood in his urine, I wasn’t alarmed it’s common especially if he has a Urinary Tract Infection, which I thought he has, it’s common, it happens you know? So I asked him if he could go to the doctor, have it checked and take antibiotics and it will all be better. But he wouldn’t!!! He’s afraid that if they found out that something is wrong with him then they will send him home. (He is the only one working for the family, well my salary and sister’s can’t cover most of our expenses so he is the bread winner, he is working on a cruise ship as a chief baker)

But I finally convinced him and they did laboratory tests, ultrasound and he said they didn’t found anything. They gave him Tranexamic Acid for his bleeding and antibiotics and he didn’t had any hematuria again that year, so I thought hah it’s just UTI and it’s all better now! Yay!!

Fast forward to April 2016, he complained again about blood in his urine, this time with blood clots. I was alarmed and persuaded him again that he should see the doctor’s because there is nothing that I could do about it. It’s not kidney stones, he doesn’t have a fever, he doesn’t feel any pain on his back whatsoever I couldn’t diagnose it! So the doctor should know what’s up. He went to the doctor again, they didn’t find anything. Diagnosis is just hematuria.

He went home for vacation last June 12, 2016 and processed his medical tests so he could go back to work again after 2 months. He failed the exam last June 28. On his ultrasound, they found out that his left ureters are swollen (Medical term: hydronephrosis) he was referred to a Urologist and they did further tests to determine what is causing his ureters to swell.

After a CT Scan and IV Stonogram, they found a 3 cm mass on his ureters and primary consideration was that it’s a neoplastic growth. I was blaming myself the whole time. Why did I let it happen? Why didn’t I realized it sooner? Sure, I was reading on the internet that one of the reasons why someone would pee blood is Cancer but why would I even think that he has one? It’s out of the picture so I pushed the thought aside. If I was just being crazy paranoid then, should he be home earlier and should the tumor be less the size that it is now? What if the tumor spread to the other parts of his body what if it’s too late for treatment now? I was to blame, at the back of my mind, What do they know about this? Ako yung may alam, ako yung nurse. I should’ve prevented this to happen. I had a lapse in my judgment and for that, I don’t think I could ever forgive myself.

So, the only treatment option now is to remove that mass (at this point, we couldn’t tell if it’s cancer or not until the biopsy) AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Be it benign or malignant, because it is partially blocking urine to flow to the bladder, the tumor should be removed as soon as possible. We found out about it last July 13, 2016. Asked for a referral and had second opinion on July 14, 2016 and our only option is really to remove the mass and possibly the whole left kidney if the tumor spreads to avoid the risk of developing other tumors again.

Sure, let’s remove the tumor! BUT, we are not ready. Most especially financially. Because who would ever save up for when they had cancer right? Props to my father for working tirelessly for the past 20 years alone just so he could give us what we need, we were all graduates from respectable universities and just starting out working to give back to them. It’s too early too soon, I do have savings that I am going to use to start up a business but with the course of treatment I am not sure whether or not that would be enough.

I used up my connections from the company that I worked for previously and was scheduled for an operation immediately. No money on hand just hopes and words from people that they would help us out, bahala na anong mangyari basta maoperahan na is my thinking.

We were admitted last July 16, 2016 and the operation was done last July 18, 2016. And it was successful! Although, they removed his left kidney and ureter because of the risk of developing more tumors soon and having a do over. As for the biopsy, it was really confirmed that he had a ureteral carcinoma, most probably stage 2.

A big thank you to Dr. Francis Decangchon for the referral and help, to Dr. Rufino Agudera and all the resident doctors at the Urology Department of Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, all the staff nurses, everyone! A big thank you! I wouldn’t be able to survive this ordeal without all your help and word of encouragements. This is just the start of a series of treatment, but we were glad we’re able to find out about this before it’s too late. My father is doing great and recuperating fast and we should be back to the usual. Probably with more bills and expenses but what the heck at least we are all alive and breathing am I right?!

PS my father is a smoker for 40 years! And the number #1 reason for developing a ureteral cancer (a rare type) is cigarette smoking. SO PLEASE IF YOU KNOW ANYONE THAT IS A SMOKER OR IF YOU ARE A SMOKER YOURSELF, IF YOU LOVE YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY PLEASE STOP! This is not something you want anyone to ever experience. Kaya please lang utang na loob tama na yan. Pag may nakita akong nagsisigarilyo sa harap ko makakatikim ng sampal sakin, joke!

There’s so much more to this story than I could tell today, ang dami kong backlog work to start pero I need to load off my emotions just to feel better, mga 2 weeks na akong walang proper na tulog and pagod na yung katawan ko going back and forth from Bulacan to Sta. Cruz and processing all the paperworks. I don’t think it ever sink in to me that my father has cancer, probably because I was too busy thinking on other things like, legal cases, Philhealth, SSS, PCSO that I never had a moment to reflect and just think about what’s happening with my life except right now while writing this. I had a good cry and so I am ready again to face more challenges coming my way 🙂

Please stop smoking, it will do you no good.

Love,

Cherry

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