Thursday, April 23, 2009

'Crucify Me'

That was my friend's plea when she underwent her first chemotherapy. I cannot imagine how painful it was for her. She is a medical doctor and nobody from his parents' line suffered from cancer. It was her who broke that line. She was diagnosed positive of 'ashimoto lymphoma' last year (October). She always had this annual general check-up when her oncologist noticed that she has an enlarged lymphnode near the throat area. She advised her to go for further examination but she missed that because of work. It was December and the nodes grew larger. So, she was immediately taken to the OR for biopsy. Her oncologist was also her former student in medicine. She was able to identify only a cancer cell taken from her throat biopsy. So, the family had to be sure of that final diagnosis. They sent the biopsy to the University of Maryland in the US. The experts from UM were able to identify 6 strands. The same treament was recommended: RSHOCK (?). Each letter stands for a chemical. And it is worth P80,000 per letter per cycle. So, the family offered to take her abroad to undergo that treatment. She opted to stay in the Philippines. Now, she was able to survive the first cycle of chemotherapy. She suffered from hair loss. According to her, the black hairs which fall first, then the 'white'or gray hair follows. Three times she almost lost her life during that ordeal. First, when it was only a suspicion that she has lymphoma, she almost choke to death with a bit of chicken that blocked her throat. It was fortunate that a nurse was with her. Another incident of near death was when they were having a medical treatment, the doctor cannot find her trachea. She already turned blue for several minutes and her friends were already praying for her life. Luckily, the doctor was able to find her trachea. Third incident was when she has to undergo a citi-scan from neck to stomach. The medical staff was about to introduce a dye, which nobody knows if she will have adverse reactions to it. The staff cannot find her veins four times so they can introduce the dye. Another stroke of luck came when the senior doctor came in the operating room and stopped the 'dyeing' process. So, the medical treatment was held without the use of the dye. Next week, the opening on her throat would be closed so that she can be prepared to undergo the next cycle of chemo. I just can't take it when we have to be interrupted from our conversations because she has to cough and remove the secretions coming from her throat. She even admitted having incontinence because of the whole process. I can only pray at this time for God to give her more courage to face this painful challenge in her life. I believe she is the most courageous woman I have ever met in my whole life. Allah will take care of her...

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