Posts Tagged ‘mom’

Scan results: Stable.
September 9, 2014

TThere was a delay in getting the results because LindaJ, the nurse practitioner who monitors my progress, was on vacation.  I saw the email she sent asking me to call her.  So I was anxious to find out the result.

I also received a notice from the UofC MyChart  web application that the results of my test was just posted.  My eyes went to the summary right away filtering the medical jargon:

“No significant change in multiple pulmonary metastases.  New new lesions identified.”

“Your tumors are stable,” adds Linda.  The rest are normal.

That is all I wish.  We catch up on other things but my mind is already on being grateful for the positive news.  Fighting cancer is a game of inches and centimeters; in my case 3.8 cm. for one of them.  I have been in this situation before and at this point you just take what is given; and in whatever form.  I just have to keep on working at it.

After hanging up with Linda, I went to church to give thanks.  I am sure my mother will be happy when she reads this: me going to church on a Tuesday and the positive news of my scan.


P.S.  Tomorrow back to chemo, Round 5.  Then try to recover fast and build more miles.

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Just get me there.
March 1, 2014

LLife and death decisions are easy.  They are binary.  So when the doctor’s tell me I have to do chemo, I reluctantly do it or I die.  That’s the way I see things.  Of course, others may choose to let go because they do not have something or someone to live for.

There are decisions that are hard because they are personal.  Sending my mother home back to the Philippines is one of those hard decisions.  She left two weeks ago and the house is not the same: It is quiet.  I sent her home because, if anything happens to me, I don’t want her to see the end.  I know about mother’s instinct and all that, but I will be helpless to protect her.  It is much easier to carry on not worrying about her when the day comes.

I only want good memories for her to remember me.  I have plenty to keep me going, more than enough to get me to the next stage: The clinical trials (non-FDA approved drugs or experimental).

I am looking forward to my next appointment at University of Chicago Medicine.  The results of my genetic testing from Foundation Medicine are out and it identified one gene called RET that can unlock my cancer mystery.  The report also listed trial drugs that maybe appropriate for me.  All this is foreign to me, but my doctors are excited.  So if they tell me I have to do this and that, that is easy.  Just get me to the starting line and I will figure out how I will finish.

At the finish line, I know who will be there: You, my family and of course, mom.  It will be a sweet moment I look forward to because it is all worth all these years of struggle.


RET Gene


P.S.  My next U of C appointment is on March 12.

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Banaag is her name.

Banaag is her name.
September 25, 2013

Yup.  That is my mother’s name.  How it became Banaag, I don’t know. I wish I had the chance to ask my grandmother.  In the local Philippine language it translates to “seen”, “be seen”, or “to be seen”.  She is the matriarch of the family since she is the only living survivor of the clan.

I have written about the traditions in my country but with my mom, I could write a book about her.  She has led a colorful life; born in the island of Corregidor (the last bastion of American defense when General McArthur left the Philippines), raised by strict hard working parents (who never went to college), and went on to raise her own family.  That’s the short version.

But let me pick up at the present.  She is here with me now taking care of me especially during my chemo sessions.  Most of the time she prays when I go to my treatments and would only stop when I arrive home safe.  She was living in the Manila but when things turned bad for me in January, I knew she would like to be with me.  I held out for her.  I have shared many moment with her but this time around it is different.

For me, there is a sense of urgency of getting to know her more and share many good moments while I can.  At 81, she tells me the same stories I have heard many times over but I would still listen with new found appreciation.  I have even written it down for my recollection, and if given the chance I would like to go back to her birthplace, Corregidor Island.  Tour the place again with her.

An ordinary meal of fish and rice would trigger a moment when she was growing up and off she goes with her story.  I listen.  I laugh.  I listen again in earnest.  That was my moment with her.

Relationships and memories are a series snapshots in time that you can use to re-create your moments.  I have mine and will always cherish it no matter what.  My relationships with my mom, wife, family, and friends have new found intimacy that continue to shape me.  I believe it is for my own good; otherwise, I will not be given this opportunity to be here with you.


P.S.  Tomorrow is chemo day again, my fourth.  Got to earn my day for a chance of tomorrow.  Life is good.

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