Arvin Quimbo Lagarde, my brother, is just 24 years old and was recently diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a very rare and aggressive type of blood cancer.
He started showing symptoms of fatigueability and paleness in his hands, feet and lips last November 2018. This was the time when he went to Cebu City to supposedly start his Apprenticeship Application so he can finally get his degree in Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering. When he was in Cebu City, he decided to cut his stay short saying that he would rather have himself checked by a doctor in Tacloban first before proceeding with the internship application. He said that he might not be able to pass the medical examination requirement and would not want to waste money for it. So he went home.
Days passed and he started to have chills and fever. Sometime in mid-December, he collapsed one early morning at home so he was rushed to the Eastern Visayas Medical Center in Tacloban City. The doctor’s first impression was Dengue Fever but after several laboratory tests, he was initially diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia due to the low production of hemoglobin and platelets. The doctors then recommended for him to undergo Bone Marrow Aspiration to determine what is causing the infection and identify whether it is Aplastic Anemia or Leukemia. Because it was just 2 days before Christmas that time, my brother decided to go home against medical advice saying that it might be his last Christmas and New Year with the family. It was very heart breaking and we have to grant his request to go home. He promised anyway that he is willing to go back to the hospital after new year.
At that time, it was hard to believe that he could have that serious illness. It was hard for him and for all of us in the family to accept it. In early January, he went back to the hospital and had the same low results for CBC. He resorted to using some organic and natural medicine for his illness for a month hoping that it could help improve his blood chemistry. One month passed and nothing changed in his condition.
Last February 28, we all decided to bring him to Metro Manila to have a second medical opinion. He was then confined at the Philippine General Hospital last March 2 and underwent series of laboratory testing. It was March 5 when Bone Marrow samples were taken and the result came out in March 12 that revealed that he has an Acute Myeloid Leukemia and 26% myeloid blast in his bone marrow.
The doctor then advised him to undergo Chemotherapy that started on March 19. He will have to go through seven days of 20 hours chemo per day. It was very difficult for him to accept undergoing chemotherapy as he was afraid that it might just worsen his condition so he just wanted to try organic and natural medicine. After some serious talks, we were able to convince him and he decided to do it knowing that it is his last fighting chance against leukemia as advised by his doctor. As per the doctor, herbal or organic means can do nothing anymore.
Indeed, it is true that Acute Myeloid Leukemia just like any other forms of cancer is considered a “family disease” as all of our family members will have to endure several challenges spiritually, morally, physically, financially and more. It was devastating knowing that my mother and father are already old and sickly, too and maybe stressed more with what is currently going on. My mother was also diagnosed with colonic tuberculosis in 2016 and was supposed to undergo Colon Bypass and though already bed-ridden, she miraculously recovered. My father was also diagnosed with Lung Tuberculosis in Early 2015 and after undergoing medication, he has recovered. When my brother was first rushed to the hospital last December, my mother too was admitted to the hospital due to pneumonia, she is also sick with hypertension, anemia and asthma. Yet, we have to be strong for our youngest sibling and be with him in this fight for his life.
We are seeking all your support to help in my brother’s fight against Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I am the bread winner of the family and the only one supporting my parents and my brother's daily and medical needs. The last three years had been tough and my savings have already been used up supporting my brother's medical expenses since last year. My elder sister Arlene is already married with 3 kids and had to sacrifice being away from home to be with my brother in the hospital. My brother is now undergoing Chemotherapy and we will be very grateful of whatever help that you can extend to our family to sustain my brother’s daily and medical needs. He will have to stay in the hospital for 4-5 weeks depending on his body’s response to the Chemotherapy. We are doing all ways possible to alleviate my brothers current situation.
Thank you for all your help and God bless us all.