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To friends, family, relatives, coworkers of Aiza
Hello everyone! My name is Pamela and I would like to tap into the power of community to help raise funds to support the healing and ongoing chemo treatment of my college best friend, Aiza “Ice” Mendoza. As most of you already know, Aiza was diagnosed with Stage 2A breast cancer in October 2019. She just had her first chemo session end of Nov and is planned to do 22 cycles until February 2021 (the plan is in the table below). Aiza's only family is her sister Atimik as they lost both parents when she was 9 and of course her new fiance, Jeg.
I trust Aiza's pure and kind soul has touched so many people's lives and that she will be supported in this journey. I am hoping we can all help save her life by aiding in her medical costs. (Her BDO/BPI bank account details can be found in the bottom)
There's so much to Aiza's story and I would like to share that through her own words below.
1 Nov 2019 Facebook
Growing up, I've always thought that I'm the odd one. As an introvert, I'm good at keeping things to myself because I never want to bother anyone with my struggles. Most of the time, I choose to deal with things in private and maintain a safe distance from people, even from friends and loved ones. I thought that isolation and hiding behind the walls I've built around myself would heal me from my brokenness, but I was wrong. This time, even if it scares me, I am allowing myself to be vulnerable to share my story. I hope that whoever reads this will realize that we can always choose to be positive no matter how difficult life can get.
When I was 9 years old, my Mama passed away because of leukemia. Nine months after, my Papa died because of drowning. It's not easy to lose both parents at a young age, but my sister and I are lucky enough to have relatives who took care of us until we're old enough to live independently. When we moved out in 2012, Atimik and I slowly settled in on our humble rented apartment. At that time, we only had a few clothes, a single bed mattress, and an electric fan. As the years passed, Atimik brought in most of the things we needed at home. And so when she got married to Antz in 2016, she's confident that I could live comfortably on my own.
Independence has taught me a lot about life. When people say that adulting is hard, I think that's an understatement. From trying to make the right decisions for your career, paying your bills on time, learning how to cook a decent meal, and doing things on your own, it seems like every day is a challenge.
Living alone is tough, so I always have to tell myself to stay strong. Whenever I fail, it was Jeg who patiently reminds me to always look at the bright side. He taught me how to enjoy life, brought me to places I didn't even dare to dream about, and made me realize that I have to keep moving forward. I feel beyond blessed to have him, especially since I'm going through a lot lately.
For the past few weeks, it seems that God has decided to reveal a lot of significant events in my life simultaneously. After my engagement in Iceland, Jeg and I already started planning for the wedding next year. We're also trying to raise money to buy the small condo unit beside Atimik's and Antz's. As if those weren't enough to keep me busy, now I have to deal with a critical illness. This one is difficult for me to talk about, but I realized that I need to share it sooner or later.
I've been on medical leave from work since October 15. I was admitted at Makati Medical Center that day, and on October 16, I had an excision biopsy of a 3.7cm mass on my right breast. I stayed at the hospital for 4 days, then got discharged to continue my recovery at home while waiting for the biopsy result.
On October 22, I went back to my surgeon, Dr. Nielsen, at Makati Med. Before I could even sit on the chair across her table, she delivered the bad news:
"Hi. Are you ready? Okay, so it's not what we think it is. Remember I told you it was hard to remove the mass because it's deeply attached to your chest wall? Based on the histopath, it's not benign. It's invasive carcinoma. I'm sorry, you have breast cancer."
After what she just said, I knew I'd have a hard time remembering what she'll say next. So I called Jeg to sit beside me inside the clinic.
Modified Radical Mastectomy (MRM), chemotherapy, and then radiation - she told us that these are the next steps. Since Dr. Nielsen will attend a conference in the US that weekend, I asked if we could schedule the surgery on October 25, Friday, right before she leaves. I saw that her desk calendar says "Sofie's 6th" that same day. I felt a little guilty that it's her daughter's birthday, but she assured me that she can still do the operation in the morning. "Sofie will be our good luck," she said.
I only had two days to complete the tests I needed before the surgery. Both the liver ultrasound and bone scan weren't painful, although it's interesting to learn that they injected a radioactive substance into my veins before doing the bone scan. I recently finished watching the HBO series called Chernobyl, so I just got a little paranoid. But everything else went smoothly; I was able to get clearance.
On October 24, I checked-in at Makati Med for the second time in two weeks. By this time, I already came up with a name for my right boob because I thought it's funny. In an endearing, borderline sarcastic yet regretful tone, I would say, "Bye, Babi!" and it surprisingly made it easier to accept that I'll never see it again.
The next day, October 25, the nurses came to my room at 4 AM to bring me to the holding area. I remember watching doctors and nurses come and go. One of them brought in a boy and his mother. I can hear them behind the curtains that separate our beds. I knew the kid was watching Paw Patrol. For a moment, I forgot the pain on my left arm because of the IV. I just focused on them as I try to calm myself down before the operation.
The surgery started at 6 AM. I don't know how long it took, but when I woke up, I was still lying on the operating table. I couldn't move. At that moment, I felt a solid 10 on the pain scale. They probably administered more medicines through the IV because I fell asleep again. I stayed in the recovery room for a few more hours until I could tolerate the pain. They brought me back to my room at 2 PM.
That afternoon and the hours that followed were a different story. After this surgery, I had to face my worst nightmare. I became bedridden for a few days. Even with a slight movement, I was in a great deal of pain. All I could do was cry, apologize, and thank Jeg because he did everything for me. He had to feed me, help me pee on the bedpan, clean up after me, and a lot more. He even took a quick trip to the laundry to wash my clothes while I was sleeping. He managed to take care of me while working on the night shift. I feel so lucky that he's willing to do all those things for me.
After having two surgeries in two weeks, I already maxed out the limit of my health card. Jeg and I decided to go home on October 28, even if I still have two grenade-shaped JP drains attached to the right side of my body. We ended up paying the hospital bill with the money from the bank loan, which we raised for the downpayment of the condo unit. I remember telling Jeg that maybe, getting our loans approved before I got hospitalized was God's way of providing for my needs before I even ask.
Yesterday, October 31, we went back to Makati Med to have the two JP drains removed. I can still feel the hollow space they left inside my body. The doctors said that the bleeding might continue, but the holes will close up on their own after a few days. In the meantime, I need to continue taking two different medicines to help manage the pain.
Right now, I still have 27 surgical staples that hold the 20cm-long wound across my right chest, which the doctors covered with gauze, post-op dressing, and elastic bandage. Even if I don't have the drains anymore, my right chest still feels weird. My right arm also hurts like hell. I haven't taken a proper bath for almost three weeks. And I'm still having a hard time getting up and laying in bed on my own. With all this crap that I'm going through right now, I try to remind myself to always stay positive. Things will get better soon.
Next Monday, November 4, I will go back to Dr. Nielsen's clinic so she can remove the staples. She will also discuss the histopath report from the mastectomy last week. The doctors said that 4-6 weeks after the surgery, I need to undergo chemotherapy. They couldn't tell yet what kind of chemo drugs I need, how many cycles, and how much the therapy will cost. But I know that I don't need to worry too much. The Lord will provide everything I need. Together with family and friends, we will fight this cancer together. For now, I will continue healing at home and prepare for life's next challenge.
Special thanks to friends who visited me at the hospital (even if I wasn't able to speak because I lost my voice). Thank you also to those who sent gifts and encouraging messages. You guys know who you are. I am grateful for your friendship, love, and support.
I apologize in advance if I am not able to respond to your messages, but I will read all of them when I can. I appreciate your concern, and I hope you all stay healthy and happy.
And if it isn't too much to ask, I'd like to ask for your prayers.
My life may never be as picture-perfect as the northern lights in Iceland last September, but I know that God is with me. I WILL win this battle.
Summary of Hospital Errands from October 2019
- October 2, 2019 - check-up with OB-GYN at Makati Medical Center
- October 8, 2019 - breast ultrasound report says BIRADS Category 4B (Intermediate suspicion of malignancy); immediate check-up with surgeon
- October 10, 2019 - clearance lab tests prior surgery for excision biopsy (CBC, PT, PTT, Chest x-ray, ECG)
- October 15, 2019 - confinement at Makati Medical Center
- October 16, 2019 - surgery for excision of right breast mass
- October 22, 2019 - pathology report says breast mass confirms malignancy (invasive carcinoma, breast cancer stage 2A)
- October 23, 2019 - clearance lab tests prior surgery for modified radical mastectomy (liver ultrasound and bone scan)
- October 24, 2019 - confinement at Makati Medical Center
- October 25, 2019 - surgery for mastectomy
- October 31, 2019 - removal of two JP Drains
- November 5, 2019 - first check-up with oncologist at The Medical City
- November 14, 2019 - clearance lab tests prior surgery for portacath implant
- November 15, 2019 - surgery for portacath implant at The Medical City
- November 19, 2019 - removal of surgical staples
- November 29, 2019 - 1st chemotherapy session
Chemotherapy Schedule at The Medical City
|1||Friday, November 29, 2019|
|2||Friday, December 20, 2019|
|3||Friday, January 10, 2020|
|4||Friday, January 31, 2020|
|5||Friday, February 21, 2020|
|6||Friday, March 13, 2020|
|7||Friday, April 3, 2020|
|8||Friday, April 24, 2020|
|9||Friday, May 15, 2020|
|10||Friday, June 5, 2020|
|11||Friday, June 26, 2020|
|12||Friday, July 17, 2020|
|13||Friday, August 7, 2020|
|14||Friday, August 28, 2020|
|15||Friday, September 18, 2020|
|16||Friday, October 9, 2020|
|17||Friday, October 30, 2020|
|18||Friday, November 20, 2020|
|19||Friday, December 11, 2020|
|20||Friday, January 1, 2021|
|21||Friday, January 22, 2021|
|22||Friday, February 12, 2021|
We would appreciate your financial support in this time of need.
Bank Account Details:
Maria Aiza Nuas Mendoza
BPI Savings Account: 0069397549
BDO Savings Account: 006960064618
- Pamela Bringino
- Campaign Owner
- Mic Soriano
✔️Episode 6, check!!!! 20Mar2020Update posted by Mic Soriano at 05:09 am
My 6th chemo session earlier today went well. Good thing @antz529 drove us to the hospital at 6am because there’s no public transpo available. Even if the Cancer Center at The Medical City seem safe, we still felt a little paranoid of the veerus. I hope it goes away soon. . . . .
✔️Chemo no. 5, check! 28Feb2020Update posted by Mic Soriano at 05:06 am
✔️Chemo no. 5, check!Today is the beginning of the second part of the treatment. New drugs, new side effects, new challenges. The session lasted for 5.5 hrs, twice longer than the previous ones. But I was able to nap, so I feel fine after. I’m rly just hungry.🤪I was supposed. . . . .
✔️Episode 4, check!!!! 31Jan2020Update posted by Mic Soriano at 05:05 am
✔️Episode 4, check!!!!Part 1 of chemo ends today. Get ready for part 2! 🙃So glad that the year of January is finally ending today, too. Let’s start over and spread more good vibes! ❤️Also, that sleeping night owl at the back will leave tonight for another mountain adventure with our
✔️Episode 3, check!!! 10Jan2020Update posted by Mic Soriano at 05:03 am
✔️Episode 3, check!!!Since sleep-deprived @jegegoy is on nightshift, we leave after his work and get to TMC at around 6AM. The chemo unit opens at 8AM, but we’re always the first in line. Today, we’re in Room 11 with a nice skyline view, comfy bed, and their heavy monster machine.While
✔️Episode 2, check!! 20Dec2019Update posted by Mic Soriano at 04:59 am
✔️Episode 2, check!! They used a numbing cream and a longer port needle this time. Pain is much less than the first session. Nize one, Porty! ✋ — at The Medical City.
✔️First chemo, check! 29Nov2019Update posted by Mic Soriano at 04:54 am
Painful but bearable. Great job, Porty!!!Youngest neurosurgeon and my guardian angel doctor. Thank you for keeping me company! 😘 — with Jerold Justo.My keeper, chaperone, assistant, personal chef, etc. Thank you for taking care of me. And for buying me Coco milktea (onco-approved) after chemo! — with Jeg Lee.Thank you. . . . .
Thank you and happy holidays!Update posted by Pamela Bringino at 07:28 am
Goodbye hair and 2nd chemo sessionUpdate posted by Pamela Bringino at 03:34 am
Hello friends! This is Pamela and I just wanted to share a couple of photos and updates that Aiza shared on her Facebook account recently. :) December 15, 2019Back here after two weeks because my hair started to fall out. Now it’s all gone! Goodbye buzzcut, it was fun while. . . . .