Help Keira beat Leukemia

Update posted by Anna Dijamco On May 27, 2019

Our baby girl should have been confined today to finish her last dose of chemo meds (Methotrexate and Triple Intrathecal Therapy) for Phase 2 Consolidation, but her ALT (alanine aminotransferase - enzyme normally present in liver and heart cells that is released into the bloodstream when the liver or heart is damaged) level shoot up so high. Her ALT level is 487, and the normal range is BELOW 35. ALT is expected to go high,but if it is more than 10x of the normal then that's a red flag so chemo should be stopped. Apparently, chemo meds can damage the patient's liver due to several toxins from the chemo that it has to filter , hence ALT level has to be religiously monitored. We do blood test (CBC, ALT, Creatinine, Potassium, Blood Urea Nitrogen) before her chemo, and few days to a week after her chemo, so there's always a pre and post test. Fluimucil and Vitamin E are prescribed to her and we just repeat the blood test on Saturday. Hoping her ALT (and all other blood test) will be in normal/acceptable level by then so she can continue with her chemo 'cause frequent and long chemo delays would really not help in her recovery. We are just staying positive about this. Seeing her fighting and getting through one day at a time, one chemo cycle at a time, it would be a shame to not be strong for her. She's the bravest, toughest, strongest angel that I know 👼


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Update posted by Anna Dijamco On Apr 06, 2019

The universe just wouldn't let our angel go through her chemotherapy without a hurdle along the way. Why? :-(

Repeat BMA is due before she can start with her chemo Phase II Consolidation, we already had a schedule. We were just waiting for that day and wishing and praying so hard she won't get sick before that. She had a checked up March 25, her blood tests results were all fine and acceptable so the doctor scheduled her for BMA on April 2. Came March 26, she suddenly got warmer 37.4- 37.7 °C. She was frequently sneezing and sometimes had a runny nose. She continued to be like this until March 28 noon her temp went too high 38.8 °C. Fever means going to ER and so we went. I got so downhearted as she has to go through this again...

"this again?"

"here we go again..deep sigh"'

As the usual protocol, blood test, urine test, x-ray, stool exam etc were done. 2 tests stood out: (1) CBC - her neutrophil count is too low so they concluded a diagnosis called Neutropenia (2) Urine culture concluded a bacteria had grown thus Urinary tract infection is concluded. The bacteria percentage is not that high, but given her case, doctors are proactive about this and gave her a low dose antibiotic. Came April 1, her ID doctor gave her a "go" to proceed with her scheduled BMA, and so we stayed for a total of 6 days in the hospital. She will start oral chemo meds in preparation for her chemo Phase II, after she completes her oral antibiotics. She is scheduled to be admitted on April 12 for Triple IT chemo. Hopefully, she won't get any complication until that day. Please God 🙏


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Update posted by Anna Dijamco On Mar 13, 2019

We should be finished with this cycle 2 weeks ago but Keira caught Pneumonia and was confined for 10 days. It is the longest that we stayed in the hospital, it was exhausting even if we were just there doing nothing. She was just sleeping most of the time, sometimes playing with her toys, video calling with her brother and grandparents, and eating-which I really had to force her to do. There were days where she really did not intake anything aside from milk. She really had no appetite, plus hospital food are really not appetizing. Her normal 4 bottles of milk a day reduced to not even one whole bottle. If i forcibly feed her, she will vomit, and it looked like she's forcing herself to vomit and it irked me so much, lecturing her how can she get well if she's not eating anything?! But no, she did not listen. But I didn't give up knowing that she really needs to intake even a small portion of food. I will feed her 2 spoons of solids and eventually she was able to finish half cup of rice. P.S. Don't get me wrong with the "irked so much" thing, every mother gets annoyed, annoyed with the situation and not really with our child and that doesn't stop us from loving our child unconditionally.

We were just supposed to have a blood test on the day that she was confined, because we need the result on the next day for her TIT chemo. But, she got fever in the evening and we were told by her doctor to rush her to ER. She needed blood transfusion because her hemoglobin dropped really low. She had x-ray that confirmed her Pneumonia. She had blood culture twice also, but no bacteria grew. She also had this test where the doctor swabbed her nostrils with a long cotton buds,(forgot what it is called). This test resulted that Keira has common cold virus.

It makes me so angry when the nurse or doctor drawing blood or inserting needle for dextrose couldn't get it for the first time and had to insert my child again on the other arm. But of course, i keep the anger to myself and realize that there are a lot of factors why they couldn't get it on first try. It is painful and difficult to watch, really. Keira had 4 needle insertions for dextrose, 2 inserts per hand. One, the original insert from ER. Two, the 1st insert got leaks, her blood and medicine are leaking out, they tried to save the insert and they did for a while but then it leaked again and then my daughter's hand got swollen hence the 3rd insert. The 3rd insert did not last, the line was not passable anymore and medicine couldn't get through, so 4th insert was due. She also had 2 venipuncture, one on each arm, for blood culture sample. and several finger prick for CBC test sample. Our angel has been going through a lot of pain, and I can't do anything :-(

And so we were discharged 10th day evening. If you could only see how she was so happy to go home, your heart will melt. hay.

We finally got to continue her chemo this week and one more shot later and we finish Phase 1B, yey!

We are really hoping that she will not get any more complication as we go along with her chemo. Please continue to pray for Keira. Thank you so much.

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Update posted by Anna Dijamco On Jan 27, 2019

Since Keira was diagnosed with Leukemia, her doctor started right away her treatment. With our consent, of course. There's no time to waste thinking or contemplating about our next step. There's a sense of urgency with the treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia, being Acute” means that the leukemia can progress quickly, and if not treated, would probably be fatal within a few months. We entrust our daughter to her doctors, and let Science take over. Her doctor explained that there are possible long-term side effects of chemotherapy, but what choices do we have? At that moment we couldn't think of any other way. We need our daughter to survive now, we just worry about the future next.

She was given oral medicine at first, then after a few days,intravenous chemotherapy (medications administered directly into your vein via a syringe). And then the sessions continued. Oral, intravenous and Intrathecal (administration of drugs via an injection into the spinal canal). We've finished Phase 1A Induction. Started 25th Nov and should have ended 4 weeks later, but actually ended 14th January.

She had almost 2 weeks delay, due to one of her worst enemy: fever. She is scheduled to be admitted on 18th Dec for intravenous chemotherapy, but it was postponed because she had fever. And it went on until she got better and finally discharged evening of 22nd Dec. We were actually ready to spend Christmas Day at the hospital but luckily we didn't. Her fever went away and the doctor permitted us to go home. Her doctors were uncertain of what caused the fever, probably due to mouth sores (her mouth full of "singaw" one of the side effects of chemo) or the cough and colds. She was treated with antibiotics and anti-fungal mouthwash. Her schedule also coincided with Christmas and New Year Holiday, and so it added to her chemo delay. Apparently, hospitals/clinics are closed and doctors' were on leave, because hey, they are also human beings and deserve a break.

Another week delay, it sucks.

Not only she had delay during the Phase 1A, she also had a week delay on the next Phase. Hardships keep on coming. The universe must have really like to test our angel, and so as her parents. Again, it was just a normal admission for intravenous chemotherapy, she was confined Monday 21st January, the next day she got fever and weren't allowed to go home yet. CBC, X-ray were done. All normal. Her ID doctor (Infectious Disease) doctor ordered a 48-hour no fever condition before she can go home. And so we complied. She was discharged 4 days later.

The dead may come back.

Yes! the destroyed cancer cells may come back when you have chemo delays, the doctor said. So delays are never OK. Then the medication you had earlier may be all for nothing, or that's how I see and interpret it. But, giving chemo when you have complication, in her case fever, can make her condition worst. So we really need to be patient. But then again, IT SUCKS.

It is really FRUSTRATING. Isn't it enough that our daughter is battling Leukemia? Why can't she just have a smooth chemo sessions where there's no delay and her body responds to the medication effectively? And instead of using her funds for her chemo, we wasted (yes, wasted. I'm really disappointed and angry if you've noticed) it on a frustrating expense.

But at the end of the day, you stop questioning, accept everything and just live. Be thankful that she is still with us fighting and surrounded by so many people who support and love her.

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Entrust Keira to God, HE is our true Healer. God will support science and doctors during her chemo. He is testing our faith...always believe and pray to God that Keiira will be healed soon. God bless!

Maricar Bundalian

Update posted by Jan 27

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Update posted by Anna Dijamco On Jan 20, 2019

We are not rich, we are not poor either. We don't have much, just enough. But when you're supporting a cancer patient, enough will not suffice, you need A LOT. Even popular health card cannot cover all your expenses. Keira only has one health card and we've exhausted it already in less than a month. How are we going to fund the other 2 years and 11 months of treatment? Thinking of where you're going to get huge amount of money severely adds to the emotional stress of accepting your child has a cancer. It's really exhausting. My husband diligently went on to seek help from the government; Barangay's office, Mayor's office, Congressman's office, and to other government offices that offer medical assistance. We don't expect they will give much but it doesn't matter, help is a help, no matter how small.

At first we don't want people to know Keira's condition, maybe because we are still in shock, in denial. Spreading the news means you have to talk about it over and over again, and it's difficult to answer people's questions when we ourselves don't have the answer to our's. We want to deal with it silently, but eventually, we realized it is spreading the news that will get us the help we mostly need. To date, we received overwhelming support in different forms and we are very much thankful. Even people who doesn't know our family personally extended their support to Keira. And we really hope that these help will continue and won't stop pouring until she becomes well and cancer free. I'm begging all of you who is reading this campaign to help us spread our cause and reach more and more people.

Below is her protocol costing (doctor's estimate is almost 400K PHP). This is the costing for medicine alone. We also have to consider payment for her doctor's professional fees, lab tests (doctor's estimate is almost 500K PHP), confinement, operating room fees and other hospital expense and unfortunate unexpected expense. Unexpected expense is related to her worst enemies during chemotherapy: Fever and infection.

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Update posted by Anna Dijamco On Jan 19, 2019

November 2017 - Happily drinking a soda from a coffee shop in Tarlac city.

March 2018 - Wearing a sunny dress in Bataan


July 2018 - Enjoying the kiddie pool while we were on a "staycation" at a hotel

September 2018 - Joining Kuya's Sports festival at school

November 2018 - last trip to the mall before the horrible news

If you've noticed, she went from a chubby cheek angel to a thin faced little girl who seemed to have a little energy left in her body. It is just a normal case of cough and colds that brought us repeatedly to the doctor. Her brother has it too, on and off. Her brother also lost weight at a certain age. Lost weight and grew taller, same as her. So we thought it's normal, until it's not...

The doctor said they cannot say what particularly caused my child's disease as there are soo many factors that could trigger it. Sometimes, I'm thinking so hard what went wrong? when we did wrong? what happened during this period? what triggered her disease? what did she eat? where did we go? If only I had known, I would do extensive means to protect her. Is it something I ate or did when I'm still pregnant with her? I wish I could go back to when she was still inside my tummy. I wish I knew. We wont go outside the house. We won't go to crowded places. Everything around her is notoriously clean. I won't let anyone near her without taking a bath and face mask. I will home school her. Everything she touches is clean. The air she breathes is clean. I will do everything and anything if only I could go back. But I can't :-(

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Update posted by Anna Dijamco On Jan 19, 2019

Thought this was just an ordinary check up.. Go to the doctor..let him/her see your child..he/she will prescribe medication.. you go home.. after a few days, your child is healed and well again. But NO. A terrible and painful news is waiting for us.

November 23rd, Friday. When the horror began.

The doctor ordered a repeat CBC lab test. My husband got the result late afternoon the day prior but the doctor's already out so we have to come back next day. I planned not to go the hospital, go down to the most convenient bus stop and go to the office.

I planned to let my husband take Keira to the doctor alone, he can handle it. He's a big boy. It's just CBC result, what harm could it bring?

But when we are nearing the hospital, Keira is still sleeping soundly on my chest, a mother instinct on me tells me not to wake her up, let her sleep some more and let her wake up whenever she wants to, go with her to the hospital. And when you're a mom, you wouldn't and couldn't get enough of the comfort and calmness of holding your sleeping child and just watching them.. so cute and angel like..

And then there we were, seating in the doctor's clinic.. listening to the doctor explaining what her CBC results mean.. advising us that Keira needs to undergo Bone Marrow Aspiration to confirm his suspicion, that Keira has Leukemia. My husband asking the expected questions.. the whys, the hows, and all the possible questions he could think of hoping to get a different answer and negating whatever suspicion the doctor has. But me, I cannot recall anything I said at this moment. I Just remember myself holding my child and kissing her like I won't be seeing her for a long time. I just remember looking outside the clinic's window, seeing the busy road full of vehicles, buildings, clear sky, few clouds, houses, trees.. while we were given the most awful news we've ever received. I remember, I couldn't think of anything at that moment, my mind went blank. I just remember bursting into tears and I couldn't stop it.

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