Our mom, Evans, has been the picture of health until 2020 came.
In the midst of a global pandemic, she has been in and out of the hospital. All while living on the remote island province of Masbate in the Philippines (14 hours away by ferry + car from the capital Manila) with my dad. Flights from Masbate were cancelled due to covid restrictions. The hospital in Masbate has very basic facilities, but they had no other choice.
In October 2020, Mama had to go to the hospital as she was extremely weak due to shingles. After some tests, it was determined that she needed blood transfusions which was a struggle because the blood banks were empty due to the lockdown. Because of limited testing and medical resources, the hospital in Masbate could not determine what was causing her illness . After my dad scoured Masbate for blood donors, Mama seemingly recovered.
But then just after 2 months, in December 2020, Mama had to be admitted once again as she was so weak she could not stand up on her own. After blood tests, it was discovered that she had dangerously low haemoglobin count. Even after 9 days in hospital and multiple blood transfusions, she was not getting better. All this time, it was just her and my dad in Masbate. My dad was desperate to get her out of Masbate and into Manila where they can diagnose and treat the cause of this illness. The 14 hour transport by land and sea was something Mama's condition could not handle. Providentially, flights from Manila started again. So on Christmas day, they were able to fly to Manila, and Mama was thankfully admitted to The Medical City hospital in Pasig City in Metro Manila where there have the country's best specialists and modern equipment.
After a series of tests, the doctors in Manila have identified that my Mama has a huge (9cm) tumor near her lungs and heart (anterior mediastinum ). They suspect it to also be the cause of mama's anemia but if not, a bone marrow biopsy was also recommended. The doctors have said that they need to take the tumor out to determine whether it is cancerous or not. Mama's surgery has been postponed twice now, first because she developed pneumonia. The second time, surgery was postponed due to a fungal infection that was detected in her blood culture. On the second time, they found this out while she was already being prepped for surgery.
My Mama has been in the hospital in Manila since December 25th, and upon writing, she has been there for 21 days. She has a central line in her jugular vein where nurses administer drugs because her arms now have phlebitis from being so swollen from dozens of injections, transfusions and IV insertions. She also now has an NGT tube which goes from her nose to her stomach so that she gets proper nutrition. She is constantly on a BiPap breathing machine so that CO2 is properly taken out of her body.
The procedure to remove the tumor is a major, open heart surgery. It is moderately risky, and also expensive. Health care in the Philippines is not free, and insurance premiums are expensive especially when one is a senior citizen and the coverage is capped at a very small amount. If one does not have the funds, one is faced with the choice of losing a love one or bankruptcy. It will cost at least 1 million Pesos to remove the mass. My parents have medical insurance which will only cover up to 250,000 pesos and most of this has already been used for the previous 2 hospitalizations. As my mother has been in the hospital for 21 days now and are treating peripheral medical issues, the outstanding bill at the hospital is already 700,000 pesos, and this does not yet include the surgery, any other diagnostic procedures such as biopsy and the post-surgery costs. We will also have to hire a 24/7 caregiver for our Mama to help with her recovery post-surgery.
From all of this, it looks like we need to prepare a total of 5.5 million Pesos to successfully get mama out of this ordeal. We have already reached out to family and friends but as the hospital bills continue to increase and no foreseeable end in sight, we had considered to create this GoFundMe account. Any amount is most welcome and we would be grateful for any help and support you are able to provide.
Thank you so much for your time in reading this and for thinking of us as we go through this difficult period of our lives.