Breast Cancer in the time of COVID-19
Hi, I'm Joannalyn De Jesus Urriquia, but most people around me know me as Nalyn.
I am starting this fund raising in the hopes of gathering financial support to start and continue my fight against one of the most dreaded diseases -- CANCER. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer Stage 4 last June 08, 2020 at the age of 29.
I'd like to extend my gratitude in advance to EVERYONE -- those who took time to visit this page, read my story and will wish me strength and recovery, and to those who will generously share and donate. ❤︎
So, here it goes..
21st September 1993, breast cancer took my Mom away from us when she was just in her late 20s. Imagine how painful and traumatic it was for my Dad who lost the love of her life too soon, and was left with a 2yo toddler who had no idea of what was happening. But my Dad has always been resilient. He never gave up and raised me into who am I today.
Almost 27 years later, it breaks my heart to see my Dad go through same exact agonizing pain. This time, it's not his wife, it's his child. And his child isn't just a daughter anymore. She's now a wife and a mother to a 4 year old beautiful girl, too.
At the age of 29, I was diagnosed with a HER2-positive, Stage 4 Breast Cancer.
I have always been vigilant about my breasts. I do self-examinations daily, and go to my OB-Gyne annually for screening. Basically because I have a strong family history for cancer. Aside from my Mom, my aunt (Dad's sister), and other few family members also suffered from the same disease.
Despite my cautiousness, around the latter part of March 2020, I chanced upon a 3cm lump on my right breast. And because it was unusual (and pretty big), I've immediately scheduled a consultation with a breast surgeon, and prepared for imaging tests. Unfortunately, COVID-19 happened, ECQ was implemented by April and before I even begin seeing my doctors, everyone was on lockdown. Hospitals didn't prioritize non-emergency cases, and that included outpatient services in almost everywhere. So, I had no choice but to wait.
Two months later, I was hospitalized because of another lump that was in my stomach. I underwent an emergency surgery on May 12th and from there a 17cm cyst was removed, along with my right ovary and fallopian tube. (This cyst was benign, btw!) During my hospital stay, I took advantage of the situation and told my OB-Gyne about the lump I have in my right breast, so she immediately referred me to a surgeon. That was when everything started to unfold.
I met my breast surgeon, Dr. JT Noriega of Asian Hospital and Medical Center on May 27th. I underwent the normal process -- mammogram, breast ultrasound, core needle biopsies. June 8th, I got the confirmation that I indeed have breast cancer. After several tests for metastatic workup, there was suspicious metastasis found in the lungs, so I was proclaimed Stage 4. In the span of almost 3 months, a lot had happened, and changed.
My initial treatment protocol goes like this:
1. Chemotherapy + targeted treatment (8 cycles of chemo + 18 injections of Trastuzumab)
2. Surgery/Double Mastectomy (only if my body responds well to the treatment and the lung metastasis goes away, otherwise, surgery isn't even considered anymore)
3. Radiation therapy
As mentioned earlier, I have a HER2-positive breast cancer, which is an aggressive type and also an expensive one to treat/manage. Although HER2-targeted therapies are now available, a single dose needed for an injection costs around Php 80,000-120,000. On the other hand, chemotherapy costs around Php 50,000 per cycle, according to my Medical Oncologist.
My treatment will go on for a very long time, if not lifetime, because I am already at the advanced stage.
I am humbly asking for help, to support my medications in the hopes of living a longer life and spending more time with my loved ones. Any amount of donation will go a long, long way. There's no big or small. ❤︎
Again, thank YOU! Yes, you, who has spared some time to know my story.
P.S. If you have donated, please send me a personal message so that I can thank you personally.
P.P.S You can also send your donations via BPI, Unionbank, GCash, Paymaya or Coins.ph. Please contact me via FB, IG or my mobile number +63915-238-4291 anytime for inquiries.