This is not my story. Neither my case.
This is the story of a 59 year old woman, mother and grandmother, who without any warning like any other similar case, was bombarded with a heart-breaking news just this year in the month of March.
It all started with a simple cough that lasted for more than a week that she ignores until she started to feel episodes of difficulty of breathing. Everyone in the family thought that either it’s pneumonia or tuberculosis. But the chest x-ray revealed something more.
Her left lung is filled, literally, with fluid/water. Everyone was shocked because she had had her x-ray on October last year and it was clear then with a matter of only 5 months her left lung is all white and hazy. And so a tube was necessary to be put into the lungs down to a bottle for drainage of the fluid. The fluid from the lungs was also examined.
Before discharged, the kind attending doctor revealed that the left lung wasn’t only filled with fluid but also a mass was found. Everyone prayed and hoped really hard that the mass is not something serious of a matter…until the result of the fluid examination was released.
Adenocarcinoma. Cancer of the lungs.
And the physician said -- it’s Stage 4.
The family went to different doctors due to referrals done by the attending physician. Chemotherapy and/or radiation was recommended but neither of the two was chosen by her. So the family sought for an alternative -- Herbal medicine/treatment, a very least invasive treatment was encouraged and she agreed with it. The treatment focuses mainly on diet and some herbal supplements that is believed to slow down the process of the cancer cells thus prolonging the life of the affected person. After 2 months of treatment, the family decided to do re-examination of the lungs thru a machine called CT scan. And there, the result (as shown below) revealed a not so definite answer to the questions like: “Is there a recurrence of fluid accumulation?” “Is the mass found became smaller or bigger?”
Still, we hoped, really hoped that maybe, just maybe, it was a benign tumor… not a malignant, deadly tumor that the doctors were telling us. So we asked for another physician’s help to help us understand the CT scan result and answer our questions with assurance.
He said that the mass is still there but it cannot be measured accordingly because it is covered with a sac of fluid. Unfortunately, with the images seen in the CT scan result, it can’t be determined whether it is the size of the mass or of the fluid filled sac. That is why there was no measurement provided. The doctor did took importance as to what Nanay Marilyn would like to do, being the owner of the body. He recommended not only chemotherapy and radiation but also removal of the left lung since the lung does not operate anymore. It does not expand thus no air is being circulated. It is of no use. Remove it then the mass will also be removed but chemotherapy must be done afterwards. And yet of course, the decision will still be of Nanay Marilyn’s. So Nanay Marilyn asked the question no one had yet dared to ask. “Doc, tingin niyo po, mga ilang years nalang?(Doc, how many years do you think is left?).” Then the doctor, with being so honest as he is from the very start, answered “Kung sasabihin ko na ilang buwan nalang, tapos nasagasaan ka ng tren, e di mali ako? Hindi ko pwedeng sabihin kung hanggang kailan nalang. Mali yun. Dios lang ang nakakaalam. (If I told you that there are only months left but you were hit by a train later, then I’ll be proven wrong, am I right? It is not right for me to tell how long because only God knows. Only God can tell).” I cringed. Me, being a nurse, I can get what the doctor had told us. I can read between the lines. Nanay Marilyn, medically will only have months left. “Kung sasabihin ko na ilang buwan nalang…” Like most of the stage 4 lung cancer diagnosed patients, she only has months left. I knew that, but still I had hoped. We still hope.
Nanay Marilyn still doesn’t want to have chemotherapy nor radiation because of many fears she doesn’t want to verbalize, yet agreed with the more intensive type of herbal therapy/natural remedies in which she will be admitted in a clinic in Tarlac owned by Dr. Farrah Agustin-Bunch. It may last for months and will eventually cost a sum of money.
We hope people will hear this story and make a difference with Nanay Marilyn’s life by helping her in her chosen way of fighting for her life that, by God’s grace, will let her see people more, talk and embrace her loved ones more… as longest as time allows.
For anyone who wants to send their heartfelt donation, you may send it to one of Nanay Marilyn’s daughters’ account:
Name: Sherill Fabrero Fontarum
Passbook No.: 92993
Branch Code: 1392
Branch: Oriental Mindoro-Pinamalayan BR RBU
The Fabrero-Fontarum family and I, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And may the Lord bless you with prosperity, good health and longer life!
*Nanay Marilyn, a kind-hearted woman, is like a mother to me. She and her wonderful family, is a family friend of mine and this is one of the ways I thought I could help.