The purpose of this fundraising campaign is for the chemotherapy and supportive care of my brother, Jetto Ongue. He is 37 years old, eldest in the family of retired parents and married with three children. His occupation is a driver of our jeepney before he became ill.
He was diagnosed of Acute Myeloid Leukemia last December 2016 after being hospitalized due to thrombocytopenia (low platelet counts). He started the induction phase of his chemotherapy immediately a month after, however, he had paralyses of both legs and extended up to his lower chest that urgent 13 sessions of radiation of his brain and spine were done. From then on he became bedbound, with catheter for voiding and a diaper to defecate. He cannot sit for long time complaining that his chest is being compressed. During the concurrent sessions of his radiation and chemotherapy he became emaciated because of the multiple side effects such as anorexia, nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, intermittent fever, fatigue and diarrhea, loosing so much weight and barely unrecognizable by his children. Three weeks after the treatment, his bone marrow was evaluated again that resulted a decrease of 7% from 27% population of leukemic cells in his body. This was not a good news according to his hematologist because a complete remission should have been expected and he advised for BMT (bone marrow transplant), we haven’t considered that option because of the immense cost. Despite the disappointment, we continued his second cycle last March 2017 and the session went smoothly for 5 days then he was discharged from the hospital. Three days after, he was readmitted for blood and platelet transfusions. Securing blood product is one of the difficult and costly experiences we encountered until now. PRBC (packed red blood cells) is cheaper when bought in Red Cross, yet, oftentimes there is scarcity in the amount of their units everyday so we don’t have choice but to run and purchase in various hospitals in Cebu city. Rarely we can get fit donors and every screening is equivalent to the cost of 1 bag of blood, which made us decided to purchase directly to blood banks. The platelet aphaeresis had consumed our savings so fast because of the pricey procedure as well as the meticulous selection of donors. For every blood extraction we are paying approximately 25,000 pesos excluding the payable volunteers (fixed rate of 5,000), which is abundant and had been a business in the city. Frequent visits to the hospital during the rest period from chemotherapy and lack of funds delayed his third cycle, developing multiple masses in his body and severe pain in the lower limbs. These circumstances have made us sold our source of livelihood and loaned in the bank to sustain the urgency of the situation. Another bone marrow aspiration was done to evaluate the response and found a 2% more blasts hovering to my brother’s system. Then on last week of June, he received the fourth cycle, after the chemo he acquired infections from blood and urine, resulting to a long hospital stay. Apart from that, he was passing bloody urine and they found a 2 cm mass/stone (not yet certain) in the bladder as seen in the ultrasound. His Urologist wanted to do a cystolithotripsy to remove the suspected mass or stone, which costs about 70,000 pesos for the procedure excluding the doctor’s fee. We are persistently asking financial help from social networks, common friends or even solicitation in charitable institutes in order to make this happen and to further complete his chemotherapy until 6th cycles, providing him a better quality of life.
Due to the unaffordable medical expenses, the pending procedure (cystolithotripsy) cannot be perform. Donations will be of great help to the patient and his family and it will go to the settlement of hospital bills, purchase of expensive high generation antibiotics, everyday laboratory tests, future imaging procedures that will be done, BMA cost, payment for physiotherapist that he needed daily, for the physicians looking at his case, cystolithotripsy, chemo drugs for 5th and 6th cycles, secure of blood products, etc.