Marie’s Second Battle with the Big C

Update posted by Ring Isorena On Nov 17, 2018

Around 12:15am earlier, Ellen spoke to Ate Marie's doctors that there has been a decision to stop all medications, laboratories and resuscitative efforts. Once everything is stopped, there is no telling how much longer Ate Marie will be with us.

Since the waiver signing of Ellen this morning to withdraw medical care for Ate Marie, her meds and other treatments have been stopped except for the mech ventilator (to aid her breathing) and pain meds. However even with these, her breathing is still very labored.

Her BP is down to about 100/60 up until 11PM and we expect this to trend downwards. Her kidney also seems to have shut down as there is hardly any urine output since this morning. Her nurses and Ellen continue to monitor her vitals and basically try to make Ate Marie as comfortable as possible.

We ask for continued and more prayers for Ate Marie and for Ellen, who is also feeling under the weather (from all the fatigue and lack of proper sleep for over a month straight). Again, for those who are willing and able to send financial assistance to the Samson sisters, we appreciate them very much. Thank you and God bless us all.

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Update posted by Ring Isorena On Nov 15, 2018

*Sorry, long post.*

Good evening, everyone. The doctors spoke with Ellen last night and unfortunately, it is not looking good for Ate Marie.

Since our last update, Ate Marie underwent anti-fungal treatment for the infection found in her lungs. Unfortunately, this has contributed to the acute and progressive failure of her kidneys. The anti-fungal treatment has been stopped, but fungal infections are highly aggressive and will further progress without the treatment. Her most recent chest xray also showed a new bacteria which should be treated with antibiotics; however, she is unable to receive them because of her failing kidneys (antibiotics are usually cleared through the kidneys and excreted through the urine).

Her lungs are already filled with cancer metastasis, causing her episodic difficulty of breathing and decrease in oxygen saturation. The doctors have been unable to wean her off the mechanical ventilator since she was re-intubated and it is highly unlikely that she will be taken off it.

Ate Marie has been undergoing hemodialysis since Tuesday for her failing kidneys. She has very little urine output which means her kidneys are shutting down. Without dialysis, she could become septic and contribute to multi-organ failure. However, because of the dialysis, among many other things, she is unable to keep her blood pressure above normal and is heavily dependent on medications to keep it up. If the meds were to be withdrawn, her blood pressure will trend down quickly, and her heart will stop.

She has also been vomiting constantly and producing very little stool, causing the doctors to consider an obstruction in her gastrointestinal tract. It could be another tumor or a mechanical problem but they will need further imaging to confirm.

Basically, Ate Marie’s cancer has spread to various parts of her body (her lumbar spine, her lungs, and possibly her gastrointestinal tract). She is very unstable and is progressively becoming more lethargic. Her doctors continue to manage each of the problems as they come, but the goal is not towards cure, just to keep her as comfortable as possible. She is still on a steady dose of morphine to manage her pain.

We continue to request for more prayers for the Samson sisters during this very difficult time. To everyone who has extended their thoughtful messages, efforts, and financial assistance, they are all very much appreciated!

Should there be anyone who still wish to contribute, Ellen and her family will be very grateful. Thank you and God bless us all.

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Update posted by Ring Isorena On Nov 07, 2018

Good evening, everyone! Today marks Ate Marie's 1 month stay in the hospital.

Since our last update on Ate Marie, the latest hurdle she is facing is her constant vomiting, causing her doctors to order more tests to understand what could be causing it. Her potassium level was found to be low so doctors suspect it could be a cause of her digestive problems. Her hemoglobin tested to be low as well so Ate Marie has been getting blood transfusions.

This morning, Ate Marie's infectious doctor told them that she has fungal infection in her lungs thus the difficulty in breathing. An anti-fungal drug has been prescribed and Ate Marie needs to take 4 vials for a day and 2 vials for the remaining days until the infection is treated that should hopefully wean off Ate Marie from the ventilator. Each vial costs almost P7,000 so 4 vials in a day means over P20,000 (Ate Marie has PWD discount, thankfully). If any of you have connections with Pfizer Phils, the anti-fungal drug is made by Pfizer (Brand Name: Vfend Generic Name: Voriconazole) so any leads as to where Ellen can buy them for lesser price than Mercury Drug, we would appreciate.

The hospital has also been requiring Ellen to deposit at least P20,000 per day so that their overall deposit will be at 50%. Ellen estimates the total hospital bills to be over P1M already, excluding doctors' professional fees. A big bulk of their daily hospital expense is the mechanical ventilator which costs P14,000 per day, plus the private room nurses 24x7, medicines, tests, etc. With this, we again knock on your kind hearts for financial assistance to help with the mounting hospital expenses. Even a small amount can go a long way and will be highly appreciated. We have already given to Ellen whatever amount we have collected so far and she would like everyone to know that she is very grateful for all the help, support and prayers.

Ate Marie continues to fight despite the fluctuating BP, the pain, and all the tubes inserted in her body. Even if she is unable to speak with words, she still shows loads of intelligence and strong will to battle the big C! Please continue to pray for the Samson sisters and may you all have a blessed week!

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Update posted by Ring Isorena On Nov 03, 2018

Good evening, everyone!

Ate Maricar had a good couple of days since our last update. After her ventilator was removed, she was able to breathe on her own until she was only aided by a nasal cannula. Even her NGT tube was also removed and she was able to take soup and some juice.

Unfortunately, last Thursday, Nov 1, she again had difficulty breathing, and her BP dropped as well as her oxygen sat so doctors decided to re-insert her breathing tube so she can again be aided by a ventilator to breathe. Her NGT has also been reinserted to help in her feeding. We are thankful 'though that Ate Maricar is still responding to meds to bring her blood pressure up. It goes up sometimes but still normalizes. Her urine output also went down yesterday but she is also responding well to the meds. The hot flashes are still being managed by ice cold sponge baths by her private nurse, Ellen, and family and friends who take turns looking after Ate Maricar.

Another bad news is she has not been able to proceed with the radiation treatment because it requires lying still for more than 10 minutes, which Ate Marie cannot do. Doctors say that with radiation (but without chemo), it would make the tumors stop growing and give her about 3 to 4 months. But without radiation even, there is no guarantee anymore. :(

Despite all the tubes back, Ate Maricar is still sharp as ever, even jokes sometimes with the messages she writes on her white board. I had a chance to visit tonight and she would write ideas about school, research, and lots of kwentos! We wish she can just talk so we can hear all about what her beautiful mind has to say.

Ellen still tirelessly takes care of whatever it is that her big sister needs, from buying ice tubes for the sponge baths, putting Kool Fever pads on Ate's forehead, flexing Ate's arms and legs so they can be moved. Please pray for Ellen's good health too because it hasn't been easy, and yet she continues to be very, very strong for Ate Maricar.

We would like to again say thank you to those who have sent over additional financial support. We hope that there will be more to come and we thank you in advance. Please continue to pray for Ate Marie's comfort, and peace. Appreciate all the love and prayers for the Samson sisters, please keep them coming!

Thank you and God bless you all!

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Update posted by Ring Isorena On Oct 28, 2018

Good evening, everyone! Some updates on Ate Marie:

Since last Thursday, Oct 25, her ventilator has been removed and she was able to adjust to breathing without the help of a machine, despite some difficulties with phlegm that she could not get out; steady oxygen sat as well. Very happy for Ate Marie to have gotten rid of the tube in her trachea and no more need for a tracheotomy (hopefully never); oxygen mask is good enough.

Apart from the phlegm (which has been found to have blood in it), her major complaint is difficulty in sleeping because of the hot flashes throughout the day (and night), so her nurses and Ellen make sure she is always given ice cold sponge bath. These sponge baths is at least a 2-person job and Ellen diligently and tirelessly does this for Ate whenever she is watching over her big sister in the hospital.

Her NGT tube (for feeding) has also been temporarily removed and today, she has been given green light to eat soup! We also hope the feeding tube does not have to be reinserted (ever) again!

Lastly, despite previous decision of not getting any more treatment, Ate Marie has agreed to go through radiation treatment which will help prevent the tumors in her lungs to grow. It's not chemo which is more aggressive and physically more taxing for Ate Marie but we are all praying she just becomes more comfortable and feel less pain.

While she still can -- Ate Marie has posted several notes of gratitude for all the people who continue to go through this big battle against cancer with her. Raia and I (and Ellen) are passing along these messages of thanks to all of you here in this group.

Wishing you are having a good weekend, it's a new day and week tomorrow, hope you all enjoy the short workweek for many of us. God bless!

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Update posted by Ring Isorena On Oct 22, 2018

Good evening, everyone!

Unfortunately, it was a bit of a rough night last night for Ate Marie due to some blockages in her breathing tube where some phlegm and blood have been lodged, causing her to have difficulty breathing and disrupting her sleep. Hot flashes also continued through the night so continuous application of cold towel was needed. Her doctors have taken out the old tube and a new one was re-inserted this morning, helping her to breathe better again.

Throughout today, she mostly slept, no vomiting and less hot flashes. Yey! They will re-start weaning her off the ventilator again tomorrow and we hope she can really breathe on her own again so that there is no more need for a tracheostomy.

Let us all pray for a better night and better days ahead for Ate Marie. Again, only if you are willing and able, please help with any financial amount for Ate Marie's hospital expenses through the GoGetFunding link or via the bank accounts listed above. Otherwise, prayers for the Samson sisters are most appreciated! Thank you all and God bless!

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Update posted by Ring Isorena On Oct 21, 2018

Good afternoon, everyone!

Some updates on Ate Marie - her oxygen support has been decreased from 100 to 40% since yesterday. She initially had some difficulty with the decreased support but eventually managed to breathe well and her doctors are hoping to be able to completely wean her off the ventilator in the coming days. If not, the breathing tube inserted through her mouth will be replaced with a tracheostomy tube which is a more long-term type of breathing assistance. This tube is inserted through the neck with direct access to the windpipe.

Ate Marie is still on maximum dose of morphine, with rescue doses accessible to her as needed, to ensure that she has no discomfort at all. Yesterday she had an episode of vomiting and frequently feels bloated. Her doctors have been informed of this and she is being given anti-vomiting medications and her diet is being adjusted accordingly.

Overall, Ate Marie is in a stable condition and continues to fight despite all the tubes inserted in different parts of her body. Last night, she was also visited by a family friend priest who prayed for Ate Marie's comfort and reminded her (and us) to cast all cares and lay our burdens to the Lord (1 Peter 5:7) through these difficult times.

Along with other relatives & private nurses, Ellen is well supported by Ate Marie's friends and colleagues from UP MSI (Marine Science Institute) who take turns watching over her day and night. If any of you in this group are from UP MSI, maraming salamat po sa pagmamahal at suporta!

Many thanks as well for the financial donations for Ate Marie's hospital bills. Raia and I are aiming to raise at least P300K to aid in the amounting expenses for Ate Marie's fight, any amount helps! We have some who donated anonymously, so whoever you are, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Hope you are all having a great weekend! God bless!

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Update posted by Ring Isorena On Oct 19, 2018

Hi Everyone!

A bit of a good day for Ate Marie today - she's been switched to plant-based feeding because the previous milk-based feeding gives her tummyache and makes her feel bloated, causing her to have difficulty sleeping. So far, no major complaints apart from the hot flashes most of the day which is normal for her condition, and some difficulty in coughing.

Let us continue to pray for Ate Marie's comfort and that tomorrow will be a better day. Also asking for prayers of strength and peace for our dear friend Ellen who we know is already beyond tired, physically, mentally, emotionally, even financially. She appreciates all the well wishes!

Many thanks for the additional financial assistance we have received today! God bless us all! 💙

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Update posted by Ring Isorena On Oct 18, 2018

Good evening everyone! Ate Maricar has been transferred out of ICU into a private room at NKTI this evening. She is now under the care of a palliative doctor and is being administered a steady maximal dose of morphine to ensure that she has zero pain. She will be maintained on a breathing tube as she is unable to get enough oxygen without it.

We would again like to thank everyone who has extended their financial assistance to the Samson sisters. Ellen is majorly financing all the medical fees that are continually being incurred and all of your help is greatly appreciated.

Please also continue to pray for Ate Maricar and their entire family.

Thanks again and God bless you all!

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