Hello everyone, my name is Jessie Rayos, 28. August 5, 2019, I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (PMP). The disease is a progressive accumulation of mucus-secreting tumor cells within the peritoneal cavity. It is a rare disorder with approximately 2 cases per million individuals.
One thing that I am very passionate about is living a life full of adventure, I love traveling and doing the things I love to do, so when I learned that my health has been compromised because of the disease, it was totally devastating for me because it means that I might lose my future plans as well as my dreams, and it would limit me to pursue my interests. It was a shock for me, all my life I thought I have been living a healthy lifestyle, I am still young and I do work out regularly.
On the night of July 21st I woke up with a sharp pain in my upper abdomen, it lasted for less than an hour. It was not a common abdominal pain and I remember the symptom of my father when he had a galstone problem which I thought was similar so I immediately consulted a doctor. They initially requested an abdominal ultrasound (my last abdominal ultrasound was 2015). The result came out and they initially thought I have a liver problem because they found some lesions in my liver and fluid in my abdomen. Because of that I already consulted a specialist who requested a more accurate test, CTscan and a liver function test. It turned out that my liver is actually healthy but they also found out that I may have PMP (pseudomyxoma peritonei). The result prompted my doctor to recommend further diagnostic procedure. She advised me to be admitted in the hospital. First test was colonoscopy, the result was clear, aside from mild hemorrhoids, no blockage inside my colon. Finally she referred me to a surgeon so I can undergo a diagnostic laporoscopy and a pathology from a sample of my omentum and liver. From there it was confirmed that the findings in my CTscan are correct. I do have a rare form of appendix cancer/pseudomyxoma peritonei.
Pseudomyxoma peritonei is a progressive accumulation of mucus-secreting tumor cells within the peritoneal cavity. It is a rare disorder with approximately 2 cases per million individuals.
I was advised by my doctors that it can be treated with a procedure called cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), where all visible tumors are surgically removed, possible removal of some or parts of the affected organs, leaving only microscopic cancer cells. Then, a heated chemotherapy solution is delivered directly into abdominal cavity through small tubes for 90 minutes. This is a very complicated procedure that only a few hospitals and surgeons here in the Philippines are able to perform. I actually haven’t found a specialized doctor yet to handle my case but I have found online that there are 2 hospitals that might be able to perform the procedure in Manila. These are some of the top private hospitals in the Philippines, unfortunately none of the government hospitals have established a specific program like this yet.
This disease is so rare that I am not only having a difficult time finding a specialized doctor and hospital, I also need to setup a fund for my medical bills because the procedure will cost a fortune for me and my family. As advised by my doctor the procedure may cause us 1-1.5Million pesos.
My source of fund:
Unfortunately, for some reason my insurance will not be able to cover critical illness. I have also already used up my savings during my diagnostic procedure so personally I don’t have any savings to fund this surgery alone. Having recently resigned from my work also hindered me for having a source of income.
So how can I raise fund for my illness?
Luckily, I have a very supportive family and an extesive network that are willing to lend a hand.
My whole family have committed that they will support me in this battle and will help me raise fund for the procedure. My parents and all my siblings are very hands on in making sure that I get the proper treatment as soon as possible. In addition to that, I myself is raising funds through friends and relatives. That’s the best effort I can do for now, aside from preparing for the operation.
We are very open to any help and options we can get from others. Right now our focus is to find specialized surgeons and raise fund for the surgery. But we are also open to other options and possibility of less invasive procedures such as clinical trials or new innovations that are not available in our country (considering that our fund can cover it).
I believe everything happens for a reason. Maybe I got the disease so I can be the person who will raise awareness of this type of cancer here in the Philippines. That I can let Filipinos know that we need more effort in improving our medical expertise and technology so rare diseases can be easily treated.
I’m having faith in God that He will guide me in this journey. I’ll be able to bounce back and still enjoy life. I pray that He gives me and my family strength to overcome this.