This year and the last have been hard for the most, if not all of us, as the pandemic changes our plans, way of living, and relationships. Many had spent an extended period away from their loved ones, some has been denied jobs, and a number has postponed their most awaited life events, waiting for the situation to get better. Yes, these times are hard. And while all of us are worried about catching the COVID-19 virus, some of our friends have been silently fighting cancer during the pandemic.
Stephanie, which we dearly called Steph, is a very gentle soul who always puts her family first. An introvert by nature, she is someone with no mean bone in her, a reason why she easily gets along with others.
Her journey with cancer progresses very swiftly that it came as a shock to her family and friends. It started last year, although she just shared it with her friends very recently.
January 2020 -She felt a mass in her breast. She had an ultrasound for the ovaries/uterus and was diagnosed with PCOS. However, as per the doctor’s requirement than a breast ultrasound should be done during her period, she was unable to do it at that time because she as an irregular period. The COVID-19 restrictions followed after.
September 2020 – Dull aches on the right shoulder and the lower back.
October to late November 2020 – Dull pain on the lower back while the right arm started to get painful and stiff. Planned on getting checked but her Dad got admitted to the hospital due to heart failure. She stayed at the hospital most of the time to watch over her father.
January 2021 – Experienced severe pain. Went to a general practitioner(GP) doctor and diagnosed with was Frozen Shoulder, Lumbar Instability, and Kidney Infection.
February 2021 – Started using a cane to support herself.
April 2021- Went back to GP as the pain becomes unbearable and was referred to an orthopedic surgeon. This was when lesions indicative of a cancer spreading were found. Referred to a breast surgeon.
May 2021 – Biopsy confirmed breast cancer. With her current bone condition, it was ruled out as STAGE 4.
She was then referred to a medical oncologist for further testing. By this time, most of these tests were done in private hospitals. For the tests alone excluding the prescribed medications, her family’s finances had already bottomed.
Due to the pandemic situation and their very limited finances, the family decided to look for an oncologist in public hospitals so that they can at least afford the checkup fees. However, the length of the queue at a public hospital is already long that the earliest appointment they were able to get is on the 28th of June.
Steph is now bedridden, unable to take care of herself (pee, bath, sit/stand, eat) without assistance. The pain she is experiencing only becomes worst and she is reliant on pain relievers, which could only help so much. Unable to stand, she has now to wear diapers as the pain radiates from her back, right arm, chest area down to the right leg.
A family of three, her
being unemployed and her father in his senior years, her brother watches over
the family. Her Philhealth coverage has already been exhausted with still a lot
of tests and follow-ups lined up.
They are now trying their best to get an early appointment as Steph is already in so much pain. Moreover, Steph does not have any medications prescribed to her yet in order to manage the pain as they need to see an oncologist first. Now that things are getting harder, they are now considering admission to the hospital so that they can be attended to immediately. However, aside from the hospital admission, they are also in immediate need of an ambulance to have Steph transported to the hospital. The costs are already overwhelming as the ambulance alone could charge at least PHP 5,000.
We are knocking in your hearts to help Steph to get admitted and continue her medical needs in this fight. Any amount you will donate will allow Steph to go on with the further tests, treatments, medications, ambulance costs, and hospital admissions. You can directly deposit your donations to the bank accounts below:
Account Number: 0955-084-0404
Account name: Stephanie Villarta
Account Number: 1686 1507 78
Account name: NILO ROSARIO S. VILLARTA
On behalf of Steph’s family and her friends, thank you very much. We truly appreciate your prayers, love, and support.