Like most families, we did not have an easy life. It was, at times, happy, comfortable and smooth-sailing, but oftentimes life takes us to a wrong turn and we did not even know how we got there. God decided to take everything away from the palm of our hands and left us with just faith. Like it was a bad joke. Like how it is now, only tougher.
Growing up, it was my Mother who worked full time. My father, on the other hand, stayed at home and looked after his 3 kids. While my brothers played together with their bikes and toys, I was not allowed to go outdoors. My father was very careful of me, he didn't want me to get bruises and have scars. We were not allowed to have a lot candies and chocolates, too. My father, who was also our dentist, would take our teeth out and reminded us to brush our teeth every after eating. He used to do magic to trick us into eating our afternoon snacks after our naps. He prepped leaves from the trees around our house and 'turned it into' bread. These pictures show his true self : he is always happy. He is also the reason why all three of us love music. He taught me how to sing even before I knew how to read. He may not be the perfect father but to me, he was the best version of himself with us, his family.
Last April 2019, my younger brother Mark noticed a lump on my father's chest. Mark, a Registered Nurse, became alarmed as he noticed the lump was immovable. We immediately scheduled a check up in Perpetual Succor Hospital and a series of tests were done in the following weeks. His liver was checked. He was admitted for a biopsy procedure on the 3rd week of April and a few days after that, the result was given with the confirmation that the lump tested on his liver, where the main tumor is, was indeed malignant.
Determined to get a second opinion, I contacted a doctor I searched in the internet, Dr. Alan Dante Concejero, who, according to the articles was the best in the field. We went to PGH for a consult with him on the 2nd week of May 2019. He suggested to see Papa and ordered more scans: Four Phased Dynamic Liver CT Scan and Chest CT Scan. He wanted to get a closer look on all sides of the liver and his chest. Up until this point, we still did not know what stage of cancer it was. On the night of May 25th, Papa felt chronic pain on his stomach. He was rushed to Perpetual Succor and was given pain medications. He was discharged on the afternoon of the 27th and flew to Manila that evening to be admitted to St. Lukes Global City where Dr. Concejero wished to see him. What was supposedly an outpatient procedure now became in-patient because the doctor saw that his condition has worsened.
On May 28, 2019, the afternoon after the scans were done, Dr. Concejero took me to the Nurse's Station, a few steps from Papa's hospital room and showed me the unofficial scans. It was there he confirmed that it was Stage 4 Liver cancer with lung and bone mets. I was crushed. I felt my heart sink, the news was too big to grasp it was difficult to even breathe. Dr Concejero said there's nothing he can do and referred us to a Hepatologist, Dr. Juliet Cervantes who was also the head of Liver Disease and Transplant Center of St Luke's. She now takes care of Papa along with the Pain Management Team. According to his doctors, he has 6 months.
Dr. Cervantes discharged Papa on May 31. I then immediately booked their flight for June 2 so he can continue his medications in Cebu. But on the night after he got discharged, he experienced another episode of extreme pain in his stomach and he was again rushed back to the hospital. On June 1, his blood pressure was 211/117 and he was vomiting blood. He was also discharging blood in his urine and feces. I really thought that was it. Thank God for his doctors, he was saved. His BP was controlled and Dr. Cervantes performed Gastroscopy to make sure there was no internal bleeding. After 5 days in the ICU and 2 days in the hospital room, he was discharged again on June 8. He celebrated his 59th birthday in the ICU last June 5.
It is Stage 4 Liver Cancer, and even though he is doing relatively well now, we want to prepare for the coming months. Mama and Papa now live in Quezon City, near the hospital so when his pain episodes strike, he will immediately be given the medical attention he needs. My brothers and I split his medical expenses and my parent's living expenses and with our limited resources we are hoping this platform can help us provide for Papa. If you have read this far, I am sure you can surmise that this has been the most difficult times of our lives. The big C is indeed emotionally and financially draining.
With the huge hospital bills we had to pay and the expensive maintenance and nutrition medicines we need to cover, their living expenses plus our own families to support, this has really taken its toll on our finances.
I humbly knock on your kind hearts to help us support him in this very trying times. My father, who has taken care of me, now needs me to be strong for him. My siblings and I vow to fight with him and we will do everything to help him get through this.
I know some of you will just scroll down and think, well, you have your own problems, too but if you can just please say a prayer for my father, Nicanor Duenas Manubag. Please pray that he remains strong amidst all this, that he remains joyful and positive even though we are painfully counting the months, that he remain faithful to the Lord and believe that He is his savior. He may just be a random, insignificant person to you but to us, his family, he means everything.
For donations, please see below bank details:
Connie Faye Lomibao
Banco De Oro
Savings Account number: 001500518539
Savings Account number: 0069163513
Junald Angelo Manubag [email protected]
May God Bless Us All!